Background & History
A former mining village, Loscoe (near Heanor, Derbyshire) experienced significant decline when the pits closed. The mines that provided employment for so many local men (Old Loscoe, Bailey Brook and Ormonde) have long gone (Ormonde the last to close in 1970).
Charles Hill Recreation Ground was at the heart of the community of Loscoe for many decades but much needed investment was sadly not forthcoming and the 60 year old Community & Sports Centre fell into disrepair. So much so that, in 2010, the community rooms were demolished and, in 2016, the sports changing rooms, were also demolished.
- This ended formal sports use of the three football pitches and the cricket pitch.
Amber Valley Borough Council's ownership and involvement in Charles Hill Recreation Ground dates back to 1955 when local farmer, Charles Lawley Hill, gifted the land to the Council on condition that it was used by the community as a playing field and sports facility. The high levels of deprivation in the Loscoe area underlines the importance of honouring Charles Lawley Hill's inspired vision of providing outdoor green space and indoor activity space to bring people of all ages and backgrounds together.
From a report commissioned by Heanor and Loscoe Town Council (dated Dec. 2019), it is shown that Heanor and Loscoe are within the top five most deprived deciles in the country and specific sub-areas are in the top two most deprived deciles.
Many local families are disadvantaged and 32% of pupils who attend the nearby Loscoe Primary School qualify for Pupil Premium Funding. These families cannot afford to send their children to neighbouring towns and cities for club and sporting activities.
Grave concern has been expressed at the lack of facilities at Charles Hill...
- The only available toilets are located at Loscoe Primary School 600 metres away. This is a round trip of almost three-quarters of a mile for the kids and adults.
- There is no shelter from extreme weather conditions
The two local football teams, Heanor Juniors FC and Loscoe AFC have been forced to find other venues to play their matches. They desperately need a "home" venue and both have contributed significantly to our funding efforts.
Note: Charles Hill Centre CIC will manage operations at the Charles Hill site. Board members include representatives from the above mentioned football teams, Heanor & Loscoe Town Council, Amber Valley Borough Council, Friends of Red River* and the local community. * I am a Friends of Red River board member.
It is our vision to deliver a modern environmentally friendly Community & Sports Centre at Charles Hill that will be seen as an asset and hub for local residents and groups.
Activities and events are planned that...
- Develop existing links with public health services
- Address mental health issues
- Contribute to the wellbeing of the community
- Make better use of the open green space and facilities
Building on links with Loscoe Primary School and the adjacent Red River Local Nature Reserve are very important aspects of our vision to further develop a sense of pride in the community and a collective responsibility and respect for the local shared areas.
From latest estimates, we are currently around £50k-£70k short of the funding required for Phase 1 of the build and Phase 2 is circa £120k underfunded.
Refer 'The Design' below for details of both build phases.
- Money raised via the Aviva Community Fund will help address this shortfall.
The new facility will be operated on a "not for profit" basis.
The approved design is for a single storey facility built in two phases, as follows...
- Phase 1: Community rooms, official's changing rooms, toilets, kitchen and office.
- Phase 2: Team Changing Rooms with integral unisex toilets and shower cubicles.
The new building will sit within the footprint of the former Community & Sports Centre and will be surrounded on three sides by a 3m high weld mesh fence for security purposes.
A terrace wraps around the south side Community Hall for summer social events such as BBQs, picnics, etc. Large windows provide access and views out onto the terraces and the sports pitches. Drinks and snacks can be served outside through a hatch.
The main building entrance will be located on the north-east side so as to be highly visible when approaching from the main access route into the car park.
The community hall can be sub-divided into two square rooms by a sliding acoustic folding screen. The corridors will facilitate wheelchair access and one of the official's changing rooms is suitable for people with disabilities and includes a baby changing unit.
The building is fully accessible to people with disabilities and wheelchair users. There will be four new disabled car parking spaces and a dropped kerb will lead to an entrance with power assisted doors and level threshold. Car park charging points are planned for electric powered vehicles. See below floorplan.
The building will incorporate environmentally friendly features such as...
- Photovoltaic panels (solar panels with battery storage) for electrical power
- Air source heat pump technology to centrally heat the building
- Waste water recycling technology.
Such energy sources will significantly reduce carbon emissions and provide a cost effective means of delivering our ongoing utility requirements. Tree planting is also high on our priority list to support Amber Valley's objective of being carbon neutral by 2030.
Further, with the Red River Nature Reserve on our doorstep, this is a great opportunity for the Charles Hill project to contribute significantly to the wellbeing of the local community. The opportunity for people to meet in a relaxed, safe and friendly environment will help address the loneliness, depression and/or anxiety from which many people suffer.
- Planning Approval: 17/09/20
- Confirm Tender List: 30/11/20
- Award Notification: 12/03/21
- Build Start: April 2021
- Build Finish: October 2021