(unfortunately email votes won’t be counted but your support will be welcomed)
Wroughton Parish Council have been working jointly with 1st Wroughton Scout Group and Wroughton Youth Football Club for some years to try and improve facilities for the young people in our village. Between Scouts, Cubs, Beavers and the 16 Youth Football teams located here they provide activities and support to over 350 local boys and girls. Swindon Borough Council have also advised us that another Preschool will be required in Wroughton due to the increasing birth rate and number of new homes being built.
The current Scout building at Weirside Avenue, Wroughton which was built in the 1950’s is reaching the end of its natural life. The land is not owned by the scouts and due to the location of the facility, deterioration of the building fabric, lack of parking and outdoor space, relocating it is the best option. 1st Wroughton Scouts have a substantial amount of money to invest in a project for new premises.
To make any new building sustainable and cost effective it is important that it is well used. It makes sense to combine some of those needing these facilities under one roof.
Other sites were considered and eliminated during early scoping stages by Wroughton Parish Council. One of the reasons Maunsell Way Recreation Ground was chosen is because there is already a Parish owned Pavilion there which is no longer fit for purpose and does not meet the needs of any current or potential users.
These are displayed on the wall in the Ellendune Community Centre in the corridor leading to Wroughton Community Library.
Originally the plans for the proposed new pavilion were for a less sizeable building with separate storage buildings. As part of consultations with our police partners at Secured by Design we were advised on the importance of a clear line of sight at the building and avoiding corners/doglegs/multiple little buildings. A key part of the rationale for this project is giving our young people a place for structured activities which in turn will help reduce antisocial behaviour. Having one larger building, designed appropriately will also allow for other features such as clear exterior lighting and CCTV. There will be a single toilet/basin area which can be made accessible from the outside of the building meaning this can be easily made available when the playing fields are in use but there is no need for access to the entire building.
Around one sixth of the proposed building will be used for storage by user groups. Wroughton Youth Football Team erect and dismantle their goals at every session so need to store these along with balls, corner flags, spectator barriers, line marking equipment, corner flags, cones etc. Wroughton Scouts have a tents, mess tents/gazebos, outdoor cookery equipment, archery equipment, tables and chairs, craft supplies etc. The preschool will also need significant storage for play equipment. BMX Wroughton will also store bikes and safety equipment which will be available for use at their supervised sessions.
Draft plans include space for an early years setting (preschool) as well as a larger room which can be split in two as well as a dedicated youth room. There are also bathrooms and a shared kitchen. The plans are currently displayed on the wall in the Ellendune Community Centre so do have a look.
The Preschool/Early Years section has been designed so that it can be self-contained. The larger room at Maunsell Way can be used occasionally as a polling station for elections. Currently Wroughton Junior School has to close for the day to allow voting which is disruptive to the children’s education. We have Wroughton Primary Federation’s support on this project and will continue to liaise with them and other key community organisations as the plans progress.
The existing building is no longer fit for purpose. When it was designed and built in the 1980’s. It was used for the Wroughton Men’s football Team who now play at the Weirfield and have a suitable pavilion there which they share with Wroughton Cricket Club.
There are a number of changing rooms, showers and also a football officials room at Maunsell Way pavilion. None of these are required by the Wroughton youth football teams as the children live locally and coaches/parents act as referee. Showers and changing rooms also introduce problematic child protection and safeguarding issues. The showers within the current pavilion have been condemned with external sanitary fittings removed.
The current Maunsell Way pavilion does not have any disabled access, the window shutters are damaged, there is no suitable external lighting and there is not enough easily accessible storage. Toilets within the facility are not visible from the playing pitches which cause child protection issue’s where children are unable to access the pavilion without adult supervision, this in turn interrupts matches and training sessions. The Wroughton Youth Club previously based at Maunsell Way has made do with the facilities, erecting a table tennis table in a changing room but the layout is far from conducive to a pleasant and engaging environment for our children. It is also more difficult for Youth Leaders to supervise activities when they are not in the same room.
The proposed positioning of the new building has been changed following the input of local residents. The current layout seeks to keep it as far away from the boundary of Maunsell Way residential properties as possible. The trees could remain if the building location was changed and moved nearer to the residential boundary.
