Sunday, 07 August 2022

New-look pavilion 'won't take business from hall'

EXTENDING the sports pavilion in Peppard would not negatively affect the village’s other community hall, says the parish council.

The council, which owns the pavilion in Stoke Row Road, says the bigger building would still be used mostly by Peppard Stoke Row Cricket Club while the war memorial hall in Gallowstree Road would continue to host social events.

It plans to spend about £264,000 on re-roofing the pavilion and extending it to create larger changing rooms and improving the kitchen and disabled access.

Fears that the hall would lose business were raised at a council meeting by members Jeni Wood and Veronica Treacher on behalf of the management committee.

Councillor Wood said: “They are very, very worried. They have lost some big backing and are existing hand-to-mouth.”

Councillor Treacher said: “The hall provides a public place for the community and provides most of the activities in the village. We are taking on a huge amount of financial risk on behalf of the parishioners to do this for the cricket club.”

Users of the hall include Peppard WI, the Chiltern Edge Horticultural Society, Peppard Lunch Club and the Chiltern Players.

However, it lost a major customer when the NHS moved its regular blood donation clinic to Henley Rugby Club, saying the hall was no longer suitable.

Councillor Tony Rancombe said the council had worked with the hall committee for years, adding: “Our good working relationship can continue.”

Councillor Dominic Hall, who is a member of the cricket club, said: “The perception of the club is they are two very different facilities.

“Maybe someone will start a class at the sports pavilion for five people and if it expands and more people want to come then it moves to the other hall.”

Councillor Sue Rowland said: “To me, they address different groups and customers. This is a sports pavilion and that is more of a social place.

“The hall and the pavilion can run together by chatting to each other. The cricket club has to refer all non-sports activity to the memorial hall anyway.

“The parish council has gone out of its way to give the war memorial hall first refusal on non-cricket and social activities.”

The council agreed that chairman Simon Crouch should meet representatives of the hall to discuss the issue, including the possibility of forming a joint bookings committee for both venues.

Meanwhile, David Nimmo Smith, who represents the village on South Oxfordshire District Council, has said he will support the parish council’s application for a £148,000 grant towards the work.

Grants will also be sought from sports funding bodies and the cricket club has launched a buy-a-brick campaign designed to raise £10,000.

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