Further to discussions regarding the parking arrangements for the St Chad’s Centre, Trustees are pleased to announce an agreement with the Croft Medical Centre branch surgery on Mallory Road to utilise the surgery car park outside opening hours. Many thanks to Practice Manager Karen Malecki for her support.
An update on the St Chad’s Centre –
Questions and Answers April 2016
What prompted the building of the St Chad’s Centre originally?
Over ten years ago, Warwick District Council commissioned research to determine what community facilities were needed in Bishop’s Tachbrook. At the time the village had the Sports and Social Club and one vacant shop. There was no play equipment on the Meadow. The report prompted members of the Parish Council to come together with the Parochial Church Council to establish a joint community facility, which would benefit all residents. The Old School Hall, which was held by the charity Trustees of Tachbrook National Schools, was felt to be too close to Oakley Wood Road, without the right sizes of rooms for user groups’ needs, would cost hundreds of thousands of pounds to bring up to scratch and need major structural changes to be Disability Discrimination Act compliant. The Tower Room in the church was considered and found to lack the necessary scope to meet all user groups’ needs. The Sports and Social Club is licenced premises which prevents the holding of Parish Council meetings on its premises and makes it unsuitable for other user groups. Extensive research and wider consultations were undertaken before an agreed plan was settled for a new building to be centrally located on land previously set aside for this purpose in the churchyard, adjacent to the village green. Communications at this time were limited as there was no independent Parish noticeboard and the magazine had a limited circulation, being subscription only.
Where exactly is the Centre going to be located?
In the 1970s when Church Lees was built, the area was previously a pig farm. When the Gilkes family sold the land for development, a small area of land was set aside for future church hall use. A piece at the front was re-designated for graves and the area at the back remained grave-free.
Has the Centre got planning permission?
Yes. If you start building within three years of planning consent being granted, you obtain building regulation approval. ‘A meaningful start’ has been made on the St Chad’s Centre (in line with regulations) so planning consent cannot now be revoked. Because the Centre will be built on church ground, it also needs faculty permission from the church. This has been granted and cannot now be revoked. A short section of foundations was constructed to crystallise these various permissions. A 99 year peppercorn lease on the land was granted to the Trust by the Diocese.
Is it being built on consecrated ground?
Yes. This therefore required faculty consent for doing so. Although the ground is consecrated is has not been used for burials. Originally no records were found for this ground being consecrated and the initial application was submitted with the information available at the time. However a villager remembered a ceremony by a bishop being held and so a new application was submitted under the assumption that it was consecrated during that ceremony.
Will graves be disturbed, for example by diggers driving over graves?
No grave will be driven over and protective fencing will be put up so no workmen walk over graves. The Centre is being built on church land and as such the graves will be treated with the utmost respect.
What impact does the Trust feel the Centre will have on its closest neighbours?
The apex of the Centre’s roof is lower than the roofline of the Church Lees houses. It will be similar to having a large bungalow being built nearby. For a comparable size building the Tom Hauley Room in Harbury is a similar size. The 100 square metre main room will fit 30-50 people at a maximum. The Centre will have no licence and no bar so it will not be a pub or a club. It is likely to be used by community groups in the evenings so there will be equivalent usage traffic. Its location in the churchyard will mean Trustees will maintain it in a discreet and acceptable way for where it is located.
Does the contractors’ compound have to be on the village green?
There are two potential access points to the site; via the back and via the front. The back access is via the Church Lees residents’ private access road, for which permission has not been given to use. The front access is via the village green, which is the only known option at this time.
Is the Parish Council supporting the village green conservation proposal?
The Parish Council is supporting it through the neighbourhood planning process as it feels that is the best way of preserving all green spaces in village.
If the Centre was built as part of the new housing development would there be fewer objections?
Any new housing development would be built on the periphery of the village. The St Chad’s Centre location is in the centre of the village, next to the village green and close to the shops and the church; the heart of the village. Because of its location the majority of people will be able to walk to it.
Where is the money coming from to build the Centre?
So far over £100,000 has been given in lots of small gifts from people in the community. This has funded all the development costs so far which means not one penny of public money has been spent on the project so far. The majority of the balance will come from Warwick District Council, with a £50,000 contribution from the Parish Council and further applications to charitable trusts and foundations. The WDC Executive agreed to £300,000 of funding and to underwrite a further £150,000 in order to allow the construction of a community Centre in the village of Bishop’s Tachbrook. This is being funded through the New Homes Bonus Scheme. WREN has also granted £50,000 for the Centre.
In 2012, The St Chad’s Centre Trust Company Ltd was established and registered as a charity. Trustees were nominated by the Parish Council and the PCC, as well as others from potential users of the new facility. This company’s funds are separate from the Parish Council’s and the PCC’s.
Why has there been a delay between proposing the Centre and it being built?
A project of this nature and size requires volunteers to give up their free time to seek all necessary permissions, cost it all and raise the money to build it. The ground has been dug to obtain building regulation approval and it is not uncommon for major projects to take many years to come to fruition. It is the single biggest investment in community facilities since the church was built.
Could the money be used to fund something the village really wants/needs or improve the Sports and Social Club?
The independent research by Warwick District Council identified that the village needed this community facility. The people who want it and need it have funded it so far. The St Chad’s Centre’s purpose is very different to that of the Sports and Social Club. The Sports and Social Club is good at raising its own money and can raise support in own right. Many of the sources of money supporting the building of the St Chad’s Centre are very specific in their requirements and the Sports and Social Club would not fit their criteria.
