THE NEW £2.5million Whitnash Civic Centre and Library has opened its doors to the community.
The culmination of many years work became a reality as it was officially unveiled by Whitnash mayor Adrian Barton, along with guests the mayors of Kenilworth, Warwick, and Leamington, Warwick District Council leader Andrew Day and chairman Neale Murphy, joint project leader Coun Judy Falp, representatives from the construction company and members of the library service.
The centre includes a multi-use sports hall, the Whitnash Library, a brand new community cafe, a meeting room and offices for Whitnash Town Council.
As part of the project, the two football pitches and rugby pitch at Acre Close Park have been reseeded and renovated and the skate ramp has also been moved and improved, along with outdoor exercise equipment.
The project represents a major investment – probably the largest single project in the history of the town – and aims to reflect the growing and changing community.
Two plaques were unveiled during the opening ceremony, paying tribute to late councillors Tony Heath and Bernard Kirton, whose passion formed part of the driving force behind the project.
Coun Kirton is honoured in the new Civic Centre by having the new meeting room named after him while the community hall itself is named for Coun Heath.
Coun Falp, who unveiled the plaque on the meeting room door, with Bernard’s son Mark, paid tribute to Coun Kirton, described as a formidable force in Whitnash.
The late councillor set up the Whitnash Ratepayers Association with Tony Heath following a fall out with the local Labour Party in the 1970s.
In his speech before cutting the ribbon, Coun Adrian Barton paid tribute to all those who had been involved, especially his colleague and mentor Coun Heath, who passed away a couple of months ago, and never got to see the fruits of his labour, over many years, finally finished.
The project was close to the councillor’s heart – having long had an ambition to see the aging 1970s community centre replaced with something better for the future. He spoke about it during his time as Whitnash mayor as long ago as 2001.
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Pictures by Steve Harriss.