Four Marks Parish Council is holding its first contested election in 30 years on Thursday as a controversial plan for a £4 million community building divides opinion in the village.
The building, which would have two large halls and numerous other rooms, would be built in front of the Scout hut at Four Marks Recreation Ground.
It would concrete over part of the field currently used as a football training pitch, and would need a 104-space car park.
This would be created on the children’s playground, which would be moved on to the main field between the new building and the full-sized football pitch used by Four Marks FC.
The football training pitch would be moved to share the cricket pitch. At present Four Marks does not have a cricket club, but with a pavilion already in place there are hopes that a new one may be started and fears that having an outfield covered in football stud holes would not endear it to visiting teams.
Access to the site is by the narrow Brislands Lane and the even narrower Uplands Lane, barely wider than the width of a car.
An extraordinary meeting of the full parish council is being held at Four Marks Village Hall on Wednesday at 7pm to seek approval to submit a planning application for the new building – just 12 hours before polling starts to decide which ten of 17 candidates will fill the seats on the new parish council.
Eight Independents – Karin Black, Howard Briggs, Sarah Coulson, Tim Gebbett, Paul McAllister, Andrew Medhurst, Michael Smith and Roger Speed – have put out a combined campaign leaflet in the hope that voters will elect them en bloc and give them a chance to put into action their slogan ‘Don’t just hope for change, vote for change’.
They said: “It’s time for change and fresh ideas. We aim to protect the remaining green space and improve facilities for all in Four Marks.
“If elected, your Independent candidates will pause the proposed community hub review and consult with the village residents.
“Our aim is a cost-effective, sustainable and appropriate solution which represents all of Four Marks’ interest groups and residents, not just the few.”