West Parley Community Sports & Social Club Consultation

275 Christchurch Rd, West Parley, Ferndown BH22 8SQ click for map

This is a consultation on the approach the Parish Council should take regarding the building at 275 Christchurch Road. The Council is already aware of initial views but we need to enquire further to ensure we best represent the views of the parish. Within this page, you will see reference to a Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC). This is not referencing a building but an organisation that will be established who will oversee the provision of sport at the site for many years to come. More information on CASCs can be found - Read the Community Amateur Sports Clubs detailed guidance notes

Your Council would be interested to learn your views.

We encourage you to share your views with us or if would like more details, please email the Clerk, Mrs Linda Leeding on enquiries@westparley-pc.gov.uk. Alternatively, you can speak to any Parish Councillor, whose details are on the Councillors page.

Deadline for response is 15th February 2021.

Introduction

Within the 30 acres of land that West Parley Parish Council owns, are 8 acres of playing fields which are for the provision of sport and recreation. Adjacent to the Playing Fields is a clubhouse, which originally was built by residents to provide facilities in the support of sport. Whilst the Parish Council has remained freeholder, the playing fields were on licence and the clubhouse on a series of leases to Parley Sports Club for the entirety of the Clubhouse being in existence.

parley sports club images
view across the petanque terrain and playing fields beyond

Potted History of Parley Sports Club

main entrance adjacent to the car park

Parley Sports was formed in 1949 when a group of ex-National servicemen and their fathers met at the Horns Inn, West Parley and decided there was a need to establish a sports club in their community. In1960, West Parley Parish Council agreed to the contracts for the 8.3 acres of land and construction of a small clubhouse, which was opened by cricket commentator John Arlott on October 13th 1961. Since then Parley Sports Club has been the sole tenant at the site, and the associated sports teams in football, cricket and more latterly petanque, have enjoyed the facility.

Over the years, the building has been adapted and extended, having some periods of prosperity but at others times experienced economic struggles. All decisions made at the site were done so by the Management Committee of the Sports Club, made up of volunteers and representatives from the various sports sections. Originally, the Management Committee members all had to be West Parley residents. Over the decades, the reliance on volunteers was increasingly more difficult, so the Management Committee chose to ease the restrictions on the locality of Committee members.

In August 2016, a fire on the roof lead to partial destruction of the first floor flat, which was rebuilt and the flat roof repaired through the building insurance in place.

Regrettably, the land and clubhouse were not kept in good repair, and along with contract breaches, meant the Parish Council took the difficult decision to terminate the lease in July 2019. Youth Football, Adult and Youth Cricket and Petanque have all remained at the site, however Adult football took the decision to relocate.

Condition of the Property and Land

The Parish Council commissioned a number of professional reports which painted a very poor picture. 2 separate building surveyors to carry out a full inspection of the building, along with electrical and drainage inspections.

The first Building survey took place in June 2016. At this time, the surveyor was unwilling to complete the inspection and immediately put the Parish Council on Notice of Closure in relation to the clubhouse and flat, on safety grounds. The Parish Council informed Environmental Health and also instructed the tenant of the need to close the premises to the public, but regrettably this was ignored.

The second Building Surveyor undertook an external inspection only in 2017 as the tenant refused internal access. They undertook a full survey in 2019 which highlighted multiple issues, and focused predominantly on the disrepair of the structure of the building. Key concerns included the widely spread leaking roof causing inevitable structural water damage, poor structural repairs, blown windows, unstable walls and poor construction of the first floor flat, to name a few.

sitting water on the flat roof

In 2019, just prior to taking back possession, the Council commissioned an electrical inspection and their report highlighted numerous areas of concern in the main club house and the Council was issued with an Electrical Danger Notification for the first floor Flat. The tenant was again put on notice for this matter, however chose not to close the premises.

The Council also commissioned a Drainage inspection and the report highlighted many weaknesses which cause the premises to be unable to cope when working at capacity, which resulted in toilets being out of use or effluent overflowing over the exterior path.

Playing fields worn

The Council arranged for a pitch inspection to be completed by the Dorset FA. On first glance the playing fields may look in good condition, however the report highlighted the well below average condition of the playing fields, with the main concerns being poor drainage, poor coverage and poor general maintenance.

