Hundreds of youngsters will finally be able to use the Lime Avenue playing fields, after almost seven years of campaigning.

Persimmon Homes has transferred the facility to Saffron Walden Town Council, which in turn has handed the changing room keys to Saffron Walden Community Football Club.

The community facilities were part of a planning requirement when the housebuilder was granted permission to build.

A spokesperson for Persimmon Homes Essex said: “While the final completion and handover has taken longer than any of us wanted, we hope they will now become facilities that the club and wider community can use and enjoy for many years to come.”

Saffron Walden Reporter: Cllr Paul Gadd, Leader of Saffron Walden Town CouncilCllr Paul Gadd, Leader of Saffron Walden Town Council (Image: supplied)

Town council leader Paul Gadd said: “We’re delighted that, after years of battling with Persimmon, we’ve finally got to this point.”

Cllr Gadd added: “The Town Council has been fighting Persimmon for almost seven years, but it’s only in the last three years, since R4U were also elected to lead Uttlesford District Council, that the planning authority has also been forcing Persimmon to comply with their obligations.

"This wouldn’t have happened without the determination and ability of the current councillors, the Town Council staff, and all the help and campaigning from SWCFC, and particularly their secretary, Matt Clare.

"Everyone has brought different skills to bear and my thanks to everyone involved. These playing fields will be a great asset to Saffron Walden, and I’m delighted that we’ve finally got there.”

SWCFC's Matt Clare said: "Our young footballers can now look forward to using Lime Avenue's pitches for training and matches.

"They are desperately needed as our player numbers continue to grow - the pressure on all our venues is greater than ever.

"Having a new facility with changing rooms, toilets and parking, very close to the town centre, is a huge boost for us.

"SWCFC is delighted that the long running saga is now concluded and we have access to all the facilities that were demanded by the S106 agreement and planning conditions.

"We are very grateful to SWTC for fighting for this football venue and holding firm until the right outcome was reached."

MP Kemi Badenoch said: “I know everyone in the community will be very grateful to all those involved for their determination to get the outcome that was deserved.”

As part of the campaign, the town council asked residents to get in touch with Persimmon. They also wrote to the Olympic Committee and to non-executive directors at the housebuilder.

Persimmon Homes Essex previously said the changing rooms had faced significant vandalism which delayed the utility providers installing their connections.