Brighton cricket club plans to modernise Victorian pavilion

Preston Park cricket pavilion

A Brighton cricket club wants to add a balcony to its pavilion, modernise its changing rooms and make its clubhouse accessible for people with disabilities.

St Peter’s Cricket Club, which is based by the Preston Park velodrome, has leased the Victorian pavilion for just over 130 years.

The club said: “The existing club house is circa 132 years old and is no longer fit for purpose as a clubhouse. It is simply too small to accommodate an extensive and growing membership.

“It is underused outside the cricket season (and) can be mistaken for an empty and obsolescent building.”

The club wants to build a two-storey extension at the back of the building to the basement and ground floor. It said that from the front it will still look like a single-storey building.

The club leases the pavilion from Brighton and Hove City Council and submitted a planning application to the council last month after consulting neighbours.

It said: “The area proposed for the extension of the clubhouse fronting Preston Drove does not have an active frontage and contains storage areas and access for council maintenance equipment (which will be retained) but is otherwise not used and is an eyesore with rubbish and discarded items strewn around the site.

“The building does not provide the necessary facilities to be compliant with national sporting organisation guidelines (ie, Sport England and the ECB) and importantly is not disabled compliant, which means that the club’s ability to appeal to disability and other gender groups is severely constrained.

“The building is too narrow to function properly, does not have disabled access or toilets, the changing rooms are too small and do not provide an adequate number of toilets and showers, no compartmentalisation between males and females and limited space for social gatherings and events.”

The changes are aimed at putting right the problems and the club said: “We have consulted with Sport England and adopted their guidelines as far as possible in the design, in order that all of the above limitations are addressed and that the building is accessible and meets the requirements of a diverse group of users.

“Apart from minor refurbishment over the years, the physical structure and layout has remained largely unchanged for over 100 years and is no longer fit for purpose as a multi-use building.

“A condition survey undertaken in 2020 revealed the need for an extensive repair and maintenance works programme.

“The clubhouse is in active use for only five months during the cricket season between April to September and is largely dormant for the remainder of the year which makes the building a target for vandalism and unsocial behaviour.”

The pavilion was built in 1887 and has been occupied by the 138-year-old cricket club since 1889. It wants the changes to respect the building’s heritage.

Preston Park cricket pavilion plan by DK Architects

Members have turned to DK Architects, in Hove, for help with their plans which include open the pavilion to the cycling and triathlon clubs that use the velodrome.

And they hope to encourage para-cycling and wheelchair athletes as well as allowing the wider community to treat the building as a hub.

The cricket club has about 85 adult and 240 youth members and fields men’s and women’s teams. The colts include dozens of girls.

The club added: “The ultimate goal is to make the building attractive and fully functional for all sorts of events, including social events, contributing to it being a truly sustainable and all-year-round facility.”

A near neighbour, whose details have been redacted by the council on its website, sent a letter of support and praised the club for consulting neighbours.

The neighbour said: “We fully support this development which will turn a rather sorry looking building into something more pleasant to look at and will tidy up the grounds surrounding it.

“It will also provide a useful local facility.”

The planning application can be found by searching for BH2021/00289 on the council’s website.

  1. Peter Challis Reply

    Small gripe – please stop calling it a” velodrome” – not sure when the council tried to “up sell” but last time I went there the signs on the gates still called it a “cycle track”.

    • Andy Reply

      It’s been called a velodrome since it was built. It’s also the UK’s oldest.

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