The company behind the redevelopment of a historic 115-year-old cricket pavilion promised to sell or lease the pavilion back to Mitcham Cricket Club if they are given planning permission for a hotel and pub on the same site.
Phoenix Group Investments bought the freehold to the pavilion, used by the club, in 2008 as part of the freehold to the Burn Bullock pub site, which they hope to redevelop.
Mitcham Cricket Club had leased the pavilion from the previous owners but found Phoenix Group Investments unresponsive to requests for renewal, leading to 10 years of financial limbo as they struggled to secure grants without a lease.
A public consultation on the development of the site will be held tonight, Monday, June 5 from 6.00pm at Vestry Hall in Mitcham.
Marcus Beale, the architects behind the Burn Bullock development, released a statement on behalf of Phoenix Group Investments that said: “The owners of the site would be willing to sell the cricket pavilion to the Mitcham Cricket Club as a freehold, or enter into a long lease, once the plans for the overall site have been approved.”
In the statement Phoenix Group Investments said that if its plans were approved the pavilion would be repaired and extended to provide better changing rooms and club facilities for Mitcham Cricket Club.
The vacant grade II listed Burn Bullock pub would be conserved and returned to its use as a pub and restaurant, and a new hotel would be built in the car park to the rear of the site.
There would also be improved landscaping and boundary treatments across the site, including the former stable yard and between the pavilion, hotel, and pub.The statement also said: “The Burn Bullock is currently on the heritage at risk register and this scheme will ensure that it is conserved and has a sustainable future.”
Phoenix Group investment’s statement comes in the wake of a viral online campaign launched by Mitcham Cricket Club to save its pavilion that received support from hundreds of members of the public as well as former English cricket players David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd and Alec Stewart.
The cricket club called upon its supporters to attend a public consultation into the development of the Burn Bullock site that encompasses the pavilion.
In response to Phoenix Group Investment’s statement, Julia Gault, secretary of Mitcham Cricket Club described it as ‘a shame’ that it took launching a public campaign for the company to reach out to them.
Ms Gault said: “Why wouldn’t they have told us this already if their motives were benevolent?
“This is a continuation of the cricket club bring used as a bargaining chip to get planning permission for the Burn Bullock.
“We will listen with interest to what they are offering.
“But we are no longer interested in a lease given threats they made in November 2016 to hike the rent to £20k a year – this is the current annual turnover of the club.
“The trust required to make this an option for us was lost long ago.
“The pavilion and equipment shed in secure long term ownership for the benefit of the community is what is needed here.”
Cricket has been played on Mitcham Cricket Green for the past 333 years, making it the world’s longest continuously used cricket green.
The cricket pavilion contains changing rooms and a kitchen, facilities that are essential to the playing of league cricket.
Without a cricket pavilion it is feared that Mitcham Cricket Green’s 333-year long streak would end.