Wheatley Playing Field Trust Business Plan 2015/16 (updated Sep 2022)
For 40 years Wheatley Parish Council owned fields at Holton were managed by a committee representing both Oxfordshire County Council (education) and Wheatley Parish Council to provide sporting facilities for local inhabitants and those in education.
This joint use scheme ended in August 2015 without chance of renewal or extension. The sports field trust was formed to lease the grounds from Wheatley Parish Council and thus manage the facility as an independent body.
Wheatley Playing Field Trust has four principal aims; these are to inspire participation in sport, to promote community interaction, to provide sporting and changing facilities for Wheatley Park School and to act in an environmentally responsible way.
The trust was formed with rules allowing trustees to be proposed and elected from existing users to provide expertise in providing sporting opportunities in rugby, football, tennis and cricket plus the maintenance of facilities for athletics, rounders, netball and hockey.
Wheatley Playing Field Trust provides an excellent venue for social activities for local people, it will host many community activities and provides opportunities for local people to volunteer and to assist with and be involved in sporting activities in Wheatley.
The Playing Field Trust will assist Wheatley Parish Council to upgrade and expand the infrastructure, in particular, the changing facilities, necessary to support increased activity.
The Playing Field Trust will invest considerable time and effort in establishing and sustaining its position with Wheatley Parish Council, South Oxfordshire District Council and with local businesses to ensure that it can continue to be a major provider of sporting and community facilities for Wheatley and the surrounding area.
1 Inspiring participation in sport
The objective of the trust is the promotion of community participation in healthy recreation and the advancement of education for the benefit of the inhabitants of the parish of Wheatley and the neighbouring community by the provision of facilities including a pavilion and changing rooms, for playing rugby, football, cricket and tennis in the first instance and to develop facilities for other sports and pastimes and thus:
- Provide affordable Playing Field and fitness opportunities for local people of all ages and abilities
- Encourage greater participation in sport.
- Provide opportunities for local, county, regional and national events to enable local people to participate in and view competitive and quality sporting events
- Ensure safeguarding of minors is fundamental to sporting organisation users policies.
2 Promoting community interaction
- Provide opportunities for social activities both associated with sport and for non-Playing Field participants.
- Provide a venue for community use.
- Promote opportunities for community volunteers
- Provide a focus for community involvement and ideas
3 Provision of sporting facilities for Wheatley Park School
Provide such facilities as the school physical education curriculum demands
4 Environmental responsibility
Ensure our activities have regard for the environment and to operate sustainably
Wheatley Playing Field Trust is a charity. We currently have 8 trustees who will operate as a management committee.
Four of the trustees will be appointed from the member associations and organisations.
Position Statement – Review of 2022/23
The trust was created to operate from September 2015 to manage the grounds and facilities previously maintained by the Joint Use committee that was comprised of nominated members representing Oxfordshire County Council and Wheatley Parish Council. This body had no mandate to develop any facility and thus operated under a care and repair authority. The trust will have autonomous control not only to maintain the existing facilities but also to help develop them in the future. The initial years will also be devoted to seeking advice from professional bodies as to long and short-term improvements to meet national standards and guidelines, and to develop monetary policies to fund such necessary works.
Inspiring participation in sport
The Playing Field Trust’s purpose is to provide the environment, facilities and support in which each of its constituent clubs and community activities can flourish. The clubs which do flourish are those with strong junior sections, especially so when this strength can be carried through into the adult teams.
Wheatley Rugby Club fields 2 senior teams and remains the club with the longest history in Wheatley
Wheatley FC run junior football from mini to U13 plus an adult men’s team. The trust will endeavour to provide facilities for all ages football teams to play at Holton.
Wheatley and Holton Cricket Club now play at Great Hasely, owing to the
closure of the wicket at Oxford Brooks University. By developing a first class artificial wicket at Holton, the Trust hopes to encourage local cricket to play on its own grounds.
Tennis is available for community use between Easter and October outside of school hours.
Wheatley Oaks FC offer women’s football to over 30’s on Monday nights
Netball runs on Monday nights on the recently updated floodlit court.
After long delays caused by Covid, SODC have promised the Trust it will help launch Walking Football in the spring of 2023
Promoting Community Interaction
The pavilion is one of the venues in Wheatley that can be used for events, parties and celebrations, it is well located so that events do not cause a nuisance and we have some on-site parking and further large parking areas in Wheatley Park School opposite.
