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Members Present: Mrs Barbara Babb, Mr Andrew Hewitt, Mr George Heywood, Mr David Lloyd, Mr Jim Lowe, Mr Trevor Mills, Mrs Kate Slocombe, Mrs Shirley Tilley and Mr David Watson.
Also in attendance 1 member of the public
Parish Clerk: Patrick Blosse
1095 Apologies for Absence Cllr Bob Hicks, Alison Boyle
1096 Minutes of the Meetings of 8th January 2014 and 5th February 2012 The minutes of the parish council meeting held on 8th January 2014 and the Budget Review and Finance Sub-Committee meeting of 5th February 2014 were confirmed and signed, subject to a clarification of item 1087 Members’ Reports: George Heywood to which was added “George Heywood stated that Councillor Robin Julian was wrong in his statement that farmers could do no more”.
1097 Declarations of Interest Kate Slocombe and Barbara Babb in respect of item 1102: Report of the Budget Review and Finance Sub-Committee held on 5th February 2014.
1098 Public Participation None
1099 Clerk’s Report
I. Correspondence: A summary of various items of general correspondence was supplied to each member. The following item was specifically drawn to the Council’s attention:
o Devon Countryside Access Forum, request for new members – George Heywood expressed an interest
o Village Green Winter 2013 – Jim Lowe discussed the opportunity to obtain a war memorial grant and it was agreed that a professional’s opinion would be sought to assess the extent of works needed
o DCC Highways: Response re ‘priority system’ for Tower Hill – noted that no action was possible
o DALC: Invitation to Royal Garden Party – Chairman’s name has been submitted
o DCC: Flood Clean-up and Repair Work – noted that lengthsman duties delayed
o South West Heritage Trust/North Devon Record Office – it was agreed that the Clerk would write to Cllr Julian asking why the North Devon record Office could not be affiliated. Andrew Hewitt will also ask his contacts
o Winter Friends NHS Choices campaign Newsletter – It was agreed that, in the light of all the consultations taking place about support services and inevitable cuts in these services as a result of government financial policy, the Parish Council sets up a sub-committee to look at ways and means of supporting existing groups within the parish or whether there is a call to facilitate any further practical support. The sub-committee is to comprise Barbara Babb, Andrew Hewitt, Shirley Tilley and David Watson. It was agreed to co-opt Dawn Adams. Further co-options could take place to involve other interested members of the community. The group’s first meeting will be in The Chapel at 7:30pm on Monday 17th March 2014.
o Notice of Road Closure – Babeleigh Cross to Buckland Brewer to Tuckers Park 14th April – 18th April 2014 – Western Power Network
o Notice of next Torrington Area Advisory Group – 15th April 2014, 7:00pm, Methodist Church Hall, Mill Street, Torrington
o Letter of thanks from CAB for grant payment
o Application for Hire of School Premises for 2014 – future meeting dates were confirmed and the Clerk will complete and return the form
o TDC: Empty Homes Toolkit – noted, no action required
o TDC: TAP Fund 2013/14 and approach from Langtree Parish Council for a joint application. It was agreed that Buckland Brewer would submit a TAP fund application together with Langtree. Clerk to coordinate.
o DCC: Devon Mobile Library Service – new timetables
o Linking Life in the Torridge – Parish Survey
o Jane Lowe: New Hall Update
o Invitation to join a Rural Sounding Board – Jim Lowe to follow up
o Best Kept Village Competition: Guidelines and Judging Schedule. The map provided had not been satisfactory. It was suggested that Phil Slocombe should be able to supply something more suitable.
II. Insurance: Following approval of the budget at last month’s meeting, street furniture cover has now been added to the insurance policy.
III. Future Guest Speakers: A representative from WildWestNet has agreed to attend the meeting scheduled for 9th April 2014 to present their satellite broadband services and it is hoped that a representative from Tarka Housing will attend the meeting of 12th March 2014.
1100 Consultation on the Future of Youth Services in Devon It was generally agreed that a proper youth club was needed for the village but that no-one was available to run it. There will be a forum at Caddsdown Business Support Centre 1:00-3:00pm on 9th April 2014. Jim Lowe to attend. George Heywood said that what was most needed was transportation to clubs in Bideford, Torrington and further afield.
1101 Consultation on DCC Day Services The Chairman and clerk had investigated the consultation papers provided on the internet, which were comprehensive and provided for each individual day centre. It was agreed that no comments would be submitted at this stage.
1102 Report of the Budget Review and Finance Sub-Committee held on 5th February 2014
The meeting had discussed a land valuation report that had recently been received and rent reviews for the fields and allotments. The report identified approximately 20 acres of land in the Parish Council’s ownership, most of which was used for permanent pasture, with a total value of about £165,000. The Chairman and the Clerk had attended a briefing meeting with the Parish Council’s land agent prior to the meeting and had been told that three of the rental agreements were now below the market rate and ought to be increased. It was proposed by the sub-committee that the following tenant’s rents should be increased appropriately and that the clerk should write to them seeking increases of approximately 25% to take effect on or after 25th March 2015:
Mr B Chapple
Mr F Babb
Mr P Bromell
It was further proposed that all other field rents would remain unchanged until the next rent review, which would take place in 2016/17 in preparation for any rent changes to take place from 25th March 2018. It was also proposed that the Clerk should write to all tenants to inform them that the rent review has taken place and when the next review is planned. These recommendations were proposed by Jim Lowe, seconded by Shirley Tilley and agreed unanimously.
Draft letters had been prepared but the advice of the land agent was that these did not meet the requirements of a formal rent review and that approaches should be made in person initially to negotiate the increases. It was agreed that the Clerk would contact the tenants
The land agents fee for carrying out the valuation was £300.00 + VAT
1103 Renting of Football Pitch June Gaydon is away on holiday for a number of weeks but she has agreed to the terms of the licence and arrangements have been made for her to sign it on 24th February 2014. George Heywood asked about income for the grass and it was agreed that this would be advertised in Village Scene. Jim Lowe has not yet obtained the keys for the pavilion.
1104 Thornhillhead Communications Mast – Response to Arqiva On the advice of Geoffrey Cox, MP, it was agreed that Arqiva’s offer of £1,000 as a one-off payment should be accepted, without obligation, and that the letter previously drafted by the Clerk should be sent subject to adding an opportunity to renegotiate the rent for “any future upgrades, such as the provision of 4G”. It was also agreed that Andrew Hewitt would obtain pictures of the mast as it is currently configured so that any future changes can be noted.
1105 Thornhillhead Moor An email had been received from Claire McIntosh. Mrs Holt was pleased to accept some spare trees to plant on their bank and 6 would be provided when the fence is complete. There is also quite a significant fly-tipping problem up there, which will have to be sorted out once the fencing is complete and it is clear how much funds are available. Claire had written a letter to the County Solicitor for advice on what the signs should say so as to not increase the Parish Councils liability should there be an accident.
1106 Summer Bus Service An invoice and breakdown of the service costs and usage had been received on 12th February 2014. The Clerk is to write to the other 3 parishes to confirm that they are willing to continue the service next year.
