Information pack now available to Carmarthenshire sporting organisations and local councils
An information pack has been put together so that sporting organisations and town and community councils and have a greater understanding of the options for Carmarthenshire’s sporting assets.
The county council is seeking to ‘gift’ sporting pitches, parks and playgrounds to communities so that they can be locally-managed and developed with grant funding.
Such a move would protect facilities and give local people more control, whilst helping address the inequality over sporting assets where some look after themselves and others rely on the council to subsidise their costs.
Currently, the council maintains fewer than 60 sporting clubs at an annual cost of around £341,000, and is only able to bring in £77,000 from charges – leaving a £264,000 deficit that it can no longer afford to subsidise.
The pack fully explains the council’s position, and provides detailed information about the steps community councils and organisations can take to protect the facilities they use, as well as answering some frequently asked questions.
Cllr Kevin Madge, Leader of the council, said: “We want to assure everyone that we fully support sport in Carmarthenshire at all levels. This decision is not intended to penalise anyone, rather it will make it fairer for all.
“I will not pretend that this decision is not influenced by the budget situation which, as everyone knows, is the worst in our history. But careful consideration of the budget has also highlighted inequality which we cannot allow to continue.
“Asset transfer, in terms of sports pitches and playgrounds, essentially means that the council is giving the facilities free of charge to community-based clubs and organisations.
“We believe this could have a very positive impact on the long term strength of local communities as through local management of facilities, community based groups can grow and become more secure, gaining access to sources of additional funding that we may not be able to access.
“The alternative to Asset Transfer would be for organisations to continue to hire facilities and services from the county council but pay the true cost of managing those facilities.
“Initial meetings have already been held with a number of interested parties and have included representatives from the local sporting fraternity, town, community and county councillors.
“From our point of view, in light of the uncertainty with regard to our future budget position, unless organisations are prepared to work with us to retain community facilities, including pitches and playgrounds, then unfortunately they will have to close.
“This is not something we wish to do, we hope to work together for the continued health and growth of sporting organisations and community facilities in Carmarthenshire.”
The information pack is available online at www.carmarthenshire.gov.uk