Plans to upgrade village's Recreation Club gather momentum

Site plans for Congresbury Recreational Club and the areas surrounding the King George V Playing Fie

Site plans for Congresbury Recreational Club and the areas surrounding the King George V Playing Fields. - Credit: Stride Treglown

Plans to upgrade the facilities at Congresbury Recreation Club, first revealed in November, are gathering momentum.

The new plan, called Project Construct, envisages the demolition and rebuilding of the existing Rec Club on the same footprint and a new separate changing room pavilion for the cricket and tennis clubs. The existing tennis clubhouse will be demolished.

In November, previous plans to build a new village hall in Congresbury were shut down. 

The project struggled since 2018 and the trustees of the King George V Playing Field – which manage the playing fields and comprises Congresbury Parish Council, the village’s cricket, football and tennis clubs, the Royal British Legion and St Andrew’s Primary School – felt it was time for a change of approach. 

Congresbury Cricket Club president Les Owen, who is leading Project Construct, told Congresbury.net: “Support from the villagers of Congresbury is important.

"We are shortly to begin a pre-application consultation on the plans with North Somerset planners following which we will communicate with villagers again with the proposed buildings details.

"Our aim is to make a formal submission for planning approvals within the next few months. Alongside this we will start the fundraising phase."

There will be a new changing rooms building for cricket and tennis with a tennis viewing area, and four multi-use changing rooms with shower and toilet facilities that will meet the needs of all sports and recreation users of the fields.

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The plans also include a new Recreation Club building with separate sports and lounge bars. The social space will be considerably bigger than in the existing building through the release of the existing changing rooms and showers space.

It retains much of the existing kitchen appliances and cupboards – renewed at the end of 2020 – and will have a larger bar serving area. 

The two separate social areas can be turned into a single function room for larger recreational, social or private functions greatly increasing the potential use of the new building.

Michael Greaves, chairman of the King George V Playing Fields Trust, said: “Replacing a dilapidated Rec Club and building a new changing room pavilion will not just benefit the cricket and tennis clubs but the whole village.

 “The cricket ground and recreational playing fields have been a central part of village life since the 1930s. We want to make sure this continues to be so for generations to come.”

Project Construct is working on an estimated cost in the region of £600,000 – a figure that will be firmed up once the detailed plans have been finalised. 

The project has already secured significant funding pledges while additional sources of funding and grants are being explored and discussions have started with potential grant funders such as the England Cricket Board.

The current Rec Club was built by the cricket club in 1963 with an anticipated 25-year lifespan.

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 did not think the redevelopment would benefit the village. Others were unsure.

Les added: “This is extremely encouraging and just the sort of support we hoped to get.

"We should be able to provide further updates on the project including costs and more detailed architect’s plans in early summer."

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.

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.

For more information on the project, email newrecclub@gmail.com or speak to any cricket, tennis, football or Rec Club committee member.

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