Hope for Moneyfields as plan to revamp ground and secure club’s future takes a step forward

CGI of the proposed revamp of Moneyfields sports centre Picture:  PLC Architects
CGI of the proposed revamp of Moneyfields sports centre Picture: PLC Architects

VOLUNTEERS at a struggling community sports club are hopeful they could finally get the decision they need at a planning meeting next week.

After councillors failed to come to a conclusion last month on a £2.5m redevelopment plan for the Moneyfields Sport and Social Club in Baffins, the case was deferred until October 17.

But now officers have recommended the application is granted conditional permission after members of the clubs agreed to address issues including allowing residents to use the car park overnight and offering the club facilities for free to certain teams.

For one of the club's directors, Pete Seiden, the amendments were feasible. 'We took on board what was said at the meeting and sat down with the planners,' he said.

'There are four main issues that we have addressed: providing overnight parking for residents in our car park, giving away some use of the club for free, the potential for affordable housing and making sure profits from the housing will be used to redevelop the club.

'We do the things they have suggested anyway but I suppose they wanted to trust that we would definitely do them. We already allow overnight parking and give stuff to charities.'

But Mr Seiden, 48, admitted the delay had been frustrating. He added: 'The month has been a long wait. It hasn't helped at all and caused a lot of uncertainty with the bank. Because of this the start date of the work will be pushed back another month.

'I would be amazed if they didn't approve the application now. If they don't we will appeal.'

One of the club's supporters, Hilsea representative Cllr Scott Payter-Harris, said: 'It should have gone ahead last time. The fact that the club bent over backwards last time showed flexibility.

'For me it's a no-brainer. I think they have done more than they should have. They have my full support, I just hope the committee shares that.  If the committee don't put it through I think they will be in a difficult situation.

'The fact that the Moneyfields team is willing to make all these changes says a lot.'

Housing boss, Cllr Darren Sanders, believed the final decision should have the best outcome for local residents. 'It remains important to me that local people get the maximum benefit out of the plans and I will continue to relay their views at the planning committee,' he said.

'That applies to the changes and the original plans.'

If the plans are approved Moneyfields' old club house would be knocked down and the site of the car park and boxing club used for 12 houses and 14 flats, with 49 parking spaces and 12 garages.

A new two-storey club house would be built between the pitches, and a new a car park with 95 spaces would be provided.

Councillors will vote on the application on Wednesday, October 17.