I am delighted to announce that signing of the construction contract for the Extension Project took place today and building is scheduled to start on 26thJune. The successful contractor is Pilbeam who may be known to you as they are based in Brighton and have successfully worked on a number of projects in the region including the Weald and Downlands Museum.
As construction is going to take 6 months to complete there will inevitably be some disruption for the second half of the year, although it is our intention that the court will be in use for much of the time, made possible by a screen along the back of the dedans.
One disruption will be that, on weekdays during working hours until 5.30pm, parking in the Estate Yard will not be allowed, but after 5.30pm and at any time at the weekend parking should be back to normal. So alternative parking arrangements will have to be found during working hours – there is either the main car park in the town or the Sylvia Beaufoy car park which is free and can be found immediately to the west of the mini roundabout south of the court (i.e. in the direction of Midhurst). Once we know the precise day when these parking restrictions will start a notice will be sent out to let you know.
Obviously another disruption will be that the changing facilities, clubroom and kitchen will be out of use for that period. As regards a WC the Estate is making one (with basin) available for our exclusive use in the Estate Yard but I am afraid that there will be no shower facilities.
Understandably disruption of this nature is never popular but I hope that you will bear with us over the next few months and agree that in the overall scheme of things it is a relatively short inconvenience.
Looking ahead after completion, we are planning to celebrate the formal opening of the Extension and the unveiling of Philip Jackson’s Bas-Relief Sculpture. Details of these celebrations have still to be decided but members will be informed as soon as they are known.
A project like this one would have never got to this point without the invaluable help from many members involved in the planning, fixtures & fittings, fundraising and legal matters. This has involved endless meetings, many of which have been at weekends and so my thanks go to all those involved and in particular the Project Team: Robert Dolman, Robert Muir, David Fortune and Andrew Falk (and Mike Steward during the design stage).
The greatest challenge however has been raising what has been not an inconsiderable amount of money for the project because it is never easy asking people to give. However due to the unbelievable generosity of an enormous number of members (playing and non-playing), plus non-members, clubs and grant-making institutions I am pleased to say that we have raised almost all the funding that we need. So my thanks go to every one of those many donors who have played such an important part in making this project possible.
Finally I would like to extend my particular thanks to Sir John Ritblat who has not only been extremely generous but also supportive throughout, often providing me with wise counsel over coffee at the Hungry Guest after his ‘insomniacs’ game on a Sunday.
Philip Robinson – Chairman