Penarth Cricket Club HQ at the Athletic Ground, Penarth

The Vale of Glamorgan Council is attempting to reduce the £400,000 a year cost-burden on council-taxpayers of maintaining so-called “single use” sports grounds across the county.

The main users of 4 council-owned sports grounds in Penarth are now likely to face increased charges –  or consider the option of taking-over the grounds –  as the council attempts to bring the income derived from its sports grounds more into line with the actual costs of maintenance.

The extensive “turfed area” of the Penarth Athletic Club Grounds

The 4 affected sports in Penarth are:-

  • The Athletic Field, which is used for both rugby and cricket and is operated by Penarth Athletic Club
  • Belle Vue Bowls which is operated by the Belle Vue Bowls Club
  • The Cogan Recreation Field which is used for football by the Cogan Coronation AFC
  • The Cwrt y Vil Playing Fields, Penarth which is used by the Old Penarthians

Currently Vale of Glamorgan Council Tax Payers are – in effect – subsidising the sports clubs .

The costs of maintaining bowling greens is about £25,000 a year more than the income paid by the sports clubs

Maintaining “large, fine turfed sports fields” costs council-tax-payers  is £80,000 more than the income paid by the sports clubs

The Pavilion at Belle Vue Park bowling Green

The maintenance of all the grounds across the Vale costs Vale council-tax-payers “approximately £400,000 per annum” more than is received in fees which the Vale Council says ” fall well-short of covering the costs of operating these facilities”.

The Vale Council has now agreed to amend the fees charged to clubs and organisations for single use facilities from their current level to the actual cost of operating and maintaining these (after any income), from 1st April 2019.” – but before doing so will  discuss with clubs the possibility that they take over the management of these facilities from 1st April 2019.

The lumpy and bumpy Cwrt-y-Vil football pitch is in dire need of re-surfacing

If the clubs agree to taking over the grounds then, in each case,  a deal will be subject to  an agreement to ensure the ground in question is “maintained to a satisfactory condition.”

The Vale Council says it is currently reviewing the so-called “Community Asset Transfer protocol”  to enable a ‘fast track’ process to be set up to assist with the transfer of responsibilities in cases where the sports clubs are prepared to take over maitenance of the facilities .

Footballers of the future – some of the young footballers of Cogan Coronation AFC

The council also points to organisations like Glamorgan Voluntary Services, who may be able to provide “advice and support in the development of business cases to support the running of facilities or potential sources of income”.

A further report will be brought to the Vale Council’s ruling 7-man cabinet prior to 1st April 2019 to provide an update of the situation and to give details of any single user sports grounds at which the current user doesn’t want to continue using the facilities under the proposed new arrangements.

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  1. Peter Church says:

    £25,000 a year. or 8 Band H Council taxes!
    Penarth does deserve some of the money raised to be spent in Penarth rather than be siphoned off to subsidise Barry.
    The reason the houses here are valued at the top end of the council tax bands is because we have the likes of the bowling green.
    They can’t have it both ways.

    • Philip Rapier says:

      Can’t even afford to look after our young people and sporting community but obstruct us from joining Cardiff.
      You cannot trust the Vale Tory Cowbridge Cabinet. Just look at the Dads Army team photograph.The only sport they engage in is the race to fill in expenses forms.
      Alexandra Park and the Athletic Field are held in trust by the National Playing Fields Association and they cannot therefore be subject to abdication of municipal responsibility and neglect by the Vale
      There are no Playing Fields in Trust in Cowbridge unless you count that little stream behind the Car Park-no surprise there then.

  2. 92 and a social butterfly says:

    Seems too black and white to me. Need to take in all the added value of being involved in sport and need to honour their commitment to the wellbeing of future generations.

  3. Jonathan Livingstone says:

    I’m not sure what point you are trying to make. Where is the suggestion that money is being “siphoned off to subsidise Barry”? The article refers to sports grounds located in Penarth, for the benefit of people of all ages who live in Penarth. It is right that “Vale of Glamorgan Council Tax payers are – in effect – subsidising the sports clubs” and long may it continue. The physical, social health and wellbeing benefits to local people are worth every penny of any subsidy. Take a look at the happy faces of the children in two of the pictures. They are enjoying happy, healthy outdoor activity not sitting hunched over a keypad.

