Information on the Purchase of the 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.
Updates on the Purchase:
Completion of Purchase - 19th November 2021
The purchase of the playing field and spinney was completed on 19th November 2021 and the land is now the responsibility of the Parish Council. The process of registering the purchase with Land Registry is currently ongoing.
A loan of £30,000, required to purchase the playing field and spinney in Weston on the Green was applied for from the Public Works Loan Board (PWLB). A deal was approved on 15th October 2021 and it is confirmed that £29,975 (minus a £25 application fee) had been transferred to the Weston on the Green Parish Council’s bank account on 22nd October 2021.
The interest rate agreed on the loan was 2.100% reflecting a total interest amount of £6,894.63 over the term of the loan (20 years). A schedule of payments has been provided to the Parish Council by the PWLB. Fixed payments of £922.37 are required to be paid by the Parish Council every 6 months, on 22nd April and 22nd October each year. This figure will be inputted within the Parish Council’s draft budget for FY 2022-23.
The Parish Council are waiting to hear from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government regarding our application to borrow in order to finance the purchase of the playing field and spinney. The solicitors for both parties have worked through the legal documemnts regarding the purchase and if the approval to borrow is received then the purchase process can continue.
The next stage of the process to purchase the playing field and spinney involves applying for borrowing approval from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, which is obtained through the Oxfordshire Association of Local Councils. The application form and supporting documentation requesting permission to borrow has been sent off to the Debt Management Office by the Oxfordshire Association of Local Councils.
Once this is obtained the Parish Council can apply to the Public Works Loan Board for the loan.
If you have any questions relating to the purchase please don’t hesitate to contact the clerk directly on email@example.com or 01869 350282.
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:
- Annex 1 - Risk Assessment for the purchase of the playing field and spinney
- Annex 2 - Letter from Finance Advisory Group to PC solicitor, Spratt Endicott, 24th August 2020
- Annex 3 - Map showing outline of playing field and spinney area to be purchased
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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:
- 7th October 2020: Ref 20.357.6 - 20.357.10
- 2nd September 2020: Ref 20.356.11
- 5th August 2020: Ref 20.355.14
- 1st July 2020: Ref 20.354.16
- 3rd June 2020: Ref 20.353.15
- 6th November 2019: Ref 19.346.15
- 4th September 2019: Ref 19.343.12
- 7th August 2019: Ref 19.342.13
- 3rd April 2019: Ref: 19.337.7
- 6th February 2019: Ref 19.335.6
- 5th December 2018: Ref 18.333.11
When using the playground please follow Government guidelines as detailed below; a full risk assessment was undertaken prior to re-opening in July 2020.
Please follow Government Covid-19 Guidance:
- Please wash hands or use hand sanitiser before and after using the play area.
- Please stay at least 2 metres from another person who is not part of your household. If this is not possible 1 metre apart plus risk mitigations.
- Please cough or sneeze into a tissue or arm. Avoid touching your face, putting your hands in your mouth and putting your mouth on the equipment.
- Please dispose of litter in the bins provided or please take your litter home with you.
- Advise maximum 10 children in playground at one time and if busy please limit to 1 adult/child.
- Consumption of food or drink in the playground area is not advised.
The Council would like to highlight the need for patience and consideration of all children and adults using the playground during this time. Please report any concerns to the clerk on: email@example.com or 01869 350282
Toys - You are very welcome to use all toys and equipment in the spinney which have been provided by the Parish Council (at your own risk) – we only ask that you please look after them and tidy them away so others can enjoy them too.
A dog litter bin is available in the car park and litter bins can be found at the playground and stream areas.
Annual Inspection Reports for the Village Playground:
Ardley United Football Club
Weston on the Green Parish Council are delighted that Ardley United Football Club currently rent the playing field for use by their junior sides.
For the 2021-22 season there will be two teams playing 9v9 football on Saturday mornings in the under 11s age group. When there is evening light junior training will also be held on Wednesday evenings.
The Parish Council will continue to cut the grass and would like to thank Mark East and Robin Stafford Allen for the great work they do in maintaining the playing field area. Ardley FC will assist to maintain and mark out the pitch. They will store their goals on the playing field but due to use by other football groups the pitch has been damaged and so unfortunately they now have to chain the goals up. For your own safety please do not climb on any of the goals.
The Parish Council and Ardley United FC kindly request that you park in the car park and field when visiting the playing field and not on surrounding residential streets. Please note children are also users of this area, including the playground and spinney area and cars parked inappropriately can cause an additional hazard for their safety. Ardley FC will also advise all visiting teams to park in the car park and not on residential streets.
Ardley United FC U11s Known Fixtures (please note these may be subject to change):
- 9th April 2022, 10.30am - Ardley United U11 vs Witney Vikings U11 Warriors
- 16th April 2022, 10.30am - Ardley United U11 Blues vs Aston U11 Youth
There may also be some additional friendlies arranged.
If you would like more information on Ardley United Football Club please contact Head of Youth Development James Stopps on 07889 558480 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Parish Council wish Ardley Utd FC every success for the 2021/22 season and look forward to working with them over the coming year.