Application 1 – Clubhouse Enhancement (Hagley Cricket Club)
Mr Ian Yorke and Mr David Hall presented the application on behalf of Hagley Cricket Club. The Panel were informed that the Club had been in existence for 180 years and played in the grounds of Hagley Hall. The current clubhouse facilities had been building in the 1960s and updated in the 1970s and was therefore in need for further urgent work. It currently had a turnover of approximately £13,000 all of which was reinvested in the Club. Further detail in respect of what the work would entail was provided together with details of the membership and concerns that this would reduce if the facilities were not updated in line with those available at other clubs.
The Panel questioned whether the clubhouse belonged to Hagley Hall and it was confirmed that it was owned by the Cricket Club. Further funding would be applied for through Sports England and the England and Wales Cricket Board, the Cricket Board funding would now be released until next year. The amounts applied for would be dependent upon what, if any funding was received from the Council. The project was broken down in specific stages and could be carried out over a period of time.
Application 2 – A Modern Catering Style Kitchen (Belbroughton Church Hall)
Mr John Pascalis, Treasurer of the Church Hall Trust, presented the application. Mr Pascalis explained that the building was a 17th century listed building which was managed by a Committee, whilst it was owned by the Church they did not have any financial involvement. The building was well used by the community and for functions such as weddings and parties. However, in order to ensure that the usage was maintained the kitchen was in need of modernisation.
The Panel asked Mr Pascalis about the significant uncommitted balances which were highlighted within the accounts that had been provided. It was explained that this had increased further due to a bequest from a local source. It was also confirmed that the work would still go ahead should the Council not recommend any funding.
Application 3 – Improvement to Club Facilities Phase 1 (Hagley Lawn Tennis Club)
Mr Doug Slessor attended on behalf of the Tennis Club, which had been in existence for over 35 years and was based at Hagley Roman Catholic School. Membership had fluctuated between 90 and 260, but was currently down to 60. Mr Slessor believed that this was due to the in adequate playing courts poor facilities, which were not up to club/league standards, other clubs were reluctant to come and play matches at Hagley as there were no toilet facilities. The priority was to address these issues and encourage new members, through the project. The Club were in consultation with the School and would encourage them to put forward a bid to Sports England. The aim would be to resurface the courts to make them multi-purpose in order to encourage other sports such as netball to make use of the facilities. Sports England expected any funding they provide to be matched and it was anticipated that the School would also make a contribution. Detailed costs had not been discussed with the School to date.
The Panel asked for details in respect of the relationship the Club had with the School and Mr Slessor confirmed that there was a licence for 25 years which had run out and was currently being renegotiated. There would be a payback clause written in to any new agreement around the cost of any works carried out.
The funding requested would cover the costs of all the work detailed in the application. The toilet facilities would be for sole use of the Club, and the Club has exclusive use of the courts outside of school hours and during school holidays.
Application 4 – Alterations to new venue for youth activities (Alvechurch Communities Together)
In the absence of a representative from Alvechurch Communities Together (ACT), the Executive Director, Finance and Resources highlighted the salient points within the application, including details of the work which would be carried out in order to ensure that the young people would not be able to access the public bar areas of the sports and social club. Whilst the group had balances of approximately £17,000 it was highlighted that £10,000 was ring-fenced for educational work with the young people.
The Panel queried the benefit of this project as the Lounge facility was already available in Alvechurch. It was understood that this facility currently had limited availability in the evenings for the young people as it was no longer large enough for the number attending. Concerns were raised around any lease agreement with the sports and social club and whether this would be sustainable.
Application 5 – Supply and installation of solar panels (Catshill Village Hall)
Mr A. B. Bate, Trustee of the Village Hall attended on their behalf and explained that the hall had been in place since 1897 and served the community in various guises. It allowed a great number of groups to meet on a regular basis and the aim of the solar panels was to reduce the running costs of the hall. Mr Bate provided details of the anticipated reduction in these together with confirmation that the building’s roof was sturdy enough to withhold them.
