The plan for the new £12.3m Newark Sports and Community Village
The plan for the new £12.3m Newark Sports and Community Village

A sports village that will provide state-of-the-art facilities in Newark and create 80 jobs within three years has been given planning permission.

Nottinghamshire YMCA has been given the go-ahead for a multi-million pound development next to Newark Sports and Fitness Centre on land off Elm Avenue.

Plans include a 3G football pitch, athletics track, 3G multi-sports pitch, cycle track, skate park, five-a-side football pitches, tennis courts and a multi-use games area for sports such as netball, basketball and hockey.

RHP Sports and Social Football Club, based on the site, would use the 3G pitch for Sunday league matches.

The development, estimated to cost £12.3m, was passed unanimously by Newark and Sherwood District Council’s planning committee on Tuesday.

Under the proposals, the athletics track and a 3G pitch will be built first, with work starting next year.

Funding for those has been secured from Nottinghamshire County Council and the district council, with the YMCA also meeting some of the cost.

Nottinghamshire YMCA has previously told the Advertiser it is confident it can secure funding for the remaining elements.

Long-term ambition

District council leader Mr Roger Blaney said the sports village was a significant development.

“This has long been an aspiration of this council and indeed just before coming to this meeting I dug out the Newark and Sherwood Local Plan from 1999, which was developed when this council was strongly Labour-controlled.

“One policy in that local plan refers to the RHP Sports Ground, which has been in use as a private sports ground since 1931, and has provided an important part of the sporting facilities in the town.

“This has been within our plans as an authority and identified as an area for sporting provision for 20 years and has had cross-party support.”

An artist's impression of the new site
An artist's impression of the new site

Mr Blaney said out of 54 consultation letters to people and organisations based near the proposed development there were only nine objections.

“The first phase is to replace the facilities we lost as a result of the development of the old Grove School and I welcome the timing of that because that needs to be done,” he said.

“I recognise the huge potential this has to develop a combination of indoor sporting facilities and outdoor sporting facilities, which will be much envied by other authorities.”

Also included in the YMCA’s proposals are the possibility of kayaking and canoeing on Balderton Lake.

Indoor facilities include a community café, climbing wall, arts and dance area, music area, nursery, creche, and before and after-school provision.

Parking would be extended at the site by 108 spaces. A consultation document in the application says the area would be able to cope with increased usage of the site.

NSA was original partner

A Newark and Sherwood YMCA organisation will be formed, comprising members of the community as trustees and company directors, supported by Nottinghamshire YMCA as the parent charity.

The YMCA was selected as the district council’s preferred partner last year.

Previously, the council had entered into an agreement with Newark Sports Association.

A footpath that links Bowbridge Road to Elm Avenue will be diverted along the northern perimeter of the development.

Mr Robert Crowe, who represents the neighbouring Devon ward, supported the application but asked if residents of Bancroft Road, which would border the development to the north, were happy with the location of the diverted footpath.

He said: “I sit on the Hawtonville Safer Neighbourhood Group and at every meeting they mention 4x4 vehicles going up and down the footpath. Are we going to have that same problem?”

The council’s business manager for development, Mr Matt Lamb, told Mr Crowe that the development would be surrounded by a 3½-metre fence on the south, west and east borders, and a two-metre fence along the northern border.

He said officers had done everything they could to address the concerns of residents on Bancroft Road.