Royston and District Committee Minutes

Wednesday, 14th September, 2016
Room 11, Royston Town Hall, Melbourn Street, Royston

Attendance Details

Councillor Fiona Hill (Chairman), Councillor Bill Davidson (Vice-Chairman), Councillor P.C.W. Burt, Councillor Jean Green and Councillor Tony Hunter.
In attendance:
Ashley Hawkins (Community Officer)
Susanne Gow (Committee and Member Services Officer)
Also Present:
2 members of the public, including the speaker for Public Participation.
Item Description/Decision
Apologies for absence had been received from Councillors Ben Lewis and G.E. Morris
RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the Meeting held on 1 June 2016 be approved as a true record of the proceedings and signed by the Chairman.
There was no other business raised for this Committee Meeting.
1) The Chairman welcomed those present to this meeting of the Royston and District Committee, including all Members of the Committee, the general public including the speaker at Public Participation and the NHDC officers.

2) A letter had been received from Mary Caldwell, former NHDC Planning Control and Conservation Manager, thanking the Royston and District Committee for the retirement card and gift and stating that she had enjoyed working with the Members of the Committee and with Royston Town Council;

3) The Chairman announced that she had arranged for the sound at this particular meeting to be recorded;

4) She then read out the following statement: “Members are reminded that any declarations of interest in respect of any business set out in the Agenda should be declared as either a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest or Declarable Interest and are required to notify the Chairman of the nature of any interest declared, at the commencement of the relevant item on the Agenda. Members declaring a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest must withdraw from the meeting for the duration of the item. Members declaring a Declarable Interest which requires they leave the room under Paragraph 7.4 of the Code of Conduct, can speak on the item, but must leave the room before the debate and vote.”

5) It was emphasised that Members should clearly state their reason for declaring an interest and the nature of that interest, whether they will remain in the room, speak and vote and not just declare an interest per se.
Carole Kaszak of Royston Choral Society (RCS) addressed the Committee and explained the background and history of the RCS. She informed the Committee that the Society’s forthcoming concert was a performance of the complete Handel’s “Messiah” to be held on Saturday 26 November 2016 at 7.30pm in Royston Parish Church. Coincidentally, this work had been the very first concert performed by the RCS after it was formed in 1974. Mrs Kaszak explained that the performance was going back to the way it would have been performed when Handel wrote it in 1741. It was first performed in 1754 with a small baroque orchestra to support the choir. The RCS was hoping to repeat this usage of a small orchestra.

The Musical Director, Andrew O’Brien, was fairly new to the RCS, but is extremely experienced, having achieved national recognition through his choir winning the BBC Junior Choir of the Year 2012, as well as one of his singing pupils winning th4 BBC Radio 2 Chorister of the Year in 2013. He now lives in Buntingford and has a real talent for drawing the best out of choirs.

Mrs Kaszak declared that the Royston Choral Society is a very friendly group formed of about 50 or more members, and new recruits do not have to be vocally trained and no audition is required there are three open rehearsals instead. After that, the potential member will be expected to start contributing to the Society by paying subscriptions (currently £110 per year). However, membership and ticket sales to the concert do not cover the funds required to run the RCS. For this reason, it has been decided to raise the price of entry to Handel’s “Messiah” to £15 per person, with no concessions allowed. She declared that the RCS would be grateful for any funds that the Royston and District Committee would be happy to award them.

The Chairman thanked Mrs Kaszak for her comprehensive presentation and the Committee added their thanks for her work for Royston residents. She was informed that the grant application for the Royston Choral Society would be considered later during the Meeting.


1) That Carole Kaszak of Royston Choral Society be thanked for her presentation to the Royston and District Committee and

2) That the grant application relating to Royston Choral Society be considered later on the Agenda (see Minute 29 below).
Following a Member of the Committee having been approached with a complaint by a Blue Badge holder on the subject of lack of disabled parking in Royston Town Centre, Members discussed exactly where he was parked and why he was likely to have been issued with a parking ticket. They also discussed swopping disabled bays from one area to another, as some empty bays had been seen, and possibly also converting a few taxi bays to disabled.

The Chairman proposed that research is carried out into finding suitable locations for further disabled bays.

RESOLVED: That suitable locations for further disabled bays in Royston Town Centre be investigated.



The Community Officer introduced the report of the Head of Policy and Community Services, updating the Committee on the activities with which he had been involved since the last meeting of the Royston and District Committee on 1 June 2016.

The CO drew the attention of Members to the current level of unallocated funds in the Development Budget (£6,400) and the sum of £245 available in pre-allocated funds brought forward from the Financial Year 2015/2016.

