Friends of Bealings playing field

Notes of Open Meeting

 Saturday, 26 November 2005, AT 10:00 AM


Project Leaders:           Eric Barnett, Jenny Shaw, Julian Haywood-Smith, Roger Roseboom, Malcolm Watson, Rick Kerry, Keith Beaumont, Mike Hudson

Village Hall Secretary: Margaret Wilson.


Approximately 45 adults attended the session and we were pleased to see lots of children accompanying their parents.

A number of apologies had also been received.


Eric Barnett welcomed everyone to this meeting and explained that the project originally began life as a result of pressure for new play space facilities from Great Bealings parishioners. After failing to identify a suitable site in Great Bealings, discussions were held with councillors from the Little Bealings Parish Council about the idea of refurbishment of the existing joint parish Playingfield. Subsequently, Great Bealings arranged initial surveys and design options.  The resulting proposals have led to the initiation of a joint parish consultation exercise to identify the level of support there might be for refurbishment of the Playingfield.


Jenny Shaw reported that the result of the consultation exercise shows a strong level of support for refurbishment:

·         60% of village responded to consultation exercise

·         79% of respondents supported the idea of refurbishment.

·         125 children aged 4+

·         168 children visiting the families in the villages

·         57 households volunteered to help


With clear support for the idea of refurbishment, a small administration team has been set up to take the project to the next step.


Eric explained that the owners of the Playingfield are the Trustees of the Village Hall and not the Parish Councils and that any change would need to be approved by the Village Hall Management Committee. After negotiations with the Village Hall Trustees there is now a user group with representation on the Village Hall management committee. This user group is known as the Friends of the Bealings Playingfield. And we are pleased to say that three members of the user group have been co-opted as Trustees of the Village Hall facility. Eric also stressed that the Village Hall Management Committee have stressed the need to ensure sufficient provision of resources to cover the on-going maintenance of the new facilities.


Eric explained that the purpose of this open meeting was to seek continued support for:

·         the refurbishment plans

·         feedback from the community on the proposed design

·         approach to funding


Outline of Proposed Facilities

Copies of draft plans for the field were available for attendees. Julian Haywood-Smith described each of the proposed facilities:

  1. Children’s play area – for ages 4 to 11 is to be located on the Playingfield.
  2. Picnic area – will be located in the old children’s play area
  3. Adventure Playground – a new facility for ages 11+  will be located at the top of the Playingfield.
  4. Five a side Football – the existing field will be levelled to provide a grass pitch with goals fixed at either end [pitch size approx 42m by 25m) and is 10% less than the  maximum size and 15% greater than the minimum size). Earthworks are planned to make the football field level.
  5. Tennis court – probably made of porous Macadam and surrounded by chain-link fence.
  6. BBQ area - situated at the back of the hall beside the kitchen area with access to a raised Patio area with seating for approximately 40 people on the Playingfield.
  7. Accessibility: - existing ramp will be improved for disabled access to field

Eric Barnett added:

·          That there will be no disturbance of established trees although some saplings (sycamore and silver birch) may need to be removed to make way for patio.

·          security lighting will be provided to minimise opportunities for vandalism

·          Planning permission will be required for planned changes and landscaping.


Project Costs & Funding

Although we have obtained initial quotes for the work we need to do some more research and will advise the total cost when each facility has been researched and agreed.

Roger Roseboom advised that we aim to fund the project through a combination of grants and community contributions.

Based on Roger’s initial investigations, grants may available from Suffolk ACRE  - the rural environment resourcing agency.  Suffolk ACRE has indicated that the results of our consultation exercise are a good indication of support and they liked the draft plan.

Suffolk ACRE has also made some suggestions that would allow us to see more value from grant monies:

  • an “all sports” pitch is thought to be better than separate football and tennis areas.
  • grants for Tennis courts are more difficult to get as they are a singular resource
  • adventure playgrounds often gain high levels of grant


Break and Viewing the Field

The meeting adjourned so that attendees could be shown the site and understand how the new facilities would sit on the field itself.  This was followed by a break for refreshments.

