Vision for Jack Allen House lives on in new Community Hub

Published on 07 February 2018

Jack Allen House.

The vision for Jack Allen House will live on in a new Community Hub as the date for handover of the site to Cambridge Street Medical Centre approaches.

In October last year, Council agreed to sell land in Durham Street, including Jack Allen House and several empty car lots that back onto the Levin Adventure Park, to enable Cambridge Street Medical Centre to build a new modern primary health facility in Levin.

“Our community is crying out for higher levels of health care service, and this development is part of the answer,” said Eleanor Gully, chairperson of Contact Inc., which owns part of and manages Jack Allen House.

Community Development Advisor Helen Hayes said Council worked closely with the community services located in Jack Allen House to carry out a needs assessment and find a new, better location that met the needs identified.

She said representatives from the Jack Allen Stakeholder Steering Group reviewed nine properties and chose the Levin RSA and Community Club as the best option to re-establish a tailor-made Jack Allen Community Hub.

The new Hub will be in the rear of the RSA and will have a reception, an accessibility ramp, a disabled toilet, meeting rooms, bookable spaces for community groups and off-street parking.

In addition, the move resolves some of the problems posed by the ageing facilities at Jack Allen House, such as the high costs of heating the building.

“The relocation is a great opportunity to fulfil the vision for Jack Allen and create a more fit-for-purpose Community Hub,” said Ms Gully.

The new Hub will be ready for services to move into on 1 March and, to acknowledge the role of Jack Allen House in the Hub’s heritage, Contact Inc. will take along salvageable fixtures and fittings from the old house or make them available to the public.

Although the future of the services is secure, unfortunately Jack Allen House itself will have to be demolished.

“Council’s preferred option was to have Jack Allen House removed from its current site to a new location. While the house isn’t a protected heritage building, it holds a special place in the hearts of many Levin residents,” said Parks and Property Project Lead, Zane Bull.

“Council sought tenders to remove the house from the site in December last year. Unfortunately, we had received no expressions of interest by the January 26 deadline.”

Mr Bull said that, regrettably, Council’s contractual obligations to ensure the site was cleared by 1 May prevented any extensions to the deadline.

“Although this decision will sadden some people, the spirit and vision of Jack Allen live on in the new Community Hub, and Levin can look forward to a new medical centre.”