Back in 2018, Andrew Green resigned as the Chairman of Working for Adderbury Community (WFAC), following disagreements with the Parish Council over how the development of community facilities on the Milton Road should proceed.
“In the days prior to WFAC’s formalisation“, Mr Green says in his last report as Chairman, “we highlighted that our vision was more than just adult football; it featured space for activities for the primary school, a netball area, dedicated pitches for lots of different sports, opportunities for young people to play sports locally and a modern community building for everyone – a building to compliment existing venues“.
However, Mr Green’s report goes on to say that “the Parish Council ended up creating it’s own view of the Milton Road site that didn’t match that of WFAC’s members … I question how closely WFAC’s original aims match those of Adderbury Parish Council. Indeed there are now fractures within WFAC and I’m not sure even WFAC’s members have an agreed vision that all members will stand by. Adderbury Parish Council certainly doesn’t have a shared vision“.
In his letter of resignation from WFAC, Mr Green concludes by saying:
“I fear WFAC has become focussed on delivering the adult football element of this project. I fear what villagers would think if WFAC ended up backing a plan that saw a phased approach to work whereby a football pitch and a small club house were developed initially, so football could move to the site, with the other community elements to follow in due course, when funding became available. There is no indication this is what the WFAC Trustees are planning, but the two statements taken together indicate WFAC is failing to generate much interest other than a desire by some to get football moved to the Milton Road site”.
Fast forward to the Parish Council meeting on 8 September 2020, where the following decision was taken:
“WFAC to explore a phased approach for the Building phase of the project which will include further meetings with CDC planning officers led by the Chairman; Action DB”.
Moving on to the 27 October 2020 Parish Council meeting, Mrs Bratt’s report states:
“Following approval from APC (8.9.20) the WFAC team have worked with the Project Manager and Lathams to produce a phased approach for the building. Provisional ideas have been sent to CDC and the PC is awaiting a meeting to discuss this with Planning officers”.
The Project Manager in question is Mr Chris Wardley. His report to the PC at the same meeting says:
“At the parish council meeting of 8 September it was reported that progress with the Sports & Community Centre Building required approval from Cherwell District Council (CDC) for the council’s plans to initially build only a part of the consented building… [The] concept of the revised scheme has been developed in response to suggestions from members of the Working For Adderbury Community (WFAC) working group and a small group of potential users. The drawing which have now been presented to CDC are an improvement. They received general approbation at the WFAC meeting of 20 October”.
The drawing of the revised scheme does not appear on the Parish Council’s website, so we are left to imagine which part of the building – which was only given planning permission in June 2020 – will now not be “initially” built.
Since the site now includes football pitches, it seems appropriate to conclude that it will be the “football” aspect of the building which will be built – potentially, the area highlighted in red below.
In other words, the sports hall, dance studio, large kitchen, cafe, terrace and offices would have to wait for further funding, and only the clubroom, small kitchen and changing rooms designed for users of the football pitches will go ahead.
In fact, the Design and Access Statement for this development (see below) suggests that the clubhouse, kitchen and changing rooms shown above will be part of the “private” areas for “pitch users”, rather than “public areas”.
We are afraid that Mr Green’s comments made two years ago were entirely accurate. All efforts are now being focussed on “delivering the adult football element of this project”, which is essentially to to “get football moved to the Milton Road site”.
If the clubhouse, kitchen and changing rooms are to be for the exclusive use of Adderbury Park Football Club, who currently have their own private clubhouse on the Lucy Plackett Playing Field, then this “community” project starts to appear less “communal”.
For the sake of transparency, perhaps WFAC should now consider changing its name to WFAFC?
* This article has been updated to clarify that Mr Green’s quotes are taken from his final report as Chairman, in which he resigns as Chairman, and his letter of resignation from WFAC, i.e. two separate documents.