Hopes for a sports pavilion in Manea have been reignited by a small group of volunteers who have been consulting villagers on a new proposal.
The Manea Pavilion Group manned a stall at the recent gala and handed out questionnaires asking for people’s views on the project, which would see a state of the art sports pavilion located on the playing field near the Park Road entrance.
Mark Pratt, an architect who has lived in the village since 2007, has produced artist drawings of what the pavilion could look like.
He is one member of a small steering group which has reintroduced the idea of a sports pavilion after a decision last year by the parish council to drop its plans for a community hall at the park.
Parish clerk Terry Jordan explained the council took the decision after the project was re-examined at the request of former councillor Dr Richard Hirson, who argued there was not enough demand to make the new building viable.
Mr Jordan said there were fears the pavilion, which would have included a bar area, would have caused unnecessary competition for the village hall, the Royal British Legion club and for the Rose and Crown pub.
He said councillors discussed the issue and came to the conclusion the building would have a negative impact on other facilities in the village and decided therefore to drop the project.
The council had already spent out around £6,000 on two separate planning permissions and had also carried out soil tests and other necessary preliminary works before the decision to drop the plans was made.
“I think if Dr Hirson had not raised the matter then the project would have just progressed, we were almost at that point, but having listened to the public it was decided there was just not the demand for the new facility,” said Mr Jordan.
However, Mr Pratt said there was a strong feeling among many villagers that a pavilion was needed and so the steering group was formed. The new proposals have dropped the bar in favour of a gym, which Mr Pratt said would provide income to fund the running of the new building.
The proposal will include new changing rooms built to the Football Foundation’s specifications, a meeting room that could accommodate up to 80 people, a kitchen, separate changing facilities for sports officials, a disabled changing area and a sensory room.
He explained the sensory room would be a stand alone fixture and work would need to be done to establish a need before it went ahead. It would also require separate funding.
There would be public toilets with a baby changing area that would be open all the time so people using the park could access them.
The proposed site is where some of the older children’s play equipment is located but Mr Pratt said it could easily be relocated when the pavilion is built.
He said the consultation during the gala day had been hugely positive with only one negative response from over 100 questionnaires completed.
A questionnaire was also included in the recent edition of Manea Matters magazine and Mr Pratt said feedback from there had also been positive.
The steering group, which also includes newly elected parish Councillor Lisa Eves, council chairman Councillor Steve Emery, and villagers Mike Crompton and Roger George, has also consulted with many of the village groups.
Mr Pratt estimates the new building is likely to cost between £500,000 and £700,000 and the next stage will be to set up a working party to start fundraising and to take the project forward.
He pointed out the new building would have the potential for a pop-up bar which could be provided on an adhoc basis by either the Rose and Crown or the village hall, which would allow them to benefit financially from the facility.
“The response so far has been fantastic and very positive. We really would like to get the parish council on board with us and for the village as whole to get behind this project, which will be a huge asset to the community,” said Mr Pratt.
To find out more visit the Manea Pavilion Facebook page.