He detailed his recent activities at para 9.1 and explained that he had been in contact with the Herts County Council NHDC Rights of Way team on this subject.

He updated the Committee at para 9.2 that there would be a procession on the 24 September in Priory Memorial Gardens.

Under 9.3 he revealed that he and the Community Manager had worked closely with Ad Hoc on the Summer Soul event which had taken place on 9 July 2016.

After commenting on the plans for Therfield Pre-School, there was a discussion on the lack of pitches for cricket, football and rugby and other facilities on The Heath, Royston. In fact, one football team has had to move to Roysia School to hold their training sessions and matches. The CO was asked to find out the situation and report back to the Committee.

Highways Matters
As set out in the report, this heading would be included in the Community Update report to promote Committee discussion and enable feedback on any of the p0roposed or listed schemes.

Grant Funding
The following projects were noted by the Committee as they are in the process of, but not yet ready for, consideration:

• The Barkway 10k Run in 2016 has now been cancelled;
• Funding support to Barkway Parish Council to assist with extension and kitchen refurbishment works at Barkway Village Hall;
• Funding support to Royston Town Youth FC to assist with equipment costs, publicity and pitch fee support costs for a new Youth Team for 4-6-year-olds;
• Funding support to assist Friends of Therfield First School to create an external covered communal area to host village/community events and extra-curricular activities. Having acquired all the funding required from a £9,000 Awards for All grant, the School no longer needs funding support from the Royston and District Committee;
• Initial funding support to assist Reed First School in the development of a village library/community learning hub facility
• Initial advice and support to the Reed Village Hall Management Committee in the setting up of a youth club at the Hall on Thursday evenings;
• Advice and support to the Coombes Community Centre Manager regarding possible future enhancement/refurbishment projects to the facility.


1) That the activities and schemes with which the Community Officer (CO) has been involved, be noted;

2) That the actions he has taken to promote greater community capacity and well-being be endorsed and that he be thanked for his work on behalf of the people of Royston and the surrounding area;

3) That the budgetary expenditure, balances and carry forwards within the Area Committee Development Budget spreadsheet, be noted;

4) That the Committee consider a grant award of £500 to the Royston Choral Society to assist with costs for putting on a performance of Handel’s “Messiah” at Royston Parish Church on 26 November 2016.


1) To ensure that the Committee is kept informed of the work of the Community Officer;

2) To inform Members of the financial resources available to the Committee. The report draws attention to the current budgetary situation, assists in the effective financial management of the Area Committee’s budget and ensures actions are performed within the Authority’s Financial Regulations and the guidance in the Grants Policy.

3) The awarding of financial assistance to voluntary organisations and the use of discretionary spending allows the Committee to further the aims and priorities of the Council.
The Chairman declared an interest in this grant application, as the Royston Choral Society have been informed that she will be supporting them by means of her Hertfordshire County Council Locality Budget. Cllrs Burt, Green and Hunter also declared an interest, as they had been Royston Town Councillors at the time that Mrs Kaszak had worked for Royston Town Council until she left some years ago. They decided that they did not know Mrs Kaszak well enough to warrant leaving the room and refraining from voting.

RESOLVED: That the sum of £500 be granted to Royston Choral Society to assist with the costs for putting on a community concert at Royston Parish Church in November.


1) The awarding of financial assistance to voluntary organisations and the use of discretionary spending allows the Committee to further the aims and strategic priorities of the Council;

2) The allocation of funds will improve the services provided by local organisations and groups that are available and accessed by members of the community.
Brief reports were given by Members as follows:

• Royston Day Centre - Cllr Davidson informed the Committee that everything was going well with the Day Centre, but that they still required more volunteers to work in the kitchen.
• Royston First - a meeting had been held.
• Royston Volunteer Centre - The Volunteer Centre required more funding support.
• Royston Town Twinning - Cllr Green advised the Committee that a new Chairman had been appointed, Elizabeth Freeman. The Chairman proposed that Paul Rydon be thanked by the Committee for all his hard work over the years. She informed the Committee that it was hoped that the new development at Kneesworth Street could be named after La Loupe, Royston’s twin town in France. La Loupe now had a Royston Square. The developers had agreed to name it La Loupe. There had been a subsequent request from the Royston and District Town Twinning Association to name the passage between the Library and the GP Surgery in the Town Centre with a La Loupe connection, but this was not thought to be practical. None of the Committee present objected to the Kneesworth Street development being named after La Loupe. Cllr Green advised that the town twinning group from Grossalmerode would be visiting Royston in October and a dinner and concert would be held for them at 7pm on 22 October 2016 at Greneway School.
Published on Tuesday, 27th September, 2016