Plans for a new leisure centre, health centre and independent living for older people scheme in the heart of Waltham Abbey have been given the go ahead this week.
The plans, brought forward through a partnership between Epping Forest District Council, Essex County Council and NHS England, gained outline planning permission for a new development at Hillhouse, on the Ninefields Estate.
Cllr John Spence CBE, Essex County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for housing, said: “Land owned by the public sector is ultimately owned by taxpayers, and it is absolutely imperative that agencies where possible work together to the betterment of our community.
“This development will not only provide well designed supported accommodation letting older people live independently for longer whilst reducing costs for the state, but will also give residents new and improved sporting and health facilities, something for all ages.”
Cllr Helen Kane, Epping Forest District Council’s portfolio holder for leisure and community services, added: “I am very pleased that planning approval has now been given for Waltham Abbey to receive these three fantastic new community facilities on the Ninefields Estate.
“I know that some local residents were concerned about the reduction in recreation land, but the three development partners have worked hard to minimise the effects and to ensure that a significant amount of usable recreation land will still continue to be provided at Hillhouse, including a mini soccer grass pitch. A commitment has also been given by all three partners to fund the provision of alternative sports facilities in Waltham Abbey.
“The district council will now be concentrating on working with its new leisure management contractor, when appointed early in the new year, to build a first-class modern swimming pool and leisure centre to replace the existing Waltham Abbey swimming pool in Roundhills, which is reaching the end of its life.
“It is planned that detailed planning permission for the new facility will be submitted in Spring 2017, with construction commencing later in the year and completed around October 2018.”
Welcoming the provision of new Health Facilities Alison Cowie, Head of Commissioning at NHS England (Essex) said: “There is a long established need to find sustainable premises for the relocation of the Maynard Court Surgery.
“The approval of the Outline Planning application provides an exciting opportunity for us to work with the practice, local authority partners and the community to take the next steps to develop and deliver a new facility for the benefit of local patients and residents.
Tracy Manzi from West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group said: “We support the proposed relocation of Maynard Court Surgery. The approval of an Outline Planning application for the development at Hillhouse, on the Ninefields Estate will allow us to work with the Practice to deliver an increased number and type of services. This new facility will enable the Practice to develop and provides opportunities to work closely with our community partners, improving the health and wellbeing of local residents.”
“The next steps are for the three partners to progress details of the three separate elements of development for detailed planning permission during 2017.”