CLERK'S BRIEFING NOTE

PORTACABINS AT THE SPORTSFIELD

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1. PURCHASE OF THE PORTACABIN BY THE PARISH COUNCIL. The 40'x10' portacabin was purchased by the Parish Council in August 2007 to provide temporary changing facilities for the sportsfield until the new pavilion was ready for occupation by the Sports Association on 01/04/2009. Planning permission was not required because of the Parish Council's permitted development rights and its ownership of the land*.

 

2. WORK INSIDE THE PORTACABIN. Before being used by the Sports Association, the Parish Council arranged for work to be undertaken inside the portacabin, much of it by volunteers, to make it suitable for sports changing. There was a small kitchen area and two toilets. The portacabin facilities were used by the builders, as well as the Sports Association, during the construction of the pavilion.

 

3. INSURANCE. To date, the Parish Council has insured the portacabin. The current insurance value is £5,459.

 

4. FOOTBALL CLUB PORTACABIN. Soon after the large portacabin was installed at the Sportsfield, the Football Club installed a smaller portacabin next to it containing showers. Planning permission should have been obtained but no application was made.

 

5. YOUTH CENTRE. In 2009, under Planning Reference RR/2009/287/P, the Parish Council applied to retain the portacabins at the rear of the new pavilion for use as a local youth centre, although in a slightly different position and to link them. The plan was to clad the portacabins in timber boarding to match the neighbouring new pavilion. Temporary approval expiring on 31/03/2014 was granted by Rother DC. Work to commence by 31/03/2012. A condition required the portacabins to be constructed on raised supports to allow floodwater to pass under them. This application also covered construction of a new garage next to the pavilion.

 

6. PROPOSED LEASE OF THE PORTACABINS TO THE SEDLESCOMBE YOUTH GROUP. On 28/07/2009, a meeting of the Council's Sportsfield Committee was held to consider a draft lease by which the Council and the Sports Association would be parties to a 5-year lease of the portacabins to the Sedlescombe Youth Group. Problems were highlighted regarding termination of the proposed lease if bad behaviour occurred either on site or in the Village. Fears for the safety of young users because of the close proximity of the site to the river and the unlit surroundings were also mentioned. In the end, the Committee came to the view that the most appropriate site for a youth centre in Sedlescombe was not the Sportsfield but the old Scout Hut site at East View Terrace with the Kickabout Area as a second choice.

 

7. ALTERNATIVE SITES FOR YOUTH CLUB. A meeting with the Youth Group, Youth Worker and Orbit South Community Investment Officer followed on 14/08/2009 when the Chairman of the Parish Council explained the situation to the Youth Group. Unfortunately, Rother Homes was not willing for their land to be used for a youth club.

 

The Kickabout Area was then suggested as an alternative. It had the advantage of being close to the homes of the majority of young people wanting a youth club and of having its own play area. The cost of moving the portacabin from the Sportsfield to East View Kickabout Area was prohibitive and, therefore, it was agreed that other options would be considered and that the Parish Council would dispose of its portacabin.

 

[On 08/09/2009, the Parish Council agreed to grant the Youth Group a five-year lease to take over the Kickabout Area including placing a building on the land for which planning permission would be required. In the middle of November 2009, a draft lease of the Kickabout Area was forwarded to Youth Officer, Debi Carr. Apart from saying that the draft lease had been passed to the County Council's Legal Department, nothing further has been heard from the Youth Group regarding their use of the Kickabout Area. Around this time, the Youth Group began to meet regularly in a building at Pestalozzi International Village and this appears to be successful.]

 

8. POSSIBLE SALES OF THE PORTACABIN. In September 2009, the Council agreed that Cllr Rand and the Clerk could sell the portacabin, probably through E-bay. Soon after, and before it had been put up for sale, the Westfield Football Club's pavilion was destroyed by fire and there was genuine interest from them in purchasing our portacabin. However, Westfield received several generous offers of free portacabins and, therefore, did not want ours. In the Spring of 2010, Udimore Cricket Club said they might be interested in purchasing the portacabin but nothing materialised.

 

9. REMOVAL OF PORTACABIN TO THE SPORTSFIELD CAR PARK. In May 2010, the Council agreed that, in order to take advantage of the dry weather and to put it in a more convenient place for the short-term, the portacabin should be moved temporarily to the Sportsfield Car Park. The Sports Association garage, which was in front of the portacabin, needed to be moved first. The need for the smaller portacabin to be removed was also stressed and Cllr Rand agreed to speak to the Sports Association.

 

10. POSSIBLE ALTERNATIVE USE OF THE PORTACABIN. A suggestion was made, but not generally supported, that the portacabin should instead be moved to a more central area (maybe in the Queen's Head garden) in the Village and refurbished to provide a meeting room as there is no longer one available in the Queen's Head. This prompted Cllr Rand to agree to ensure that the pavilion was suitable for letting to the general public as a meeting room.

 

11. E-BAY. The Sports Association needed to clear their goods from the portacabin so that it could be put up for sale. They agreed to do this and Grant Burberry was to place the portacabin for sale on E-Bay as soon as the Sports Association clearance was finished and some minor redecorating carried out.

 

12. POSSIBLE ALTERNATIVE USE OF THE PORTACABIN FOR STORAGE PURPOSES. When the Parish Clerk chased the Sports Association in August 2010, she was told that the Sedlescombe Societies' Association was interested in the portacabin and, therefore, the sale was being held up. A letter dated 25/08/10 from Judy Torrance, the Secretary of Sedlescombe Societies' Association, was received by the Parish Council as follows:

 

"We are writing to express our interest in the disused portacabin sited near the new sports pavilion on Sedlescombe playing field.

