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					                                                             DECISION PAPER 6
DATE              :   26 FEBRUARY 2009

Contact           : Peter Foale, Interim Principal Manager – Planning and
Officer             Tel: Chester 01244 972362


Appendix 2 to this report is not for publication as it contains information as defined in
Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972 in relation to the financial or
business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that
information). The author of this report considers that the public interest in
maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.


1        This report seeks approval to a project which will redevelop the site of the
boathouse and complete a programme of significant enhancements to the sports
facilities for Queen’s Park High School, Chester and the wider community. The
project will be fully funded through capital receipt and a School contribution, with a
financial contribution from a third party.


2      Queen’s Park High School has been planning and developing the project for
some years now and this has necessarily changed direction in response to advice
and comments received from a number of consultees. The School has recently
commissioned a consultant to develop the scheme further and a feasibility study has
been completed. Some 20 years ago, Queen’s Park High School wished to provide
a synthetic turf pitch, funded through the disposal of surplus land and this was
supported by the Authority. However, the proposal did not proceed because of
funding/planning issues. A synthetic turf pitch forms part of the current proposal.


3         The project comprises the following:-

         The replacement of an existing all weather pitch, which is beyond use, with a
          synthetic turf pitch with appropriate fencing. To secure planning permission
          this would need to be unlit. The facility will meet the needs of a number of
          users to a high level of competition.

         The creation of new parking areas to release current parking areas back into
          use as sporting and social areas and to improve security and linking of the
          existing buildings.
      The construction of a replacement boathouse which would be two-storey,
       comprising boating facilities and community rooms at ground floor level and
       eight apartments offering affordable housing on the upper floor level.

4       The boathouse is used by the School as a rowing and canoeing facility, is
hired to various community groups for canoeing, and there has been a long standing
joint-use arrangement with the former County Youth Service, now Connexions. It is
in poor condition (including drainage problems), very dated and not fit-for-purpose.
Any potential income which the School could generate from the facility is limited
because of the poor facilities. A new boathouse would offer an excellent facility for
the School with enhanced community use.


5       The project has been developed by the School, in liaison with Muir Group
Housing Association and Chester City Council, on the basis of its being self-financing
for the present and the long-term future.

6       Muir Group Housing Association would provide a financial contribution to the
work associated with the construction of the boathouse with the School being
responsible for the fitting out costs. Muir’s proposal is that the upper floor properties
would be leased by the Authority to the Housing Association for a period of 30 years
at a peppercorn rent. At the end of the 30 year period the upper floor properties
would revert to the Authority who would then be free to either enter into a new lease
or alternatively to sell the properties on the open market.

7     The synthetic turf pitch and other facilities within the project would be fully
funded by the capital receipt from the release of two areas of unused surplus land on
the School site, identified as hatched on the plan attached to this report, and a
School contribution. These surplus areas are out-of-bounds for the School pupils
and unsuitable for playing field areas. The remaining areas available to the School
would meet minimum area requirements laid down by the Department of Children,
Schools and Families (DCSF).


8      Appropriate application to the DCSF for the release of land, as required, under
Schedule 35A to the Education Act 1996 as inserted by Schedule 7 to the Education
Act 2002, is being made by the Authority and this is expected to be a straightforward
process. As the land to be released has not been used by the School in the last ten
years application to the DCSF under the protection of playing field legislation
(Section 77 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 as amended by
Schedule 4 to the Education and Inspections Act 2006) is not required.


9       To enable the project to proceed, the Executive is asked to declare surplus to
Children’s Services requirements the two areas of land. The Executive is also asked
to approve the linking of the capital receipt to the provision of the synthetic turf pitch,
part of the costs associated with the construction of the boathouse (with Muir Group
Housing Association providing a financial contribution), the fitting out costs of the new
boathouse development, the creation of new parking areas and associated works,
subject to the approval of the Cheshire West and Chester Authority, and the approval
of a lease of the upper floor of the new boathouse to a named third party. It is
anticipated that the business case relating to the project will be approved prior to this
meeting. The funding proposal provided by the School is attached at Appendix 2 and
approval of a supplementary capital estimate is required for the full amount of the
project costs. These figures do not include the costs which will be met by Muir Group
Housing Association. In due course, it is proposed that Cheshire West and Chester
Authority will require evidence in support of the figures now put forward by the
School’s consultants on projected costs and land values. The proposals are subject
to the School obtaining the necessary planning approvals.

RECOMMENDED: That, subject to the approval of the Shadow Authority as
required, the Executive

(1)    declare surplus to requirements the two areas of land identified as
       hatched on the plan (Appendix 1), subject to the linking of the capital
       receipt as in (2) below and the proposals for the sports development
       being concluded. In the event that terms and conditions for the disposal
       of this land cannot be agreed ownership of the land will revert to
       Children’s Services;

(2)    approve the linking of the capital receipt to the provision of a synthetic
       turf pitch, part of the costs associated with the construction of the
       boathouse development and the boathouse fitting out costs, the creation
       of new parking areas and associated works;

(3)    approve the leasing of the upper floor of the boathouse to a named party
       on terms to be agreed by the County Property Officer; and

(4)    approve a supplementary capital estimate of £697,000 for the scheme
       which will be fully funded through capital receipt and a contribution from
       the School, subject to the approval of the business case.

The proposal is consistent with the County Council's Policy on Asset Management

Local Members                 Councillor S Mosley

Background Documents          General Correspondence

Available for Inspection at   Room 417, Planning and Development Team, County
                              Hall, Chester

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