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.