News and views 

A reminder that Sunday, October 11th 2015 is the closing date for the submission of your valued views and suggestions in relation to the future plans of the Members Pavilion at the Royal Welsh Showground

Your views are critical to this project use this opportunity to make known your feelings.

Please email secretary@wpcs.uk.com or write, addressing your thoughts to

The Secretary

WPCS

Bronaeron

Felinfach

Lampeter

Ceredigion

SA48 8AG

 

Mark you envelope “Pavilion” or, if by email, use “Pavilion” as the subject heading.

 

As many members will be aware, successive recent Councils have been looking into replacing the old, outdated and increasingly dilapidated wooden pavilion at the Royal Welsh Showground.

 

The current Council, in consultation with the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society (RWAS), has commissioned detailed plans for a new, steel-framed pavilion on the site currently occupied by various tack shops and other traders opposite the existing pavilion.

 

Initially the Society had thought to re-develop on the current site, but were then offered the complete site from the veterinary office down to the public toilets at either end and bounded by the road and the working-in area off the horse walk as this would free up our current site for incorporation into the Royal Welsh's own proposed equestrian development.

 

Initially it was proposed to develop the area in five areas of approximately equal size. These were to be:

 

The main building centrally placed incorporating bar, office and restaurant each of roughly similar area, with a storage basement incorporating bar, cellar and catering stores beneath with an open-air garden and seating area at the top end between the vets and the bar and an area below the restaurant to accommodate mobile catering units.

 

Within this layout was provision for a view of the main ring from the restaurant, disabled access and separate bar and restaurant lavatory facilities.

 

Whilst the majority of this proposal met with approval from the RWAS, it took issue with the use of mobile catering units so a full catering kitchen had to be incorporated in the basement. This was at an estimated cost of £65,000, putting revised estimate another £15,000 above the original estimate of £400,000 inclusive of design fees and other costs for the whole project.

 

These estimates are based on Estates Group members’ experience of similar projects; actual costs will only be established after inviting tenders for the work.

 

Since making this and other minor revisions to accommodate the RWAS, it has indicated a preference for doing away with garden area, and a suggestion that the site of the new pavilion move up the slope, thus losing, perhaps only partially, the view across to the main ring.

 

All permanent buildings constructed on the showground are at the cost of the developers on ground subject to lease from the RWAS.

 

The lease being offered for the new site is for 30 years, with a break clause at 15 years. Rent is subject to increases every five years under a formula determined by the rise in the Retail Price Index over that period, and the lease can be terminated by the landlord with three months’ notice.

 

It should be pointed out that the rent paid by the WPCS is more than offset by monies received for the catering concession.

 

Further restrictions imposed in the draft lease and conditions from the RWAS are that the building be used only for WPCS events, including four days during the Royal Welsh Show, two days at the Winter Fair and other events, such as official sales.

The sale of food and drink is subject to the consent of the landlord and the WPCS is to arrange and pay for the demolition and total clearance to one metre below ground level of the existing pavilion and its foundations.

 

It must be stressed that there is no reason to suppose that the lease would be terminated at 15 years, nor not be renewed at the end of the 30-year period, nor that the RWAS should fail.

 

It must, however, be remembered that – just as with the existing pavilion – although the new building would be the property of the WPCS and the Society’s responsibility in terms of maintenance, the ground on which it would be built belongs to the RWAS. It is, therefore, likely to be a depreciating asset rather than one increasing in value.

 

One reason to demolish the WPCS pavilion was that a portion of it would be on land the RWAS requires for its extensive development of an equestrian and equine centre. New plans from RWAS indicate a high bank surrounding on two sides the current pavilion, rather than chamfering part of the building.

 

At the time of writing, the WPCS is asking of the RWAS if any permanent buildings on the showground are available for short-term lease – say for specific events – or others that may become available to enable the Society, albeit possibly without bar or restaurant facilities, to maintain a presence at this premier venue for the Welsh breeds if the current pavilion becomes unusable.

 

In the process of best serving the interests of the Society and its members, you are being asked for your ideas, suggestions and opinions on how to proceed not only with a pavilion, but also as a long term strategy for the future of the Society.

 

On the WPCS website on 15th July 2015 and 15h August 2015, the Secretary requested that members, as full stakeholders in the Society, should submit their own comments, opinions and suggestions as to the future course of a pavilion.

 

Responses from members have, so far, been scant, though very welcome and valued when received.

 

Suggestions made:

 

·       carrying on with the development as planned

·       developing the new pavilion to be for offices, training, education and charitable purposes, but not including a restaurant and bar

·       buying a site elsewhere to develop

 

 A deadline, however, must be set and the final closing date is Sunday, October 11th 2015.

 

 

7th Oct 2015