 

"It would be of great benefit to the Association if we were given use of the structure which we would use for storage for all the equipment needed for the annual village fayre. This would ensure that the event could continue for many more years as at the present time we have a situation where equipment is stored in various locations in the local area which then all has to be collected and coordinated for the actual day.

 

"If we were to be granted the use of this then we propose that it be allowed to be sited on or near the existing car park where it would blend into the landscape and also to allow for easier access.

 

"We hope you will look favourably on this request and look forward to your reply."

 

13.REMOVAL OF THE OLD GARAGE IN FRONT OF THE PAVILION. With help from the "Heavy Gang Volunteers", the old garage was taken down on Saturday 28/08/10. Materials still need to be moved from the Sportsfield.

 

14. REMOVAL OF THE PORTACABIN TO THE SPORTSFIELD CAR PARK. In order to take advantage of the dry ground conditions, Cllr Wright arranged for the portacabin to be moved, at least temporarily, to the Sportsfield Car Park by Phil Dann. The work was carried out on 06/09/10.

 

15. SPORTSFIELD CAR PARK.

  1. Ownership The Parish Council is the freehold owner of the Sportsfield Car Park. Unlike the remainder of the Sportsfield, the Car Park is not included in the Parish Council/Sports Association Lease.

  2. Current parking situation at the Sportsfield. The Car Park was extended in 2006 to cater for about 50 cars. However, currently, the size is insufficient and, on occasions, cars are being parked in Ladybird Lane which is contrary to the covenant on the land. The Sports Association has in the past year asked for permission to extend the Car Park now that the Archery Hut has been removed. The Parish Council has asked that the Association provides the necessary plans.

  3. Structures on the Sportsfield Car Park. As at 06/09/10, the following structures are on the Sportsfield Car Park: A blue container (Football equipment) which the Parish Council has accepted as its one ancillary building under its Permitted Development Rights*, a yellow/red container (Cricket equipment), a double garage awaiting removal to a position adjacent to the pavilion, a 40'x10' portacabin (belonging to the Parish Council) and a small portacabin (belonging to the Football Club). Other that the blue container, the other structures need planning permission.

    The Sports Association has been asked what it intends moving from the Sportsfield Car Park.

    The Chairman of the Sports Association replied on 03/09/10 that the double garage will be moved onto the "new" base next to the pavilion. [NB The Sports Association was granted £1,000 by Sedlescombe Societies Association last year for the garage base.] The base could not be dug out until the portacabins were moved because the surplus soil is to be spread in the area which was occupied by the portacabins.

    When the garage has been moved from the Car Park, all the cricket equipment in the yellow container on the car park will be housed in the garage and the yellow container will be returned to the owner, Fred Ham.

    The second smaller portacabin, which belongs to the Football Club, would, hopefully, be sold in due course, if a buyer can be found.

    The blue container will remain.

  4. Sports Association comments on the Sedlescombe Societies' Association proposal. To be discussed at the next meeting of the Sports Association.

  5. Permitted Development Rights of the Parish Council.

    The Council would have to consider whether the keeping of both the blue container and the large portacabin in the longer term at the Car Park would be in accordance with its permitted development rights. Efforts should be made to ensure that only one ancillary building is on the car park in the longer-term and, therefore, removal of the other structures should be undertaken with urgency.

  6. Insurance costs. If it is agreed to allow the portacabin on the Car Park, the Council should consider whether to insure it at all. The Societies' Association should insure the contents. Whatever the outcome, should the Council continue to insure the portacabin?

16. SUMMARY

  1. REMOVAL OF STRUCTURES ON THE CAR PARK
    1. When will arrangements be made by the Sports Association for removal of the other items currently on the Car Park? This question has been answered initially by Ashley Davey, Chairman of the Sports Association, although no timescale has been provided.
    2. What arrangements are being made by the Sports Association for the urgent removal of the small portacabin?
  2. PARKING
    1. Will there be sufficient car parking spaces left at the Sportsfield Car Park if the portacabin is permanently housed there?
  3. SPORTS ASSOCIATION COMMENTS. Has the Sports Association any comments on the proposed installation of the portacabin at the Car Park?
  4. PARISH COUNCIL VIEW ON THE USE OF THE SOCIETIES' ASSOCIATION'S PROSED USE AT THE CAR PARK.
    1. Does the Parish Council agree to the use of the portacabin at the Car Park as proposed by the Sedlescombe Societies' Association?
    2. If the portacabin is retained by the Parish Council, is it worth insuring?
    3. If an agreement is reached with the Sedlescombe Societies' Association, should any restrictions etc. be imposed? For example, Sedlescombe Societies' Association to gain no rights over the portacabin or the land on which it stands and the use to be terminated within 3 months (or other time as agreed) at the Parish Council's request.
    4. Are there any other matters that should be considered regarding the portacabins?
  5. PLANNING PERMISSION. Should planning permission be sought either by the Parish Council or the Societies' Association for the portacabin on the car park? If obtained, this would allow the Parish Council to charge a rental for the use of the portacabin or to pass ownership to the Societies' Association. However, it should be borne in mind that one of the reasons that Rother Planning agreed that the portacabin could stay behind the pavilion when it was going to be used as a youth centre, was that it would be clad to match the pavilion. It appears that the Societies' Association does not have any plans to clad the portacabin.
  6. GARAGE. Are there any plans to make the replacement garage more attractive in appearance?

 

 

*The Parish Council permitted development rights allow any small ancillary building (less than 4 metres in height or 200 cubic metres in capacity) on land belonging to it without planning permission. (Part 12 (Development by Local Authorities) of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995. However, the building must be required in connection with the operation of a public service administered by the Parish Council. Planning permission would be required if the building is owned by or leased to another body.

 

 

 

Pauline J Raymond
Clerk/Responsible Financial Officer
Sedlescombe Parish Council
6 September 2010