1107 Tower Hill/Glen Bridge A response had been received from Ian Rawle, Neighbourhood Highway Officer stating that priority points could cause confusion and complaints and that this site could not be recommended on safety grounds. A reply from Julie Pepworth regarding Glen Bridge also indicates that it is unlikely that a weight limit can be imposed.
1108 Village Green The School and Jim Lowe have planted poppies in readiness for planting out on the village green later in the year and Jim Lowe asked others to the same. Andrew Hewitt suggested that shrubs might be suitable than another tree and this was agreed unanimously.
1109 Village Library Shirley Tilley has been offered some shelving, which she hopes the church will be willing to put up. Pat Blosse, in his capacity as a bookdealer, is willing to keep the shelves stocked with books that could be borrowed by parishioners with an honesty box for small donations to church or village funds. It was agreed to proceed with the scheme and the Clerk will write to the PCC outlining the scheme and asking permission to erect the shelves.
1110 Pannier Market Hopper Bus Shirley Tilley distributed flyers outlining the Pannier Market Hopper Bus Service and suggested that the scheme might be extended to take in Buckland Brewer and other outlying villages. It was agreed that the Clerk would write to Torridge Community Transport suggesting such a scheme.
1111 School Bus to Torrington Nothing to report
1112 Torrington Hospital Andrew Hewitt gave a resume of the work continuing on the consultation about the future of the hospital and the Care Closer to Home scheme. There were no new developments to report.
1113 Snow Warden Update George Heywood reported that the extra salt has arrived.
1114 Annual Parish Meeting: Torridge District Council Leader The Chairman reported that Cllr. Philip Collins, the Leader of Torridge District Council, had agreed to attend as guest speaker at this year’s Annual Parish meeting on 28th May 2014. He would like notice of about 4 questions so that he can prepare suitable responses.
1115 Members’ Reports
Andrew Hewitt reported that the Orleigh Hill drains had been cleared but then the hedges had been cut and the drains were blocked again. He asked if the timing of the cuts could be discussed with DCC. George Heywood pointed out that the hedge-cutting is done by contractors and that timings are subject to weather conditions. The item was noted.
George Heywood George pointed out that the Council was earning no income from Thornhillhead Moor and that the sale of some or all of the land would raise funds for the parish. – noted.
Jim Lowe reported that i) Glen Bridge was approved for a weight limit of 40 tons and that it was highly unlikely that the County would pursue a traffic order for any change, especially as this could cost £3,000, ii) he had responded to the Devon Waste Plan consultation mentioning biodegradable landfill and the use of waste to generate energy, iii) a response had also been sent on the Public Transport consultation on each of the 4 points highlighted and iv) that the plans to extend high speed broadband were continuing but that it was unclear whether Buckland Brewer would benefit.
Trevor Mills pointed out that the leaves at Glen Hill had now been removed.
Kate Slocombe i) reported that a street light was out in Barton Road. Jim Lowe will notify DCC, ii) and that her husband had dug out the drain on Gorwood Road (Buckland side of Jewels Cottage at the bottom of Friends Hill)
Shirley Tilley i) highlighted the dangers of cars dropping-off and collecting children from the playschool and ii) reported a scam concerning phone numbers staring 0809, 0284 and 0876 which, if responded to, could cost £1,500 a minute.
i) Devon County Council Planning Application at North Hele, Buckland Brewer, Bideford, EX39 5LZ Planning Reference DCC/3618/2014 – Demolition of circular slurry store and replacement with below ground slurry store, extensions to agricultural buildings and installation of new residential sewage treatment plant – noted
ii) 1/1125/2013/FUL: Variation of conditions 2 & 14 of planning application 1/0504/2012/FUL to allow change in power output from 50kW to 100kW (Height to blade tip 39.997m) at Craneham Farm, Buckland Brewer, Devon. The Council had previously objected to this application on the grounds that a dwelling was within 600m. Following consultation by email a response had already been made to restate the Council’s objection and to point out that the nearby residents would be even more adversely affected.
iii) 1/0736/2013/FUL – 2 small wind turbines at Mambury Farm, East Putford – no comment as outside the parish
iv) 1/1151/2013/FUL – Beeches Farm, Buckland Brewer, single storey conservatory extension – supported
The Chairman pointed out that some responses had been submitted to Torridge Planning department showing that the Parish Council had “no objection” but that an earlier minute of the council had agreed that all responses would be given as a positive ‘support’ or ‘objection’ as the term “no objection” implied some ambivalence and the members would prefer to be seen to be supportive where appropriate.
i) DALC Finance update – Local Government Finance Settlement – the Clerk pointed out that there was no risk that capping or referenda would be applied to parish councils’ council tax decisions in the current year but these might be considered for the largest local councils in 2015/16. It was unlikely that such conditions would be applied to small parishes in the foreseeable future.
ii) Bank balances:
• Parish Council Current Account was £3,337.88 as at 31st January 2014
• Thornhillhead Moor Account £18,724.59 as at 19th December 2013
iii) Payments due (£615.78 + VAT):
• Parish Clerk’s salary, expenses and associated PAYE: £206.33 (including £30 for a filing cabinet)
• Buckland Brewer Village Hall: £7.00
• Robert H Hicks – Land valuation report: £300.00 + VAT
• Summer Bus Service: £102.45
iv) Receipts since last meeting (£40.00):
• Field rents: £40.00
v) Transfer Between Funds Members agreed a transfer of £250.00 from the Thornhillhead Moor account to the Parish Council’s general account to cover the cost of the Parish Clerk for the year 2013/14, being 2 hours per month plus a sum of about £30 towards office expenses and mileage costs.
Dates of Next Meetings:
Wednesday 12th March 2014 at Buckland Brewer School – 7:30pm
Monday 17th March 2014 at The Chapel – 7:30pm – Parish Support Network Sub-Committee
There being no further business, the meeting closed at 9:41 pm
Present: Trevor Mills (Chair), Jim Lowe, Jane Lowe, David Watson, Dawn Dziurzynski, Steve Harding, Kevin Lobb, Alan Sutton, Tom Lloyd, Jo Birch, George Tilley and Shirley Tilley
1) Apologies: Alex Dziurzynski
2) Minutes of the Last Meeting 27th November 2013: Agreed and signed off.
3) Matters Arising:
a) The Inventory of Village Hall items kept outside of the Hall will be passed onto Dawn – Dave Watson still needs to ensure this will take place
b) Jane Lowe will also send a copy of the list of key holders to Dawn
c) Jane reminded the Minute Secretary to ensure that the draft minutes are circulated as soon as possible after the meeting to ensure that any necessary actions can take place. Dave Watson to ensure this is done
d) Jane Lowe stated that the lack of minutes meant that the planned Fun Raising Quiz Evening on Saturday 8 February had to be postponed until Saturday 15 March. Jane & Jim Lowe and the Entertainment Sub-Group will make arrangements for this event.
e) Jane Lowe will take charge of the arranging of the Budget Sub-Group Meeting which was arranged for Thursday 23 Jan 2014 at 7.30pm.
f) The Cleaners contract needs to be undertaken as soon as possible – Steve Harding will arrange this. The issue of the Cleaners pay & conditions will be considered at the Budget Sub-Group Meeting.
g) The issue of the rep for the Youth Farmers was clarified – Tom Lloyd will continue as the sole rep. Tom Lloyd will ask Sophie Grills is she wished to be a trustee in her own right.
