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Wray Crescent

Wray Crescent Community and Cricket Building

The Parks Service is seeking to replace the brick pavilion at Wray Crescent Open Space with a new, multi-use building that will support and encourage cricket at the site, helping to make it a destination for the sport in inner London. As well as sporting infrastructure, the building will provide a community space for the public benefit, facilitating community events and providing a hub for residents and users to come together, and an office for Middlesex County Cricket Club who are keen to establish a presence at the site for staff working on cricket development programmes for young people across the borough.

What has happened so far?

The Council Parks Service has appointed NBF Architects to design and build a single-story, multi-use, prefabricated/modular building and oversee all stages of the scheme from demolition to building on site.

Between 10 June and 16 July 2021, we engaged with residents about this project, inviting their feedback on the design of the building and how the community would like to use the building. We have reviewed and evaluated this feedback – you can read our summary report which is accessible in PDF format under the section ‘useful documents’ below.

We received a large number of enquiries about the project during the public engagement phase. Unfortunately, it was not possible to respond in detail to each enquiry we received; therefore we compiled the most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) in the drop-down list at the bottom of this page.

What happens next?

We have incorporated as much of the public feedback as possible into the updated designs for the building. The new drawings for the building can be found under ‘useful documents’ below. The building management plan is still being developed and will be available on this website in the coming weeks. The building management plan will also be publicly available as part of the planning application.

We will submit a planning application in early 2022. As part of the statutory process for planning applications there will be a consultation period where views of the residents and local park users can be submitted to the local planning authority.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions:

About the design

How big is the community room and how many people will the community room be able to accommodate?

The current design has the community room at 76.3 m2. In line with fire safety regulations and based on the floor space currently designed for the community room, the capacity would be 75 people. The occupant capacity for the building will be confirmed by the planning authority when the project plans are submitted for planning permission.

How big is the footprint of the proposed building?

Approximately 220m2 – the same footprint as the previous building.

Will there be publicly accessible WC’s from the outside of the building?

Yes, the revised design now includes access to WC’s from the outside of the building.

Will the office be separated from the community room?

Yes, as part of the feedback there were a lot of requests to separate out the access to the office. We have now moved the office to the outside of the left side of the building and it will have its own entryway.

What will happen to the fenced compound area at the back of the building?

The compound area is owned by the Council and is primarily used by the grounds maintenance team for storage. This compound will remain and a new gated entrance will be part of the works to the improvement of the site.

Will there be baby changing facilities?

Yes, the WC’s will have baby change facilities both accessible from the outside of the building and in the WC in the community room.

Why does Middlesex Cricket have an office?

The office has been built into the design to provide a base for staff working on cricket development programmes for young people across the borough. Middlesex Cricket in partnership with the Council provide funding and coaches to deliver these activities. It will not be used as a hub for semi-professional cricket.

Can you include a café in the plans?

A café would require considerably more funding to fit out and make operational and is not part of the scope of this project. A café would also need a different type of planning permission to make this a viable option. We have amended the design to add a servery hatch to the front of the building which is connected to the kitchen and will create the opportunity for a community café to be developed in the future.

Does the building have sustainable and green features?

We were awarded funding from the Council’s carbon offset fund to install a green roof on the building as well as an air source heat pump, which is a renewable source of heat for the building.

Will there be CCTV?

No, there will be no security cameras as this would significantly add to the costs of the project and ongoing running costs of the building. Anti-social behaviour (ASB) concerns are addressed further in question 27.

About the project

Why does the Council have to provide cricket facilities?

The Council’s Local Planning Policy DM6.4 Sport and recreation Point C. states: Developments that would result in the loss of existing public sport and recreation facilities(21) will be refused planning permission unless: i) the same type(s) of facility are re-provided; ii) new facilities meet identified need; iii) replacement facilities are appropriately and accessibly located; iv) the quality of provision is enhanced; and v) the quantity of provision is maintained, with local population increase provided for. As we have an existing cricket facility, the above policy requires us to re-provide and enhance the facility or risk having planning permission refused.

Why was there no consultation before June 2021?

Once funding for the project was finalised in early 2020 the Parks Service project managers and key officers worked with designers to produce an outline design which was intended to be a starting point for conversations. As the building was replacing existing changing room facilities the design needed to meet the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) design specification. The ECB are one of the statutory consultees for this project. If the design does not adhere to the ECB specification on cricket the ECB could object to the proposals during the planning process. An objection from a statutory consultee would mean we would not obtain planning permission and the building would not have permission to be built. Presenting an outline design with ECB specifications to the public in the first stage of communications ensured that the community could visualise the implications of the ECB requirements on the building layout and these implications could be considered when giving feedback.

Where is the funding from? 

