SEDLESCOMBE PUBLIC PLAYING FIELD AND RECREATION GROUND TRUST

Sedlescombe Parish Council is the Sole Trustee

Trust Purposes of the Charity Commission Scheme, Charity Number 305305:
To use 1.8 acres of land beside the river which make up the Public Playing Field and Recreation Ground for the provision and maintenance of a recreation ground or playing field for the benefit of the inhabitants of Sedlescombe and the neighbourhood without distinction of sex or of political, religious or other opinions. The Council may provide, or assist in the provision of, on the trust property, such facilities for physical exercise and training, lectures, classes and other forms of recreation and leisure-time occupation having the object of improving the conditions of life for the said inhabitants as the Council shall from time to time think fit. In addition, the Council can allow the land to be used for other purposes as long as the use does not substantially interfere with its recreational use.  Under certain circumstances, the Council may be able to sell the land.

MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE SEDLESCOMBE PUBLIC PLAYING FIELD & RECREATION GROUND TRUST HELD IN COMMITTEE ROOM 1 OF THE VILLAGE HALL ON TUESDAY 1 MAY, 2005 TO 2030

PRESENT: Mrs V Wright, Mrs J Mitchell, Mr N Foord, Mr R Dellow, Mr W Cameron, Mr P Martin, Mr A Rand, Mrs M Irwin, Mrs P Raymond

T07/08.1 CHAIRMAN. RESOLVED: That Mrs V Wright be Chairman of the Public Playing Field and Recreation Ground Trust for the ensuing year.

T07/08.2 SECRETARY. RESOLVED: That Mrs P Raymond be Secretary of the Public Playing Field and Recreation Ground Trust for the ensuing year.

T07/08.3 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE. Mrs P Glew.

T07/08.4 REASON FOR MEETING. To note

  1. that the Parish Council's two roles of Local Authority and Charity Trustee must be kept entirely separate and decisions must be made about the Charity for the benefit of the Trust, and not the Council, in accordance with the Objects of the Charity Commission Scheme 305305 detailed above;
  2. that the Parish Council does not own the land but is merely a Trustee. Any improvements which are carried out to the Ground are "owned" by the Charity even if paid for by the Council;
  3. that the Parish Council is the Trustee and not its individual councillors;
  4. that the 2006/7 Audit Report requires declaration of parish councils' roles as sole trustees of charities.

T07/08.5 CHARITY COMMISSION. The Secretary reported her very recent discussions with the Charity Commission regarding the need or not for a Management Agreement/Lease between the Trust and the Parish Council. The Charity Commission had confirmed that Sedlescombe Parish Council has all the powers it needs to administer and manage the land as a public playing field and recreation ground without the need for such additional arrangements to be put in place. However, after taking further legal advice, the Charity Commission has agreed that a Management Agreement can be drawn up as recommended by SALC's Solicitors. However, a lease is not appropriate in this case. The Charity Commission has contacted the National Playing Fields Association regarding the wording of a suitable maintenance agreement and further contact is expected.

Alternatives available for managing the Trust are:

  1. The Parish Council to form a committee of Councillors to effectively administer and manage the land for the Trustee or
  2. The Parish Council to administer and manage the land itself. Separate Trust meetings must be held that are not open to the public to determine the charity's business and make decisions on its running etc.

The Trust does need to prepare a separate set of accounts and an annual report. However, parish councils do not have to open separate bank accounts for the charity to manage but may do so if they wish. The accounts are, therefore, prepared on a "paper" basis and expenditure should include a proportion of the Parish Council's administration costs attributable to the charity.

The SALC Solicitor suggested that the Trust should not rely on the Parish Council for funding but should try to find other sources of income to run the Playing Field and Recreation Ground. The Charity Commission, however, states that they do not expect parish councillors to fund-raise and it is quite normal for precept money to be used for this purpose.

It had also been suggested that advice regarding reclaiming VAT should be sought from Customs & Revenue.

T07/08.6 MANAGEMENT AND CONTROL OF THE TRUST PROPERTY. RESOLVED: That, for the time being, the Parish Council will continue to be responsible for managment, maintenance and insurance of the Trust property in its statutory capacity under the terms of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 section 19.

The Secretary/Clerk had sought advice from Rother District Council's Monitoring Officer regarding the necessity for parish councillors to declare personal/prejudicial interests. Some advice had been given which would be considered by the Parish Council but the Monitoring Officer had also asked that a question is sent to the Standards Board.

T07/08.7 REPORT TO THE TRUST. The attached Annual Report 2006/7 was approved.

T07/08.8 QUORUM. RESOLVED: That the Quorum of Meetings of the Trust should be three.

T07/08.9 DATE OF NEXT MEETING. To be announced.

Chairman..................................................... Date............................................