Letchworth Committee Minutes

Date:
Wednesday, 27th January, 2016
Time:
7.30pm
Place:
Committee Room 1, Council Offices, Gernon Road, Letchworth Garden City
 
 

Attendance Details

Present:
Councillor Mike Rice (Chairman), Councillor Paul Marment (Vice-Chairman), Councillor Clare Billing, Councillor John Booth, Councillor Julian Cunningham, Councillor Gary Grindal, Councillor Lorna Kercher, Councillor David Levett, Councillor Ian Mantle and Councillor Mrs L.A. Needham.
In attendance:
Mary Caldwell (Development and Conservation Manager), Claire Morgan (Communities Officer) and Hilary Dineen (Committee and Member Services Officer).
Also Present:
At the start of the meeting 10 members of the public.
Item Description/Decision
PART I
67 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors T.W. Hone and Deepak Sangha.
68 MINUTES
MINUTE 60
Councillor Mantle expressed disappointment that the requested information regarding City Chorus had not been provided at this meeting.

The Communities Officer assured Members that the information would be available at the next meeting.

MINUTE 61
Councillor Kercher advised that she had attended the Pantomime Party run by Imajica Theatre Company, which was supported by grant funding from this Committee and that it was a really enjoyable event.

MINUTE 63
Councillor Needham advised that she had started the process to nominate an official NHDC representative to the Letchworth Sustainability Forum.

MINUTE 66
Councillor Grindal asked that the Head of Policy and Community Services attend this Committee to discuss deprivation statistics.

RESOLVED:
(1) That the Minutes of the Meeting of the Committee held on 9 December 2015 be approved as a true record of the proceedings and be signed by the Chairman;

(2) That the Communities Officer be requested to ensure that the information regarding City Chorus is presented at the next meeting of this Committee due to be held on 9 March 2016;

(3) That the Head of Policy and Community Services be requested to attend the next meeting of this Committee due to be held on 9 March 2016 to discuss deprivation statistics.
69 NOTIFICATION OF OTHER BUSINESS
There was no other business notified.
70 CHAIRMAN'S ANNOUNCEMENTS
(1) The Chairman welcomed all who had attended the meeting, particularly those who had attended to give a presentation;

(2) The Chairman advised that, as there was a grant application for Letchworth Garden City Town Centre Partnership, he would hear Item 7 - Town Centre Manager immediately following the presentation regarding the grant application;

(3) The Chairman drew attention to the item on the agenda front pages regarding Declarations of Interest and reminded Members that, in line with the Code of Conduct, any Declarations of Interest need to be declared immediately prior to the item in question.
71 PUBLIC PARTICIPATION - K AND Y ACTIVITIES
Prior to the item being heard Councillor Lorna Kercher declared a Declarable Interest as she knew one of the people making the presentation, but she advised that she would not benefit from any grant funding and would therefore take part in any debate and vote.

Mrs Margaret Redding thanked the Chairman for the opportunity to address the Committee and introduced Kam, K and Y Activities founder. They gave a verbal presentation regarding the grant funding application for K and Y Activities as follows:

• K and Y provided a safe environment with wheelchair access at Mrs Howard Hall for people with learning disabilities;
• They had recently started a Sunday games café which helped participants with hand/eye coordination, interaction with others and self esteem, as well as building confidence and teaching work/life skills;
• The group also provided maths and English classes as well as other activities such as football games;
• The volunteers had the necessary skills in teaching and learning disabilities, with all of the activities designed to increase the abilities of the individual and help them to either attend college or gain employment;
• Advertising for the group was through Facebook, leaflets and the Tourist Board;
• New and additional equipment was needed for the games café including electronic bingo and a magnetic darts board;
• The aim was for participants to help run the café and therefore wished to buy tablets to help with taking orders and a computer to help with the running of the club.

Members asked several questions including how would the tablets assist with the café, whether they would be used for other things and what would happen to them when not being used for the café.

