Public vote on how to spend developers’ cash in Sheffield

A public vote on how to spend developers’ cash in Sheffield has resulted in a big win for a cricket club.

Friday, 10th May 2019, 13:34 pm
Updated Tuesday, 14th May 2019, 13:39 pm

More than 130 people had their say on how £28,000 should be used in Stocksbridge, with 10 different projects vying for the cash.

Early Steps Nursery secured £1,535 to expand its outdoor play activities, after topping the poll, and the Garden Village Community Association, which came second, was awarded £5,000 to modernise toilets at Inman Pavilion, which hosts events ranging from wedding receptions to dog training.

An early design for the proposed new pavilion at Stocksbridge Cricket Club

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But it was third-placed Stocksbridge Cricket Club which proved the biggest winner in cash terms, getting £21,465 of the £25,000 it had asked for towards a new pavilion.

This was the first time such a vote had been staged by Stocksbridge Town Council, which plans to hold similar ballots twice a year following its success.

In a break with convention, children as young as eight were invited to take part and voters could simply turn up on the day and give their name and postcode, rather than having to register in advance.

The run-down facilities at Stocksbridge Cricket Club, which is trying to raise £250,000 for a new pavilion

All 10 groups applying for funding were invited to make presentations at The Venue arts hub, where the ballot was held, and members of the public were able to ask them questions before voting opened on Wednesday evening.

Voters were asked to rank the projects by preference, and the money went to those with the most votes, with the results announced at yesterday’s full town council meeting.

Councillor Julie Grocutt, chairwoman of the town council, said: “All 10 projects were very worthy causes and the local people spoke and chose three very deserving winners.

“It was particularly pleasing to see a number of children taking the opportunity to vote because we want them to grow up knowing about civic responsibility and how they can make a difference to the community.”

The next vote is scheduled to take place this autumn, and groups which missed out on this occasion will be able to apply again.

The money came from the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), which is paid by developers to fund the facilities and services which are needed to support new homes and businesses.

The town council received the cash from Sheffield City Council, as legislation dictates 15 per cent of the levy collected in the local area must be retained for projects benefiting that community.

Stocksbridge Cricket Club is seeking to raise £250,000 for a new pavilion to replace the ageing building it currently uses, which has no hot water or heating.

Matthew Price, who is on the club’s committee, said: “We’d like to thank everyone who voted for us.

“We desperately need a new pavilion to replace the awful facilities we currently use. There’s a long way to go but this money will make a big difference.”

The losing projects included a bid for £27,000 for improvements to Stocksbridge Community Leisure Centre and an application by the Steel Valley Project for just under £25,000 to upgrade the Edward Street green space near the Co-op.