Sports clubs set for £1m upgrades

TWO sports clubs based side by side in Frenchay are being given almost £1 million to help fund new facilities.

South Gloucestershire Council has awarded Frenchay Cricket Club a total of £624,322 to build and maintain a new pavilion at its ground at Common Mead Lane, near the M32 Hambrook junction.

Downend and Frenchay Tennis Club has been awarded £366,579 to build a club house at its site next to the cricket pitch off Filton Road.

The money has come from contributions made by developers to improve local infrastructure, in return for planning permission at building sites including nearby Scholars Chase in Stoke Gifford.

The tennis club’s grant is a capital contribution while the cricket club’s is divided into two parts, with £394,100 going towards building the pavilion and £230,221 towards its maintenance.

The awards were among £1.5m of funding across the district announced by the council in October.

For Downend & Frenchay Tennis Club the grant will help to provide a first building of its own on the site where it has been based for more than eight years.

Established at Overnhill Road in 1906 and originally known as Fishponds Tennis Club, it had been based at two courts on Cleeve Hill from the 1950’s, but had to move so the site could be sold for development, relocating in 2015 to Frenchay Cricket Club, where it has four floodlit courts.

Club chair Penny White said that while the tennis club was given occasional use of the cricket club’s pavilion, it is 100m away from the courts, and it soon became apparent that members would need their own building.

She said: “Some shelter and toilets have been our main focus as a basic requirement, because all we can provide, and only when suitable ground conditions allow, is the hire of a Portaloo.  

“It has been noted that a club facility would help retain some members, as it will provide a hub and a social space.” 

Moves to build a small clubhouse started five years ago and planning permission was granted in 2020, although this lapsed as delays have held up the project.

With the new grant and further funding coming from the Enovert Trust and club savings, the club now expects to be able to start work subject to new planning approval – the application can be found by searching for reference P23/02469/F on the council’s planning website. 

Penny said: “DFTC look forward to welcoming new members to the club at any time – there is something for all ages and abilities.” 

New cricket pavilion to ‘meet modern standards’

Frenchay Cricket Club trustee and girls’ coach Jim Donaldson said the club was “delighted and extremely grateful” for the funding for the new pavilion at its Bob Stone Ground.

He said: “This substantial award will go a long way to helping to achieve the long-held aspiration of having a pavilion that meets modern standards.

“With inflation having hit hard in recent times, there is still some way to go to secure sufficient funding. The current aim, with this huge and welcome support from South Glos Council for our work, is for a start to be made next autumn.”

The club has eight senior teams, and boys and girls’ teams from under-9 through to U17s, providing cricket for 60 men, 30 women, 120 boys and 90 Girls, with two Falcons groups for players with disabilities from primary school age upwards, which have 30 members.

Jim said: “The existing but deteriorating 50-year-old pavilion is now simply outdated, with cramped changing rooms and showers.

“These are way below current English Cricket Board and Sport England standards, are simply less than suitable for our increasing female use, and lacking disabled access and appropriate facilities for the Falcons.”

He said the new pavilion, currently being designed, would include four changing rooms for players plus changing for officials, including changing space suitable for the mixed gender senior teams the club is committed to, which have helped female players build skills and experience.

Jim said two female Frenchay players, Nat Wraith and Izzy Patel, had joined elite women’s ECB Kia Super League team Western Storm after coming through club’s the youth system.

He said: “The club needs modern ‘off field’ facilities to ensure such opportunities are available for more to follow in future years, as well as providing good quality facilities for all members and visiting players and guests.

The council also announced more than £500,000 of investment using developer contributions in play areas, playing fields and a football pavilion in Yate and Wickwar.

Council cabinet councillor for communities Leigh Ingham said: “It’s important that housing developers contribute towards the infrastructure required to meet the needs of growing populations.

“These new and refurbished facilities and public open spaces will help meet local need and ensure more people can enjoy being active across the area.”