Update on Community Feedback for Potential New Community Buildings

Published: 04 January 2021

Following the Christmas break, we wanted to provide you with an update on the feedback provided in response to the questionnaire about a potential future village facility that dropped through your doors in October last year. Firstly, a huge thank-you to those of you that supplied feedback in all forms. We delivered around 1,500 leaflets, one through every door in Longstanton, and we got feedback from 138 individuals.

So, what did it tell us?
Overwhelmingly, 66% of the responses we received wanted us to build the larger of the three options. So now the village has given clear direction on what it wants, knowing how it is likely to impact your council tax precept in years to come.

We would also like to thank those of you (and there were quite a few!) that volunteered to help advance the project. We will be contacting each of you this month to assess your capability to support the next stages of the project and to create a project panel from the community and regular users of the village facilities to take this forward. Please keep an eye out for communication on this later this month if you volunteered to help us.

Finally, many of you asked questions in your feedback, which is great to hear. We would like to address a couple of the common queries here now, as many of you asked the same thing.

Why is there no allowance made for the sale of the Village Hall?
Quite simply, we wanted to work with the information we have. The sale of the land we mentioned will happen and will yield an already defined minimum amount. Everything else (including the Village Hall land and building) is subject to uncertain timelines and options, so we wanted to start with the worst-case figures and have things get better from there. Additionally, as there is still validation and design work to be undertaken, we don't have final pricing so the illustration will need to be refreshed as we move through the project. More practically, when the new community building is under construction the village will still need the existing village hall so this will be sold after the new community building has been completed.

Why aren't there any grants included in the funding?
Because they aren't guaranteed. Most grants require a definitive project plan, budget and design. This is something we don’t yet have. Different groups will be able to apply for funds from different sources, whether they are community groups, sports groups or the charity itself. For example, we may be able to get some funding from Sport England as we will have sports changing facilities, but again, it is not guaranteed. We may also be able to get some funding from the National Lottery and other sources, but again, nothing is guaranteed. All grant options will be explored as part of the project. These will be factored in when it becomes clear what we are likely to receive.

What about the other facilities in the village (e.g. All Saints Church, The Dale, etc.) Why are we duplicating facilities?
We aren't. At least we don't plan to! What we used as the illustration was to replace like with like, and the designs were readily available and priced. The illustration you commented on was the best way to give the village something to consider. As we move forwards, we will be working with the other facilities to determine their plans and ambitions and will adjust the project requirements to ensure we get the best value development, but also maximise the potential for each of the facilities.

Are we getting a pub in the new build?
That's to be determined. We know that one of the regular users of the current facility suggested to its members that they should support Option C as it had a pub in it. The eagle-eyed amongst you would have noticed that it doesn't. It includes space for functions, but not a separate area for a pub. That said, if it is something that the village would like (a Sports/Social club rather than a proper pub) the Charity and Project build panel will consider this within the design process.

Why is it on the side of the Rec? What about the other end of the village?
Quite simply because as one facility it will be best sited either on the existing location of the Pavilion, or on the Rec Extension (assuming we can conclude the gift of the land). We don't have access to any land anywhere else, and to buy a plot further towards the centre of the village will be prohibitively expensive. At that point, it would make more sense to just replace the current two building vs. building just one integrated facility. The village has suggested it wants the larger facility, therefore we need to consider one location, and the integration of the sports facilities, etc., means it needs to be on the perimeter of the current Recreation Ground site.

What about Parking?
Both the current sites face constraints with parking that many of you have commented on. Building design regulations mandate a certain provision for on-site parking. Wherever and whatever we build this has to take into account the building facilities and the access, number of spaces required. This important factor will be a significant element to consider as the village moves towards a final design and we seek planning approval.

We will pull some more information together this month regarding the information the village supplied, more on comments and questions and will share that with you all before we start to appoint a community panel to both govern the project and take it forward on behalf of all Longstanton residents.

In the meanwhile, thank you all again for taking the time to share your feedback, after all it will be your facility!

We would like to wish you a very Happy New Year and look forward to picking up the discussion on this project during 2021.