Council springs a major surprise as it announces �350,000 boost to Fenland villages

CASH totalling nearly �350,000 is heading back to Fenland villages under a radical plan announced today by Fenland Council.

The money could give a major boost to new or refurbished village hall projects, help to create a skate park in another, extend a sport facility and boost hopes for a sports pavilion.

Schemes in Eastrea, Benwick, Christchurch, Wimblington, and two in Parson Drove will benefit.

“It will be a wonderful bonanza for these villages,” said Council Leader Alan Melton.

He said the money will come from the �600,000 set aside in the council’s rural community capital fund and additional funding could follow for other projects.

Cllr Melton said matched funding was an essential part of the money the council is willing to allocate but councillors felt it was time capital schemes in villages were supported as much as those in towns.

The council is making considerable savings elsewhere – including the scrapping of its �387,000 a ‘gateway’ scheme to make improvements to entrances to towns- and believes villages will now get a considerable boost.

Most Read

A report outlining the grants will be presented to Cabinet on Thursday but Cllr Melton insists that “everything we spend goes to benefit the community.”

Schemes set for approval are:

CHRISTCHURCH

New sports pavilion to replace existing village hall and sports pavilion considered no longer fit for purpose. The �325,000 cost includes Fenland’s allocation of �100,000, the rest coming from matched funding and sale of existing village hall

WIMBLINGTON

Parkfields Sports Club to get �35,000 towards the �70,000 cost of new storage replacements and replacement sewerage treatment plant. What has been described as “significant” local donations and parish council matched funding will provide the balance.

NEWTON

The village will receive half the �53,000 needed to enhance the village playing field including safety fencing, a youth shelter and play equipment.

PARSON DROVE

The pre school will receive half the �30,000 it needs to pay for road safety and speed reduction measures. The county council, through its safer routes to school policy, will pay the rest.

Half the �38,000 cost of building a skate ramp is to be provided by Fenland Council, the rest coming from section 106 monies and donations.

BENWICK

The village hall is being extended and refurbished and Fenland Council will provide �100,000 towards the �219,000 cost. Friends of Benwick Church the Methodist church have matched funded the cost. Space set aside for worship would be minimal, says Fenland Council, when compared against community use. The hall will also be used for PE lessons and sports activities by the village school.

EASTREA

The council is to give �50,000 towards the �577,000 cost of a new village hall. Other funding is to come through grant applications to Donarbon, WREN, local fund raising and a substantial contribution from a developer. Council officers say they have met the hall committee who assured them they are confident in the business plan.

Cllr Melton said all schemes being recommended for approval have been carefully evaluated by council officers who will continue to monitor them as the cash is released.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter