Austerity pays off as Old Marston Parish Council builds up fund for new pavilion

The Oxford Times: Parish council vice-chairman Duncan Hatfield, left, and chairman Charlie Haynes Buy this photo Parish council vice-chairman Duncan Hatfield, left, and chairman Charlie Haynes

IT is said that if you look after the pennies then the pounds will look after themselves.

And no one knows that more than Old Marston Parish Council, in Oxford.

Whereas most community bodies are constantly cash-strapped, the frugal parish leaders have managed to save up a healthy £200,000, simply by watching their outgoings.

While Britain feels the pinch of austerity, the parish council has scrimped, saved and kept its reserves in high-interest accounts for 10 years to amass the small fortune.

Its vice chairman Duncan Hatfield said he designed its website while councillor Peter Cox helps to maintain the cemetery, in Elsfield Road.

It is now hoped the money will help pay to replace the current wooden pavilion at Boults Lane Recreation Ground.

Mr Hatfield said: “We have put a lot of effort into setting that money aside.

“It has been down to very careful management by our previous clerk, so we were very careful and very organised with money.

“If work needed to be done we would get several quotes so we would get the best deal. We have been almost running it like a business.”

The council needs another £300,000 to build the new pavilion, which would include changing rooms, an office and storage space.

It has already had one grant application of about £200,000 to Sports England turned down.

Until the money is raised sports teams will have to use the current facilities, which Mr Hatfield described as being “on its last legs”.

He said: “We want the new facilities very badly because the building is almost condemned.

“We will do our best to maintain it, but it needs replacing as soon as possible.”

Parish council chairman Charlie Haynes said the council could apply for several smaller grants if it failed to get one large donation.

He added: “We have had all the plans drawn up, it’s ready to go, but it’s just a case of getting the money.

“We want to get things done but at the end of the day we can’t afford to fund all of it.

“It might not be built this year but if we get the money it could be there for the next year’s football season.”

Mr Haynes said new facilities would benefit the whole city, not just teams in Marston.

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