Parish Council

Crowle Community Wellbeing – looking beyond lockdown

Creating new sports/exercise and leisure facilities in Crowle

We are pleased to share this update on this exciting community project.

What were the main findings from the community consultation on new sports/exercise and leisure facilities?

Extensive research was undertaken by the Parish Council in early 2021 to establish the views and needs of the local community.  There was a high level of response to the consultation (from more than 200 local households), and enthusiastic engagement by a dozen local organisations and clubs.

It was clear from the feedback that, looking beyond lockdown and the COVID-19 pandemic, respondents saw a clear need for new indoor and outdoor leisure and sports/exercise facilities in our locality, enhancing and improving those already enjoyed at the Crowle Parish Hall and Jubilee Playing Fields site.

Specifically, respondents told us that there needs to be:

  • More opportunity to ‘connect the community’, through a space for social contact/meeting people
  • Additional ways to improve health and wellbeing – both physical and psychological – by encouraging more exercise/fitness
  • A wider range of facilities, suitable for all ages
  • Locally accessible, convenient facilities (promoting less travel/not using a car).

The core challenge we face is that, following significant housing development in the village over the last two decades, the existing Parish Hall is oversubscribed and cannot accommodate the growing demands for space for a wide range of clubs and societies. There is also a need to enhance the current facilities on the Jubilee Playing Fields to cater for the broader and evolving needs of our local residents.

What is proposed?

This project aims to address the above challenges, by:

  • constructing a new ‘Community Wellbeing Space’ – a building adjacent to Crowle Parish Hall, to accommodate and facilitate a wide range of indoor exercise and leisure activities, and
  • making key additions to the existing outdoor sports/exercise and recreational facilities on the Jubilee Playing Fields site.

How were the proposed new facilities chosen?

We shortlisted the facilities and activities to be embraced by this project based on the following selection criteria:

  • A high level of appeal for our local community, based on the feedback received from both individuals and organisations/clubs
  • Value for money in terms of likely sustained usage (taking account of feedback from local sports/leisure professionals, specialists in this field at Wychavon, and the experience of other communities who have pursued similar projects)
  • Suitability for our local rural community and environment (including not seeking to compete with facilities that are already available in (or are more appropriate for) larger centres
  • Current availability of land to the Parish Council.

What will be the benefits of the new facilities?

The new Community Wellbeing Space will provide an indoor area that will meet widely diverse needs; examples of activities that residents have indicated would be appreciated are:

  • a range of organised exercise classes for all ages – eg pilates, zumba and yoga, and also including ‘seated exercise to music’
  • a table tennis club
  • an ‘Afternoon Tea and Chat’ social group for older residents
  • ‘leisure clubs’, including whist, bridge and reading/books
  • a range of ‘community friendship groups’
  • a fun singing group (eg ‘Crowle Voices’)
  • amateur dramatic, music and arts groups and clubs
  • a programme of children’s holiday activity clubs.

The new outdoor exercise and leisure facilities will include:

  • a ‘trim trail’ around the perimeter of the playing field (about 500m in length) for runners, joggers, young children learning to ride bikes, walkers (with and without dogs) and anyone wishing not to get muddy (ie everyone really!)
  • adaptation of one of the existing tennis courts to provide an all-weather multi-use games area offering (in addition to tennis) basketball, netball, football skills development, and PE activities and related games for local children’s groups
  • an outdoor table tennis table
  • a covered area to facilitate outdoor activities in poor weather by children’s groups, and also to provide a conveniently located shelter for those overseeing children on the existing play area or watching sport
  • picnic tables with seating, sited around the perimeter of the playing field for those either watching sport or simply enjoying outdoor leisure.

Is it intended to create more grass pitches for team sports?

The demand for further pitches is acknowledged and the Parish Council is reviewing the options available.

Will there be additional car parking?

Yes. There has been pressure on car parking capacity during busy periods at the Parish Hall site for some time and therefore, to support the new facilities, 35 parking spaces will be created. (It’s likely that Wychavon will specify extra parking provision as a planning condition in any event.) There will also be an electric car charging point.

The extra spaces will be achieved by transferring a small number of allotments to other land owned by the Parish Council below the playing field, following consultation with those concerned. Benefits of the new location include water piped to the site, better shaped and larger plots, adjacent parking, and fencing to deter unauthorised entry (including rabbits!).

Can I see the plans for the project?

Yes, they are available here. They are also posted on local noticeboards.

How is the project being funded?

It is planned that the project will be funded by a combination of community funds pledged by Crowle Parish Council, the release of ‘match-funding’ generated for Crowle via the Cala housing development (known as ‘Section 106’), and funds secured through grants (notably the Wychavon Community Legacy Grant).

These funding streams can be summarised as below:

  • Crowle Parish Council: £20,000
  • Section 106 monies: £46,138
  • Wychavon Community Legacy Grant: £200,000
  • Other grants (to be confirmed): £112,662
  • Total: £378,800

Applications have been made to Wychavon, and decisions are awaited. Other grant applications are in hand.

Who is managing the project?

A Project Team has been set up comprising a small group of Parish Councillors and other local people with specialist knowledge and expertise.

Professional project management will be undertaken by Robert Moore, a recently retired director of One Creative Environments Limited, a Worcester-based firm of architects, engineers and landscape architects. Robert has lived in Crowle since 2006.

When will the project be completed?

Subject to securing planning consent and the necessary funding, it is anticipated that the new facilities will be completed by Summer 2022.

Who will manage the new facilities?

The Community Wellbeing Space building and facilities will be managed by Crowle Parish Hall Trust, in parallel with the present Parish Hall. Competitive hire rates will be determined, in line with the current Hall charging structure (which favourably recognises both local organisations and children’s groups).

The facilities located on the Jubilee Playing Fields will be managed (as at present) by Crowle Parish Council for the benefit of parishioners on a ‘no-charge’ basis.

Can I help with the project in any way?

Yes! There will be an opportunity to assist mainly with ‘physical DIY’ aspects such as painting and decorating etc at the appropriate time. Over 30 people put themselves forward as helpers in various capacities in their responses to our consultation questionnaire; if you’d like to add your name to the list, please contact Nick Farress, our Parish Clerk, at clerk@crowlepc.co.uk or on 07929 213117.

Will there be further updates as the project progresses?

Yes, periodic updates will be shared via the Crowle Cryer and also on this website.

I have some further questions – where can I get more information?

Please contact Nick Farress as above.

25 March 2021

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