The Gregson @ Highfield

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WHAT?
The project to renovate Highfield was started in 2007 by a group of local people whose vision was to bring back into community use a once council owned, and then mainly derelict, leisure facility with the aim of providing an outdoor community social hub, accessible to all. Much work went into putting a structure for sustainability in place. We now have a long term lease with Lancaster City Council and work as a sub group of The Gregson Community Association. The council maintains the greens & hedges and is responsible for the pavilion structure. The management group running Highfield has to generate income to cover running costs. Local residents raised £190k to reinstate the courts and boundaries and continue to work to raise funds to further develop the site. Our current aims are to install ball stop fencing and floodlights as well as developing the use of the facilities. Phase 3 will be to rebuild the pavilion as a community space. Thanks to everyone who has helped to get us from an open-meeting of neighbours at the Gregson in 2007 to see if we could get the abandoned site in use again, to our current state. 

3 areas: Bowling Greens, Tennis courts, and the MUGA (Multi Use Games Area)

The Tennis Courts and Bowling Green areas are restricted to members and fees are being kept low to encourage use of the facilities. Members have the access code and a password to a website where they can book courts and greens. Currently, you get HALF PRICE SWIMMING at Lancaster University Sports Centre when you show your Highfield membership card.

The MUGA has a safety surface, is designed for 5 a side football, basketball, netball, tennis, other games and general recreation. The MUGA is open for public use; however, priority is given to groups who wish to book the MUGA for organised times, up to 25% of opening hours. 

MUGA  - Open from 9am to 9pm- dusk in winter

 

WHERE?
Highfield is located at the corner of Derwent Road and Quernmore Road, once a hive of activity; it housed 2 double sized Tennis Courts, Bowling Greens and a pavilion with fabulous roof top views of the Lake District. Sadly it was abandoned by the council in the mid-90s, a dilapidated pavilion and small group of bowlers were sadly all that remained.

WHY?

Highfield is in probably the most densely populated area of Lancaster with further housing developments planned. There is little or no access to ‘on the doorstep’ recreation facilities. Over 13,000 people currently live within a 15­-20 minute walk of the site, including localized pockets of deprivation, often linked with poor health outcomes. The area is also served by 5 schools (3 primary and 2 secondary) .They have little or no such facilities and expressed support of this project. Research by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (2008) identified that 2 in 3 men and ¾ of all women do not achieve recommended levels of activity for health living, therefore the need for such a facility is clear. Life expectancy of males and females in Lancaster is, respectively, 10.4 and 7.4 years less than the national average; 16.8% of year 6 children and 21% of over 16 year olds are classed as obese. Richard Hammond, of Lancaster City Council (LCC), agreed that there was a real need for informal, free or “pay and play” facilities in Lancaster. The project greatly benefits the community and the many schools in the area. The development is DDA compliant making a difference to the standard of living of all who are disabled and accommodating their mobility needs. 

For further information please contact

highfield@gregson-community-association.org.uk

or phone 07929232302