Why haven’t I been asked what I think?
The 2010 Parish Council elections provided an opportunity for people to vote for the Parish Councillors they felt best represented their views. The two strongest supporters of the Centre received the two highest numbers of votes. A group of prospective councillors stood on the single issue of opposition to the Centre and no member of that group was voted onto the Parish Council.
What happened to the results of the Centre referendum vote in 2010?
The poll was requested at a parish meeting by a group objecting to the Parish Council grant to the Centre. In the days leading up to the poll on 15th April 2010, the Parish Council delivered a leaflet to every house in the Parish. The leaflet set out the basis of the PC’s decision to make a grant to the Centre, ensured that all households were aware of the poll and were informed of the issues. The poll asked people whether the Parish Council should NOT provide the grant to the Centre. The results of the Poll were as follows: 240 Voted YES, 171 Voted NO. With approximately 2000 electors registered in the Parish, this represents a 21% turn out. The result indicates that approximately 12% of electors voted against the Parish Council decision to make a contribution to the Centre. The referendum cost £2000 which was 10% of the Parish Council budget at the time. This equated to more than the total money given to community groups through section 137 funding to support community activities. The legislation states that the referendum does not have to be legally binding and the Parish Council communicated in their leaflet that they welcomed people’s views but would not be bound by the response to the poll.
Who are the supporters of the Centre?
The people in the community who would use the Centre are its biggest supporters; this extends to parents of user groups. Donations have been received in lieu of gifts for wedding anniversaries, sponsorship for fun runs and individuals donating generous sums. The St Chad’s Centre Trust is registered as a charity which means all donations benefit from Gift Aid adding 25% to every £1.
What does the church think about the Centre?
The PCC was initially divided over the Centre. There were concerns about upsetting local residents and creating a Centre that the church would be unable to sustain itself. The creation of a separate charity made it clear that there is a body which looks after the Centre only and is independent of the PC & PCC.
How will you know what the village needs the Centre to provide?
The Trustees represent the groups of people who will be using the Centre. There will be opportunities through AGMs and consultations with users when the Centre is up and running.
What sorts of things will be offered at the Centre?
The vision is for it to provide space for a mobile post office, to provide a public space for consultations by, for example, WDC or the police, a place for groups to hold meetings or run activities such as Cubs, host birthday parties, have exercise classes, indoor sports such as table tennis, host family cinema nights, suppers for church events and other opportunities for the community to meet there.
How will it be different from what the Sports and Social Club offers?
The floor space offered will be different from the Sports and Social Club so different things can be held there. It will not be licenced and it is not intended to provide bar or restaurant facilities. It will not be run on a commercial basis and will be for the whole community rather than having a membership. It is intended to meet all age group needs including the very old and very young. Under 16s and over 65s make up half of the population of the parish.
What facilities will the Centre have?
It will have a kitchen, low moveable stage, storage facilities for community groups, toilets, paved area outdoors and an office. To find out about what is going on there, information will be on a noticeboard at the Centre as well as on the www.bishopstachbrook.com website and features will appear in the magazine.
How will I be able to use it?
The plan is for an online booking system with details of where to collect the keys from. The booking cost will cover overheads such as heating and lighting but it will not be a money making venture. It has been designed so smaller meeting space can be used without opening and heating/lighting the whole space. For example, the Parish Council would be able to utilise a smaller portion of the space than a 50th birthday party booking.
Where will the people using the Centre park their cars?
People will be able to walk from all over the village. The Neighbourhood Plan group is looking into how the Centre of the village can be redesigned to encourage people to walk and cycle to it. The Centre will provide cycle racks and it is hoped there will be improved footpaths linking it to the whole village.
28/04/16 update – The doctor’s surgery on Mallory Road, the Croft Medical Centre branch surgery, has offered the use of the car park outside surgery hours, which includes evenings and weekends; key Centre usage times. This will provide useful off street parking for any visitors who are travelling from outside the village to attend events at the St Chad’s Centre. Trustees will signpost hirers to this car park when they make a booking and encourage its use during available hours.
It will be available:
Mondays after 13:00
Tuesdays before 13:30 and after 17:30
Wednesdays after 13:00
Thursdays before 13:30 and after 17:30
Fridays after 13:00
All day Saturdays and all day Sundays.
Trustees are aware of concerns regarding contractors’ vehicles parking near to the Centre. In the first instance, please speak to the driver of the vehicle to resolve the issue directly. If this is not possible, and you believe the driver of the vehicle is working on behalf of the St Chad’s Centre, please use the email address below to contact Trustees. Please remember Mallory Road and Church Lees are public roads and members of the public are permitted to park on them, providing they obey the law. Trustees have asked contractors not to park in the bay along Church Lees to free these spaces up for residents. However, if concerns continue regarding parking along Mallory Road, the safest place to advise them to park will be in this bay. The bay on Church Lees is not for the exclusive use of residents; it is for residents and their visitors, as well as visitors to the villages amenities such as the shop, Church and the St Chad’s Centre.
Roads close to the Centre are used by residents, visitors, people using the village amenities, as well as those working on behalf of the St Chad’s Centre. If you have evidence of laws being broken, again in the first instance Trustees would recommend you resolve it directly with the driver wherever possible. Where this is not possible contact Trustees via the email address below who will investigate and report back to you. The Police are unlikely to be able to react as quickly as Trustees in identifying the drivers of dangerously parked vehicles and request that they are moved but, if you feel contacting the Police is necessary to prevent an imminent accident, the non-emergency number is 101.
Who do I contact to find out more?