Parklife Development Officer Sean Harris has heralded a £500,000 of London Marathon Charitable Trust (LMCT) grant towards a proposed £7,323,000 Parsloes Park redevelopment project in Barking & Dagenham, which could get underway in the New Year.
The aim of the Parklife programme is to create a sustainable model for football facilities based around artificial grass pitches on hub sites. Providing planning permission is granted, the proposals include three 3G pitches at the Dagenham site - one with stadium facilities to support a Step Five club - eight changing rooms, a gym and a studio.
Sean’s Parklife role for the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham (LBBD) is as a football development lead focusing on consultation, business planning, sourcing and funding applications, as well as ensuring the new facility will be accessible to the local demographic. “The size of the build and the localised impact this will make are both massive,” he explained.
“Parsloes Park has a lot of history, with legendary England Captain Bobby Moore growing up playing there, and it used to be a hub for football. Parklife will bring that back, with all football provisions being able to play under one roof. This project is hugely needed within the borough due to the low levels of activity and high levels of obesity.”
“The LBBD and LMCT, the Essex County FA, the Football Foundation and Sport England all see this potential facility as a resource which can inspire physical activity. The facilities will be accessible to all and affordable for the local community. The site will then also support facility improvements at others within the borough through the London Football Trust.”
The Essex County FA have played a major part in enabling this project to progress, as Sean explains: “Chief Executive Brendan Walshe worked with the LBBD to set-up my seconded role and the County FA compiled the social insight, wrote the application and business plan, organised the site visit and linked with LMCT throughout the two stages of the application.”
“I’d like to thank Joe Thompson from the Charitable Trust themselves. The Football Foundation have been great, as have the LBBD and the key partners who wrote supporting letters including the West Ham United Foundation, Barking FC, Cobra YFC, May & Baker Eastbrook Community FC, Barking Road Runners and the Disablement Association of Barking & Dagenham.”
Sean is now looking forward to working towards the next phases of the project: “We’re at the Greater London Authority pre-planning stage. This is the biggest hurdle, but we’re hoping for good news soon. Then it will go into local planning in time for a decision in the New Year. Operator procurement will take place in January and then it will be over to the construction team.”
Councillor Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking & Dagenham Council, said: “This grant is very welcome news for the residents of Barking and Dagenham as it will make a significant contribution to bringing the park back into the community. The Parklife Project will see massive improvements toward the football facilities and revitalised spaces for people to play sport.”
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How the Project Will Be Funded
London Borough of Barking & Dagenham (Community Infrastructure Levy) - £400,000
London Borough of Barking & Dagenham - £600,000
London Borough of Barking & Dagenham (Section 106) (TBC) - £350,000
Greater London Authority - £500,000
London Marathon Charitable Trust - £500,000
Football Foundation (TBC) - £5,023,000