new welney sign

The Welney Website

Welney Playing Field and Pavilion

page created Dec 2003, amended/updated Monday, 13 October 2014
2003 Pop Cup



Welney Playing Field is a roughly rectacular recreation ground of about four acres with a pavilion and parking area in the north-west corner. It is situated to the north or north-west of the main areas of population of the village of Welney and is accessed from the B1100 March Road via an unadopted roadway called Hurn Drove (sometimes shown as Hern or Herne Drove).

The Field has played an important role in the social life of the whole parish, young and old alike, for nearly 40 years. A professionally laid cricket 'square' is positioned to allow for a football pitch (albeit a little narrower than normal) running east/west at the northern end.

The field also provides a wonderful setting for traditional summer events. In recent years these have included the Welney Gala 2004, the Children of Welney Fayres in 2007 and 2009, and a "Funday" in 2014, all of which raised funds for use within the Parish.  Another event is planned for Sept 2015.

Currently the main user of the Playing Field is the Welney Croft Cricket Club which also maintains the field for the benefit of the Parish under an agreement with the Parish Council. The Club plays league and friendly matches on Sundays, and hosts an annual cup match that raises funds for good causes.

The field has full size and junior goals, and a basketball net. A football club was popular and successful for many years but disbanded some years ago. However there are plans to start a new club during the season 2014-15.

The field used to have an area with a good selection of play equipment for children. In 2004 the equipment was deemed unsafe and funds were raised to replace it. In 2006 the equipment was removed and the area cleared, but as at 2014 no new equipment has been installed. More about the funds below.

PLEASE NOTE.> If you have visited this page before you may need to "refresh" the page to see the latest version. Also, please "allow blocked content" (if prompted) to view correct layout & features.
(Both notes apply to all pages).

C.O.W.Fayre 2007

cricket spectators 2011


The Pavilion has an assembly hall, small kitchen and very basic changing and washing facilities for sports events. It is also used for line-dancing, table-tennis and carpet bowls. In the recent past it has been used by a Youth Club, also for Yoga, private parties, and as a meeting room.


The following brief history is based on information supplied by Tony Smart, Roger Giles and Peter Cox.
During the immediate post war period the community spirit within Welney village was at a peak with many thriving sports and social organisations. It was during that time that Mr Tommy Watson presided over a meeting at the Parish Hall on 12th October 1961 with a view to forming Welney Playing Field Association. That was achieved, and set up as a Charity (charity number 1035795) administered by the Parish Council as Trustees with assistance from a committee, and governed by a constitution adopted on 31st December 1969.

For the next 10 years the whole village united to support fund raising ventures under the guidance and chairmanship of Mr Jack Griggs and later by Roger Giles, Roy Stubbs and Denis Booth. On 4th August 1962 the first Welney Gala was held at Grange Farm, in Main Street and Galas became became an annual event and highlight of the year. Villagers took much of the preceding week preparing the marquee, stalls, fruit and vegetable displays and sports. Celebrations started on Friday evening with tombola, with the whole of Saturday dedicated to fund raising stalls and entertainment followed by an evening dance and barbecue. Several well known 1960s groups such as The Marmalade, Pinkertons Assorted Colours and The Scaffold have appeared at former Gala Days. The Marmalade played at one Gala just a few weeks after their single Ob La Di Ob La Da topped the charts.

cricket spectators 2008

cricket spectators 2011 (2)

By 1971 sufficient money had been raised to buy the land which now forms Welney Playing Field. At the same time the village seized the opportunity to buy the old wooden Balding & Mansell Social Club building which was dismantled, transported (from Wisbech?) and re-erected as a Pavilion mainly by local volunteers at the north-west corner of the Playing Field. The Gala Committee having achieved its objective, was then disbanded.

During the ensuing years the Field was home to a variety of fairs and fetes and very popular and successful football and cricket teams. In 1998 the wiring in the Pavilion was declared unsafe and the Parish Council arranged (and paid) for a partial re-wiring including a new consumer unit in October 1998 (by PJ Brown & Son, at a cost of £985). The annual returns to the Charities Commission show that the annual income of the Playing Field and Pavilion was over £1,900 in each of the years ending March 1998 and 1999 thanks to events staged by an enthusiastic committee.  However, by 2002 the committee had virtually disbanded and income had dropped to a mere £70. The Council took control (again!) and decided that a new roof was necessary, and grants were obtained from the Borough Council (for the roof) and Marshall's Charity (for the guttering). The Pavilion now has a smart new roof of green plastic-covered metal profile sheeting which was fitted by Yarrowclad of Euximoor Drove at a cost of over £8,000.  Unfortunately, the outside lavatories were omitted from the works and that has caused difficulties to major event organisers ever since.