4) Co-option of Trustee:
Jane Lowe has been in discussion with Paul Brown, who has expressed a wish to become a trustee. Jane Lowe nominated this co-option which was seconded by Shirley Tilley – All agreed to Paul Brown being co-opted as a Trustee. Jane Lowe will have further discussions with Paul Brown & to ask him to sign the Trustee Book, which she will ‘look after’.
a) Steve Harding responded to the email from Laura Odell, Chair of Buckland Brewer Under Fives and a further correspondence was passed to Jane Lowe.
6) Treasurers Report:
a)- Bi monthly bills are now being issued.
b)- The Performing Rights Society Licence has been paid – £135
c)- Kevin Lobb has contacted Allied Westminster for a quote for the Village Hall Insurance. The quote was for £414.38 for the same cover plus cash being held at Trustee’s homes. This compared to a quote from the previous supplier of £716.86.
d)- The new EON electric tariff has started & initial bills indicate a saving of at least 1/3.
e)- Jane Lowe had circulated an email in December regarding a donation towards the retirement of Fred & Barbara Babb. There had not been any objections raised & therefore a donation of £50 had been made from Village Hall Funds.
f)- A bill for £24.10 had been paid to Bridgemans for a gas bottle.
g)- There was an outstanding bill of £195.60 that had been received in December from Ray Hoyle, which Kevin needed authorisation to pay. Trevor Mills indicated that this was in relations to water coming into the Skittle Alley which had needed to be fixed. All agreed that Kevin Lobb should be authorised to pay this bill.
New Village Hall
f)- The Christmas Market profit was £811.09 which included a payment of £29 for leftover books from the Book Stall from a local bookseller.
g)- A Donation of £30 has been made towards the Children’s Hospice in respect of borrowing a marquee from Alana Smith & family.
Lloyds TSB – Current a/c – £1 468.74
Lloyds TSB – Deposit a/c – £2 907.89
New Village Hall – Lloyds Deposit a/c £34 499.64
7) Fund Raising & Future Events:
a)- The Women’s Institute Fundraising Event for the Village Hall involving Tony Beard will take place on Friday 11 April. This is being arranged by the Buckland Brewer WI.
b)- It was suggested that if any Trustees have any ideas for future events then for these to be passed onto Dawn or any other members of the Entertainment Sub-Group for discussion. The Entertainment Sub-Group will meet on Monday 10 February at 7pm at Dawn’s home.
c)- The Rosemoor Event will possibly take place on Friday 22 August. Suggestions of the entertainment will be discussed at the Entertainment Meeting.
d)- Another suggestion was for a Games Evening to be held as a Fundraising Event.
e)- The Fete Meetings will now be regularly held on the 4th Wednesday of the month starting in February to avoid any clashes with the Village Hall Meetings.
8) Signing of Hall User Contracts:
Dawn Dziurzynski informed the meeting that some affiliates have not signed the User Contracts – Parish Church, Skittles, Playing Field, Parish Council & School. These were given to various trustees to be passed to the relevant organisations for signing & return to Dawn.
9) Arrangements for Village Hall –Keys & Gas Bottle Monitoring:
a)- David Lloyd still holds the key for the Gas Bottle Cage – Jane Lowe will talk to David Lloyd regarding whether he is still willing to monitor the gas supply.
b)- Jane Lowe has collected the spare Village Hall key from Babb’s. It was felt that this key will not be passed to The Community Shop to hold.
c)- Arrangements for elections held in the Village Hall will be made with Torridge District Council prior to the event.
10) Any other Business:
a)- There was some discussions on the planned ‘Race Night’ planned in the Village Hall by the Playing Field Association. There are strict rules in place for such events because of the Gambling Laws and because of this additional paperwork was required to be completed by the Playing Field Association. Alan Sutton will deal with this issue.
Shirley Tilley expressed some dismay that this event that she originally suggested for the Village Hall, but not proceeded with due to the legal requirements, had now been put into action by the Playing Field Association.
b)- The Meeting was made aware of the Launch by Pearces of the Hillpark Development on Saturday 1 February at 10am at Atlantic Village, Bideford.
11) Update on New Parish Community Hall:
This report by Jane Lowe & following discussion was wide ranging & included agenda items on Trustees & Affiliate Organisations, Budget making & running of the present hall.
There have been ongoing discussions between Jane Lowe, Project Manager & Community Council of Devon regarding the Hallmark certification process & any application for the Big Lottery. As a result of this Jane felt that there needed to be fairly radical changes in the running of the present hall to show to the Big Lottery that we as Trustees have the skills and business ability to successfully run a Community Hall. There will need to be a change in the relationship between the Trustees & the present affiliate organisations. The forthcoming Budget Meeting will need to look at the level of hall charges and all costings to enable a sustainable budget to be put in place. That these changes will include the detailed plans for the new Community Hall and its running. That these changes will need to be in place for any chance of a suitable application for the Big Lottery.
Jane gave the Meeting 3 different options regarding the New Community Hall – To proceed with the Big Lottery Grant application; To look at alternative funding for the Hall or to abandon the project and to continue with the present hall.
After a lot of discussion all Trustees agreed to proceed with the Big Lottery Grant application.
Further discussions will take place in future Meetings. It was suggested that Trustees considered the Current Policies & Procedures and what needs to change or be adapted to improve them.
At some stage there will need for more detailed discussions with the affiliate organisations and the community, which could include future Open Meetings. Jane offered to attend meetings with Community organisations in the future to have this discussion.
The Budget Sub-Group will look at all costings & charges relating to the present hall.
There will be ongoing discussions by Jane Lowe with the Community Council of Devon regarding the Hallmark process. Jane will also begin to have discussions with the architect regarding possible simplication of the Community Hall design.
The Meeting finished at 10.25pm
DATE OF NEXT MEETING – Wednesday 19 February 2014 at 8pm
For the sake of clarity, please will all readers note that this is in the format of a progress diary which shows achievements and developments over the last 18 months –
THE STORY SO FAR:-
It is important to recognise that there is no value identified, either to the community or financially, in “doing up” the existing hall, which is on its “last legs”, for the following reasons:
• The space available prevents ever being able to comply with various elements of now mandatory legislation e.g. disability requirements.
• There is no parking available and never can be – this is a basic requirement of community halls.
• There is no storage space nor ever will be – currently trustees are storing hall equipment in their own homes – this causes major inconvenience both to the users and trustees.
• The hall is sited on a corner which is arguably dangerous and certainly very undesirable where children and older people are involved.
• The hall & floor have no foundations – any improvement would need to address this as a basic and there is no business case to apply for funding to cover the cost of making the hall fit for purpose for 21st century compliance.