The Panel queried the cost of the panels and were informed that 2 quotes had been received. It was also confirmed that the Village Hall had minimum balances of approximately £14,500.
Application 6 – New Footway Lighting (Wythall Parish Council
(Councillor S. J. Baxter left the room and took no part in the discussion for this item. Councillor K. J. May acted as substitute.)
Ms. Pat Harrison presented the application on behalf of Wythall Parish Council. Ms Harrison explained that whilst the area concerned was approximately 2-3 miles from area, it was an area leading up to the railway station used by residents. It was accepted that there was a railway station within Wythall, but the line had limited service and this second railway station was used much more. The area was dark and unlit and the Parish Council were asking for 2 lights to be put up on a busy hazardous road.
The Panel asked what would happen if this was only part funded, Ms Harrison responded that only one light would be installed, to which the Panel responded as to whether other funding sources had been investigated. Ms Harrison said if this bid was unsuccessful then this would happen; although the County Councillor had pledged £2,500 from his divisional funds. The Panel went on to question who was responsible for lighting and its maintenance, it agreed that the County Council should be approached and the Parish Council should also make a contribution. The significant balance in the general funds of the Parish Council was queried and Ms Harrison informed the Panel that a large proportion of this had now been used as a contribution towards the local library.
Application 7 – Refurbishment of two rooms to provide further patient access (Hollyoaks Medical Centre)
Dr Christine Whittaker presented the application on behalf of the Medical Centre. Dr Whittaker explained that the surgery had been running for over 20 years and had originally had 3,000 patients; this had risen to 5,000 and was likely to rise to more following the new developments in both Bromsgrove district and Solihull. They had looked at a bid for Section 106 monies but had been unsuccessful. Dr Whittaker also gave a brief outline of the work that she hoped could be carried out at the surgery.
The Panel questioned whether Solihull Council had been approached, but Dr Whittaker explained that due to their location they were deemed to be Bromsgrove/Redditch. The Panel also queried whether the CCG should be making any contribution towards the work and highlighted that the surgery would receive funding for any new patients it took on, although it was acknowledged that the funding was not available until after the patients had registered with the practice. If the bid was not successful, Dr Whittaker said they would not turn new patients away but would endeavour to manage with the facilities available. If only part funding was available then the consultancy room would be the priority.
Application 8 – New Scout Hut (Hagley Ramblers Scout Group)
Ms Sue Corlett attended on behalf of the Scout Group and presented the application. Ms Corlett explained that the Scout Hut had reached the end of its life and also had an asbestos roof. There was a long waiting list the Scout Group and the hope was to knock down the current hut and build a new large one to reduce the waiting list. The Group had been gifted the land adjacent to the current hut and had held pre-application discussions with the Planners who did not see any issues with planning permission being granted for an extended hut.
The Panel were concerned at the amount of funds needed for the overall project and were informed that the grant they were requesting would cover the first stage, demolition of the current hut. Members questioned what arrangements had been put in place for the interim period, between the hut being demolished and the new one being built. It was confirmed that no arrangements had as yet been considered, but it was likely that alternative venues would be sourced or consideration given to building the new unit in stages (with the extent ion being in place for use prior to the demolition of the old hut for example). The Panel also raised the issue of other funding streams and it was confirmed that to date these had not been explored in any detail, although the Parish Council had confirmed they would assist there had been no agreement as to a specific amount.
Councillor Mallett, on behalf of the Panel, thanked all the applicants and the public for attending and highlighted the varied and interesting range of applications that had been received. He reminded those present that the Panel would now consider the applications in order to make recommendations to Cabinet at its meeting on 2nd September. However, all applicants would be informed of the recommendations within 10 working days of the meeting. The Panel’s report would also include details how the process had worked and whether it felt the scheme should continue in the future, with the final decision being made by the Cabinet.