  4. Dizzydeb says:

    Here we go again!
    Do we want to encourage kids to take up a sport and look after their health? Surely in the long run this must save the NHS. We overwhelmingly voted for St Pauls to become a sports facility and now we have social housing (with no parking) instead. The pool hire charges are just about to go through the roof which will hit the swim clubs badly.
    We need some councillors who value spots and fitness and can see the benefit it brings.

    • Mike Faull says:

      Exactly. It’s not long ago that everyone on here was campaigning to subsidise the use of a publicly owned property by the boxing and gym clubs. I guess it depends on your agenda at the time.

  5. Phil Nedin says:

    The Tory Vale Council start by investigating car parking charges which may adversely affect business and now place a financial burden on the sports clubs. This may have a detrimental impact on the health and welfare of all ages of the occupant of Penarth. The strap line for this unsympathetic Tory council “if it is of benefit to the occupants of Penarth we will charge for it”

    • Richard Newman says:

      This has been festering for a few years now so I don’t think it matters who runs the Vale Council politically.

      Also,I think this needs defining, ‘SINGLE USE’. Multiple Rugby, football and Cricket teams spanning all ages at the Athletic Field andCwyrt y Vil.
      There use to be decent tennis courts at the Athletic Field until the Council made a great decision too.

      It still makes me laugh who reputedly lives in the Athletic Club Groundskeepers house now after extensive costly renovation for probably a pittance of rent!

  6. Kevin Mahoney says:

    I suppose it could be argued that most council services costs exceed income. Why not extend the same thought process to everything rather than just picking on one item of expenditure enjoyed by the local populace? The point is that local residents pay council tax for services which include the health and well being of those residents in the form of provision of sports facilities. We are bombarded by messages from authorities at all levels in regards to increasing levels of obesity and unfitness amongst young and old and rising anti social behaviour amongst those who claim that they have nothing else to do.

    Does financial return from the £millions being spent on cycle paths exceed expenditure? There doesn’t seem to be any compunction on the part of Government or local authorities to curb the increasing amounts on such projects. Surely if the same criteria is applied then all cyclists should be charged to use to them and to raise funds for their construction and maintenance?

    Do libraries expenditure exceed income? Yes of course they do, are we to close them down ( admittedly the local labour party have done their best to do this in the case of branch libraries) or do we charge users the full price of running the libraries?

    The thought that a responsible local authority could even consider putting such punitive strains on local sport, which is already in trouble with plunging participation numbers across the board, and which could further deplete grass roots participation is madness.

    Does the chap in the little booth of the free car park at the council offices in Holton Roads wages exceeed income gained from the use of the car park? Do the maintenance costs of the free council employee car parks at Holton road, the Docks office and the Alps exceed income from the staff using them? Well lets start charging all the council officials for their parking. Lets start charging the councillors who have applied for and receieved permits for free parking in their own reserved little enclave in the car park at Holton Rd.

    Do the free coffee and drinks provided in the council chambers exceed income? Well it must do if it’s free.

    I have lost count of the number of times that I have requested that all councillors and their guests be charged for their food and drinks at the myriad of council hospitality functions that they all get invited to. Why are these free if we are to adopt a ‘pay the full wack’ policy in regards to sports grounds.

    Why is the office of Mayor of the council accompanied by a £9,000 pa extra payment? Does this exceed income to the council? Scrap it and charge the full running of the office of Mayor to whoever wishes to prance about to functions with a gold chain around their neck if we are to apply the same criteria of paying your way.

    How much is wasted on generally derided public Art, does the expenditure outstrip income of most of the publicly subsidised rubbish put up in the name of art? How much income came in from the junk ludicrous iron shaped and frankly potentially dangerous posts along the pavement edge in Thompson Street Barry for example or the chunks of meaningless stone put along the coastal footpath in Sully?

    Why pick on one particular area of expenditure…..and I’d have thought one vital to moral, health and well being of the general populace, rather than start charging for everything that doesn’t pay for itself or make a profit?

    Residents pay through their council tax and income tax to subsidise certain areas of expenditure to subsidise activities generally regarded as beneficial to the community even if they don’t actively participate themselves, recognising the general benefits to the community of mass participation of these activities.

  7. Dizzydeb says:

    We have one of worst obesity epidemics in Europe, especially amongst children, our sports facilities should be the last thing to get the chop! Also so many lonely old people who need to be encouraged to join clubs, especially if they include some form of fitness.

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