Mrs Redding explained that the tablets would be loaded with an application whereby items could be identified pictorially and orders stored, making it easier for those with learning disabilities to take part in the operation of the café. They would also be used to support the maths and English classes.

In response to queries from Members, Mrs Redding advised that the maths and English classes were held during the week and that the Asian community had shown a lot of interest having seen Kam and her son, who had learning difficulties, take part.

The Chairman explained that there was some concern regarding what would happen the equipment if the café failed and asked if they would, in those circumstances, agree to return all equipment to NHDC.

Mrs Redding agreed to this request.

The Chairman thanked Mrs Redding for her presentation.
72 PUBLIC PARTICIPATION - LETCHWORTH GARDEN CITY RUGBY CLUB
Mr Richard Sell thanked the Chairman for the opportunity to address the Committee and gave a PowerPoint presentation regarding the grant funding application for Letchworth Garden City Rugby Club as follows:

• Letchworth Garden City Rugby Club was a successful club with 4 senior sides, 250 junior members and was home to the Bravehearts for players with learning difficulties;
• It was a community based club, that had raised £2,000 for charity;
• The Club wanted to attract new players and provide the opportunity for youngsters to play rugby by bridging the gap between school and community sport regardless of financial circumstances;
• They currently provided several after school tag clubs, which the schools were paying for.
• The Club had contacted 20 local schools and had meeting arranged with 10 to discuss after school tag rugby clubs. Rugby scholarships and promotional materials;
• The tag rugby clubs would operate after school in primary schools for 12 weeks and the schools would charge for this and pay the Club.
• There were 3 schools, Garden City Academy and Pixmore, which did not charge for after school clubs and funding of £480 per school was being sought to enable tag rugby to take place in these schools;
• 34 rugby scholarships would be offered at a costs of £242 each;
• In all cases promotional material of posters, welcome packs, registration letters, websites etc would be required at a cost of approximately £2,600 (£140 per school)
• The printing so far had been provided free of charge by the Chairman of the Club, who was a printer.

The Chairman advised that the Committee could not fund scholarships and recommended that the Club apply to Letchworth Civic Trust for this element of funding.

Members expressed concern at the level of funding being requested and asked whether young people who were already club members would also have to pay a fee per week for tag rugby and purchase the kit at a cost of £120.

Mr Sell acknowledged that the scenario was possible and advised that the schools would be running the tag rugby and the Club would provide coaching.

In response to queries for Members Mr Sell advised that the proposed grant funding would be used to pay for an after school tag ruby club at Pixmore School and Garden City Academy and the fees charged would pay coaches wages.

Members were concerned that other schools in deprived areas had not been included and that the kit required would be purchased at the Club shop at retail prices. They also commented on the high level of printing costs.

Mr Sell informed Members that they were establishing the tag clubs gradually and that they may be able to get sponsorship to extend the number of schools included.

In respect the kit, this would be purchased through the Club shop which was operated by Tylers at retails prices. Tylers made a profit on sales in the shops and paid Letchworth Garden City Rugby Club a small commission.

The printing costs quoted were for all of the schools across Letchworth and Baldock, and although the initial designs etc were in place, much more printing would be required.

The Chairman thanked Mr Sell for his presentation.
73 PUBLIC PARTICIPATION - CARIBBEAN HARMONY
Prior to the item being discussed Councillor Lorna Kercher declared a Declarable Interest as she was Chair of Howard Garden Social Centre where the Caribbean Harmony Group met. She advised that she would remain in the room and vote.

Prior to the item being discussed Councillor Julian Cunningham declared a Declarable Interest as he was NHDC representative on Jackmans Community Centre where the Caribbean Harmony Group planned to hold a Get Fit Funday. He advised that he would remain n the room and vote.

