Highams Park News

Council wins insurance payout to rebuild sinking cricket pavilion

The subsiding cricket pavilion at Rolls Sports Ground will be replaced after the council won a £1.17million insurance award payout for works

By Marco Marcelline

Rolls Sports Ground with the cricket pavilion in the distance, Credit: Highams Park Portal

Waltham Forest Council will use a £1.17million insurance award payout to tear down and replace a sinking cricket pavilion in Highams Park. 

The pavilion at Rolls Sports Ground on Hickman Avenue, has suffered from damage caused by subsidence for years. Through sucking up moisture in the soil, nearby trees had made the soil beneath the building’s foundation unstable, causing it to sink into the ground.

The payout, totalling £1.175m, will finance works towards the delivery of an entirely new cricket pavilion before 2025; a preliminary timetable produced by the council says work will start on the site in June 2024, before being completed in December 2024.

In a cabinet report approved yesterday (11th October), the council’s director of neighbourhoods Jarlath Griffin said the “complex nature of the subsidence and damage to the building” has meant it has taken “four years” to arrive at a position where the council can reconstruct the pavilion.

Plans for the redeveloped pavilion include a new club room, the introduction of disabled access toilets and changing facilities for men and women, and the allocation of use of the building for community activities such as “Mothers and Toddlers” meetings, yoga activities and Weight Watchers events. 

The council will additionally collaborate with the Football Foundation to increase the number of football pitches next to the pavilion. 

Further funding for the reconstruction project is likely to come from the Football Foundation who are said to have committed “in principle” £190,000 to increase the size of the pavilion to meet up-to-date Sports England guidance.

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The cricket pavilion is currently leased to West Essex Football and Cricket Club on a 20-year lease with seven years remaining.

West Essex Football and Cricket Club was contacted for comment.

Griffin stated that council’s capital delivery team will be overseeing the project’s delivery. The council’s joint-venture company Evolve Norse Limited will carry out the design and contract supervision work, while Sports England will consult with the council on ensuring their changing room guidance is embedded in the pavilion’s reconstruction.

In a nod to sustainability, Griffin said ecological interventions including the “creation of species-rich grassland habitats with a bio-diverse green roof, bird boxes catering for house sparrow and starling, and bat boxes” have been “recommended and considered” for the new sports pavilion. The council says it also plans to use air source heat pumps in the redeveloped pavilion in order to reduce energy bills.

The reconstructed pavilion is set to have a life-span of at least 25 years. 

The move comes as Highams Park and Chingford are set to receive £8million from the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund for their public spaces.

The money is set to go towards two “child-friendly” structures in Albert Crescent, Chingford Mount, in addition to improved crossings at the junction, new trees, seating areas, lighting and granite kerbs.

Improvements for Highams Park include a £1.15m project to “repurporse” Highams Park Station car park that will see four shipping containers used as “community space eco pods”.

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