Announcements

4the December 2018 – A new plan to improve facilities at Dolphins Hall and the Rec

It has taken some time, and a lot of hard work, to make sure everything can come together into a plan to deliver what the town needs – adequate facilities for the Youth of Tetbury, the facilities we need to maintain the Rec as a vital resource for everyone and a new Hall fit for the future. We are delighted to finally be able to share our plans.

More info on the Improvement Project page.

Tetbury Advertiser – December 2018 edition

It has been a busy month for the Dolphins Hall trustees. We have had progress meetings with a number of our user groups and sports teams. We have been in a number of meetings with Gloucestershire County Council negotiating an extension to the Big Community Grant. We have met with planning officers from Cotswold District Council seeking planning guidance on our current ideas.  We have also spent time with architects and quantity surveyors looking at building options and costs.  This has been a major commitment for us as trustees many of whom have to fit this around having full-time jobs and families. I would like to publicly thank those involved for so willingly giving up their time.

Projects such as this one are actually incredibly complicated.  As a charity, we have to always ensure we are in compliance with both Charity Commission rules and our own constitution.  As a charity that manages a resource that is actually in trust to the town, some of the requirements can often get quite complicated.  This all means every idea and step needs to be constantly checked against the rules of what can and cannot happen. On top of this, we are a charity that works with many different groups and wish to do our best to remain engaged with these groups in our decision-making process.  This can often make progress feel incredibly slow, but we feel, strongly, this is the right way to do things.

We are committed to delivering a vital and sustainable development of the Dolphins Hall and Recreation Ground for the people of Tetbury and keeping everyone informed of progress, openly and honestly, as soon as we are able.

Assuming all goes well, all of the activity I have listed should put us in a position very soon to hold a series of consultation events where you will be welcome to come and see our proposals, ask questions and make comments before we submit them for full planning permission and go out to tender with builders.

In the meantime, we really do welcome any questions from the public concerning the project, so please feel free to contact the Chair of the committee on chair@dolphinshalltetbury.co.uk.

You can also follow progress on our website (http://www.dolphinshalltetbury.co.uk) or our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/DolphinsHallTet/)

24th October 2018

A statement from the Trustees of the Dolphins Hall

It has come to our attention that a town meeting has been called for the 2nd November 2018 to discuss the perceived lack of progress of the Dolphins Hall redevelopment project.

It is understood that this meeting has been called by two Cotswold District councillors, Cllr Maggie Heaven and Cllr Tina Stephenson. In a report they gave to Tetbury Town Council on the 22nd October 2018, we understand that they made a number of factually incorrect statements concerning both the work being undertaken and the current funding position of the project, as well as stating they were concerned about a number of rumours they had heard in relation to the project. They stated they had spoken to a wide range of people and, having done so, decided to call a public meeting for the people of Tetbury to be able to ask questions.

We would like to report, for the record, that neither Cllr Heaven, Cllr Stevenson nor any of their representatives have spoken to any members of the Dolphins Hall Management Committee concerning these rumours. They appear to have made little effort to ascertain either the accuracy of any rumours or the actual progress being made on the project.

In some of the social media posts promoting attendance at the proposed meeting, it is stated people should “come and attend the meeting and hear what the Dolphins Hall committee have got to say.” At this time, no member of the Dolphins Hall Management Committee has been invited to attend the meeting. Nor have we been given any information concerning the meeting or any opportunity to contribute to the structure or form of the meeting.

It is worth noting that both of the councillors who are calling this meeting are ex-trustees who resigned on the 24th July 2018. Many of the people promoting the event, on social media and otherwise, are also ex-trustees who resigned on the same date.

In their report to the Town Council on the 22nd October 2018, both Cllr Heaven and Cllr Stevenson stated they were concerned the youth of Tetbury would lose out under the current direction of the project. They seem ignorant of the fact that the trustees who represent the organisations working on behalf of the youth of the town to provide youth services on The Rec remain trustees, and are actively working as part of the project committee and support the progress being made.

The Dolphins Hall Committee welcome public scrutiny of the Dolphins Hall project or any other part of our operations. In all our communications we invite the public to contact the Chair of the Dolphins Hall (chair@dolphinshalltetbury.co.uk) should they feel the need to do so. Indeed, the project has never been as open to public questions and examination as it is now. This stands in stark contrast to the situation under the leadership of the previous Chair, Cllr Heaven.

During Cllr Heaven’s period as Chair of the Dolphins Hall: 

• No public consultations concerning the Dolphins Hall redevelopment project were held, despite requests from other Trustees to do so.

• The Trust stopped publishing minutes of Dolphins Hall committee meetings, meaning decisions concerning the management of the Trust and progress on the build project were no longer reported and so not open to public scrutiny.

• Collaboration on the redevelopment project within the Dolphins Hall Management Committee was reduced, with the project becoming the effective responsibly of just one person. Despite forming a “project team” to support the project, the team only met twice in an 18 month period.

This meant any decisions required to be made by the trustees were only ever presented at full trustees meetings where, in our opinion, insufficient information was provided and insufficient time was allocated for proper scrutiny and discussion.

In contrast, since September, the current Project Committee have met five times.

We would also like to point out that in the short period of time we have been in charge we have:

• Held a full public consultation responded to by over 100 members of the public;

• Resumed publishing minutes of our meetings;

• Formed a Project Committee of seven trustees to steer progress on the project;

• Established a Project Board, working with Tetbury Town Council, to add additional oversight and public accountability to the project;

• And, as previously said, offer the public the opportunity in every communication that they are welcome to contact the Chair of the committee with concerns or questions on chair@dolphinshalltetbury.co.uk.

Since the resignation of the former Chair and other trustees, those remaining have spent many hours working to develop a new, realistic and deliverable, plan to provide Tetbury with the facilities it deserves. We need to get it right.

As with most projects, we have to work through the options and lots of details to develop plans and realistic alternatives suitable for public discussion. We do, though, promise that, as soon as our plans are at a suitable stage (which will hopefully be in the very near future), we will make them public to allow people to express their opinions of the proposal developed.

Cllr Heaven and Cllr Stevenson have called and publicised this meeting on the 2nd November 2018, without either informing or consulting the current Dolphins Hall Management Committee, with no apparent attempt to discuss their “concerns”, the reported “rumours” or to clarify any misunderstandings directly. This appears to be yet another demonstration of previous bad practice and poor judgement.

In light of this, and the way the meeting is being incorrectly represented; after much discussion we have decided, as a committee, we must decline to take part in the meeting, should we receive an invitation to do so.

We are committed to delivering a vital and sustainable development of the Dolphins Hall for the people of Tetbury and keeping everyone informed of progress, openly and honestly, as soon as we are able.

In the meantime, we really do welcome any questions from the public concerning the project, so please feel free to contact the Chair of the committee on chair@dolphinshalltetbury.co.uk.