Boxted Parish Council Pavilion Refurbishment

Boxted Community Hub Opens After Refurbishment

Upgraded Facilities Being Enjoyed by Local Football Clubs

The community of Boxted, near Colchester, are enjoying the use of a newly-refurbished pavilion after support from the Football Foundation and the Essex County FA.

The building adjacent to King George Playing Fields, which is now known as the Boxted Community Hub, has been a project two and a half years in the making. It will now benefit Boxted Lodgers FC and Colchester City Girls FC, amongst many others. The pavilion, which last had much-needed upgrade work completed in 2020, has now been fully refurbished to feature:

* new showers and toilets for each of the two changing rooms
* two larger changing rooms for match officials, with integral showers and toilets
* a committee room which doubles up as a tearoom and can also be hired out to generate much-needed income
* visitor toilet facilities

The café side has also been enlarged and redecorated with new lighting, flooring and bi-fold doors, as well as new DDA-compliant accessible ramps and steps. There were several unforeseen delays, but building commenced in September 2022 and Essex County FA Head of Development & Investment, Nick Emery, officially opened it for use on Monday 23rd October.

Nick commented: “The Boxted Community Hub is a really fantastic site for community sport and recreation. It’s been great to work with the Parish Council and grassroots clubs on-site to take this project forward to completion. The new, upgraded changing rooms will improve the experience for players and match officials and the community room will provide a safe, clean space for club meetings and other events to take place.”

“We thank everyone involved in steering the project forward, and we’re grateful to the Football Foundation for their grant to enable the project. We would encourage other parish and town councils to get in touch if their respective sports grounds accommodate grassroots football and their facilities are in need of enhancing.”

Ingleton Wood, a Colchester-based property and construction consultancy, helped to secure vital project funding, assisting with outline designs and costs before being appointed to provide multi-disciplinary services for the refurbishment works.

“We were thrilled to help breathe new life into Boxted’s popular sports venue with the modernisation of essential facilities, including the changing rooms and a sports bar area,” said Andrew Marchant, Senior Associate and Building Surveyor at Ingleton Wood.

“Boxted should be proud of its reinvigorated multi-use sports venue, which brings together the whole community. They can now look forward to creating many more memorable occasions for years to come in the comfort of high-quality and accessible facilities.”

Arabella Brentnall, Chair of the Boxted Parish Council Section 106 Committee, is also proud of the refurbished building, adding: “It was such a satisfying project to get from start to finish in less than two and a half years, and all without a single hitch.”

Benefiting from the new facilities are Boxted Lodgers FC. The club was founded in 1918, named after the nearby Boxted Lodge, where they played their matches until 1938 before moving to King George Playing Fields. Colchester City Girls FC have also made Boxted their home since 2008. There are currently three football pitches, one full-sized.

In the 1970s, there was just a wooden pavilion on the site - erected by the cricket club - which was later extended by both the cricket and football clubs. In those days, there were only two dribbling showers and one old outside toilet, consisting of an open trench. The smell was horrendous, and it became a haven for spiders.

By 2015, the building was in such a dire state it had to be closed down by Boxted Parish Council on health and safety grounds. At that stage, there were some wholly-inadequate open communal showers, one match official changing room and just two toilets for the sports players. The café side had no proper disabled access. The building had to be patched-up and re-opened later that year.

Thanks, partly, to a grant from Essex County Council, the building was re-roofed in 2018 and re-plastered in 2020, plus a basic accessibility ramp was installed. That year, the Parish Council’s Section 106 Committee was formed, which led to serious discussions about refurbishing the building as the Boxted Community Hub. Planning permission was sought and obtained in December 2021 and, with careful re-modelling of the building’s existing footprint, upgrades are now complete.

Find out more about the facility development work which takes place across Essex by following this link. Information is also shared by @EssexCountyFA on Twitter/X and via the ‘EssexFootball’ page on Facebook. Looking to upgrade the facilities at your grassroots football venue? E-Mail for an initial discussion.

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