NortoftA draft final report has been produced by Consultants, Nortoft Planning and is now available for perusal Click here. Hard copies are available in the Parish Office for reading on the premises.

We have analysed all the views that you shared through the Neighbourhood Plan (North and South), as well as the MK sports strategies and planning policies. We have looked at both today’s and the future population profiles so we can best match suggestions to the community’ needs.

We have been out and about on several site visits to Marsh Drive, having some initial chats with local people and improving our understanding of the current use for the site as well as its main strengths and weakness.

From all of this work we established a ‘Checklist of policies, visions and realities’ and this has helped us compare all the many options already raised by the community in the Neighbourhood Plan (and some new ones). This has helped the Parish Council see which facilities are the best matched to deliver the community’s needs. Use the link below to see how the facility priorities have been reached.

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/b1rxr8atmgvpnks/AAAt0ZaFQaBToeIOY6x9n1uoa?dl=0

We took this shortlist in the form of very outline plans and some questions back to the community during the Great Linford Fun Day on the 3rd July. Over the day we talked to a good mix of over 70 people from the community, ranging from younger to older, families to teenagers, those working and those retired. We collected over 40 questionnaire responses. The results of the questionnaire can also be seen on the link above, but are briefly summarised here:

• The links from where people live in Great Linford into Great Linford Park are often lost, confusing, uninviting and sometimes feel unsafe. The results from the survey clearly demonstrate that the entrance and car park near the sports pavilion is most in need of improvement.

• When asked what type of activity trail people would most like to see in Great Linford Park, a clear majority favoured a mix of trail types throughout the park (nature, arts/heritage, adventure and quiet trails), with nature and arts/heritage trails then being individually the most popular.

• The location of a new ‘community hub’ for a range of activities for all the community proved to be of particular importance. Of the five sites looked at, a re-development and/or extension of the existing facilities at Marsh Drive Pavilion was the clear winner; with over 60% of respondents selecting is as the most favourable location catering for both the current sports use and the wider community.

• Of the possible facilities best located in a community hub, a cafe proved most popular, followed by meeting/activity rooms, studio/dance space and the hub supporting other outdoor events.

As already mentioned, this project is at early stage and there are some issues that we are not yet able to address. However, it might be helpful to know that we will be giving detailed consideration to funding and the environment.

The parish intends to use the existing funds already secured from the housing developments adjacent to Great Linford (Oakridge Park and Redhouse Park etc.) that have been given specifically for this purpose, together with additional funds that might be raised through the lottery and possibly other interested bodies. There are no plans to use existing council funds.

The overall aim of the new masterplan will be to improve the management of the open space and seek to improve opportunities for wildlife using expert advice. Any increased access for public enjoyment will have to be balanced against the need to protect sensitive environments and landscapes as well as provide sufficient, well designed, safe and accessible parking.

Nortoft will be creating an initial draft masterplan for the site, and we will re-consult the community on this. We trust this will help create a prosperous and well used community centre for all to enjoy. Throughout the project, Nortoft will consult with the project board ensuring that the masterplan for Marsh Drive adheres to both the Great Linford Neighbourhood Plan, as well as the desires of the local community.

We would like to extend a big thank you to those who have already taken the time to speak with us. Your extensive knowledge of Marsh Drive will be an invaluable tool moving forward with the project. We would like to give all members of Great Linford and the surrounding communities the opportunity to have their say on this project.

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact one of the team at Nortoft and we look forward to receiving your responses.

Yours sincerely,

Robbie Locke
Consultant

Nortoft
2 Green Lodge Barn
Nobottle
NORTHAMPTON
NN7 4HD

Tel: 01604 586526
Email: robbie@nortoft.co.uk
Web: www.nortoft.co.uk

 

History

Having taken ownership of the Marsh Drive Sports ground in Great Linford from MKC and in response to residents’ views and aspirations collected during the preparation of the Neighbourhood Plans, GLPC are actively looking into how this valuable asset can be improved to provide a much wider range of facilities and activities for the benefit of the whole community.

The key issues raised by residents were:

  • The area would benefit from a new or improved community centre where local residents could enjoy indoor leisure pursuits and activities.
  • The development of community meeting places and provision of more leisure activity facilities for the older age groups should be encouraged.
  • A further issue relating to leisure routes was the provision of a café or visitor centre.
  • Responses showed that indoor facilities for tennis, badminton, basketball, and other indoor sports and leisure activities would be a good addition to current facilities.
  • Existing facilities should however be protected and retained for use by the local community and need to be maintained and developed in line with local needs.

GLPC has set up a Project Board to take responsibility for the strategic control of this project. The Board is made up of people with appropriate skills who represent GLPC, MKC, neighbouring parishes and landowners, the Parks Trust and the community at large. We will be working with Nortoft Planning, a firm of experts in this field, to undertake a study to look at options for the improvement and extension to this facility.

The aim is to create fully accessible community facilities for all residents in the north of Milton Keynes, of all genders, ages and abilities, which:

  • Facilitate a wider use of the asset for sporting and recreational activities
  • Increase the number and age range of those who use Marsh Drive
  • Provide improved facilities for existing users including those needed for those whose success brings upward progress through leagues which demands higher standards of facilities
  • Connect to other leisure and recreation areas adjacent or close to this site in order to develop a continuous and cohesive recreational area
  • Create locally more viable wildlife areas

GLPC believe the Marsh Drive Sports Ground is an integral part of a much wider group of facilities that are highly valued but which could be enjoyed by a much larger proportion of the community. Their relationship and links will be a key factor in the success of the project. This is a huge opportunity to explore a wider vision and create a community, social, leisure and sports facility serving the whole parish for at least the next 30-40 years. The output of the exercise should be:

“A vision, strategy, initial masterplan and funding proposal for a phased approach to improve and expand the community, social, leisure and sports facility at Marsh Drive in collaboration with all stakeholders”, which:

  • is attractive to the whole community
  • is commercially viable and self-funding (revenue)
  • is fully funded (capital)
  • has a viable long-term operational management structure
  • has a long-term ownership proposal for the protection of the community

 

The programme for the work includes important opportunities for residents to be able to comment on:

  • the proposed mix of facilities (from July 2016).
  • an initial master plan (by November 2016), with residents comments being taken on board before
  • the final master plan is produced (early in 2017).

 

We will keep you informed of progress and look forward to your continued involvement.