SHALDON Optimists Cricket Club have unveiled ambitious plans to build a half-million pound pavilion and clubhouse at their Teignmouth home by 2020.
The club, which plays on a picturesque ground overlooking Shaldon, showed-off the blueprints for the first time at an open evening held in the Teignmouth Town council offices at Bitton House.
Newton Abbot MP Anne-Marie Morris was among the guests invited to see the blueprints for the new building and hear details of where funding is coming from.
After seeing the plans, which include four changing rooms, a room for officials, a bar, kitchen and social space, Mrs Morris promised to go into bat for the club.
She told the meeting: “I am happy to lobby on behalf of the club.
“If you have looked into Government funding, let me have the details and I will go and see the relevant minster.”
Craig Greenwood, who outined the proposals on behalf of the club, said Shaldon had grown from one team playing on a football pitch out of season to one with three adult sides, a separate ladies team and youngsters in age-group teams from under-sevens to under-15s.
Future plans, subject to consultation with the Devon Cricket Board, include making Shaldon the home of disabled cricket in the county.
Temporary buildings, re-purposed sheds and a tea tent erected in the summer are no longer suitable for an expanding club with more than 120 members.
“What we have now has served us well but is no longer suitable for our aspirations,” said Mr Greenwood.
“We spend thousands of pounds a year repairing our existing buildings just to keep them going for another season.
“They are not that suitable for disabled access or use by community groups, which are important aspects of our plan."
Mr Greenwood said the pavilion, when completed, would be available for use by other clubs and organisation in the Teignmouth and Dawlish area.
“It would be a crying shame to create such a wonderful facility and not make the best use of it,” said Mr Greenwood.
“The club has to be financially sustainable and involving other clubs, such as the Bridge Club, and community organisations is part of our strategy.”
Mr Greenwood said talks were planned with neighbouring Hazeldown Primary School about a shared kitchen facility.
“The school does not have its own kitchen so that may be another opportunity for community use,” he said.,
Club officials have been investigating funding streams for some time and estimate around £250,000 is available to them in grants and loans.
That leaves another £250,000 to find in a hurry if the clubhouse is going to be built by the 2020 deadline.
“We have taken advice from a professional fund-finder and negotiated a 30-year lease with our landlords, Teignmouth Community School, without which we would struggle to get some of the funding,” said Mr Greenwood.
“Almost everything is in place – now the fund-raising starts.”
After the meeting Mrs Morris said how impressed she had been with the proposals and the presentation.
She added: “It is very ambitious but very worthwhile for the club and the community.
“They have pledges and commitments for half the money already – and clearly have support from the local community.
“It is a project I am very happy to support and look forward to seeing it come to fruition.”