46/22 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
All Councillors were present. Apologies were noted from District Cllrs Ken Moon & Arthur Agate and County Cllr Robert Mocatta.
47/22 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
There were no declarations of interest declared.
48/22 APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The minutes of the previous meeting held on 8 March 2022 were agreed and signed by the Chairman.
The minutes would be displayed in the new noticeboard outside the Memorial Hall and on the Council’s website.
49/22 OPEN FORUM
A resident asked whether further information could be made available to the public following the Council’s quarterly review meetings with Community First on the progress of The Clanfield Centre particularly in view of the financial support that the Council is providing. The Chairman advised that the Council’s financial support package for the first 5 years is, subject to provisos, a Lease commitment which is a matter of public record and had not altered. He added that the financial trading information of The Clanfield Centre was confidential to Community First and could not be made publicly available.
The same resident asked whether the District and County Councillor reports could be made available to the public. The Clerk was asked to confirm with the District and County Councillors.
50/22 CLERK’S REPORT
- The Clerk reported that the new noticeboard had been installed outside the Memorial Hall.
- The Clerk advised that a Ranger has been appointed following the interviews held on 7 April. Cllrs Harris and Williams had sat on the interview panel together with the Clerk.
- The Clerk proposed that under the finance section Councillors consider allocating a budget to purchase items for the new Ranger including protective clothing and tools. The Ranger would also need a mobile phone.
- The Clerk updated Members on the situation with Lloyds Bank and the change of signatories. Unfortunately, there had still been no resolution despite raising a formal complaint with the Bank, visiting the branch in Petersfield, contacting the CEO’s Office and involving the MP, Flick Drummond. The sticking point seems to be that the Bank does not accept the minutes of any Council. It categorises Councils as “businesses” and, in order to move forward, the Council has been asked to complete a ‘Board Resolution form’ confirming the changes previously approved at the Council meeting held on 8 March. Cllr White would be required to sign the form and it would also need to be signed by an independent witness.
- The Clerk confirmed the new Lease agreement with Community First, for The Clanfield Centre including the Tennis Courts, and the new Licence document for the Council Office within the Centre, were now ready to be signed Authority was given for Councillors on the approved signatory list (as available) to sign these documents.
51/22 TO RECEIVE REPORTS FROM THE COUNTY AND DISTRICT COUNCILLORS
County Cllr Mocatta’s report had been previously circulated. There were no questions from Members.
District Cllr Moon’s report had been circulated to Members prior to the meeting. There were no questions from Members.
52/22 DOWN FARM BARN
Cllrs Hurst and Williams’s report on the results of their enquiries into the grant funding and other funding opportunities had been previously circulated to Members.
Cllr Williams presented a summary of the key points within the report. When the Parish Council acquired the Barn site, the fundamental objective had been the preservation of the iconic flint buildings at the village gateway. Cllr Williams considered that failure to complete the Barn Restoration will diminish public confidence in Clanfield Parish Council and result in a loss of reputation.
It was proposed the Council fund the Barn using a combination of Grants, Shares and Private Investment. An initial aim would be to raise £200k through Grants and £250k each from Shares and Private Investment. The Private Investment may not necessarily be in terms of a financial contribution but is more likely to be through works undertaken. It was proposed to proceed on 3 avenues at the same time - completing grant applications, commencing with public consultation and entering into further discussions with the Private Investor.
In terms of the grant funding, Cllrs Hurst and Williams’s enquires had identified a number of possibilities. The use of the Barn to create an Arts Quarter would attract grants from the Arts Council. The Arts Council manage the National Lottery Project Grants. The required outcomes that must be achieved are ‘creative people’, ‘cultural communities’, and ‘a creative and cultural country’.
The Lottery Heritage Fund is available to fund projects that ‘connect communities to heritage’.
Grants are available for capital projects that develop heritage assets. The report stated the Barn should qualify due to its age and key location in the village. It was noted that whilst there may be grants to fund the capital costs of the development, it was uncertain if this would be achievable. Notwithstanding, there were grants available to fund the ‘Conservation Deficit’, which might facilitate an enhanced specification of external features, such as the installation of a tiled roof in lieu of the metal roof depicted in the current planning consent.
CROWD FUNDING AND ISSUING SHARES & BONDS
Previous attempts at raising funds for the Barn project through crowd funding had had limited success. An alternative approach proposed would be to issue shares and bonds. Working on the basis that the cost to restore the Barn would be £700k, with no other funding being realised. To completely cover the costs it was explained, that 7,000 shares or bonds at £1,000 per lot of 10 shares would need to be sold. Individual investors would not be limited to ten shares, and there should be a possibility to offer fewer or greater numbers of shares according to individual investment. Potentially an upper limit per investor may be needed to ensure wider audience participation. Shares would not be able to be redeemed, but a mechanism could be in place to allow shares to be transferred. Subject to any successful grants there would be a reduction in the amount of capital needed to be raised.
