Plans to extend £120,000 sports pavilion at Cockfield recreation ground
By Alex Metcalfe - Senior Reporter
A COUNCIL has vowed to “get the ball rolling” on plans to extend its £120,000 sports hub.
Cockfield’s Pauline Charlton Sports Pavilion was built in 2014 to provide a base for football teams and organisations in the village.
Members have mulled over extending the complex since 2016 so creches would have more room to manoeuvre and indoor sports like table tennis and bowls could be played.
With a five figure sum in the bank from the sale of the former community centre, councillors agreed it was time to look into costs for making the pavilion ceiling higher and the social room longer.
Chairwoman Cllr Brenda Singleton told colleagues the authorities were “cracking down” on having money earmarked for a long time but not spending it.
She added: “We’ve got plans – everybody else is going the same way of saving money in precepts during times of austerity – but we are not going to get it if we are not going to do anything.
“We want to start the ball rolling and get some plans – you can get planning permission and then we’ll have four or five years to do it.”
Cllr Neville Singleton agreed.
He said: “When we made a five year plan we did say this would be one of our priorities because it’s not just for now, it’s for the future.”
And Cllr Christine Watters thought work should start sooner rather than later.
She added: “The longer we leave it, the more expensive it gets – even planning costs are going up year on year.”
The pavilion has proven a popular base for the Gaunless Valley Creatives in the past as well as a temporary base for Staindrop Scouts while their new hut was being built.
West Auckland Tunns FC and Shildon FC under 23s also hire the football field.
But Cllr Brenda Singleton said creches couldn’t use the pavilion’s social room as well as they could because it was too cramped at the moment.
Cllr Watters added: “We talked about maybe getting two quotes – one for extending it and one for up above.
“It’s just so we can to use it for sport or even just to make it a bigger room for toddlers because when they’re all in here it can get a little bit claustrophobic.”
A five year plan for the village began to take shape in late 2016 and councillors discussed the possibility of a tennis court on the former bowling green last year.
Members agreed it wouldn’t take much work to extend the pavilion and opted to seek the services of an architect.