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Cash allocated to Wellingborough community projects

Published Friday, 18 October 2013

More than £470,000 of community projects in Wellingborough are set to be approved by councillors later this month.

The projects, which include new sports pavilions and improvements to parks, will be funded by contributions made by developers who have built homes in the borough over the last few years.

The biggest project will take place in the town's Castle Fields Park, with just under £270,000 earmarked for the scheme. The money would be spent on demolishing the old pavilion, which has been closed for a number of years, and replacing it with new changing rooms, showers and toilets. A new pitch could be constructed to host 9v9 football for younger players, and footpath improvements and wild flower planting would also take place as part of the project.

Other schemes set to benefit from the cash include £23,000 of improvements to the footpaths in Croyland Park, which have become so eroded over recent years that wheelchair users and people pushing buggies have been advised not to use them; as well as just over £27,000 for recreation equipment and skateboarding facilities in Bassetts Close park, £10,000 to repair the tennis courts in Swanspool Gardens, and more than £60,000 for interactive play equipment in Irchester and Finedon.

Members of the council's resources committee are likely to allocate the money, known as section 106 funding, when they meet on 30 October. The section 106 contributions have been paid by developers over the past few years, to help mitigate the impact of a number of developments in the borough. The council has a duty to collect the money and properly allocate it.

Council leader and chairman of the resources committee Cllr Paul Bell said: "The projects that are suggested to receive the funding will make real improvements to our communities.

"Before recommending projects for approval, we talked to parish councils and ward councillors, and scored potential schemes against a range of criteria to make sure they would be a suitable use of the money. We also conducted a study of the sports facilities and parks in the borough before coming up with the final schemes, which we believe will increase social pride, offer improved sporting opportunities for young people, and reduce antisocial behaviour.

"The lack of decent changing facilities has been recognised as a major factor in the downturn in football pitch use, and we don't really cater for younger aged players at all, so we want to change that. Improved pavilions and toilets would also be used when parks host community events. The recent restoration of the bandstand in Castle Fields has shown that when residents get involved, and the parks have good facilities used by the whole community, vandalism and antisocial behaviour is reduced."