Sports clubs and community councils handed extra year to work on asset transfer plans

(Title Image: Bridgend County Borough Council)

As mentioned in the budget post yesterday, a proposal to sharply increase the hire fees for sports pitches and pavilions in Bridgend county has been suspended until the 2021-22 financial year.

While the suspension was at least in part because of the better-than-expected funding settlement from the Welsh Government, the main aim is to give clubs, organisations and community councils more time to go through the Community Asset Transfer (CAT) process. Officers will provide BCBC Cabinet members with a further update on the CAT programme later today (pdf).

It’s worth stressing again that the fee hike has only been postponed, not cancelled. It’s still scheduled to be introduced from April 2021 as things stand. However, the report says BCBC are confident that the CAT process will now accelerate so the new fees may not be needed.

Two appendices were attached listing the community assets that could be transferred (pdf) as well as the status of CAT applications and expressions of interest as of January 2020 (pdf).

Only one CAT transfer has been completed to date (Bryncethin RFC). As for the rest:

  • 10 CAT’s have been approved subject to leases being agreed.
  • 1 CAT has been agreed but has been put on hold subject to further information.
  • 21 have received a formal expression of interest but work on a business case hasn’t started yet.
  • 16 have made an informal expression of interest.

A CAT advisory panel – which will include representatives from the major sports governing bodies – will meet for the first time in March 2020.

To date, just under £570,000 has been committed towards CAT schemes from a £1million CAT fund as well as the Town & Community Council capital grant scheme. Last October, BCBC approved a £75,000 fund to support youth sport with a maximum grant of £2,000-per-team, match-funded by the Sports Wales Community Chest.

Unique arrangements may be required for Newbridge Fields (Bridgend), Maesteg Welfare Park and Aberfields (Nantymoel) because they’re used by multiple clubs. The report hints that a joint CAT arrangement involving the respective clubs will be considered. £20,000 has been set aside to progress work further with the aim for a management scheme to be in place for April 2021.

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