After over two years of work since the closure of the premises in December 2013, the Parish Council completed the purchase of the former sports and social club on Station Road, Holmes Chapel from Sanofi Aventis in June of 2015. The land and buildings will be held as a community asset. The Parish Council has agreed to call the facilities the Holmes Chapel Community Centre (HCCC).
The purchase was funded by a Public Works Loan from central government over 25 years with a fixed interest rate and is paid for in a similar way to a mortgage. It was not the intention that the Parish Council would manage the site and after discussions with Everybody Sport and Recreation Trust (E&SR) who manage all the leisure centre services across Cheshire East, a lease was agreed in July 2015 for them to provide the daily operational management of all the facilities.
ES&R are a registered charity, set up initially by Cheshire East Council, to run the Leisure Centres in Cheshire East. They will use the Community Centre as their flagship site and their head office is based in the Brooklands building adjacent to the main building.
A Joint Management & Liaison Committee (JM&LC) has been established consisting of representatives of the Parish Council and ES&R and meets quarterly and oversees the operational management and all the development work both now and in the future. This includes a review of the finances generated by the operational use. It is expected that in time, when the centre begins to provide a surplus from activities, some of this will go towards further development and enhancement and some the Parish Council can use for other needs around the village.
Bringing new purpose and vitality to the Village
The future vision and strategic focus for Holmes Chapel adopted by the Parish Council is:
Holmes Chapel will be a vibrant and prosperous hub of the local rural community, offering an attractive place to live, work and play for people of all ages.
The Fitness Suite
With this vision in mind, the refurbishment started in August 2015 with the intention of getting the fitness areas in place to offer an attractive environment, conducive to encouraging old and new members to join and use the facility. The work was overseen by ES&R who funded much of the requirements. The HCCC Fitness Suite opened for business at the end of November 2015 and the ‘gallery’ shows pictures of what is now available – with a couple of photos showing what it used to look like!
As at the end of July 2016, over 1,000 people, mostly residents from the village have joined as members and use the gym and attend the many and varied fitness classes.
There has also been some refurbishment of the external changing rooms, used primarily by Holmes Chapel Rugby Club (HCRC). This included new boilers for the showers, heaters for the changing rooms, a good clean through and redecoration of both the outside and inside. This will be finished off with new flooring in August 2016 ready for the new season. We are pleased that HCRC have returned to the facility and they have already attracted many new members because they have a ‘home’ at last.
The external changing rooms will also be available for others who want to use the external fields. Bookings can be made through the reception desk of the HCCC on 01477 689557.
The Community Rooms
Work started on the renovation of the former main hall, the bar/lounge area, the small meeting room, the former kitchen and other side rooms in June 2016. These areas needed extensive work on all aspects so the decision was taken to strip out everything and start again within the building framework.
In the course of the activity, it was discovered that there were further areas of asbestos that needed clearing – something which we were hoping not to find. This important clearance work took place in July 2016 and the whole of the area was certified as safe by an approved inspector to the H&SE.
So the main work to ‘re-build’ these areas commenced again in August 2016 and concluded in September 2016. The final fitting out was completed, and the area open for use in October 2016. The centre was officially opened on the 12th November 2016, by two gold medallists, Megan Giglia and Sophie Thornhill. For pictures see the gallery.
The Brooklands Suite
The large community room is able to provide a range of services to users. These include large meetings of up to 150 people and many types of larger social events. The room is fitted with audio/visual services. There is also a redesigned bar area in the corner.
The Academy Suite
This is the former small meeting room with access through the café area. The biggest challenge for this room was to bring in some daylight, so some ‘sun tubes’ have been installed and the room is fully air-conditioned with access to the conservatory as a ‘break-out’ area. The room also has audio/visual services and internet access through the HCCC WiFi.
It is the intention that all Parish Council meetings will in future from October 2016 be held in this room; dates for all future meetings are published elsewhere on this website.
ES&R will be making use of this room for much of their training of leisure staff for all the centres across Cheshire East.
The ‘Taste for Life’ Suite
The former bar/lounge area has been completely refurbished, offering a relaxing place to go for a coffee/tea or cold drink after using the fitness suite or just to meet friends and family.
It is expected that this will also offer a meeting place for HCRC after their matches. The bar area has been completely renewed and bar services are available on request.
All enquiries for using any of the Community Rooms should be made to the main reception area of the HCCC where bookings can be made on 01477 689557.
The Future for HCCC
Plans are already underway to install a Skatepark in the south west corner of the field. It is hoped this will be available by spring 2017.
The JM&LC are reviewing a number of options for new facilities in the future. These include relocating the car park to where the former Bowling Green is currently situated and realigning the front drive. The back car park (which many years ago was the tennis courts) would be converted to a playing area adjoining the main field, possibly as a Multi Use Games Area (MUGA). Funds will be required to achieve this and the JM&LC will be looking at where these can be obtained.
Over the next year or so, we will be working with ES&R to encourage the community to make use of this great facility.
Enquiries on use of the facility should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 01477 689557