Plans submitted for a £1.3m Club Hub at Taunton County Ground

by Caroline Wilkinson | 16 Apr 2008

Somerset County Cricket Club has submitted plans to build a £1.3m Club Hub at the County Ground in Taunton, located next door to and interlinked with the Ondaatje Pavilion.

The hub is the second part of a two-phase development scheme involved in Project Taunton, a regeneration plan for the town. It will replace the original plans for an £8m club hub which was to be located in St James car park to the south of the cricket grounds. It was shelved due to unstable funding.

The new building will house offices for the England Women’s cricket team, a rehabilitation gym with treatment rooms, a hydrotherapy pool on the lower floor and changing rooms on the first floor. The top floor will be used for dining and as a training room, and will also provide more office space for the teachers who operate the Study Support Centre.

It is designed to meet the requirements of the England and Wales Cricket Board Strategic Facilities Policy and all criteria for hosting international cricket, which the existing facilities do not. By doing so the club hopes it will attract more international events like the Women’s World T20 Cup, which Taunton is hosting in June 2009.

“The Club Hub represents a step forward in ensuring that the County Ground provides international facilities for the next generation of players, as well as a regional centre of excellence for cricket through the south west of England,” said a spokesperson for Somerset Cricket Club.

The Club Hub will accompany phase one which concentrates on facilities for spectators but instead of demolishing the existing Ondaatje Pavilion, as suggested in the original plans, it will be internally linked at the ground and first floors so both buildings become one centre.

The pavilion houses the indoor school with office space for the recreational and youth development programme, Prime Time Recruitment and Study Support Centre, as well as changing rooms, viewing balcony and a first aid room.

Construction for Phase one of the original project began in January 2008. It will provide three new spectator stands with a 3,000-seat capacity, bringing the total to 6,600 seats – 9,000 if temporary seats are added and kiosk areas. In addition, Pegasus Retirement Homes Plc IS spearheading the redevelopment with 65 luxury apartments, overlooking the cricket ground, for the over 55s.

Somerset Cricket Club chief executive Richard Gould said: “The development by Pegasus will represent a benchmark for years to come on how sports clubs can positively contribute to the communities, providing a high quality scheme for residential, business and leisure use.”

Somerset County Cricket Club is also part of the proposed Cultural Quarter, an area that extends along the River Tone and includes the Brewhouse theatre, coal orchard, the Museum of Somerset and Castle Green.

“It will provide the town with an interesting mix of independent shops, cafes and apartments all linked by riverside walks and open spaces. Bringing back life, colour and character to the area making the most of its rich heritage and create a place where people want to live, work and relax,” said Ian Franklin, Project Director of Project Taunton.

The spectator stands are due to be completed mid August this year and the apartments in March 2009.

Pending approval, work plans to begin on the Club Hub in September with the intention to be ready by May 2009, the same time Phase one is completed.

Somerset County Cricket Club has submitted plans to build a £1.3m Club Hub at the County Ground in Taunton, located next door to and interlinked with the Ondaatje Pavilion. The hub is the second part of a two-phase development scheme involved in Project Taunton, a regeneration plan for the town. It will replace the original plans for an £8m club hub which was to be located in St James car
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