COUNCIL bosses have agreed a new lease for a village cricket club so it can access more funding to develop and improve its ground.

Higham Cricket Club was granted a 22 year lease by the ruling cabinet members of Barnsley Council last week and will be ratified at the full council next month.

It replaces a previous agreement under which the council - as a trustee of the charity which manages the land - was responsible for maintenance and repairs at the Royd Lane ground.

Under the new terms the club is now liable for repairing, maintaining, insuring and paying all out goings and utility charges but by agreeing to this, it also brings big benefits as it will allow the cricket club to secure grants to further improve and develop the club - funding that the council as trustees is unable to access.

Dan Bamforth, director of cricket for the club, said: “The extended lease will allow Higham Cricket Club to continue to grow exponentially.

“Last year was one of the most successful years in our history - we were crowned SYCL Division 6 Champions and obtained grant funding to build a new community facility for ourselves and the local community to utilise.

“This year, we have increased from one adult side on a Saturday to two sides and will be running the ECB All Stars initiative for five to eight-year-olds. Our new community facility will open towards the end of March and the new lease will allow us to plan long term to ensure we continue to have a positive impact within the village of Higham and surrounding areas.”

In Text Promo Image

A report presented to cabinet members by Coun Alan Gardiner said since 1990 the council - as a trustee of the Higham Miners Institute and Recreation Ground charity - has administered and managed the land.

The club has held a 25 year lease since 2004 of the part of the land that forms the cricket ground, at a rent of £340 per year. Under this lease the council was responsible for external repairs to the pavilion and a changing room block.

The club submitted a successful application for funding to WREN, Sport England and the council (for S106 cash, which is money set aside by developers to benefit the community as part of planning approval) for improvements to their facilities which included the replacement of the pavilion.

It was agreed that Higham Cricket Club would assume full repairing and insuring responsibility for the new pavilion and all other existing buildings on the land ‘relieving the council of an ongoing cost liability’, the report said.

The club then requested an extension to its lease so that it could apply for further grants towards ongoing improvement and developments.

It was provisionally agreed that - subject to the usual consultation and approvals - the council would accept a surrender of the club’s existing lease and grant a new 22 year lease at a nominal rent incorporating the new repairing liabilities.

However, just prior to construction work beginning on the new pavilion last October it came to light that the pavilion was to be located on land outside of the area identified in the lease. Without a lease of this plot the funding bodies would not release the grant monies needed to pay for the construction works.

In order to get around this the council granted a temporary lease so the funding could be released to pay for the pavilion, which is due to be completed in March.