Monday, 20 January 2020

Playing fields pavilion finally to be improved

THE pavilion at Mapledurham playing fields in Caversham is to be extended and refurbished.

Reading Borough Council, which is a trustee of the charity responsible for the land off Upper Woodcote Road, has approved its own planning application for two extensions.

These will accommodate a new accessible toilet, meeting rooms, two changing rooms for referees and two storage rooms.

The rest of the building pavilion will be refurbished to ensure it is windproof and waterproof, including a new roof and doors, and the interior will be reconfigured.

The council consulted Caversham Tennis Club which has courts next door, Caversham Trents Football Club, which uses the playing fields, Warren and District Residents’ Association and a user group on the fields’ management committee.

The council said the development would provide significant benefits and only an “insignificant” amount of land would be lost.

Ten years ago, the council shut the pavilion and planned to demolish it, claiming it was dangerous to use and beyond economic repair. It said it would build a replacement but this would take some time as it could cost more than £1 million.

The Mapledurham Playing Fields Action Group and other groups then raised more than £40,000 to commission a survey and restore and re-open the building.

The pavilion is near a plot in the north-west corner of the fields which will become the permanent site for the Heights Free School, for which the council granted planning permission last year. Tree clearance work has already started.

The action group opposed the school plan, saying it would be a loss of valuable leisure space.

Martin Brommell, chairman of the group, said: “We’re obviously delighted that the pavilion is being refurbished. It’s a huge step forward and a lot of residents and clubs had input into the design.

“It will be good for the area because it will encourage the formation of a community hub and will be very useful for the sports clubs which play on the fields.”

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