Wincanton's latest news, views and information, including surrounding towns and villages
Headlines » Councils » SS District Council

Is Your Money Being Used to Provide Facilities for Yeovil?

Monday 23 April 2012, 10:42
By Nick Colbert

Councillor Nick ColbertPeople have been saying it for years, our money is being taken from our area to provide facilities for Yeovil and I am sorry to say yes, it's true, and we need to stop it. One of the main ways they do it to us is through something called Section 106 agreements which are legal agreements entered into between the developer of a building site and the council. It is supposed to provide enhanced leisure and sports facilities for the enlarged population to use, all fine so far, now comes the not-so-fine bit.

The s106 agreements have been written without the knowledge or consent of the elected members, written behind closed doors with large sums of our monies going to fund grandiose council projects in Yeovil.

Below I will give an example of a draft s106 agreement written for the site behind Verrington Hospital (which was turned down by members a few months ago) but now subject to an appeal.

"Swimming pools - contribution towards the provision of a learner pool at Wincanton Sports Centre (Policy SP5) - £9,300

"Artificial Grass Pitches - contribution towards enhancing the AGP provision in Wincanton (Policy AGP6) - the existing third generation pitch at Wincanton Sports Ground does not meet the minimum size requirements - £4,400

"Sports hall provision - contribution towards the development of a centrally based 8 court district wide competition sports hall in Yeovil (Policy SH2) - the existing quantitative shortfall for Wincanton Sports Centre sports hall is minimal and the development of a new centre in Yeovil will alleviate any pressure on Wincanton Sports Centre. There is no proposal in our current assessment to expand the sports hall at Wincanton Sports Centre - £33,400

"Theatres and Arts Centres - contribution towards expanding and enhancing the Octagon Theatre in Yeovil - this is the only priority for the Council at present - £17,200

"Indoor Tennis Centre - contribution towards the provision of a new indoor tennis centre in Yeovil, likely to be within Yeovil Sports Zone (Policy ITC1) - there is no indoor tennis provision in the district at present, and the location of any new facility (which there is a proven need for) is in Yeovil - £13,000.

"This is the strategy that is included in any planning application for Wincanton, or any of the villages that are nearby, and is based on the recommendations and priorities from our facility assessments. As you will see there is a combination of money for strategic facilities in Wincanton and Yeovil."

This s106 was written without the knowledge or consent of the ward members for Wincanton, Colin Winder and myself, even though the s106 monies raised by the development of houses in Wincanton are supposed to be to provide leisure and sports facilities for the increased population of the area.

As you can see the value of this s106 agreement comes to £77,300 with a meager £13,700 going to Wincanton and a massive £63,600 going to Yeovil. This has to be stopped; the document contains inaccuracies (lies) like:

"The development of a new centre in Yeovil will alleviate any pressure on Wincanton Sports Centre."

What complete and utter nonsense, Wincanton Sports Centre needs all the help and support it can get. One of the most important things for our communities is for a learner pool. It is vitally important for all children to be taught to swim at the earliest possible age but only £9,300 is allocated for that purpose whilst £63,600 is proposed to be removed from the area that raised the money and spent in Yeovil.

The District Council is supposed to promote carbon-friendly policies but are they seriously suggesting you should get in you car and drive up to a 45 mile round trip for a game of tennis, badminton, or a trip to the theatre. A few people might, but the vast majority won't because of time and cost. If the council was in any way serious about carbon saving they would use our money to provide services we want to use in our own communities for the benefit of the people who live here. Instead they build grander and grander facilities for Yeovil.

So how can we stop this legalized theft of our money? Well this s106 agreement has not been signed yet, so I have asked for a meeting of all relevant parties to let them know we are not going to put up with it any more and we will demand that this agreement is rewritten incase the appeal is successful and that any future ones are written to benefit the peoples in the area the money is raised. There is no excuse for it being taken elsewhere.

You can now see why the Liberal Democrat-run council likes to keep these things behind closed doors, but when I stood for election part of what I said I wanted was open and transparent government and that is what I intend to try and bring about. I know certain people in the District Council will be upset with me for informing you in detail as to how you are being treated by them. Well that's tough because I was elected to look after the interests of the people of Wincanton and that is what I intend to do.

What can you do to help? Well you could all email the people responsible, the portfolio-holder for Leisure and Culture, Sylvia Seal (Lib/Dem), at and copy Steve Joel, the Assistant Director (Health and Well-Being) at to let them know your thoughts on what proportion of Wincanton's, Castle Cary's, Bruton's and surrounding areas money should be spent in Yeovil.




Comments

kejamieson
Posts: 2
Comment
Re: Is Your Money Being Used to Provide Facilities for Yeovil?
Reply #1 on : Mon April 23, 2012, 12:01:24
I don't pay tax in this respect, as I'm a student, so my money doesn't go towards these issues, but as someone who lives in Wincanton I agree that money needs to be spent on our town, and not on Yeovil. Yes, another centre would take pressure off of Wincanton, but why should it have to? Why not use that money to expand the Sports Centre and employ a few more people. I know a lot of people would love to see a learner pool for kids, they would have a safer environment to splash around in, whilst adults can swim without the worry of children getting in the way.

