AMBITIOUS £3.5million plans to redevelop a hall into a community sports and leisure centre have been revealed.
Canvey’s Island Boys’ and Girls’ Football Club wants to redevelop Smallgains Hall, and the land around it, to provide a multi-use sports pitch with floodlights, landscaped gardens and woodland.
It also wants to triple the size of Smallgains Lake to create a top quality community facility.
They have already spent about £200,000 making the hall structurally sound, adding new windows and shutters, improving toilets and re-roofing the building.
Work will now begin on Monday to install a new central heating and hot water system.
There will also be a fundraising campaign.
Peter May, who is vice chairman of the football club, said: “I hear about projects in Liverpool, Leeds and Nottingham, so why can’t we have something on Canvey where people come down and say ‘wow, how did they get that?’”
The plans would provide sports facilities for netball, hockey, football and tennis, while the increased Smallgains Lake could provide a fishing club.
Landscaped gardens, with benches and new trees would provide a communal area and the club would also like to build a bowling green.
It plans to look for grant funding from Sport England and the National Lottery as well as other organisations and hopes to complete the development within the next five years.
Mr May added: “We want to aim for the top. We will have to work like we have done already with Castle Point Council to get permission to go ahead, but the council has been very supportive so far.
“This will be something for the whole community, not just the football club.
“Most of us at the club were born here or been here since we were very young so we know Canvey and know what’s needed.
When we took the building over, it was getting targeted left right and centre by vandals.
“Since we took it on residents have said how much better the area is. When this is done it will be a tremendous benefit to the community as well.”
A CHARITY hopes it has helped paved the way for the Smallgains Hall revamp, by paying to get the roof repaired.
Gary Baker, a project officer for the Veolia Trust attended the hall to see the work during the Smallgains Social Club weekly meeting, which caters for the over fifties. The Trust paid £27,000 to mend the roof.
Cash was awarded to the club in January, work started in February and it was finished in April.
Peter May, vice chairman of Island Boys’ and Girls’ Football Club, which runs the hall, said: “The roof was really damaged and it was flooding every time it rained.
“There was a lot of work to be done. Hopefully this is only the beginning.”