UP TO 40 jobs will be created after a controversial £3million revamp of a Hadleigh park, a pub chain claims.

A representative for Greene King, the company that wants to build a Hungry Horse restaurant in John H Burrows Recreation Ground, was at Hadleigh Regeneration Shop on Tuesday, answering questions.

Pat Heathcote, Greene King proprietor, said the scheme would “hugely benefit” the park and introduce between 35 and 40 jobs for local people.

He added he was working with the Jobcentre to make sure people in Castle Point are given the roles.

Mr Heathcote added he was “concerned” by the 1,000 signature petition which had been submitted to the council against the plans, but said residents had changed their views after speaking with him.

He said: “This is a very exciting opportunity for the recreation ground and it is great to see so many people come to these walk-in sessions to ask questions.

“People have raised concerns about a pub opening on the site, but it is primarily a family restaurant, as about 65 per cent of the people who will use it will be going there to eat. There should be no concerns about safety as we will have two managers on site at all times.

“It is about taking everything into account. We want to respect the bowling green and the groups that have used the park for a long time and the location and blueprint outlined is the best we can do.”

Under the proposals, the rundown Hadleigh Hall and WRVS Hall would be knocked down and replaced by a new community venue, sports pavilion, multi-use games area and outdoor exercise equipment, as well as areas for basketball, tennis and skateboarding.

There would also be a 180- space car park, CCTV and 24/7 security on the 1.14-acre site.

The plans have been met with opposition from people living around the area, scores of whom have put up placards saying “no pub in our park”.

Southend Standard:

Placards - Residents have put up signs in protest at the plans 

Kevin Wright, regeneration officer at Castle Point Council, said there is a 50/50 split in opinion.

He said: “Although we are aware there are groups that do not agree with aspects of the regeneration project, we are pleasantly surprised at how many are in support.

“We may be losing a few tennis courts, but there is so much to look forward to. It is about enhancing that central area and offering a rounded view and that is very important.”

To have your say on the Hadleigh masterplan visit the Hadleigh Regeneration Shop, in the High Street, today and tomorrow, between 10am and 4pm and on Saturday between 10am and 1pm, or go to www.castlepoint.gov.uk