THE renovation of the driveway to Henley Cricket Club is set to go ahead after town
THE renovation of the driveway to Henley Cricket Club is set to go ahead after town councillors pledged a grant of more than £27,000.
The club, off Matson Drive, wants to re-tarmac the driveway, which is littered with cracks andÂ potholes, as well as buy new machinery to maintain the pitch.
It had already been awarded a £27,656 grant from South Oxfordshire District Council and the town council had previously pledged £13,500 from last year’s budget towards the work.
At a meeting on Tuesday last week, councillors agreed to match the district council’s grant, giving the cricket club the full amount needed to undertake the work.
David Winter, the fund-raising and sponsorship chairman, said: “You [the council] said if we were successful with the district council then you might be able to match their funding. Well we were successful with them, it leaves a gap of £27,000. We wonder if the £13,500 could be doubled or you could look again at the loan.
“We are spending £2,000 to 3,000 per year on renovating the driveway but it needs to be done properly. We have got an almost immediate solution there. The machinery will save us £4,000 to £5,000 per year. That’s an overall total of £6,000 to 8,000 we will save.”
About half of the total of £55,000 will go towards laying the driveway with permeable tarmac, while the rest will replace old machinery or buy new equipment for scarifying, seeding and variation on the pitch.
Town councillors also agreed not to put a charge on the grant, though suggested in future they should agree a protocol for such charges.
Council accountant Liz Jones said a charge would protect the grant as the council does not own the land. She said: “We don’t want to find a few years down the line that the club isn’t doing what we gave them the money for. They could in theory sell the land and then the money isn’t doing what we wanted it to do.”
But councillors agreed to "trust” the cricket club.
Councillor Dylan Thomas said: “I think the cricket club has done a great job, with our help, in getting the money from the district council and I remember standing on a manifesto saying we would match funding and I propose we do that.”
Councillor Stefan Gawrysiak added: “I support it completely, the cricket club does a fantastic job. A charge should be put on if we don’t own the land and the grant is substantial, we have to decide what that is. My proposal is to not put a charge on and trust the cricket club to stay there.”
Councillor Ian Reissmann said: “We are trying to help an organisation that does a great job for the town and provide the best service possible.
“Our responsibility is that it is protected properly. If the cricket club was in financial difficulty we risk giving £27,000 to an organisation that’s going under. That’s not the case here.
“The principle is right to consider it but in this case that (charge) would be money not well spent and we shouldn’t do it.”
Mr Winter said that the club plans to put the ground in to a trust which will protect it as a playing field when it has finished paying off a previous £200,000 loan from the council. He says it has already paid £144,000 plus interest charges.
“The ground will be going in to a trust where it will be kept in perpetuity as a sports ground for Henley,” he said. “We can’t say it’s going to always be a cricket ground but it will be for sports.”
The grant will need to be approved at the full council meeting on Tuesday, July 26.
Meanwhile, Henley Rugby Club wants to a build a physiotherapy clinic at its Dry Leas ground.
The club, off Marlow Road, which is currently undergoing a £475,000 renovation to the clubhouse, wants to build the clinic in the car park. It is planned that Physiolistic, of Greys Road, will then relocate there.
Chairman Mike Trethewey says the facility would be used by the club’s players and will also provide an income which can be used to pay off a £100,000 loan from Henley Town Council for the work on the clubhouse.
Speaking to councillors at a meeting of the finance committee on Tuesday last week, Mr Trethewey said: “It will significantly enhance that part of the facility, it’s a modern building by the same architect who designed the clubhouse and built with the same materials so it will look at one with the changing rooms.
“It seems to make sense to have a physio facility at a sports centre and our players will be using it for their physio. We are hoping there will be personal training and we also have a gym there which we hope to enhance further down the line.
“If people visit the physio it enhances what we are doing with the clubhouse. We hope they might go past the café and partake of some stuff there. It will also provide us with some modest rent to help pay off the money we owe you.”
A planning application was considered by the council on Tuesday.