Sports Strategy Operations Group

28 March 2023 Meeting Minutes

1. Introductions

Joyce Guthrie, Assistant director for Leisure, Culture and community services is now the chair of the group.

The chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and brief introductions were made.

2. Agree minutes from previous meeting

The minutes from the September 2022 meeting were agreed as a true record by the group.

The following actions have been met:

  • Milan Johnston (WHBC) to arrange a meeting with Roy Warren (Sport England) to discuss the annual update.

3. Update on the Gosling Master plan.

The core samples of the composition of Gosling ski Slope and analysis have been compiled and the minimum cost for removal is 15 million pounds.  

Strategic leisure will undertake a survey to see what facilities should be retained and what new facilities could be added to the site, to see if there is a viable scheme.

GS (WHBC) noted it is important to remember that Gosling is not part of the GLL contract as the Council are only freehold owners, therefore there are limited finances.  If third parties wish to contribute towards funding, that could be explored.

DMG (SE) questioned what the viability of the ski slope is? GS (WHBC) the initial site surrendered to housing, income used for the rest of the site.

Councillor Mitchinson wanted to note that Gosling is an integral site to Welwyn Hatfield, and how essential it is to move It forward with the local plan.

BK (British Cycling) questioned about any money that has been invested through funding into Gosling and JG confirmed that the Council will compile with restrictions on this, and of any grant agreements.

It was noted that significant amount of funding has gone into the cycling velodrome.

GS has confirmed that Strategic Leisure will look at what sporting facilities are needed, which ones would be beneficial, and which sports are not best placed at Gosling if they are not being utilised or could be better placed in a different location in the borough.

GS will be bringing all viable schemes forward to the group.bThe Strategic Leisure study will be shared with Sport England for a check and challenge, as well as consulting with NGBS.

4. Update on the local plan

The Welwyn Hatfield Local Plan Examination remains ongoing. At a Special Meeting of the Council in December 2022 it was resolved to progress to Main Modification consultation which was subsequently carried out and concluded in early February 2023. The responses to the consultation have been published on the Council website and have been  provided to the Inspector who is to consider the responses ahead of providing the council with his conclusions. Subject to the Inspector’s final report, it is expected a decision on adoption of the Local Plan will be made by the Council in the summer.  One of the main modifications consulted upon was a commitment for an early review of the plan.

5. Annual Report update

JG (WHBC) thanked everyone for sending over their updates and thanked MJ (WHBC) for the work on the report.

MJ thanked everyone for completing the survey, a first draft of the report has been circulated to the group and requested any track changes by 14 April. The annual report will be published on the Council’s website.

MJ presented a PowerPoint to the group which outlined key updates and challenges identified within the annual report. Presentation attached with the minutes.


MR (HSP) questioned why there was no mention of Netball. MJ confirmed that England Netball did not respond to the survey.

KS (RFU) apologised for not sending an update for Rugby and has now sent data over to MJ to include.

RW (Sport England) thanked MJ and highlighted the fact that the data collected from 2019 is still valid in 2023. RW noted that the playing pitch calculations need to be updated for 2023.

Action: MJ and RW to meet and discuss updating.

6. Update on section 106 funds

MJ has a copy of the Section 106 funds available – a request for any NGBs to get in touch with MJ about any potential projects utilising the sec 106 funds. Available funds are attached with the minutes.

7. Update from partners

DC (UoH) mentioned that works are taking place on their two 3G pitches - one at a time, starting on the 5 May until end of August.  Both will have shock pads, be FIFA 1 Star pitches, and be rugby and American football compliant.  

MR (HSP) the Opening school facilities funding from the DFE, which enables funding for schools to open their facilities for sport and physical activity has been awarded to Stanborough School. HSP are also in conversations with Peartree and the Ridgeway.

RW (Sport England) Sport England currently have Small Grants available for up to 15k until June. Please see links below for guidance and funding:

Swimming Pool Support Fund

Sport England Funds

DC (UoH) commented that we should look to the future and look at future requirements as the population is aging, with more older adults.

8. A.O.B

MJ confirmed that the Action plan is now available on Google docs. And requested that anyone adding information will need to include their initials.

DC (UoH) questioned whether anyone had heard of any further developments about the proposals at Oaklands college.  EH (England Athletics) had discussions with the college regarding athletics. EH is having a meeting with them to discuss further.