Howzat? Cricket club catches welcome grant for pavilion project

Councillors have awarded £3,000 to Branscombe Ravens Cricket Club

Councillors have awarded £3,000 to Branscombe Ravens Cricket Club - Credit: SHENTS

A new cricket pavilion in Branscombe is set to be built with the assistance of a grant from East Devon District Council.

The council’s community grant panel has awarded £3,000 to Branscombe Ravens Cricket Club.

The Ravens’ new pavilion will replace the old one, with new facilities including toilets and changing rooms.

As well as enhancing the experience for players, visiting teams and club members, children at Branscombe Primary School will use space in the pavilion as an outdoor classroom and it will be available too for community groups and activities.

The cricket club had applied for a £5,000 grant, but the council felt it couldn’t stump up that amount, settling for a contribution of £3,000 and suggesting that Branscombe Parish Council might be good for some of the remaining funds needed.

However, several members of the cricket club have agreed to underwrite the remaining cost of the project.

Speaking on behalf of the club, Graeme Shorthouse said: “Our proposal to build a new sports pavilion in Branscome will provide a much-needed smaller community facility within the village.

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“The benefits of the social side of the sport cannot be overlooked. Sport brings people with a common interest and passion together and provides a regular opportunity for the community to get together.

“The heart of this project is therefore not the facilities that allow sport to happen, but the venue itself that would allow participants to socialise on a weekly basis. To a community as dispersed as Branscombe, such a facility is much needed.”

Geoff Pook, an independent councillor for Beer and Branscombe, said it was a worthy project, popular within the local community.

Councillor Jess Bailey (Independent, West Hill and Aylesbeares) supported the grant, arguing that it is particularly important to provide schools with outside space.

The council’s cash will be handed over subject to the cricket club being granted planning permission for the pavilion. The funds from East Devon District Council will come out of its community buildings fund for village halls and community shops and buildings in rural parts of the district overseen by local parish councils.

The government has thrown a googly though.  As the law allowing councils to meet virtually ended on 7 May and no official decisions can be made online – and right now East Devon Council is holding meetings virtually because of rising coronavirus cases.  

However, in essence, this does not matter. Once an ‘indicative’ decision is made by the council on Zoom it is then passed to the chief executive or senior officers who have been delegated power to rubber-stamp the council’s decisions, such as those of the community grant panel.

In short, Branscombe’s cricket club will get its £3,000 from East Devon District Council. All it needs now is for that same council to grant it planning permission.

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