Introduction

Stapleford Parish Council has £233,538.71 of “Section 106” money available to invest in the Parish. Under S106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, as amended, contributions can be sought from developers towards the costs of providing community and social infrastructure, the need for which has arisen as a result of a new development taking place. This funding is commonly known as ‘Section 106’, and for Stapleford has largely come from the Welch site development.

Depending on grants and other sources of funding available such as public works loans, the S106 monies could fund projects in excess of £1,000,000. Therefore the opportunities to the village are significant. S106 funding is available for capital projects only. Revenue funding towards on-going running costs is not available. There is a stipulation that £25,000 of the grant must be reserved for Community Art
initiatives.

There are several initiatives underway in the Village at various stages of development. In order to ensure that the funds are allocated appropriately and to the maximum benefit of the village, the Parish Council sought the views of Stapleford Parishioners in 2019 on how to use the S106 funds in such a way that the needs of as many parishioners as possible can be met, whilst also delivering “landmark development” for the village.

If one would like more information and the background regards S106 monies, SCDC has detail here on their website or here on the Local Government Association Planning Advisory Service website.

Background: Local Demographics

Your Council believes that any initiatives should serve as much of the village as possible; therefore understanding the demographics might be useful. The 2011 census defined the population of The Shelfords and Stapleford as 7,322; approximately 1,900 of whom lived in the
village of Stapleford. The population comprised 51% females and 49% males; average age of 44, with a higher proportion of over 65 year olds than the rest of South Cambridgeshire. 84.1% of people living in The Shelfords and Stapleford were born in England, with no other place of birth scoring higher than 2%. 56.4% of people were married, 9.3% cohabited with a member of the opposite sex, 1.0% lived with a partner of the same sex, 18.0% were single, 6.6% were separated or divorced.

The top occupations listed by people in The Shelfords and Stapleford were Professional 35.8%, Managers, directors and senior officials 13.8%, Associate professional and technical 11.5%, Administrative and secretarial 10.5%, Science, research, engineering and technology professionals 10.3%, Corporate managers and directors 9.2%, Business, media and public service professionals 9.0%, Teaching and educational professionals 8.4%, Teaching and Educational Professionals 8.4%, Health professionals 8.0%.

Initiatives Identified

Initiatives the Parish Council is aware of follow below and were included in the questionnaire. It is envisaged that more potential projects may be identified as a result of the public consultation rounds. Note that none of the initiatives have been costed, but a best estimate order of magnitude has been suggested below of which S106 monies would form a part but not necessarily the whole.

1) Extending the Jubilee Pavilion – Significant Cost. The Jubilee Pavilion has been very successful in its first 8 years of operation, and feedback from users has indicated the potential for this to become a “destination of note”, especially with the proposed transportation improvements planned. Improvements envisaged include an expanded kitchen; on site cafe and community centre; expanded shower and changing facilities; indoor multi-use netball/basketball facilities; archive for the History Society.

2) Replace the rec “shed” with an all weather sporting facility – Large Cost. Along a similar line to that above, the current brick shed on the recreation ground is in poor condition, and Council has been approached with an offer of private shared funding to convert this into an all weather sports facility – cricket and basketball has been suggested – along with a smaller facility to house grounds equipment.

3) Developing the Slaughterhouse and Villedomer Gardens – Significant Cost. The slaughterhouse is deemed to be a heritage building of import to the village, however it is used as as a storage facility. The History Society has suggested it could be an appropriate location to
house the village archives, serve as a village museum or a permanent office for the village clerk, and also that the gardens should be developed into a high quality “peaceful garden”. It has also been suggested that the historic significance is minor and the Parish would be better served by selling the site, including Villedomer Gardens, for development.

4) Developing The Tree Pub Community Social Hub – Large Cost. The Group looking to Save The Tree Pub have identified a need in the village for a more active Community Hub to serve all parishioners throughout the day and evening with a communal centre at which to meet, eat and socialise. The Hub would be run as a not for profit entity. This was also a significant factor in obtaining an Asset of Community Value status for The Tree; the village’s only ACV.

5) Converting Village Assets to sustainable energy – Median Cost. There are government grants available to encourage councils to convert to sustainable energy. In our case this would largely mean converting the Pavilion to a mixture of heat exchange, solar and wind based solutions. Such a capital investment should reduce operating costs as well as the Parish’s carbon footprint.

6) Develop Basil’s Piece – Median Cost. Develop Basil’s piece into a high quality garden with an associated element for the Villedomer twinning.

7) Redesigned Recreation Ground Children’s Safe area – Small/Median Cost. Combine the the two children’s area on the recreation ground into a redesigned safe area.

The Survey

The S106 survey was run from 30th October, 2019 through 24th December, 2019. There was a phased dissemination of the survey; via Stapleford Online during the week of 7th October; via the Stapleford Messenger during the week of 21st October; a Facebook and Social Media campaign the week of 11th November; physical distribution of leaflets to all village households during the weeks of 18th November and 25th November.

The response rate was equivalent to around 13% of the Stapleford electorate, or around 10% of the Stapleford population. The demographic breakdown largely matched that of the latest demographic survey of the Village, with the exception of a poor response rate in the under 24 age brackets.

The Survey Report can be found here, which has the original survey questions detailed within.

Further Work

The Parish Council is very appreciative of those who took the time to respond to the survey and mindful of the strong indication from the public through the survey of its requirements. The focus will be improvements to the Pavilion including energy reduction and insulation whilst improving facilities, and a multi-games area to be sited on the Tennis Courts to increase use and thus sustainability.

A working group has been established and is looking at options to improve the facilities at the recreation ground: extension to and improvement of the Jubilee Pavilion; removal of the shed; developing the tennis courts into an all weather, multi sport surface open to all parishioners; and a few other options if there are sufficient funds.

On a final note, since the conclusion of the survey and the considerable interest in having a Community Hub, there have been developments regards The Tree pub and the Tree Action Group. There was considerable disappointment that planning approval was given to build a further dwelling on the site once The Tree was renovated and reopened in accordance with the approval given. The Tree Action Group decided that the granted planning application significantly reduces the business potential, and would require financial pledges to be double the current rate. The Tree community pub is no longer financially viable. There is a conflict between registration of community asset and planning permission, the granting of which has made a community business model untenable.

The Parish Council will continue to investigate commercially viable options for a Community Hub following the response of the community within the survey.