Open Forum

Eric Barnett stressed again that crucial matters such as day to day management of the facilities once they are in place are at the forefront of the Village Hall Management Committee’s mind and that commitment to maintain the facilities is needed from the community at large if the project is to be a success.

Eric then opened the meeting to questions from the floor. Comments received were as follows: 



Children’s play areas for age 4+

Ideally provide facilities for toddlers too– place for new mothers to meet others with young children in the villages.

Adventure Playground for 11+

No comment.

Football Pitch

Consider all weather multi-purpose field  - combining tennis, and other ball games.

Children will play football all year – football will dominate. If multi-purpose all weather pitch then need separate area for impromptu kick about area.

Multi-use area would use up less space so there would be more space. We need to get new scheme drawn up and consider usage.

Changing over from football to tennis fixtures means that the facilities may get damaged and also may require an adult needed to supervise the changeover. This in turn could mean less spontaneity although it was recognised that Bawdsey take things up and down.  It was felt that children want to just turn up, don’t want to book.

Perhaps another grass area would act as an area for spontaneous football use whilst pitch is for more formal supervised games.

Multi-purpose field will need booking system – some aspects of organisation needed.

Suggest we compare cost of two schemes i.e. multifunctional pitch as opposed to separate football and tennis.

And determine if there are enough people to use separate facilities. Can you practically have football and tennis at same time – tennis needs a wire fence.

Suggest that use of new facilities could be encouraged through creation of clubs with small membership fee (£1).

Eric Barnett felt that we shouldn’t let our thinking be driven by grant options.

Tennis Court

Good idea – can be used by all ages – family, older generation and also school.

Lighting at tennis court would extend useful time. Answer: May be a problem – objections due to light pollution.  Response: Could move courts to less obtrusive area.

Patio area -

OK – safety rails needed where land drops away

 BBQ area

Suffolk ACRE supports the idea of the BBQ area which makes for a social environment near the play area.



·       Traffic problems affect pedestrian access - need speed reduction in the Street and footpath for Great Bealings residents to walk in safety to field.

·       Access to existing play area is not suitable for buggies


Can we guarantee that nature area will be kept? Answer: Can’t guarantee due to digger access


How do we protect against vandalism? - plan to provide security lighting

Toilet facilities

Need access to toilet facilities – either provide external facilities or devise access to the existing internal toilet facilities without impacting on use of main hall. 

Other facility

1. BMX bike area – good example in Ufford

2. Skate boarding area.

3. Cricket is coming back into fashion – Cricket nets

Answer: Suffolk ACRE has advised that BMX & Skate boarding facilities could create problems by drawing unruly elements from urban areas.


Have we looked at other similar projects for ideas?  Playford, Hacheston, Bawdsey and Ufford were cited. 

Front of Village Hall

The front of the Village Hall is considered to be uninviting – Answer = work is planned to fix main front wall/window and car park needs to be improved

Funding and Implementation

Is there a risk that the project will focus on the more costly facilities and that we may not get around to providing the less costly play equipment. Answer: facilities would be delivered in phases and that play equipment for children would take priority. However, some work on the levelling of the field may have to take place before the play equipment can be installed. Every effort will be made to give children’s play equipment the priority.

Traffic Problems

As well as footpaths – speed reduction needed in The Street. 


Summary & Next Steps

The meeting concluded that the proposals are very imaginative and will be good to get people into the village. The facilities will also provide facilities for organised events which can draw more people in.

The meeting took a vote on the idea that there should be a multi-purpose pitch and the majority were in favour although there was concern that the level of organisation needed and the resultant lack of impromptu use of such a facility may preclude the idea.

Eric Barnett advised that the next steps include – redrafting plan options, initiating fund-raising and preparing for planning application. 


In response to a question on how long the project would take – Eric Barnett estimated that the Design, Funding, Planning Permission and Build could take 2 years so we are looking at work starting in 2006 and completing late 2007.


The subject will be on the agenda at the next meeting of the Village Hall Management Committee on 17th January 2006.


Information on progress will be posted on notice boards, the parish magazine and on the website:


Residents are invited to send any further comments by email to: or in the Village Hall letter box.