Watchfield receives over £250,000 to improve the recreation ground and village hall

Released on February 19, 2020

Watchfield 2020

The village of Watchfield will benefit from a huge £256,851 funding boost, thanks to cash from Vale of White Horse District Council, to pay for new and improved local community facilities for residents to use and enjoy. 

The district council, in consultation with Watchfield Parish Council, struck an infrastructure deal with three housing developers building a total of 269 new homes in the village, as part of their planning permissions.  Out of the £256,851, from developers Barratt, Bovis and Hill Homes, more than £90,000 will go towards extending and improving facilities for the village hall on Chapel Hill.  

The money will help to make the building more energy efficient with new windows, doors and lighting, and the shower facilities will use hot water that has been heated via solar panels that have been installed on the roof.  New stairs to the stage area will also be built, new flooring installed, storage space enhanced and a new office is also planned.  Smaller amounts of developer contributions were awarded previously to the hall to buy new equipment for older residents to play indoor curling and bowls. 

The recreation ground, which already has a new sports wall and all-weather surface in place, will be significantly improved too – over £42,000 will pay for the children’s play area to be resurfaced, and new equipment will be installed for younger residents, whilst over £45,000 will be spent on putting in new fitness equipment for older children and adults.  Some of the new outdoor apparatus will be fully accessible, including a new roundabout set at ground level for people with limited mobility. 

Over £42,000 will be spent on building a brand-new multi-use games area.  The pitches will be fenced off for safety and the all-weather surface will be marked for people to play many outdoor sports – mini tennis, basketball, badminton and mini-5-a-side football – to give younger residents the opportunity to try out new activities.  An extra £3,454 has been made available for a Petanque pitch to be built.  Petanque is like the French game boules – an activity that people of all ages and abilities can play.  

The village has already received just over £50,000 for improvements to the Watchfield sports pavilion – renewable energy and energy-efficient equipment has upgraded heating, lighting, kitchen facilities and showers.  The clubroom has been enlarged so that activities and team talks can take place indoors.  Outside the pavilion, the viewing platform is now much more accessible with glass guardrails fitted, a new awning and fully paved area.  New CCTV, security lighting and a defibrillator has also been installed.   

Cllr Bethia Thomas, Cabinet member for Development and Regeneration at the district council said, “Watchfield Village Hall and recreation ground is somewhere I used to take my children when they were younger and its always been one of the vital areas for the local community to meet up.  I’m pleased the funds will help to improve and enhance these facilities to help ensure that a strong sense of community continues for all new and existing residents.” 

A representative from the Village Hall CIO said, “The hall is the hub for social, community and exercise activities for the village and wider area.  The use of Section 106 money means that the enhancements and energy efficient improvements to the hall will help keep running costs low and hiring rates reasonable for our all our residents for many years to come.”    

A representative from Watchfield Parish Council said, “We worked with the district council to identify areas that needed improving as part of the expansion of the village to accommodate larger housing numbers.  The outdoor fitness equipment, that has already been installed, is already proving very popular.  The improvements to the sports pavilion and play areas have been very well received and help ensure the facilities are used all year round.” 

ENDS

Total amount is allocated to Watchfield from Section 106 money is £256,851.65. 

A breakdown of the money paid is below: 

£90,424.14

Watchfield Village Hall

£45,447.31

Play area for older children

£42,526.53

Multi-use game area with mini-tennis

£23,973.50

Play area improvements for younger children

£3,454.16

Petanque pitch

£50,593.23

Sports pavilion improvements

£432.78

Equipment for indoor curling and bowls