Response to Concerns about the allocation of Taylor Wimpey S106 Funds
There are a number of people and groups in the village who have expressed concern about money for the community that came from the Taylor Wimpey site and how it is to be spent.
This is an extract from the Minutes of last evenings' Penyffordd Community Council meeting setting out the background and outcomes:
228. Section 106 Agreement
Following the Council’s formal submission to Flintshire County Council of their request to alter the S106 agreement, correspondence has been received from Neal Cockerton (which has been circulated to all members). Cllr Wight provided the below background summary report to the issue of the S106 money from the Wood Lane (Groves).
· An agreement was reached between Flintshire County Council and the landowners for S106 funds to be paid as part of the conditions of planning permission for the Groves site. Those funds included:
“Off Site Recreation Commuted Sum” means the sum of £200,000 towards the enhancement of the existing community facility adjacent to the Land in conjunction with the requirements of the Council and the local community and £35,000 to be used towards Recreation Provision (a total of £235,000).”
The wording is ambiguous but it is widely agreed that the existing community facility referred to is the Youth Club building.
· At the time, a meeting was called at the Youth Club building with attendance including community councillors and representatives from the Scout Group, football team and Youth Club.
· No agreement was reached about what to do with the money.
· Issues at that time were:
The Youth Club building was (and is) owned by Flintshire County Council, not the community
There is some dispute about whether there is a need for changing rooms for the football teams visiting the site (it has asserted that at that meeting it was said there is no need, but more recently it has been stated that there is a need).
The Scout leaders at that time did not want the money if it meant sharing their facility with other community organisations.
The Scout leaders preferred their own dedicated building to moving into the Youth Club building as a shared facility.
The Scout building was on a 5-year lease from Flintshire County Council
In light of the open disagreements, the suggestion was made (by the late Sir Tom Jones) to use the funds on the renovation of the Memorial Institute, which is wholly owned by the Community. That was agreed at the time and was voted on again by the Community Council in 2016 and again in 2017.
Not everyone on the Community Council agrees that all of the money should be spent on the Institute project and Cllr Williams has specifically voted and argued against it each time.
At this time, following the November 2017 Community Council meeting:
- £190,000 including VAT has been committed to the Penyffordd War Memorial Institute improvements.
- £10,000 including VAT has been committed to a survey to identify the structural and maintenance requirements of the Youth Club building.
The Youth Club building has been allocated by Flintshire County Council as a potential Community Asset Transfer. The extent to which repairs and renovation are needed is not clear. If the Youth Club is brought into the village, it will bring a 27 year lease and a repair fund of £50,000.
A further planning permission has also been granted for 40 houses on Rhos Road and that is expected to generate an additional S106 fund of around £50,000.
There is new leadership at the Scouts and they are keen to access the funds for their building. The Council would like to open a dialogue with Scout leaders about their long term needs and whether they can be accommodated in the Youth Club or Institute buildings or whether they intend to maintain their own independent building.
The Council believe that the best long-term interests of the village will be served by preserving both the Youth Club and Memorial Institute buildings. In part because of their historic and heritage value and in part because of the facilities they provide for community activities.
Both buildings need substantial funds to bring them to a standard for modern uses. The Council believe that in the interests of time:
- the agreed project to renovate the Memorial Institute should be continued and supported.
- the Youth Club building should be surveyed as a matter of urgency
- a sub-committee of the Community Council has been established to liaise with groups which are active in the community to understand their individual needs, particularly with regard to space and storage
- the Council will draft an investment strategy addendum to the Place Plan to help with the prioritisation of future investments, based on the Questionnaire feedback from the village, the contents of the Place Plan 2.2 and the findings of the sub-committee
- The addendum will be consulted on with the community prior to being voted on for adoption by the Community Council – the aim is for March 2018 committee.
These are proposals and decisions of the elected Penyffordd Community Council. As elected members we are representing what we consider to be the best interests of the community as a whole and not just a ‘single group'.
Despite Taylor Wimpey having stated that ‘as you are looking to enhance a community facility and this is being done in conjunction with the council and local community, this is covered by the S106 Agreement and I do not believe there is a requirement for a variation to the document’ FCC have now stated that there will be a requirement to modify the current S106 condition.
The Clerk expressed her disappointment that having asked FCC due to the scale of the project which will require experience and expertise would they be; arranging for the necessary tenders and appointment of contractors and be managing the project, which they have replied by saying ‘that it will not be FCC undertaking these functions, this will be the responsibility of the groups who are wishing to carry out the work on these facilities’.
If anyone wishes to discuss the situation and decisions of the Council, you can contact any one of the Community Councillors. Cllr Jeff Priddin is Chair of the Finance Committee or Cllr Alan Wight drafted this summary of the position.