Update on Rural Development Partnership funding

Following the recent village meeting on the green which agreed that a sub-group of the Resident’s Association would take forward the plans for a community structure on the village green a meeting has been held with the Council. The notes from that meeting are attached to this update.

Two key points emerged from that meeting:

  1. The RDP approval was for a marquee, a marquee storage shed, and environmental improvements. Association’s secretary, on behalf of the Committee, had indicated to the Council that those items were the preference of the village at that time (March 1, 2017). The Council then communicated our request to the RDP, and the RDP gave their consent for us to develop up those proposals. Consequently, we do not have approval from the RDP to develop a community structure.
  2. The RDP funding agreement would require the Council to take responsibility for any structures constructed through the RDP process. The Council, to avoid having to take on any further liabilities, decided that it would not be prepared accept any new responsibilities.

Both these points raise questions as to whether a community structure can be progressed. While a request could be made to the Council to look again at these decisions there is no guarantee as to whether they would be successful. To do so this request would have to go through the Council committee structure and would eat up further time. The Council have already told us that we do not have time on our side even without these further challenges.

How did this happen? When the Association’s Committee secretary, communicated our plans for the proposed funding back in March last year, it was not known to us then that this was being taken as our decided preference. Consequently, when other ideas began to be discussed, no-one on the committee was aware that any changes to that March request would require approvals through the Council committee structure and by the RDP. While the Council engaged in some of this exploration, it was never made explicitly clear that further approvals would be required.

All of this means that the development of plans for a community structure are now not deliverable in the short to medium term. To take advantage of the RDP funding we will now need to focus on what can be delivered: marquee, marquee storage shed, and environmental improvements. The Council will now commission a designer to develop plans accordingly. The Committee will keep you up to speed on what is being proposed. There is just enough time to develop these proposals so that the Council can submit a full funding proposal to the RDP by December.

This will all be disappointing news for a number of you in the village. However, it has been the committee’s view all along that a community structure should be explored should a site be found and the plans prove sustainable. We will continue to keep this in our vision for the village should future opportunities emerge.