Information on Purchase of Playing Field & Spinney

Introduction by Diane Bohm, Chair of Parish Council

The Parish Council began discussing the possible purchase of the playing field and spinney at the entrance to the village on the road to Bletchingdon as long ago as the February 2019 meeting. The Council agreed to investigate the potential purchase and in August 2019 received information on a Public Works Loan including the repayment costs over a range of years. We also began discussions with the owners, the Duchy of Cornwall and have received encouraging responses to our request for terms. Responses from the public has been positive at our Parish Council meetings with the basic view being that our current rent payment should go towards a low interest loan. Being the owners of the field including the playground and the spinney would give us a wide range of opportunities to customise it to our needs and preferences. There has also been a view that depleting our reserves through channelling them to this purchase would reduce our bank of funds for defending us if any of our key planning applications went to inquiry. Our response to this concern is that we intend to work within our budget with careful overview by our Finance Advisory Group.

If you have a view or question on this potential purchase, please either send a query to us through the Clerk or attend one of our Parish Council meetings being held virtually at the moment with room for a good number of people.

Latest Update on the Purchase - October 2020

The Parish Council’s Finance Advisory Group has evaluated all the options for obtaining a loan from the Public Works Loan Board in order to finance the purchase of the playing field and spinney.

The finance group have also liaised with the Parish Council’s solicitors to seek assurances over the legal costs of the purchase.

A full report, risk assessment and draft Parish Council budget for financial year 2021-2022 was presented to the Parish Council meeting on 7th October 2020 and all were unanimously approved. The documents can be viewed below:

Finance Advisory Group Report on the purchase of the playing field and spinney.

DRAFT Parish Council budget for financial year 2021-2022 (final version to be approved, subject to further amendments at 2nd December Parish Council meeting).

Following review and approval of the documents at the 7th October 2020 Weston on the Green Parish Council meeting, it was RESOLVED to seek the approval of the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities & Local Government to apply for a PWLB loan of £30,000 over the borrowing term of 20 years for the purpose of purchasing the playing field and spinney in Weston on the Green. The annual loan repayments will come to around £1,830 (the exact repayment figure will be calculated when the loan is advanced).

It is not intended to increase the council tax precept for the purpose of the loan repayments.

If you have any views or opinions you wish to feed in, please contact the Parish Council directly on clerk@westononthegreen-pc.gov.uk or 01869 350282.

Public Works Loan Board

The PWLB lending facility is operated by the UK Debt Management Office (DMO) on behalf of HM Treasury and provides loans to local authorities, and other specified bodies, from the National Loans Fund, operating within a policy framework set by HM Treasury.

Further information on a loan from the Public Works Loan Board can be found on the following website: https://www.dmo.gov.uk/responsibilities/local-authority-lending-pwlb/about-pwlb/

Parish Council Meeting Minutes

The minutes from Parish Council meetings where the purchase of the playing field and spinney from the Duchy of Cornwall has been discussed include: