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A 10 year Journey

In May 2012 the club was given the opportunity by the then owner of the club grounds - RMC Aggregates - to buy the land - some 3.8acres. Purchase of the land was made and completed by the end of 2012.  In 2015 a decision was taken by the club to apply for planning and seek to replace an ageing steel clubhouse and two storage containers. Planning, after a false start, was approved in August 2018 and funding gathered from three primary sources by 2019 from Sport England, New Forest District Council and Club Funds.

And guess what? Along came the Pandemic.

The club started work on the project in June 2021 with the project completing in January 2022. During this hugely delayed period of time Sway Bowmen have received great support from both of the main funding providers in delaying the supply of funds to the moment when needed and indeed for their general support.

ClubhouseThe new Club house is:-

A double skin insulated and fire retardant treated, green painted timber building the main part is 15M x 7.5M in width, with an additional section at the side of the main building 4.5M x 7.5M which serves as a store and equipment room, we have a kitchen area and toilet facilites. The main space is open plan and a virtual 15 x 7.5M in size. Ideal for gatherings, committee meetings, one to one coaching and other activities.

This development couldn't have happened without the influence of two groups of people, a positive and very active committee supported by a membership who have always been willing to turn up and lend a hand - it couldn't have been done without any of these people.


Design and Planning

  1. Initial outline planning
    We presented an outline planning permission which failed due to being too big, in the wrong location and lacking details such as a Tree survey.   We decided that we needed to better prepare for the Planning as it was with the National Parks and the extra hurdles they present.  We then contracted a planning consultant to manage the process and give us guidance.
  2. Final Planning

Our final Planning process included :-

    • We generated a number of designs for discussion with the planners and agreed an acceptable size as it is significantly larger than our original clubhouse.
    • We then sought three quotes for the agreed design and sought grants to cover the costs
    • The budget worked out to be £150,000 and we received around £115,000 in grants and had the rest in our accounts.
    • We selected our agreed supplier who contracted to do whole Job except for Plumbing.
    • We moved forward with this design for the planning permission.
    • We also contracted an Architect to complete our drawings and site survey
    • We had a tree survey drawn up and overlaid on our drawings. There were a number of large Oak trees involved.
    • Our consultant successfully took us through Planning Permission



All was progressing well for a build start in January 2021 with no restrictions due to COVID.  The Supplier suddenly decided he could not progress with our build, just after we signed the contract and paid the

We then got some new quotes and actually went with our second choice. This was a double skinned log cabin type building.  Same look and size.  There had been about a 10% price increase.  The reason we hadn’t chosen them before was due to the fact that they only provided the log cabin and floor to a first fix standard.  This created a lot of extra work for us and increased cost and scheduling risk. We had to ;-

  • Project Manage and coordinate
    • Building Control
    • Ground works
    • Electricity
    • Plumbing

Electricity Supply

At the start

We had no mains supply of electricity and asked for a quote from the electricity board.  They quoted £64,000.  We would then have to pay a monthly standing charge plus power used.


solarWe decided to look into an Off-grid Supply using Solar Panels and a standby generator.  This required planning permission as we want more than 9 square Metres (just under 6 panels) allowed under permitted development.  We went for 10 panels (3.5 kW) and 12.5kWh batteries supported by a 5.5kW standby generator for the winter months.  This has cost £17,000. We had to work out our likely usage and the largest user would be the security alarm.  A steady load of 50W is 1200W a day.  This is a challenge for sunshine on some days in December and January.  That’s when the Generator tops things up.  You need to consider how big your inverter is.  We chose 5.5kW.  The only challenge this gives us is in restricting the loads we can use at the same time. 

Our costs to run this is only the diesel used in the Generator.  In November this was less than 10 litres of red diesel.  Nine months should have no costs.

Lessons Learned

Work Closely with the Authorities

Following our first unsuccessful planning application, we learned to make friends with the Parish Council, attending meetings and making presentations. We employed a planning consultant who had a background of working as a planner in the past, and understood how the planners worked and thought in terms of protecting what is a very precious natural area - the New Forest.

Whilst this increased costs it was money well spent as this more inclusive approach gave us ultimate success in our planning application.

Building Control

Building Control was covered by the original supplier.  We had to contract Building Controller to ensure we got approval for the Clubhouse.  We still had to learn a lot and find solutions.  The biggest issue was the SBEM (Simplified Building Energy Model).  Our new design failed the model as it required us to increase the insulation thickness.  The main problem with the SBEM is that it did not have a building that matched our low usage.  The closest was a Village Hall.  This meant it over estimate the CO2 generated.  We would have passed if we had chosen a 90mm wall cavity rather than the 50mm.  However, we still believe it was not necessary. Our only solution was to agree that the building was unheated.  The SBEM model could not work with our proposed heating system, it assumed electric hot air heating.  It also could not take into account that we were not on mains electricity. 

Grant Funding

When you are lucky enough to obtain grant funding make sure you understand how and when you will be paid.  You may have to cover significant payments until claiming criteria can be met.  For example, our smallest grant of 13% would only pay 13% of any invoices we sent to them, which came as a surprise.  We managed to work around it.  Also be aware of how much they will withhold and until when.  Our major costs were complete in July but we have still not signed the building off for the final £7,000.  Refer schedule below.

Fire Retardant

fire retWe saved £12,000 by applying this ourselves.  However this is very nasty stuff and took a lot longer to paint it on than we expected.  Also the Fire Retardant may stain different wood pieces darker of lighter.  Our walls were darker than the roof pieces. This is in fact not a problem.

Security Alarm

Monthly costs on monitored security alarms is quite expensive.  You need to shop around and understand what is provided.  We chose Verisure sensors and Smoke detectors with Arlo Cameras.  Also check how alarms will be armed and disarmed and check how it meets your needs.

Log Cabins

There is a lot of movement in Log Cabins as the weather changes.  There can be more than an inch vertical movement in the walls.  This means anything connected to the walls needs to take this into account.  Such as the electrical conduit, put in some flexible water pipes, notice boards and kitchen cupboards only fixed at the top. 


Whilst the main build took about 6 weeks the finishing is taking several months as it relies on Members volunteering their time.  We had two teams of three giving at least 3 hours each per week for 6 weeks just to do the Fire Retardant painting.   So be realistic in timing.  It would have been impossible without significant support from our members for which we are very appreciative.


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