To receive and note the questions asked and statements made from members of the public on issues relating to the responsibility of this Forum.
Members of the public and visiting councillors may speak at the Forum, provided they have registered to speak three working days in advance. Please contact Democratic Services by 5pm on Tuesday, 7 March 2023 via email@example.com or (01962) 848 264 to register to speak and for further details.
Matthew Brown, Tim Perry and Emma Back (on behalf of Sports and Arts Leisure Trust (SALT)) spoke during public participation on similar matters, in summary they made reference to the following points set out below.
In addition, Mike Biden spoke in relation to item 6 (St Giles Hill Park Management Plan). A summary of his comments are contained under the relevant item below.
Matthew Brown made reference to the following points:
· Following the success of the Lionesses during the Summer, the interest in girls football had soared with Winchester Flyer’s and its facilities struggling to keep up with demand and matches were being cancelled due to the KGV play fields being waterlogged or frozen in winter months.
· The only floodlit spaces available were the 1G hockey pitches at Kings School or the Winchester University which were not conducive to football.
· Winchester Youth Provision published on 1 March 2023 aligns with this assessment and references the Play Pitch Strategy and Action Plan for 2018 regarding poor provision for football in the district.
· In converting to 3G this summer, Winchester City Football Club will provide a much needed artificial surface for football clubs to use. However, this pitch will primarily be for the use by the senior club and therefore there will still be a shortfall to address.
· He stated that there was funding available for construction of state-of-the-art pitches but the challenge was finding suitable land in Winchester meeting the necessary requirements. He sought the support of the forum in helping the football playing youth in Winchester in capitalising on the available funding opportunities by assisting in funding suitable land to build a 3G floodlit football pitch
Tim Perry made reference to the following points:
· Campaigning for a Multi-Use Games Area (MUGA) to be built in one of the parks in North Winchester.
· Survey undertaken to establish the need for such a facility with positive response – 97% responding that they would welcome a MUGA in their community.
· Believed there to be a lack of MUGA and all-weather recreational facilities in this area of Winchester for children and young people with over 4,000 young people in the St Paul and St Barnabas wards and no MUGA provision available.
· Suggested building of a MUGA at St Matthews Park to address concerns regarding the lack of free to use facilities in these communities.
· Wishes to partner with the council to agree a location for the MUGA, agree a plan to finance this with the use of Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) being suggested as an option and set a timetable for the works. Also committed to fundraising for part of the MUGA if required as experienced fundraisers.
· If CIL funding is approved for this project, how would the project be prioritised within the Natural Environment and Recreation Team and what are the chances of the project being completed in 2023?
Emma Back (SALT) made reference to the following points:
· Spoke in support of the community campaign for a new MUGA in North Winchester and also the quest made for 3G pitches with low provision of both across the town wards and highlighted its relevance as part of the Vision for Winchester to go some way to promote the national guidance standards towards meeting adequate MUGA provision for young people.
· No new developments in the town area had included the provision of a MUGA. It was suggested that CIL funds be invested in MUGA’s to fill the existing gap.
In response to the points raised, in her capacity as Cabinet Member with principal responsibility for most of the Natural Environment and Recreation Team’s work programme, Councillor Learney stated that a considerable amount of development had taken place in the north of Winchester and that whilst play areas had been refurbished and improved, the level of investment required to deal with the increase in population had not been met.
Councillor Learney agreed that the provision of a MUGA behind Weeke School in St Matthews field would be a great addition to facilities. However, it was highlighted that, in addition to 3G sports pitches, requests had also been received to respond to the ‘Make space for girls’ campaign and for additional cycling and running facilities, as well as requests to use land for biodiversity so a balanced approach on competing requests on limited town area land was required, also taking into account considerable budget and resource constraints. Currently there was no capacity to add new projects to existing workstreams so requests for delivery by 2023 would not be possible. Therefore, it was proposed that the consideration of any additional MUGAs (including one at St Matthews field) and all other recent requests be considered in the round as part of the review of the Play Area Refurbishment Programme and Open Space Management taking place this year.
In relation to the 3G pitch, Councillor Tod reported that he was due to make a decision for the council to invest over £1m, with the support of the Football Foundation and in partnership with Winchester City Football Club, and that there was a commitment to increasing the number of pitches the council has. In addition, he stated that the encouraging increase in participation, particularly amongst women and girls in football and other sports, be supported and that funding sources and options be explored further.
In conclusion, the Chairperson thanked the three public speakers for addressing the forum regarding the facilities needed for young people in the Winchester town area and encouraged continued dialogue with local Ward Members going forward.