Minutes 3rd December 2015

Finance & Staffing Committee

Minutes of the Myland Community Council Finance & Staffing Committee Meeting held on Thursday 3rd December 2015, 7.30pm @ Myland Community Council Office, 101 Nayland Road, Colchester, CO4 5EN

Present:        Cllr Pete Hewitt (Chair)
Cllr Richard Beauchamp

Cllr Jean Dickinson

Cllr Carolyne Hurst

Cllr Martin Goss

Cllr John Sutcliffe

Ward Cllrs Locker and Graham also attended.

There was one member of the public present.

035-15/16     Apologies – Cllr McGonagle.

036-15/16     Declarations of Interest – There were none.

037-15/16     Have your say

Mrs White apologised for not attending the previous meeting held on 29th October 2015. She said she would like to compare the cost of very early editions of the Mylander with the cost of recent issues. She said she would like the committee to look at the latest edition of the Colchester Flyer, a copy of which she had brought to the meeting. She suggested the Assistant Clerk could look at the adverts in the Flyer and get some ideas for the Mylander. She said there was a distinct repetition of articles over the years and she suggested it would be a good idea to look at the content.

Cllr Hurst said the Community Group would look at the Mylander at their January 2016 meeting.

038-15/16     Minutes of the meeting held on 29th October 2015 to be approved as a true record and signed by the Chairman

The minutes of the meeting of the F&S Committee held on the 29th October 2015 were approved as a true record and signed by the chairman.

Proposed: Cllr Hurst                     Seconded: Cllr Goss                (Unanimous)

039-15/16     Update on progress of resolutions made at the last meeting

The Chairman referred to Item 030-15/16 which was regarding purchase of a poppy wreath. He said Cllr Sutcliffe had agreed to do a paper for the full MCC meeting to be held on 9th December 2015.

The Chairman said Item 31-15/16 would be covered on the agenda.

He referred to Item 32-15/16 which had been taken to the MCC meeting on 11th November 2015. He said a decision had been deferred until the December MCC meeting which would be held on 9th December 2015.

040-15/16     Report from Responsible Financial Officer

  1. Budget monitoring
Budget £ Ear Marked £ Total Actuals £ Variance £
Total Income 101,988.00 99,522.31       2,465.69
Staff Costs 50,000.00 0.00 31,565.10 18,434.90
Loan 12,338.00 0.00 6,169.16 6,168.84
Building & Mtce 4,000.00 0.00 2,113.29 1,886.71
Office Equipment 3,000.00 0.00 1,389.73 1,610.27
Mylander 12,000.00 0.00 7,754.00 4,246.00
Street furniture & Mtce 0.00 2,905.00 945.66 1,959.34
Meetings 550.00 0.00 293.98 256.02
Training courses 1,100.00 0.00 327.20 772.80
Fees & Subscriptions 2,500.00 0.00 2,240.03 259.97
Community  funding 2,000.00 2,000.00 1,813.12 2,186.88
Other Costs 4,000.00 0.00 61.00 3,939.00
Contingency Fund 500.00 2,000.00 320.00 2,180.00
Projects Fund 10,000.00 15,000.00 562.00 24,438.00
Expenditure Total (Ex VAT) 101,988.00 21,905.00 48,149.76 75,743.24
  1. Mylander Advertising income
Mylander Income £ 2015/16 Expenditure £ 2015/16 Outstanding £
3,860.00 7,754.00 1,580.00

The RFO said the outstanding amount included £1,200 for four issues from Woodland View.  All other outstanding amounts due were from regular advertisers and would be paid soon.

  1. Neighbourhood Plan Grant

The RFO said there was no change to the amount left of the Neighbourhood Grant.  Summary below:

Original Grant Total £20,000.00
Less Request No 01 £576.00
Less Request No 02 £3,634.91
Less Request No 03 £737.96
Less Request No 04 £525.00
Less Request No 05 £518.00
Less Request No 06 £47.00
Grant Remaining £13,961.13
  1. Community Centre Account

The RFO said there was no change to the amount in the Community Centre Account:

Payment From Amount £
Crest Nicholson 6,000.00
Fete income 218.00
Cllr Goss 20.00
TOTAL 6,238.00

041-15/16  To consider and possibly resolve to recommend to full Council to vire £10,000 from the Projects budget stream to the Community Centre account – Cllr Hewitt

The Chairman said this item would be taken after Item 043-15/16.

042-15/16     To present outline specifications and preliminary financial data on 2 possible new community centres in the wider context of the Neighbourhood Plan and invite discussion – Cllr Dickinson

Cllr Dickinson said she would like to discuss the community centres. She said she had concerns about what would be provided under the S106 agreements. She said the money would only buy the shell of a very modest village hall facility. She said both Chesterwell and Severalls centres would be very small. She said she had looked at optimum sizes and services and had identified two big issues.