Ms Grace Crawford (Secretary) and Mrs Sandra Bovell (Chairman) thanked the Chairman for the opportunity to address the Committee and gave a verbal presentation regarding the grant funding application for Caribbean Harmony as follows:

• Caribbean Harmony was set up in 2007 and met at Howard Garden Social Centre monthly with an annual fee of £10;
• The group was aimed at families and had approximately 50 members aged from 2 - 87 years old;
• They encourage senior citizens to join the club, join in activities and therefore prevent isolation;
• The over 60s club met on a fortnightly basis at NHDC offices;
• At the monthly meetings they provided a meal for a small charge;
• The group undertook fundraising on a regular basis and supported charities such as Sickle Cell, Headway and Garden House Hospice;
• The group provided a social and educational programme;
• Two events, a Get Fit Funday at Jackmans Community Centre on 19 March 2016 and a trip to Brixton Black Cultural Archives on 25 June 2016 were being planned;
• Funding was being sought to cover the costs of hiring Jackmans Community Centre, a Rastacise coach and a coach for the Brixton trip.

The Chairman thanked Ms Crawford and Mrs Bovell for their presentation.
74 PUBLIC PARTICIPATION - LETCHWORTH GARDEN CITY TOWN CENTRE PARTNERSHIP
Prior to the item being heard Councillor David Levett declared a Disclosable Interest as he was a member of the BID and a Director of Letchworth Garden City Town Centre Partnership. He advised that he would leave the room for the presentation and any debate and would not vote.

Mr Tom Hardy, Letchworth Garden City Town Centre Manager, thanked the Chairman for the opportunity to address the Committee and gave a verbal presentation regarding the grant funding application for Letchworth Garden City Town Centre Partnership as follows:

• Funding provided towards the costs of last years events was much appreciated;
• Approximately 30,000 people had attended during the weekend of the 2015 Food and Garden Festival;
• The Christmas Light Switch On events had been a great success, for which very positive feedback had been received;
• The Partnership planned to run 4 core events during 2016, partly supported by the BID;
• The Partnership budget was set on the premise of receiving grant funding;
• Any grant funding from this Committee would enhance those events.

Members asked Mr Hardy to clarify whether he was representing the BID, The Partnership or both and asked him to clarify how much money the BID received and who benefitted from the increased footfall in the Town during these events.

Mr Hardy advised that he was representing the Town Centre Partnership which ran the major events in the Town Centre and received funding support from the BID.

Members commented that, in the past, they had been led to believe that the Town Centre Partnership would eventually be taken over by the BID and asked for confirmation of this and how other towns with a BID operated.

The Communities Officer advised that Hitchin had the BID and Hitchin Initiative, which was the charitable organisation. The Town Centre Manager represented Hitchin Initiative, but was employed by the BID.

Mr Hardy informed Members that the BID received £170.000 per year, it set a budget each year, which included partly funding the 4 major events run by the Town Centre Partnership.

In respect of increased footfall during event the businesses in the Town were the major beneficiaries, but these events also showcased the Town as somewhere to visit.

Members expressed concern that grant funding was being requested when the Council paid into the BID through the levy on their buildings in the Town and by not charging for colleting the revenue for the BID.

Mr Hardy stated that the precedent had been set by the Hitchin Initiative receiving a large amount of grant funding from Hitchin Committee despite it being a BID Town.

The Chairman thanked Mr Hardy for his presentation.

Councillor Levett returned to the room.
75 PUBLIC PARTICIPATION - LETCHWORTH FESTIVAL
Mrs Ann Pegrum thanked the Chairman for the opportunity to address the Committee and gave a verbal presentation regarding the grant funding application for Letchworth Festival as follows:

• The support of the Letchworth Committee for last year’s Festival, which was the biggest and best to date, was much appreciated;
• This year support was being requested for the Proms in the Park and small group support;
• A number of musicians and 4 local schools are already committed to taking part in the Proms, which last year was attended by 1,000 people;
• Since the application, the Churches Together Group have advised they wish to hold a Morning Songs of Praise using the stage and other equipment;
• During the Proms, Letchworth Arts and Leisure Group will be running a Flash Story Writing event, writing stories of 250 words;
• The Steering Group offer support to others putting on events during the Festival, by underwriting hall hire costs and offer small grants for equipment.

