SEDLESCOMBE PARISH COUNCIL

FINANCE COMMITTEE MINUTES

MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE FINANCE COMMITTEE OF SEDLESCOMBE PARISH COUNCIL HELD ON TUESDAY 26 JUNE 2007 IN COMMITTEE ROOM 2 OF SEDLESCOMBE VILLAGE HALL, 19:30 TO 20:45

PRESENT: Cllr Glew (Chairman of the Committee), Cllrs Irwin, Martin, Cllr Wright (Chairman of the Council), Cllr Rand (Vice-Chairman of the Council) (from agenda item F07/08.12)

Clerk/Responsible Financial Officer: Mrs P Raymond

No members of the public present

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F07/08.4 Apologies. Apology for absence was received from Cllr Dellow (holiday).

F07/08.5 Minutes. The Chairman was authorised to sign the Minutes of the Meetings of the Committee held on 27/03/07 and 15/05/07.

F07/08.6 Code of conduct. Members were reminded to declare their personal interests on matters on the agenda, the nature of any interest and whether the Member regarded the interest as prejudicial under the terms of the Code of Conduct. CLLRS GLEW AND IRWIN DECLARED THEIR PERSONAL INTERESTS IN AGENDA ITEM F07/08.10 BY VIRTUE OF THEM BEING VILLAGE HALL TRUSTEES. IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CODE OF CONDUCT, THEY REMAINED IN THE MEETING.

F07/08.7 Internal Audit. The Committee noted that, because of holidays, it had not been possible to arrange the internal audit of the 2006/7 accounts in time for this meeting. It is expected, however, that the accounts will be ready for approval by the Council at its meeting on 10/07/07.

F07/08.8 2007/8 Accounts - First quarter against Budget. Members were provided with a financial statement on the first quarter's income and expenditure against the budget. Various questions were raised by members and answered by the Clerk/RFO.

F07/08.9 Approval of expenditure. None.

F07/08.10 Insurance of village hall car park. The Committee noted that the Village Hall Committee had obtained confirmation in writing that the village hall car park (owned by the Parish Council and leased to the Village Hall Trust) is covered under the public liability section of the Village Hall Trust's policy.

F07/08.11 Churchyard Fund Accounts. Cllr Rand (absent at this point of the meeting) had informed the Clerk that Parochial Church Council members were aware of the reduced balance in the accounts at the end of 2006.

F07/08.12 Riverside Playing Field & Recreation Ground

  1. Grass cutting. The Mowing Contractor had complained that the ground is "bumpy". Contractor should have inspected the ground prior to tendering for the work.
  2. Loose stepping stone between Everglades and Niagara. Not dangerous. Cllr Rand to inspect and report.
  3. Grand Canyon, bottom cable too near ground. Cllr Rand to inspect and report.
  4. Fence behind tennis courts. Spile removed in order that river could be accessed. Cllr Rand to repair.
  5. Tennis Courts fence damage. No action required as there is currently free access to the courts.
  6. Desperate need for additional litter bin. Cllr Rand has the old litter bin that he removed from the area prior to refurbishment and will replace it. New liner will be obtained if needed.
  7. New seat. To be provided by Sedlescombe Playground Refurbishment Group. To be installed on the river side of the playground to give the option of where to sit in order to find shade.
  8. Tennis courts. Leaves in corner - no action. Rubbish around the court reported by one councillor. Currently litter not a big problem.
  9. More damage to picnic table in play area - no action.
  10. Junior swing seat very dirty. Cllr Rand to attend to.

F07/08.12 East View Kickabout Area

  1. Shelter - Orbit Housing Association in the process of demolishing the shelter. Cllr Glew reported a comment from a local resident who thought the Parish Council had paid for the removal. A note had been inserted in the latest Bulletin.
  2. Dumped bikes - To be removed by Reg Glew tomorrow.
  3. Fence - gap in North boundary and netting on south boundary needs reclipping in one section. Cllr Dellow offered to look at.
  4. Split board on fence. No action.
  5. Mowing. The mowing contractor had twice reported problems with youths refusing to move from the Kickabout Area and not allowing him to cut the grass. The Clerk had received PC Cleverley's agreement to the PCSO accompanying him if necessary. However, it appears that he has been able to cut the grass recently.

F07/08.13 Funding for replacement of Sedlescombe Sports Pavilion. The problems of replacing the pavilion had been discussed at the Parish Assembly on 24/04/07 after the Sports Association asked the Council to take it over. There had been a show of hands in favour of the Parish Council investigating the idea of replacing the pavilion maybe using a loan to pay for it.

At the Parish Council meeting on 15/05/07, the Parish Council had agreed to be responsible for building the pavilion but the idea of obtaining a Parish Council loan to pay for the whole venture was not supported. Several parish councillors had been lobbied by residents concerned about the resultant considerable increase in Council Tax that would be needed to make the repayments.

Subsequently, the Sports Association, on being told that the Parish Council had not agreed to take out a loan, had objected that the Parish Council was not doing what the Parish Assembly had requested. The Finance Committee disagreed that there was any intention of the "show of hands" in favour of further investigation taken at the Assembly being a mandate for the Council to take out a loan.

In the absence of a substantial loan, if the pavilion replacement is to go ahead, other options for raising the funds will need to be considered. A long list of potential funders had been identified. Catsfield's new pavilion had been paid for with help from six funders and it was expected that Sedlescombe would be able to obtain similar funding plus a major injection of money from the Football Foundation. Cllr Rand was currently in discussions with the Football Foundation.

The Committee agreed to the Clerk/RFO's suggestion that parish councillors should be invited to an informal meeting on 03/07/07 to allow sufficient time to discuss the intricacies of the project prior to the Council Meeting on 10/07/07 when decisions will need to be made if the project is to move forward.

The Clerk/RFO informed the Committee that the Council will need to decide whether it is willing to accept the restrictions on using the pavilion for business activities in order to be able to reclaim VAT on the construction. Until this is done, the estimated total project cost cannot not be established. It was agreed that a meeting with Sports Association members should be arranged after the Council Meeting to check that the Association will be able to meet the requirements of the current SPC/Sports Association lease which gives the Association responsibility for paying all charges for gas, electricity and water levied on the pavilion and for maintaining and insuring the pavilion. The Council will then be able to decide whether it should reclaim VAT or not on the project. The VAT on £150,000 is over £26,000. In order to inform the debate, information on possible costs will be obtained from the Village Hall Committee (through representative Cllr Glew) and Catsfield Parish Council (through the Clerk/RFO and Clerk to Catsfield Parish Council).

F07/08.14 Jobs List. Members updated the current jobs list. Herewith.

F07/08.15 Grants. The Committee noted that the High Weald AONB Joint Advisory Committee are offering Sustainable Development Fund grants of between £1500 and £15,000 towards projects which provide outstanding examples of action to reduce carbon emissions and/or safeguard the High Weald and its landscape. Projects must start after 01/09/07 and finish by 31/03/08. The deadline for submission of applications is 31/07/07.

F07/08.16 Date of Next Meeting. 16 October 2007.

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