Wednesday, 25 November 2020

£260,000 renovation of sports pavilion approved

PLANS to extend and renovate the sports pavilion in Peppard have been approved.

The building in Stoke Row Road will have a new roof, large changing rooms and a modern kitchen as a result of the £264,000 project.

It will also have better disabled access and be made more energy-efficient.

Peppard Stoke Row Cricket Club, the main user of the pavilion, will buy new cricket nets and an equipment shed.

Peppard Parish Council, which was gifted the land in the Forties, opted to renovate the pavilion rather than demolish it and build a new one, which would have cost between £300,000 and £450,000.

The building will be extended by 33 sq m, which means seven trees with no “significant amenity value” will be removed.

Adrian Duffield, head of planning at South Oxfordshire District Council, said the parish council’s application was in accordance with local and national planning policies and the development would conserve the character and appearance of the site and surrounding Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Sport England, which advises on sports developments to ensure they are of high quality, expressed concerns about aspects of the development, including the design of the two changing areas and the showers, but did not object.

The district council said these could be addressed by minor internal alterations.

Parish councillor Simon Crouch, who is leading the project, said: “We have taken on board all the comments by Sport England. We can’t afford all of its recommendations but we are going to do as many as we can fit into our budget.”

Cllr Crouch said the council was seeking a builder to quote for carrying out the work. It is hoped to use a local firm and the work could begin after the end of the cricket season in October and finish in time for the next season in May 2019.

A public consultation event on the plans was held in February and about 80 per cent of respondents thought the project was good value for money.

The issue was also raised at the recent annual parish meeting.

Cllr Crouch said: “We were able to talk to residents about it and there were some questions on the cost but by the end most people seemed happy with the proposals.

“While we were there we were lucky enough to pick up some pledge forms for donations from the community.”

The council will apply to the district council for a community grant of £170,000 as well as contributing £20,000 itself.

Other applications for funds will be made to Community First Oxfordshire, the Trust for Oxfordshire Environment, the War Memorial Trust, the Bernard Sunley Charitable Foundation, the Garfield Weston Foundation and the Chiltern Leader grants programme.

The council will also apply for a loan of about £50,000, either from the Government’s Public Works Loan Board or the district council’s community loan scheme.

Cllr Crouch said: “The cricket club has pledged more than £30,000 so, assuming everything comes through, we are 80 to 90 per cent of the way there. I want to thank everyone in the parish who has been helpful and supportive. This has been a real team effort.”

Gerry Bacon, chairman of the cricket club, said the new pavilion would particularly help the club’s juniors who now number 200 just seven years after the launch of the youth section.

He said: “We want to have the best possible facilities for our youngsters for them to be able to flourish. It will enable them to get better at the game and then help the club’s first team.

“The parish council has been very good and we have a good team of people working on it.”

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