On the 13th April 2004 the Welney Parish Hall Management Committee (whose responsibilities had nothing to do with the Playing Field and Pavilion) decided not to hold their annual Water Gala on the Old Bedford River alongside the Hall, but instead to try to re-unite the village after the bitterness of late 2002 and early 2003 by staging a Gala at the Playing Field with all parish organisations contributing. Subsequently, 18 parishioners met at the Pavilion on 28th April 2004, and formed an organising group. Mark Farrow (Chairman of the Parish Hall Committee) proposed that the proceeds could go towards new Play Equipment at the Playing Field, and that was agreed by all. Just four months afterwards, on bank-holiday Saturday, 28th August 2004, after weeks of heavy rain, the sun shone and Welney Gala 2004 took place followed by a dance and hog-roast supper in the evening. It was by far the largest, most attractive and successful event in Welney for more than a quarter of a century.


Together with donations from a number of commercial organisations and individuals, the 2004 Gala raised over £3,800  to help provide replacement children's play equipment at the Playing Field. That money was handed to the Parish Council in November 2004 to be held in a separate 'ring-fenced' Play Equipment account pending further funding.

In April 2006 the play equipment remained in a neglected condition, and the Council had made no attempt to replace it or obtain match-funding.  When asked by two ex-members of the Gala Committee why that was, Parish Council Chairman Cllr. Goodger said that as the Council were planning to build a new parish hall they wanted to keep the money until the location had been decided in order "to combine the two projects" [later note: in fact when the application was lodged it ommitted a childrens play area].

Shortly afterwards the old equipment was removed. See report & photos, link at bottom of page.

The money raised at the 2004 Gala by hard work of the organisers and the generosity of the public remains largely unused, and what has been spent has been on sports equipment, not kids play equipment. The Council's attitude not to use it until a new building is ready, however sensible it may seem to some, has discouraged further fund raising efforts by parishioners for any Council project. The Council's own fund raising idea, a 'Sausage Supper' in 2009 was a flop and actually lost money. (See Council's minutes for April 2009 and May 2009.)


2010 1st Planning application for a Community Centre

In February 2010 Welney Parish Council decided to proceed with a controversial application for planning permission to build a new Community Centre on the north-east part of the field to replace the existing pavilion and Parish Hall and provide much needed "21st century" facilities within the Parish. However the land lost to the new building and the associated new access road and parking will considerably reduce the area for outdoor events and sports such as cricket and football. The Parish Council chairman said the planned development will cost "£200,000 plus 10% contingency", but no breakdown was provided despite requests from parishioners at the meeting.

There was considerable opposition to the location chosen, but the Council rejected an alternative - the existing pavilion site (which the Council had themselves originally chosen) because "the pavilion site and car park is an asset which we may need to sell for housing to fund the new building".  When a parishioner asked what the asset was worth, the Chairman said they didn't know, they hadn't had it valued.

The application is likely to receive a variety of different objections. Whatever the outcome, a new building is likely to be some years away.

In May 2010 the application was refused by the Borough Council.


2010 2nd Planning application for a Community Centre

This was for a similar building as in the 1st application, but on a different site, that of the existing Pavilion, which was much more sensible. The Council still managed to make a mess of this and had to make a second attempt.

In 2011 permission was granted subject to ten conditions, one being to start work within three years. The Council failed to address any of the conditions, didn't make any atempts to raise the funds and permission lapsed in Jun 2013.

For much more on all this use link on right.

Acknowledgements and Sources:
text & photos by the Webmaster

2013 Proposed replacement Pavilion

In August 2013 the Council finally accepted that the cost of the proposed Community Centre vastly exeeded what could reasonably be expected to be raised and decided a more modest building such a modular one would be sufficient. Plans and quotes were obtained for a new Pavilion but once again raising funds was not pursued and the scheme ground to a halt.

In May/June 2014 the Council were persuaded to allow the project to be handed to a non-council group. See link on right.

back to top of page back to any comments?  please e-mail webmaster