Cabinet Sub-Committee (Council Charities) Minutes

Tuesday, 24th March, 2015
Committee Room 3, Council Offices, Gernon Road, Letchworth Garden City

Attendance Details

Councillor Bernard Lovewell (Chairman), Councillor P.C.W. Burt and Councillor Julian Cunningham.
In attendance:
Acting Senior Lawyer and Committee & Member Services Manager.
Item Description/Decision
RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the meeting of the Sub-Committee held on 27 January 2015 be taken as read, approved and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.
There was no notification of other business.
The Chairman reminded Members that, in line with the Code of Conduct, any Declarations of Interest needed to be declared immediately prior to the item in question.
There was no public participation.
The Sub-Committee considered a report of the Head of Finance, Performance and Asset Management in respect of the progress of negotiations relating to the King George V Playing Fields, Hitchin, regarding completion of the Lease and Management Agreement between the Trust and Hitchin Rugby Football Club

The Sub-Committee was reminded that, at its previous meeting held on 27 January 2015, it was resolved that the approved Lease and Management Agreement between the Trust and Hitchin Rugby Limited be completed as soon as practical, subject to the approval of Fields in Trust. Following that meeting, the Council’s Property Solicitor arranged for the approved Lease and Management Agreement to be sealed and also obtained the necessary approval of Fields in Trust. The Property Solicitor repeatedly pressed Hitchin Rugby Limited to complete the Lease and Management Agreement, without success.

The Sub-Committee was informed that, on 18 February 2015, the solicitors acting for Hitchin Rugby Limited wrote to the Council’s Property Solicitor requesting that, despite the previous agreement of the Lease being surrendered by operation of law, Hitchin Rugby Limited now required that the Lease be formally surrendered using a Deed of Surrender, in order to assist in the registration of the approved lease at the Land Registry.

The Council’s Property Solicitor informed the Rugby Club’s solicitor that any deed would need to be approved by the Sub-Committee and that the next scheduled meeting was some time off. Hitchin Rugby Limited then requested that, in order to draw down the Sport England funding, the approved Lease and Management Agreement should be completed. This was done on 3 March 2015. Hitchin Rugby Limited accepted that the requested Deed of Surrender could not be completed at the same time.

The Council’s Property Solicitor had reviewed the draft Deed of Surrender of the Lease. The draft (attached at Appendix A to the report) was acceptable and no liability would fall on the Trust. The Deed of Surrender formally “killed off” the Lease. The approval of Fields in Trust to the Deed of Surrender would not be required.

The Acting Senior Lawyer answered a number of Members’ questions on the report.

At the conclusion of a short discussion on the role of the Sub-Committee, the Acting Senior Lawyer undertook to review with the Acting Corporate Legal Manager the quorum of the Sub-Committee and the possibility of substitutes, especially as the quorum for the Sub-Committee was all the current three Members, and in the event that any interests were declared; and a possible change to the Sub-Committee’s terms of reference to authorise revised delegation arrangements to an appropriate Officer, in consultation with the Chairman, to make decisions on minor matters, thereby avoiding the need for an excessive number of Sub-Committee meetings.


(1) That the request from Hitchin Rugby Limited that the Trust and Hitchin Rugby Limited enter into a Deed of Surrender in respect of the lease dated 15 March 1994 made between the Trust (1) Hitchin Rugby Football Club(2)(“the Lease”) be approved; and

(2) That the Head of Finance, Performance and Asset Management, in consultation with the Chairman of the Sub-Committee, be delegated authority agree any necessary minor amendments to the draft Deed of Surrender attached as Appendix A to the report.

REASON FOR DECISION: To ensure that the Trust is managed in accordance with its regulatory requirements.
Published on Monday, 30th March, 2015