Minutes of the meeting of the Finance and Town Centre Committee held on Tuesday 18 February at 6pm at Neston Community and Youth Centre.
Present:Cllrs Barker (Chair), Cummins, Loch, Marlow, Shipman and Mrs M Suckley (Admin Officer) and Mrs K Pierce (Town Centre Manager)
Absent: Cllr Jilani
In attendance: Cllrs Griffiths and Wilkie.
PART 1: Items considered in the presence of the press and public
164 Apologies for absence: were received from Cllr C Lloyd and were accepted.
165 Questions to the Committee: None.
166 Declarations of Interest: None.
167 The minutes of the Finance and Town Centre Committee meeting held on 14.01.14 were approved as a true and correct record and signed by the Chair.
The Clerk to investigate whether item 158 is correctly headed ‘Neston Recreation Centre, s106 boundary’ in relation to correspondence with Mr Steve Robinson, Chief Executive, Cheshire West and Chester Council.
168 Clerk’s report: Members received the Clerk’s report.
Neston Recreation Centre, s106 boundary. Updates have not been received.
Network Rail. This has been chased; a response has not been received.
High Speed Broadband. This is under consideration for the next 18-24 months for the Town Hall.
169 Town Centre Manager’s report:
Item 169 was carried forward by common consent to follow item 172 – see below. It was also requested that, on subsequent agendas, ‘Town Centre Manager’s report’ should automatically follow ‘Town Centre Manager’s Activity reports’.
170.1 The Committee resolved to approve the Expenditure of £20,933.52 net
170.2 The Committee noted the income of £1,380.00.
170.3 Economic Development Budget. The Committee resolved to approve that the Economic Development Budget be renamed ‘Town Centre and Visitor Economy’ and for any remaining budget held and any budget for 2014/15 be vired to that renamed budget.
171 Fixed Rate Deposit Bond
The Committee resolved to approve to reinvest the Fixed Rate Deposit Bond, due to mature on 21.02.14 for a 3mth period. The Clerk to investigate alternative higher interest rate investment options and report to next meeting.
Items 172 and 169 were moved to Part 2 due to sensitive information contained within the Town Centre Manager’s Activity Report
172 Town Centre Manager’s Activity reports
Activity Report: To receive the Town Centre Manager’s Activity report REF/TCM01.
173 Trading for Councils
It was reported that the Town Centre Working Group has yet to meet with the Frodsham Foundation, a company ‘limited by guarantee’ with charitable status between Frodsham Town Council and local businesses to promote and support businesses and community innovation. Losing the General Power of Competence precludes Neston Town Council from setting up a trading company. Cllrs Loch, Jilani, Wilkie and the TCM to meet with the Frodsham Foundation. The TCM suggested a member of the Chamber of Trade should also attend.
The Committee noted that Hirer’s Liability insurance is being added to the Town Council’s insurance policy with effect from 25.02.14 free of charge. This will cover one off events being held, such as birthday parties, where the hirer is unlikely to have public liability insurance.
175 Town Hall Accommodation
A proposal was made and seconded to approve delegated powers to the Clerk of up to £800 for the purchase of suitable IT and office equipment for the downstairs office.
An amendment to the proposal was made and seconded that approval of delegated powers to the Clerk of up to £1,000 for the purchase of suitable IT and office equipment for the downstairs office. The proposal was carried. The Committee resolved to approve the substantive motion.
Members noted the office’s relocation to the Town Hall is scheduled for 25.02.14.
176 Action for Market Towns – Towns Alive event
The following proposals set out in the report REF/TCM02 were not considered:-
- a ‘Marketing Your Town’ Event be hosted by Neston Town Council subject to the final costs being confirmed and approved by the F&TC Committee,
- the TCM investigates the availability and cost of venues and makes a recommendation for consideration at the next F&TC committee meeting,
- the formation of a TCWG to steer preparations for the event.
