Friday, 15 December 2017

Concerns over £200,000 makeover of sports pavilion

CONCERNS have been raised about plans to spend up to £200,000 on updating Peppard’s sports pavilion.

The building in Stoke Row Road would be extended, the roof replaced and the changing rooms renovated under the proposals drawn up by the parish council’s pavilion committee.

The alternative is to demolish to pavilion and build a new one in its place, which would costt between £300,000 and £450,000.

A council meeting heard concerns about the cost of the project and the lack of public consultation so far.

Clive Mills, who is chairman of trustees at Peppard War Memorial Hall, which had a new £60,000 roof installed last summer, said: “It would be helpful for the village to know when the architect is going to have basic ideas put together and when it will be going out for public consultation.

“I am speaking from personal experience with the war memorial hall and what you are planning to do.

“When you know how much you’re going to spend on doing work I find it quite surprising that you’re considering £150,000 to £200,000. That’s a lot of money.”

Councillor Veronica Treacher said: “We are rushing forward before asking the public if they are willing to support it. There was not a democratic process whereby the parish was consulted.

“This is public money and the parish council and councillors are responsible for the spending on the project. The public consultation should happen at the earliest possible stage, at the start.”

Council chairman Simon Crouch, a member of the committee, said notices had been placed around the village asking people to volunteer to be on the pavilion committee.

He said the council would be getting a good deal if it raised most of the money from grants — it plans to apply to South Oxfordshire District Council for 50 per cent of money needed and contribute 25 per cent of the cost itself. Peppard Stoke Row Cricket Club, which uses the pavilion for matches during the season, will help with fund-raising.

Councillor Crouch said: “We are going to replace the roof and do an extension to the changing rooms, with costs between £150,000 to £200,000.

“If we decided to rebuild — and some councillors want that to be considered — then it’s going to cost between £300,000 and £450,000.

“To keep costs down councillors decided they preferred the £150,000 to £200,000 option but that has not been set in concrete.”

Councillor Tony Rancombe, who is also on the committee, said: “It’s early days. We need some planning before we’re anywhere near finalising schemes and going through a planning application.

“We want the architects looking at options and possibilities, then there will be public consultation.”

He said the architects would be paid in stages, in line with the pace of the project.

The council has agreed to spend about £6,200 on the architects’ initial work. This will also pay for some surveys necessary for the planning application. The council agreed to sell about £5,000 of investments to help pay for the initial drawings and designs.

Councillor Jeni Wood said the design work was a necessary part of the project.

“We need to have plans to show people,” she said. “We don’t want to pay for anything we don’t have to with public money.”

The committee also includes Councillor Sue Rowland as well as Gerry Bacon and Charlie Laing, of Peppard Stoke Row Cricket Club, and villagers Mike Casserley and Dr Andrew Burnett. Its aim is to create a pavilion that is “a modern sporting facility fit for purpose”.

Meanwhile, the council has asked a fitness boot camp to pay for use of the sports field for classes. Immortal Fitness runs sessions on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings.

The land is owned by a charity, known as Sports Pavilion and Field, Rotherfield Peppard, with the parish council as the only trustee. It is also protected under the Nettlebed and District Commons Act 1906.

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