Notes from the meeting of Utkinton Village Hall Management Committee 17 March 2022

Attendance -UVHMC:  Margaret Bowers, Kathryn Dahill, Richard Francis, Judith J Grant, Liz Hannath, Graham Harrison, Laura Jones, Karen Murray, Graham Stewart, Francis Tunney

20+ residents many of whom commented on what they would like to see ‘outside the hall’.  This meeting was to explore what residents wished to see.

The first part of the meeting would be gathering information and views from residents.

Before the meeting commenced FT welcomed Judith Grant as a co-opted member of the committee.

NB: these notes are not verbatim minutes, but the best recollection of what was suggested and discussed by residents and the Hall Committee.

  • The village need play areas across the age range
  • There is nowhere for kids to go, so we need to think for the future
  • The surfacing on the court was poor
  • Background in education 16 – 25s
  • Asks what is the priority?
  • Should we approach the Diocese about the school playing field
  • Can we approach Ardern Trust about the land adjacent to the Hall?
  • Could we do both above?
  • The Community need to support the hall and its events
  • This meeting is about information gathering
  • Identify people in the group
  • We recognise that the court has restricted access
  • We are not experiencing any delinquency but there is a litter issue on the court
  • Should we charge or make use of the court free to all?
  • The school is suffering for a lower roll, and we need to get new people to the village
  • Older kids have nowhere to go
  • Look to the future to cater for a wider age range
  • How often does tennis get played?
  • Hold events that generate revenue
  • Creating pride in and use of the Hall et al
  • Do we have a budget (for change?)
  • Wanted to be able to have an area outside to ensure kids can play
  • The new locked gate was good
  • Group of 10 teenagers play footie and basketball.
  • Could we have a moveable tennis net?
  • Can we get portable play equipment?
  • Court not big enough for competitive tennis
  • Worried about vandalism
  • Is restrictive membership an issue?
  • The Car Parking isn’t good enough and the roads are difficult
  • Resident has 4- and 6-Year-old and there is very little to do
  • Could the hall have some picnic benches to allow socialising?
  • Husband plays basketball but didn’t know how to access the court.
  • We need to fund the hall and any developments through events
  • Would a half a court be big enough to play basketball on?
  • Detriment in not having play/recreational equipment
  • Was asked how big the strip of land behind the hall is – in visual terms it is roughly as long as the hall (17m) and half as wide (4.2m)
  • It (the grass strip) would need some work to level and make it safe
  • The court needs Resurfacing
  • The court is very underutilised
  • Make the multisport court more attractive
  • Good approach (not sure what was meant here)
  • Get people along to events.
  • Don’t look at the MSC in isolation
  • Survey results – are they representative?
  • Very few mentions of tennis
  • Open the court for more sports
  • Develop the grass strip for childrens’ play area
  • Over the years, I have been asked the same question many times … “Why hasn’t Utkinton got a childrens’ playground?”
  • We have always needed a safe place for children to play, regardless of age, gender or ability.
  • The simple answer is that we haven’t had anywhere to put a playground. We only have the multi sports court which consists of twelve tennis playing families including a few teenage boys who prefer to play basketball.
  • Is it time to address this problem and make changes?
  • For example…. the court could be split into different sections.
    • One area could be used as a playground with swings, a climbing frame etc.
    • Another area could be used for ball sports e.g. basketball, short tennis etc.
    • If planned carefully, we should be able to have an area for outdoor activities e.g. WI plant sale etc. …you could even find room for a gazebo or two!
  • The fire exit opens onto the grassed area. This would be an ideal place for our toddler group to play. They could have their own equipment e.g. swing, sand pit, bouncy toy etc.?  The new fence and gate at the rear of the hall would ensure their safety.
  • This could be our ONLY opportunity to provide the village with a much-needed sports and leisure facility.
  • Talked about fund raising and the need to satisfy the needs of the community
  • Explained about the previous attempt to utilise the school playing field and how it was turned down by the Diocese – perhaps it was time to try again
  • A lot of sense and we do need to make some changes
  • Agree with much of what was said but we need to do something
  • About fund raising, mentioned the quiz night on 30th April and the Centenary of the Hall, also the afternoon tea and that all are welcome

Chair’s summary – this was a very well attended meeting and a number of potential actions came from it.

  1. Remove the fixed net and allow for full use of the court for: Basketball, Netball, Football and general ‘play’ as an open space. ‘Mothball’ the current tennis net – We will ‘open up’ the court and remove the fixed tennis net (into safe keeping) and provide the ‘platform’ for basketball, netball, and football. 
  2. For this season remove the need to be ‘paid up’ members
  3. If there is a need/demand for tennis, then we could consider purchasing a portable tennis net (£400 – £850).
  4. Establish a plan to create a play area on the grass strip, identify specific needs and review funding options
  5. Discuss the possibility of the land immediately north between the hall and the United Utilities ‘road

The following will be deferred to the Parish Council;

  • Discuss the possibilities for Rose Farm / Donkey Field
  • Reopen the discussion with Diocese the possibility of using the school playing field

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