COMMUNITIES, HOUSING AND ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE

TUESDAY 5TH JANUARY 2021

 

Heather House and Pavilion Building Update

 

Final Decision-Maker

Policy and Resources

Lead Head of Service

John Foster, Head of Regeneration and Economic Development

Lead Officer and Report Author

Andrew Connors, Housing Delivery Manager

Classification

Public

Wards affected

Parkwood

 

Executive Summary

 

Following the last report to this committee back in October of this year, consultation has taken place with the rugby clubs and running club that operate from the Pavilion Building. The outcome of this consultation was that the Rugby Clubs indicated that the current design for the new Heather House Community Centre would not meet the needs and requirements of both their clubs in order to serve their existing membership and allow them to continue to grow within the community.

 

Officers along with the appointed Employers Agents and Architects for the project have been considering the financial impact of the request from the rugby clubs for additional facilities to be provided within the new community centre and this report provides further information in this regard.

Purpose of Report

 

To update the Committee on latest progress with the redevelopment of the Heather House and Pavilion Building sites. To endorse taking the new recommended community scheme option design forward for approval at Policy and Resources Committee.

 

This report makes the following recommendations to this Committee:

1.   The committee endorse taking the recommended new community scheme design option referred to in paragraph 3.3 of the report forward for approval at Policy and Resources Committee.

 

 

 

Timetable

Meeting

Date

Communities, Housing and Environment Committee

Tuesday 5th January 2021

Policy and Resources Committee

Wednesday 20th January 2021



Heather House and Pavilion Building Update

 

1.       CROSS-CUTTING ISSUES AND IMPLICATIONS

 

 

Issue

Implications

Sign-off

Impact on Corporate Priorities

Accepting the recommendations will materially improve the Councilís ability to achieve

         Embracing Growth and Enabling Infrastructure;

         Homes and Communities;

Head of Regeneration and Economic Development

Risk Management

Already covered in the risk section

Head of Regeneration and Economic Development

Financial

There is provision for this project within the approved capital programme. It should however be noted that, as set out in paragraph 3.3, there is a funding shortfall in relation to the Councilís criteria for investment in capital projects.† This will need to be addressed before seeking approval for release of capital funding from Policy & Resources Committee.

 

 

Section 151 Officer & Finance Team

Staffing

We will deliver the recommendations with our current staffing.

 

 

Head of Regeneration and Economic Development

Legal

No implications

 

Team Leader, Contracts and Commissioning

Privacy and Data Protection

No implications

 

Team Leader, Contracts and Commissioning

Equalities

We recognise the recommendations may have varying impacts on different communities within Maidstone. Therefore, we will complete a separate equalities impact assessment.

Policy & Information Manager

Public Health

 

 

We recognise that the recommendations will have a positive impact on population health or that of individuals in an area of Maidstone where health inequalities are most stark.

Public Health Officer

Crime and Disorder

No implications.

Head of Regeneration and Economic Development.

Procurement

On accepting the recommendation, the Council will then follow procurement exercises to appoint the necessary contractor and management provider to facilitate the delivery of the project.† We will complete those exercises in line with financial procedure rules and applicable public contracts regulations and principles if applicable.

Head of Regeneration and Economic Development †& Section 151 Officer

Cross Cutting Objectives

The project will support the cross-cutting objectives:

         Health Inequalities are Addressed and Reduced

         Deprivation and Social Mobility is Improved

         Biodiversity and Environmental Sustainability is respected

 

Head of Regeneration and Economic Development.

 



2.††††† INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

 

2.1     Since the report to this Committee back in October of this year, consultation has taken place with Ward Councillors and the Rugby Clubs and Running Club that currently operate from the Pavilion Building to present the latest plans/design for the new community centre. The feedback received was that the new proposed community centre would not meet the needs and requirements of the Rugby Clubs currently operating from the Pavilion Building. There are two rugby clubs who operate under two different codes. Weavering Warriors and Invicta Panthers of which also have differing design guidelines for club houses.††

2.2     The Weavering Warriors Rugby Club have a short-term lease on the Pavilion Building. They took over the building from the Royal British Legion Social Club who vacated the building around March 2019. They have combined with other clubs such as the running club and Invicta Panthers since their occupation and grown as a combined community hub as a result. They indicated they have plans to integrate rugby of both codes into the local community with both schools and colleges, aiming to have a positive impact on the mental health and well-being of those who participate in the sport.

 

2.3     Whilst developing the designs for the new Community Centre building our appointed architects (Calfordseaden) have made reference to the two design publications by Sport England, namely Clubhouse Design Guidance Notes and Village & Community Halls Guidance. Both the above publications are pertinent to the building that we are replacing. The Clubhouse Design provides guidance on changing facilities for Rugby which we have adopted into our current design and the Village and Community Halls Guidance has been referred to for the design of the other relevant parts of the building.