• Were it possible to raise funds for the extent of improvement required to carry them out and implement them (effectively a re-build, discounting any inconvenience to residents close by),would put the hall out of use for many months thus disabling users. Trustees are bound by their governing body (Charity Commission) to ensure a usable hall for all on an ongoing basis to the best of their ability.
SUMMER –Full membership of Community Council of Devon (CCD) taken –CCD is the body which advises & facilitates all matters community
SUMMER – clarity sought by 2 trustees (BBVH committee members) from BBVH lawyers regarding Trust Deed & Trustees responsibilities & duties.
SEPTEMBER – presentation from CCD to trustees emphasising advice from lawyers & offering practical guidance on trustees’ individual & collective duties & extent of personal liability.
SEPTEMBER – receipt of long outstanding invoice from Nigel Gale ,architect, prompts invitation to Nigel to engage with trustees/committee by way of presentation in the same month. Nigel outlines 3 options to build –preferred option identified by committee (Design & Build).
OCTOBER – surveyors Gates specialise in Design & Build contract work – invited to present to BBVH committee with more detail – they offer their services at the end of the presentation, during which they also advise on current legislation re Health & Safety & liabilities on site. Lyn Brookes, specialist in this area, recommended to act as CDM (safety Professional/Practitioner who will undertake all necessary paperwork & interaction with on site service providers).
NOVEMBER – Gates & Lyn Brookes formally engaged as Employers Agents & CDM respectively.
MID – DECEMBER – fund-matching source identified between CCD & Torridge District Council (TDC). Maximum available to be £20k + £20k = £40k – funding source to be terminated at TDC end January 2013. Key requisite is planning permission needs to have been granted. This is the case for all funders.
Throughout, & prior to, the above period & ongoing into January, continued “robust exchanges & engagement” with TDC planners regarding granting overarching planning permission to Pearce (developers) to secure future of community & S106.
S106 IS THE LEGAL MEANS BY WHICH THE COMMUNITY BENEFITS FROM DEVELOPERS BEING GRANTED PERMISSION TO BUILD ON A GREEN FIELD SITE. SPECIFIC BENEFITS TO COMMUNITY OF S106 ARE ACQUISITION OF SOME LAND AT A MINIMAL PRICE & DONATION OF £325K FOR NEW HALL, SUBJECT TO SALE & OCCUPANCY OF 20 HOUSES (LAND & FUNDS BECOME DUE WHEN 20TH HOUSE IS OCCUPIED).
JANUARY – continued pressure on TDC planners who eventually grant provisional planning permission only 2 days before expiry of funding availability. During the entirety of this month, trustees, using detailed costing advice & projections from Gates & advice from other local halls, compile a significant funding bid for £40k. The large document is driven to the funding committee in Exeter by a trustee to ensure closing date requirements are met.
FEBRUARY – bid fails. Full criteria of application could never have been met by BBVH within timescales – full analysis of shortcomings & put down to experience. Archived for future use/reference. TDC advice S106 has been delayed again within their own offices for “legal reasons”.
LATE APRIL – after no less than 2 years of negotiation, S106 finally signed off by all involved parties. At this time BBVH discover that they are not the direct beneficiary. As BBVH had never been party to nor consulted about the document, although Pearce shared information informally, there was no way of knowing this. S106 grants benefits to the Parish Council on behalf of Village Hall.
MAY/JUNE – BBVH engage in correspondence with Parish Council to secure “Letters of Intent” – Parish Council will sell on identified parcel of land at nominal price & immediately remit £325K to BBVH upon receipt. In return BBVH trustees accept liabilities connected to S106 viz. funds must be used within 10 years of remittance, receipts provided, unspent funds to be returned to Pearce (via Parish Council) together with market rate interest accrued on unspent sum.
JUNE – BBVH & Parish Council solicitors instructed regards land purchase/s to act when land becomes available for sale from Pearce(S106 terms).BBVH agree to pay also Parish Council legal costs incurred in acquisition of the land which will be transferred to BBVH.
JUNE – meeting with some trustees & Nigel Gale regards next steps for hall. It is known from experience that at this time all major funders require 3 tenders (or professional pricing) including in any funding application. It has been reasonably assumed that funds will be insufficient to build full approved design.
JULY – Gates prepare tender documents for submission to 3 approved (local) builders – tender documents examined by BBVH trustees individually & Gates instructed to go out to tender. Closing date for returns is mid-August.
JULY/AUGUST – numerous “smaller” (ranging from £2k-£15k) funding applications, average compilation time 6-7 hours apiece, submitted to various local funding sources. All failed except 1 which was granted with conditions. Key failure reason is that building on new hall has not commenced – when building starts, funders will reconsider (chicken & egg syndrome).
AUGUST – 3 tenders received ranging from £850k-£1M. It is evident that £0.5M grant will be needed – only funder “in the game” for this amount is Big Lottery. Only applicants in areas of severe deprivation may apply- Big Lottery confirm BBVH is eligible only for this reason. CCD re-affirm that self-build (popular in 70s/80s) is now frowned upon by them, not considered by Big Lottery, as it is fraught with personal liability risks & contractual difficulties because of current building regulations.
SEPT- “Lottery Masterclass” offered by CCD. Full day course attended by 2 trustees. Course supported by Big Lottery, CCD (who facilitate & enable Big Lottery bids in Somerset & Devon) & “pro bono” surveyor who advises on costs of build. Lottery criteria have just changed to be even more challenging – course advises of massive task ahead. Average success rate to Big Lottery building fund is 12% across England & Wales. Average timeline from start-payout in 3 stages, each potentially failing several times, = 74 months. Lottery advises “we are not interested in time wasters”. No Lottery application can be considered unless the applicant owns the land to be built upon (in addition to planning permission criteria). 50% of subscribers to course give up at the end of the day.
OCTOBER – extra committee meeting to present details on above to BBVH committee, advise of challenges ahead & request them to consider level of commitment – all agree this is last chance, & first real (as opposed to aspirational) opportunity, to deliver a new hall.
OCTOBER – scheduled committee meeting – trustees agree to commit to tasks ahead as there appear no alternatives to achieving goal. Agreement to undertake full financial health check from CCD (Sustainability) & Hallmark (3-stage NVQ-type certification for community hall management containing over 200 separate tasks & checks – examination by outside “peers”). Both ongoing qualifications essential within Lottery application (don’t ask without them).
NOVEMBER – public meeting showing current approved design & to obtain wider community support for project. Nigel Gale & Martin Rich from CCD support event, as well as David Netherway from Swimbridge VH (successful Lottery applicant – their application took 6 years).5 trustees resign, but 2 new ones who are “up for it” join committee. AGM held later that month.
JANUARY – Hallmark work starts. Selection of dates for empty hall needed for exam/examiner availability so must be during unoccupied period i.e. school breaks. Easter too early to achieve enough to pass exam 1 – summer/August hoped for.
FEBRUARY – programme of presentations to affiliate organisations commences to ensure common understanding of work ahead and advise full community engagement will be needed. Presentations will be on an ongoing basis. Newly formed Finance sub-committee meets to start analytical work & recommendations required for committee (this will be a continuous process) & to provide basis for Sustainability. Probably meeting/s Jane Lowe with CCD throughout spring/summer dependent on internal progress.
