May 23 2013 Latest news:
Sunday, February 17, 2013
CONSTRUCTION work has begun on a long-anticipated community project described as “Manuden’s contribution to the Olympic Legacy”. .
A community and sports centre is to be built on the village playing fields along with 10 houses – the sale of which will help fund the building of the new community facilities – and four affordable homes, improved sports pitches and a multi-use games area with an all-weather surface.
Work got under way yesterday (Wednesday) and parish council chairman Les Atkinson, who has been chairman of the steering committee driving forward the project, said it was a “big day for Manuden”.
“This will bring about a major improvement for Manuden – the village hall is not fit for purpose although we have very successful field sports teams, particularly football,” he said.
“Now we have an asset worth £1.5 million to £2 million coming our way which the village will be able to make great use of.
“We didn’t think we would be in time to designate the facility to the Olympic legacy, but we can now look to put it down as Manuden’s contribution to the Games.”
The project has come up against many obstacles since the idea was mooted in 1998 – and it faced a brick wall after the committee’s Lottery application was turned down. But trustees of the Battlement Trust, owners of the playing fields, gave the freehold of the land on which the community facilities are to be constructed – some 16 acres – to the village to be held in perpetuity.
Planning permission for the scheme was then approved after a lengthy legal process.
“The planning process has been torturous but, hopefully, the construction phase will be a lot quicker,” said Mr Atkinson.
“It is very exciting too see the work starting as it has been a long time coming.”
The community hall will be able to stage village events, as well as accommodate one badminton court suitable for community use, fixed stage, smaller meeting room, kitchen and bar area, office, toilets and storage areas.
The sports side of the building will have home and away changing rooms with showers and toilets, officials’ changing room and a clubroom with a small kitchen area.
This part of the building will overlook the adult and junior size football pitches, while the main hall will overlook the cricket ground.
It is expected that the scheme will be finished and ready for occupation in the latter half of 2014.