The trees around the perimeter of the playing fields are all subject to Tree Preservation Orders and had been cut on numerous occasions without the permission of the Parish Council as land owner nor the Principal Authority ie the Tree Department at East Dorset District Council.

The Parish Council regained possession of the premises on 30th July 2019 and it was only then the Parish Council could fully understand the exact level of disrepair …. The pictures speak for themselves. Shortly thereafter the Parish Council had no choice but to close the building on the grounds of safety.

ceiling of main function room
behind the bar in the main function room
Broken roof in storage garage

Despite the poor condition of the building, requiring it to be closed, the Parish Council worked with the sports sections to enable the uninterrupted continuation of sport for the 2019 season.

Current Position

The roof is failing in numerous areas and water ingress is severe, which will have inevitably damaged the roof joists beneath. The buckets require emptying on a regular basis and the ceiling, floors, carpet are obviously extremely damaged.

sodden carpet with fallen ceiling tiles
Buckets in main function room

The water ingress is also causing damp in the building due to the absence of any heating system in the building. The dangerous electrics to the flat have been switched off.While the clubhouse is closed, the drainage issues are limited. Having gained access it was apparent that the complete kitchen, many fixtures and fittings, bar contents, memorabilia, furniture, safety equipment and all documented history of the club and grounds had been removed.

Future

The Parish Council is committed to providing a facility to ensure the continuation of sports at the location, in line with the covenant on the land. However, the facility offered, is dependent upon both the need by residents and sporting sections, but also the available funds to pay for the repairs.

This is where we need to understand more from residents to ensure the Council provides the correct facility to meet the village’s needs. Saying that, we also have to consider the likely 22% population increase in the coming years as a result of the 2 main planning developments both East and West of Parley Cross.

2019 Consultation

The Parish Council undertook a consultation of residents in 2019 which highlighted the historic involvement by many residents and the desire to continue to benefit from this community facility. These results show that the Sports Club is the least used Parish Council asset which evidences the perception that many thought it was a private member’s club which they were not permitted to be involved with. Hopefully, if the proposals are approved, once the Community Club re-opens, more residents will benefit from using the facility.

Historic usage shows that more than half of residents have been involved in the club and the Parish Council is keen to make it once again the central hub for the community and this started by changing the name to. . .

West Parley Community Sports and Social Club

Demand for the Facility

The 2019 consultation highlighted residents’ desires for not only evening social events but also day time activities which could help combat the feeling of isolation. We are listening and aim to facilitate as many as possible!

There is also a desire for social and evening activities. . .

Numbers showing interest in stated activities

Background Research

Since re-taking possession in July 2019, the Parish Council have been investigating options and carefully considering the cost implications. The Council also needed to better understand the economics in running the Club and why no provision for ongoing repairs had been made. In consequence, the Council is faced with having to fund costly repairs to the building; including total replacement of the roof, electrics, heating system and installing a new complete kitchen as the whole existing one had been removed.

If we went down the route of demolition, we would still need to make alternative provision for toilets, changing rooms, catering facility for cricket teas etc and a meeting space. We have some £80,000 in reserves, which includes the remainder of the 2012 donation made by Eco Sustainable Solutions Ltd for community use. This still leaves the Council with sufficient reserves in line with financial guidelines for Parish Councils of our size.

The Parish Council sought funding from the Wyatt Homes and Barchester Care Home planning applications once we knew they were likely to be approved, so once the developments are complete the Parish Council will receive the negotiated £155,000 towards community facilities. Legal agreements have now been finalized which secure the community funding but as no start dates have been determined, we have no certainty as to when those funds will materialise.

The key to the success of the Club has to be securing regular income and minimizing outgoings. One of the largest items of expenditure was in meeting business rates and Council Tax. Some £18,000 per annum. To mitigate this and obtain favourable tax treatment of trading income, we have formed the West Parley Community Amateur Sports and Social Club (WPCASSC). This body will have a lease on the site and will be managed by a committee of 7, which the Parish Council will have nominated 4 people and the sports and social members, 3.

