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CLERK'S BRIEFING NOTE 5-12

PROPOSED MULTI-USE GAMES AREA

SEDLESCOMBE PLAYING FIELD (NEXT TO BRIDGE GARAGE, THE STREET, SEDLESCOMBE)

RELEVANT POLICIES

  1. At its meeting on 14 April 2008, Rother District Council Cabinet resolved that Corporate Projects:
    1. EP06 Kickabout Areas;
    2. EP16 Support to Youth Activity;
    3. EP33 Multi-use Games Facilities; (NB known as MUGAs)
    4. EP41 Bexhill Leisure and Community Development
    be designated as a "mini programme" within the Corporate Plan under the overall sponsorship of the Cabinet Portfolio Holder with responsibility for young people, Councillor Johnson.

  2. Rother has stated that "MUGAs provide opportunities for local communities to take part in healthy exercise in their local communities. MUGAs located in recreation grounds enhance the outdoor leisure provision for young people providing a facility they can access for informal recreation and sport, encouraging them to lead more active lives."

  3. The Hastings and Rother Leisure Facility Strategy (2009-2020) was published in August 2009. The Strategy noted that current provision of MUGAs is low in Rother with none provided in Bexhill, Battle (before the new one at Battle) or Rye. This compares with ten MUGAs in Hastings. The Strategy also noted that youth consultations indicate MUGA provision is a priority for young people.

  4. Rother has recently published the results of a SportEngland survey of the amount of people keeping active in the District showing that this has risen by 2.1%. However, the numbers of people engaging in regular physical activity in Rother is relatively low overall, with around 75% of adults not meeting the Government's minimum of recommended level of 30 minutes physical activity on three or more days a week. Rother and NHS Hastings and Rother's Active Scheme provides a programme that lets people get involved in sport and encourages healthy lifestyles. However, the January to March 2012 active women programme is entirely in the Bexhill area. Very little is ever done for the people living in rural areas.

  5. Sport England is working to provide a sporting legacy from the 2012 Olympics by giving out Lottery money for upgrading sporting facilities.

BATTLE MUGA

6. On 26 July 2010, Rother Cabinet agreed to make a capital funding contribution of 50% of the total project cost up to a maximum contribution of £20,000 towards the cost of a MUGA at Battle Recreation Ground replacing the old basketball court. The existing hard surface was upgraded to a porous macadam surface marked out for five-a-side football and basketball. The funding came from Rother's Corporate Priority Project Earmarked Reserve (see 1 above). The facility has since been built and opened in 2011. Adrian Gaylon, Rother's Sports Development Officer, is checking whether any of these funds remain.

SEDLESCOMBE'S PROPOSAL FOR A MUGA AT THE PLAYING FIELD

7. Sedlescombe Playing Field and Recreation Trust has recommended to the Parish Council that it should set money aside in its 2012/13 budget to turn the existing tennis courts into a Multi Use Games Area. The courts are situated adjacent to the children's playground refurbished in 2006. The courts were first installed in the mid-1950s and were last resurfaced in 2000. Until eight years ago, they were in regular use by a Tennis Club which drew its membership from a wide area around Sedlescombe as well as being open to the paying public. The loss of the Tennis Club to the Sedlescombe Golf Club Courts, with its associated facilities of bar, restaurant etc, left the courts less well used and increasingly used for additional sporting and other activities. Soon afterwards the Trust decided to leave the gates of the courts open to allow free use.

A primary school in a neighbouring village that had lost its netball facilities contacted Sedlescombe Parish Council in 2011 wishing to use the courts. However, the courts' current condition deterred them.

In 2011, Sedlescombe Youth Club asked if they could use the courts for informal play.

8. In the last couple of years, a group of women have started a Sedlescombe Netball Club which now has 35 members. These women use the courts for informal practice.

9. Informal games of football are also being played and some dog training has taken place.

SURVEY

10. Following a survey of the whole of Sedlescombe parish in December 2011, the community's support to upgrade the courts was obtained. Tennis, netball and football were identified as the three most popular sports in that order.

EMERGING PROPOSAL

11. Although the project is at an early stage, the following proposal is emerging:

a) Divide the courts into two areas. One for tennis/netball and the other for football. This would allow football to to played at the same time as tennis or netball without interference from stray balls.

b) Upgrade the surface of the old courts with all-weather colour coated porous macadam.

c) Mark the surface for the individual sports with different colours.

d) Provide more appropriate fencing, including a division of the two sections. Gates may not be required, simply gaps at either end. Rother's Sports Development Officer highlighted problems caused in other areas with noisy fencing and suggested that dampeners could be fitted to help prevent this problem. A contractor, whilst not specifying the actual price, described this type of fencing as "expensive".

