Stratton St Margaret Parish Council serves a population of approx. 23,000 residents, served by 19 Parish Councillors. It employs 76 full and part time staff. The Parish Council staff is led by the Clerk to the Council and has a Senior Management Team which consists of 8 Senior Officers who all hold the necessary skills and qualifications to undertake their roles.
The Leisure Centre is managed on a day to day basis by the Senior Food and Beverage Officer and Events and Hospitality Officer who work alongside an Information Team Leader, Centre Assistants, Facilities Officer and Caretakers. The Leisure Centre is open from 7.30 am until 11 pm, or later if there is a function.
The Grange Leisure has always been owned and managed by the Parish Council, however the site was run autonomously and at that time the Council was acting ‘Ultra Vires’ (outside of the Law) by some of the activities that it undertook and there were a number of health and safety concerns. The Council resolved to restructure the organisation and a significant amount of improvements have since been made for the benefit of users and the wider community. The centre is a hive of activity by all sectors of the community. The Council has been accredited as a ‘Star’ Council by the National Association of Local Councils and is included in its list as a ‘Super’ Council. It has also been awarded a Dementia Friendly centre.
In 2011 the Localism Act came into force which meant that Parish Councils could work outside of its statutory powers. As an example a Parish Council does not have a statutory power to run a pub, this is classed as trading as it is in direct competition with the pubs around the area. To combat this problem, the Council reduced the Grange Bar opening hours throughout the day, this also reduced staff costs and ensured that the Bar remained open as an auxiliary function to the Leisure Centre. If the Council were to secure a partner for the Leisure Centre, then they are not restricted by the Councils statutory powers and may well choose to keep the bar open.
In addition, we took over the management of our Open Spaces from Swindon Borough Council in 2016. Here are some stats and information on our Open Spaces work:
- We have around 200 acres to maintain.
- We are a burial authority and carry out a burial on average every 2 weeks.
- We have football pitches which we maintain and rent out.
- 9 play parks, which are formally checked weekly, the safety surfaces are subject to constant vandalism and need regular repairs.
- 123 bins in total of which around 30 need to be emptied every day else they will overflow. A further
- 55 bins need emptying twice a week and the rest are emptied weekly.
- We litter pick every street, alleyway and footpath in the entire Parish on a rota which takes 4 weeks to complete.
- We have 2 large tractor mowers that work almost every day for 7 months of the year, plus a larger tractor to cut larger areas and as well as this we have council housing lawns which need hand cutting.
- We also strim grass verges.
- We have many flower beds and welcome tubs which have needed watering every 2-3 days this summer.
- We have 2 large allotment plots which are very time consuming and have shown enormous improvements in the last 2 years.
- We have at least 2 miles f hedging to cut I would estimate, some of this is cut twice a year.
- We have 2 ponds, one of which host a fishing club who need to be monitored.
- We have an AGP all-weather football pitch to manage / maintain
- We carry out project work to improve the sites such as tree planting, tree plantation thinning work, fencing, bench renovation, pathway improvements, wildlife habitat creation and general planting
- We also spend a huge amount of time just generally clearing up after people and repairing vandalism….!!!
Here’s an up-to-date boundary map to give an overview of the area we cover as a Parish Council: