Monday, 16 December 2019

£300,000 appeal for village sports pavilion

AN appeal is to be launched to raise £300,000 for a new sports pavilion on Whitchurch village green.

The parish council, which manages the land off Eastfield Lane, has set up a volunteer working group which will register the scheme as a charity and write a business plan.

It will apply for grants from public bodies such as South Oxfordshire District Council and Sport England and seek private donations from individuals and businesses which could contribute.

The cricket club, which uses the existing pavilion, will apply for Sport England’s Clubmark status to show it has high welfare standards as this will be a requirement for some grants.

It is hoped to hit the fund-raising target in two years.

The council has appointed architect Chris Owens, of Owens Galliver in Pangbourne, to design the new building with a main hall, changing rooms, a veranda and disabled access ramp.

The pavilion will be 5.7m high and have 135 sq m floor space, slightly larger than the current building, which was built in the Fifties and is now dilapidated.

It should be able to accommodate Whitchurch’s growing youth teams and could also be used by exercise groups and the village primary school next door for sports days and for community events.

The pavilion will be built on part of the green where cricket nets currently stand and these will be replaced by mobile nets.

Neil Huntington, who chairs the working group, said: “Some public fund-raising events may be required to top up our money but most will come from larger contributions otherwise it could take a considerable time to hit our target.

“Historically, the green was a cricket ground but the aim is to widen the number of activities and make it available to everyone as sport is becoming increasingly important for people of all ages and backgrounds.

“The existing building is well beyond its useful life and it would not be economical to spend further money on it.

“We’ve visited other communities to see how they’ve delivered similar projects and there’s no reason we can’t follow suit.”

Replacing the village pavilion was one of several priorities identified in the draft Whitchurch village plan, which is due to be published shortly.

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