You will be aware that during this time fund raising has continued with the hope that some pleasure has been provided to the community at large, and the existing hall still has to be run. Despite negative “grapevine” from those who have chosen not to access the true picture placed at the disposal of the community, we feel we have not been idle. To make this a success we welcome & need ongoing support and input from the community. It is you we are representing. None of us is paid, there are no “hidden benefits”, and we cannot do this alone. Each & every member of the community will get out of this ongoing programme what they put into it. For more information, to join as a trustee or just simply offers of help (YES PLEASE, EVEN IF IT’S ONLY SOME WASHING UP AT AN EVENT!) contact me on the number below.
All ratified minutes of BBVH committee meetings are available for public view/scrutiny on the parish website and have been so since January 2011. Also watch Village Scene, or simply pick up the phone to me.
The next BULLETIN WILL BE TOWARDS THE END OF THE SUMMER
YOUR TEAM OF TRUSTEES :-
TREVOR MILLS (CHAIR)
JANE LOWE (PROJECT LIAISON OFFICER,VICE-CHAIR, FINANCE SUB-COMMITTEE)
STEVE HARDING (SECRETARY, FINANCE SUB-COMMITTEE)/GARDENING CLUB; DAVID WATSON (MINUTES SECRETARY)/CHAPEL); DAWN DZUIRZYNSKI (BOOKINGS SECRETARY, FUNCTIONS SECRETARY, FINANCE SUB-COMMITTEE/SCHOOL); KEVIN LOBB (TREASURER, FINANCE SUB-COMMITTEE); ALAN SUTTON(PLAYING FIELD ASSOCATION); GEORGE TILLEY (BOWLS CLUB); BARBARA BABB (W.I.); SHIRLEY TILLEY; JO BIRCH (PRE-SCHOOL); ALEX DZUIRZYNSKI; TOM LLOYD (YOUNG FARMERS CLUB); JIM LOWE; PAUL BROWN
FEBRUARY 2014 , JANE LOWE, PROJECT LIAISON OFFICER, & VICE CHAIR
BUCKLAND BREWER VILLAGE HALL COMMITTEE – CONTACT 451193
Members Present: Mrs Barbara Babb, Mr George Heywood, Mr David Lloyd, Mr Jim Lowe, Mr Trevor Mills, Mrs Kate Slocombe, Mrs Shirley Tilley and Mr David Watson.
Also in attendance 6 members of the public including Claire McIntosh of Hicks & Co. and Cllr Robin Julian (DCC)
Parish Clerk: Patrick Blosse
1072 Apologies for Absence Cllr Bob Hicks, Alison Boyle
1073 Minutes of the Meeting of 11th December 2013 The minutes of the meeting held on 11th December 2013 were confirmed and signed.
1074 Declarations of Interest None.
1075 Public Participation None
1076 Clerk’s Report
i. Correspondence. A summary of various items of general correspondence was supplied to each member. The following item was specifically drawn to the Council’s attention:
o Clerks & Councils Direct: January 2014
o Torridge Household Waste & Recycling Guide – updated – distributed by email 8/1/14
o DCC: Public Transport Consultation It was agreed that Jim Lowe would respond on behalf of the Parish Council
o DCC: Adult Social Services Accommodation Strategy – members to submit their own responses
o ‘Be Prepared’ Newsletter – distributed by email 8/1/14
o Best Kept Village and Pam Parker Maps Competitions – It was agreed that the an application would be submitted
o Changes to the Mobile Library Service – noted. Jim Lowe reported that there would still be1 library van per month
o Renewable Energy Planning Masterclass – distributed by email 8/1/14
o TTVS: Snippets Issue 48 (inc. Police Small Grant Scheme)
o Schedules of Planning Applications
ii. Insurance – A response had been received from Community First regarding Public Liability cover. “The Property Owners Liability is covered automatically under the PL. We consider the ownership of land to be an expected activity of a PC so where the PC are held to be legally liable the policy would pick it up.”
iii. Website – work completed, invoice received for £50.00 – payment approved
1077 Budget Review/Setting 2014/15 Precept Following a discussion about the proposed budget and the need to provide sufficient funds to meet the costs of snow clearing, increased hours for the clerk and a reserve to meet the costs of the elections in 2015/16, it was proposed by David Lloyd, seconded by Barbara Babb and agreed unanimously to approve the budget and set a precept of £6,000 (including the amount of the support grant element).
1078 February Meeting, Budget Review and Finance Committee The clerk had received a comprehensive valuation report from Robert H Hicks & Co. which will be presented to the Budget Review and Finance Sub-Committee when it meets on 5th February 2014.
1079 Renting of Football Pitch There was no objection from any of the parish councillors to the licence that had been distributed by email and it was agreed that the clerk should complete the agreement with June Gaydon as soon as practicably possible. No response has been received from Maurice Knuckey about the keys to the pavilion. Jim Lowe to contact Roger Vanstone and John Adams.
1080 Thornhillhead Communications Mast No response had yet been received from Geoffrey Cox, MP.
1081 Thornhillhead Moor
Claire McIntosh reported that she had met with Lin Holt as there are a number of unforeseen side effects of the management of the moor which affect her and her property. Of all the local residents she has been the most affected. Although they are graziers, they do not have cattle grazing rights and therefore do not stand to benefit from the agreement in any way. Cattle gather by her gate and she sometimes cannot get her pony and trap out. Her chimney pot has been blown off and her solar panels damaged, which she thinks is as a result of the recent cutting, and the subsequent loss of some of their shelter. As there is quite a sum in the account for the moor now, Claire thought it would be a good gesture to offer to buy them a few young trees to plant into their bank. This was agreed and Jim Lowe offered to supply 6 from those that have been donated to the parish.
Scrub clearance was done in December for which payment needs to be arranged. Mark has started the clearing for the additional fencing and this ready to go. Swaling needs to be arranged.
Claire stated that Hicks & Co.’s management fee needs to be charged and, once the fencing works are complete, a meeting should be arranged to discuss the accounts and the distribution of the graziers surplus. Following this, a graziers meeting is needed for next grazing season.
George Heywood pointed out that there were still no signs about the presence of cattle. Claire said that she had asked for quotes and was researching the appropriate wording to safeguard the Council against litigation.
1082 Summer Bus Service Jim Lowe is to chase a bill for this year’s service.
1083 Tower Hill Roger Walter has lost his guttering again as there is not room for 2 cars to pass by his property. Jim Lowe suggested a priority system and will progress the issue with DCC Highways.
1084 Torrington Hospital In the absence of Andrew Hewitt there was nothing to report.
1085 School Bus To Torrington Jim Lowe had complained to DCC about the route that the bus was taking. However, DCC experts had apparently driven the route and confirmed that it was safe and suitable.
1086 Snow Warden Update George Heywood reported that he had not yet found out about any possible salt deliveries.
1087 Members’ Reports
Kate Slocombe reported that the school had developed good links with the contractors building the new houses and school visits to the site were being arranged.
