Wincantons' Premier Outdoor Recreational Facility
From very humble beginnings and a vision of 16 local people in 1929. The Wincanton Sports Ground has now grown to the largest single recreational area in South Somerset, extending to some 50 acres, in providing recreation and leisure facilities for the inhabitants of the Wincanton area. The construction and development of the Sports Ground has been facilitated by funding from Wincanton Recreational Trust and its many grant giving partners who are principally Wincanton Town Council, South Somerset District Council, Sport England National Lottery, Football Foundation, and in addition a substantial bequest from the late Jim Maddocks, together with support from numerous local businesses, various sports ground clubs, private donations, etc.
In 1929, 16 local people (Trustees) arranged to purchase a field in Dancing Lane (approximately 3 acres) at a cost of £300. The purchase in part was financed by borrowings of £250 by these Trustees and the ground held in a Charitable Trust for the benefits of the inhabitants of the local area. The Trustees determined charitable uncontrolled discretion on the land that included:
- Use as a recreation ground by Wincanton Town Football Club.
- Use of the recreation ground by neighbouring, or other schools, or educational institutions, or any other such person as may be the objectives of or benefit under a Charitable Trust.
- Power to declare any particular, or defined Charitable Trust or purposes.
Principally the Wincanton Town Football Club used the ground, which extended to one football pitch, a small changing room/shower block, and football stand.
In 1991, 14 local people successors Trustees declared Charitable Trust in respect of the land and the original Trust was registered with the Charity Commission in London and charitable status was granted. The purpose of this was to ensure any proceeds from the sale of the recreation ground (football ground) were protected and only used to develop facilities that would benefit the original and revised charitable objectives, that are “to promote and benefit the inhabitants of Wincanton and the surrounding district, by providing facilities in the interests of social welfare for recreation and leisure time occupation with the objective of improving the conditions of life for the said inhabitants and in particular to”:
- Improve and extend existing playing and other recreational facilities.
- Encourage all forms of recreational facilities.
- Manage, maintain, improve and repair the playing areas and recreational facilities established and the equipment and materials provided.
Other purposes of registering the original Charitable Trust with the Charity Commission were:-
- To save taxation ensuring that the proceeds of the sale of the original recreation ground in Dancing Lane were available to benefit the local community.
- To secure planning permission for the redevelopment of the original site and to realise its full potential value.
- Secure planning permission for a replacement recreation ground to be sited elsewhere within the Wincanton area.
- To obtain grants in connection with the development and management of a new facility.
In 1993 the original recreational ground in Dancing Lane was marketed and sold by the Trustees, who in turn purchased 48 acres of land south of the A303 in Moor Lane known as Balsam Farm. In 1994 an additional 2 acres of land was purchased to allow access into the Sports Ground south of the A303 from Moor Lane, this bringing the total land holding of the Sports Ground to 50 acres.
Between 1993 and 1995 redevelopment of the Sports Ground commenced in partnership with South Somerset District Council and Wincanton Town Council. This original work was for the construction of a drainage system throughout the entire site, this took some 2 years to complete, along with the preparation of playing surfaces for various sports, including football, rugby and cricket. To accommodate these sports a temporary changing room complex was constructed with much work being undertaken by volunteers.
In February 1996 Sport England Lottery Fund made an award of £58,490 for the construction and development of six all weather tennis courts with floodlights. The total cost of the project was £120,990 with the balance coming from Wincanton Recreational Trust, South Somerset District Council and Wincanton Town Council.
It soon became apparent that the existing temporary changing rooms were not sufficient for the large number of users of the facility and in March 1997 the Trustees submitted an application to Sports England Lottery Fund for support of a new clubhouse and changing room accommodation. Discussions with Sport England continued over the next 3½ years and in September 2000 after numerous re-designs to comply with legislation and Sports England’s clubhouse criteria, the Trustees were awarded £758,526 of a total build of £1,163,591 for the construction of a pavilion that included changing rooms, social area and an outdoor Bowling Green facility.
Construction commenced in November 2000 with the pavilion being handed over to the Trustees in July 2001 and the Bowling Green the following summer of 2002. The balancing money for the construction of the pavilion came from Trustees reserves, South Somerset District Council, Wincanton Town Council and the late Jim Maddocks, when in June 1997 the Trustees were advised that a substantial sum of money had been left to WRT by a local resident James Frederick (Jim) Maddocks (formerly of South Gate Farm, South Street, Wincanton) who died on the 29 th March 1997. In memory of Jim Maddocks the build was named the Maddocks Pavilion.
During this construction period and included within the Trustees business plan, it was agreed that the total Sports Ground facility would be managed by the Wincanton Sports Centre Company who had professional employed staff who would promote and develop the Sports Ground for the benefits of the many users as defined in the Charitable Trust Deed.
In 2006, due to financial pressures, management of the Sports Ground reverted to voluntary help with paid grounds maintenance staff.
In 2008, due to continued financial pressure, the Sports Ground management was totally restructured with all management undertaken by a voluntary Board of Directors and the day to day maintenance being undertaken by volunteers from the principal user groups. In the first year of trading of the new structure, the Sports Ground produced a modest surplus for the first time in its history.
All Facilities are available for hire by Teams, Individuals,
Clubs or Commercial Organisations