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Plans submitted for major £270,000 refurb of Ashley recreation ground, including new youth building

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A MAJOR £250,000 makeover of Ashley recreation ground has taken a step forward with plans submitted to New Forest District Council.

A new single-storey building for the popular Ashley Youth Club, incorporating rugby club storage, forms part of the scheme for the site off Normans Way, as well as replacing its play park with a new, larger one.

The application, submitted by New Milton Town Council, also seeks to extend the existing car park from 30 spaces to 40, including three for disabled users, and realign existing rugby pitches.

Plans for the rec
Plans for the rec

As reported in the A&T, the development is set to be fully funded by an allocation of nearly £270,000 in developers’ contributions.

According to the application, the youth building would sit to the side of the existing rugby club pavilion, on the western boundary.

The 108-square-metre building would house a flexible hall space of around 65 square metres, plus a kitchen and storage spaces as well as toilets, a utility area and a small office.

A large store for rugby club equipment would sit in the same building footprint, replacing two existing free-standing containers.

The statement also pointed out the planned position of the youth building had been adjusted in response to concerns it could partially obstruct views of the rugby pitch from the clubhouse balcony.

The existing play park is soon to be redeveloped having been subject to a separate application.

NFDC landscape architect Jill Colclough told an online town council amenities meeting in April the new facility would appeal to a wider age range, with a mix of apparatus for youngsters from infants to 18 years.

The statement called the whole development an “investment in youth and play facilities as part of New Milton Town Council’s strategic plan to enhance play parks and recreational facilities”.

However, an objection submitted to the NFDC by Bob Lord, chair of local conservation group Friends of Ballard Water Meadow, said no provision had been made within the building for wildlife or other ecological enhancements.

He also alleged the application went against the New Milton Neighbourhood Plan’s policy for developments to be “well designed to reflect the distinctive character of the town”.

The public consultation runs until Christmas Eve, with NFDC’s final decision due by 24th February.

Further recreation work by the town council has included the installation of low-energy LED lighting, with motion detectors, at the Ashley site and at Fawcett's Field.

Fawcett's Field is also set to host three 6,000-litre water harvest tanks around the pavilion to collect run-off.

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