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Plans to develop recreation ground off Station Road, in New Romney, with homes and new sports hall are approved

A much-needed sports and community hall is to be built on Romney Marsh, along with more than 30 new homes.

The planning application for the new pavilion and housing scheme was approved by Folkestone and Hythe District Council's planning committee last night (Tuesday).

The new leisure centre proposed for New Romney
The new leisure centre proposed for New Romney

The project, which has been in the making for several years, will also see a new car park, improved playing pitches and play park created on the recreation ground off Station Road, in New Romney.

The two-storey sports hall will replace outdated Maude Pavilion following its demolition, and will include changing rooms, a medical room, storage, a function room, meeting rooms, a bar and kitchen and a large balcony with views over the new improved football and cricket playing fields.

Of the 34 new homes, which will be built to the south of the site, 15 will be two bedroom, 10 three bedroom and nine four bedroom.

The existing Seashells Nursery building is also set to be refurbished with new timber cladding.

The multi-million pound scheme has been put forward by New Romney Town Council and designed by award-winning architect team Hollaway, who are also behind Folkestone's Rocksalt restaurant and unique urban skate park, F51, which is currently under construction.

The recreation ground off Station Road, New Romney. Picture: Google
The recreation ground off Station Road, New Romney. Picture: Google

Guy Hollaway, along with three other speakers, including a representative from New Romney Football Club (NRFC) and New Romney mayor Cllr Paul Thomas, spoke on behalf of the development at the meeting.

It was held virtually via Zoom and streamed on Youtube due to the coronavirus outbreak, with up to 39 people viewing the two and a half hour long meeting.

Committee members Cllr David Wimble (Ind) said he was 100% behind the project, with Cllr Jackie Mead (Lab) describing it as a "fantastic facility" which is needed in the area.

34 homes are also planned for the land
34 homes are also planned for the land
Cllr David Wimble, during the virtual planning meeting
Cllr David Wimble, during the virtual planning meeting

A member of NRFC called the proposal "exciting" and said it would provide opportunities for more teams to play.

The development was approved unanimously by members.

Project leader Cllr Patricia Rolfe, who also spoke on the project during the meeting, said she was delighted the scheme will go ahead.

Cllr Thomas added: "This is the culmination of years of hard work, particularly by Cllr Rolfe and town clerk Cathy Newcombe.

"We will now be able to provide New Romney with a modern, fit for purpose building to service the wider community need, something the Maude family would be proud of.

"It will be the foundation for further development of sports and social groups, providing 21st century facilities for residents of all ages, genders and abilities."

At the same meeting, plans to add 80 new wooden beach huts along Folkestone seafront were approved, while an application to build 20 houses in Greatstone was rejected.

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