Ilkeston - Rutland Sports Park
w/e 12 March 2006
All this week's pictures were taken
with a Kodak DX6490
The following article appeared in the local newspaper,
the Ilkeston Advertiser.
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER
A CONTROVERSIAL sports centre was finally opened to the public
yesterday two and a half years late.
The long and troubled history of Sport Erewash - now the Rutland
Sports Park - has rumbled on for over five years, cost £6.1
million and a great deal of political turmoil. The project foundered
in September 2003 at a cost of £4.1 million, leaving work
unfinished and the facilities closed to the public. Since then
an extra £2.5 million has been pumped in to get the scheme
Paul Hogan, director for culture and leisure services said: "There's
no question that the project has had a troubled history. On phase
one of the scheme there were over 100 changes to the original
plan and obviously any time you make a change it adds to the
cost. With part two there have been about 12 changes and they
all saved money. But phase two was completed on time and around
£100,000 under budget. Now it's here the prospects of its
ongoing success are great."
Portfolio holder David Stephenson complimented the work of Mr
Hogan and. assistant director Tim Spencer, saying: "It's
been a long time in the making but we have got together and these
two officers have delivered it on time and on budget."
On Tuesday assistant director Tim Spencer said: "It's opening
tomorrow, and it's already four years old! We have made the best
of what we have got - it can never be perfect." Mr Hogan
said: "There has been impatience to get it finished and
now it is finished we just want to get on and make it work."
Ten full time staff who are all trained fitness instructors will
be on the site and in the future the park hopes to employ a golf
professional who will train youngsters. The tennis centre contains
three tennis courts or ten badminton courts, with facilities
for table tennis. The new gym boasts state of the art weight-lifting
and running machines, which are linked together by a computer
system which enables users to monitor their own progress. There
is a full-size football pitch covered in astro turf, encircled
by a six-lane running track with two D-shaped areas at either
end for activities like shot-putting and the high jump.
I decided to take a look for myself starting at the
new clubhouse for the golf course.
The clubhouse, shielded by boarded up windows and doors and a
mesh fence against stray golf balls on the one side (top) is
accessed from a new car park on the other (bottom). It is not
in use yet though and players still have to use the old building
for the time being. There has been impatience
to get it finished and now it is finished.
Walking from the golf course and adjacent to it, we reach what
was the lower part of the Rutland Recreation Ground. At one time
a grassy bank ran down to a couple of football pitches and long
ago there were cricket nets between the pitches and a pitch and
putt course. Now the area has been levelled and an astro turf
pitch laid surrounded by the six lane athletics track. The building
on the left of the picture is the indoor tennis centre on the
far side of the Rec and the one to the right straddling the upper
and lower parts of the Rec now houses a new gym as well as the
changing facilities for football and hockey. The grass bank has
been replaced by a retaining wall and the track will be used
by at least two athletics clubs. The whole arena is surrounded
by a high fence and spectators for any future events will have
to confine themselves to the terraces under the new building
or stand on the unmade ground outside the fence. We
have made the best of what we have got.
Although the project is 'finished', the changing rooms in the
refurbished cricket pavilion were still being painted last week.
Another new car park has been made at the side of the pavilion
in the area where the original contractors set up their works
compound leaving an untidy and uneven area between the car park
and the upper level of the Rec. With
part two there have been about 12 changes and they all saved
The former terracing in front of the pavilion has been demolished
and replaced by two staircases - there is also disabled access
via a lift. Although these alterations are detrimental to the
appearance of the building it is good to see that certain features
like the date above the door and the clock ( although it was
not showing the correct time) have been retained. The cricket
ground was prepared to county match standards and officially
opened on Wednesday 6th May 1925, hence the significance of the
date. The forerunner to the Rec on this site was the Pimlico
Ground which was given to the people of Ilkeston in the 1870s
by the Duke of Rutland when schoolrooms were built on the old
cricket ground near the Market Place so the area has been used
for recreational purposes for well over 130 years. It's
opening tomorrow, and it's already four years old!
I feel like a bit of a traitor this week as regular visitors
to the site will know that I always like to try and put a positive
image on the town and the surrounding area but in some cases
you have to tell it how you see it and I sometimes wonder what
the driving force is behind some of the residents. These three
images show from the left in an anti-clockwise direction a young
sapling snapped off about a foot above ground level on unmade
ground where the pitch and putt used to be; lumps of brick and
concrete in the middle of the cricket pitch and holes in the
bowling green where the vandal proof fencing appears to be less
effective than hoped for. Mind you if the site had been cleared
of all the raw materials that has caused some of the damage,
vandalism would have been much more difficult to accomplish.
Now it's here the prospects of its ongoing
success are great.
The 'project' may be finished but it will be a long time before
the furore dies down and until the Rec regains some of its former
glory. But phase two was completed on
time and around £100,000 under budget.
It's a shame some of that £100,000 savings could
not have been used to do all those finishing touches that are
still outstanding or diverted to repair some of the dangerous
fencing around the old tennis courts and to enhance the children's
play area (inset) that is but a shadow of its former self. It
will take more than a name change from the Rutland Recreation
Ground to the Rutland Sports Park to win back the public's confidence
and whole hearted support but as assistant
director Tim Spencer said: ".... - it can never be perfect."
Many a true word .... !