Funding has become available through Section 106 planning contributions and Scarisbrick Parish Council is exploring the possibility of installing outdoor gym equipment in the grounds of Scarisbrick Village Hall. A bid is being formulated that will require approval by West Lancashire Borough Council.
What is Section 106 funding?
Under the provisions of Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 contributions can be sought from developers to be put towards the costs of providing community resources. The purpose of these contributions is to enable communities to provide and improve open spaces, sport, recreation or outdoor facilities. The level of contributions is negotiated between developers and West Lancashire Borough Council during the planning application process. Funds are allocated to parish projects through a grant system.
What are the limitations on how the money is used?
Section 106 funds should not be regarded as “free” money to use as we please. West Lancashire Borough Council is accountable for how Section106 monies are spent. They are legally bound to allocate the funds in accordance with the agreement they entered into with the developer. Failure to do so could result in funds being reclaimed.
Section 106 money may only be spent on facilities where the new development has, at least in part, contributed to the need for the facilities. Funding is available for capital projects only and cannot be used to fund general running costs.
Funding will normally be invested in the same parish in which the contributing development is located. However, if Scarisbrick fails to come forward with a suitable bid the funds can be allocated elsewhere within the Borough.
Why outdoor gym equipment?
There is strong scientific evidence that regular physical activity is one of the most important contributors to health. It increases overall physical and mental well being and diminishes both the risk of illness and premature death. Even modest increases in physical activity give improvements in quality of life.
Cost and lack of access are often cited as two of the main barriers to people not participating in regular physical activity; the provision of outdoor gyms combats both of these factors.
Gym equipment can be used by people of all ages and is suitable to be used by families and groups of friends. Equipment for disabled use is available. Users of such gyms find them to be enjoyable and beneficial for their health.
What happens next?
Applications go through a detailed assessment process at West Lancashire Borough Council. Evidence has to be put forward that an assessment has been made of local community need, including public consultation. Failure to demonstrate that there is public backing for the project will ensure that the bid fails.
Scarisbrick Parish Council is now consulting residents on the proposal, your responses will be extremely important to the outcome. The Council would be grateful if residents could download and complete the following questionnaire (also to be found in the next edition of Scarisbrick Village Matters).
Completed questionnaires should be returned to the parish clerk at the address given below. Alternatively, please simply write to (or e-mail) the parish clerk in response to the questions. The council will need responses to be returned by 26th May 2017.
Mr Thomas Houghton.
137 Smithy Lane,