Football clubs sign lease for Rest Bay Playing Fields

Two football clubs have taken on the responsibility for Rest Bay Playing Fields in Porthcawl as part of the county borough-wide community asset transfer (CAT) programme.

Rest Bay Sports which represents FC Porthcawl and Porthcawl United have taken over the self-management of the playing fields and pavilion under a renewable five-year lease.

Bridgend County Borough Council has allocated the company just over £45,000 towards the cost of redeveloping the pavilion and a further £10,000 for pitch maintenance equipment from the council’s £1m CAT Fund.

The clubs intend to transform the outdated pavilion by extending and refurbishing the first floor level, providing an elevated balcony overlooking the playing field. The works being planned are estimated to cost around £80,000 and are due to commence shortly.

The council’s cabinet member for communities Councillor Richard Young said: “The clubs have been working with the council for more than three years, having set up a company limited guarantee and developed ambitious plans to transform the pavilion in that time.

“We continue to support a large number of sports clubs as they undertake the self-management process of playing fields and pavilions to ensure that facilities can be improved, become more sustainable and protected for future generations.

“In order to progress the multiple transfers in the pipeline in a timelier manner, we are strengthening the CAT team which will soon include a CAT surveyor.”

Brad Hockridge, the chairman of Rest Bay Sports, said: “Speaking on behalf of everyone at Rest Bay Sports, FC Porthcawl and Porthcawl United, we are delighted to see this community asset transfer finally completed.

“Bridgend County Borough Council and Rest Bay Sports have worked together to make sure Rest Bay pitches and pavilion can be used by local sports enthusiasts for the foreseeable future and the help of funding from BCBC to improve the pavilion and pitches shows the commitment it is making to improve facilities for Porthcawl and its residents.”

In November, ten bowls clubs in the county borough agreed short-term tenancies for 11 bowls greens while long-term leases are being completed.

A number of transfers to sports clubs, and town and community councils are due to be finalised in the coming months.

Grants of up to £10,000 are being made available from the local authority for clubs to help purchase maintenance equipment.

As of the end of October 2020, sports clubs and town and community councils have expressed their interest in self-managing 53 outdoor sports facilities and park pavilions across the county borough. The county borough has around 60 clubs and 530 teams.

Earlier this year a series of new measures designed to bolster the CAT package were introduced to encourage transfers and include:

  • a commitment to replenish the £1million CAT Fund as and when necessary, subject to the availability of capital resources, to encourage transfers and meet demand
  • Developing a programme of sports pitch improvement and drainage capital grants valued at £5,000 to £25,000 in consultation with the governing bodies to ensure that prioritised sites are fit for purpose based upon independent condition assessments
  • Establishing pitch maintenance equipment grants to provide capital funding valued from £5,000 up to £10,000 for town and community councils and sports clubs who complete transfers to assist with the purchase of equipment to enable the self-management of associated green spaces