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 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 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.
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 .
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.