New pavilion could be open by end of year

April 27 2022

How the new pavilion could look

How the new pavilion could look

A NEW pavilion for Downend's King George V playing fields has been given the go-ahead – with parish councillors hopeful it will be open by the end of the year.

The pavilion will replace the current 1960s building, which was described as "a bit of a monstrosity" by parish councillor Ben Burton during a presentation to the Downend and Bromley Heath annual assembly.

Planning permission was granted for the new pavilion by South Gloucestershire Council in March, almost a year after the plans were first submitted.

The parish council will now push ahead with the next stages of the scheme, which include appointing a project manager, tendering for building and landscaping contracts, and securing all of the money needed to pay for the project.

The parish council already has around £115,000 available, a combination of contributions handed over by developers building in the area, money previously earmarked for repairs to the old pavilion, and around £18,000 from its revenue budget.

But the biggest slice of funding will be a contribution of around £150,000 to £200,000 from sports charity the Football Foundation, which distributes funding for grassroots sport from the Premier League, FA and the government.

The parish council is still waiting for the foundation to confirm how much it will pay but, in response to a concern raised over the money at the parish meeting on April 21, Cllr Burton said the charity had worked with the council on the project "from the outset" and was not expected to fall short in its support.

An overall estimate of around £390,000 was put on the entire scheme when it was first proposed at the end of 2020.

The final overall cost of the project will depend on the bids the council receives during the tendering process, with builders among many industries facing big increases in costs.

The pavilion will be a modular design, which means different parts can be used separately without opening the whole building every time.

It will have four separate changing rooms, which have been designed to comply with safeguarding rules for children's sports teams.

It will have a reception area with office and meeting space space, which could be used by the parish council or for police drop-in surgeries, and toilets, including accessible provision.

There will also be a recreational area, with a bar and seating, for use by sports clubs for social activities during and after matches and available for community use at other times.

Cllr Burton, who is also a Frenchay & Downend ward South Gloucestershire councillor, said: "This is not only for the sports teams but for the wider public, to be used not just on Saturday and Sunday."

But he said it was "never the intention" for the building to be a late-night venue.

The conditions include limiting its use to between 7am and 11pm, with amplified music only allowed 6 - 10pm Monday to Saturday and 6-9pm on Sundays and bank holidays.

The pavilion will be a prefabricated building, manufactured off-site and assembled in parts, cutting the time residents will be inconvenienced by building work, as well as the gap between the old pavilion being demolished and the new one being ready. The intention is to have the new building in place by the end of the year.

Some aspects of how the pavilion will be run still need to be worked out before it opens, including whether refreshments would be provided by a commercial operator or sports clubs, and whether nearby Downend School will be involved in its operation.

South Gloucestershire Council received more than a dozen objections to the plans, with neighbours raising concerns over issues including noise, car parking, security and the hours the pavilion would be open.

But there were also comments made in support, pointing out that the current pavilion, which has not been able to open its changing rooms for the last 18 months, was not "fit for purpose" and its replacement would improve the experience of visitors and increase community use of the fields.

In response to concerns about security raised during a public consultation, the area between the pavilion and neighbouring residents' gardens will be fenced off, with locked gates to stop people gathering there.

The plans were approved by South Gloucestershire Council officers without going before a council planning committee, as they were not referred by any council members.

The parish council is still waiting on permission for its plans for two storage containers for sports equipment.

The containers will be clad with timber and have hedgerows planted around them.

Blending in is also the intention of the design of the new pavilion, which will be green with timber cladding.

Around 20 car parking spaces will be provided, with electric vehicle charging points, bike racks and scooter parking.