Shakespeare Park Improvements
Shakespeare Park - Improvement & Development
Our ambitious proposals to make improvements to the sporting, recreation and play facilities at Shakespeare Park, off Avon Road, Braunstone Town, are nearly completed.
Phase 1 of the works to deliver a new multi-purpose Pavilion to supports lawn bowls, pétanque, football and tennis was completed by May 2022. The new facility provides for both sustaining and encouraging growth in sport participation. Phase 2 of the works to improve the tennis courts was completed by the end of July 2022. Work to improve the play facilities commenced on 23rd October 2023 and take approximately a month to complete. The completion of the playground improvements will complete the £1.2 million investment at the Park. See Project Timescales at the bottom of the page.
The scheme included:
- Demolition of the existing Bowls Clubhouse and Football Changing Rooms; which has been completed;
- Building of a new multi-sports Clubhouse between the Bowling Green, Tennis Courts and Recreation Ground;
- Extension and improvements to the existing Car Park;
- Improvements to the Tennis Courts; and
- Improvements to the play equipment and safety surfaces, including installation of sensory play equipment, due November 2023.
Background to the Project
The old Sports Pavilion, which contained the Bowling Clubhouse and Football Changing Rooms, was in disrepair and no longer fit for use, the Clubhouse was predominantly constructed using wood. There was no heating and the windows didn’t open. There was no disabled access to the Bowling Clubhouse. To make changes to the existing Pavilion would have been an inefficient use of resources since the main structure was at the end of its life.
The Existing Pavilion was an inefficient use of space. The Club Room and Kitchen were too small for the number of pitches on the Bowling Green and there were separate changing and toilet facilities for the Bowling Club and Football Club, the Bowling season being April to October and Football Season August to April. Since bowling and football don’t take place every day, in the couple of months both clubs overlap there was the ability to schedule use of the new facility to avoid clashes.
Tennis Courts / Playground
Both the Playground and Tennis Courts are well used by the local community, however, there had been no significant investment in the facilities on this site for over 40 years. Modern technologies produce long lasting, vandal poof, yet attractive play equipment and safety surfaces. Installing new safety surfaces at the Playground and Tennis Courts not only improves safety, but also reduces maintenance costs while improving the visual appearance. In addition, Braunstone Town only has traditional play equipment at its parks, there are a variety of sensory play equipment available which allows for play for all ages and abilities and in particular those physically unable to use traditional play equipment such as swings and slides, installing such equipment at an existing playground allows for the family and friends to enjoy play and recreation together.
Summary of the Scheme
The scheme involved building a brand new single storey Pavilion to cater for the sports which use the Park (i.e. Bowling, Football, Tennis and Petanque). The location of the new building is between the Bowling Green, Tennis Courts and Recreation Field (to the rear of Shakespeare Drive). The building makes more efficient use of the floor space by providing a single clubroom, kitchen, changing room and storage facilities for all sporting teams using the park.
The old Pavilion, which was adjacent to the Tennis Courts and car park (to the rear of Avon Road) was demolished and the Car Park extended. The surface has been replaced and parking spaces lined out. Provision has also be made for cycle rails to which cycles can be secured.
A new area has been created behind tennis courts for use as a pentanque pitch.
The perimeter fence, safety surface and nets on the Tennis Courts have been renewed.
In November 2023 it is proposed to install new safety surfaces and new play equipment, including the provision of Sensory Play Equipment, at the Playground, which will be closed for the duration of the installation of the equipment (anticipated to be no more than one month).
The current timescales are for work to be completed by the end of 2023.
- New Site Layout
- New Pavilion Design and Layout
- Playground Layout Proposals
- Sensory Play Equipment
- Tennis Court Proposals
- Business Case
- Business Plan (updated August 2019)
In 2012 and 2013, the Town’s Citizens’ Advisory Panel carried out a review of the Council’s Open Spaces and Parks to identify priorities for improvements for Capital Projects should external funding arise. Details of the proposals were published in the Braunstone Life, along with details on how to respond to the consultation. Questions were included in the Town Council’s Annual Survey, undertaken between June and August each year between 2015 and 2017, which was circulated to 300 random households in 2015 and was available on-line, from Community Centres and advertised in the Braunstone Life. Consultation information events were also held at Braunstone Civic Centre.
A Working Group of Town Councillors and representatives from the sports clubs was established to develop detailed proposals and regular updates were submitted to Policy & Resources Committee and Citizens’ Advisory Panel.
Following detailed proposals being agreed by Policy & Resources Committee on 26th August 2016, a month long consultation was held on the proposals in September 2016 at Braunstone Civic Centre and on the consultation page for the project on the Town Council’s website. A comments form was available to assist with responses and a drop-in information session was held between 5pm and 8pm on Tuesday 20th September 2016.
A further public consultation on the project, its justification and its funding, including financing borrowing through the precept, was held between November 2018 and 1st April 2019. 30 (81%) agreed it represented good value and 5 (14%) said it did not represent good value. 2 (5%) did not respond either way. The survey was available online, in hard copy and at meetings. The survey was notified online, on social media, posters on notice boards at Community Centres, Parks and around the town and in the Braunstone Life.
Following Policy & Resources Committee’s decisions and recommendation to Council to make a borrowing application of 22nd August 2019, Citizens’ Advisory Panel on 5th September 2019 received an update on progress with improvement to the pavilion, sport, recreation and play facilities at Shakespeare Park.
The parking proposals were explored and were a positive improvement, especially given parking was no longer available at the former Shakespeare Pub site.
