Marsh Drive Redevelopment
Marsh Drive Sports and Community Development Project
An opportunity to explore a wider vision and create a community, social, leisure and
sports facility serving the whole Parish for at least the next 30-40 years.
To develop and enhance the current sports facilities and pavilion to meet modern standards and encourage use of the sports fields, pitches and tennis courts by a multi-generation of players, allowing male, female and junior activities to take place in a safe and secure environment.
To provide a community hub capable of being used by all members of society and all age groups for a variety of activities aimed at promoting physical, mental and social wellbeing and delivering the facilities that help meet the needs expressed by residents.
To work in partnership with local clubs, associations and organisations to ensure that best use of the facilities is made and to create a warm and welcoming environment where new skills can be learned, and friendships made.
The development of facilities at Marsh Drive has been a key feature of GLPC’s Strategic Plans since 2011. With this in mind, GLPC took control of the Marsh Drive facilities from Milton Keynes Council under a Community Asset Transfer agreement in 2013 and in August 2014 GLPC ward councillors for Great Linford, Giffard Park, Redhouse Park and Neath Hill formed a working group to draft a plan, roles and responsibilities and expectations.
In December 2014 a motion to move forward based on an initial development plan using Section 106 and other funding was proposed by the Chair of the Council and seconded by the Councillor for Redhouse Park. The proposal was unanimously agreed and a Project Board to take responsibility for the strategic control of this project was set up, a Project Manager was appointed, and an independent study commissioned.
The Project Board consists of people with appropriate skills who represent GLPC, MKC, Sports Organisations and the community at large.
Why Marsh Drive?
Marsh Drive is the only site in North East Milton Keynes that offers the ready availability of land, good parking and core facilities in place necessary for a successful project of this nature. It has easy access from most parts of North East MK via roads, bus links and redways.
It has a large area of green space hosting 5 football pitches, cricket in the summer and three tennis hard courts. There are also grassed areas for other seasonal activities such as rounders/baseball etc. The grounds are surrounded by a network of redways through attractive landscape (adjacent to Linford Manor Park) suitable for running, walking or cycling. There is a pavilion containing changing facilities.
The sports pitches are well used but the opportunities for clubs to develop further particularly in terms of promoting opportunities for female and young players is being hampered by the lack of appropriate changing and ancillary facilities.
CONSULTATIONS & STUDIES
To ensure developments meet the needs of residents, current and future users, GLPC have undertaken consultations and commissioned professional advisors to help develop an overall strategy and approach. Further consultations will follow as the project develops.
Neighbourhood Development Plans
When developing its Neighbourhood Plans, GLPC sought resident’s views on sport, leisure and recreation. Responses indicated a need for improvement of existing facilities and new facilities serving those who seek a wider range of activities including indoor sports, leisure, social and community events.
Following the above, redevelopment of the Marsh Drive facilities became one of the key features of the adopted Great Linford Neighbourhood Plan.
Nortoft Planning Consultants
Planning Consultants have produced a report on behalf of GLPC and conducted research and consultations with the community. Responses showed that:
• there was a need for a new ‘community hub’ offering a range of activities for all.
• a re-development and/or extension of the existing facilities at Marsh Drive Pavilion was the most favourable location catering for both the current sports user and the wider community.
• facilities offered by a new community hub could include a cafe, meeting/activity rooms, studio/dance space and facilities capable of supporting other indoor and outdoor events.
Local User Groups
Meetings have been held with existing and potential new users to identify needs and to enable development. We have looked at how we can encourage provision of a wider range of activities to meet the whole community’s needs.
At the GLPC Council Meeting on the 31st July 2019 an outline plan and budget to create a new Community Meeting Centre, along with additions, upgrades and improvements to the other facilities at Marsh Drive, using S106 funding plus GLPC Capital Investment reserves was agreed. Subsequently applications have been made to MKC for the appropriate funding and discussions have commenced with a number of contractors in order to obtain competitive tenders. Once this is complete the final plans will be published, and detailed consultations held.