Hadleigh Cricket Club is embarking on an ambitious £200,000 plan to build an extension to its 50-year-old pavilion.
The upgraded facility will comprise a new changing room block — including three changing rooms and toilets — a larger meeting room and incorporate disabled access.
The planned extension is backed by Suffolk County Cricket Board, Babergh District Council, Suffolk County Council, Hadleigh Town Council and Suffolk Sport, and has received the support of a wide range of local organisations, schools and community groups.
The new facilities are urgently required at the club’s Friars Road ground because the club has developed so rapidly in recent years, especially within its junior section.
The current pavilion has become inadequate for the club’s needs.
The club runs four senior teams, three boys and three girls sides, and plan to begin a ladies team next year. During the summer the ground and pavilion are used every night of the week for coaching sessions for children.
The planned development will also help the club’s senior teams and allow the club to generate more income from hiring out the venue.
Hadleigh Cricket Club’s Vice-Chairman Dave Mann, who is leading the project, said: “Our vision is to create a facility that will serve the community of Hadleigh as well as the demands of our club.
“We love our pavilion, but I’m afraid in its current guise it can no longer support the quantity and diversity of cricket taking place at Hadleigh.”
Mann added: “A bigger, better arranged building will help to improve the quality of cricket experience we can deliver. We have around 100 junior members and this will enable us to increase what is already a high level of participation and ensure that as the club continues to develop, it remains a safe, secure environment for youngsters.
“For example, an extension on the basis proposed – with a third changing room – would dramatically reduce the child welfare issues that are presented whenever girls and boys use the ground at the same time.
“More and more girls are playing cricket at the club and this extension will, we hope, encourage them to stay in the game, knowing that the club can offer them appropriate facilities, such as their own changing room.”
The extension will also aid the club in its ambition of playing in the East Anglian Premier League (EAPL).
It is a requirement that umpires that officiate in these matches have their own changing facilities.
The club’s 1st XI currently plays in Division One of the Two Counties Championship, one division below the EAPL.
“We have a talented set of cricketers at the club but as it stands our facilities would not allow us to gain promotion,” said Mann.
The plans were drawn up by architect Robert Keeble, senior partner at award-winning KLH Architects, and fulfil the club’s detailed brief of creating a pavilion that can operate in two distinct halves, while at the same time improving the shape and character of the main meeting area, increasing the storage space available and incorporating disabled access.
Mann said he has been delighted with the support the project has received from community groups and other sporting clubs within the town.
The cost of the project is expected to be in the region of £200,000, and as well as seeking funding from a number of grant-awarding bodies, the club has launched a ‘Buy a Brick’ campaign.
Bricks are being sold at £25 for individuals and £100 for businesses. Donations can be made on the club’s Just Giving page - https://www.justgiving.com/hadleighcc-brickheroes.
Mann added: “Hadleigh CC is a great place for any young cricketer; we took great pride this summer in seeing one of our old juniors make his England debut.
“We are all very proud of Reece Topley. Reece made his debut for us as a 14-year-old in our second X1. We would like to help produce the next Reece Topley and also the next Charlotte Edwards.”
n For more information about the project visit http://hadleighccbrickheroes.com/