We have undertaken a comprehensive review of our buildings and operations to ensure that we minimise energy use. This work has included replacement doors and windows, insulation, an efficient boiler, energy efficient lighting. In our new building projects we will investigate the possibly of some on-site energy generation.
The trust will investigate replacement of old heating systems with high efficient systems.
Although legally set up as a charity, the Playing Field Trust is, in effect, operating in competition for the services it offers, particularly if it is to maintain its objective of providing affordable sport and community activities. It will achieve this through:
• monitoring the pricing structures of the individual clubs.
• monitoring bar and kitchen prices, to ensure they are competitive with those in the village
• encouraging a regime for hiring out the facilities in the Pavilion also monitored against local alternatives
The Trust will not compete against the facilities offered by Wheatley Park Sports Centre.
Playing Field Trust Initiatives
The Trust will seek to develop a playing base for all local football, the establishment of a regular cricket team, developing tennis facilities to match standards and encouraging the development of participation in those sports that regularly use the facilities.
Playing Field Park Improvements
In recent years the joint use committee had to additionally deal with works that will have a residual effect on the operation of the trust.
During 2013/14, the poplar trees alongside the rugby pitch were pollarded following wind damage and this work should mean deferring additional tree work for 20 years.
Quotations are being sought for de-compacting the main winter sports pitches to provide drainage and to promote root growth.
Business Plan Actions for 2022/23
To produce a programme for developing general public use where possible of the facilities
Day-to-day management will be the responsibility of management group of active members and chaired by trustees as laid out in the rules drawn up by the trustees. It is not envisaged that payment will be made to any management member.
Budget and Targets for 2022/23
Based on historical figures supplied by the existing joint use committee, the trust would budget to maintain expenses against income in the eight months to April 2016, by working to the existing non-salaried costings.
Some members of the existing joint use committee will also be trustees and details of existing maintenance contracts, building utility suppliers, building insurance and rateable values will be made readily available to the trust.
In the first year, the trust will seek to renegotiate income and also seek to reduce outgoing payments.
Appendix 1: List of Capital Projects
The trust will work with Wheatley Parish Council to oversee the construction of new change rooms, the plans of which are currently being drawn up by an architect appointed by the parish Council. The trust will endeavour to seek funding for these facilities from sporting bodies and other grant making bodies.
Future Projects (no funding yet identified)
The trust will identify improvements to access and facilities for disabled people.
Long-term plans will include floodlighting to tennis courts, the upgrade of cricket square, relocation of pitches to mitigate over use and the development of disabled facilities.
Challenges and threats created by inheriting a previous body’s management structure
- There exists a lack of disabled access or provision for disabled participation
- there is no security to gas meter enclosures
- there are no existing fire precautions and thus a full fire risk assessment needs to be made
- there should be an asbestos register for the existing buildings. This should be made available on handover
- maintenance records for the boilers should be handed over and perhaps a report on functionality obtained
- it is known that motorised control of the heating and shower systems is currently not working as designed and cost should be obtained to rectify these defects
- the adequacy of the existing precautions to prevent legionella disease should be inspected to ensure they comply with current legislation
- water temperature at basins should be checked as safe to prevent bacterial infection and that there is sufficient warning signage
- security of buildings and keyholder registers should be checked with a view to changing locks for future use
- covenants and conditions for the use of land should be checked and handed over
- the condition of gates and emergency access must be taken as in full working order
- the new signage to Wheatley Park Academy and sports centre parking blocks one of the emergency access gates
- the integrity of fixtures i.e. rugby posts, football posts, football nets, tennis nets should be inspected for safety and life expectancy
- boundary and perimeter fencing and netting should be inspected for security
- hedges and trees should be inspected for potential issues and short term liability
- stiles should be checked for access and security
- the triangle of land belonging to Wheatley parish Council, although not part of the joint use agreement, may be attributed to the trust in which case historic wells, septic tanks, watercourses and trees or boundary hedges should be inspected for potential liability in the future
- the record of third party insurance held by user clubs and other users should be checked before handover
- existing risk assessments for the use of the facilities should be handed over
- there are maintenance issues with guttering discharging onto the ground and causing flooding against buildings
- electrical test certificates should be handed over
- water meter positions and details should be made available
- all meters should be read on handover
- arrangements to be made for notifying utility providers gas, water , electricity
- specifications for existing ground maintenance contracts should be produced
- determination of any contracts for ground maintenance should be in place for 31st August
- valuation of works to 31st August
- arrangements for new maintenance contracts from 1st September to be in place – is a new tender needed to clarify payments and extent of work
- pitches should be in good condition (decompaction / seeding / weeding etc)