Members asked when the event would become self-funding and how the spending of grant funding could be monitored.

Mrs Pegrum advised that last year some advertising space was sold in the programme and they received some sponsorship, which had enabled them to use £4,000 towards the costs of this years event and that receipts for all purchases could be provided.

The Chairman thanked Mrs Pegrum for her presentation.
76 PUBLIC PARTICIPATION - CITIZENS ADVICE NORTH HERTS
The Chairman advised that, as Citizens Advice had not yet signed the lease for their new premises, he had asked that they defer their grant funding application until the next meeting of this Committee due to be held on 9 March 2016.
77 GRANTS AND COMMUNITY UPDATE
The Communities Officer presented the report entitled Community Update and Grant Applications and drew attention to the following:

BUDGETS
The current level of unallocated funds in the 2015/16 budget was £20,415.

There was £248 remaining in the 2014/15 budget of which £220 had been allocated towards the cost of producing a leaflet for Councillor Surgeries.

JACKIES DROP IN
Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation were to meet with Jackies Drop In to discuss extending the lease on their new premises.

North Hertfordshire College, the current occupiers, were responsible for reinstating the utilities.

Jackies Drop In had raised £10,000 towards the cost of renovations and LGCHF will match these funds

The move to the new premises would likely start in May and would be phased in order to ease the transition for their client group (Adults with learning disabilities).

They planned to prepare a grant application for consideration at the next meeting of this Committee.

GRANGE YOUTH CLUB
The Trustees of the Grange Youth Club had notified NHDC that they were no longer able to operate the building. NHDC Officers were working in partnership with Youth Connexions to keep the Youth Club open.

HITCHIN KINGS BASKETBALL CLUB
Members expressed concern that the grant funding awarded last year could not be tracked as most transactions for the Club were in cash.

They noted that lessons must be learnt from this experience and that receipts should be requested and the recommendation of the Task and Finish Group on Grant Funding, that end of year reports should be received from recipients should be implemented.

COUNCILLOR SURGERIES
The NHDC Environmental Crime Officer, together with the local PCSO would be in Garden Square Shopping Centre on 16 April 2016. The Communities Officer suggested that Councillors may like to consider holding a surgery on that date.

Members asked that statistics regarding attendance and subjects discussed at Councillor Surgeries be submitted to the next meeting of the Committee in order for Members to consider the future of Councillor Surgeries.

RESOLVED:

(1) That the budgetary expenditure, balances and carry forwards from the Development and Visioning Budgets be noted;

(2) That the actions taken by the Community Development Officer to promote greater community capacity and well-being for Letchworth Garden City be endorsed;

(3) That the Communities Officer be requested to obtain copies of receipts regarding expenditure of larger grant funding awards;

(4) That the Communities Officer be requested to obtain end of year reports from grant recipients;

(5) That the Communities Officer be requested to provide statistics regarding attendance and subjects raised at Councillor Surgeries to the next meeting of this Committee due to be held on 9 March 2016.

REASON FOR DECISION: To keep Members of the Committee apprised of the latest developments in community activities in Letchworth Garden City.
78 GRANT APPLICATION - K AND Y ACTIVITIES
Prior to the item being heard Councillor Lorna Kercher declared a Declarable Interest as she knew one of the people making the presentation, but she advised that she would not benefit from any grant funding and would therefore take part in any debate and vote.

