On Thursday 10 March 2011, the Executive Meeting of Woking Borough Council (WBC) brought some much-needed good news for Horsell’s Scouts and Guides and local groups.
£1.7 million investment in Horsell sports and community facilities
Following 18 months of discussion between WBC and local community groups, the Committee has agreed to include £1.7 million in its Investment Programme to update vital Horsell amenities such as the Scout & Guides headquarters, the Village Hall and the sports areas in Queen Elizabeth Gardens.
The funding will come from the Government’s Community Assets Fund. It will be used to:
- replace the existing dilapidated Scouts and Guides HQ with a new building on a site behind the existing hut
- provide disabled access and additional meeting/changing space in the Village Hall
- provide improved vehicular access and pedestrian routes
create additional car and cycle parking
- install a new floodlit, multi-use games area and a new tennis court in Queen Elizabeth Gardens
- provide disabled access to the existing public toilets
- improve the appearance of the village centre with new planting in front of the Hall and the Institute buildings and along the front of the QE Gardens.
Next steps will be to get the paperwork ready for the planning application, which will be submitted in the Autumn. It’s anticipated that the development will take approximately 32 months to complete. The priority will be to build the new Scout and Guides HQ.
Horsell Scout HQ – lifespan ‘less than 2 years’
A recent Council report found that the Horsell Scouts and Guide’s HQ is currently used by 400 children and young people a week, mostly Horsell children involved in one of the many Scouts and Guides groups. The building is in an extremely poor condition – the report predicted the lifespan of the leaking portakabins as ‘less than 2 years’.
The new HQ will be cut into the bank behind the current site, and will have outdoor space in front, as well access to cycle racks and disabled parking.
Improvements to public sports areas
Above the new HQ, there’ll be a floodlit, multi-sport play area, which can be easily accessed from the High Street and from the Pares Close estate. The new sports area will provide a much-needed outside space for teenagers, who currently have little access to proper recreation space. In the past, this has caused some issues with young people crowding out younger children in the playground. The addition of a second tennis court will mean that more people will be able to use the tennis club, and the club itself will be able to play league matches. The Bowling Club is also set to benefit from improvements.
Village Hall accessible to all
The Village Hall, currently used by 750 people a week, will see improvements to disabled access, including dedicated parking bays and a lift between the two floors. The Hall itself will be sympathetically extended to the sides and back, to provide additional meeting space.
Local loo gets spruced up
The Queen Elizabeth Gardens will get a facelift to complement the new play equipment that was installed last year. Trees will be planted along the front of the park, and the much-loved but ugly brick public toilet will be updated with a new look and disabled access.
Local residents will have an opportunity to find out more about the proposals. Horsell Residents’ Association, the Village Hall Committee and Horsell Scouts and Guides will hold a joint presentation and Q& A session on 12 April in the Village Hall. The session will take place after the HRA Annual General Meeting, which starts at 7.30pm.
The Executive Meeting also discussed other Horsell developments – 73 new allotments will be built on Carthouse Lane, and the Woking Cycle Centre will be rehoused on the corner of Sythwood/Bullbeggars Lane, inside the existing playground.