The Panel gave its consideration to a report which detailed the progress of
the work undertaken to identify and support projects with a view to allocating outdoor sports capital funding.
Towards an Active Staffordshire Moorlands was the Council’s Physical Activity and Sport Strategy which identified key priorities and actions that the Council would take, supported by its partners, to enable residents to become more active.
The Council has assigned £100,000 of capital funds in the current MTFP to be used towards supporting the delivery of local projects, with a focus on a ‘sports village’ concept and particularly projects that were located in more rural areas of the District.
At the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday 3rd August 2021, approval was given to allocate £11,500 funding from the outdoor sports capital budget towards projects being delivered by Waterhouses Parish Council and Kingsley Parish Council. Both projects were progressing well, new maintenance equipment had been purchased by Waterhouses Parish Council, whilst the funds given to Kingsley Parish Council had enabled them to access additional funding from a local business to complete the installation of a new play area during spring 2022.
It was now requested that allocation of further funds totalling £10,700 to Endon & Stanley Parish Council and Leek Cricket Club. Should approval be given, £77,800 would remain available to allocate towards projects identified in the future.
Endon and Stanley Parish Council wished to improve the walking/running track which boarders the playing fields at Hillswood Playing Fields. The total cost to upgrade the track was £6,700 and it was proposed to allocate the full amount towards this due to match funding being unavailable. As an ‘in kind’ contribution towards the project, the Parish Council would plant a variety of trees in the vicinity, install picnic tables, bird/bat boxes and improve the outdoor gym area that was on the edge of the track.
Leek Cricket Club had aspirations to improve their grounds maintenance programme and develop their intergenerational work within the club, through the refurbishment of existing grounds maintenance equipment. The cost to refurbish their equipment was £6,650 and the club had raised £2,650 towards this project. It was therefore proposed that £4,000 funding was allocated to this project from the outdoor sports capital budget.
Officers were also working on a project to develop a Multi-Use Games Area (MUGA) at Hot Lane playing fields in Biddulph Moor. In order to assess the viability of developing this project further, a feasibility study was required which would include various site surveys that would enable an accurate cost to complete the project to be identified. A recent enquiry to a reputable company had provided a cost of this study at around £6,500. It was recommended that revenue funds would be allocated to commission this study. Once this had been completed an updated report would be brought forward with a request to allocate capital funds from the Rural Sports Villages Fund.
In order to maintain momentum when developing projects, working with partners and planning, it was proposed that future reports which request funds to be allocated from the outdoor sports capital budget be made via a delegated decision report, to be approved by the Portfolio Holder for Leisure.
Concerns were expressed in relation to Ball Haye Green Football Club and the Bowling Green at Brough Park, to which Councillor Deaville gave assurance that everything possible was being done to accommodate the football club, and that he would investigate the maintenance issues at the bowling green.
Other members also commented on reduced levels of maintenance since the staff had transferred to AES. This was noted and would be investigated after the meeting.
As Chair of the Leisure Facilities Working Group, Councillor Salt enquired as to when the next meeting would take place as it had not met for a while. She also asked if a potential allotment site at Slater Street in Biddulph could be given consideration. These points were noted, and officers would respond accordingly.
1. That the progress made in supporting projects that were previously allocated capital funding and the work undertaken to develop new projects be noted.
2. That the Cabinet be recommended to approve the allocation of £10,700 towards two projects in Endon and Leek from the outdoor sports capital budget as detailed within the report.
3. That the Cabinet be recommended that future reports requesting funding can progress via delegated decision reports to be approved by the Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Sports.