Holwell is a small village in rural North Hertfordshire, close to the market town of Hitchin.
Holwell Parish Council provides YOUR local services. We take pride in making Holwell a pleasant place to live and visit, and work hard to maintain our village facilities and public spaces. Our website includes a wealth of information about how we conduct business and what we do. Find local groups and businesses in our community directory. Use the search or browse the site to find whatever you are looking for. If you can't find what you want or would like to recommend any improvements to our website then please contact us.
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Posted: Mon, 05 Apr 2021 14:04 by Nigel Eaton
Replacing the Sports Pavilion
It has been brought to the attention of the Parish Council that some opinions have been voiced over the plan to replace the sports pavilion on the Recreation Ground. All discussions about this have taken place at Parish Council meetings (in fact, this has been a major topic of discussion for some years). More »
All meetings are open to the public, and we do encourage you to join them to express your opinions and to make suggestions. Given that there appears to be some misunderstanding as to the need for the project and its scope, this page explains what is planned, and why we feel the project to be necessary.
Why Do Anything?
The sports pavilion in the Recreation Ground was first built many years ago, for use by the sports teams that existed in the village. When built, no proper footings were dug, the pavilion was constructed from wood on a poured concrete base (presumably for cost reasons).
The result of this has been that with ground movement, and tree roots encroaching, the base moves. This means that increasing amounts of effort and money are expended in (for example) refixing tiles in the shower rooms which fall off the walls as they move.
The existing building will not last much longer, it will inevitably continue to deteriorate and the Parish Council believes that continued expenditure to maintain the structure is wasted money. The only viable options are complete demolition (itself a considerable cost), or replacement.
The Recreation Ground requires machinery to maintain it, and this must be stored securely. Normally this is split between a garage on the side of the pavilion and a concrete shed on the grounds. Unfortunately that shed has been vandalised and rendered unusable. Temporary storage was needed urgently at a time when the field was waterlogged. The Parish Council has obtained a shipping container as an interim solution while our options are examined. We are holding urgent meetings to decide on a permanent solution to this, which is partly contingent on the final decision regarding the pavilion.
The Parish Council undertook a survey of village opinions some time ago. We got a good response and several ideas were put forward for possible uses. From this we have drawn up a list of possible solutions.
- Continue to "make do and mend". We feel this is not a viable option for the medium to long term. The cost of attempting to do this is rising all the time, and – given the nature of the base – is only delaying the inevitable.
- Abandon the building. This would require demolition and removal (if only on safety grounds). It would also mean that the Recreation Ground could no longer be let to the football and cricket teams that currently pay for its use. This would mean that the whole cost of maintenance of the Recreation Ground (currently well over a thousand pounds a year) would fall to the people of Holwell.
- Replace the pavilion with a much larger structure to allow more use. This would fall into competition with the existing Village Hall. More importantly, an estimate was obtained some years ago for such a project. The predicted costs were in excess of £750,000. There is no realistic possibility of raising such a sum. It represents an outlay of approximately £4,500 per house in Holwell. We do not believe this to be a viable option.
- Like-for-like replacement. A new structure, with proper footings and meeting modern construction and safety standards has been investigated. We have obtained three quotes for such a project and believe that it can be accomplished for a figure in the region of £150,000. This is still a substantial amount of money. The Parish Council does not think it appropriate for this cost to fall to villagers, so we have been investigating other possible sources of funding. Talking to organisations in surrounding villages, we have discovered that they have taken out long-term loans for similar projects. We do not feel that to be appropriate in this case. We have obtained promises of several substantial grants, and continue to actively pursue this. This is the current situation, and a great deal of work has been done, and continues to be done, to make this happen. One condition of these grants is that we hold an open day should the project be brought to a successful conclusion. We would prefer that the people of Holwell are aware of what is planned before that event!
Once again, all discussions are held in public, at Parish Council meetings. If any parishioner wishes to make their opinions known, please attend a meeting, or write to us. We are very keen to hear your thoughts and suggestions.
Taking no action is not a viable option. We believe that a like-for-like replacement (should funding be fully obtained) represents the best solution for the village. We are always keen to hear of any ideas or suggestions for alternatives. Please do get in touch. » Less
Posted: Wed, 17 Jun 2020 18:16 by Nigel Eaton
The Parish Council annual accounts have been audited and are available for inspection should you wish to do so. Please see attached notice for details.