AFTER nearly five years of negotiations Easebourne villagers finally have their first community facility.
The parish council has signed a 50 year lease with West Sussex County Council to take over Wheelbarrow Castle Field next to the primary school.
The aim is to give Easebourne a heart and a central place to congregate
A delighted parish council chairman, Judith Macdonald-Lawson said: “This is why I joined the parish council in the first place - because I knew this was in the offing and I wanted to help provide some village facilities. This is a great opportunity for Easebourne.”
Negotiations began in 2011 when Midhurst Rother College moved out of the former Intermediate School in Wheelbarrow Castle.
At the same time Easeborne Primary School was looking at the feasibility of moving from its Easebourne Lane site into the vacated school buildings.
“We approached the county council and asked whether as a parish council we could lease the field as the village didn’t have any of its own land or facilities apart from the telephone box which houses the defibrillator and some benches.”
The first task is now to move the play equipment from the current playground next to the busy A272 and enhance it with new equipment on the Wheelbarrow Castle Field.
“We want to move it from the busy road to a safer environment and we are also banning dogs from the field because it needs to be safe for children to play,” said Mrs Macdonald-Lawson.
In addition parish councillors want to provide equipment for older children such as a zip wire.
“My biggest ambition is to provide something for all age groups from 0-90 - whether its a place for people to sit, an outdoor gym, trim trail or football goals.”
There is also a suggestion to provide a bandstand type outdoor performance base and set up two public tennis courts.
“The aim is to give Easebourne a heart and a central place to congregate.”
The site is being fenced in with £2,700 of funding from the New Homes Bonus awards.
Villagers will be able to give their preferences at the annual parish meeting in the spring.