Application 1 – The Installation of five steel benches (Cofton Hackett Parish Council)
Parish Councillor Mrs Joan Fay attended on behalf of Cofton Hackett Parish Council and provided photographic evidence of the old and decaying benches which the Parish Council hoped to replace. The Panel were informed that a number of these had been removed due to their poor state and health and safety issues and a number of complaints had been received. The benches would be situated within the Lickey Hills and would therefore benefit both the local community and visitors to the area. Parish Councillor Mrs Fay also highlighted the number of houses which had already and were expected to be built on the Longbridge site, which impacted on the local area.
Parish Councillor Mrs Fay responded to a number of questions included whether quotations had been received and whether the £1,000 quoted included the cost of installation. The Panel also questioned who would cover the cost of any on-going maintenance of the benches.
Application 2 – Chairs for Cofton Village Hall
Mrs Jennifer Webb attended on behalf of Cofton Village Hall and highlighted that the Village Hall was separate to the Parish Council. It was explained that the number of houses being built on the Longbridge site would effectively double the size of the village. Currently the only meeting room in the village was the Village Hall which was used for various regular meetings and functions. The chairs were some 35 years old and in need of replacement. The Village Hall was self-funding and any income raised from the hire of the venue was used for on-going maintenance of it.
The Panel asked what the capacity of the Hall was and Mrs Webb responded that the main area seated 100, with a smaller side room seating 40. If the requested funds were not available then the Village Hall would purchase as many as possible. The Panel also asked whether the Village Hall had explored other funding streams and whether it had any balances within its accounts.
Application 3 – Four New Planters (Cofton Hackett Parish Council)
Parish Councillor Richard Deeming attended on behalf of Cofton Hackett Parish Council. He explained that the planters would be situated in the new Cofton Fields estate, as this was part of the Longbridge site which was split between Bromsgrove and Birmingham, the aim was to provide it with an identity and highlight that it was part of Bromsgrove District Council, Councillor Deeming highlighted that the Planters would be maintained by the Parish Council and the quotation provided did not include the cost of plants.
The Panel questioned the overall cost in comparison to the quotation received and whether any funds from the Parish Council were available. Parish Councillor Deeming responded that the Parish Council had recently used a significant sum from balances towards the refurbishment of a children’s play area.
Application 5 – Replacement Bus Shelter – Catshill & North Marlbrook Parish Council
Parish Councillor Owen Sweeting, Chair of Catshill & Marlbrook Parish Council presented the application. In doing so he highlighted that the application had included both photographic evidence of the disrepair of the current bus shelter and the quotation which had been included. The aim of the Parish Council was to replace all the bus shelters within its area in order to encourage the public to use public transport. He also highlighted that this particular bus shelter was on a main road coming off the motorway and did not set a very good first example of the District. There had been 80 new homes built at the Marshes estate which had impacted on the area.
The Panel raised a number of points, included whether funding from the County Council had been sought or whether the Parish Council was able to contribute to the cost from balances. Councillor Sweeting commented that should the Parish Council replace all the bus shelters it would in fact take 8 years to do so. The Panel queried the quotation and felt that it may be more cost effective to approach the Council to carry out the necessary works.
Application 6 – Improvements/Replacement of Scout Hut/Equipment (6th Bromsgrove Scout Group Catshill)
Mr Gavin Janes presented the application on behalf of the 6th Bromsgrove Scout Group. He explained that the Group had recently had a new Executive and the number of young people attending had increased together with the number of volunteers. They had recently set up fund raising committee, but the grant from the Council, if successful, would hopefully provide new impetus and help towards improving the Scout Hut and provide much needed new equipment in order to provide a larger range of activities.
The Panel asked what the Group’s priority was and Mr Janes responded that the work to the Scout Hut was most important. He explained that the Group had also received £1,000 from the Parish Council to go towards the costs quoted within the application.
Application 4 – new Junior Cricket Ground (Bromsgrove Cricket, Hockey & Tennis Club)
As there was no representative from the Club in attendance, the Executive Director, Finance and Resources highlighted the salient points within the application.
The Panel questioned the length of the lease on the land referred to and the Executive Director, Finance and Resources confirmed that from the information provided within the application, there remained a minimum of 5 years.
Application 11 – Artificial Wicket (Belbroughton Cricket Club)
Mr Andrew Hawker attended on behalf of Belbroughton Cricket Club. He explained that the current wicket was old to the point of becoming dangerous to use and was able to cope with the increased demand already being experienced as a result of new developments in the area. The balance of funding had already been secured from a grant through the England & Wales Cricket Board and Clent Parish Council.
The Panel questioned the funding, as it appeared that the project could, theoretically be overfunded. Mr Hawker explained that certain elements had not been included within the original application form and that he would be provided further information to the Panel following the meeting.
Application 8 – Funding to open further units (Walton District Guides)
In the absence of a representative from Walton District Guides, the Executive Director, Finance and Resources highlighted the salient points within the application, including the amount of equipment and funds requested to cover the opening of further units in community centre, village halls etc.
The Panel questioned whether specific units had been identified and from the information provided made the assumption that the request was for the cost of hiring those additional units.
Application 9 – Upgrade of toilet block and kitchen facilities (Belbroughton Recreation Centre)
As there was no representative from the Recreation Centre in attendance, the Executive Director, Finance and Resources highlighted the salient points within the application. It was noted that this included details of housing developments which had affected the area, together with how it met the Council’s strategic purposes. This was for part funding of a large project and further funding had already been secured from existing funds and local events.
Following questions from the Panel, the Executive Director, Finance and Resources informed them that there was no detail of how the work would be split in line with the particular funding elements; however a detailed quotation or the work had been provided.
Application 10 – Hopwood Community Centre Improvements (Alvechurch Parish Council)
Parish Councillor Steve Lewis attended on behalf of Alvechurch Parish Council and explained that the aim was to enhance the facilities, provide appropriate disabled access and bring them up to Health and Safety required standards. Details of the clubs/organisations that used the Community Centre were provided together with how it was felt the project met the Council’s strategic purposes.
The Panel questioned who owned the Community Centre and it was confirmed that it was owned by the Parish Council. When asked whether the Parish Council would be funding any of the projects, Parish Councillor Lewis confirmed that if a grant was successful the remainder of the project would be “topped up” by the Parish Council. Whether the security lights had in fact already been installed, it was confirmed that they had. The Panel highlighted that the scheme had specified that it would not pay for work retrospectively.
Application 7 – Catshill Village Meadow Multi Use Facility (North West Ward Association)
In the absence of a representative from the North West Ward Association, the Executive Director, Finance and Resources highlighted the salient points within the application and highlighted that the building was already in place and the funding requested was to ensure the building was used to its full potential and support community users.
Significant funding raising had been carried out in order for the building to be built and the remaining balances were committed for insurance and maintenance purposes.
(Following the presentation of these applications the meeting adjourned at 5.00 pm and resumed at 5.20 pm.)