The Panel agreed:
- it was important for Braunstone Town Council to invest in community sporting and recreation facilities for future generations;
- the Shakespeare Park proposals be supported since it provided a sustainable site for sport and recreations facilities to support healthy living, wellbeing and community cohesion; and
- in addition to external grants, Braunstone Town Council invest in the facility through borrowing, as detailed in the report, to ensure that the proposed redevelopment could go ahead.
(Citizens’ Advisory Panel Minute 8, 5th September 2019).
A detailed consultation on the refurbishment of existing play equipment and also for the refurbishment of the tennis courts at Shakespeare Park was undertaken on the specific proposals in November and December 2020.
An application for Section 106 funding for the Pavilion and Site Works was submitted on 16th November 2018. Section 106 funding of £17,213.35 (the total amount available) was approved on 13th December 2018 and is ring fenced for site works, such as Parking Bays, Paving, Kerbs & Edgings, Fencing & Gates, Landscaping and Street Furniture, which must serve the users of Shakespeare Park and be accessible to the general public at all times with no restrictions on access.
In March 2019, notification was received that Sport England’s Community Asset Fund Review Panel had considered the Town Council’s application for grant funding and had awarded the project £100,000.
On 2nd May 2023, the Council received notification that it’s grant application to the National Lottery for £45,000 towards the provision of new play equipment at Shakespeare Park Playground had been successful.
A meeting of the full Council on 26th September 2019 approved a borrowing application of up to £936,936 to ensure the funds were available, this would be the equivalent of 14p per week for a band D property and 11p per week for a typical band B property. However, in practice, since most of the funding is already available in the Town Council’s budget, the additional funding needed is actually the equivalent of 5p per week on band D and 4p per week on band B.
The Town Council’s borrowing application and supporting evidence was received by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government on 16th October 2019. Approval was given by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, following an Approval Meeting on 17th January 2020, to borrow up to £936,936 at a fixed interest rate over the borrowing term of no more than 40 years, towards the cost of the Pavilion and Site Improvement Works (including demolition of the existing clubhouse) at Shakespeare Park.
New Pavilion and Site Improvements
Site preparation works began in February 2020 and works on preparing the site for the foundation works for the new pavilion began in April 2020.
On 19th July 2021, the new Pavilion was handed over to the Council. Insurances were put in place and the recommendations of a fire safety inspection report implemented.
Some minor outstanding items were completed by the contractor and as of May 2022, the Pavilion is fully operational for use by the Sports Clubs.
New Pavilion Management Arrangements & Hire of Facilities
During 2022, the Council and the Sports Clubs worked on implementing arrangements for the Clubs and Council to jointly be involved in running the new pavilion through a joint management association.
As a result, the Shakespeare Park Management Association was established on Monday 27th March 2023. The Committee appointed a Chair, Treasurer and Secretary. The Committee also adopted a constitution and authorised the Treasurer to set up a Bank Account.
On 11th May, the Committee of the Management Association approved the Licence to Occupy and Manage the Pavilion, which took effect on 1st June 2023 for a period of 10 years. The Management Association have also asked the Council to administer the bookings for the Clubroom and have agreed a Service Level Agreement for this purpose.
Playground & Tennis Courts Improvements
Following an invitation to suitably experienced Contractors to tender for the provision of new and refurbishment of existing play equipment and also for the refurbishment of the tennis courts at Shakespeare Park, a consultation was undertaken on the specific proposals in November and December 2020.
Following the consultation and a detailed examination of the shorlisted suppliers, Policy & Resources Committee on 14th Janauray 2021 awarded contracts to carry out the playground and tennis courts improvements.
Further details of the work requested are available in the tender packs below:
The planning conditions for the tennis courts layout and fencing was discharged on 6th July 2021. Funding for the Tennis Courts improvements was secured and the improvement works delivered in the first part of 2022.
The refurbished tennis courts are now open for use and you can find out information on how to become a member, how to book, the charges and discounts.
Following public consultation and consideration by Policy & Resources Committee Committee in January 2021, an alternative to the Bannister Slide, a replacement climbing wall, has been agreed. In addition an Astroturf fitness trail has been agreed for the playground.
The Council needed to undertake decibel readings for the proposed musical, drum and chime panels for the sensory garden in order to discharge the planning condition. The contractor attempted to undertake these at locations where they have been installed; however, the readings weren’t definitive because of there being a number of variables and it being difficult to collate the readings
As a result, the contractor submitted alternative proposals for items which make less noise. A consultation was held in May and June 2023 comparing the original proposed sensory play equipment and the proposed alternative, along with an illustration of how the alternative equipment may look:
- It is proposed to replace the Bongos with Rainbow Sambas. The Rainbow Sambas can be baffled after installation using expanding foam. This reduces the amount of open space inside the drum, and decreases its resonance.
- It is proposed to replace the Chimes with a Shaker and Butterfly Game Station. These items have mini balls inside the panels that make a sound but it is a much softer, quieter “raining” sound.
- It is proposed to replace the Drum Panel with a Noughts & Crosses Game.
Details of the alternative equipment has been submitted to the grant funding bodies and approved.
As a result, the planning condition was discharged on 27th July 2023. An order was then placed; however, there is a slight delay with the manufacture of some of the equipment, which would mean that works would be taking place over the October half term. Therefore, the works commenced on 23rd October 2023 and will take around one month to complete. The play area will be closed for the duration of the works.
The remaining stages of the Project, Phase 3 Playground Improvements, are set out in the table below:
Updated: November 2023