Harry Lewis, Managing Director Berkeley Homes Southern, welcomed guests to the first official viewing of the newly built Southwater Community Building and the official handover of Southwater Sports Club on Thursday 27 June. Vice Chairman of the Southwater Parish Council, Cllr Michael Neale, was there to welcome guests to view the community building, while the Chairman of the Southwater Sports Club, Neil Harding, accepted the keys for the sports club.
Berkeley Homes has worked together with The Fletcher Trust, Horsham District Council, Southwater Parish Council and Southwater Sports Club to deliver an extraordinary number of new facilities for the village. These include a new community building, a skateboard park and multi-use games area, and LEAP and NEAP play areas, for the young people of Southwater to enjoy. In addition, Berkeley Homes has also built a sports pavilion, cricket pitch, two tennis courts and two football pitches for Southwater Sports Club.
The sports and recreation facilities have been built by Berkeley on land gifted to the local community by the Fletcher Trust. Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher is the third generation to uphold the connection between his family and Southwater Sports Club, after his grandfather originally provided land for use of the cricket club, believed to be in the 1890s.
Sir Henry explained: “I remember aged around 11 playing in boys matches when the family stayed at College Farm. It gives me very great pleasure that the local community continues to derive benefit from the long-standing relationship between my grandfather and Southwater Sports Club, which in turn has led to the provision of these outstanding new facilities. I would like to congratulate the very many people that have worked tirelessly to make this happen.”
Harry Lewis, Managing Director Berkeley Homes Southern, said: “It takes real partnership to deliver something this extraordinary. The facilities at Southwater are a wonderful example of what can be achieved when a council, landowner and developer work collaboratively with local people to achieve a common goal.
“These things don’t just happen overnight – we first started working on this project over 10 years ago. I do not know of another development in the South East which has delivered such fantastic facilities for the local community. What we see today will be enjoyed for generations to come and as such it constitutes a lasting legacy which we should all be proud of.”
The community building, to be known as The Laurie Apted Building, named after a former Southwater Parish Councillor, will become a real asset to the village and will act as a focal point for various Community Groups for their activities and meetings. Cllr Michael Neale of the Parish commented: “Today marks a key milestone in Southwater, as we welcome our first guests into this fabulous new building. I would personally like to welcome former Councillor Laurie Apted. We have enjoyed an excellent working partnership with the developers, Berkeley Homes, this partnership has helped us to ensure the delivery of this centre for the community of Southwater, and we now have a ready-made local hub on our doorstep. We are also delighted to be adding a new multi-active games area, skateboarding park and play area to add to the host of facilities in Southwater which I know will be very well received, particularly by the younger members of our community. We are looking forward to taking official receipt of the amenities very soon and will then be throwing open the doors to Southwater and the extended community.”
Also in attendance with his family was former Councillor, Laurie Apted, who has played a huge part in Southwater’s development over the 57 years that he has lived in the village. The new community building has been named after him as a mark of respect for all the hard work, enthusiasm and time that he has given to Southwater. Mr Apted said: “I am very grateful for the acknowledgement that the Parish has bestowed on me by naming the building after me. I have loved living in Southwater; it is a wonderful community and has been very good to me over the years. It is a great honour for me, my wife and my family who are all here today to support me and, hopefully, get the first look at this wonderful building.”
The second part of the celebration took part at The Southwater Sports Pavilion, as Berkeley Homes’ Managing Director, Harry Lewis, officially handed over the keys to the Chairman of Southwater Sports Club, Neil Harding. Bringing state-of-the-art facility to the village, the pavilion will become a major focus in the lives of many residents at Southwater. The building has been designed to give the community both a social and sporting centre. Internally, there is a large bar area, kitchen and extensive seating areas with darts, pool table and a large TV for airing those not-to-be-missed matches.
Mr Harding commented: “It has been an extraordinary journey from concept to delivery of these incredible sports facilities and I am very proud to take receipt of the keys today on behalf of Southwater Sports Club. I would like to thank Sir Henry and the Fletcher Trust for making this new community hub in Southwater feasible. Without the ongoing generosity of the trust, we would not be taking ownership of these wonderful facilities today.
“I would also like to thank Berkeley Homes for helping us make this dream come true for Southwater. Our new building will be able to host an array of activities and events which will help to bring the community further together. We welcome both the old and the young to our club and we are looking forward to making this building, and the land around it, a central focus for this wonderful village that we are lucky enough to live in.”
Both the new Community Building and the Sports Club are ideally located off Church Lane in Southwater, with footpaths and the popular Downs Link long distance trail making it easily accessible from the village and Berkeley Homes’ Broadacres development, which launched in 2017. Here, homebuyers can choose from a collection of luxury two, three, four and five-bedroom homes and the development benefits from being just a short stroll into the centre of the village of Southwater.