New community centre planned for village playing field

The Hawkhurst Community Trust, which was established in 2018 to oversee the project, say the new community centre will be delivered by Hawkhurst Parish Council.

They say the location for the new community centre, which was first proposed 15 years ago, will be the George V Playing Field.

However, the last community centre proposed for a playing field in the borough has been the subject of much controversy and protest.

Paddock Wood Town Council has been attempting to build a similar development on Memorial Field s, a playing field near to the town centre, for the last three years, but it has been met with opposition from campaigners.

The Friends of Memorial Field, the group set up to oppose the location of Paddock Wood Community Centre, even managed to force the Town Council into conducting a local poll on the project, resulting in majority opposed to the development, but the town council decided to press ahead with the plans, regardless.

Hawkhurst Community Trust admit that ‘not everybody in the village is happy’ about the George V Playing Field being earmarked for the community centre.

But Chair of the Trust, Ruth McChesney, said the existing village hall, Copt Hall, was not large enough to accommodate the burgeoning community.

She said: “Hawkhurst Community Trust 2018 is excited to be working with Hawkhurst Parish Council to help deliver, and then run, a modern Community Centre to best serve the needs of our large, lively village.

“Copt Hall has served the village for 90 years and now this new building will serve the village for another 90. However, Hawkhurst deserves better, which is why we are working hard to provide facilities for our expanding and diverse community.”

The village, which according to the last census has a population just shy of 5,000, has been earmarked for a number of potential housing developments, including plans for 400 homes and a relief road on the site of the village golf club.

While no planning application has yet been submitted for the project, Hawkhurst Parish Council are currently working out the costs and requirements of the development, which the trust say will ‘serve the needs of everyone now and in the future’.

The centre is planned to include such facilities as internet access, café, meeting rooms, changing facilities, dance floor, help points, hearing loop, post office and an office for the Parish Council.

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