A consultation process was undertaken during May and June, involving the groups that use the centre, but apparently not involving other segments of the East Oxford community! The eight trained facilitators of the consultation process, of whom seven were wholly independent, commented as follows:
"Our feeling as participatory facilitators is that this process has happened a bit late in the day. There should have been better communication in the first place. Participatory processes require time and though we were happy to undertake this work, it is not ideal conditions under which to operate."
The outcome of the consultation exercise was a vote in favour, by 244 to 86 (76% in favour). However opinion is strongly polarised - there is no concensus. Tha facilitators said:
"Voting is not conducive to concensus building. But there is clearly a lot of support for the kitchen proposal."
The building of the kitchen would be financed by Oxford City Council. OCC have for some reason declared that if there is any further delay in the project, funding will be withdrawn. A condition for the funding is that the building be maintained as a public community centre for twenty years; so if the proposal falls, presumably the future of the centre is at risk.
The men with chainsaws will be moving in on the cherry tree imminently (early next week?).
Here is a link to the facilitators' report:
That's a 300Kb Word document - sorry (and that's partly why I didn't upload it). If someone wants it converted to Open Office (or plain text), I may be able to do that. However the document contains pie charts and tables that might not make it through the conversion process.