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Agenda Item No 4

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment): 12th March, 2013

Report of the Director of Visible Services and Housing

Colcot Sports Centre Options Appraisal

Purpose of the Report

1. To advise Committee of the outcome of a recent options appraisal exercise undertaken for the Colcot Sport Centre and to consider proposals for the future maintenance and use of the building.

Recommendations

1. That a bid be submitted to the Barry Regeneration Partnership Project Development Fund for £20k in 2013 / 14 for a feasibility study to identify a range of possible future uses for the Centre in consultation with the local community.

2. That on conclusion of the feasibility study a steering group be set up involving key stakeholders to develop the most suitable proposals for the medium and long term users of this facility.

3. That the Director of Visible Services and Housing be authorised to undertake basic improvement works to the Centre building during 2013 / 2014 to increase standards for existing users and to protect the building from weather damage (as outlined in paragraph 23 of the report).

4. That the Head of Legal Services and the Director of Development Services negotiate 12 month extension leases with Cylch Bethesda Playgroup and Wendy Summerell's School of Dance.

5. That the Head of Legal Services be authorised to execute the new lease on behalf of the Council and register the same.

6. That the above recommendations be forwarded to Cabinet for consideration.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1. To improve the current facilities for the users and to protect the building from further weather damage.

2. To develop appropriate options for future use in the medium and long term.

3. To provide the necessary funding to undertake a feasibility study into the possible future uses for the facility taking into account the community's aspirations.

4. To support the work of the Cylch Bethesda Playgroup and Wendy Summerell's School of Dance.

5. To secure the completion of the new lease.

6. For approval.

Background

2. The Colcot Sports Centre was once a thriving vibrant facility but due to changes in public use, reductions in funding and the recent transfer of a number of buildings and other assets to Parkwood it is now used primarily as a changing pavilion for local football teams. The sports hall is occupied by Cylch Bethesda Playgroup during the week and Wendy Summerell's School of Dance in the evenings and weekends under a short term licence. The charitable playgroup and the dance class were moved to the vacant sports hall when Alexander Gardens Community Centre became unfit for use in 2011, they are both now well established at the facility. Towards the rear of the building is the Colcot Amateur Boxing Club which is controlled via a separate lease until 2016.

3. The location of the Sports Centre is shown at Appendix A with a floor plan of the buildings attached at Appendix B.

4. A building Condition Survey was undertaken in 2010 (Appendix C). The survey indicated a need for repairs estimated at £450,000. The main areas of concern being a requirement to replace the 40 year old boiler and hot water system. A disabled access survey in March 2004 also estimated that £80,000 was required to make the building DDA compliant.

Relevant Issues and Options

5. Prior to may 2012 it became clear that a number of the centre users, and an element of the local community, had concerns about the Centre's future and a local 'Save Colcot Sports Centre' campaign was launched. Officers were at a loss at the time as to the reasoning for this as there had been no decisions taken that would have caused such concern.

6. In order to re-assure the community and users of the Council's commitment to the facility and to obtain some, broad ideas for the Centre's long term future an 'Options Appraisal' study was arranged during 2012. Funding was made available from the Barry Regeneration Partnership Project Fund to undertake the appraisal which would involve stakeholders. The appraisal was commissioned and Butlins Consulting undertook the work. The final report is attached at (Appendix D).

7. The following paragraphs 8 - 15 feature a précis of the details contained within the Executive Summary. The report looks at the context of the facility and indicates a number of issues with regards to its future. The Appraisal advises that whilst the overall strategic position is "excellent" and the facility works "quite well", the Centre itself is "not in the best location" - "too far from the schools, not adjacent to the grass pitches it serves and not in the heart of any particular community". It is also evident that any future investment decisions must be considered in the context of a changing environment and priorities and should be part of a much wider vision addressing the needs of the area in order to secure optimum value for money and the greatest long term amenity.

8. Over the next 10 years the environment will continue to change and what will be relevant into the future will not necessarily be the same as today. The demand is most likely to be for facilities that are more relevant to the needs of young people. The 21st Century Schools programme will require more 'fit for the future' school facilities which are also used by the community. The National Governing Bodies of Sport will have developed more attractive, easy to play, small sides versions of their game to capture more young and adult participants. The development of improved artificial surface is a priority for the Rugby and Football National Governing Bodies of Sport. Not only do they provide a better quality facility that can accommodate much more activity, they need a different, smaller style of changing accommodation, and present the opportunity to radically reform the way outdoor facilities are configured.

9. Over the next few years outdoor sports will make increased use of 3G (artificial) pitches which will be home to Rugby as well as Football Clubs, thus more football may be played on fewer but more attractive all-weather pitches. This may present opportunities to re-designate the use of the formal grass pitches. 

10. The report makes General Recommendations such as; noting the relationship between community facilities in the Colcot and the 3 Secondary Schools in the area. Therefore as a principle, the report suggest that any future facilities should be located (where possible) on school campuses thus ensuring maximum use during the day with community access managed in the evening and weekends.

