Hatfield Broad Oak pavilion project placed under review

PLANS for the construction of a controversial pavilion in Hatfield Broad Oak have been placed under review.

The move by the parish council, taken last Wednesday (March 13), comes following significant pressure from sections of the community who have questioned the need for it in the village. No time scale has been given for the review.

The council previously backed the pavilion proposal but its decision to now place it under review begs serious questions about the future of the project.

Resident Ken Swainsbury, a former parish council chairman who conducted an independent survey in protest to the pavilion plans, described the move as a “victory”.

“We do not know what the result of this review is going to be, but it’s a victory for the people in this village,” he told the Broadcast after the meeting.

“The people of HBO never wanted this pavilion in the first place, despite it being pushed by the council.

“We still do not know why the parish council tried to support it for so long and they must have spent untold thousands trying to push it through.

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“I’m happy to say that it looks like we are not going to get it.”

Mr Swainsbury’s independent survey suggested that 95 per cent of respondents were opposed to the building of the pavilion.

The findings of the survey contradicted an earlier poll carried out by parish councillor Keith Artus, which claimed 84 per cent of villagers supported the project.

Speaking after the meeting Cllr Artus said the decision to place the project under review was a necessary one.

He added: “One has to do what the community wants and there’s general agreement on the way forward because clearly something needs to be done.

“It was a necessary step forward to take stock of where we are and the parish council will make its decision in due course.”

If approved, the community pavilion will house changing and club facilities for sports teams, and could be doubled as a community space for organisations, clubs and events.

It is the second phase of a major redevelopment project on the village green, although campaigners argue that the building’s upkeep could become a burden on taxpayers.