Green light for new Belper sports pavilion

John Morris with plans for Belper Meadows Sports Club.
John Morris with plans for Belper Meadows Sports Club.

Members at a popular Belper sports complex are celebrating after passing a significant hurdle in their attempts to build a new pavilion.

Last week Amber Valley Borough Council approved plans for Belper Meadows Sports Club to build a 574 square metre pavilion at Christchurch Meadows, located just off Bridge Street.

The new building is set to replace the two current dilapidated pavilions and will include revamped changing facilities as well as a function suite for members to use.

John Morris is treasurer and development officer for the club and says that approval means the complex can now start to look to the future.

He told the Belper News: “We currently have two pavilions but both need replacing.

“One is an old wooden pavilion and the other is bricked but is from the 1980s and is no longer fit for purpose.

“We’ve also got no disabled facilities and our access is poor.

“Hopefully this new pavilion will enable us to integrate the community a lot more, as well as develop our club and the sections within.”

The club has four sections; tennis, bowls, cricket and hockey and caters for over 600 juniors alone.

The facilities are so in need of a spruce-up that temporary portable buildings are being used in some instances.

John, who has been involved with the club since 2001, says that funding is now the priority that needs addressing if the project is to come to fruition.

He said: “The main stumbling block (planning approval) has gone.

“Now we need to start conversations around the funding.

“We reckon it will take about £1m to do and we’re looking for half of that to come from organisations such as Sport England, the Lawn Tennis Association, the England and Wales Cricket Board and other sporting bodies.

“It’s been a long saga and we’ve had to wait over ten years.

“We need to get more out of the club and we have long-term plans here that we will look to develop the club for the next 20 or 30 years.

“It’s such a fantastic site and we need to try and ensure that it remains fit for future generations and part of that means engaging with the community.

“Amber Valley Borough Council and Derbyshire County Council have both been supportive and it’s good to finally get it (planning approval) out of the way and try to move forward.”