Work has kicked off on a fantastic new facility for the community of Stobhill, in Morpeth.
Local county councillor Ian Lindley helped to get work underway, along with representatives of other partners in the project.
This first phase of a £165,000 development on land behind the Barnabas Centre on Ninth Avenue will see a multi-use games area provided as a new community resource for recreational sport and play.
Development of the site was first proposed eight years ago as part of a detailed regeneration project for Stobhill commissioned by Cllr Lindley, and from which the Stobhill Stakeholders Regeneration Group was formed.
Speaking at the site this week Cllr Lindley said: “This first phase of a multi-use leisure project is a great milestone in the development of this scheme which I have been championing for a number of years.
“I’m delighted to see work getting under way and look forward to seeing the area complete and operational.
“This is just the first of a number of features planned for the site and in the next four months work will take place to transform this valuable green space into a much-needed community asset for our residents to enjoy.”
Young people will be able to play a range of sports including basketball and football, in a safe, purpose-built environment. The area will also be bookable for club and organised activities.
The overall Stobhill Field project represents a partnership between Northumberland County Council, site owner Isos Housing, local charity Barnabas Safe and Sound, Active Northumberland, Morpeth Town Council and other members of the Stobhill Stakeholders’ Regeneration Group.
The majority of the funding will come from the county council, including £10,000 from the local improvement scheme budget of ward county councillor Ian Lindley.
Isos has agreed for its land to be used without charge and has pledged £57,000 to the second phase of the project – the installation of a new play area.
In the new year a footpath will be created forming a circular route around the field and giving better access to the new play area. Landscaping will provide shrubs and small trees around the site, which will be finished off with seats and picnic benches.
Later in the spring the new play area will be built providing exciting play equipment for children of all ages. Features will include swings, slides and climbing walls, a fireman’s pole and nets – all of which will help children to have fun and learn in a healthy environment.
At the initiation of the overall project a consultation exercise was carried out by community charity Groundwork after Isos Housing secured £13,500 in funding from the Homes and Communities Agency.
Isos Community Investment manager, Richard Mitchell, said: “As the site’s owner and main social landlord in the Stobhill area we’ve been delighted to work with partners to help bring this project to fruition.
“We now have a scheme that will not only regenerate this area, but also provide the entire community with a fantastic range of leisure facilities for all ages.”
Partners in the project are also considering what other facilities – including a teen shelter and outdoor fitness trail – could be included at a later date.
Hayley Brown, manager at Barnabas Safe and Sound, said: “The young people on the estate are really excited to see this games area underway, and are looking forward to seeing it and being able to use it. It will be nice to be able to use the space outside in the summer months to fun our activities for young people in Stobhill.”