11. Given the changing trends in modern facilities; the expectations of young people and the visions and priorities of the National Governing Bodies; it is also recommended that the development of new and existing schools and community facilities include more varied all weather outdoor facilities resulting in the need for fewer formal grass pitches.

12. The review has identified a limited case for any replacement or costly refurbishment of the existing support accommodation at the Colcot Sport Centre. Whilst is isn't "glamorous", outdoor pitch changing facility rarely are, and if new changing accommodation was to be approved for the use of the Buttrills pitches they recommend that these should not be located at the Colcot Sports Centre.

13. The report also provides a Rationale for Future Provision. The review has identified the principle drivers and case for future provision to be: School needs with community use - any significant investment in sports facilities should if at all possible be located on school sites with good community access - this ensures better use.

14. The Girls, Boys and Welsh medium Secondary School all need additional and better facilities. There should be a shared school vision and whole learning community plans as well as better working relationships between the Primary and Secondary and Welsh Medium Schools. The development of an Integrated Welsh Medium' Children's Centre at the new school and embracing the current play group merits further consideration. Football development - a strategic football hub with new all - weather facilities and appropriate support accommodation should be part of an agreed football and club development and business plan for the Vale.

15. The current all weather pitch at the Colcot should be designated a football hub with the pitch upgraded to a 3G carpet with support accommodation developed to enhance the use of the hub. Artificial pitches do not require the same type of support and changing accommodation. As there is no contact with grass or mud fewer players change before and after playing. Bookings and fixtures are played back to back and any use of the changing accommodation is therefore staggered. The all weather pitch at Bryn Hafren should be designated a hockey hub with sports, club and schools programme organised on that basis.

16. Young people in the local community are considered in some detail by the report. Although there is not currently a community "champion" there may be potential to shape a young people orientated vision around current strengths e.g. the schools and the boxing club.

17. There is clearly a need to give further consideration to the future mix of facilities on the Colcot site. As well as there being a football hub, it has been identified that there is a need for more facilities that are attractive to young people providing school access in the day-time. In keeping with this theme, there is potential to review the boxing club accommodation and to consider increasing its capacity so that it can play a greater role in the "mix" of young people's facilities within the community.

18. There are a number of complicated issues to consider in an environment where funding any proposals that meet the communities' aspirations will be difficult. It is suggested that the way forward is to provide a forum for the community in the form of a constituted group. The group would be tasked with establishing the requirements of the local community. Once these requirements are agreed this would need to be presented as a business plan identifying what is required and how it will be funded.

19. The future of the schools' involvement will need to be considered and further consultation work undertaken. However, the visions set out in the options appraisal, whilst worthy, look to be a long way off within the current financial climate.

20. The local league have indicated it would be challenging to have varying start time for adult matches as generally work and family commitments are often not compatible with this. This means a future reliance on 3G pitches may not find favour with the local football community. In order to identify the future for the provision of football pitches in the Vale of Glamorgan it is suggested that, through consultation, a football strategy is produced.

21. In order to assist in funding the future work an application should be made to the Barry Regeneration Area the funding for a feasibility study based on agreed community requirements. This will consider existing building condition, DDA requirements, the feasibility of the key stake holders and community's aspirations, funding sources and management options.

22. The setting up of this group will take time and members are asked to approve the renewal of the short term lease to Cylch Bethesda Playgroup and Wendy Summerell's School of Dance for a further 12 months.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

23. In addition work is urgently required on the building now in order to assist current users and to protect the building from water ingress and damage. It is proposed that up to £60k be utilised from the Visible Services Reserve to fund the works necessary during 2013 / 2014.

24. The consultation and steering group 'set up' work will be funded by Parks and Ground Maintenance. The maintenance work will be funded from Visible Services Reserves.

25. The estimated cost of a feasibility study is £20k and a bid will be submitted to the Barry Regeneration Partnership Project Development Fund for 2013 / 2014.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

26. The provision of local sport reduces the need to travel hence reducing the carbon footprint.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

27. The extension of leases will need to be agreed and executed by the Head of Legal Services.

Crime and Disorder Implications

28. The provision of good community facilities will serve to reduce crime in the area and provide security of the premises.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

29. None.

Corporate/Service Objectives

30. The Corporate Priority and service aim is "To achieve a quality of the environment through the promotion and use of sustainable practices and by making the best use of current and future resources".

31. The Service Objectives is "To provide, manage and maintain Parks, open spaces and play areas".

32. The provision of an Agreement will improve the working with the Community, Stakeholders and the Voluntary Sector.

Policy Framework and Budget

33. This report is a matter for executive decision by Cabinet.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

34. The Local Members have been consulted on the contents of this report and have no adverse comments have been received.

Background Papers

None.

Contact Officer

Phil Beaman - Operation Manager - Parks and Grounds Maintenance - Tel: 01446 709543.

Officers Consulted

Group Estates Officer

Operational Manager Legal Services

Accountant, Visible and Building Services

Responsible Officer:

Miles Punter - Director of Visible Services and Housin

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