A NEW community and sports centre will be built in Kempsey after a £1.73million grant was approved by Malvern Hills District Council.
The centre, which will be located off Pixham Ferry Lane, is set to include a new community centre, sports pitches and other recreational spaces.
Kempsey Parish Council secured a conditional approval from the council for a maximum Section 106 grant of £1,739,452 towards the project which is estimated to cost £2.1million. The balance of the budget funding will come from Kempsey Parish Council reserves.
This Section 106 Grant is the largest amount the council has ever awarded to support the development of Public Open Space and Community Facilities anywhere within the Malvern Hills District.
The grant will enable the delivery of Phase One of the project which includes sports pitches, changing rooms, a small community space, a car park and storage areas.
The wider masterplan envisages two large community spaces to hold meetings, indoor activities and events, a kitchen/café, office space and play area.
Other features such as a skate park, pump tack and trim trail are also under consideration. And the parish council is working with partners to develop the wildlife potential of the site located adjacent to the Lower Ham.
A recent feasibility study concluded there was a clear need for the proposed new centre as existing facilities were too small and not fit for purpose.
Feedback from residents suggested the new centre was needed to support the growth of existing community groups and to help develop new opportunities.
The grant funding from the Section 106 came from developer contributions linked to housing developments across Kempsey.
Kempsey Parish Council has worked tirelessly for more than eight years on its strategic development plan, underpinned by its Neighbourhood Plan.
More recently, the parish council has received support from specialists and industry experts, engaged with local community groups and worked with the district council to develop and refine its plans to ensure they are deliverable and meet community need.
Coun Chris Waller, Chairman of Kempsey Parish Council, said: “It has been a long process to find a suitable site, acquire the land and now secure the funding to deliver the new Community and Sports Centre first identified by parishioners as a priority in 2014.
“We will be working hard to bring the site into use at the earliest opportunity including consulting with the community on the final design of the facilities”.
Coun David Harrison, Portfolio Holder for Planning, Infrastructure and Flooding at MHDC, and Kempsey Ward member, said: “This huge investment in Kempsey’s community infrastructure supports Malvern Hills District Council’s Five Year Plan priority to invest in new open space provision, play areas, playing pitches and community facilities.
“It will be a wonderful addition to the area and we will work with Kempsey Parish Council to help make it a reality.
“I would like to thank all the staff at Malvern Hills for their support and dedication to get this application for funding ‘over the line’.”
Coun John Michael, Ward Member for Kempsey, said: “These ambitious plans will bring new opportunities for residents of all ages within Kempsey.
“It will provide a space for the community to come together for various activities and events. It is great to see such investment in the area.”
Any other parish councils wishing to discuss opportunities to access Section 106 funding within their communities should contact Mark Hammond, Community Infrastructure and Development Manager, at email@example.com or by visiting www.malvernhills.gov.uk for more information.