Start of work at the Paddock Wood community center

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BREAKING GROUND: Meryl Flashman (with shovel) at the start of the works

Construction of the new Paddock Wood Community Center began on March 7, after four years of planning, consultation and opposition.

The Memorial Field mixed-use facility sparked local controversy when it was first planned.

A four-year battle ensued with the proposed center being the subject of petitions and a non-binding local referendum.

The campaign group Friends of Memorial Field, which was set up to block the town council’s development, also asked Kent County Council (KCC) to designate Memorial Field as Village Green, although the request was denied.

Paddock Wood Town Council (PWTC) said it had ‘taken four years of hard work and dedication from residents and councilor staff, supported by project manager Jonathan White from Tunbridge Wells Town Council as well as other agents and members of the borough” to carry out the project. ‘.

City Council President Meryl Flashman said: ‘This is a much needed facility for the town, which has not had a large community hall since the loss of the church hall, demolished in the 1960s.

“I thank everyone who made this dream come true.”

The £3million multi-purpose facility will include a 40-seat nursery, hall, car park and a 300-seat theatre/community hall.

The green building will be constructed by local company Baxall Construction, which was named Net Zero Champions in July 2021, PWTC added.

The building will provide a flexible hall, café meeting room and nursery school, partly funded by over £1million from developers, from the three housing estates currently under construction.

Paddock Wood Town Council secured the developer funding with the help of Tunbridge Wells Town Council (TWBC).

Outside the building itself, the grounds will feature two new Lawn Tennis Association compliant tennis courts, a new cricket wicket and clubhouse upgrades.

Construction work is expected to be completed by late fall.

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