The 3 mature trees to the east of the building would be cut down under the current draft plan but nearby mitigation planting of other trees would take place. Local community groups led by Vision4Wroughton planted hundreds of trees in the field beyond Maunsell Way to create a community forest. The aim is that our residents and children can continue to easily access and enjoy the public green space and public footpaths at Maunsell Way and beyond for recreation purposes.
Developers can put forward sites at any point for due consideration. As with any planning applications at any time, Swindon Borough Council will run a full consultation process if or when this happens.
The building will be run by a group of voluntary trustees from the community as a non for profit organisation. All monies generated will go towards the running and maintenance of the facility. At a later stage members of the public will be able to put their names forward as a Charity Trustee if they would like to be involved in the management of the building and its ongoing maintenance.
Early financial estimations indicate that enough revenue could be generated from the Scouts, Preschool, Youth Club and Football teams to cover the costs of running and maintaining the building. The intention is that the building is ring-fenced for sport and recreation by community not-for-profit organisations rather than for any private hire.
Wroughton Youth Football Club already use the Maunsell Way site on Saturdays during term time for training during the football season. Not all of the WYFC teams play at Maunsell Way with teams also playing at North Wroughton, inside and outside of the Ridgeway school and on the Junior school field this is also likely to continue. The teams playing at Maunsell Way have home matches roughly every two to three weeks during this period and some teams also hold a training session during the evening when daylight permits. The teams usually hire an indoor venue or all weather pitch at other venues in and around Swindon for evening training during the winter months.
All current Scout, Cub and Beaver sessions take place at the Scout Hut on Weirside Avenue, Wroughton. As an indicator of current usage, Wroughton Cub pack and Beaver Colony meet during term time only. The Beaver session (ages 6-8) is from 6pm-7.15 on Monday and Wednesday evenings. The senior unit – Explorers, meet after Beavers on a Monday evening until 9:30 pm, the building is also intended to be used by the district Scouts for training and meetings.
Cubs (ages 8-10.5) meet from 6.30-8.15pm on Tuesdays and due to demand another evening session for them is likely to start from late 2020. Wroughton Scouts meet monthly on a Saturday. As they take part in many activities away from their base it is expected that the Maunsell facility will be used by them for around 6 sessions per year.
Wroughton Youth Club do not currently have a regular meeting place although have previously used Maunsell Way pavilion. The frequency of youth club sessions at Maunsell Way are currently unknown as we are re scoping the needs of our young people through Outreach Youth workers on our streets. Funding for any permanent youth club sessions is likely to come from the existing Parish Council budget and will be subject to discussion and potential agreement at future Parish Council meetings.
Building opening requirements of a preschool will be defined in conjunction with Swindon Borough Councils Early Years Team and can vary from provider to provider.
BMX Wroughton currently hold a weekly BMX ercise session on Monday lunchtimes for women and periodically hold organised BMX events at the site.
The field opposite Falkirk road is not suitable to play organised football on in its current state. Some investment may take place to improve the playing surface this but there are currently no identified funds to do this. It is hoped that introducing structured use of this site would help safeguard its future status as a place of recreation and leisure.
As with any typical building project flooding possibilities will need to be considered. The Parish Council will be investigating all outcomes and seeking professional advice as necessary. Professional drainage experts will be appointed to advise further.
Capital costs of the building will be covered by grant funding and community group donations, this process can be progressed once planning applications have been considered and subsequently approved.
Our Wroughton Neighbourhood Plan states that there is a need to maintain and increase the opportunities for sport and leisure. Residents have raised the need for better play facilities for children. Sports and youth organisations within the village have said that the current provision of land is barely adequate.
Between 2013 and 2018, a number of sports and community groups have approached WPC to better utilise the Maunsell Way recreational ground and pavilion. Residents’ views have been sought through a number of community engagement and consultation events and results show that Community focused, not for profit sports club’s growth aspirations are supported by Wroughton’s residents.
The pavilion is reaching the end of its economic life, the building fabric is starting to deteriorate and the use of the shower facilities are unusable due to their unsanitary state.
Youth groups have highlighted difficulties with the current internal layout of the building.