Planning permission has been given for an new community building in Great Linford Parish, with work due to start at the end of September.
The Marsh Drive Pavilion redevelopment project will turn a little-used grassy space into a multi-use community centre, which is intended to benefit not just Great Linford but the whole North MK area.
Lead councillor for planning and communications David Stabler said the site will encourage sports teams to hold social, fundraising and promotional events.
He said, “Building a multi-use community hub and social area will boost the use of the site for the many football, cricket and tennis players by encouraging them to socialise after games have finished, or hold fundraising and promotional events to celebrate their achievements.
“It will also provide a much-needed opportunity to bring together our scattered parish communities of young and older residents, and encourage their participation in leisure and social activities as well as sports, helping physical, mental and social wellbeing, in partnership with volunteer groups and businesses.”
Cllr Stabler added the plans would provide an upgrade on the current Marsh Drive facilities, which were built in the 1970s and are not to current FA standards.
He said, “Marsh Drive playing fields and pavilion is currently the only sports and recreation area in the parish owned by Great Linford Parish Council (GLPC). It has no meeting hall, only pitches, tennis courts, changing rooms and a small kitchen.
“The existing changing rooms were built by the Development Corporation in the 1970s, and are not to the current Football Association standards.
“Although the sporting facilities are well used, the ability of clubs to develop further, particularly in terms of promoting opportunities for female and young players, is hampered by the lack of appropriate changing and ancillary facilities,” he added.
The majority of cash for the new build – almost £344k – is coming from Section 106 funding, while GLPC will provide an additional £100,000 of reserve funds for the project.
This first phase of the redevelopment is expected to take 10 weeks to complete and will be overseen by contractors Paragon Space Ltd.
In 2021, the existing pavilion will also be much improved, with better insulation, heating and ventilation. The changing rooms will be upgraded, and a meeting facility for users of the sports pitches and tennis courts will be a new feature.
“GLPC covers 13 grid squares with no central location or facilities for all parishioners,” David added.
“This development is going to change that. It is incredibly good news and will impact so many people in a positive way.”