Work is due to start on transforming a neglected green space in the heart of a housing estate in Morpeth, Northumberland, into a multi-use leisure facility costing over £145,000.
Built on land behind the Barnabas Centre on Ninth Avenue, in Stobhill, it will feature a multi-use games area, improved play park, new footpaths and landscape improvements.
The project represents a partnership between the site’s owner, social landlord Isos Housing, Northumberland County Council, local charity Barnabas Safe and Sound and other members of the Stobhill Stakeholders’ Regeneration Group.
The majority of the funding will come from Northumberland County Council, including £10,000 from the local improvement scheme budget of ward county councillor Ian Lindley.
Isos has agreed that its land can be used without charge and has pledged £57,000 to upgrade the existing play park on the site.
The development of the site was first mooted nearly eight years ago after a regeneration plan was commissioned for the area by Coun. Lindley.
In 2014 a consultation exercise was carried out locally by community charity Groundwork after £13,500 in funding was secured from the Homes and Communities Agency.
The first phase of the project will involve building the multi-use games area, followed by new footpaths and landscape improvements to create a vibrant community green space. The children’s play area will be improved and the site will be landscaped to include new shrubbery.
Phase two of the scheme, which is also being considered at this stage, will include improved parking, as well as a teen shelter and outdoor gym equipment to complement existing facilities at the Barnabas Centre.
It is hoped the work will be completed by March of next year, at which time Isos will invite local schoolchildren to rename the play area.
Isos Community Involvement team leader Sara Parker-Clark said: “We’re delighted that this ambitious project is finally coming together.
“It’s taken a lot of hard work and commitment from all those involved, but this scheme will give Stobhill a fantastic new play area, as well as supporting the facilities offered at the Barnabas Centre.”
Coun. Lindley said: “This development represents a considerable investment in this area, but it’s needed.
“We’ll be creating a great space at the heart of this strong community, so I’m delighted that we have managed to preserve the original vision for the playing field – to provide a community facility that caters for all ages.
“This has been a classic example of partnership working and I’m hoping that, when it’s finished, local children will love it and the community will love it.”
Northumberland County Council’s cabinet member for local services, Coun. Ian Swithenbank, said: “This is a great example of a local community working together to secure an improvement project that will benefit a broad cross-section of residents. It will also improve the visual impact of this green space.”