Changing rooms, bar, club room and spectator seating vision for Cranbrook sports hub

Cranbrook could get a new bar,  extra changing rooms and club room facilities for its sports hub – as the original plans for the site have been declared inadequate.

Ingram’s Field has been up and running since May, some five years after it was initially conceived.

This summer finally saw football and cricket played in the new East Devon town.

The approved 2014 application for the site included a design and layout for changing rooms – and now, five years later, developers are finally in a position to deliver it.

However, James Brown, Cranbrook new community manager, says in a report to East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) cabinet that, while this would meet the historic obligations, the design is not appropriate for today’s needs.

He is instead proposing that the cabinet backs plans that would see a bigger building built that would consists of six changing rooms, rather than four, and would also include a family room and a bar and club room.

Mr Brown said: “Not only would such a facility address the needs of the sports clubs/teams which could operate at the hub, but it would also provide a very valuable community meeting space which is something that Cranbrook is currently severely lacking.

“It also has the potential to provide a facility that has its own income stream from room lettings and bar receipts to enable its future maintenance.”

The original plans for the building fail to meet the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) requirements for changing room and pavilion requirements, says the report.

It also states they are inadequate for football minimum standards, although they can be used for entry level leagues.

The report also says the previously planned facilities would continue to be an asset drain for Cranbrook Town Council, having little or no income generating potential.

It adds: “As a result of the identified shortcomings, it places a significant burden on the town council were they to adopt the asset in its current form.

“The consortium of developers have been working constructively with the Cranbrook planning team to explore an alternative design and this work has now evidenced that a building measuring 32.2m x 16.4m would facilitate the delivery of up to six changing rooms, bar and club room, family room and spectator seating.”

Developers have said that they would invest only their original budget towards the newly-enhanced pavilion and would not meet any additional costs.

They have added that they are not prepared to undertake the design work and minor revisions to the building to bring it within budget.

Mr Brown’s report says that there is a pot of money, blending available Section 106 funds together with external funding, which can be secured for the building.

He says that, while slightly short of the cost estimate provided by the Consortium of Developers for the enhanced provision, it is of a sufficient size as to allow the delivery of a meaningful building.

EDDC’s cabinet, when it meets next Wednesday, is recommended to agree that the authority takes control of a plot of land at the Ingram’s sports hub in Cranbrook and procures and project manages the delivery of a sports pavilion at the sports hub.

It is also proposed that, once delivered, the completed sports pavilion is transferred to Cranbrook Town Council.

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