12. There are no plans to floodlight the facility or raise the height of the fencing so planning permission will not be required.

13. The proposed MUGA is expected to be free to use and will be unsupervised, providing the opportunity for people of all ages to turn up and take part in informal sports activities.

OTHER SPORTING FACILITIES IN SEDLESCOMBE

14. Sedlescombe School built a MUGA several years ago, but this is not open to the public, although it can be hired for £30/hour. Its surface is not suitable for playing netball or tennis.

15. Sedlescombe Sportsfield is opposite the Playing Field and provides training and matches for football and cricket. There is an active junior football club with fourteen teams and about 200 children. There are two adult football teams, one playing in the Premier Division of the East Sussex Football League. However, no all-weather surface is available and the new facilities would complement rather than compete with the Sportsfield. Activities suitable for girls and women would also be provided which are not available anywhere else outdoors in Sedlescombe.

16. There is a small tarmac area on a large housing estate at the other end of the village. This provides an unfenced area for informal football and basketball.

POSSIBLE FUNDING FOR THE PROJECT

17. The scheme could cost a minimum of £30,000, although SportEngland have issued costings for similar work of £40-45,000.

Precept
Fund-raising locally
Individual Donations
Grants from appropriate bodies
Loan

18. Precept. Every thousand pounds raised by precept, puts approximately £1.50 on a Band D Council Tax. The 2011/12 Band D Council Tax for Sedlescombe is £46.91. There will be no cap on parish council precepts for 2012/13, although this may change for future years.

19. Fund-raising locally. It should be possible to raise some money locally through village events, a raffle etc.

20. Individual donations. Any offer has been made of a donation of £1,000 by a local resident. Other residents may be willing to make donations.

21. Grants from appropriate bodies

  1. SportEngland Inspired Facilities. This is a fund to help local communities refurbish or upgrade tired, worn out, old facilities as part of the Olympic legacy between 2011 and 2014. So far, in the first round, SportEngland has handed out £17m to upgrade community sports facilities across England. Grants are usually between £20,000 and £50,000. There will be five rounds and the second one is due to open on 01/02/12 and ends on 02/04/12 when sports groups can bid for a further £10m of funding. There was an unprecedented demand for the money in the first round. Match funding is not essential. However, Richard Watson, who lives in Sedlescombe, and is Health Improvement Manager working for the NHS and whose job involves obtaining grants and receiving applications for grants, has advised that, even though match funding is not essential, it would increase the chance of being successful if it could be shown that the community is supportive of the proposal.

  2. Rother District Council. Rother's agreement in the past to support the provision of MUGAs or Kickabout Areas should make Sedlescombe eligible for some funding either from the special fund (see 6 above) or from the Community Grants Scheme (next round closes on 31 January 2012). Adrian Gaylon is investigating for us.

  3. Other. Richard Watson has agreed to check out some other possibilities and speak to various contacts.

22. Loan. Borrowing approval must be obtained through the Sussex Association of Local Councils prior to making an application for a loan. Parish councils can obtain loans from the Public Works Loan Board and, currently, interest rates (changing daily) are low between 1.5 and 2.2%. They depend on the amount of loan and the repayment period. The first repayment is made six months after the loan is received. See some examples of the situation for 2012/13 if a loan was obtained. Click here.

DRAFT PROPOSALS FOR THE NEXT STAGE

  1. Have discussions with users to firm up proposals.
  2. Continue to obtain quotations for the work.
  3. Apply for borrowing approval from Sussex Association of Local Councils for £14,000.
  4. Increase the 2012/13 precept by up to 10% to allow for one repayment of a loan up to £14,000. The loan would not be needed if other funding was obtained but the consequent increase in general funds that would arise in this situation would not be unreasonable. Loans can be obtained at quite short notice.
  5. Apply for £10,000 from Rother District Council from whatever fund is advised by Adrian Gaylon. The Rother Community Grant application would have to be in place by the end of this month. The result will be known in March 2012. Richard Watson to advise on application.
  6. Set up a Sedlescombe MUGA fund.
  7. Ask local sports clubs to raise some funds for the MUGA fund.
  8. Seek other funding from individuals or local charities.
  9. Apply for funds from the SportEngland Inspired Facilities Fund before the end of March 2012, amount to depend on result of Rother and other applications. Richard Watson to advise on application. The SportEngland result will not be known for at least 12 weeks ie beginning of July.
  10. Plan to undertake the work in August 2012.
  11. After the MUGA has been provided, make attempts to encourage increased use in association with the Sportsfield opposite where a new sports pavilion was built in 2009.

P J Raymond
Clerk/RFO
8 January 2012