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Meeting Minutes 4 November 2021

MINUTES of the Extraordinary Parish Council Meeting to discuss and approve the internal audit, held at The John Fretwell Complex, Sookholme on THURSDAY 4TH NOVEMBER 2021 at 6.00pm.

Present:

Cllrs D. Barlow (Chair) (MDC), W. Williamson-Cooper, M. Fowler, G. Morris, R. Butler, G. Simpson, A. Wetton (MDC) and K. Hardy.
Amanda Cooper (Clerk) and Gemma Blagg (Assistant Clerk).

Minutes

1/0411. RECEIVE ANY DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Association of Labour Councillors - Cllrs A. Wetton and A. Burgin.
Big Warsop Partnership - Cllrs A. Burgin, G. Simpson and W. Williamson-Cooper.
Birklands School Board of Governors - Cllr G. Simpson.
Finance & General-Purpose Working Party - Cllrs D. Barlow, A. Burgin, W. Williamson-Cooper, R. Butler and K. Hardy.
Friends of the Earth - Cllrs R. Butler and K. Hardy.
Friends of the Carrs - Cllrs W. Williamson-Cooper & A. Burgin.
Friends of Warsop Vale - Cllr A. Burgin.
Let Warsop Speak - Cllrs D. Barlow, K. Hardy & R. Butler.
Liberal Democrats Party Member - Cllr K. Hardy.
MDC Tenants Association - Cllr W. Williamson-Cooper.
Meden Vale Colts FC - Cllr A. Wetton.
Save The Town Hall Group - Cllr W. Williamson-Cooper.
School Board of Governors (Eastlands & Netherfield) - Cllr G. Simpson.
Sports 4 kidz - Cllr G. Simpson.
Staffing Working Party - Cllrs D. Barlow, A. Burgin, R. Butler, M. Fowler, G. Morris and W. Williamson-Cooper.
The Rotary Club - Cllr G. Simpson & W. Williamson-Cooper.
Warsop Carnival - Cllr W. Williamson-Cooper.
Warsop Food Share - Cllr W. Williamson-Cooper.
Warsop Youth Club - Cllr G. Simpson.
Warsop Youth & Community Trustee & Secretary at the Shed - Cllr W. Williamson-Cooper.
Where There’s Hope - Cllr W. Williamson-Cooper.

Cllr Fowler declared that he was no longer Chair of Warsop Athletic FC and Cllr Williamson-Cooper declared he was a member of the Save the Town Hall group and he was a Governor at Birklands Primary School.

2/0411. APOLOGIES

Cllr A. Burgin (Vice-Chair) (MDC)

3/0411. TO REVIEW AND AGREE THE QUARTERLY EXPENDITURE AND INCOME

The Clerk read through the quarterly expenditure and income figures for this tax year and explained that both herself and the Assistant Clerk were concerned with how the finances were looking for the end of the tax year. The end of this year should see the council either even or slightly in the plus due to earmarked funds being used to cover some of the discrepancies in this year’s budget.

The Chair asked if this year’s budget included payroll as she is aware that the unions haven’t agreed the public service pay.
The Clerk said this would be discussed under item 6 on the agenda.

Cllr Hardy asked if the Town Hall being closed has had an impact on the budget.
The Clerk said that this would have happened regardless of the building being open or closed and due to financial regulations and not being allowed to sit on/store money the outcome looks bleak.
RESOLVED: The council agreed to accept the quarterly expenditure and income.

Cllr Hardy stated that she felt she had lost a handle on the finances due to limited meetings and changes to meetings due to Covid.
The Chair added a proposal to this agenda item. She asked the council to reinstate the Finance & General Purpose and the Staffing meetings. The meetings would be held in the Council Chambers rather than the Clerk’s office as this will allow for social distancing between members and would mean that finance can be monitored more closely.
RESOLVED: The council unanimously agreed to reinstate the F&GP and staffing meetings.

4/0411. TO REVIEW, DISCUSS AND AGREE PROPOSALS FOR THE 2022/23 BUDGET

The Clerk read through all of the information. She explained that herself and the Assistant Clerk were concerned for future budgets and estimated that there would be a potential -£21,000 deficit in the 22/23 budget. The figures showed a decline in room hire, price increases on utility bills and other costs required when running the Town hall. There were 2 sets of estimates, one was with a 5% increase and the other was with a 10% increase. The precept is calculated via the tax base and not 6,000 households which could see a significant reduction due to the Covid pandemic and more people needing to claim benefits.

The Chair stated that there would be a room hire review as the pricing system is not fair or relevant.

Cllr Fowler enquired about business rates and if the council was paying too much.
The Clerk invited the Assistant Clerk to update the council on this matter. The Assistant Clerk informed members that the valuation office has visited the site and all calculations are up to date. The Clerk stated that the Parish Council are not entitled to any business rate relief.

The Clerk asked the council to consider this information and make some suggestions on how the council can move forward.

The Chair moved item 6 to this discussion as the 2 items are linked.

