The North Weald Bassett Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group has been left “astounded and dismayed” at the release of Epping Forest District Council’s Sporting Infrastructure Addendum which provides no additional or improved sporting infrastructure for North Weald village. This is despite Epping Forest District Council planning for 1,050 new homes in the area.
The Submission Version of the district council’s Local Plan originally made provision for a new leisure centre on North Weald Airfield and deemed it ‘essential’. However following advice received from Sport England, Epping Forest District Council removed this requirement for North Weald and instead will now locate the leisure centre on the new St John’s Road development in Epping.
The provision of sporting facilities for the east of the district (which includes North Weald Bassett, Ongar, Fyfield, High Ongar, Stapleford Abbotts and Moreton) will be catered for by providing upgraded and additional facilities at Ongar Leisure Centre, additional land to expand Jubilee Park in Ongar – creating additional sports pitches – and additional sports facilities and playing fields at Theydon Bois, which will include an outdoor bowling green.
A spokesman for the North Weald Bassett Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group said: “This decision has left us astounded and dismayed. This means that residents in North Weald Bassett village will be forced to travel to Epping, Ongar or further afield for their leisure needs.
“The Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group cannot see how this will lead to North Weald becoming a more sustainable village.”
The Steering Group points out that whilst North Weald does have limited private sporting infrastructure, there are no public facilities where the young and old can enjoy indoor or outdoor recreation. The spokesman added: “This is exceptionally short-sighted and is a failure to adequately plan to create a sustainable place where people can live, work and play, and will undoubtably lead to problems in the future.”
A copy of the Epping Forest District Council Infrastructure Delivery Topic Paper: Sports Infrastructure Addendum can be found at http://www.efdclocalplan.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/ED99-EFDC_IDP-Topic-Paper-Sports-Infrastructure-Addendum_FINAL.pdf
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