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Work begins on centre


Residents of Nottinghamshire’s newest village watched building work finally start on their long-awaited community centre this week.

Fernwood’s £550,000 centre is expected to be open by the middle of August, nearly six years after the first homes were built on the former Balderton Hospital site.

The chairman of Fernwood and District Residents’ Association, Mr Mike Mutter, said: “We have waited a long time.”

Mr Mutter, of Cormack Lane, was one of the first people to move to the estate.

Residents have been campaigning for more facilities since the association was set up in autumn 2004.

Seven shops, being built opposite the centre, are due to be finished in the summer.

Mr Mutter said the new centre would allow people of all ages to take part in a wide range of social and leisure activities.

The main focus will be a multi-purpose hall with seating for up to 200.

There will also be a bar and kitchen, an office, a meeting room, a creche and changing rooms for people using the football pitch and tennis courts.

An adult and youth football team has been set up in Fernwood and they hope to join a league, when the changing rooms are in place.

The building of the centre is being organised by Newark and Sherwood District Council, which was given the money by David Wilson Homes.

Building is expected to finish in six months.

The ownership of the land, off Rubys Avenue, has been transferred to the district council, which will own the building, but residents will manage the centre.

Mr Sandeep Thandi (33) of Rosefield Close, Fernwood, said: “It is going to be the final block to building a community in Fernwood.

“We will be able to organise events and get a community spirit going.

“It just means there will be a lot of things for the youth to do as well as older residents.”

Mr Thandi, the secretary of the residents’ association, said Fernwood would be quite a large village when it was finished, with 1,100 homes expected. At the moment there are around 650.

On April 1 Fernwood is expected to split from Balderton and become a parish, with a council of seven members to be chosen in May.

Mr Thandi is one of the residents hoping to stand, along with Mr James Weale (63) of Oakfield Road, Fernwood.

Mr Weale said the new centre would be a safe place for youngsters to meet and get them involved in the community.

His wife, Mrs Mollie Weale (62) a committee member of the residents’ association, said they had asked people to choose a name for the centre.

Voting on a shortlist ended this week.

The names submitted were Fernwood Village Hall, Fernwood Village Club, Fernwood Community Centre and Fernwood Community Club.

The chosen name will be announced next month.

The group is also looking for sponsorship for fittings inside the centre. It needs around £40,000 for equipment and furnishings, including the bar and kitchen.

It hopes to receive money from grant-awarding bodies such as Wren, towards the cost.

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