Congresbury Neighbourhood Development Plan

4.3 Facilities

Background

Congresbury has a number of venues for activities, these include; the Old School Rooms, Recreation Club, Memorial Hall and the Methodist Hall.  There are numerous clubs and organisations that meet in these venues including art classes, Congresbury Singers, Keep Fit classes, History Group, Senior Citizens Lunch Club, Rascals, WI and Ladies Friendly, Badminton Club, Craft and book groups.  They cover a range of interests and activities catering for all ages and tastes.  The Old School Rooms is owned and managed by the Parish Council.

There is a thriving Scout and Guide group in the village and the Youth Partnership runs the youth club and outreach programmes which provides opportunities for young persons.

The King George V playing field was donated to the village in 1936; the playing fields are currently administered by the Recreation Club and the King George V Trustees.  There is a cricket pitch and 3 tennis courts.  The children’s play area is managed and maintained by the Parish Council.  The adjacent Broadstones field (owned by the Parish Council) provides football pitches with a separate changing facility for the players.

There is a well-used bowling green and Club off Mill Leg and the Parish Council provides a ball court next to the Youth Club by Bristol Road Car Park.

Each facility has its own management group responsible for maintaining and administering their existing buildings and premises to secure them for the future. If buildings cease to become functioning facilities in the future then, depending on their location, they could become suitable areas for infill development.

Policy F1 – Community Facilities

A contribution of any Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) contributions and s106 contributions from any future housing developments should be considered for the following:

  1. The Parish Council intends to continue to maintain and improve the Old School Rooms for the benefit of the community.
  2. The land used for allotments in Congresbury belongs to Queen Elizabeth’s Hospital (QEH). The land is leased by the Parish Council and managed for allotment use by the community.  There are currently 70 plots available.  An application to register the allotments as a community asset will be made to North Somerset Council as they are currently used to further the social well-being and interests of the local community.
  3. Support the proposal for a new community hall on the King George V playing fields as voted for in the village referendum in 2016. Any new building must be sustainable in the build design and materials used and must comply with all relevant energy standards.  The building must support the current constituent sporting clubs and enhance and increase sporting and community activities for future   
  4. Proposal to look for a new area for a burial ground (possibility of a natural burial ground); to be considered at the application stage of any new development.

Justification for Policy F1

The Parish Council owns and maintains the Old School Rooms for the use of the community.  The Parish Council aims to cover the costs of maintaining the hall and administration costs and therefore the rental charges for rooms are very reasonable.  The hall is used by the Parish Council and by many community groups for meetings and activities.  The hall can be rented for community events and private functions.

Asset of Community Value gives communities a right to identify a building or other land that they believe to be of importance to their community’s social well-being.  If the nominated asset meets the definition of an Asset of Community Value, the local authority will list it.  If the asset comes up for sale the local community is given an opportunity to bid for it on the open market.  The owner will have a right to an internal review by the local council, and a right of appeal to an independent tribunal against the result of the internal review.  The allotments should be given Community Asset status.

A referendum for the Community Right to Build Order for a new village hall/community centre was held on 15 September 2016 resulting in a majority vote in favour of the Order.  In accordance with the relevant Act and Regulations over 50% of those voting need to vote in favour of the Order.  Out of a 38.14% turnout 69.9% of the votes cast were in favour of the Order proposals.  Following the referendum, the Community Right to Build Order for the new community hall was submitted to North Somerset Council and the order was formally made on 8th November 2016.  The order submission was a comprehensive document which considered many criteria which would affect the surrounding area and enable it to integrate sensitively.  The building was designed in consultation with stakeholders and villagers to create a multi-use building to meet the present and future needs of the community.

The new development will replace the existing wooden structures of the Recreation Club and Tennis Club Pavilion with a modern building able to adapt to the future needs of a growing community with minimal impact on the surrounding residential areas.

The closed churchyard and burial ground are managed and maintained by the Parish Council.  The Council recently restricted burials to current and prior residents of the parish.  This decision was taken to ensure that the limited space (estimated at approximately 30 years supply) is available for those who have a connection with Congresbury rather than from neighbouring villages.

A location is sought for a natural burial ground which will enable more environmentally friendly funerals to take place, and the establishment of schemes that preserve and enhance biodiversity with a long-term sustainable future.  Any potential land must be assessed with regard to constraints including risks to ground water and ensuring that the area has a sustainable transport policy, limits archaeological disturbance and has an ecological scoping survey completed.

Policy F2 – Protecting and Enhancing Community Services

Existing community services and facilities such as the library, public houses, public conveniences, village halls and local village shops, churches, sporting facilities, youth club and youth services play important roles in maintaining a strong and vibrant community.  Therefore:

  1. The loss of existing community facilities will be resisted unless it can be demonstrated that the facility is no longer viable or that the facility is no longer in active use and has no prospect of being brought back into use.
  2. Proposals which enhance and improve existing community facilities will be supported. New community facilities will be encouraged providing they are compatible with existing neighbouring uses.

Justification for Policy F2

The public conveniences which were transferred to the Parish Council in 2013 are well used by residents and visitors to the village.  The cost of running the toilets is approximately £4,000 per annum; the toilets are opened and closed daily by volunteers due to the risk of vandalism and the resulting cost of repairs.

Congresbury Community Library opened on 1 July 2017 following a Community Access Review of services by North Somerset Council.  The library is funded by the Parish Council and supported by North Somerset Council to provide a library service on behalf of the residents of the village and the wider community.  The library is managed and manned by volunteers.

The Parish Council supports Congresbury Youth Partnership (CYP) which provides activities for young people in the age range 8 - 20 years.  CYP’s aim is to develop the physical, social and mental wellbeing of the young people in the village by helping each child to develop as an individual and become an active member of the community.

Other services and facilities including local shops, the doctor’s surgery, church, sports facilities and meeting places need to be supported to ensure that the community is well served by a wide range of amenities.