Firm run by Rio Ferdinand wants to build football school, homes and medical centre in Colchester

Former England and Manchester United centre-back Rio Ferdinand. Picture: PA

Former England and Manchester United centre-back Rio Ferdinand. Picture: PA - Credit: Archant

Premiership footballers are set to transform a dilapidated area of Colchester, it has been revealed.

Ward councillor Lee Scorbis in the Haven Road area of the Hythe in Colchester which is earmarked for

Ward councillor Lee Scorbis in the Haven Road area of the Hythe in Colchester which is earmarked for redevelopment. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The Legacy Foundation, run by Rio Ferdinand, Bobby Zamora and Mark Noble, wants to create a Rio Ferdinand Indoor Football School, new homes, and a medical centre at the Hythe.

The proposals would be based around Haven Road.

Hythe ward councillors said the proposals are what the area desperately needs.

Lee Scordis (Lab) ward councillor for Old Heath and the Hythe, said: “For years now people have been waiting for regeneration of the Hythe and this gives us that opportunity.

Bobby Zamora is part of The Legacy Foundation. Picture: PA WIRE/PRESS ASSOCIATION IMAGES

Bobby Zamora is part of The Legacy Foundation. Picture: PA WIRE/PRESS ASSOCIATION IMAGES - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

“It will provide us with the facilities much needed for the area rather than it becoming just another housing estate.”

The foundation has been in talks with Colchester Council about the plans and the council’s cabinet is considering submitting a bid for £10million of funding to the Government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund to support the proposals.

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However, while the ward councillors have backed the development, they say they cannot support it until Essex County Council pledges to sort out repeated flooding at the Hythe.

Mr Scordis said: “Essex County Council said it does not want to spend lots of money on it because it is going to cost a substantial amount, but they need to do what needs to be done.”

Mark Noble is also part of The Legacy Foundation venture with Rio Ferdinand and Bobby Zamora. Pictur

Mark Noble is also part of The Legacy Foundation venture with Rio Ferdinand and Bobby Zamora. Picture: PA WIRE - Credit: PA

Mike Lilley, (Lab) ward councillor for Old Heath and the Hythe, said the football school would help youngsters in the area and mean they don’t have to travel elsewhere to play football.

He said: “This will redevelop the Hythe into what it deserves to be.

“The Hythe is suffering from really big issues of neglect. We have problems with sewage farms and stench and constant flooding.

“If this goes ahead then we can finally redevelop the Hythe into what it deserves to be. We are all behind this.

Haven Road in Colchester has been plagued by flooding problems. Picture: SU ANDERSON

Haven Road in Colchester has been plagued by flooding problems. Picture: SU ANDERSON - Credit: Su Anderson

“This is a fantastic project, but the flooding needs to be sorted out first.”

An Essex County Council spokesman said: “At present we believe that one of the reasons for the flooding is uncontrolled water discharge from the Distillery Lane pond. Work we plan on undertaking includes re-lining and restoring a currently defective sewer and replacing man hole covers in the area. We hope to deliver this scheme before the end of the financial year.”

The Legacy Foundation

Floodwater in Haven Road, Colchester, pictured earlier this month after heavy rainfall. Picture: LAU

Floodwater in Haven Road, Colchester, pictured earlier this month after heavy rainfall. Picture: LAUREN HOCKNEY - Credit: Archant

The Legacy Foundation was launched in 2015 by former Premier League footballers Rio Ferdinand, Bobby Zamora and Mark Noble.

The trio aim to provide affordable housing and sports facilities to for deprived communities.

The Hythe plans hope could see hundreds of homes built, 35 per cent of which will be affordable housing.

The Foundation said: “Legacy recognises that during times of austerity Local Authorities are looking for innovative ways of delivering social and affordable housing for their tenants as well as building schools, hospitals and surgeries to support the local community.

“We aim to deliver schemes for Local Authorities that not only reduce the pressure on affordable housing and local community services, but will empower their tenants through onsite community and sporting facilities.”

Plans for the Hythe could be submitted as soon as the end of the year.

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