Thursday, 19 May 2022

Extra £50,000 needed to finish recreation ground

Extra £50,000 needed to finish recreation ground

ANOTHER £50,000 for the new Sonning Common recreation ground has been approved by the parish council.

Memorial Park, which has been created on part of a field off Reades Lane, opposite Maiden Erlegh Chiltern Edge School, is due to open in June.

The additional £53,120 will go towards completing the project.

The council estimates that £171,300 will be needed to open the park due to the additional work needed, including 100m of low fencing around the swale, CCTV cameras, maintenance of shrub beds, netball posts and a secure storage facility for sports equipment.

However, it received only £118,180 in grants for the work so needed to approve the extra money to make up the difference. Councillor Leigh Rawlins told a council meeting: “The money will go towards netball posts for the multi-use games area and a secure storage facility for the netball posts or other equipment.

“There are many things we could do with CCTV but it seems appropriate to provide something to overlook these facilities and I think this is a reasonable proposition.

“The swale could pose a threat to children especially, so the suggestion is a hazel fencing to go round it to give it a nice rural feel and to stop children inadvertently going into the swale.”

An additional £6,000 could be spent on lighting but the parish council hopes that South Oxfordshire District Council will pay this.

Councillors also approved an operational budget of £10,000 to help maintain the park for the first year.

This will go towards insurance, grass cutting, daily inspections, litter picking, repairs and general
maintenance.

It is hoped the park will also provide the council with some income with the potential introduction of subscription memberships for people who wish to book the multi-use games area.

Councillor Diana Pearman, who chaired the Memorial Park working group, said she hoped the park would open in June but this could be delayed depending on the weather.

She said: “Memorial Park is the largest project the parish council has ever undertaken. This will be a 10-year project and we’re really at the first stage, which is crucially important as we’re about to open.

“It may be June, it may be later depending on the weather. We’re still hoping that we will get it open as soon as we possibly can.”

A total of £680,000 was approved in January last year to go towards construction work and the multi-use games area.

Developer Linden Homes also contributed £250,000 to help pay for levelling, drainage and seeding as well as £16,000 towards fencing.

This was in exchange for support for its application for 50 new homes which have since been built in the adjacent field known as Sonning Grove.

The developer sold the land to the council for a nominal fee of £1 in return.

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