IDEAS to enhance facilities at the Recreational Ground in Fordingbridge in the future have been mooted - including a splash park and replacing the sports club.

Councillors were discussing potential ideas for buildings at the Recreation Ground to put together a strategic plan for the future during a meeting of Fordingbridge Town Council’s amenities committee on Wednesday January 19.

Chairman of the committee, Cllr John Mouland said: “We do need to think about the strategic plan going forward. We have the buildings on the site of the Recreation Ground and we need to decide what we are going to do and how we are going to do it.”

Sports club 

Cllr Mouland put forward a suggestion to replace the sports club, which he said was “badly deteriorating” and was “being held together by the efforts of the members of the sports club”.

“My proposal is that we replace it,” he said.

Cllr Mouland told the meeting that he had asked a builder for a rough estimate and had been quoted £330,000 to put it in the same position with an addition to join it to the pavilion.

Work to refurbish the pavilion was completed last year.

Cllr Mouland added: “It does provide a service for lots of people and of course with the potential new housing the Recreation Ground will only get busier and the town needs to supply a facility to meet those needs.”

The benefits were also echoed by Cllr Pete White, who said it could be used more as a venue for social events like weddings.

Splash park

Cllr Diane Paton suggested, if funding was available and it was feasible, considering changing the paddling pool to a splash park.

She said: “A water feature at the park is very popular and we don’t seem to have much luck with the paddling pool at the moment. That would be something I would like to look at.”

Cllr Mouland said a water feature was a “key” idea and needed to be looked at as soon as it was possible.

Work was carried out recently to repair the paddling pool. But there had been problems which are being looked at.

Cllr Paul Anstey warned that the paddling pool could be lost if it were to become “unsustainable to maintain”.

Proposal for old toilet block 

Turning the old toilet block into a “seaside-type” shelter was also suggested as another potential idea.

Previously, Avon Valley Shed had been considering leasing the building and creating a Men’s Shed community workshop.

Cllr Malcolm Adams says this would return the block to how it was “generations ago”.

Funding and masterplan for Rec

Cllr Mike Jackson told the meeting there may be funds from developer contributions and other avenues could be looked at in terms of funding from sporting bodies and local authorities.

“With all these plans here we need to put them all in and get a rough costing of them.

“It will probably frighten us to death at what it is but there is funding,” he added.

“I don’t think you want to be frightened by some of these things because we’re talking about five years - we can start now. I think they are all obtainable.”

Cllr Paton felt work on the old toilet block would need to be done “sooner rather than later” and would be the type of project the town’s Men’s Shed could help with.

Potential proposals have also been drawn up for the play area, the meeting heard.

Speaking about the masterplan for the Recreation Ground, Cllr Jackson said: “The idea is for us to be thinking what would we like the town to look like in five years time.”

“It gives us some target to work on,” he added.

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