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THE CHALK PIT

Questionnaire

For the ONLINE questionnaire, please click this link: https://forms.office.com/r/JTUpE8vnFu.

For a HARD copy of the questionnaire, please either download a copy below OR pick up a copy at Greenfields Fram Shop. Please return completed forms to Greenfields or if you would,like it collected fro,m your home, please call Charles Eyre on 07730 304 290

THE CONSULTATION WILL CLOSE ON SUNDAY 2ND JUNE. 

Background

The Chalk Pit in Anna Valley has been part of the Parish Council estate for many years and has provided an important source of income which in turn has allowed the Parish Council to keep the Precept (the amount that Parishioners contribute each year through TVBC Council Tax) lower than would otherwise be the case, and at the same time, maintain services. 

The building is presently structured as a single rentable unit and since 2023 the Business Rates (~£12,500 pa) have been commercially unattractive.

The Parish Council immediately set about identifying any way that these costs could be mitigated as well as looking at ways in which, in the short term while options were evaluated, financial support could be found.  Having completed this before the precept had to be declared (March), The Parish Council has managed to reduce the financial impact to about £8,500. 

Current status

The building on the site is sound but is in a rundown state. It has the potential for refurbishment and redevelopment. It sits within a site which could have a number of additional community uses or services. The building is presently structured as a single rentable unit and since 2023, in this form, it has attracted commercially unattractively Business Rates (~£12,000 pa).

Planning the future of the site

The Parish Council has now created a Chalk Pit Working Group where all options will be evaluated and costed.  Professional advice will be sought to confirm the decided course of action is sound and all risks and opportunities have been properly assessed.  In addition, it has been agreed that any re-development option would be financed through grants or co-development and would not rely on a significant increase in the precept. The intention is that this will be completed by July 2024.    This included a Grant from Cowdown Renewables Ltd of £5,000 for which the Council is extremely grateful.

The intention is that a decision will be made on the future plan in July 2024.

Development Pathway under review by PC

PREFERRED OPTION - RE-DEVELOP THE SITE AS A SOURCE OF FUTURE REVENUES AND COMMUNITY BENEFITS

  • Phase 1 would be refurbishment of the main building which would be divided into 4 units. In this form, it is expected that none of the units would attract Business Rates making them commercially more attractive.  This option is currently being tested with TVBC in a Planning pre-application.

This would then lead to Phased development of other income sources and provision of community resources:

  • Phase 2, Container Storage facility, could then utilise other areas of the site generating additional services and revenue for the Community
  • Phase 3,  the Community Garden would utilise other areas

Advantages of Redeveloping the site 

  • PC manages the site for the Community and maintains control of any future development
  • Provides a location for a community services hub in Anna Valley (e.g. Parish Office/Meeting Room)  
  • Assuming it is mostly grant funded, Phase 1, in which the main building is converted into 4 units, will generate an annual income of between £40,000 and £60,000 p/a (range based on professional advice)
  • These units could be for start up clean businesses (e.g. service sector as creative spaces, fitness or wellbeing) with a focus on supporting parishioners
  • This income could then be used to finance improvements elsewhere in the Community (e.g. play parks, allotments etc) and/or offset part of the Precept.

Disadvantages of Redeveloping the site 

  • Will require investment of between £300,000 and £350,000
  • Challenge of raising the significant grant funds required to make it commercially viable
  • PC has to manage this business  (or it could subcontract this to a third party)
  • Commercial risk of vacant units or competition from other providers in the area

Option if financing is a constraint: SELL THE WHOLE SITE TO A THIRD PARTY FOR DEVELOPMENT

The Chalk Pit is a freehold property of Upper Clatford Parish Council. While the Parish Council default position is not to sell land or assets, there are no known legal constraints on it's sale.  Valuations from 2 local property advisors is the site could be worth between £250,0000 and £300,000.  

The Parish Council default position is not to sell land or assets.

Advantages of selling: 

  • Significant capital injection for PC which creates:
    • Long term income from interest on Capital raised (at 3%pa £9,000 to £12,000pa) OR
    • Ability to spend on improvements to parish facilities and services OR
    • Ability to reduce the precept

Disadvantages of selling 

  • Parish looses control over the future site use and selling parish owned land is against current PC Policy
  • Not optimising the asset value and selling in a run down state
  • Capital Investment would have to be conservative (fixed interest) limiting income stream
  • Misses the unique opportunity of utilising grants to increase asset value 
  • Inflation depreciates Capital sum raised over time

THE PROJECT TIMELINE AND WORKSTREAMS

Timeline and Work Streams Timeline and Work Streams

Community Engagement

Community Engagement is a critical function of the project and we will be asking parishioners to review the proposals the Parish Council makes as well as providing us with their views on the way forward.  This is important, not only because we want your help and participation, but because successfully applying for redevelopment grants needs evidence that the community has been properly consulted. 

This process started with the Open Parish Meeting which about 60 parishioners attended, where the implications on the Parish Council Budget and the evaluation process being followed were explained.

Questionnaire

We are asking all parishioners to provide us with their views on the how teh Parish Coucnil should proceed. If you have not already done so, please would you go to the following link and complete the questionnaire - it will take about 10-15 minutes. 

https://forms.office.com/r/JTUpE8vnFu

If you have already completed the questionnaire, thank you very much for taking the time.

Who to contact for more information

Cllr Richard Bennett is the Chair of the Chalk Pit Working Group and all enquiries should be addressed to him at cllrrbennett@upperclatford-pc.gov.uk.