Regular visitors may be aware that a proposal was brought to the farm by Bristol City Council to expand the nursery provision on site. This would require a new building. Over the last few months we have been exploring (with Skanska, the City Council’s preferred contractor for education buildings) various options for where that building might be sited, including on the existing games pitch.
The board of trustees met on Monday evening (17th July 2017) and discussed the options for taking forward the proposed expansion of the nursery. The following decisions were made.
Option 4 (which involves building on the Woodland Paddock) is not an acceptable option. This option would go against the strategy of the farm to focus on food, farming and the environment as its principal purpose. This option means that the farm would have to reduce the number of animals on site, which would be contrary to our strategy and would not be supported by our members and users. The additional cost of this option (as determined by Skanska) is over £200,000. If that level of funding is available then there are other mitigation options that should be explored.
Option 1 (which involves building only within the area of the pitch) would be an acceptable option provided that:
The board is alive to the benefits that the proposed expansion can bring to the organisation and to the local community that it serves. It is also mindful to preserve an existing sports facility that is enjoyed by many people. The trustees believe that sufficient time has now been invested in exploring the various options for achieving both aims and are keen to bring about a conclusion as to whether the expansion is going to go ahead.
The board also noted a proposal that has been received from two users of the existing pitch to invest in its refurbishment and management. Should the nursery development not go forward the board will examine options for the future of the pitch, including this proposal. At present the board agreed that it would be best to resolve the situation with the potential nursery development before looking into other options.
I’m hopeful that we can get a clear response from BCC on this and move it forward.