Hilly Fields Cricket Centre plans revealed


The approximate site of the new cricket square is marked in bright green

Brockley village already has plenty of warm beer and bicycling nuns (well, Headhunter). Now, we are getting cricket on our green. Following the recent revelation that funding has been secured to create a new cricket pitch in Hilly Fields, we’re happy to be able to give you the story in greater detail.

This a much bigger and more exciting project than simply mowing the grass. The objective is to create a sporting centre of excellence in Hilly Fields with re-built cricket squares, renovated outfields and improved changing facilities for use by local schools and clubs like Catford’s Cyphers and Wanderers. The team have already had expressions of interest from a range of nearby Clubs and there has been some fighting talk from a few Brockley Central readers about putting together a pub team or two. Football will also be able to share the new facilities and better playing surfaces.

The Hilly Fields pitch should be ready to play cricket on by April 2011.

The project is the result of collaboration between Brockley social enterprise Envirowork Lewisham, Lewisham Council and Teachsport, supported by funding from the Big Lottery, The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and The London Marathon Charitable Trust.

£75,000 has been acquired from the London Marathon Trust for the construction of the squares and £243,000 from the Big Lottery Reaching Communities fund to support the development of the project in its first three years. It is intended for the project to become financially sustainable within 4 years. The new facilities are projected to serve approximately 3,500 players per year plus 50 schools, cricket and football clubs and community groups over 3 years across both grounds.

Envirowork Lewisham employs and trains long term unemployed people in groundsmanship skills and has depots at both Mayow Park and Hilly Fields. Project Director, Peter Ranken, approached the ECB to see if it would fund the regeneration of the grounds at both parks which would then be maintained by Envirowork trainees as part of a training programme to develop career opportunities in grounds management.
Led by Mike Gatting, the ECB’s Managing Director of Cricket Partnerships and ex England Captain, who has visited both parks, the ECB has agreed to fund up to 75% of the construction of the squares at both grounds and provide money for equipment for the project which will be called ParkSport Lewisham. The ECB sees the projects at Mayow Park and Hilly Fields as a way of re-invigorating cricket in the local community. The grounds will be multi-use, with football played on them throughout the winter.

When we reported the story there were some legitimate questions asked about whether stray balls could end up damaging nearby cars or houses. As you can see from the image above, the pitch will be located as far away from the roads as possible and that the cover from the London Plane trees at the edge of the park will offer further protection. Cricket has been played on Hilly Fields since 1896 and the game was played regularly here as recently as the 1980s. Local residents were consulted in the project’s early stages.

The project will be in three stages. Stage one beginning in May/June this year will be the construction of squares of 12 to16 pitches to meet ECB minimum standards with the contract being managed by the Council. The outfields will be prepared by Envirowork with the intention of the grounds being ready for use for the 2011 season.

Stage two will be the temporary renovation of the existing buildings at Envirowork’s depot in Hilly Fields. Once operational, the grounds at both Hilly Fields and Mayow Park will be managed and maintained by Envirowork working under contract to the Council. The ParkSport team will be working in partnership with Teachsport who will provide coaching sessions and manage school and district games.

Stage three (subject to successful funding bids) will be the construction of new buildings at Envirowork Lewisham’s depot at Hilly Fields to complement the existing ‘Bothy’ built in 1893. This will allow for an increase in changing facilities to include showers and access for people with disabilities. There will also be an opportunity to include Caf├ęs for public use together with other community facilities.

Prior to any plans being drawn up full consultations will be held with user groups and local residents and it is anticipated that work could begin in late 2011.

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good news but I'd rather see a new bandstand and an open air theatre (amphitheatre)... There's easily enough room for both.

Anonymous said...

Sounds good, my only concern is whether the works involve sectioning off any of the park - I've heard of other cases where the installation of new cricket/football pitches has included fencing them off, which makes them basically a separate unit from the rest of the park. The reasoning behind this was mostly driven by the desire to charge for useage. The line about the project becoming financially sustainable suggests to me that some element of charging might be involved, and this makes me worry that in order to implement a charging regime, fencing or other boundaries would need to be created.

Anyone know anything about this?!

Anonymous said...

Most park's which have Cricket pitches charge some sort of fee,but haven't seen them fenced off.

Brockley Nick said...

I don't believe there'll be any fencing off for commercial reasons. Maybe a bit of short-term fencing off to let the pitch settle, etc - I don't know. Perhaps Peter will answer that question at some point.

As has been said, lots of places charge for usage without needing to fence anything off - quite hard to have a full game of cricket without anyone noticing you using it without paying...

XBoxHater said...

Great news,last I heard Catford Wanderer's had 3 teams.The pitches look to be In the same position as they were originally.

Ross said...

i met someone a while ago who told me something 'very exciting' was happening at hilly fields but she was very secretive and couldn't say what exactly but i presume it was this.

i can't think where i met them though?

Paddyom said...

This is great - I love watching cricket in the Summer months.

Anonymous said...

Too tipsy to be coherent but love cricket, love Brockley. Yay!

Anonymous said...

I think this is brilliant news for the community - brockley is SO going in the right direction, thanks to lots of committed people making good ideas a reality. And I don't even like cricket.

eda said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
XBoxHater said...

Delete above comment please,I haven't opened It, but me thinks Its not about Cricket.

HillyFieldMilitia said...

I can't believe it! This is an outrage!! Cricket balls flying all over the place, and mostly in my face. This is going too far!!! They should use the money for a nice cafe, and French boulle. I'm going to protest immediately!!!

XBoxHater said...

HFM - If you learned to catch the ball they wouldn't hit you In the face.

