Play and Recreation Park
November 2022 – The refurbished play area with new equipment including that for toddlers, has been completed. More work will be completed over the coming months focusing on the older equipment and general maintenance.
The grass has yet to grow back where this has been disturbed by the installation.
The Lease of land in Townhouse Road from Old Town Trust to the Parish Council as Tenants was signed in 1986 for a period of 28 years and was then reviewed and extended until 2035. The old lease was also the governing document for the Play Council, a registered charity (no. 293364) and reflected the fact that until 2021, the Parish Council held the land known as the Play Park, upon trust for the Play Council. At that time the Trustees of the Play Council undertook development work and received an annual grant from the Parish Council for day to day running costs.
The Play Council charity had emerged from the original Youth Forum which did such great work putting the Millennium Village Appraisal into action. Local children were consulted and following successful grant applications, including a £50,000 Playbuilder grant, the Skatepark and MUGA were built.
The extremely enthusiastic and dedicated committee expended a lot of effort over a few months prior to the re-opening and the improved Play Area was opened during the Open Gardens Weekend of August 30 & 31st 2009 by trustees of the Play Council charity.
More recently, further development had been frustrated because it proved impossible to maintain a full committee of Play Council trustees as required by the charity’s governing document.
Given that the Parish Council is legally not allowed to be in receipt of charitable funding as it is not, and cannot be, a charity, an alternative solution was needed. Once it was established that sufficient non-charitable funds for further development could be raised directly by the Parish Council , it was agreed that the Parish Council was able to take on development responsibilities alongside the day to day management.
At this point (from April 1st 2018), the Parish Council assumed direct responsibility for the day to day running costs and maintenance in place of an annual grant to the Play Council for these costs.
A lengthy process then ensued whereby the Charity Commission was asked for consent to the amendment of the Play Council Constitution in order to allow the charitable assets to be passed to the Parish Council as a non-charitable body, and the charity dissolved and closed. The alternative was that the assets would have been passed to another charity with similar charitable objectives but outside the village because, of the other charities in the village that met the criteria, none was prepared to take on the management and development of the Play Area. As this project progressed a fantastic group volunteers continued their work behind the scenes on further consultation, on fundraising from local organisations and on getting the support of the school and sports club for future fundraising efforts. This fed into a new plan for phased development which was used by the Parish Council to raise further funding.
Minutes of the Play Council AGM held on 29th May 2020, document the reappointment of a quorum of Play Council committee members (trustees) and resolutions were proposed and approved to change the constitution to allow the assets of the charity to be transferred to the Parish Council and to finally dissolve and close the charity. Following confirmation from the Charity Commission on 25th August 2020, that the Play Council Charity had been closed, it was possible to start to engaging with the former charity’s bank to transfer remaining cash assets to the Parish Council.
After further lengthy legal process, the Parish Council finally signed a new lease with Old Town Trust on 8th September 2021. Redevelopment of the new Play Area commenced in October 2022 and was completed within a couple of weeks. New equipment has been installed for younger children and older children. The final total cost was £76k ( £63,334 after the reclaim of VAT). This leaves approximately £10k, monies previously ringfenced and earmarked by the Parish Council, for maintenance work on the pre-existing timber frame equipment.
Funding was received from various sources (*still to be collected as at 16/11/2022).
|Ring fenced (bank balance of dissolved charity)||8,000.00|
|Town Farm Charity||3,000.00|
|District Cllr. Rick Meyer Locality Budget||1,000.00|
|County Cllr. Jessica Fleming *||1,690.00|
|MSDC CIL *||9,315.00|
|BMS Grants Team * (based on 22.7% of 65,935.74 as quoted for the bid )||15,000.00|
As with all community working groups, a constant flow of new members is needed to keep things moving forward. If you would like to be involved with the Play Council Volunteers who work together to undertake practical tasks to realise the development plans agreed with the Parish Council, then please get in touch the Parish Clerk to register your interest.
It is envisaged that the volunteers will be asked to meet two to three times a year on a saturday morning to work on jobs that need doing.
The following documentation can be found in this news post
- Charity Commission closure confirmation
- Final bank statement
- Treasurer’s year end accounts
- Independent examiner’s report