If insufficient funds were able to be identified and recognising the minimum desirable outcome would be the preservation of the external flint walls, Cllr Williams had conducted some research to determine the availability of local developers with a proven track record in these developments. After researching recent planning applications, a potential candidate was identified. Informal discussions and a site visit were held without commitment to gauge their interest.
7.30pm Cllr Coffre arrived.
Additionally, a meeting with Simon Goddard, The Goddard Partnership, who has advised the Council on the Barn, was held on-site following the recent storms. As well as looking at the condition of the building the conversation also considered the feasibility of a satellite gym facility (for The Clanfield Centre) being located at this location. However, this proposal was subsequently withdrawn.
In line with conclusion 4.2 from the Internal Auditor’s report, a public survey (a door to door was thought preferable to a leafleted questionnaire) was proposed. Cllr Hurst proposed, and Cllr Williams seconded, that the Council consider three recommendations.
I. That funding applications are completed in preparation for Council to approve;
II. That a door-to-door survey is conducted ; and
III. That further discussions are held with the developer.
The Chairman invited Members to ask questions of the report and proposed that Cllrs Hurst and Williams’s proposal be considered under item 7C (55/22c) which was supported.
Cllr questions of the report were taken covering several issues that are summarised below:
- What are the timescales for the grant applications to be completed?
- In relation to the discussion with the developer, what would be the costs to the Council?
- It was noted that no costs had been identified in the report relating to running the Council Office.
- Did discussions with the grant bodies give an indication as to the likelihood that the project would be supported?
- What would a developer get in return for investing in the site?
- The project still posed a significant risk to the Parish Council. Who would run the project?
- How would the site be managed e.g., with shared parking?
Members received and noted the report from the Council’s Internal Auditor.
Members considered the future of the Barn project. The Chairman, Cllr Bannell, tabled an amendment to Cllrs Williams and Hurst’s proposal at item 55/22 a. Cllr Bannell’s amendment was seconded by Cllr Foster.
Cllr Bannell’s tabled amendment was:
- That the Council works with all interested parties to establish the feasibility of setting up a Community Trust as the umbrella organisation for the restoration and subsequent management of the Barn such feasibility work to be completed within three months or earlier.
- THAT, assuming such an arrangement is legally and practically feasible, the Counci will submit the following proposal to public consultation:
(a) the legal Transfer of the property from the Council to the Community Trust for £1 consideration.
(N.B. For the avoidance of doubt, compliance with the provisions of the Overage Deed dated 15 February 2019 would transfer, with the property, to the Community Trust.)
(b) the Transfer to contain a restrictive covenant that the main barn building will be retained and that any sale of part of the site, or any other form of development on the site, shall be enabling development only for the principal objective of the restoration of the barn;
(c) that in the event of the restoration of the property not proceeding for whatever reason, the property will be sold in the open market by the Community Trust (or its successor in Title) with the Council receiving a percentage (to be agreed) of the net proceeds after deduction of the professional fees and expenses associated with the sale, any Overage payable to BDW Trading Limited in accordance with the Overage Deed of 15 February 2019 (if applicable) and repayment of any investment monies, loans, grants and mortgages received or incurred by the Community Trust;
(d) the Council would support the project but without any financial or administrative commitment or responsibility unless such should be otherwise and separately agreed by the Council.
- THAT if it should not prove possible to set up a Community Trust for the restoration and subsequent management of the Barn, the Council would undertake public consultation on the sale of the property by the Council and the proposed use of the net proceeds.
- THAT, pending the outcome of this initiative, the Council will finance the following out of, but not beyond, the extent of the earmarked reserve fund and the precepted sum for the current (2022/2023) financial year for the Barn:
(a) essential “first aid” building maintenance and building and site safety work;
(b) professional fees associated with setting up the Community Trust and the legal Transfer of the property to the Community Trust only; and
(c) the cost of public consultation on the proposal.
Cllrs Hurst and Williams agreed with the amendment except for the timescale of the transfer to a Community Trust. They considered that the Council would be best placed to apply for grants. Assuming the Council were successful the Council (not a Community Trust) would ensure grants were spent appropriately before handing over to a Community Trust.
After a further discussion about the timescale for the transfer of the Barn to a Community Trust it was RESOLVED to:
I. Identify which grant applications to complete
II. Hold further exploratory discussions with the developer
III. Develop a questionnaire to use in the public consultation
IV. Investigate the practicalities and legalities of establishing a Community Trust
- Cllrs Williams and Hurst agreed to arrange a further meeting with the Developer which Cllr Bannell would attend.
- Cllr Coffre together with the Clerk would investigate the feasibility and legalities of establishing a Community Trust.
- Cllrs D’Este Hoare and Woodroof agreed to develop the questionnaire
The content and arrangements for public consultation had been discussed under item C.
Members received an update on repairs and site safety measures at Down Farm Barn following Storm Eunice. Cllr Williams had proposed that the Ranger might be able to remove the timber and loose brickwork from the outbuilding. This is still to be confirmed. After months of trying to find a contractor Cllr Williams had obtained a quotation of £900 from a roofing contractor to repair the holes in the roof. Members were asked to approve the quotation which would be funded from the Barns Earmarked Reserve. It was RESOLVED to approve the expenditure of £900.00 to repair the Barn roof.