RESOLVED:
(1) That grant funding of £1,000 be awarded to K and Y Activities from the 2015/16 Discretionary Budget towards the set up costs of running a games café;

(2) That, if this club fails, all equipment be returned to NHDC.
.
REASON FOR DECISION: To improve services provided by local organisations and groups which are accessed by the community.
79 GRANT APPLICATION - LETCHWORTH GARDEN CITY RUGBY CLUB
Members were concerned that there were areas of the Town that suffered from deprivation that would not receive free tag rugby because the school chose to charge for after school clubs. They were also concerned at the high printing costs.

They discussed the principals of local sports clubs offering free coaching, but acknowledged that child protection issues rightly required proper checks to be made on coaches.

In respect of the Club funds, Members noted that they had received a grant amounting to £38,000 from the Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation and had a very large bank balance. Members questioned why the Club could not support these projects themselves.

After considering all of the issues, it was proposed, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the Communities Officer be requested to liaise with Letchworth Garden City Rugby Club so that they are able to bring a revised proposal for grant funding to be considered a future meeting of this Committee.
.
REASON FOR DECISION: To improve services provided by local organisations and groups which are accessed by the community.
80 GRANT APPLICATION - CARIBBEAN HARMONY
Prior to the item being discussed Councillor Lorna Kercher declared a Declarable Interest as she was a member of Jackmans Community Centre where the Caribbean Harmony Group met. She advised that she would remain in the room and vote.

Prior to the item being discussed Councillor Julian Cunningham declared a Declarable Interest as he was NHDC representative on Jackmans Community Centre where the Caribbean Harmony Group planned to hold a Get Fit Funday. He advised that he would remain in the room and vote.
.
RESOLVED: That, grant funding of £1,000 be awarded to Caribbean Harmony from the 2015/16 Discretionary Budget towards the cost of a coach trip to Brixton Black Cultural Archives and a Get Fit Funday.
.
REASON FOR DECISION: To improve services provided by local organisations and groups which are accessed by the community.
81 GRANT APPLICATION - LETCHWORTH GARDEN CITY TOWN CENTRE PARTNERSHIP
Prior to the item being heard Councillor David Levett declared a Disclosable Interest as he was a member of the BID and a Director of Letchworth Garden City Town Centre Partnership. He advised that he would leave the room for the presentation and any debate and would not vote.

Members were supportive of the events in the Town Centre and acknowledged the benefits of increased footfall and having a vibrant Town Centre.

They were, however, concerned that funding was being requested year on year for events and the amount being requested had increased significantly since last year.

They considered that the Council already funded the BID by way of the levy on their buildings in the Town Centre and felt that the BID could be supporting the Town Centre Partnership, in running these events, with more funding.

They suggested that the Town Centre Partnership together with the BID should consider how future events may be funded.

It was proposed and seconded and

RESOLVED:

(1) That, grant funding of £2,500 be awarded to Letchworth Garden City Town Centre Partnership from the 2015/16 Discretionary Budget towards the cost of the Letchworth Food and Garden Festival;

(2) That the Letchworth Town Centre Partnership be requested to apply for grant funding on an event by event basis.

REASON FOR DECISION: To improve services provided by local organisations and groups which are accessed by the community.

Councillor Levett returned to the room.
82 GRANT APPLICATION - LETCHWORTH FESTIVAL STEERING COMMITTEE
RESOLVED: That, grant funding of £1,500 be awarded to Letchworth Festival Steering Committee from the 2015/16 Discretionary Budget towards the cost of providing Proms in the Park and small group support.

REASON FOR DECISION: To improve services provided by local organisations and groups which are accessed by the community.
83 GRANT APPLICATION - CITIZENS ADVICE NORTH HERTS
The Chairman had previously advised that, as Citizens Advice had not yet signed the lease for their new premises, he had asked that they defer their grant funding application until the next meeting of this Committee due to be held on 9 March 2016.
84 LETCHWORTH GARDEN CITY TOWN CENTRE MANAGER
Prior to the item being heard Councillor David Levett declared a Disclosable Interest as he was a Director of Letchworth Town Centre Partnership. He advised that he would leave the room for the presentation and any debate and would not vote.

