Burntwood Town Council office could see £5,000 spent on garden improvements as part of £55,000 revamp plan

A draft plan has revealed that councillors have set aside a budget of £5,000 to improve the garden and plant new flowers at the Old Mining College Centre.

The Old Mining College Centre

Burntwood Town Council’s offices at the Old Mining College Centre

Burntwood Town Council’s policy and resources committee will discuss a range of improvements planned to improve the site it moved its offices to last year.

Cllr Pam Stokes and Cllr Richard Mosson signing the lease on the Old Mining College Centre in 2015

Cllr Pam Stokes and Cllr Richard Mosson signing the lease on the Old Mining College Centre in 2015

Other proposals include replacing wooden framed sash windows at a cost of up to £20,000, although £10,000 of this could come from Section 106 money gathered from local developers.

The council is hoping to grow the £48,396 it currently raises from use of the building by external organisations and groups – and has drawn up a three-year draft business plan to help do this.

Among the ideas in the document are proposals to spend up to £5,000 on the new flowers and levelling the lawn – cash that has already been budgeted – with a plan to potentially introduce a mini crazy golf course once the improvements have been carried out.

Other moves would see relaying of floors and purchases of new furniture.

Should the plan be accepted, the total bill for the changes would be more than £55,000.

The document explains: “The purpose of this plan is to improve and refurbish the centre during the plan period so that it is more welcoming and presents a fresher appearance in a bid to encourage more organisations to hold their meetings exhibitions and events in the building.

“It is also intended to identify the financial implications of the desired works and identify potential funding and other income sources to develop a realistic performance over the period of the plan.”

The move to the Old Mining College Centre has not been without controversy. The controlling Conservative group were forced into a u-turn on plans to rename the site in February 2016, while the move also saw staffing costs rise by £67,000 shortly after a decision to raise the council tax precept by a third.

Even the official reopening of the centre as the council’s new home was marked by controversy, with one Labour councillor questioning the decision to invite “unknowns” to the ceremony.

More recently, new leader Cllr Norma Bacon has come under fire for proposals to install a new £1,000 messageboard and a gallery of photographs of former chairmen of the council.

The report will be discussed at the meeting at the Old Mining College Centre from 7pm tonight (July 6).

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6 Comments

  1. TheDoc

    6th July, 2017 at 1:48 pm

    Christ on a Cracker…. where to begin on this?!

    1- £5,000 on a garden. Is this garden open to public use? Can we access it between 7am-10pm? I should bloody hope so if this is where my tax money is going! But o, it get’s better…a mini crazy golf course! What an idea. Are we moving the Chasewater one into this garden?

    2- “hoping to grow” more profit. The rooms have been empty for a while, on the edge of town, and surrounded by poor infrastructure. (Tho, could someone hook me up with this 3-year plan?). Also, with the added mini golf, would businesses be happy to rent rooms with kids about? Then again, may there is a tory discount?

    3- Staffing Costs. Employee Expenses hit £190,794 for last year’s budget. I’ll admit I’m not sure what is included in all of it, but let’s try and do some math. 6 Staff members? (Head Admin, Deputy, 2 part-time admins, maintenance, and groundskeeper). From the recent job advert, we know the part-time admin jobs are salaried between £17,000-£21,000. We could assume janitors are around £20,000 salary each. I’m just saying…that leaves alot of money in Employees’ Expenses……especially for our lil town…

    But wow, £55,000 on trying to bring life into an old building.. I would if it will also bring life into the older councillors….

  2. Gaynor Robinson

    6th July, 2017 at 5:35 pm

    This has got to be a joke !

  3. Nellygb

    6th July, 2017 at 6:02 pm

    I have no problem with the council looking to increase on the £48,396 per annum the facility brings in at present but why the need to spend £55k to do so, and what are their predicted revenue figures once they have spent such a sum. As TheDoc has pointed out where is this three year plan so local residents can inspect them and “crunch the figures” so we can decide if this really is council tax money well spent or just another council vanity project on par with their decision to move to the Old Mining College in the first place. I am yet to be convinced that decision has in any form made my life or the life of any other Burntwood/Chase residents better. Just my twopenn’orth

  4. Ross

    6th July, 2017 at 6:05 pm

    For info, the draft report is available via this link – it’s at the end of the document.

  5. Adam Elsdon

    6th July, 2017 at 9:47 pm

    Stop blowing large wads of cash, and lower the price on the use of the building to make it more affordable for community groups to use, maybe subsidise or put on free to end user education events.

    Or just keep kicking the locals as some sort of cash cow to fund your Conservative vanity project?

  6. Nellygb

    7th July, 2017 at 7:50 pm

    Ta for the link Ross. Just downloaded

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