AMBITIOUS plans to turn disused playing fields into a community centre are taking shape ahead of the site’s unveiling next month.

The £250,000 community plaza project at Houghton Road, Thurnscoe has been the product of years of hard graft by community group Big Local Thurnscoe and residents before work - in the physical sense - started in December.

But with the site - which will feature space for skating, parkour, and bikes alongside a community garden, pop-up cafe and bespoke central sculpture by artist Dan Jones - now resembling its finished form, a ‘grand opening’ has been announced for Sunday, June 5.

Big Local development worker Alison Vint said: “After years of hard work and planning, a brand new community plaza is nearing completion in the centre of Thurnscoe.

“The plaza is a striking design consisting of two interlocking hexagons with the larger space suitable for bikes, skateboards, scooters and for parkour.

“The smaller hexagon houses a community garden space with raised beds and a large bespoke sculpture in the centre.

“A grand opening event and Jubilee picnic will take place on Sunday June 5, 12pm to 4pm, featuring theatre, music and dance performances, parkour demonstration and football workshops, a pop up market and refreshments.

“Everyone is welcome for what promises to be a spectacular event.”

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A 25-year lease for the 2,000 square metre site was handed over by Barnsley Council to Thurnscoe Regeneration charitable incorporated organisation (CIO) last March.

Big Local Thurnscoe had a hand in setting up the CIO and put £150,000 towards the project from its legacy budget before public consultation started in 2019, ahead of the group winding up in around 18 months.

The council acquired the land from the British Coal Authority in 1990, before it succumbed to misuse and antisocial behaviour.