CHEERING residents left a planning meeting following the decision to approve the redevelopment of Moneyfields Sports and Social Club.
After yet another month of waiting members and volunteers welcomed the news that the Baffins centre would be saved from closure.
At today’s planning committee meeting councillors unanimously voted in favour of the site's redevelopment, including the use of part of its land for 12 houses and 14 flats.
The approval came in the wake of several amendments made to the application that were requested at last month's committee. These included providing overnight parking in the club's car park to residents, giving the council the opportunity to buy some of the new homes for affordable housing and offering use of club facilities for free to local clubs twice a month.
For one of the club's directors, Pete Seiden, the result was worth the wait. 'I am very happy with the outcome today,' he said.
'Everyone was very positive. We listened to the planners and the members and offered what they had wanted.
'It will ensure the long term sustainability of the club. And it's great to know that two years of hard work has paid off. Hopefully it will enable youngsters and the community to have somewhere to go for the forseeable future.
'We are grateful to the planners at the council who were brilliant, PLC Architects who designed the development and our planning consultant, Matthew Pickup, who was a rock.'
Some concerns had been raised about the free overnight parking as the car park backs on to existing residential homes and could open the area up to crime and anti-social behaviour.
It was agreed that the overnight parking would be continually monitored and reviewed.
Speaking at the meeting Cllr Steve Pitt said: 'I can't see a material reason for refusal.
'It seems clear that residents do not want the car park used overnight. We will have to monitor it closely if it goes ahead.'
Cllr Rob Wood added: 'It is great to see that a negotiation has happened and that the applicants are talking to residents. I hope that continues. A lot of residents would like to continue a dialogue with yourselves, it is important as they are your neighbours.'
Community campaigner Terry Norton was pleased with the result. 'I'm thrilled about the news,' he said outside the meeting.
'We need to do all we can to keep community facilities like this open. It's a shame it didn't go through last time but people power won in the end.'
Moneyfields’ old club house will 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 will be built between Moneyfields' two pitches and a new a car park with 95 spaces will be provided.
Work is expected to start in May next year with an estimated completion time of 18 months.