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Delight at grant for community centre
8:00pm Wednesday 23rd October 2013 in News
CAMPAIGNERS who saved parkland from being built on have been handed £180,000 to build a new community centre.
Vange Community Group has been given its first grant to start work on building a community centre at the Kent View Road recreation ground and preserve the area for future generations.
It now hopes it could be up and running by early 2015.
The group was formed during a two-and-a-half year battle with Basildon Council, which was threatening to sell the land in order to build 70 homes to help fund the £38million Sporting Village.
Following the uproar from the public, the council changed its mind and agreed for the community to take charge and build a facility at the site.
Now, the council has awarded the project some cash from its £1millionCommunity Investment Fund.
The centre will be a base for education and advice services, as well as events and clubs to bolster community spirit in the area.
Neil Hart, chairman of Vange Community Group, said: “Vange would have become a concrete jungle and more deprived if houses were built here.
“We are sure this money will make a big difference to the community.
“The centre will be a place where everybody can be involved in various activities.
“At first, the council decided the green was under-utilised, but that was because of a lack of investment.
“This will be a successful story and a model building with all the latest facilities – nothing like what was there before.”
The group is still waiting to hear if it has been successful with other grant applications.
Basildon Council’s grant has been given on the condition the centre gets planning permission.
Terri Sargent, Basildon councillor responsible for community services, said: “I say well done to Vange Community Group for putting in an absolutely spot-on application.
They fitted the criteria and they are going to meet a need in that area, which supports the council’s aims as a hand up, not a hand out.
“They are still looking for funding, so I hope they can be successful with other grants.”
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