AFTER four years of negotiations, Easebourne parish council is poised to sign a deal which could bring much-needed community facilities.
Tomorrow (Tuesday, February 17) it is holding a special meeting to consider signing a lease with West Sussex County Council to take over the management of a seven-acre field next to Easebourne Primary School on Wheelbarrow Castle.
Chairman of the parish council Adrian Revill said: “This is an important moment because Easebourne has never owned any assets.”
If councillors agree the terms, they will take on a 50-year lease of the field.
Their first aim is to move the playground from its present home, which many villagers believe is unsuitable and unsafe, next to the A272, and redesign it on the Wheelbarrow Castle field.
“In the longer term,” said Mr Revill, “we want to build a village hall on the field.
“It’s a big site and we want to have something for the whole community there.
“There has been talk of a trim trail, football for the children and even a community orchard.”
He said it could also be used for outdoor events such as the church fete.
“Already there are plans for the church and the school to have a joint summer fair there.”
In April, the parish council intends to outline the plans so far to villagers at the annual parish meeting.
“We have also realised we have got to the stage where we need a group of people to form a group for fundraising and organisation,” said Mr Revill.
“The council will be asking people to come forward.
At their last meeting, parish councillors heard the re-drafted and hopefully final lease had been received.
At present it is for 50 years, but parish councillors heard that a precedent had been set at Barnham Hall where West Sussex County Council extended the lease to 99 years.
One of the terms of the lease is that the parish council have a joint group for the management and maintenance of the areas shared by the primary school and the council.
The parish council has earmarked £6,500 to cover the planning application to move the playground and fencing.