 

2.4      The rugby clubs have set out what they primarily require to enable them to not only service their existing membership, (which between the two clubs exceeds 170 members, half of which are junior members) but would enable them to continue to grow within the community. The running club currently access the Pavilion Building to access storage and toilet facilities. They have stated this has seen an increase in family participation locally and from the surrounding areas due to being able to use these facilities.

2.5     The list of the clubís ideal requirements is listed below.

Rugby Clubs

           4 x changing rooms (there are 2 in the current design for the new community centre) this would help with safeguarding issues too surrounding junior members and under 18ís.

           Bar and clubhouse/social area. The rugby clubs have a cheap membership to attract members in an underprivileged area, and they rely on generating funds from their bar where they use an under counter bar system so there is no requirement for a separate cellar area. It is though that after match drinks could be served from the existing kitchen facilities.

           Storage area for a full-size scrum machine, lighting tower and contact pads, plus balls and other equipment (current plans already have storage areas accessed from the main hall but it is recognised additional storage would probably be required for this equipment).

           Kitchen area (current plans already have a serviceable kitchen area).

           Physio room (current design does not cater for this and this type of facility is not usually found in multi-purpose standard community centre facilities).

           Twin changing for referees (current design already has changing room facility for referees of which we can look to separate if required).

 

Running Club

           Storage (with electricity if possible) and toilet access that will ideally be available directly from the open space recreational ground without having to access Heather House.† This would mean that Heather House will remain clean and allow muddy kit to stay away from the hall. Current design for Heather House already has changing room and toilet facilities that can be accessed directly from the open space recreational ground.

 

2.6     Considering the above list of ideal requirements for the rugby clubs, we are now being asked to see if we can incorporate changing room facilities in accordance with Rugby Football Union (RFU) Design Guidance. This would involve 2 extra showers and WCís/Wash Basins than what we currently have shown in the current design. There is also a request for two additional changing room facilities to cater for both rugby clubs and enable separation of the junior members, along with a bar/social area, physio room, twin changing for referees and increased storage, all of which will exceed the 435sq.m Gross Internal Area (GIA) †that our building currently provides. It is considered that the requirements for the running club can be met fully within the current design.

 

2.7     If we were to just apply the RFU design guidance for the existing two changing room areas shown in our current design, it is likely that the building will still need to be slightly extended beyond the 435sq.m GIA.

 

2.8     A further pre-application meeting has also taken place with planning and due to advice received, the residential mix on the Pavilion Building site has been slightly amended to now provide 11 residential dwellings instead of 12, and also replace 3 x 3-bed 5 person houses to the rear of the site, with 3 x 4-bed 7 person houses. Please see attached appendix 1. These changes were made to slightly lower the density of the development and also help to provide a different range of house types and sizes to respond better to Local Plan Policy on varied housing mix.

 

2.9     Further site investigation work has been commissioned. Kember Loudon Williams (KLW) and Red Loft have been appointed and joined the project team to assist with the planning application as planning consultants and affordable housing viability consultants respectively.



Financial Commitments

 

2.10  The financial appraisals have been updated regarding the changes to the residential mix on the Pavilion Building site and also looking at the impact of the requests for the aforementioned additional community facilities. The Councilís appointed Employers Agent (FFT) have also produced updated cost plans for the works.

2.11  The updated financial appraisals for the community centre has excluded costs for the lounge/bar and physio room requests and just focused on the increased changing room facilities and additional storage for now as that is viewed as the most important additional facilities to consider providing, whilst at the same time limiting the financial impact and funding shortfall exposure. It should be noted however that based on a space of 80m2 and factoring in some risk / contingency for elements such as cool stores we have calculated an additional budget cost of £211,000 just for the lounge/bar element. Further information regarding the estimated total scheme cost and funding shortfall if this additional facility was also to be provided in shown in the table at 2.16 below.

2.12  Providing just the additional two changing room facilities (70m2) and additional storage (16m2) gives a revised Total Scheme Cost for the new community centre of £1,555,003 of which would be approximately 521m2. Current design is at 435m2 and with a Total Scheme Cost of £1,340,951. So, there would be an increase of £214,052.

2.13  The residential housing proposed on the Pavilion Building site now generates a cross subsidy of £1,155,974, following adjustments to the residential mix and values, which if incorporating the increased changing room facilities and additional storage mentioned above would leave a £399,029 funding shortfall.

2.14  The previous shortfall reported to this Committee was £234,476. Leaving the community centre as it is at 435m2 and as a result of the adjustments to the residential mix and values this would improve to £168,471.

 

2.15  The Council have submitted a Land Release Fund bid for the proposed redevelopment of Heather House and the Pavilion Building site totalling £100,000. This is to go towards the demolition costs of both buildings. The Land Release Fund (LRF) is a cross-government initiative between the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and One Public Estate (OPE) which is delivered in partnership by the Local Government Association and the Cabinet Office. Funding is being used for small-scale land remediation and infrastructure works. If our bid is successful then the shortfalls referred to above drop to £299,029 and £68,471 respectively.






