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(July 2015)

Elm Avenue/Rectory Field Sports Facilities – the way forward

The following sports facilities on and around Elm Avenue are owned freehold by the Parish Council: Rectory field, pavilion and changing rooms; tennis courts and clubhouse; bowling green and clubhouse. Prior to 2013, these facilities were leased to, and managed by, the Keyworth Playing Fields Association (KPFA) which, up to that point, received an annual maintenance grant from the Parish Council. The KPFA surrendered the lease in 2013 and, at around the same time, the Rectory field, pavilion and changing rooms ceased to be used for cricket or football.

Since then, the tennis and bowls facilities have been managed by Keyworth Tennis Club and Keyworth Bowls Club respectively, the clubs increasing their contributions towards maintenance costs year by year, and the Parish Council has offered to lease the relevant land and buildings to the clubs. In addition to giving the clubs security of tenure, this could also make it easier for them to obtain grants for the future development of the facilities, further reducing any financial reliance on the Parish Council. The Tennis Club has accepted the offer and a lease is ready for signature. The Bowls Club has declined the offer, and the Parish Council is considering alternative ways of formalising its relationship with the club.

The Rectory field pavilion is now almost exclusively used by Keyworth Table Tennis Club, which pays the overheads, and the Council has agreed in principle to the club's request for a lease, although this will be subject to further negotiation. The club has already indicated that it would be agreeable to the pavilion continuing to be used in connection with the Keyworth Show, and also by Abundance Keyworth for storage.

The overall effect of what's happened so far regarding the above-mentioned facilities has been that, with increasing financial input from the clubs, there has been a corresponding reduction in costs incurred by the Parish Council and, ultimately, the council tax payers of Keyworth.

As regards the changing rooms - no longer used for their original purpose - the Council has been approached by 1st Keyworth Scouts who wish to lease the premises and convert them into a shooting range at their own expense, as outlined in their letter in the May edition of the Keyworth News. The Council is, however, mindful that other groups might have alternative ideas and would be interested to hear from any such groups if they are able to present a sound business case for their proposals.

The Council will be giving further consideration to all of the above at its meeting in September and, in the meantime, anyone wishing to comment should do so in writing by 31st August at the latest. We cannot guarantee to respond to individual letters or emails, but please rest assured that all comments received will be taken into account.