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Unanimous vote for Sutton Bridge Parish Council to push on with multi-use games area (MUGA) application at Memorial Park near Curlew Centre

A sports court that can have multiple games played on it including football and netball is being proposed for a park near a village community centre.

Sutton Bridge parish councillors are in the process of trying to get a £270,000 multi-use games area (MUGA) in the Memorial Park, near the Curlew Centre, via the Football Foundation Playzone Programme which would be project-managed by Active Lincolnshire.

Sport England and other agencies could fund the scheme, which would be installed behind anew pavilion, which already has planning permission.

Out with the old! Sutton Bridge's pavilion is getting a makeover as part of a push to improve facilities in the area
Out with the old! Sutton Bridge's pavilion is getting a makeover as part of a push to improve facilities in the area

Coun Sue McLaughlin, leading on the project, said: “The idea of the MUGA came about when we started with the new pavilion.

“It is for the benefit of the young people of the village and different groups to bring together exercise , gentle sport and to improve mental health.

“The idea of a play zone is a 30m x 20m enclosed and safe space which can be entered using a keypad and it is set up to play up to five different sports.”

Various sites have been looked at for the project, including Prince’s Street.

The village is deemed as ‘deprived’ — with the latest ward profile from South Holland District Council showing 31.5% of children living in poverty in Sutton Bridge, compared to a district-wide average of 16.1%.

Andy Wilkinson and Craig Mulhall, representatives from Active Lincolnshire, confirmed Memorial Park would be a suitable site — with the MUGA potentially situated at the back of the existing children’s play area.

The parish council would need to raise 25% of the cost which works out at £67,500.

Sports played on the court can be decided so line markings can be added for football, netball, basketball, tennis, depending on which activities are chosen.

It would be the parish council’s responsibility to take on insurance for the area and funds would need to be saved up to £6,000 for when it needs to be replaced or repaired in ten years.

At June’s extraordinary parish council meeting chairman Coun Mary Middleton asked councillors how they felt about going ahead with the MUGA.

Coun Chris Brewis
Coun Chris Brewis

Coun Chris Brewis said: “It would be really good for a deprived community and I know there is one in Lynn that is used an enormous amount.

“Maybe we could ask a big employer to sponsor it.

“It is a really really good idea and I think it will go down well.”

Coun McLaughlin added: “It can be let out to other groups and hopefully used much more than that.

“There is storage on site for equipment such as cricket wickets.”

Two councillors expressed concerns about the safety of the children’s play area behind the pavilion and how emergency services would access the MUGA should an incident arise.

It was considered a good point but that children who are unaccompanied at the play area are the parent’s responsibility — and that emergency services could be given the access they need.

Coun Middleton said: “This is something to take into consideration as under sevens should not be there without their parents.”

Another councillor, Anne Scarlet, expressed she felt the football club dominated the area and that the ‘park was left to everyone’ and that it is a ‘hidden park’.

It was also said that the access road could be improved.

Coun Michelle Pitt questioned whether CCTV would be needed to protect the asset.

Councillors present were in unanimous agreement to continue with the application to be part of the scheme.

Coun Middleton added: “We have started the ball rolling and it will be a while before anything happens but this is now in the pipeline.

“The parish council won’t need to make a commitment for three months.

“Sutton Bridge is the preferred site for this (MUGA) due to it being a deprived area.”

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