Jim Lowe i) Pearce are hosting an event to launch the sale of the properties at Hillpark at 10:00am on Saturday 1st February 2014 at Atlantic Village
ii) Jim still has some saplings left for use around the village.
iii) The 2 end allotments are in a mess and might need to be rotovated. Trevor Mills recommended sowing with red clover.
iv) Jim had received a call from Dawn Adams regarding the provision of landing lights for the Devon Air Ambulance helicopter. He felt that the recreation area of the new housing estate might be a suitable site.
v) Jim suggested that the Leader of Torridge Council, Cllr Philip Collins, should be invited as the guest speaker to the Annual Parish Meeting on 28th May 2014. This was agreed unanimously and Jim will contact him.
George Heywood i) had heard an item on the radio saying that lengthsman services should be the same in all counties
ii) George asked Robin Julian about the comment he had made at the last meeting suggesting that, in response to the county’s budget cuts, farmers could be asked to do more, stating that he did not think that they could do more than do already. Cllr Julian did not specify what extra works he expected farmers to do.
David Lloyd Noted that potholes around the village were getting bigger.
Trevor Mills reported that the leaves at Glen Hill had still not been swept.
Shirley Tilley i) warned about a virus known as ‘Ransom’ which locks computers and demands payment of a fee to restore it.
ii) noted that a report of activities was now included in the North Devon Journal and that the information is apparently being taken from Village Scene
iii) asked if Tarka Housing could be invited to attend a future meeting to provide an update on Tucker Park. Clerk to arrange.
Robin Julian (DCC) had emailed officers in DCC Highways about the leaves at Glen Hill, the bridge and other issues reported to him but had received no responses yet. He also stated that he had taken on board George Heywood’s comments.
(i) North Devon and Torridge Local Plan: Part 3 Engagement There was a discussion about the draft document supplied and a number of errors and omissions were noted. It was agreed that the Chairman and Clerk would liaise and submit a response including:
a. No mention of the 24 property development on the old factory site
b. Seeking clarity on status of Cock Pheasant field
c. Plot 2 excluded from plan/ should be included
d. Plan include provision for infilling but makes no mention of plots 3 and 4
e. One residence is excluded from the boundary
f. It had been agreed to increase size of Plot 5 on advice from Torridge but this was not shown on the map
g. Plot 7 excluded from the plan/ should be included
h. Clarification needed why allotments, playing fields and football pitch not inside boundary
i. Question the criteria for industrial development adjacent to the football pitch
j. Question who designated the conservation area and whether it can be lifted
ii) 1/1067/2013/OUT: Wind turbine, Watershute Farm, Horns Cross (Late item) – no comment
iii) 1/1027/2013/FUL: The Cottage, Gorwood Road, remove porch and erect conservatory – Granted Permission – noted
• Parish Council Current Account was £3,489.1 as at 31st December 2013
• Thornhillhead Moor Account £18,724.59 as at 19th December 2013
Payments due (£339.43 + VAT):
• Parish Clerk’s salary, expenses and associated PAYE: £119.42
• Peter McClymont – Website redevelopment and maintenance fees: £50.00
• DALC: Clerk’s One-day Course: £120.00 + VAT (£60.00 rechargeable to Frithelstock and Monkleigh Parish Councils)
• Citizens Advice Bureau – £50.00
Receipts since last meeting (£4,695.15):
• Thornhillhead Moor Stewardship Fee: £4,436.59
• Single Farm Payment (Football Pitch): £258.56 (Received in THM account, to be transferred to Council’s General Account)
Dates of Next Meetings:
Wednesday 5th February 2014, Budget Review Sub-Committee at The Chapel – 8:00pm
Wednesday 12th February 2014 at Buckland Brewer School – 7:30pm
The meeting closed at 9:15 pm
The Police Community Support Officers responsible for the parish of Buckland Brewer , John McGovern and Elizabeth Rendle, will attend the 2014 Parish Council Meetings as scheduled below. They will also be present at the village fete on Saturday 12th July and the Christmas market, and also make shop visits etc during the year. At Parish Council meetings the PCSOs summarise items affecting the parish which the police have dealt with, and speak early at the meeting. If you’re interested in finding out more about their work, you only need to come along for the first half hour! The dates are:
Devon and Cornwall Police aims to serve the communities of Devon and Cornwall and help inspire greater confidence in the Police. For more information please visit their website at
ROWLANDS Richard 13569: Richard.ROWLANDS@devonandcornwall.pnn.police.uk
RENDLE Elizabeth 30674: Elizabeth.RENDLE@devonandcornwall.pnn.police.uk
101 – The new non emergency number for Devon and Cornwall Police
Textphone 18001 101 for the deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired
Always call 999 in an emergency
Patrick Blosse, Clerk to Buckland Brewer Parish Council, Catsborough Cottage, Catsborough Cross, Monkleigh, Devon, EX39 5LE, Telephone: 01805 624832
Can we thank everybody who made this year’s market the most successful ever, raising £800 towards the new Community Hall. Can we also thank the same team who towards the end of October through the grateful hospitality of Nicki and Ollie at the Coach and Horses ran a quiz in aid of The Devon Air Ambulance and Devon Freewheelers. £150 being donated to each charity.
There are a number of vacant allotments available. If you are interested in renting either a full plot or half a plot please contact the Parish Clerk, Telephone 01805 624832
As from the beginning of January the Parish Council will be setting up an information point in the Church next to the Font. This will consist of back copies of minutes, and other reading material, in the main issued from national and local organisations that the Parish Council are either affiliated to or have a working relationship with. A suggestions box will also be provided.
The Parish Council is very grateful to the Parish Church Committee for providing the space in the church for this project.
(Draft) MINUTES OF THE PARISH COUNCIL MEETING OF BUCKLAND BREWER PARISH COUNCIL HELD ON WEDNESDAY, 11th DECEMBER 2013 AT 7:30PM AT BUCKLAND BREWER SCHOOL
Members Present: Mrs Barbara Babb, Mr Andrew Hewitt, Mr George Heywood, Mr David Lloyd, Mr Jim Lowe, Mr Trevor Mills, Mrs Kate Slocombe, Mrs Shirley Tilley and Mr David Watson.
Also in attendance 10 members of the public including Jane Lowe (Village Hall Committee) and Cllr Robin Julian (Devon County Council)
Parish Clerk: Patrick Blosse
KEY: Actions are shown in bold blue type Decisions are shown in bold red type
1059 Apologies for Absence Barbara Babb, Kate Slocombe and Alison Boyle.
1060 Minutes of the Meetings of 13th November, 19th November (Personnel Sub-committee) and 3rd December 2013 (Budget Review Sub-committee) The minutes of the meeting held on 13th November, 19th November and 3rd December 2013 were confirmed and signed.
1061 Declarations of Interest None.
1062 New Community Hall Jane Lowe gave a presentation about the new Community Hall. Jane provided a transcript of her presentation, which is attached at Appendix 1.
