A new community centre has opened in Fremington after more than 10 years in the making.

Julie Wood cut the ribbon to open Fremington's new Beechfield Centre. Picture: Matt SmartJulie Wood cut the ribbon to open Fremington's new Beechfield Centre. Picture: Matt Smart

The Beechfield Centre opened its doors on Friday (September 13) after a six-month build.

The project from Fremington Parish Council has seen the old derelict building in Beechfield Road torn down and replaced with the new community building, council offices and sports changing facilities.

The £380,000 centre also includes a community meeting room and associated facilities, which are fully accessible.

Parish chairman Sue Kingdom said: "This has been a long time in the making, I think more than 10 years.

The Beechfield Centre in Fremington. Picture: Matt SmartThe Beechfield Centre in Fremington. Picture: Matt Smart

"It's fantastic to have such a good facility here. The old centre became so dangerous we had to stop people from using it."

Friday's ribbon cutting ceremony, which was attended by councillors, residents and representatives from community groups, was dedicated to former Councillor Tony Wood, who was a 'driving force' for the project before his death in 2018.

His wife Julie cut the ribbon on the new centre, and said: "It's a very emotional day for me. I know how tirelessly Tony worked over 10 years to get this day to fruition.

"Unfortunately he died before he was able to see it all conspire, but he knew beforehand they had got permission. He jumped over the moon when he found out they could do it."

The ribbon was cut for the new Beechfield Centre in Fremington. Picture: Matt SmartThe ribbon was cut for the new Beechfield Centre in Fremington. Picture: Matt Smart

Councillor Frank Biederman added: "This is a brilliant tribute to Tony. He worked tirelessly as a Councillor and I think to have a legacy like this that so many in the community can enjoy is fantastic."

The old portable Beechfield Centre was originally brought from Ilfracombe in 1977 but had to be condemned as unsafe and closed in June 2017.

Work was carried out by Barnstaple contractor CDL and the design came from Woodward Smith architects.

Plenty are set to benefit from the new centre from day one. Fremington Football Club, who had used the building as changing rooms, will benefit from the new changing facilities.

Guide and scout groups in the village will be able to use the community centre for meetings as well, having been based at the nearby school.

The council earmarked £344,000 for the project, including a £150,000 loan, a £5,000 county grant from Cllr Biederman and section 106 contributions paid by developers. The former council offices were sold to complete the funding.

The council has also secured £36,000 of section 106 money to improve the centre's car park.