6. How to spend money available for open spaces
Please make sure you read the 'How can we access play, open space and sports money' guide first.
The group (our officers and your town or parish council steering group) must work together to:
- Look at how much money is available for open space, what exactly it can be spent on and where it could be spent.
- Look at your parish plan and neighbourhood plan if you have one. This is a useful starting point and may help you decide where to spend the money.
- Invite your local community to submit their proposals on how this money could be spent. This should be done through a publicity campaign in the media and through posters. This can be done for very little cost, if any, by involving us.
- After initial ideas for projects have been submitted by the community, they must be passed to the section 106 officer.
- A meeting should be held at which the town or parish council, Planning Obligations Officer and Community Engagement Officer are present to discuss the initial project ideas to ensure they meet the Section 106 funding criteria. This meeting and actions from it must also work out if the eligible projects are affordable and possible, for example are there potential sites available for the project.
- Anyone who has submitted a project must be notified whether it is going to the public vote or not. If not they should be given reasons why it isn’t.
- All the eligible, affordable and possible proposals should be taken to the community for their votes. This voting must be well publicised. Age brackets and postcodes of voters should be collected to ensure all ages and geographical locations within the parish are fairly represented. The voting is most successful when held in places where people are already gathering, for example at farmers’ markets, Christmas fayres or local cafés.
- The most popular project should be the one that gets the pot of money. If there is any money left over after this project is funded it should go to the second most popular project, and so on. By allocating funds in this way, it ensures the most popular projects actually happen. The results will be kept on file and if additional section 106 money becomes available that would be spent on the next most popular project.
- Our Planning Obligations Officer will ask Ward Members for comments to use in a report for the senior management team. This gives a final opportunity for issues that may affect the project (that the Officers have not already been made aware of) to be considered. The results are reported along with comments from Ward Members to our senior management team for approval, and the steering group reports to the parish/ town council. A legal contract must be set up by us between the landowner of the site and us. A legal contract must be set up by us between the landowner of the site and us.
- Organise an opening event at the finished facility, making sure that members of the community, councillors, developers whose money contributed to the sports project and the local media are invited.
- The organisation delivering the project should invoice EDDC (detailing VAT and an invoice number) with supporting invoices from the contractor.
- In the unlikely event of any discrepancies, the final decision as to which project(s) are supported lies with us and ward councillors as custodians of section 106 monies.