The Trustees of the King George V Playing Fields in Congresbury have announced that there will be a public meeting to discuss their plans to rebuild the Recreation Club and answer questions. The meeting will be held on Thursday August 4th at 6pm in the club.
The Trustees have also published a leaflet giving more details of the project. The leaflet, below, will be distributed to villagers over the coming days.
Exciting new plans to rebuild Congresbury’s ageing Recreation Club pavilion have been submitted to North Somerset planners.
The plans involve a two-storey building on the same footprint as the existing club which is now 60 years old and in a poor state of repair.
These revised plans follow feedback from both North Somerset planners and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to initial pre-planning submissions made in November 2021.
The major change to the external appearance is the addition of a pitched roof, recommended by North Somerset.
The ECB supports a two-storey building with a viewing balcony because of the constraints of the site. This allows for four separate unisex changing rooms and showers for both the cricket and tennis clubs for men, women and children to use on the upper level. This layout creates far more space for the social activities of the club on the ground floor.
The decision to press ahead with the redevelopment of the Rec Club was taken by the Trustees of The King George V Playing Fields when plans to build a new village hall on land adjacent to the Rec Club and tennis courts were halted through lack of funding despite the huge efforts of those involved.
Echoes of the original new village hall plan can be found in this redevelopment with the ground floor social area capable of being divided into two so both private and members’ use is possible at the same time.
The Trustees are submitting the plans for the new building which will serve the needs of the cricket, tennis and football clubs as well as the social members of the Recreation Club.
Chairman of the trustees Les Owen explained that the pandemic had caused some inevitable delays to the project. “We consulted villagers on our plans more than a year ago and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive.
“Since then we have spoken to North Somerset planners and been in regular contact with the ECB to make sure our plans are acceptable to them since they are potentially a key grant funder. I’m confident that the plan we now have will not only meet the needs of the sports and recreation clubs but also the whole village.”
The cricket club wants to provide first class facilities for its members with a particular focus on the development of women’s and girls’ cricket and improving facilities for juniors.
The club regularly hosts junior county matches but has had to turn down requests to host junior county girls’ matches because of the current inadequate changing facilities.
“New changing rooms are essential for us to meet the demands of the modern game, increase participation and attract the calibre of players we need,” said chairman Geoff Wilcock. ‘’Four flexible use changing rooms will enable us to grow our girls’ and women’s section and to increase the amount of girls’ and women’s cricket played through the ability to host away teams.’’
For the tennis club, which has ambitions to build a fourth ‘pay and play’ court, a new pavilion with more flexible changing rooms and enlarged social facilities would allow it to recruit more players while raising additional funds through more social events.
“We want to increase junior coaching, offer cardio tennis and walking tennis for injured, less mobile and older players, and provide disabled access to the courts with the potential for wheelchair tennis,” said chairman JL Hagger.
Stu Smith, chairman of the football club, believes that wider community participation in the Recreation Club “can only bring the football club to more people’s attention and would hopefully lead to more support in terms of volunteers, spectators or players and may even help in the formation of new teams.” A lack of volunteers means the club does not at present run junior teams but it is keen to reintroduce them as well as adding women’s and veterans’ teams.
The team behind the redevelopment of Congresbury’s Rec Club has unveiled a new plan featuring an upper floor and viewing balconies.
This design – on the same footprint as the existing Rec Club – replaces the original two-building approach unveiled in the spring and follows consultation with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).
“It is important to comply with the ECB requirements if we are to have a chance of a successful application for a grant from them towards the cost,” explained cricket club president Les Owen who is leading Project Construct, the name given to the team exploring the best way to develop a new cricket, tennis and social club building on the King George V Playing Field (KGV).
Since the original plans were unveiled in the spring the Project Construct team has held an online questionnaire which had some 115 responses with 87 per cent of respondents in favour of the redevelopment and further work has been done on the design.
Now the KGV Trustees have started a pre-planning application consultation with North Somerset District Council. This process involves submitting an overview and some detail to the planning department and getting their feedback before a formal application for planning permission is submitted.
Mr Owen said that during consultation with the ECB it became clear that they would be unable to support the original ‘two building’ design with a new changing rooms’ building alongside the footprint of the existing Recreation Club.