People in Wincanton, I'm sure, would rather see improvements made to our town instead of having to drive 20 minutes to Yeovil to use facilities, and a lot of people from the smaller villages around Wincanton probably would agree! I have a small car and the petrol used going to and from Yeovil is ridiculous, country lanes and their constant gear changes make your car drink fuel. People won't be willing to use that much fuel in order to go for a swim etc...

The amount being spent on Yeovil in comparison to Wincanton is appalling and I agree it needs to stop.
Last Edit: April 23, 2012, 12:03:05 by kejamieson  
davidsmith
Posts: 1
Comment
Is Wincanton Sports Centre under 'pressure'?
Reply #2 on : Mon April 23, 2012, 12:10:46
I totally agree. But perhaps I've got the wrong end of at least one stick.

I was under the impression that the only 'pressure' Wincanton Sports Centre is subject to is that of UNDER-use. Last I heard they were downsizing the staff. If the pressure was due to footfall surely money wouldn't be a problem. Expanding the Yeovil services won't help unless the Wincanton centre has too many customers. It seems that's not the case, so new facilities in Yeovil will actually hurt us.
mandycochrane
Posts: 1
Comment
re: Is Your Money Being Used to Provide Facilities for Yeovil?
Reply #3 on : Mon April 23, 2012, 12:41:02
"The development of a new centre in Yeovil will alleviate any pressure on Wincanton Sports Centre." What pressure? Let me get this straight - Money raised by development in Wincanton (development which is not really wanted anyway, just to add insult to injury) is then siphoned off to build a nice new sports facility in Yeovil? Which will be mostly used by Yeovil people by the way. But the supposedly good theory behind this plan is that Wincanton people will be encouraged to use this Yeovil facility instead? And that is helping Wincanton Sports Centre...how?

Come on SSDC, you'll have to do better than that. If you expect us to believe you're doing us or Wincanton a favour, you've seriously under-estimated us.
countryhousekeeper
Posts: 1
Comment
Don't we matter?
Reply #4 on : Mon April 23, 2012, 20:15:40
I totally agree with all the above comments and well said Mandy!!!!!!!

Don't we matter in Wincanton. It makes me sad because what we have here is a very special little town. Granted I only moved here in July last year and I have actually questioned that choice I cannot lie. But, ever the optimist, I am hopeful that the town will eventually thrive and realise its potential - it just needs effort, time, money and passion.

The leisure centre is a great facility for the town and would benefit from development. Simple steps could be taken to add value to the site fast. For example there is no good space to get a coffee and relax post workout, to meet freinds after a swim, or to relax whilst watching kids take their swiming lessons. A few vending machines do not a coffee shop make. Take Rivers Meet in nearby Gillingham, there is a 918 coffee house within the centre and it creates a super social space and a great crowd puller. Not to mention revenue from the rent paid by the service provider.

While I am at it SDDC do us all a favour and spend some decent money on the parks. I stroll through the park that comes out by the church on the one way system on my school run and it is a crying shame the state it is in: rotten equipment, swing frames with no swings, rusty slides, inadequate fencing.......shall I go on?

Get you acts together....pronto!
kejamieson
Posts: 2
Comment
Re: Is Your Money Being Used to Provide Facilities for Yeovil?
Reply #5 on : Mon April 23, 2012, 20:26:53
The park was nice a few years ago but as with anywhere in this country... You put something nice in and it gets vandalised or covered in graffiti!
Nicholas Firth
Posts: 1
Comment
Re: Is Your Money Being Used to Provide Facilities for Yeovil?
Reply #6 on : Fri April 27, 2012, 08:47:01
That seems to ignore that fact that the developments which are currently underway and this planned one will increase the population of the town and consequently make it more important for residents to be able to access leisure facilities locally.
Last Edit: April 27, 2012, 08:47:29 by Nicholas Firth  
Victor Meldrew
Posts: 2
Comment
Re: Is Your Money Being Used to Provide Facilities for Yeovil?
Reply #7 on : Fri May 04, 2012, 19:14:18
To add to the comments, Why was/is there continued pressure to place an all weather Hockey pitch in Yeovil, when the players are in Dorset? In addition look at the money wasted on Goldenstones. Built of highly expensive Ham stone. Who got the "bonus"?
Victor Meldrew
Posts: 2
Comment
Re: Is Your Money Being Used to Provide Facilities for Yeovil?
Reply #8 on : Mon May 07, 2012, 15:51:01
I nearly forgot. Was Sylvia Seal, and a certain local, not behind the proposed desecration of Mudford Rec? You know, where Yeovil College was being given a new `sports` facility. Oh sorry, Yeovil Town, but paid for be ALL of District!

Login to comment!

© 2009 Wincanton Window    -    Site designed, hosted and maintained by Link-2