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Birchington Recreation Park sports ground plans revealed by parish council

By Matt Leclere

Ambitious plans to revamp a recreation ground to form a new sports ground which will be home to various teams have been revealed.

The Birchington Recreation Park has not hosted regular fixtures in recent years but it is hoped clubs will soon return to the turf under plans set out by the parish council.

The pavilion at the park is being torn down by Thanet District Council this week over safety fears with the derelict building becoming a magnet for vandals.

Birchington Recreation Park. Picture: Google (12555488)
Birchington Recreation Park. Picture: Google (12555488)

Neville Hudson, chairman of Birchington Parish Council, says he has no doubt the ground will be home to cricket and football again in the future.

He says councillors are aiming to form a community sports association using the recreation ground as the base for clubs in the village.

Cllr Hudson said: "It's been something I've been very keen to achieve. Sadly, TDC policy some years back was not to let it to sports clubs because they concentrated on Jackey Bakers and other areas.

"There are clubs in the village that are there and waiting for us to take ownership.

"It will need some investment and we will need some new changing facilities.

Birchington Parish Council chairman Neville Hudson (12578267)
Birchington Parish Council chairman Neville Hudson (12578267)

"I hope and anticipate that we will form a sports association. The important thing is that the ground will return to its proper use and will have football and cricket teams and others using it.

"The sports association will involve local people."

The land was donated to villagers by Arthur Erlebach almost 100 years ago as a memorial ground to his three sons who died in the First World War.

It was later owned by the Margate Borough Council before being taken over by Thanet District Council after the authority formed.

Thanet council says the pavilion at Birchington Recreation Park is in a dangerous state (12567250)
Thanet council says the pavilion at Birchington Recreation Park is in a dangerous state (12567250)
The Birchington Park Pavilion has been a magnet for vandals for several years (12567218)
The Birchington Park Pavilion has been a magnet for vandals for several years (12567218)

The ground hosted cricket and football for decades but has been lying fallow for many years with the changing rooms located in the corner falling into disrepair.

Cllr Hudson, who has been parish council chairman for the past four years, added: "It's no longer fit for purpose. We're very pleased that TDC has taken the initiative to take it down. The state of the building is beyond economic repair.

"The long term future is that the parish will take it [the park] as a community asset. This has been a long process taking four years and TDC has agreed to the asset transfer."

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