Uttlesford village gets first glimpse of long-awaited community centre
09:33 06 May 2014
It has been 15 years in the making but an Uttlesford village has finally got the community sports centre residents have longed for.
People in Manuden turned out in their droves on Saturday to get a first glimpse of their new £1.7million facility, complete with a multi-use games pitch, two adult and one junior football pitch, a cricket pitch and a community centre with a bar and kitchen.
All looked lost when lottery funding and a grant bid to Sport England both fell by the wayside a decade ago, but the vision became reality when a Langley Upper Green-based developer stepped in.
Bill Bampton, director of Pelham Structures, said he believes it is a model that other villages should look to follow.
The facility was paid for as part of a 14-home development scheme, which includes four low-cost affordable homes for the village, and has delighted chairman of the parish council’s steering group Les Atkinson.
“I think Pelham Structures have done a great job with the design and building of the community centre – the challenge now is for us to use it to its full potential,” he said.
Chris Bailey, who previously managed the community centre in Great Chesterford, has been appointed general manager. She said: “We’ve got Manuden and Bentfield football clubs using the pitches and both Elsenham and Stansted teams are going to be using the multi-use games area for training.
“In the hall itself, we’re hoping to put on things like pilates, Zumba and karate, while also acting as a community hub so people have got somewhere to meet.
“We want the centre to offer something for all ages, from children’s parties to crafts for older people, and even things like amateur dramatics.”
The market homes are a mix of three to five bedroom properties, while there are a pair of two-bed and three-bed affordable homes.
Mr Bampton said: “It’s great to be involved in something where everyone wins. The project has been primarily driven by the community for the community.”