The Clerk read out the earmarked reserve list that contained some confirmed items as well as one’s needing council’s approval.
CAB - £5,000 (this had already been confirmed and has been paid).
LOAN - £5,000 (this needs approval to be added to this year’s budget to cover the fact that the council have had 2 loan payments paid within the same tax year).
LEISURE - £10,000 (this had already been confirmed. This reserve used to be called Meden Sports Centre but was renamed when the new Community Hub was announced).
WELCOME BACK FUNDING - £15,000 (this had already been confirmed and included a summer and Christmas event).
CONSULTATION PRIORITY LIST - £10,000 (this needs approval. This is a suggestion for the council to follow what the people of the Parish asked for within the consultation regardless of whether it was an MDC or NCC responsibility).
CAR PARK - £5,000 (this needs approval and is for when we have determined if the land surrounding the car park next to the library belongs to the Parish Council).
ASB - £10,000 (this needs approval).
Christmas Trees - £1,500 (this needs approval. This includes brackets, trees and lights for businesses).
BUDGET - £18,500 (this needs approval and includes increases to payroll, utility bills, pensions and other costs such as service/maintenance catch up and extra services).

The Chair asked for Cllrs to make some suggestions.

Cllr Wetton suggested that the leisure fund is removed and is added to this year or the 2022/23 budget as the Community Leisure Hub is not confirmed.
The Clerk explained that the council has financial regulations to follow and that the council are not being financially responsible.
Cllr Wetton also said that if there is a responsibility of the District or County Council then the Parish Council should not pay for this responsibility (i.e. gym equipment) the Clerk suggested that the leisure earmarked reserves could be used towards securing funding for gym equipment on the Carrs.

The Chair asked the Clerk to contacted NALC and confirm if the earmarked reserve monies could be transferred into next years budget.
The Clerk agreed to contact NALC although she had already advised the council on what it could or couldn’t do.

Cllr Morris asked for a breakdown on what the Christmas Tree reserves covered.
The Assistant Clerk said this amount covers the metal brackets (£45 each) for all the shops who were missing one, the 4ft trees and lights.

The Chair suggested that the earmarked reserves is moved to the F&GP now that they have been reinstated.

5/0411. TO DISCUSS THE PARISH COUNCILS ASB OUTREACH PROGRAM AND AGREE ITS CONINUATION

The Chair proposed that the Parish Council cease running this program due to the council’s financial situation and because Cllr Williamson-Cooper had managed to secure funding from the Police Crime Commissioner to continue the program and increase the number of youth club evenings.

RESOLVED: The council unanimously agreed to cease the program and allow the Youth Club to continue the program. Cllrs congratulated Cllr Williamson-Cooper on securing the funds.

6/0411. TO DISCUSS AND AGREE THE PARISH COUNCILS EARMARKED FUNDS

This item was discussed under item 4/0411.

7/0411. TO UPDATE AND DISCUSS THE MEETING WITH MDC REGARDING THE TOWN HALL AGREEMENT

The Chair updated the council on the meeting with Mike Robinson regarding the Town Hall agreement. She updated Mike on the consultation results, the building survey and Town Hall community group.
Philip Colledge wanted to confirm to the council that there is no lease in place and that the title belongs to the Parish Council. The Chair reiterated that it was the Parish Councils in title only as the clauses within the agreement stop the council doing anything other than paying for its upkeep.

This was the response from Mike Robinson after the meeting:

I promised to write to you following our meeting with yourself and your colleagues yesterday concerning the future of the Town Hall.

We acknowledged the poor state of repair once again of the TH and that this is an unsustainable position going forward with the building continuing to deteriorate whilst there are no funds available for necessary works. Following the Parish Council’s period of consultation on the future of the building there had emerged some interest of a small number of individuals in forming a community group with a suitable constitution to take forward proposals for the building including aiming to securing external funding sources for its repair. You indicated that there was a willingness by the PC to support this interest, although it appears that the use for the building is unclear, and the group simply seem to want to retain it as a community facility.

You indicated that WPC would prefer for MDC to release the restriction of the sale of the asset so that WPC could retain any capital receipt with a view to use within the Warsop community. I explained that there is no current key driver for this whilst the community group seek an appropriate constitution and develop their business plan to the satisfaction of WPC. We agreed that they could be given up to 12 months to do so with an end date of 1st October 2022 perhaps.

I pointed out that the bigger picture is in securing the Warsop Community Hub project which benefits from TF and potentially MDC funding, although with on-going uncertainty around the Sports Lottery, the project remains unconfirmed. Any capital receipt from disposal of the TH could be added to the funding pot to help secure the necessary commitment to deliver this project – which I believe you did not disagree with. The community group in this scenario could of course still be supported and even benefit from the Warsop Community Hub of course in delivering their objectives – once these are clearer. I feel this would be the most sensible approach in terms of addressing the various local objectives for Warsop. However, if WPC are still committed to alternative uses to potentially retain the TH for future community use, then MDC would be minded to support this – on the proviso that any receipt continues to be used to benefit the local community. As such we would need to determine this formally which we agreed to review in 12 months’ time. If the community project does not materialise before then, we could of course discuss further the option of disposal and utilising a capital receipt to support the Community Hub.

Regards
Michael Robinson

The Chair proposed that the Parish Council write again to the District Council formally requesting that the clauses within the agreement are removed allowing the Parish Council full control over the Town Hall.
RESOLVED: Cllr Williamson-Cooper abstained from this vote. The council agreed to write to MDC and request the removal of the 2 clauses.

Cllrs discussed arranging a meeting with the community group in January 2022.
RESOLVED: The council would contact the community group with an update from this meeting and to arrange a meeting in January for 8 people (due to social distancing), 4 from each organisation to discuss a 12-month deadline to form the group and have a vision/plan of what the group hope to achieve.

8/0411. CLOSE MEETING

The Chair closed the meeting.

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