1063 WildWestNet: Broadband Opportunity The representative from WildWestNet did not attend the meeting.
1064 Public Participation Alex Dziurzynski explained that he had submitted an outline planning application for a new property on land off Gorwood Road and hoped that it would meet with the Council’s approval.
1065 Budget Review Sub-committee Report: The Clerk provided a resume of the Budget Review Sub-committee held on 3rd December. A budget paper was distributed and explanations were provided on any significant changes in the proposed budget, including:
• Supplementary Support Grant (not previously in the budget), £50.00cr
• Increased field and allotment rent income, £464.00cr
• A proposed increase in Clerk’s hours to 24 per month following receipt of guidance from NALC and a recommendation of the Personnel sub-committee – an increase of £1,033.00
• Establishment of a training budget, £300.00
• Other administration costs, website maintenance and subscription fees, £233.00
• Contribution to Election Costs Fund, £750.00
• Legal Fees relating to land transferring to the Parish Council, £500.00
• Increased contractors fees for Salt Spreading, £900
• Contribution towards Playing Fields Association regular maintenance costs, £250.00
• Budget reductions for completed projects (Village Hall, PCC cobblestones and Back Lane), £1,650.00cr
The clerk explained that a small part of the budget could be met from reserves. This would leave a balance in reserves of just over £3,000, roughly 52% of net expenditure (excluding precept) and that he would not wish to see reserves any lower than that. The proposed net budget that would fall on the precept amounted to £6,000. No decision was required at this stage as the Council has until 31st January 2014 to submit its precept amount to Torridge Council. It was agreed that members would consider the budget report during the next month and that a final decision would be made at the next meeting.
1066 Personnel Sub-committee Report The Chairman gave an overview of the Personnel Sub-committee held on 19th November which was held solely for the Clerk’s 6-monthly performance review. It was agreed that the clerk’s hours would increase to 24 with effect from 1st April 2014 and that his appointment would be formally confirmed.
1067 Clerk’s Report
I. Correspondence. A summary of various items of general correspondence was supplied to each member. The following item was specifically drawn to the Council’s attention:
o Lyn & Chris Layton: Objection to grazing on the football pitch
o BB History Group (Lyn Layton): Thank you for grant
o Alison Boyle: Christmas wishes and congratulations to Andrew Hewitt on his appointment as vice-chairman of the Torridge Area Advisory Group
o Claire McIntosh: Fencing at Thornhillhead Moor: Members agreed to proceed with the fencing as proposed
o Atlantic Array Offshore Wind Farm: Withdrawal of planning application
o DCC: Devon Local Flood Risk Management Strategy public consultation 27th November – 27th January: Chairman and Clerk to liaise to draft a response
o Citizens Advice Bureau: Application for grant: Members agreed to a grant of £50
o DCC: Devon Waste Plan: Pre-submission Consultation: Jim Lowe to attend
o Torrington Community Cares Oversight Group Meeting: Tuesday 18th November 2013
o Richard Cottrell’s Campaign West
o Peter McClymont: Mock-up of redesigned website: Members were asked to review the site and report any feedback directly to Peter McClymont
o Geoffrey Cox: Christmas card
o Maggie Melville: Email regarding wind turbines
o Torridge Household Waste & Recycling Guide A-Z:
II. Allotments Notice had been received on plot 8 (R J Thompson, wef 28/2/14), who plans to leave his shed for the next tenant and on plot 2 (G E Hasler, wef 31/3/14), who might be prepared to manage a half-plot if anyone wishes to share it.
III. Archery The clerk reported that a licence has been drawn up for use of the football pitch for archery. Clerk to distribute copies to members.
IV. Insurance Community First have confirmed in writing that our public liability risks are adequately covered in respect of the use of parish-owned land. A quotation for an increased annual premium of £37.04 for street furniture has been provided.
V. S.137 Spending Limit 2014/15 The government has announced that the limit that a parish council may spend under S.137 powers will be £7.20 per elector for 2014/15 – equivalent to £4,745 per annum.
1068 Thornhillhead Communications Mast A letter has been received from Arqiva suggesting that they were not prepared to increase their offer, Geoffrey Cox, MP has been contacted and has undertaken to take up the matter on the Council’s behalf.
1069 Members’ Reports
Andrew Hewitt reported as a member of the Clinical Commissioning Oversight Group that the beds at Torrington Hospital had now been withdrawn. Only 3 bed places had been provided recently with only one patient, for whist 24/7 nursing cover had been provided.
Andrew also reported that the school bus had been seen going via The Glen. Jim Lowe to call DCC to complain.
Jim Lowe reported that no invoice had yet been received for the Summer Bus service and that he would chase it up.
George Heywood stated his concern that there were no facilities for 8-14 year-olds and asked whether the youth club should be restarted. Jim Lowe pointed out that a basketball hop and volleyball court had been provided. David Watson pointed out the difficulty of finding someone to run it.
George also asked whether it would be economically sensible to ask for a settlement figure on the BT wayleaves. Clerk to investigate.
David Lloyd asked if Pearce Construction could review their traffic movements as their route seemed questionable. Jim Lowe to contact the site manager, Paul Knox.
Trevor Mills reported that leaves on the road at The Glen were causing a problem and the annual sweep was needed. Jim Lowe to contact Highways.
Shirley Tilley asked if the Parish Council would agree to bellringers going round the village on the following Tuesday. There was no objection.
Shirley also asked Robin Julian, the DCC representative, to report on his activities:
Robin Julian (DCC) said that he managed a locality budget of £10,000 and that the parish Council should consider making an application for funds for a suitable scheme. He said that DCC would continue to provide services such as the Lengthsman, but that parishes and farmers were being asked to do more for themselves. Cllr. Julian is a member of the Highways Committee and said that he will always fight for work to be done on potholes and other highways issues but that he need to be told exactly where the issues were located. He was informed about various works that were required.
(i) Communications with Torridge DC re Settlement Plan (Lower Abbots) Jim Lowe reported on discussions that had taken place with Torridge Planning regarding Lower Abbots. It had been suggested by Torridge that the site proposed in the Settlement Plan was too small for any significant development and that the Parish Council should consider extending the boundary to include the whole of Lower Abbots. Jim Lowe reported that this was acceptable to the landowners. It was proposed by Shirley Tilley, seconded by David Lloyd and carried by 6 votes to 1 that the whole of Lower Abbots should be included in the Settlement Plan.
ii) 1/0981/2013/OUT: Land off Gorwood Road, outline application for single dwelling and garage – No objection
iii) 1/0654/2013/FUL: Land at Langtreemoor lane, Langtree – Installation and operation of a single 250kw (hub height of up to 30m and 45m to blade tip) – Affecting a right of way – No comment
iv) 1/1027/2013/FUL: The Cottage, Gorwood Road – Remove porch and erect conservatory – No objection
v) 1/0864/2013/FUL: 15 Southwood Meadows: Proposed extension – Granted Permission
• Parish Council Current Account was £4,295.53 as at 29th November 2013
• Thornhillhead Moor Account £14,029.44 as at 29th November 2013
Payments due (£256.23):
• Parish Clerk’s salary, expenses and associated PAYE
Date of Next Meeting: Wednesday 8th January 2014 at Buckland Brewer School – 7:30pm
The meeting closed at 9:30 pm
Chairman: ………………………………………………………………………. Date: …………………………………
Agenda Item 1062
New Community Hall: Presentation by Jane Lowe 11th December 2013
THE LAST 12 MONTHS –
The following information has been shared with the public at AGM and is regarded as a matter of public record.
