Saturday, 25 September 2021

Sports pavilion re-opened after £170,000 makeover

A SPORTS pavilion in Goring has re-opened following a £170,000 refurbishment.

The building in Gardiner recreation ground, off Upper Red Cross Road, has been overhauled and extended by the parish council because it was “substandard” and “inadequate”.

It did not have enough storage space for the village’s football, cricket and bowls clubs and the changing rooms and showers were mouldy and didn’t offer enough privacy.

The disabled toilet did not have enough space for a wheelchair to turn around in.

Now the pavilion has been extended to include a second shower block and additional storage space while a new, larger female toilet with disabled access has been added to the existing building.

Privacy doors have been put up between the changing rooms and ventilation has been added to the old showers.

A new boiler has also been installed and the electrical fittings replaced.

The whole building has been deep-cleaned and redecorated and a new side entrance has been created.

The council has also built a footpath linking the access ramp in Upper Red Cross Road to the existing entrance.

The kitchen, which was too cramped, has been moved to the old pavilion’s storage area and a fourth changing room has been created in its place.

The council decided to renovate the building, which dates back to 1991, after commissioning a review of its accessibility about four years ago. Inspectors said it posed numerous obstacles for disabled users.

South Oxfordshire District Council gave planning permission for the makeover in 2015.

The parish council has paid for the work from its reserves but hopes to reclaim at least £25,000 in statutory contributions from developers who build new housing in the village.

The work was carried out by Tracy Averies, of Purley, over the winter and took about five months to complete.

Kevin Bulmer, who chairs the council, said: “We were going to carry out the work in two stages but when we looked at it more closely, it became clear that it was more cost-effective to do it all at once.

“It has taken us a long time because you don’t get the kind of money we needed overnight, so there’s a sense of relief that the project has finished and even come in under budget, which is remarkable in this day and age.

“Of course, the most important thing is that it has brought a valuable village facility up to date and made it more accessible for people with disabilities or who are less mobile.

“The previous building had a number of strange flaws and quirks that were acceptable when it was built but expectations are much higher now and we’re glad we can meet them at last.

“We’d had a bit of feedback from sports clubs but the accessibility report really pushed it to the forefront as we realised it was excluding a very important section of our community.”

John Boler, chairman of Goring’s mobility issues group, said: “The new ramps, wide doorways and disabled toilet and shower are welcome steps towards making Goring sports facilities more accessible to the people who live here.”

Jonny Russell, chairman of Goring Cricket Club, said: “It’s great news for the club and we’re very grateful to the parish council for investing in this facility, which will benefit us as well as the other clubs that use it.

“They’ve managed to turn it around very quickly so it hasn’t impacted on our upcoming season at all and it’s very exciting to have an updated facility with more storage and changing space.

“It makes hosting games much better for us as the club now has everything it needs in terms of disabled access so it’s something we can be proud of. The previous clubhouse was functional but it wasn’t the sort of pavilion that the opposition or friends and family would say was particularly special.

“The recreation ground in general is a lovely place to play sport so this makes a big difference to the whole experience and gives us the facility we’ve always needed.”

Iestyn Llewellyn, 1st team manager at Goring United Football Club, said: “I think it looks great. We’ve only got two games left this season and are playing at Sheepcot recreation ground so we won’t experience the benefit for another year. However, it was definitely needed.”

Phil Mitchell, of Goring Bowls Club, said: “We haven’t had a home game yet but we’ve taken a look around the pavilion and it’s been wonderfully improved. The storage and new changing rooms are very impressive.”

l Goring Cricket Club is seeking new members. The club is taking part in the national ECB All Stars Cricket tuition scheme for five- to eight-year-olds and has launched an under-15s team as part of its junior academy programme. It is also welcoming adults of all abilities to play weekend matches or T20 games on Wednesday evenings. For more information, call club chairman Jonny Russell on 07814 067433.

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