The Committee agreed the formation of a Towns Alive Working Group, comprising Cllrs Barker, Wilkie and TCM to investigate whether holding an event in Neston is worth undertaking. A provisional date for this would be May 2015. TCM to consult with Ludlow and Congleton Town Councils regarding Towns Alive events and report back to next meeting.
The Committee instructed the Office staff to reallocate the five vacant allotment plots and complete the tenancy agreements, using the existing CWaC model. The Office is to reallocate any future vacant plots as they become available. Members concurred that allotment improvements were required as some boundary fences need replacing. Cllrs Barker (Parkgate), Marlow (Marshlands) and Griffiths (Raby Park Road) volunteered to periodically inspect the condition of allotments and report back to F&TC.
178 Any other items which the Chairman determines are urgent for discussion or next agenda item. None.
179 Exclusion of the Press and Public: The Committee resolved to approve that under the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960 (as extended by s.100 of the Local Government Act 1972), the public and accredited representatives of newspapers be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 by virtue of the paragraph specified against the item.
Part 2: Items considered in the absence of the press and public
180 Asset Transfer Town Hall, Market & Market Square
180.1 Management Agreement with CWaC
The Committee was updated regarding the receipt of the final Management agreement.
180.2 Asset Transfer Negotiation Group
The Committee noted the report of the meeting 30.01.14. Recommendation for the establishment of a sub-committee and its terms of reference from the Group will be considered at the next F&TC Committee meeting.
181 Risk Assessments and Lone Worker Policy
The Committee considered the Clerk’s report REF/002 and the proposal as set out therein:
- For the Council to enlist the help of a company that specialised in health and safety at work and risk assessments and for this company to act as Neston Town Council’s Health and Safety Competent Person as required by law.
- The Committee received the Lone Worker HSE guidance document, and examples from the company of a lone worker document and risk assessment document.
The Committee requested the Clerk obtain two more quotes from other companies and put item on next agenda for consideration.
The Committee requested the Clerk submit to the next F&TC Committee, a Lone Worker Policy document, using the Model document previously considered and any other policy statements contained within the TCM’s document.
The Committee resolved to approve the virement of funds from salary office budget line 4000 to the salary TCM budget line 4003.
183 Allotments (item 155)
183.1 The Committee resolved to approve to instruct Bowcock Cuerden to register the three sites and Title Deeds with Land Registry and for the Clerk to pursue the other issues detailed in the report with CWaC directly.
183.2 The Committee reviewed the allotment rents and agreed not to increase rents for 2014/15 period.
183.3 The Committee considered a request to keep chickens on the allotment plot, as required by the tenancy agreement. The Clerk to respond stating the Council has only just completed the formalities required in taking over the allotments and will now review all existing terms and conditions, prior to making a policy decision on this and other issues.
184 Local Government Pension Scheme ill-health liability insurance transfer of contract.
184.1 The Committee resolved to approve the transfer of the agreement as set out in the correspondence received from Hymans Roberts dated 14.01.14.
184.2 The Committee received the Employers newsletter ‘Countdown to LGPS 2014. As all Town/Parish Councils are in similar positions, the Committee requested the Clerk contact ChALC for further advice regarding the ‘Employer – to do list’.
185 Town Benchmarking (item 160)
The Committee resolved to approve the use of £1,700 from Earmarked reserved funds for a footfall counting exercise with a £1,400 contribution from CWaC towards costs to undertake the benchmarking exercise.
186 Local Sustainability Transport fund bid
Members noted that the Clerk has not been involved or reviewed this document. The Committee resolved to approve an amended 50% match funding bid of £10,000 to be submitted to the Local Sustainable Transport Fund. £5,000 grant funds will be used for insight research and £5,000 for promotional activities.
Items 169 and 172 were carried forward by common consent – see below.
172 Town Centre Manager’s Activity reports
Activity Report: The Committee received the Town Centre Manager’s Activity report REF/TCM01.
169 Town Centre Manager’s report: No matters arising and no questions.
187 Date of next meeting: The date and time of next meeting was confirmed as 25th March 2014.
Meeting closed at 8.00pm.