One of the other advantages is that you can leave bequests or give gifts to the CASSC that save you Inheritance Tax. Better perhaps for your money to go to a local good cause rather than be swallowed up by the Exchequer! Already, £50,000 has been kindly pledged by a local benefactor, immediately agreement has been given to fund the repairs.

Anticipating costly repairs, the Council raised the Council tax precept by 8p per week per house in the spring. This provides a further £15,000 per annum, and is anticipated to meet any short-term borrowing costs and capital repayment. Despite this increase, your Parish Council element of your Council Tax is still amongst the lowest in Dorset. Given however the uncertainty to when money will be coming, the Council are minded to borrow the shortfall from the Public Works Loan Board (PWLB) at a very advantageous interest rate until those monies materialise. Both Ferndown and West Moors Councils have utilized such borrowing to fund schemes. The Government department managing the scheme have to be satisfied the borrowing is ‘prudent given the council size and after a local consultation had been undertaken’. From informal discussions we believe we meet that threshold. We are also investigating the possibility of obtaining grants through our professional fundraiser, who is a local resident. However, the likelihood of obtaining significant grants from sporting bodies are few, given the impact of low interest returns for charities on their capital and the Covid-19 impact on revenues.

Decision Time

In Summary the Options are:

  1. Demolition costing approximately £70,000 and would still need provision for toilets, changing rooms, catering facility for cricket teas and a meeting space at a further expense of £300,000.
  2. Repair and refurbishment of the existing building is estimated in the region of £400,000. This figure will vary according to the amount of building control regulation requirements we have to comply with. This will only be known once we start stripping away the roof, for example … will all the rafters have to be renewed? Same for the electrics? So, a realistic reserve needs to be built into the costings, for the unanticipated.
  3. Demolish & rebuild being in the region of £1.2m which we feel is too much of a financial burden on the village.

Funding

  • We have some £80,000 in reserves for the premises, which includes the remainder of the 2012 donation made by Eco Sustainable Solutions Ltd for community use.
  • To mitigate the £18,000 Business Rates and Council Tax and obtain favourable tax treatment of trading income, we have formed the West Parley Community Amateur Sports and Social Club (WPCASSC), which will have representatives from both the Parish Council and Sporting sections affiliated to the Club.
  • Residents can leave bequests or gifts to the CASSC that save you Inheritance Tax. Better perhaps for your money to go to a local good cause rather than be swallowed up by the Exchequer! Already, £50,000 has been kindly pledged by a local benefactor to be used towards club repairs.
  • Anticipating costly repairs, the Council tax precept was raised by 8p per week per house in the spring. This generates £15,000 per annum, and is anticipated to meet any short term borrowing costs and capital repayment. Despite this increase, your Parish Council is still amongst the lowest in Dorset.
  • We sought funding agreement from the Wyatt Homes and Barchester care home planning applications once approval was obvious, with a negotiated £155,000 towards community facilities. However, the legal arrangements are being discussed and the monies will not materialise until the developments are nearing completion.
  • The Council are minded to borrow the shortfall, from the Public Works Loan Board (PWLB) at very advantageous interest rates. Both Ferndown and West Moors Councils have utilized such borrowing to fund schemes.
  • With the assistance from a local professional fundraiser, we are investigating the possibility of obtaining grants however these are unlikely to be significant funds from the sporting bodies due to Council’s ability to borrow at favourable rates. Also, Covid-19 has impacted the amount of available funding.

The sketch plan details improvements for which planning and building regulation consent will be obtained is shown below.

main function room
First floor flat after the fire in 2016

Skylights are proposed to make the main meeting space lighter and more inviting. The main function room is dark with the only natural light coming from the main entrance doors.

Improving insulation to the flat should enable a market rent to be sought and letting the catering franchise should generate some income to be set aside to create a building repairs reserve fund.

Your Council would be interested to learn your views.

We encourage you to share your views with us or if would like more details, please email the Clerk, Mrs Linda Leeding on enquiries@westparley-pc.gov.uk. Alternatively, you can speak to any Parish Councillor, whose details are on the Councillors page.

Deadline for response is 15th February 2021.