Minutes of the meeting of the Finance and Town Centre Committee held on Tuesday 16 July at 6pm at Neston Community and Youth Centre.
Present: Cllrs Barker (Chair), Jilani, Marlow, Shipman and Wilkie (substitute for Cllr Cummins). Mrs A Kunaj (Town Clerk) and Mrs K Pierce (Town Centre Manager)
In attendance: Cllr Griffiths and one member of the public.
PART 1: Items considered in the presence of the press and public
31 Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs Cummins and Spacey and were accepted.
32 Questions to the Committee: None.
33 Declarations of Interest: Cllr Shipman declared a pecuniary interest in item 43.1 ‘travel expenses’.
34 The minutes of the Finance and Town Centre Committee meetings held on 11.06.13 and 28.06.13 were approved and signed by the Chairman as a true and correct record.
35 Clerk’s report: None.
36 Town Centre Manager’s report
36.1 Members received the Town Centre Manager’s report.
36.2 Neston Market Trader event: The Committee noted that in partnership with CWaC and the Town Centre Manager (TCM), a meeting with the Neston Market traders is due to be scheduled.
37 Section 106
37.1 The Committee noted that the last s106 meeting took place on 09.05.13, further meeting dates have not been scheduled.
37.2 The Committee received reassurance from CWaC, that the PRDG works would be delivered in early 2014 and ‘certainly before Ladies Day’.
38 Asset Transfer
38.1 Management Agreement with CWaC
a) Members noted that the working group had met to discuss with the CWaC team, the assumption of control of the offered assets on 10.07.13.
b) The Committee considered the report and updates from the 10.07.13 meeting. The Committee recommends that Neston Town Council approves the following recommendation:
- ‘that the Town Council continues its negotiations with CWaC for taking over the management of the Town Hall, Market and Market Square in order to seek a management agreement for the Town Hall that provides for:
- the annual grant for year 1 covering the current deficit;
- future grants being agreed by both parties following a review of income and expenditure for the preceding year;
- CWaC making a financial contribution, to a maximum of the amount of the annual grant made in year 1, to cover the costs of any deficit incurring despite the Town Council’s best endeavours to manage the asset profitably;
- no commitment for the Town Council to take ownership of the asset after the three year trial period, and
- the partnership arrangement being permitted to continue beyond the initial period to ensure the continued operation of the Town Hall, Market Square and Market’.
Members agreed that discussions with CWaC regarding contents insurance for the Town Hall would form part of the negotiations and management agreement.
a) The Committee noted that the title deeds and legal papers for the allotment sites have been received by the office.
b) The Committee noted that although NALC can provide free legal advice, they would be unable to conduct searches on NTC’s behalf. The Committee considered the estimated solicitors fees for them to conduct the necessary searches etc, for the three allotment sites. The Committee instructed the Clerk to write to CWaC, requesting that as a one off, for CWaC to conduct the searches ‘in house’ using their own resources and at their own costs. The estimated NTC solicitor cost is to be advised to CWaC.
c) The Committee noted that there are three plots unallocated, two at Parkgate and one at Raby Park Road, and there are currently 68 residents on the waiting list. Members agreed that a request be made to CWaC to deal with all vacant plots.
d) The Committee considered the correspondence from a plot holder in Marshlands allotments who wishes to give up his plot. The Clerk was instructed to write to the resident to advise that NTC were still in the process of negotiation for ownership of the allotments and have requested that CWaC deal with the allocations of plots for the interim period.
39 Town Centre Manager Report and Proposals
1. The Committee considered the TCM report and resolved to approve the following proposals for;
a) the establishment of a Town Centre Working Group (TCWG) to support the functions of the TCM and that remit of the Working Group be in line with the Finance & Town Centre Committee’s Terms of Reference: Economic Development
(2) promote, support and sponsor proposals for regeneration projects to enhance the economic well-being of the area, (3) develop a strategy for the promotion of tourism development and engage partners in delivery and, Town Centre
(11) develop, and where appropriate, implement actions to support the development of the Town Centre; (13) maintain liaison with public authorities, commercial enterprises and residents to maintain and develop the Town centre environment; and
b) the Working Group (TCWG) be administered and led by the TCM and written proposals be formulated for consideration by the Finance & Town Centre Committee.
The Committee agreed for Cllrs Jilani, Loch and Shipman to be members of the TCWG. Additional members will be selected and their names and positions/organisations advised to the F&TC Committee by the TCM.
2 The Committee considered the proposal ‘that a Neston Market and Traders Steering Group be established as a function of the Town Centre Working Group’.
An amendment to the proposal was made ‘for the formation of a Neston Market and Traders Steering Group, which will be administered and led by the TCM who will select members and advise F&TC Committee of their names and positions/organisations. Written proposals will be formulated for consideration by the F&TC Committee.’ The amendment was carried.
40 Town Centre Manager Office Accommodation (TCM) and Facilities
40.1 Tenancy at Will for TCM Office Accommodation:
a) The Committee considered the correspondence received from the NTC solicitors regarding the ‘Tenancy at Will’ agreement, and agreed that it did not wish to take any further actions.
b) Members noted the costs incurred to date of £316 including VAT for the service provided.