Anonymous said...

Great news providing the field is retained as public open space when not in use for cricket. Many use the area currently for informal footballs games, kites, etc. This should not be stopped. I once lived in an area where a football pitch was fenced off and the public was prevented from using due to (alleged) health concerns about dog filth and pitch erosion. I would not want to see similar at HF. Formal use for one activity does seem to be a step toward this. Fencing would also really detract from the openness.

Anonymous said...

I see there is an advert for a health and safety officer on £100k a year for the site

Anonymous said...

actually many use the space for organised childrens football coaching and games. So you can't fly your kite then, unless you wanted to trip up a six year old.

It sounds great.

Blue sky said...

I agree that it would be a real shame to fence it off - and that might actually make it more tempting a target for vandals etc. However, cricket whites and dog sh** really don't go well together, and dog mess is becoming more and more of a problem in the park and the surrounding streets thanks to irresponsible, lazy dog owners (usually the ones who own baby-eating trophy dogs) who don't clear up after themselves. Trying to get to the park and back is like running a gauntlet.

Anonymous said...

seriously doubt that, where's the ad?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Surely organic dog poo is a good thing?

Anonymous said...

They just take the dogs up there at night so they dont have to pick It up.

XBoxHater said...

I do think though that a Cricket match would probably use the whole of the bottom part.

Brockley Nick said...

Please can we mind our language - I've had to delete an otherwise valid post.

And yes, there's absolutely no need to fence anything off. Hilly Fields is a lovely open space (not especially blighted by dog poo, in my experience) and kids (and grownups) play football right across that area all the time.

Brockley Nick said...

PS - the post about the £100K health and safety officer was clearly a wind up!

monkeyboy said...

Damn, I was dusting off my CV.

Headhunter said...

B*gger cricket! I got an honourable mention in the article! Albeit compared to a bicycling nun, but still....

Martin said...

Please tell me it will not be an artifical wicket (just not cricket). Even better would be to have nets like they do in Dulwich park.

Marmoset said...

It's common to place a low removable chain fence around the cricket square, like for example the one in Greenwich Park. These are not big enough to seriously break up the open space but they do discourage people from walking on the playing strips or damaging the pitch with football boots. And this in turn helps protect the batsmen from wayward and potentially dangerous bounce.

And a lot of council pitches have disappeared precisely because the playing surfaces were not properly maintained. They take a bit of looking after: reseeding, rolling, painting. That said, I wouldn't fancy dragging a roller up and down that slope... though maybe it could be hill training for cycling nuns.

Anonymous said...

Those taking dogs up on hilly fields after dark are not doing so to avoid having to clean up after them...

Anonymous said...

In my experience dog dirt in Hilly Fields park is not a great issue. Now the street corners in the run up to the park.. thats a different issue as we all know.

Andrew Brown said...

Talking to Ross from Teachsport yesterday I think it's clear that the intention isn't for the playing area to be fenced off.

Have to say that I'm really looking forward to seeing my son take his first wicket on the pitch.

Anonymous said...

Is that the same Andrew Brown as seen recently on BBC1?

Anonymous said...

And without any public funding Hither Green has a golf course...

http://hayleydunlop.blogspot.com/2010/01/crazy-golf-update.html

Bloke said...

But what will the oval be used for in winter? Football, Rugby, Aussie Rules? (They actually play it on cricket ovals.)

Anonymous said...

Good to see mention of a cafe being constructed in due course.

Doghouse said...

Coming a bit late to this, but... the creation of a cricket pitch can only be applauded. With bowls and bowlers nudging and whirring away in tandem HF will become an bigger draw. And in my experience dog's eggs aren't that big an issue. In fact, last time I played I used one as an ecologically-sound run-up marker. But a cricket pitch does raise the issue: will there be a local team?

Cindy said...

Will there be cricket nets and will the general public be able to practice there (for a fee maybe?) or will it only be open for clubs?

Anonymous said...

Those taking dogs up on hilly fields after dark are not doing so to avoid having to clean up after them...


Indeed, why would they, when so many dog owners just lets their mutts crap openly on the streets, mostly I guess in broad daylight.

Tom Collis said...

I know this topic is a bit old now and probably not read by anyone anymore :) but thought I'd update on the cricket situation. Millfields CC will be the home team for Hillfields in summer 2012 and we're very much looking forward to putting out stamp on the pitch and making cricket available in Lewisham.
If anyone has any comments or ideas, you can contact us at millfields@hotmail.co.uk
Cheers,
Tom (Captain)

Hilly Fields Cricket said...

Regarding the Hilly Fields cricket ground, in addition to Millfields, Streatham & Marlborough will play Kent Regional League matches there (every other Saturday).
There is a possibility that Catford Wanderers will play alternate Saturdays.

In the mid-week & Sundays (non-Millfields weeks) there are plans for two Last Man Stands competitions at the venue.
Last Man Stands is 8 - a-side T20 over cricket, which takes around 2 hours to complete a game.
The divisions will be weekday (played Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday) and weekends (played Sunday)
All games are played at Hilly Fields.
It's competitive & social cricket.
Teams are made up from friends, colleagues, cricket clubs, other sports clubs and a variety of associations.
Maybe a team from Brockley Central ?
It's ideal for cricket enthusiasts to get cricket, without having to commit a full day, or to a full 18 week season.
www.lastmanstands.com

For Women players in the area, it would be possible to enter a team in a Last Man Stands competition.
Alternatively, there is Blackheath Women's Cricket Club, who train & play in Blackheath and in Catford.

Regards
Jon Taylor
Chair
www.blackheathcc.com
selondon@lastmanstands.co.uk.

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