2.16  A summary of the amended scheme design options referred to above is shown in the table below.

 

Option

Total Scheme Cost

Funding Shortfall

Keep the current scheme design for the new community centre (435m2).

£1,340,951

£234,476

Amend the scheme design to provide the additional two changing room facilities and additional storage (521m2).

 

 

£1,555,003

£399,029

Amend the scheme design to provide the additional two changing room facilities, additional storage and bar/social lounge (601m2).

 

 

£1,766,669

£610,695



2.17  The Rugby Clubs have indicated that they could assist with funding for the project via their affiliation with the RFU. As previously reported to this committee various external funding sources have been previously explored. Itís not likely there will be any grant available from lottery/Sport England as their focus for the time being is prioritising what money they do have to respond to the impact of COVID directly on existing facilities.

 

2.18  There will be further liaison and consultation with the Rugby clubs on the design and funding options and specifically whether they could directly contribute any funds towards the costs of this project going forward. Also whether they would be interested (subject to the agreed final design) in taking on the management of the new community centre facility on say a long lease, with no further calls on support from the Council.

 

 

3.   AVAILABLE OPTIONS

 

3.1     The Council could stick with our current design plans for the community centre at 435m2. This would be based on community hall design guidelines of which are pertinent for the existing Heather House building we are replacing. The Rugby Clubs have indicated however that this would not service their existing membership and enable them to grow within the community.



3.2     The Council could amend the design slightly to accommodate just the 2 extra showers and WCís/Wash Basins in the existing two changing room facilities in accordance with RFU Design Guidance. This would likely result in the existing design being increased slightly from 435m2. This would have minimal impact on changes to the existing design and funding shortfall. This would however still not completely service the total existing membership across the two rugby clubs.

 

3.3     The Council could amend the design further to accommodate what is considered perhaps the most important additional facility requests such as the two additional changing room facilities and additional storage, omitting the lounge/bar and physio room. The amended design would be shared with the clubs to ensure they would cater for their requirements. This would give a revised Total Scheme Cost for the new community centre (approximately 521m2) of £1,555,003 and increase the funding shortfall previously reported by £164,533 to £399,029. This will be a significant hurdle to overcome but might be better suited to be designed around those that will actually use the new community facility on a regular basis. The shortfall could potentially be improved to £299,029 if the Council are successful with our land release fund bid. The architects could also consider amending the design to allow space for the possible extension for a bar/social lounge and/or other facility at some point in the future for the new organisation that provides the management and stewardship of the new facility to provide.

 

3.4     The Council could amend the design further to accommodate the two additional changing room facilities, additional storage and the bar/social lounge. This would give a revised Total Scheme Cost for the new community centre (approximately 601m2) of £1,766,669 and increase the funding shortfall previously reported by £376,219 to £610,695.

 

 

 

4.        PREFERRED OPTION AND REASONS FOR RECOMMENDATIONS

 

4.1     The preferred option is Option 3 as outlined in Paragraph 3.3 above. This option enables an increased community centre facility to serve the Rugby Clubs existing memberships. It would also support their plans to integrate rugby of both codes into the local community with both schools and colleges, aiming to have a positive impact on the mental health and well-being of those who participate in the sport.

4.2     The subsidy of £1,155,974 that could be generated from the left over sales proceeds for the market sale houses and land receipt for the market rent could go towards the total scheme cost for a new community centre. This would increase the subsidy gap and reliance on Council funding for the amended community centre scheme design to £399,029. This would however still be significantly less than the £600,000 previously estimated. It is envisaged that this shortfall could potentially be made up by CIL Community Contributions; Grants from external bodies; MBC or a combination of the above.


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5.       RISK

5.1† Planning consent is a risk, but positive initial planning feedback has been received for the previous scheme design proposal and this amended design would result in an extension of the current design. The architect can respond to changes to the scheme design and layout and there is sufficient space on the site to do so. Other risks previously reported to this committee remain unchanged.

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6.       CONSULTATION RESULTS AND PREVIOUS COMMITTEE FEEDBACK

 

6.1† Previous feedback from Committee was that they wished Heather House to remain open and that a replacement/upgraded facility be provided. It was approved that a further report will then be presented to Policy and Resources Committee in due course to consider the business case to develop the Heather House and Pavilion Building sites.

 

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7.       NEXT STEPS: COMMUNICATION AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DECISION

 

7.1†† The approval of the recommendation will enable the project team to complete the detailed design work and consultation with a view to submitting a planning application for approval planning and tendering for the works and management contract. Making the most of existing community networks and partnerships particularly via the Ward Councillors will prove vital in developing design proposals further.

7.2     A further follow up report will need to be presented to Policy and Resources Committee to approve the final scheme costs and necessary financial commitments associated with the development and management of the schemes, once the tenders and planning consent has been received.

 

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8.        REPORT APPENDICES


Appendix 1: Residential Scheme Design Layout (Pavilion Building site).

None

 

9.        BACKGROUND PAPERS

 

None