Community Sports Pavilion Project in Swanscombe Faces Funding Uncertainty

Plans for a new community sports pavilion in Swanscombe’s deprived ward, The Grove, have hit a major roadblock as government funding for the project is now in doubt.

Originally set to be completed by December of this year, the multi-million pound project to demolish and rebuild The Pavilion Community Sports and Social Club has been put on hold due to the potential axing of the government’s promised Youth Investment Funding. This funding, totaling £4.3million, was intended to support the project and provide much-needed resources for the community.

Swanscombe and Greenhithe Town Council Chairman Peter Harman expressed his disappointment at the news, stating that the sudden withdrawal of funding was a shock to all those involved in the project. Despite the setback, the council is determined to find alternative sources of funding and make the project a success.

The government’s grant committee has cited concerns over the project’s ability to be completed on time and within budget as the reason for their recommendation to cancel the funding. While an official decision has not yet been made, it is expected that the assessment panel will agree with the committee when they meet next month.

The Pavilion, which has been a vital hub for the community since its opening in 1969, closed its doors last May in preparation for the demolition and rebuilding. Owner Karen Melbourne-Dowse expressed her sadness at the temporary closure, stating that the Pav had been a safe and accessible place for families to gather and participate in various sports and social activities.

In response to the funding decision, Swanscombe councillor Emma Ben Moussa has called on the local authority, Dartford Council, to invest in the community of Swanscombe and provide necessary funding for the project. She has also expressed her shock and disappointment at the news and is determined to find a solution to keep the project moving forward.

Despite the setback, the town council has reassured residents that the site of the current derelict pavilion will not be used for housing. They have also expressed their commitment to finding alternative funding and carrying out some sort of development on the site for the benefit of the community, even if it is not the original planned project.

The new pavilion was set to include changing facilities, a cafe/bar, function rooms, and an enhanced viewing area for sports fields. Plans also included a sensory garden in the grounds. The Youth Investment Fund, which targets areas with high youth need and low provision, was intended to help support the project and provide much-needed resources for the community.

As the project now faces uncertain funding, the town council and residents of Swanscombe are left disappointed and searching for alternative solutions.

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