She said her calculations showed that there would be a shortfall of around £2.5m – £2.75m at today’s rates, and that a further £0.5m would be required for the fit out.  She said these figures include inflation to 2024.  She said MCC should think about setting up a fund to meet this gap.  She said any decision on the precept at this meeting would mean the figure would be set for a year and that therefore another year would be lost.  She said MCC could have small buildings if they liked, but that fit out would include putting in the internal walls.  She said she would like to suggest that the committee should accept the principle of increasing the precept to get a fund going for a source of money with which MCC could work.

She said she had attended the meeting at Rowan House about Severalls Phase 2. She said the site set aside for the Severalls community facility was unfit for purpose for many reasons. She said there were several alternative sites in the area. She said CBC planners had not discussed alternative sites. She said if the developers pushed through the revised planning application MCC would lose the opportunity to negotiate for a different site. She said therefore there was a great urgency for Cllrs to work together on this issue, to give the Council some working capital, some credibility and resources. She said it was urgent that the Council took a view on this issue so that commitments could be made on the way forward.

Cllr Hurst asked if the revised plan mentioned was just for the community centre?

Cllr Dickinson said the revised plan was for the whole phase and that the housing numbers were down from 1250 to 750. She said the plan was not the same as it had been on the original application. She said there were changes to the Administration Building in particular. She said in her opinion the whole thing had been changed.

Cllr Hewitt said the Council had talked about establishing a savings fund for fitting out the centres. He said the work the Cllr Dickinson and the assistant Clerk had been asked to do had taken on a much broader picture. He said it was important that flexibility was built into the design. He said that the community centres as proposed might not meet all the needs that would arise out of the Neighbourhood Plan, and therefore MCC should look at them.

He said that the S106 money was index-linked. He said he appreciated the sense of urgency that Cllr Dickinson had brought to the meeting about this issue. He said his concern was that MCC had to endorse any decision. He said that it had been decided that the full Council meeting in January would be dedicated to this topic and that this decision had the Clerk’s approval.

Cllr Graham questioned where the figure of £2.5m shortfall had come from.

Cllr Dickinson said that the S106 agreement offered a facility “up to” so many square metres.

Cllr Goss said that his reading of the S106 agreement was different. He said MCC was not and should not be a developer. He said it would be important to work with the developers.  He said there was more certainty round the Chesterwell facility than Severalls.

Cllr Locker said that he felt Myland should have facilities of which it could be proud. He said larger facilities were something to which Myland could aspire. He questioned how would this facility be paid for, and suggested that the precept was the obvious answer, but that MCC would need to bring along the people of Myland. He said MCC could look at lobbying CBC to release money for these facilities. He said it would depend on the make-up of the Borough Council after May 2016. He said it could be possible to get money to meet aspirations but that community engagement would be needed.

Cllr Hewitt said that needs had been identified in the Neighbourhood Plan. He said he would not want to burden residents with a large precept hike and soon after ask them to take part in the Neighbourhood Plan referendum. He said he agreed that community engagement was required. He said this would be an issue to look at around the corner. He asked if there might be scope for the timing of the Chesterwell facility to come forward.

Cllr Goss said that this would require either the developers building more quickly or re-negotiation of the S106 agreement.

Cllr Hewitt said that if it would not be possible to build the centres by 2020 then the committee was focusing on something that was not going to happen, in which case the urgency for this meeting did not exist.

Cllr Graham said he had seen no evidence to confirm the quoted shortfall of £2.5m.

Cllr Dickinson said that the figures would be checked to provide this evidence.

Cllr Graham said he would need evidence to be able to make a decision.

Cllr Hurst said MCC would need to get the public on board and that she would not be able to support this until that point was reached.

Cllr Locker said it would be scandalous if Myland only ended up with two small halls, but he asked if it was down to MCC to make up the shortfall. He said the New Homes Bonus money was needed.

043-15/16     To consider and possibly resolve to authorise all necessary expenditure on professional fees and research to undertake a Professional detailed sites evaluation, outline design options and business case, to report back to full Council in April 2016

This was deferred to the next meeting of the F&S Committee when details of expenditure expected were available.

041-15/16     To consider and possibly resolve to recommend to full Council to vire £10,000 from the Projects budget stream to the Community Centre account

This was deferred until any additional Project expenditure had been identified.

044-15/16     To consider and possibly resolve to agree the Budget/Precept 2016-17 to go to full Council for approval

It was resolved to agree the Budget/Precept 2016-17 to go to full Council for approval with a recommended 20% increase (see Appendix 1).

Proposed: Cllr Hewitt                  Seconded: Cllr Goss                (5 For; 1 Abstention)

045-15/16     Date of next meeting – 7th January 2016, 7.30pm @ 101 Nayland Road

The meeting closed at 9.05pm

Cllr Pete Hewitt …………………………………………………..


Exclusion of Press & Public – Having regard to the confidential nature of the following business proposed to be transacted to exclude the Press and Public pursuant to Section 1 of the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960

046-15/16     To discuss any staffing issues

Staffing was discussed.