Stretham Community Hub FAQs

These are a number of Frequently Asked Questions asked about the Village Centre. We answer them here to keep answers in one place and avoid some repetition.

Q: Has the site been chosen ?

Yes, the site has been selected, as shown in the Designs. This has been discussed and voted on at least 4 times at full Council. Council does not consider other options are feasible, and there will therefore not be further community consultation on the site.

Q: How much extra Council Tax will I have to pay when the Community Hub is running ?

A question was raised in the April 2022 Council meeting about the impact on the “Council Tax” that the new Stretham Community Hub might have. The short answer is that currently we won’t know what the impact will be until we have more detailed costs and have a good indication of other funding sources, but we are doing our best to keep any impact as low as possible. However it is worth making clear that the Stretham Parish precept makes up only 5.3% of the total council tax. You may have recently had a Council Tax Bill for 22/23 which shows the detailed workings. The Tax for a Band D house has increased from £1,967.43 to £2,048.79, largely as a result of a 4.99% rise in the County Council element of the Council Tax. None of that increase relates to the Stretham Parish Council, our precept stays the same as last year per-household, at around £108/year or £9/month out of the £170.7/month for a Band D house for all of the Council Tax.

Q: Why has there not been any consultation on the new building ?

A: Consultation was carried out in 2016 which made clear that the current Parish Rooms are not fit for purpose. In 2018 we did another village-wide consultation to ask what services and facilities should be provided by the new building – the feedback was used to deveop the initial plans and feasibility study. In November 2021, consultations were held with user groups and with all villagers providing opportunities for people to have their say about the new building.

Q: What feasibility study has been done for the building capital and operating cost ?

A: In 2018, using results of the consultation, a feasibility study and outline business case was developed. After careful review, the Council decided that the project was not feasible due to lack of funding. When the Communities Capital Fund became available, we made an application and were successful, allowing us to reconsider the project. A further feasibility study and business case will be developed when the project has proceeded to the stage where we have a reasonable estimate of costs.

Q: Why is such a big building being proposed ?

A: The Council has considered various options for building size and take the view that a small hall similar in size to the current Parish Rooms will not be able to make enough return to cover costs and the view is that we need a site large enough to provide a number of services to different groups to make the site popular enough to cover costs.

Q: Why haven’t I personally been consulted in detail at every stage ?

A: The Stretham Parish Council is elected to make decisions on many issues on behalf of the Parish and does so on a regular basis, in the best interests of the Parish as a whole. It is not practicable or usual for the Parish Council to consult everyone on every decision that it takes. There will be more opportunities for Stretham Villagers to have their say as the project develops.

Q: What is the main access route to the site ?

The route to the proposed site once built is via Petersfield. Although delayed (and not under the responsibility of the Council), we expect Petersfield to be tarmacked and adopted before the building is complete at the latest.

During construction, we expect construction traffic to use the same route as planned for the Manor Farm Phase IV which is a new construction road to the east of the current Manor Farm site.

Q: What guarantees can you provide that this project will be a success ?

There are no guarantees. It will be a success if it is an attractive building used by multiple groups of Stretham villagers – the Stretham Parish Council aims to deliver that with the support of parishioners.

Q: What parking is going to be available ?

See the Designs. Minimum provision (from East Cambs Local Plan) would be 27 cars and 20 cycle spaces. Current designs include 39 car parking spaces.

Q: What facilities will the village Centre offer ?

See the Designs. Based on previous consultations and recent feedback, we aim to provide at least the following –

• Entrance hall
• Hall
• Social club/community café
• Kitchen
• Function room
• Meeting room
• Council offices – office, meeting room, storage
• Terraces/courtyards (with marquee)
• Green room
• Garden
• Accessible WCs
• Ample appropriate storage

• Micro retail units (built, owned and managed by the SWCLT)

Q: Who will be responsible for day to day running of the centre ?

We have already formed a Management Committee who will have overall responsibility for management of the centre, including event planning, facilities, etc. This group will include representatives from the key user groups.

We will appoint a caretaker / manager who will be responsible for the day-to-day operation of the centre, including handling maintenance, security, supplier liaison, etc.

Ultimately, the Council will retain ownership and financial responsibility for the building as a whole.

Q: What risks are there to the project to build the new village centre ?

Here are some of the potential risks to the project. We aim to remove or mitigate risks as much as possible.

  • The project may not finalise the agreement on the land required for the project
    • Mitigation: This is in progress and we expect agreement in January 2022
  • The project may not receive planning permission
    • Mitigation: We will submit a “pre-app” which will highlight areas that need special attention
  • The building could have cost or time overruns
    • Mitigation: We will have checks on the cost estimates and Quantity surveyors to review costings. We will have an “open book” approach with the builder
  • Funding for the project may not be sufficient to make the the running costs feasible
    • Mitigation: We are progressing the project to the stage where we can submit bids for additional funding. We have had informal indication that the PWLB will provide a loan which would provide some guarantees that the project can go ahead, but we will want to minimise the loan amount to keep monthly costs down.
  • Supplier risks
    • Mitigation: We will be careful in choice of suppliers.

Q: How can I help make the project a success ?

  • Keep in touch with the project via the Newsletter and this website
  • Support the project when it goes to planning
  • Let other people know about the plans
  • Join one or more of the user groups intending to use the building when complete or let us know if you want to start a user group that would use it.