This is because the new building would be behind the bowlers’ arms on the east side of the ground and that, and the need for sight screens directly in front of the changing rooms, would interfere with the normal playing of cricket and would adversely impact the look and feel of a traditional village cricket ground
Accordingly the Project Committee has now come up with a new design involving a building exactly on the footprint of the existing Rec Club but with an upper floor consisting of changing rooms/tennis viewing room/committee room, and a ground floor with the bar and social facilities as the existing building has. It is this design that is the subject of the pre-application consultation.
Some extracts of the pre-application supporting material are available to view by clicking here which show the proposed floor plans, elevations and materials to be used.
Any comments on this proposal can be made to the KGV Trustees and the Project Committee by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Congresbury Recreation Club wants to strengthen its management committee and put in place a new code of conduct for all members.
The King George V Trustees, who have overall responsibility for the management of the fields and all activity on them and who delegate the day to day management to the Rec Club, have appointed cricket club president Les Owen as interim chairman. He will serve until the end of 2021.
Mr Owen paid tribute to his predecessor Andy Elvin for the work he has done over the last three years to improve the club and change its image.
“The Rec Club is for all members and sports participants and should present a welcoming, friendly and enjoyable atmosphere,” said Mr Owen.
Mr Owen, a lifelong Liverpool fan and Anfield season ticket holder who played local league football around Bristol for many years, said:
“My personal motivation in taking this on for six months is to help create an environment that is conducive to participation in sport and recreation by all in the village, and to try to ensure that the Rec is operating and managed in a way that maximises the chances of funding support for a new building.”
The Trustees have asked Mr Owen to strengthen the Rec Club committee and make it more representative of the village. The club rules and code of conduct for members will also be reviewed.
A key objective will be to produce a three-year plan for the club as part of the application process for grant funding for a new clubhouse.
“Once lockdown eases I would hope that all villagers will feel able to become members and help us secure the Rec Club’s future as a centre of sport and recreation in Congresbury,” said Mr Owen.
The Rec Club committee would welcome contact from anyone who would like to learn more about the plans for the future and who may be interested in helping. Please email email@example.com
The project to rebuild Congresbury’s Rec Club has received the backing of more than 87 per cent of those who took part in an online survey. Only eight per cent said they didn’t think the redevelopment would benefit the village. Others were unsure.
“This is extremely encouraging and just the sort of support we hoped to get,” said Les Owen who is leading Project Construct, the name given to the plans to redevelop the Rec Club with additional changing rooms for the cricket and tennis clubs.
Almost one-fifth of respondents indicated that they would be prepared to help or get involved as a trustee or join the Rec Club committee. A further 29 per cent said they would consider making a financial contribution.
“If anyone who wants to get more involved could contact us sooner rather than later we would really appreciate it,” said Mr Owen. You can get in touch by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by speaking to any cricket, tennis, football or Rec Club committee member.
Another 74 per cent of those surveyed said they would be more likely to use the new facilities more often while 60 per cent said they would be interested in making use of hiring the club for private functions.
Almost half of those who took part in the survey said they would be interested in keep-fit activities such as aerobics, pilates or dancing being included in the redevelopment plans and almost 40 per cent said the availability of meeting rooms would be useful for organisations they belong to.
Meanwhile talks with various sporting organisations which could provide grants towards the cost of the project continue, explained Mr Owen.
“We should be able to provide further updates on the project including costs and more detailed architect’s plans in early summer,” he said.
Responses to the survey about redeveloping the Rec Club and building a separate cricket/tennis pavilion have been overwhelmingly positive. The survey will close at midnight on Friday April 30th so if you haven’t taken part, please do so now by clicking on this link
Results of the survey will be published in due course and as plans progress, the Project Construct team will keep villagers up-to-date.
Plans to redevelop the Rec Club and build a new cricket and tennis pavilion on the King George V Playing Field have been given a huge thumbs up with more than 95 per cent of those surveyed saying the development would benefit the village.
And more than 80 per cent of people said they would use the new facilities more with 57 per cent welcoming a wider choice of indoor recreational facilities. Full results of the survey will be revealed next month.
If you haven’t already taken part, it’s not too late. The Project Construct team has added a comment box to the survey to gather more feedback or you can email email@example.com if you want to get involved.
The survey takes less than two minutes to complete. Click on this link to take part.