53/22 FINANCE AND GENERAL PURPOSES
Members received the draft minutes of the Finance & General Purposes Committee held on 23 March 2022. Cllr Hurst highlighted the key decisions made by the Committee before moving to the resolutions for Council approval.
The Earmarked movements at year end totalling £19,358 had been approved. A staffing pay increase had been agreed in line with the NJC Pay Award for 2021/2 that the Council refers to as guidance only.
Following a comprehensive review of the Council’s Asset Register it was agreed that the asset value for the previous financial year ending 31 March 2021 would be re-stated at year end as £1,358,430.
The Committee had reviewed a comparison of pitch fees that Parish Councils charge. It was considered that the current charges for Peel Park were low and should be increased, although it was acknowledged that Clanfield Football Club carry out additional pitch enhancement works using grant funding which they had obtained.
Members considered the recommendations from the Committee relating to pitch fees.
It was RESOLVED that the charges for football matches at Peel Park are increased from £25 to £30 for a senior/adult match and from £11 to £15 for a junior match.
Members received an update on the IT Upgrade. The Clerk reported that Cloudy IT were waiting for the domain details in order to set up the new laptops. As soon as these are delivered to the office the migration of the files and emails will commence.
Members received and approved:
Income and Expenditure Report
The draft Income and Expenditure report as at 31 March 2022.
The Clerk reported that, after the movements to Earmarked Reserves are deducted, the Council would have spent almost all its budget for 2021/22, leaving only a small balance of less that £5,000.
The Clerk asked Council to consider whether a budget could be identified for the Ranger for tools, protective clothing and a mobile phone. It was RESOLVED that £2,000 is C/fwd from account 1105 for these items.
Bank Reconciliation Report
The Bank Reconciliation report for all accounts as at 31 March 2022.
Orders for Payment
Members received the list of payments issued since the last meeting. Payments totaling £20,666.26 that included payments authorised at the last meeting were noted and payments totaling £2,146.99 were approved.
54/22 COMMITTEE AND WORKING GROUP STRUCTURE
Members considered a report prepared by Cllr Harris on the operations of the Council through the committee structure implemented to enable the spread of decision-making process, to shorten the length of the Full Council meetings and to spread the workload across Councillors. The report proposed a series of modifications for the forthcoming year that included the Community Working Group being elevated to a Committee with additional areas of responsibility.
It was RESOLVED that the Community Working Group is elevated to a committee with effect from the May Council meeting and that it should be called the Community & Environment Committee.
55/22 THE CLANFIELD CENTRE
a. Members received a report on the inherent defect and warranty issues.
b. Members received an update on feasibility options for a future gym. These would now be discussed with Community First.
56/22 PLANNING COMMITTEE
The Minutes of the Planning Committee held on 29 March 2022 were noted. The date of the next Planning Committee meeting is 5 May
2022. 57/22 COMMUNICATION
Members considered a recommendation from the Community Working Group to produce a newsletter that would help improve the Council’s communication with residents.
It was RESOLVED that the Council would prepare and circulate two newsletters per annum (June and November) to all households and that the Council would also prepare a draft Social Media Strategy to include provision for a Parish Council Facebook page, for future consideration.
58/22 SOUTH LANE MEADOW
a. Members received an update on the Cricket Club’s development proposals and lease arrangements. The Lease documents had just been received from the Council’s Solicitor. Cllr Harris is due to meet with the Cricket Club to discuss and agree a draft rent formula.
b. There was no update on the Parish Council’s planning application or CIL application for the improvement and extension of the car park. Both had been submitted to EHDC since the previous Council meeting.
c. Members received a report on an initial meeting of a small working group set up to review and recommend the future working relationship between the Parish Council and South Lane Meadow Trustees. Legal advice had been sought and received today regarding the feasibility of the Council become the Sole Trustee of the Charity if all parties felt that would be the preferred way forward. The next step would be that the Trustees consider the approach set out in the report at their next meeting on 3 May.
59/22 DOWN FARM PARK
a. The developer’s contractor had not yet commenced work on the pre-handover “growing-in” maintenance.
b. There was no update on progress between solicitors regarding the agreement of the transfer document.
60/22 THE QUEEN’S PLATINUM JUBLIEE 2022
Members had received the notes of the meeting held on 24 March 2022. The Chairman asked for assistance from as many Councillors as possible with the arrangements. 61/22 REPORT FROM COUNCIL REPRESENTATIVES
- Cllr Bannell had attended a COGS meeting which is co-ordinating EHDC plans to assist Ukrainian families in East Hants.
- Cllr Bannell had also attended an EHDC Southern Parishes Strategy Group meeting.
62/22 DATE OF NEXT MEETING:
The Annual Parish Meeting will be held on 26 April 2022 at 7.00pm in the main Hall at Clanfield Memorial Hall.
The next Council Meeting is scheduled for 10 May 2022 at 7.00pm and will be held at the Blue Room at Clanfield Memorial Hall.
The meeting was closed at 8.50pm