Last November we hoped to have planning permission for the new development, including our own project, signed off & agreed with Torridge. We knew only when that had happened could we make a beginning.
During November 2012 Village Hall engaged Gates as Employers Agents (in effect they will act as our site project managers and deal with all matters builder) and also as CDM (Care Development Manager), effectively site Health & Safety managers & enforcers, now a legal requirement. This gives us, as trustees, comfort that we have a full & proper professional umbrella which will shield us from personal liabilities connected with site and building contract matters.
Towards the end of last year, we were led to believe that there was a significant amount of matched funding available (£20k + £20k) between TDC & Community Council of Devon, available only to submissions received by 31st January 2013 – a lot of pressure was put on TDC to sign off the planning permission – this proved elusive, with nominal sign off only being agreed in the last week of January. The bid for funding on this occasion was, whilst thorough, not successful mainly because of the enforced rush and inability to prepare, outside our control, but the work put into this will form a significant part of the foundation for future large bids.
The S106 agreement, which (as you are aware) is Village Hall’s quasi guarantee of funding and land upon which to build, was not signed off by TDC until spring 2013. Only at that stage, did Village Hall discover that, for all the proper reasons, we were not direct beneficiaries of the S106 as it was pointed to you, the Parish Council, who are rightly regarded as guardians of matters community. To remind us all, the basic terms of value to Village Hall are that as soon as 20 houses are built, sold and occupied, £325k will be released to the community & a parcel of land will become available for sale at a nominal price. You will also be aware of the correspondence between us and yourselves regarding letters of intent to ensure that as soon as the terms of S106 are complied with, Village Hall will receive the funds, and solicitors for both sides have already been instructed to effect land purchase – Village Hall will cover legal fees for both Parish Council & Village Hall for their specific portion of land, having given various assurances about return of unspent funds, interest charges etc. To affirm, Village Hall regards Parish Council as our partner in this venture.
During July & August, a few fairly complex applications for funds had been made – with only limited success, it has become apparent that funding will only be agreed when we can evidence that the hall is under construction ( a chicken and egg scenario) – we have to accept that in such times, and with much fraud having taken place over recent years, this is a reasonable precaution from funders and we will have to respect these conditions. Also during this time we instructed Gates to go out to tender with full building spec – we have invited builders to quote using local labour where possible. Quotes were a little staggering, ranging from just short of £1M at the top, to £850k at the bottom including a cost to hold to price for one year. Any idea of self-build has been vehemently discouraged by Community Council of Devon (apparently quite common in the 1970s & 80s) and common sense on many levels bears this out in analysis with massive changes in building regulations, Health & Safety Law, and not having the in depth knowledge of builders track records to know who can deliver within the set timescales without placing us at serious financial risk. It is probable that prospective funders would not pay out on self-build either – it is simply no longer considered acceptable practice.
In recent times Village Hall has created a new officer role – Project Liaison Officer – dealing with all matters new village hall, including planning the overall project, applying for funds and interfacing with the professionals e.g. Nigel the architect, & Gates. As I have been doing this “off the side of a desk” for many months, alongside the secretary role, it makes sense to stand aside and concentrate purely on this, which will become increasingly time consuming.
The key challenge for us in the coming months is to make ourselves fit for a Big Lottery funding application. At the end of September I attended (along with Parish Council Chair) a Lottery Funding Masterclass – I believed that at the end of this day I would be “genned up” to know how to fill in successfully a 100 page application and away we would go. THIS PROVED TO BE FAR FROM THE CASE. Many participants of that day simply gave up at the end of it. Lottery representation was there on the day, and made clear they were not interested in time wasters (their words, not mine). The hurdles are immense and average time from start to finish in terms of Lottery is 74 months.
I presented to this Village Hall committee in full at the beginning of October, half expecting people to find the cross between “Dragons Den “ & “The Apprentice” just too challenging. However, all of us genuinely believe that if we don’t achieve a new hall this time, we can bury our ambitions for future generations forever. So following a “blind ballot” the majority of trustees opted to go for Lottery funding (as opposed to giving up or seeking an alternative solution).
Before we can apply to Lottery at Stage 1, we must own the land on which we wish to build. Whilst we wait for houses to be built and sold, we see this as our chance to get ourselves in the best position to be at the top of the application pile (finding funding is competitive, we are up against the rest of the country). We are seeking an accreditation called Hallmark – this will start in earnest in January – and an independent bill of health approved by Lottery for our financial set-up (known as Sustainability) – we know we may have a lot of work to do on our operational model, but we also know that without this, any application to Lottery is likely to be among the first to be discarded. I now have the pack which will start us on the road to Hallmark and it is my intention to review this over Christmas and try and put together a programme for us that is manageable (bit size chunks). We will need to address properly formulated policies as a start – I am informed that we don’t necessarily need to “reinvent the wheel” – there are some “off the peg” ones Community Council of Devon (CCD) can help with although we will have some of our own that will have to be included. I have already identified to our trustees areas I regard as financially vulnerable but CCD will certainly add some meat to those bones and help us find solutions. I have starter meetings “pencilled in” at Community Council of Devon for early February to construct an overarching project plan for agreement by our trustees which will include “Plan B “ and possibly “Plan C” too and to commence a full financial analysis. We shall be seeking funding i.r.o. £0.5 M. There is only one alternative funder identified who will potentially provide a sum of this size and they will be equally challenging in demands of us.
Also during this time we are seeking to get outline planning permission for the old hall – simply high level change of use, so that it will auction quickly when needed – it is not realistic to assume we will be able to maintain 2 properties for long so a quick sale is vital. We will not be able to sell – we will be prevented by both TDC now – they need to be satisfied we are not “selling the family silver”, & Charity Commission at contract stage, as they have control of the freehold (the freehold is registered in the name of Official Custodian) and a public vote is needed – until we can evidence that we have an alternative for the community to use, so the community as a whole is not at risk.
It is important to point out that at AGM, 5 trustees resigned and one fresh face joined us – we await representative trustees from church, WI & skittles which will bring our trustee contingent back to 16 – we will still have 2 places and have made it clear that we both welcome and need new blood on our committee.If anyone from Parish Council can help us with this it would be regarded as a great service both to the hall and to the community.
Finally, as the S106 names the Parish Council as beneficiary, I am advised to request that you approach Pearce fairly regularly (monthly?) for an update regarding the sale and occupancy of the housing – it is probable they will not proactively seek to part with funds and land as a first priority and a request for information should form part of the S106 agreement made between them and Parish Council.
Jane Lowe, Project Liaison Officer & Vice Chair, Buckland Brewer Village Hall
On: Wednesday 8th January 2014, 7:30pm
At: Buckland Brewer School Hall
Business to be transacted at the meeting: