The Pavilion which was formerly Loughton Sports and Social Club is now owned by Loughton and Great Holm Parish Council. The Parish Council and local Labour campaigners want to see the club used as a café, with increased community use.
“The Grumpy Cook”, which already runs cafés in Shenley Church End and at Howe Park Wood, is looking at running a café at the venue and would welcome the community in so they could use it more. Residents have described it previously as a “drinking club”. It is right beside the much loved pirate park playground and not far away from the local primary schools in Loughton.
Loughton Parish Council Chair, Peter Todd, said: “The Parish Council has for some time been trying to find ways to get the best community use out of the pavilion and sports ground at Loughton. The pitches remain in regular use for football and recreation. Now that the private social club, which used to lease the pavilion, largely as licensed premises, has vacated, there is a new chance to open it up to wider community use. We have invited the entire local community to put forward proposals and after reviewing all the submissions consider a community café would be an exciting new community asset and community focal point. The proposed café would be open for local groups to use as well as open to all. The new tenant has agreed to invest in the premises to renovate them. If we are not able to proceed with this slight change of use there is a risk the premises could stand empty which would be a huge loss to our community”
Ben Nolan, community campaigner, added: “I remember my brother and I used to play football here when we were children and although teams still play here, the main clubhouse isn’t used now. I’d really like to see it coming back into use for the community. If we had a thriving café here we could also have community groups meeting here and those playing sport could get refreshments.”
Councillor Zoe Nolan concluded: “I support this planning application for change of use to a café. Residents have told us that they really want the community to be able to use this sports complex for a range of activities and a cafe would be great. I hope residents will go onto the Milton Keynes Council website and leave their comments on the planning application.”