Play Partnership scores a six
Haslington Cricket Club, near Crewe in Cheshire , is a focal point for the local community and provides a venue for family entertainment throughout the year.
Originally built in 1980, the clubhouse provides a range of facilities including the cricket and bowls club, catering and a function room, which they wanted to extend to incorporate a play area for the children of both the members and the local community.
Mike Trevor, the owner of the Cricket Club had planned to extend the existing clubhouse to incorporate this new area but the local planning committee rejected initial plans as it was situated in a "Green Belt" area.
The Club needed to look at different play schemes that would comply with stringent safety regulations and be fun for the children. In addition it would have to give a maximum return on investment. After looking at a number of options they identified “Visionquest” to be the play area developer, based upon the success of a recently completed playcentre on the outskirts of Liverpool. The company is able to provide a unique, themed environment that is both safe and stimulating for children but also provides a relaxing atmosphere for parents and guardians.
Visionquest recommended Mike Trevor should talk to MMP Architects. The company had a great deal of experience working with Visionquest but also working on projects where initial plans had been rejected by the local authority.
The Planning Review
Ian Malyan, partner at MMP Architects, explains: “The original proposal submitted to planning was of a different style to the existing building and of an inappropriate scale. As the area was in “Green Belt” these had been rejected so we looked closely at the policy restrictions to identify how we could overcome all the objections and still provide a large enough extension.”
The planners had said that any development had to be in keeping with the scale of the existing building, should not be unwieldy and in accordance with green belt policy.
Approval and Development
MMP submitted proposals, which achieved the required footprint and accommodated the three-storey play equipment structure designed by Visionquest, without exceeding the height of the existing building. To maximise natural light in the play area, the gables of the building were totally glazed, allowing views out across the cricket pitch and into the play structure for visitors as they entered the clubhouse.
Planning was finally approved in January 2004 and work was quickly started. Working with both the build contractors and Visionquest, MMP were able to co-ordinate the development and ensure compliance with the planning restrictions.
The extension was finally opened in November 2004 and contained a three-storey play area for children, which was both safe and exciting.
Commenting on the completed project, Mike Trevor said: ”The play centre has become a real focal point for the local community. The area is designed to be fun and entertaining which it certainly is. We are now finding that children want their parties here rather than anywhere else thanks to the hard work by MMP and Visionquest.”
MMP Architects and Visionquest are currently working on a number of other projects around the country. MMP have also been asked to look at proposals for future development by the cricket club.