Thursday, May 15, 2008

A bit of a bombshell reveals ambitious leisure plans for DSJ...

Ambitious plans for an arts centre, a rugby clubhouse, and a nursing home in Deeping St James have been unveiled.

I understand that Larkfleet Homes are about to apply for outline planning permission for the site known locally as Charity's Orchard on Spalding Road.

Martin Adkins of Deepings Festival described the plans as "a bit of a bombshell" when he showed drawings last week at the annual parish local councillors looked on rather gobsmacked!

Martin talked about a purpose built "leisure and culture centre" with seating for 300 and which would be available for hire.

If the plans prove viable - and affordable to all the parties involved - the scheme could solve a number of problems.

The rugby club has been looking for a new home for some years now having seriously outgrown its rather ramshackle club-house on the school field which it rents from South Kesteven District Council.

The new clubhouse shown on Larkfleet's plans would give the Rugby Club direct access on to the current sports field.

Sounds good, but I'm sure the club will want to secure tenure of pitches before going ahead.

That could pose a problem, as long term plans show a possible new Deepings School to be built under the Government's Building Schools for the Future programme which will see every secondary school in the country modernised or rebuilt.

And the site earmarked for the new school is the current Linchfield Road sports field, with the current school eventually demolished and the site possible reverting to sports fields

Lincolnshire County Council will want to keep all options open on how much of the site it may need for a new school, but I hope there is scope to do a deal to keep the thriving rugby club in our village.

The scheme is highly imaginative and I hope it is not dismissed as pie-in-the-sky before it is given a chance.

For the past 30 years and more, development in The Deepings has simply meant building more houses on the next field, with no thought for the services and facilities needed by the increased population.

So in principle, I welcome the plans and hope the negotiations with various parties prove successful.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The concept of an arts and leisure centre was debated at some length back in 2001 and featured in the 'famous' Healthcheck.

It was thrown out as completely unrealistic and unsustainable by the then powers that be at SKDC Economic Development. The cost was put at an unproven £2.5 million as a means of killing the idea.

The vigotous campaign for the centre did, indeed, form the basis for the much watered down Deepings Arts Festival ... that at least keeps the idea alive.

We can also give up on any sensible development of sports and arts facilities in The Deepings so long as the 'planners, hold the 'possible' development of schools over our heads like a sword of Damocles.

The current Larkfleet proposals are like the unsuccessful (twice) application by Persimmon Homes to build 94 houses next to Tesco's in Market Deeping. That offered the 'sweetener' of a 'free' small community centre building ...

- Disillusioned ex-MD councillor -