PARISH councillors have made a huge U-turn and decided to keep open the empty Pavilion on the Recreation Ground – and give it a facelift.

The decision comes after a working party was set up last December to look into all the options for buildings at the Recreation Ground and Radford Park.

Members of Bramshott and Liphook Parish Council’s recreation committee decided on Monday that spending money on the Pavilion was the least-expensive option.

The decision will now have to be ratified by a full meeting of the parish council.

The working party included committee chairman Eddie Trotter, Susan Garnett, Jeanette Kirby, Jackie Poole and executive officer Peter Stanley.

Its aim was to provide clear recommendations of the preferred options including guideline figures.

Councillors had previously agreed the buildings presented ‘complex’ problems.

They said if the building were demolished, there could be ‘complications’ with the power supply and other utilities which serve an adjacent tractor shed for the groundstaff and the nearby tennis club toilets, as these all go through the Pavilion building.

The Pavilion was the home of the Willows Nursery before its controversial eviction by the parish council in 2015.

Health and safety inspections were in hand for the Pavilion, and £10,000 had been earmarked for its demolition.

Concerns had been raised because the building could not be left in its current condition as cluncillors were told it was insured only for demolition.

The committee heard the available options were either to demolish the entire building and replace it with something else – which, according to the executive officer, would be the most expensive option – or to carry out some improvements.

Mr Stanley claimed that although it was an eyesore, the building was “structurally sound”.

An architect said the building could be be given a “facelift” by covering it with cladding and by refurbishing it inside, which would be the most practical and cost-effective solution.

If it were to be demolished, he said, temporary accommodation would have to be found for the groundstaff and their equipment at an extra cost.

An architect could look at alternatives and the feasibility of how to improve the building, he said.

The parish council evicted the Willows Nursery in October 2014, following a building survey report, and called for demolition of the building.

The survey had said the building had been altered and extended over the years and required repairs, with flooring needing to be properly fixed.

The report summarised ‘the property is in a condition commensurate with its age’.”

The War Memorial Recreation ground was bought by public subscription in 1920 and the Pavilion building was built in 1936.