Fremington Parish Council is all set to go ahead with a £270,000 project to replace the Beechfield Centre

The old Beechfield Centre has been condemned and will be torn down. Picture: Tony GussinThe old Beechfield Centre has been condemned and will be torn down. Picture: Tony Gussin

Work is set to begin on a new Beechfield Centre in Fremington this summer.

Fremington Parish Council will demolish the old unsafe portable building and create a new facility with a £270,000 project.

The new building will serve as the parish council offices and meeting chamber, as well as for community use and changing facilities for Fremington Football Club or other sports groups.

It would also make the council offices fully accessible for the first time and part of the scheme will also involve resurfacing the current potholed car park.

The council has just under £140,000 earmarked for the project, which includes section 106 money paid by developers and it intends to take out a public works loan at a low 1.79 per cent rate of interest.

The £150,000 loan will be paid off via a 4.64 per cent increase in the council tax precept – but this works out at 14 pence per year for a Band D property.

The total Fremington Parish Council precept increase for 2018-19 is 16.8 per cent, though parish councils take a very small amount of the whole when compared with the county council, police and fire services.

The current offices are likely to be sold to part-fund it as well, although the council has yet to take a final decision on that.

Parish clerk Victoria Woodhouse said an audit of community facilities as part of the Fremington Neighbourhood Plan had showed the existing facilities were at capacity and had no immediate plans to expand.

She said: “This is a much-needed facility, not just to put the parish council into the community but also to fill those gaps.”

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

Councillor Frank Biederman said the floor and the ceiling of the old building had been unsafe and it was no longer fit for purpose.

He added: “I see this as a very positive project that will enable us to provide accessible council offices for all and a much-needed extra community building for our many elderly and young residents.”

Councillor Tony Wood added: “I have been trying to 12 years since I have been on the council to have that eyesore removed and for this to be built, so I am very pleased to now see it happen.”