This report first appeared in the Stratford-upon-Avon Herald.

The main topic at the recent meeting of Wellesbourne Parish Council was the Sports and Community Centre, which is nearing completion. It is anticipated that the building will be handed over in mid-October. The Parish Council are setting up a Charitable Trust to run the facility, similar to the arrangement for Chedham’s Yard. The Trust will be responsible for all maintenance and management of the building.

In order to ensure the project starts on a sound economic basis, the Parish Council has applied for planning permission to install a Multi-Use Games Area (MUGA) alongside the building which should provide a high source of income for the Trust. The Council has also applied to the Public Works Loans Board for a loan of up to £200,000 to finance the building of the MUGA. The Council’s Responsible Finance Officer, Des Thomas, attended the meeting to explain why he had advised the Council to seek a repayment period of 10 years rather than five, noting it could be repaid earlier. Whilst this could impact on the amount of interest to be paid if the full term was taken, it was acknowledged this would reduce considerably with early payment and would not unreasonably stretch the Council’s finances should other financial pressures arise in the meantime. The current estimate is that this will cost the Council approximately £21,300 a year. However the Council will no longer be paying the Council tax on the property which is currently £9,000 a year as well as service costs such as water, gas and electricity, as these will become the responsibility of the Trust.There will also be other savings for the Council, such as repairs and insurance which the Council has been incurring on the building.

At last week’s meeting, the Council agreed that once the Trust is up and running, £37,000 earmarked for WSCC salaries and £50,000 for fixtures and fittings will be transferred from the Council to the Trust. In addition the moneys raised by the Street Fayre and the Buy a Brick campaign will also be transferred to the Trust. An earlier meeting of the Council agreed that some of the donated funds can be used to advertise for staff for the Trust.

There was good news to report on the Christmas Lights for 2016. There had been rumours that they may not be possible this year due to damage being sustained last year, but a constructive meeting has been held with the landlords of much of the property where the lights are erected and a compromise has been agreed that will see the Village attractively decorated with lights again this year, and a new contractor has been appointed.

Revised plans for four dwellings on the site of the current doctor’s surgery had been received but the Council decided to maintain its objection to the plans as only one of their comments had been addressed. The Parish Council Clerk, Mrs Scriven, will be absent for 6 to 8 weeks starting next week, due to scheduled medical leave. The Council has been fortunate in obtaining the temporary services of an experienced clerk, Mrs Kathryn Hollinrake, who has worked for the Council before. Whilst Mrs Scriven is away, the Parish Council office will be open to the public on a Wednesday morning rather than the afternoon.

Finally, Councillor Eric Lawley reported that the traffic warden had been busy enforcing the new parking regulations in the village centre, and that there had been a problem with a drone seen flying over the airfield which is potentially very dangerous.