Mr Tom Hardy, Letchworth Garden City Town Centre Manager, thanked the Chairman for the opportunity to address the Committee and gave a verbal presentation regarding the activities and issues in Letchworth Garden City town centre.

The BID had four aspects to the business plan being:

EVENTS AND PROMOTIONS
Looking at introducing a weekly Thursday market, a Sunday car boot sale and an opening event for the Letchworth Festival.

ACCESS AND PARKING
Working with Hertfordshire Highways, NHDC and Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation to consider a signage scheme which was hoped to be concluded in October 2016.

MARKETING
The Town Centre events and the Town as a whole were being marketed.

DEVELOPING THE OFFER
Services such as business mentoring and free online training were being offered to local businesses.

Footfall counters were being installed to help gauge the success of events and initiatives held in the Town.

Quarterly meetings would be held with the traders to find out their needs and how they would get the most from the activities offered by the BID.

Members asked where a market and car boot sale might be located and whether NHDC had been consulted.

Mr Hardy advised that the Arena car park was being considered for the car boot sale and the bottom of Leys Avenue for the market and that discussions with NHDC had started regarding these.

The Chairman thanked Mr Hardy for his presentation.

Councillor Levett returned to the room.
85 SECTION 106 AND UNILATERAL UNDERTAKINGS
The Development and Conservation Manager presented the report entitled Section 106 and Unilateral Undertakings.

She informed Members that Mrs Howard Hall, Letchworth Garden City’s first public building, was owned by Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation. It was leased via a head lease of 999 years to NHDC and occupied under sub-leasing arrangements by the Letchworth Garden City Community Group.

The existing sub-lease was currently held over whilst discussion were ongoing between LCGCG and NHDC regarding a lease, which once agreed, would have a duration of 25 - 30 years.

The Letchworth Garden City Community Group was a registered charity with limit of liability and therefore, through its governance conditions, not permitted to make a profit from its operation. Any income is reinvested back into the charity.

The proposal was to insulate that Hall to make it warmer and therefore more hireable.

Members acknowledged that the Hall was cold and supported the thermal improvements to the building but were surprised that the building had not been insulated effectively during the 2007 refurbishment and extension.

Members queried the level of insulation that would be installed.

The Development and Conservation Manager advised that the description at Paragraph 8.4 of the report was that included in the Listed Building Consent, this did not prevent a better material being used as was now proposed.

RESOLVED:

(1) That, subject to the agreement of a new lease and the satisfactory receipt of further information to support the application for funding from section 106 contributions, the Community Development Manager, on behalf of the management of Mrs Howard Hall, applies for funding towards this project.

(2) That, subject to (1) above, a contribution of circa £20,000, unless otherwise advised, be drawn from the section 106 agreements regarding applications listed below:

(i) 08/00987/1 - Former Murco Filling station - £5,023.76
(ii) 08/00229/1 - Land off Cade Close - £6,995.47
(iii) 10/00278/1 - Land at Broadwater Dale Garages - £4,902.36
(iv) 08/02803/1 - Trembaths, Talbot Way - £2,021.47
(v) 09/02218/1 - 1 Northfields - £237.38
(vi) 10/00799/1 - Sollershott Hall Sollershott East - £1,066.27
(vii) 10/01087/1 - 50c Station Road - £467.95
(viii) 11/00110/1 - Land at 99 Northfields - £247.33
(ix) 13/01590/1 - 39-43 Leys Avenue - £710.64

Total - £21,672.63

REASON FOR DECISION: To ensure that there is a robust system for negotiating and managing Section 106 and Unilateral Undertakings.
86 WARD AND OUTSIDE ORGANISATIONS - MEMBERS’ REPORTS
No Ward or Outside Organisation matters were discussed.
Published on Tuesday, 23rd February, 2016
9.52p.m