Facilities Consultation

Building better futures for communities

Consultation 1

Community Education Building, Public Toilet Block, Existing Tennis Court Refurbishment – Greyabbey, Co.Down.

With Chirpy Chicks Pre-school, the foundation of Pioneering Parenting, being based in Greyabbey we are opening a consultation into several ways to bring lasting benefit to the village by seeking to draw down funding to improve public spaces. The Tennis Courts adjacent to the Village Hall are in much need of an upgrade, and local people have been seeking options to do this for quite some time now from 2015 and earlier, click here for an example.

Following advice from local people and those publicly available hopes and wishes for better facilities for Greyabbey, which has fallen behind other villages in terms of investment over the years, as well as seeking funding for our own building we want to continue to give back to the community and offer a choice of refurbishment options for people to choose from, develop and feel a part of for public spaces within the village. Some of these spaces have been identified in the Village Plan put together by consultants a couple of years ago and others we’ve learned of from local people involved in focus groups at the start of 2019.

The first space for consideration are the Tennis Courts at the Newtownards side of the village. We have undertaken a series of feasibility studies with Planning to address the endless technical details, and it is possible to offer a number of ways to refurbish the space for everyone to make better use of. We have also spoken to representatives of Ards and North Down Borough Council and the project has the potential to support actions under the councils new play and tennis strategies which are currently under development. The Council is working towards completing a new play and leisure policy assessing the land and resources it owns to see what is in need of an upgrade, Greyabbey tennis courts included, but of course funding has to be found to do that along with studies to address which areas are a priority then list them in order of need for potential work. All of this could take a considerable amount of time with dozens of leisure spaces to consider across the Borough. Our proposed project potentially saves ratepayers money and possibly advances timescales for the village to have work done the pubic wants to see which is why we are discussing ways to find the best option to invest in this space for everyone’s benefit. Our thanks to Council officers and Councillors who have been thinking outside the box in their drive to help communities.

With the technical details almost finished as a test plan made its way through Planning for this first consultation, the next stage is to ask what can we do for local people, what facilities they would like to see if we can secure funding, and change that draft plan into a set proposal we can take to funders.

For all of the work we hope to achieve (see here) we need somewhere to provide some of it. No not-for-profit organisation is rolling in money, it legally isn’t able to, and it’s purpose is to direct any funding it is capable of acquiring from grants or even car boot sales to go towards furthering it’s mission. We are no different so hiring venues regularly isn’t sustainable but given that the best way to carry out our programmes is in a dedicated space, a high-tech multi-purpose community education eco-classroom accommodating learners of all ages, we have considered the best way to go about this that could provide a wider benefit to the public and especially young people. 

This consultation is part of a large scale project to potentially improve the tennis courts to what ever local people choose, creation of a new modern sustainably powered building using solar power and battery technology with community education space and outdoor play area for Chirpy Chicks that we know committees and parents have been seeking for a long time, public toilets to allow better use of the green space behind the Village Hall, and we have offered the Village Hall the opportunity to join the funding bid to renovate the Hall for future generations.

The new building we are proposing is not what people think of when they hear the term ‘pre-fab’ which conjures images of broken down damp cabins, the sort you hated sitting in at school. Modern pre-fabricated buildings are the most eco-friendly option for building. Constructed off-site, made from specialist materials with heating and cooling properties to reduce the cost of operating the space, and in the case of the building we are investigating coming with a 30 year structural guarantee and expected to last 60 years. The space will have solar heating elements and solar power generation with battery technology to make its running costs sustainable and have a lesser impact on the environment. We are proposing similar upgrades to the Village Hall for the same sustainability reasons.

Basic designs are below based on feedback from what is viable from the draft planning application we investigated but has now run its course to allow for a revised plan based off one of these choices. Several local people told us of their hopes for areas for their children to enjoy and public comments of villagers aspirations for multi-use games areas, an all-weather soccer surface that perhaps the local football teams could make good use of, a mini-Wimbledon on the Peninsula for diehard tennis fans, and of course simply improved tennis courts. Click on each image for a better view and vote for your preferred option below. These are draft plans formed from initial feedback and if anyone has a more innovative solution or feel there are other aspects perhaps from the village plan that we could add do please get in touch.

The Multi-Use Games Area Option is currently the most popular choice during early focus group consultations

Option 1 refreshes the current courts with the modern community education eco-classroom placed beyond the courts sheltered by a row of new trees to blend in with the environment. The entire site gains new fencing with each option and low-level solar lighting for effect and security. All options of course are open at all times for public use as we are only seeking to rejuvenate public space owned by the Council in partnership with them, a public toilet block is also included in all draft plans.

I’d like to develop Option 1 - Just new courts and fencing

  • Let’s give this a go! (100%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 4

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Option 2 was a bit niche but it was a request by individuals in our focus group with a serious passion for tennis. This option placed the community education eco-classroom on one side of the court with a professionally surfaced and marked singles and doubles court unlike any facilities on the Peninsula with some spectator seating with which to hold tournaments. We used this rough design for our technical feasibility study put through planning but as with all of these plans it wouldn’t be the final design unless voted for by the public.

I’d like to develop Option 2 - Our own Wimbledon Grade Pro Court

  • Let’s give this a go! (100%, 6 Votes)

Total Voters: 6

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Option 3 offers a mix of development taking into account the popularity of football to the local community with it being the home of the excellent Rosemount Rec and Abbey All-Stars being so important for the youth of the village. This option includes a resurfaced tennis court, new fencing surrounding the area, and a Football Association specced all-weather mini-soccer pitch, allowing all-year round outdoor activities. 

I’d like to develop Option 3 - Tennis and All-weather Mini-Soccer

  • Let's give this a go! (100%, 23 Votes)

Total Voters: 23

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Option 4 offers perhaps the greatest value option for redeveloping the space. A multi-use games area, possibility even two fitted into the existing space brings all-weather play for football, tennis, and basketball, again with the community education eco-classroom which drives the funding of the overall regeneration project sitting behind trees to the side of the courts. This would be Pioneering Parenting’s preferred option as we feel it offers the most lasting benefit and has been the preferred option in focus groups.

I’d like to develop Option 4 - Multi-Use Games Areas

  • Let's give this a go! (100%, 37 Votes)

Total Voters: 37

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