The panel received a brief overview from the grants officer on each application and heard addresses from representatives of the applicants and answers to questions as summarised below.
Sandford Talking Shop – Equipment purchases for community shop and café
The grants officer outlined this proposal and reported that the organisation had raised the rest of the required funding.
Berrick and Roke Parish Council – Replacement cladding, windows and insulation for the village hall
Jonathan Parkinson, representing the parish council, spoke in support of the application. He reported that if the work did not proceed, there was a danger that the building might collapse. This was the second of a three-phrase improvement plan for the hall and phase one had been completed successfully.
Thame Town Council – Rebuilding the town cricket club
Councillor David Dodds stepped down from the panel. Councillor Richard Pullen was nominated and appointed temporary Chairman for this item and for the scoring and award recommendation for this application.
The grants officer reported that the town council had requested a grant of £318,000. However, given the limited budget available, the officer recommendation was to cap the award at £250,000.
Matthew Swain, a representative of Thame Town Cricket Club, spoke in support of the application. Also present to answer councillors’ questions, were Nigel Champken-Woods, David Dodds, Angus Lachlan and Cassie Pinnels, representing Thame Town Council.
Mr Swain reported that additional funding had been secured and that he was confident that the amount outstanding would be raised in the next six months. Sharing the facility with the local hockey and netball clubs would increase membership significantly.
Goring Heath Parish Charity – Replacement windows for the village hall
Peter Dragonetti, a representative of the parish charity, spoke in support of the application. He reported on the wide range of hall users who would benefit from the project.
St Catherine’s Church, Towersey – Installation of a toilet, servery and flexible seating
Sue Civval, a representative of the church, spoke in support of the application. She reported that the church had now secured 45% of the funding. She also informed the panel that, currently, attendees needing the toilet and/or running water, needed to cross a road to visit the village hall.
Nettlebed Village Club – Replacement roof
Susan Worth, a representative of the club, spoke in support of the application. She reported that the organisation’s bank balance had increased to the extent that they could contribute £65,000 to this project and that it had secured further pledges of funding from local benefactors. It would be carrying out further fundraising activities in the future.
Henley Rugby Football Club – Build two additional changing rooms
Chris Nixon, a representative of the club, spoke in support of the application. He reported that the project would provide separate changing rooms for women and children and would be available for use by the wider community for non-rugby sporting activities on-site.
He anticipated that all funding required would be secured by the end of the year but, as a fall back, the club had the option to take up a £100,000 loan from the Rugby Football Union (RFU).
The grants officer reported that any award should be subject to the Council resolving the legal issues officers had identified with the organisation’s corporate structure. However, officers were confident that they had identified a solution.
Wheatley Parish Council – Noticeboards and public seating
Gareth Morris, a representative of the parish council, spoke in support of the application. He reported on the parish council’s current finances and their other financial commitments.
Cuddesdon Parochial Church Council – Church bell restoration
Keith Hawley, a representative of the parochial church council, spoke in support of the application. He reported that the bells had been unsafe to ring for the last fifteen years and that, whilst they could be rung occasionally, this project would bring them back into full use. He also read out one of a number of expressions of support from local residents.
Warborough and Shillingford Cricket Club – build a new practice net facility
Councillor Richard Pullen stepped down from the panel.
Jonnie Bradshaw, a representative of the club, spoke in support of the application. Also present to answer councillors’ questions was David Duncan, a representative of Warborough and ShillingfordParish Council.
Mr Bradshaw reported that the project would provide an entirely new practice facility for the club and would also be used by the village school. He confirmed that the club could fully fund its planned contribution and had established a sinking fund to cover the cost of future maintenance.