The Nigel Poulton Community Hall and the Play Area on the Sports Field
The facilities of the Nigel Poulton Community Hall and the Play Area are proven to be a popular asset to Parishioners so the Board of Trustees, together with the Parish Council, are proposing to update the current car park facility and the play equipment to accommodate current and future needs. See the attached illustration for details of the proposals.
With regard to the Play Area, the existing Senior and Junior swings are very old and require replacement together with their respective safety surfaces, as does the Seesaw, and there is also a need for additional/improved seating.
The re-siting of the new swings further away from Glebe Court provides an opportunity to extend car parking capacity for users of the Community Hall and provide new all-abilities access from Church Walk.
As can be seen from the illustration, the proposed extension to the car park (approximately 120 sq.mtr.) does not result in the loss of very much usable ’green space’.
Keeping the Community Hall in a good condition is very expensive and the costs increase as time goes by, and every public body expects that support will be needed to maintain and retain such facilities. That said, it is also expected that best value be sought by maximising income from hirers. To this end, the Parish Council tasked the Trustees to make the Community Hall more attractive to outside bookings.
During this task it became obvious that the Community Hall does not lend itself easily to some of the more lucrative lettings that other halls enjoy because of a lack of parking (this is also a problem for those who choose or need to drive to the Sports Field for their recreation) and that many of the activities that do take place are only available with the outside support of those of who arrive by car. Also, regular bookings, together with potential ones, have been lost due to the lack of sufficient parking slots and this obviously effects the income received, and thus the amount of funding the Parish Council has to expend to support the Community Hall. In recent years, 25% of the Hall’s income has come from a direct grant from the Parish Council. Apart from the upkeep of the Hall, there is the issue of how it is managed on a day-to-day basis, including emergencies. At present this is done on a voluntary basis by Cllr. John Meischke but we cannot expect this approach to continue and it is highly likely that within the next few years a paid-appointment will have to be considered.
As development continues to expand our community it is easy to see that people and young families who wish to use the facilities on the Sports Field, but live on the edges of the village, will tend to want to drive there; which will not ease the parking issues in the High Street.
Our aim is to support and encourage the use of the facilities and maintain them as best we can so that they can continue to be enjoyed by all.