Extraordinary meeting minutes

Meeting details

  • Date: 16th December 2019
  • Duration: 19:00 - 21:10
  • Location: Peel Park Pavilion Hospitality Area


Meeting minutes:

158/19TO RECEIVE APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Apologies were received from Cllr R. Clarke

159/19TO RECEIVE DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Cllr Collins declared a non pecuniary interest with regards to item 6 on the agenda as he is a Trustee of the Clanfield Sports and Community Foundation

160/19DECEMBER ORDERS FOR PAYMENT

To ratify the amended December Orders for Payment – there had been some minor discrepancies on the December Orders for Payments which had now been rectified it was RESOLVED that they now be signed accordingly – payments had been duly made

161/19GROUNDS MAINTENANCE CONTRACT

To receive and consider a recommendation for the appointment of Grounds Maintenance Contractors as from 1st April 2020 following the recent tender procedure – the Chairman had circulated a report to members prior to the meeting. Five contractors had submitted tenders by the submission date of 18th November (one subsequently withdrew) and two had been interviewed on 28th November. The Chairman’s report recommended that a provisional appointment be made for a three year contract subject to (a) the agreement of a form of contract to include a break provision at the end of the first year and (b) to the cost being capped at £25,000 exclusive of VAT for the first year. The contract would be presented in its final form for approval at the Parish Council meeting on 4th February 2020 - RESOLVED unanimously.

(N.B. The name of the provisionally appointed contractor has been omitted from these minutes pending the conclusion of negotiations.)

162/19PROFESSIONAL APPOINTMENT FOR 2019/20 PROPERTY VALUATIONS

To receive and consider fee quotations for the above work. Three firms of surveyors had been invited to submit fee quotations based upon the specification of work which had been agreed by members at the Parish Council meeting on 3rd December 2019. The specification related to five of the Council’s properties and the valuations are required for asset (audit) purposes, for insurance purposes and, with regard to one of the properties (Down Farm Barn), advice is also being sought to inform future decisions relating to its restoration and use. Two fee quotations had been received. It was duly RESOLVED that the fee quotation of £5,250 + VAT from Vail Williams be accepted.

163/19CLANFIELD SPORTS AND COMMUNITY CENTRE

To receive and consider a request from the Directors and Trustees of Clanfield Sports and Community Foundation Limited for financial support - The Parish Council had received a request from the Trustees of the Foundation for immediate cash flow support of £25,000 in order to meet outgoings which would be due for payment prior to the end of January. Full details of the commitments had been provided by the Foundation in confidential correspondence and they had been summarised for members in an email from the Chairman of the Parish Council prior to the meeting. It was noted that this request was part of a wider proposal which the Foundation had submitted for ongoing support. That was now being urgently reviewed by the Parish Council and would be discussed with the Trustees of the Foundation at the beginning of the New Year. Following detailed consideration, members RESOLVED to provide the immediate cash flow support required from reserve funds as a 5 year loan which would be released in two tranches of £15,000 prior to Christmas and £10,000 during the latter half of January, 2020 but subject to conditions concerning the agreement of the Directors and Trustees of the Foundation to work with the Parish Council to try to find a solution which will enable the Centre to remain open in the future for the use and benefit of the community and concerning the strict control of expenditure.

Councillor Collins abstained from voting owing to the non-pecuniary interest which he had declared.

164/19APPOINTMENT OF LOCAL SOLICITORS

At the request of the Chairman, members agreed that he and the Parish Clerk be authorised to make preliminary enquiries concerning the possible appointment of a locally-based firm of solicitors. The Council’s current Bristol-based solicitors would continue to be instructed to complete the ongoing work which mainly (but not exclusively) concerns the transfer of land to the Parish Council from the developers of St James Place.

165/19PRECEPT 2020 / 2021

To consider and agree the Parish Council precept for the 2020 / 2021 financial year commencing 1st April 2020 - Cllr Foster (Chairman of the Finance and General Purposes Working Group) had circulated a detailed draft budget to members prior to the meeting. This was considered in detail. It was noted that there were four principal and unavoidable reasons for a significant increase in the precept:

(a) investment in the Sports and Community Centre to assist towards its sustainable future - £25,000 had been allocated to this for 2020/2021 and it was also proposed that the Lease requirement for the Foundation to reimburse insurance premiums should be temporarily suspended; and
(b) additional grounds maintenance costs following the transfer of land at St James Place from the developers to the Parish Council - during 2020 (mostly from the end of February), this would add almost 9 hectares to the land which the Parish Council maintains (up approximately 65% on 2019) taking the total up to approximately 23 hectares. As reported earlier in the meeting, the Council had tendered its grounds maintenance contract and the lowest tender available for acceptance had equated to £29,900 plus VAT per annum (up 43.5% on 2019/20) but, with the prospective contractor’s agreement, this had been capped at £25,000 plus VAT for the 2020/2021 precept; and
(c) urgent work is required at the Peel Park pavilion for which an allocation of £15,000 had been made, including professional fees; and
(d) an allowance of £5,000 was proposed for legal fees relating to the advice which, it was expected, would be required during 2020/2021.

Against that, savings had been made wherever possible. For example, litter picking costs are to be halved, the possible employment of a park ranger had been put on hold and the allowance for the Down Farm Barn project was being reduced to essential maintenance only. Furthermore, there would be no provision for future recreational facilities in this year’s precept.
 
After a full and detailed discussion Cllr Foster proposed the precept for 2020/21 should be £178551.00. Cllr Hurst proposed an amendment suggesting £5000 should be allocated from reserves therefore reducing the precept to £173,551.00 – this would constitute a 28.4% increase in the Band D Council Tax for the Parish Council – duly seconded by Cllr D’este Hoare. The amendment was put to the meeting and was carried by 5 votes to 4, it was then put to the meeting as the substantive motion and duly RESOLVED.

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