Basingstoke & North Hants have announced exciting plans for a £1.5m pavilion and clubhouse redevelopment at their idyllic tree-lined May’s Bounty ground, where cricket is believed to have been played for well over 150 years.
The project, which is very much at embryo stage, envisages the demolition of the existing pavilion – which the club believes is no longer fit for use – and its replacement (on the same corner site) with a brand new and enlarged two-storey building, as illustrated on the above artists impression.
It is hoped that, once it is open and fully operational, the new modern facility will attract Hampshire to play county championship cricket at May’s Bounty for the first time since Durham’s visit in 2010, writs Mike Vimpany.
Since then, only Second XI Championship and junior county age group cricket has been played on the ground.
Basingstoke themselves field five Saturday league teams, a Sunday XI, colts teams and host the annual and long established midweek evening Guy Jewell knockout competitions.
Rugby and soccer is played on the adjoining Castle Field during the winter months.
Basingstoke Sports & Social (BSSC) club chairman Steve Rayner explained: “The existing clubhouse and changing facilities at May’s Bounty are fast becoming inadequate for the purpose of weekend sports and evening events.
“The building – the roof in particular – is in need of constant maintenance and is becoming expensive to maintain.
“The purpose of the redevelopment is to provide a new building that offers the flexibility and accommodation for multi-sports and events so that the club maybe used year-round and accessible to all who wish to use it, particularly the disabled.”
The May’s Bounty proposal includes four ground-floor unisex changing facilities for cricket, football and rugby, two unisex dressing rooms for indoor sports, such as squash, alongside a physiotherapists and first aid room and two lots of changing rooms for referees and umpires.
The upper deck of the pavilion will have a spacious balcony looking out across the main cricket ground, an enlarged social function room and licensed bar and refreshment areas.
Basingstoke’s emerging proposals have already received a positive feedback following a recent public exhibition.
“The proposed plans were well received by the members, residents and sporting bodies, with over 150 people attending the exhibition at the club over the two days.
“So far there have been no negative responses,” smiled Mr Rayner, who is hopeful an application for planning consent will be made in early 2017.
So, how does the Basingstoke Sports & Social Club plan to raise £1.5m to fund the project ?
Rayner explained that he had been in constant communication with Sport England, the England & Wales Cricket Road, the HCB, Hampshire Cricket, the RFU, England Squash and Racketball and the Basingstoke & Dean District Council and, more recently, with the Football Association regarding the May’s Bounty redevelopment and funding.
“The cost of the project will be around £1.5m. The club has 10 per cent to put down and, if required, can raise a further £200k.
“The remainder of the money will need to come from grants, donations, business etc.
“We have just received our Community Amateur Sports Club status, which I understand gives us other opportunities for funding.”
Basingstoke are hoping that, provided planning permission is obtained and all the funding is in place, they will be in a position to start the May’s Bounty pavilion and clubhouse redevelopment in March/April 2018.