Plans for new £1million pavilion and cricket school near Belvoir Castle
Plans have been unveiled for a new clubhouse and indoor cricket school to be built at a cost of around £1million in the shadow of Belvoir Castle.
An artist's impression of the planned new pavilion and indoor cricket school courtesy of the Belvoir Cricket and Countryside Trust
The Belvoir Cricket and Countryside Trust has applied to Melton Borough Council to put up the new buildings at Knipton cricket ground with the aim of providing somewhere for thousands of extra youngsters to play the game as well as a facility to be used by the community as a social and meeting venue.
The trust would relocate its headquarters to the Harston Lane site from its current office at the castle and the new pavilion would also serve as the new clubhouse for Belvoir Cricket Club. If approved, the buildings would replace an inadequate and ageing pavilion which has no facilities for disabled people.
Darren Bicknell, a former Nottinghamshire and Surrey county cricketer who has led the trust since its inception 11 years ago, said: “The new pavilion and hall will enable us to increase the number of primary age children and special needs youngsters who take part in our programmes from just over 3,000 to 5,000-plus per year. “In light of the Covid-19 pandemic it has never been more important to get children learning and playing outside for their physical health and well-being.
“The new build will give us a wet weather facility, so we never have to cancel as well as disabled facilities for our special needs visitors and wheelchair users.“We will be able to offer a wider range of ‘forest school’ activities and have also received interest from local clubs including basketball, archery and running as well as cricket clubs for indoor nets.“Other groups and community clubs will also be able to use the new facility.”
The new buildings will enable the trust, which reintroduces cricket into schools and provides out-of-school sessions, to deliver activities all year round. Members have been working with Historic England and council planning officials over the past year to get the best possible scheme while respecting the attractive countryside it will be set in.
Portacabins have been used as additional changing rooms and Portaloos are there in summer with both considered eyesores. Mr Bicknell added: “The new design is in keeping with the setting and will include a wider, safer entrance and appropriate landscaping.“We very much welcomed the opportunity to work with Historic England and took on board their recommendations. “We are fortunate to work in such a beautiful location and want to both protect it and allow more children to experience it.”
Andy Dann, chairman of Belvoir Cricket Club, said: “The club is 100 per cent behind the trust and the new pavilion project. “As chairman I could not be prouder to be so closely associated with this wonderful organisation which does so much for children throughout the area. “Belvoir Cricket Ground, overlooking Belvoir Castle, has to be one of the most beautiful grounds in the country, sadly let down by the pavilion and added changing facilities. “As every year goes by we add another coat of paint or a little more filler in the window frames, but we know this cannot go on for much longer.
“The thought of brand new facilities with an indoor training area would be amazing for the whole club and wider community.” He added: “Sadly I am a little long in the tooth for this to benefit my playing career, but for a youngster starting out this must be a very exciting time. “We already have one of the finest coaches in this part of the country associated with our club, I am hopeful the new facility will be the missing piece of the jigsaw.” As well as the sports sessions, the trust also runs cricket and countryside education days on the Belvoir Estate, where youngsters get the chance to get involved in activities such as fishing, archery, orienteering, meeting local farmers and taking part in team building exercises with the army.”
(C) Credits to Melton Times for text and others for images