A £15m Environment Agency (EA) scheme to protect the town’s sea defences gave Budleigh Salterton Cricket Club the chance to end years of flooding misery and move to higher ground.

The EA scheme involves breaching the embankments of the River Otter in several places to allow it to reconnect to its original flood plains - one of which was home to the cricket club’s Ottermouth ground.

In partnership with landlords, Clinton Devon Estates, the club seized the opportunity to move to a new location and gained planning permission for a £1.4m pavilion and grounds – a dynamic, future-proof home and an exciting community venue for the town.

Construction is well underway at the new ground, less than a mile upstream,  and at a packed public meeting on Friday, the club played a video message from Sir Alastair Cook CBE, who has connections to the town.

England’s all-time leading test run-scorer said:

“The plans look absolutely fantastic. A new state-of-the-art clubhouse which will be a great facility for the community and two new cricket pitches so that four teams can play at once, I can’t wait to see it!”

Construction of the pavilion is underway.As well as two pitches, the club’s new ground will feature training facilities and a state-of-the-art clubhouse, intended as a community venue and is designed to be able to host National Counties cricket, Devon League and youth cricket, women’s cricket and also disability cricket. 

Much of the £1.4m required has come from public funding as part of the relocation package, but the club will have to raise £600k over the next six years.

“Very few clubs are provided with the opportunity that was offered to Budleigh. We have been very lucky. We opted to build a facility that will remain fit for purpose for generations to come and one that we hope inspires people never involved in cricket to play or become part of the community.”

Jasper Westaway, Club Spokesperson.

The 2023 season will see Budleigh go from a single-pitch to a two-pitch facility. The club anticipates both pitches being utilised across the weekend with the introduction of a third team and its first girls’ hardball team.

The clubhouse will not be ready until the end of the 2023 season, but temporary changing will be provided and hospitality services will be available throughout the next playing season.

Jasper further said:

“I am hopeful that visiting teams will understand the situation and be excited about the new facilities that we aim to have ready for 2024. Our temporary provision for the 2023 season will include a container-based refreshments bar and a shelter of some form.”

Joel Murphy (Chairman), Bill Roper, Ray Dawson and Carolyn Roper of Budleigh Salterton CC.Developed in partnership with New Space Architecture, and Clinton Devon Estates, the new pavilion will be built to the highest environmental standards to ensure it can be sustainably operated and sit sympathetically in its stunning location in the Otter Valley.

With its raised balcony boasting 180° panoramic views across the two new cricket pitches and out to sea, the new home, which is yet to be officially named, will be equipped to provide a first-class hospitality experience for members, community interest groups, and the regional business community as well as visiting sides.

The recent public consultation meeting was very well attended with only standing room at the back. Club Secretary Bill Roper commented:

“We were thrilled that so many members of the local community came along. It is vital to let the town know what we are trying to achieve with the club and to get their feedback on what they want from it. Sir Alastair’s support is a huge boost for all of us.” 

The community meeting was used to launch the club's “Big 6 Campaign”, which includes a ‘Buy a Brick’ scheme to encourage the town and the cricketing community to help the club reach its fundraising target.

Anyone wishing to find out more about the club's exciting plans should contact the club secretary.

For further information on funding and facilities, please contact our Devon Cricket Funding and Facilities Manager:

Nick Goodliffe

Email: nick.goodliffe@devoncricket.co.uk

Phone: 07801 178329