Ardagh Trust fires volley at council over tennis courts scheme

July 03 2018
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The Friends of Horfield Common have been working with the Council for the last seven years with the aim of taking over the site under a Community Asset Transfer and have set up the Ardagh Community Trust (ACT) to do this.

Until the last couple of months BCC have made it clear that the transfer must include all of the assets at the site, including all of the 11 tennis courts.

BCC have now come up with a scheme that would see them retain and refurbish six of the courts so that they can include them in their city wide tennis court rental scheme. This cherry picking threatens the whole basis of the business plan that ACT have put together.

In their statement the Ardagh Community Trust say:

We object to the proposal that BCC’s Cabinet agrees to spend 200k on improvements to the tennis courts at the Ardagh when this scheme undermines a community-led, fully externally-funded project which will ensure a sustainable future for the Ardagh site at no ongoing cost to Bristol City Council.

If the cabinet agreed to this proposal, it will result in ongoing maintenance and management costs for BCC and will leave this treasured public asset vulnerable to future ‘disposal’ by BCC when there is an alternative community-led plan in place (with external funding from Power To Change, Enovert Community Trust, Architectural Heritage Fund and others) which would ensure its ongoing future for use by the people of Bristol.

ACT’s scheme includes improvements to the sports courts to widen their use (from solely tennis to also include other activities requested by local people of all ages) & will enable ACT to manage the whole site sustainably – cross subsidising the cost of maintenance of the public spaces and gardens, for example, with revenue funding from a range of charitable grant funding and earned income.

We believe that the proposal being put forward today misrepresents ACT’s views (we have not ‘compromised’ on our CAT application – we were told by the Deputy Mayor (with whom we were liaising) that she had been told by the Mayor’s Office that the decision on this has been taken out of her hands and it was not available for discussion. We are extremely concerned to ensure that a lack of clarity and/or misrepresentation of a number of issues/positions does not mislead to those making a decision in relation to this.

To read their statement in it’s entirety please see www.bristolparksforum.org.uk/ACT050618.pdf