The building project is funded from the London Marathon Trust, Sport England, S106 developer contributions (contributions from developers aimed at providing infrastructure to support and mitigate the impact of development), and the Strategic Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL). In addition, Islington Council’s carbon off-set fund will fund the green roof and renewable heat source for the building.

What is the cost of the building?

We don’t have an exact cost of the building yet because we have not gone out to tender for the build. We are currently working with a quantity surveyor (QS) to give us an estimate of cost before we progress to the procurement stage of the project. Our total project funding is £567,000 with a construction budget set aside for approximately £450,000. Have schools been consulted? Schools representatives gave views and feedback online and via e-mail as they received information about the project in the same way other park users did – via the posters in the park, the website and the letter drop. There were no targeted school consultations as part of this engagement exercise.

What happens to the project if it does not get planning permission?

If we did not receive planning permission, we would have to stop the project as planning permission is required in order to carry out works of this scale in a park. We would try to address the reasons for planning permission being refused and then resubmit the application.

Why is the Council not spending money on the children’s play area?

The funding we have received is to specifically replace the building in the park. This has been prioritised due to health and safety reasons as a survey found that the current building will only degrade and present an increasing safety risk. The new facility will support existing uses of the park and provide a new exciting community space to support local community activities. Are the relevant cricket organisations funding the project? No, the funders for this project are listed in question number 3.

Cricket and other sports

What are the timings for cricket?

The cricket pitch is open for bookings from: 1 April – 31 October, 1pm – dusk.

Can sports organisations other than cricket use the building?

Yes, the building is intended to support other sports and activities, not just cricket. Between April and October bookings will be prioritised for cricket but other bookings will be taken where there is availability.

Why can’t cricket be moved to a bigger site like Caledonian Park?

Caledonian Park is not a practical park to locate a cricket pitch in due to the layout and the fact it also houses a grade 2 listed clock tower which could not be put at risk from ball strikes.

Are there women’s and girls’ cricket teams?

There are currently no women’s or girls’ cricket teams in the borough but the junior development program is encouraging more girls to play the sport and we hope in the future this will lead to more formal girls’ and women’s teams forming.

Will football matches be able to continue on site?

Yes, football matches will be able to continue on site and will have access to the changing rooms.

How much will cricket use on site increase as a result of this proposal?

We are not increasing the amount of cricket booking times available as a result of the development. We do expect to see an increase in the amount of junior cricket played on the site as part of the cricket development program.

Why hasn’t the Council asked residents if they want cricket to continue on site?

The public engagement was about the design of the new building and how it can be used by the community. As the Wray Crescent cricket pitch is the borough’s only publicly accessible cricket facility, the council is committed to ensuring the facility remains available to support cricket development and matches in the borough.

Management of the building

Will the public be able to access the community room when a cricket match is on?

Potentially. Should the cricket booking require use of the community room then access may be limited on those occasions. The same principle will be applied when the room is needed for other sporting or community events taking place in the park. Where those bookings do not require the use of the community room, it will be made available for other bookings.

Can we hire the community room for private functions?

Yes, it will be available for private functions that are in line with our planning permission. The availability of the community room for private functions will be determined when the management plan for the building is finalised. Priority will be given to community bookings.

Who will manage the building?

The Parks Service will be responsible for the management of the building.

What kind of access will schools have to the building?

Schools will be welcome to use the building and will continue their relationship working with Middlesex Cricket to encourage youth cricket on site.

When will the building be open?

We will be seeking planning permission to have the building used between 8am-9pm seven days a week. The building will be open to the public when the Park Keeper is on site or it is being used by a trusted community partner who has been inducted on the safe use of the building.

Will there be Wi-Fi?

Yes, the building will have public Wi-Fi. Will there be a notice board to tell people when the building is in use? We are planning to provide a noticeboard that will post the weekly schedule for the park and the timings for when the building will be occupied or in use. Open space/park management

Will there be planting and more landscaping around the new building?

Yes. Ward Councillors have agreed to fund landscape improvements around the building and across the park. We will speak to local stakeholders including the Friends of Wray Crescent to agree these proposals.

How will the anti-social behaviour (ASB) and security issues be dealt with in this proposal?

The ASB on site is well documented and many residents and community members have made their concerns known during the development of this project. We have added an additional enclosed fencing area to the right side of the building which will store garden tools and sports related items such as the cricket poles and football goals. This enclosed area will make this side of the building much safer and discourage any ASB that used to take place in this area. We will be adding security features to the building to protect from break-ins or vandalism. The new building will make an immediate improvement to the visual appeal of the space and will encourage more people to visit Wray Crescent which will also deter anti-social behaviour and make it a much more pleasant setting.

Will there be a reduction in green space if this proposal goes ahead?

There will be no reduction in green space. The building is being constructed on the same footprint and will not reduce the amount of green space in the park.

Can we have an outdoor gym?

We would love to install an outdoor gym at Wray Crescent but unfortunately we do not have the funding for that at the moment.

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