40.2 Insurance for the TCM Office:
a) The Committee resolved to approve for contents insurance to the value of £5k to be added to the NTC policy. An inventory may be required for Zurich.
b) The Committee noted that NTC’s Public Liability and Employers Liability insurance will cover all staff and wherever NTC members of staff are working.
40.3 TCM Office Sign: Members noted that the TCM will produce and install an internal sign for the TCM office.
40.4 BT Land Line and Broadband: Members noted that BT installation was due for completion at the beginning of August.
40.5 TCM Mobile Phone: Members noted that a twenty four month term contract has been agreed for an HTC Desire X hand set (mobile phone), at a cost of £25 per month. The phone is on an orange network and the contract provides 1,000 minutes of calls, 1,000 texts and 500MB of data per month. After the twenty four months the contract will automatically change to a monthly contract. There is a thirty days cancellation notice, should this be required. The mobile number is 07805 009974.
40.6 Health and Safety Poster
The Committee noted that the Health and Safety notice for display in the TCM office accommodation has been purchased. Cllr Sharkey and the Town Clerk’s names are to be advised on the poster as the health and safety representatives.
40.7 TCM Office Stationery
The Committee retrospectively approved expenditure of £375+VAT for the purchase of a HP Office colour printer, cartridges and other stationery items.
41 Town Centre Events
41.1 Action for Market Towns
The Committee considered the report from the attendees at the AMT Town Team Initiative Workshop event in Poynton on 11.06.13.
41.2 Town Centre Opportunities
The Committee noted the report submitted by the TCM for the ‘RUDI.NET’ one day event ‘Unlocking the Potential of Property and Public Space’ event, and approved the following proposal: –
- that the report is reviewed by the TCWG and developed as appropriate by the TCM with a steer from the TCWG who will make recommendations as appropriate to the F&TC Committee.
41.3 Action for Market Towns – Towns Alive event
The Committee considered report and the following proposals: –
- 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 asked for these items to be submitted on the agenda for consideration at the meeting scheduled for 18.02.14.
42 Training Opportunities
42.1 Health and Safety for Local Councils
The Committee considered attendance the Health and Safety for Local Councils seminar at Cheshire Fire and Rescue HQ, Winsford on 03.10.13.The event is facilitated by ChALC and is free of charge. The Clerk and Cllr Jilani agreed to attend.
42.2 SLCC – VAT
Members noted that there had been a VAT training course scheduled for 15.07.13 in Crewe, covering a number of vatable activities at a cost of £75. The course was not attended by NTC members.
Cllr Shipman left the room
43.1 The Committee resolved to approve the Expenditure of £1,473.04 net.
Cllr Shipman returned to the meeting
43.2 The Committee noted the income of £5,664.28.
44 Employment Law and Health and Safety
The Committee considered the offer of a free 40 minute consultation with an Employment Law and Health and Safety consultant, who is available to visit the Town Council, and agreed that this would be considered at a future date.
45 LGPS Pensions
45.1 The Committee noted that there is available for Councillor’s response, a statutory LGPS 2014 consultation. Information can be accessed using the following link: http://www.local.gov.uk/web/lgaworkforcepensions/home
45.2 Members considered the latest information from the Local Government Association. Councillors noted the availability of the LGPS Employer training events; and that an event is scheduled for 05.09.13 in the Marriott Hotel, Liverpool. Councillors did not wish to attend.
The Committee noted the responses received regarding the new signs at Clayhill. CWaC Cllr Williams advised that regarding the name of the area, he had asked the CWaC Officers when designing the signs, not to lose the association with Clayhill. CWaC Cllr Williams will investigate this further with the officers.
Chairman’ initial and date
47 Network Rail
The Committee considered the response received from CWaC. Although CWaC have forwarded the branding guidelines to Network Rail, it was unlikely that they will have received them in time to take action. CWaC highways have been made aware of the NTC’s concerns regarding the receipt of the timings of such notifications.
48 WREN Grants
Members noted the availability of grant funding from WREN, and the missed deadline for application. The Clerk will ask WREN to send and advise the future planned deadline dates for applications.
49 Neston Branding
Members noted that the TCM has made initial investigations. CWaC Cllr Hogg advised that in Willaston, they wish to choose independently, where and when they would use the logo. Members agreed that if NTC used it CWaC needed to use it. The Committee instructed the TCM to take this message back to CWaC. It was noted that other organisations in Neston, such as the Neston Civic Society and the Parkgate Society may wish to use the logo, and the logo was being use by CWaC for public realm; the varying colours for the different Town Council areas made it divisive rather than inclusive. The Committee recommends that Neston Town Council when using the branding logo for any Town Council area, use only the blue branding logo. CWaC are to be advised of the outcome of the decision.
Part 2: Items considered in the absence of the press and public
50 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.
The member of the public left the meeting
51 Policies relating to Staff
The Committee resolved to approve as a duty of care that, upon return from every illness, the Council will conduct a return to work interview, and agreed that Cllr Barker would be responsible for conducting this interview.
52 Town Centre Manager job description
The Committee clarified that Cllr Barker, and in his absence Cllr Shipman, would support and act as line manager for the TCM. The TCM confirmed that she was happy for this arrangement and now that the TCWG was established, that she would also have support from them.
53 Any other items which the Chairman determines are urgent for discussion or next agenda item. None.
54 Date of next meeting: The date and time of the next meeting was confirmed as
17 September 2013.
Meeting closed at 7.45pm