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COUNCIL MEETING MINUTES
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MINUTES OF THE EXTRAORDINARY MEETING OF THE SEDLESCOMBE PARISH COUNCIL HELD ON WEDNESDAY 11 JUNE 2008 IN COMMITTEE ROOM 2 OF THE VILLAGE HALL, 19:45 TO 20:54

PRESENT
Cllrs Cameron, Dellow, Glew, Irwin, Martin, Wheatley
Councillor Wright (Chairman of the Council), Councillor Rand (Vice-Chairman of the Council)

Clerk/Responsible Financial Officer: Mrs P Raymond

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C08/09.22 Apology for Absence. Cllr J Mitchell (she has a personal and prejudicial interest by virtue of her being the Secretary of the Sports Association and decided, therefore, not to attend).
C08/09.23 Interests. Declarations of existence and nature of councillor's interests, whether personal or personal/prejudicial, with regard to items on the agenda. None declared.
C08/09.24 Public participation session. No public present.
C08/09.25Link to Draft Minutes of 11/06/08
Minutes. RESOLVED:: That the Chairman of the Council is authorised to sign the Minutes of the Annual Meeting of the Council held on 13/05/08.
C08/09.26 Proposed Pavilion
26.1 Report from Cllr Rand. Cllr Rand (Project Manager) reported that the portacabin is fully operational and that the Football Club will be adding a shower unit so that they will be able to continue to play at Sedlescombe Sportsfield in the coming season after receiving promotion. The old pavilion has been demolished and the services disconnected. Electricity is ready to be connected to the new pavilion. Abbey Pynfold have been engaged to carry out the piling works. Unfortunately, because of the rise in the price of steel, their cost has increased by £760. The preferred contractor, Steed Construction Ltd., had confirmed that they do not foresee any increase in their quotation provided in February 2008 for construction of the pavilion. Cllr Rand answered questions about the proposed contract and confirmed that some savings might be found in the contract price because main drainage will not have to be provided.
26.2 Big Lottery Reaching Communities funding. Members had been provided with the Clerk's Briefing Note regarding the failure of the Council's Big Lottery application for £50,000 funding towards the project. This application was submitted in February 2008 and a rejection letter was received at the end of May 2008. Reasons given were that more good applications were received than they could fund and other applications more fully met the programme aim of bringing real improvement to communities and to the lives of people most in need. The Big Lottery Fund also considered regional information and the geographical spread of projects. It was noted that many of the projects supported were social projects. The Big Lottery cannot consider a new application for this project within the next year.
26.3 Funding. Members considered the Clerk's Confidential Briefing Note regarding Funding. The Note detailed the progress of the project to date, the current funding and costing budget including approved grants and those still in the pipeline, possible funding transfers from the Council's 2008/9 budget and balances, the borrowing process, the probable effect on the Sedlescombe Parish Council precept of servicing and repaying a loan, various loan scenarios, running costs of the new pavilion and, finally, the risks of not building the pavilion now. The risks are as follows:
  • Building costs will rise faster than money can be raised [according to a report by the Civil Engineering Contractors Association published on 30/05/08, baseline construction costs have risen by 7 to 7.75% over the 12 months to April 2008. The Association has said that clients need to recognise this and allow for a rise in their budgets. At this rate, a year's delay could result in a rise in building costs for a £170,000 project of about £13,000. The money so far raised is invested in a Barclays Business Bonus Account with a current rate of interest of 3.8% (including 2.2% bonus) which will not keep up with the rise of costs. In addition, the grants already approved will be less valuable in real terms if there is a delay in taking them up.]
  • The Sedlescombe community will turn its attention to other projects that need support.
  • The current expertise regarding building work and fund-raising may not continue to be available leading to a further increase in costs and loss of income.
  • The background work already undertaken with the preferred contractor will be wasted.
  • Planning permission will expire in 2009.

Although some members were reluctant to commit the Village to servicing a loan, others commented on the small weekly rise in Council Tax that would arise. It was noted that a rise as suggested would not bring Sedlescombe to the top of the Rother District Council Tax table (this financial year, Sedlescombe is in 19th position out of 32 parishes with a Band D Council Tax of £43.93 p.a).

Cllr Wright mentioned a possible grant application to the Youth Opportunities Fund that she is working on with the Youth Development Manager. Cllr Dellow mentioned other funding opportunities.

Cllr Irwin suggested that, in order to safeguard Sedlescombe people living on a small pension, every effort should be made to build a smaller pavilion but Cllr Rand explained that the current proposals represented the minimum that is needed to support use by the Football Club, Cricket Club, Junior Football Club and Hastings & St Leonards Bowmen. Other clubs such as Netball are expected to use it and Stoolball to restart.

Cllr Wheatley expressed the views of two residents that the proposed cost of the pavilion is too high and that it could be constructed for less. Although Cllr Rand had already met with one of these people, he agreed to have a further meeting to see whether there is any validity in what he is saying. The favoured contractor had been chosen from three contractors by the Parish Council in February because of his robust quotation and because he is a NHBC registered builder.

26.4 Sedlescombe Parish Council 2008/9 Budget. Members had been provided with a copy of this year's budget and the Clerk's list of suggested savings and transfers which would reduce the overall loan amount. RESOLVED: That the Parish Council agrees to the following amendments to its 2008/9 budget and transfers to the project freeing up £19,200:
  • Deletion of £3,000 for the refurbishment of the lead pump on the Village Green (no interest currently from the community despite several appeals).
  • Deletion of £150 for quarterly professional playground inspections (not taking place).
  • Transfer of £10,000 from balances in the general funds.
  • Reduction by £500 in Riverside Playground refurbishment/maintenance.
  • Deletion of budget figure of £400 for purchase of a litter bin.
  • Transfer of £5,150 from tennis courts fund (not needed imminently for resurfacing and circumstances now changed with no Tennis Club using the courts).

Voting: 7 in favour, 1 abstained (Cllr Irwin).

26.5 Borrowing approval. RESOLVED: That an application is made for borrowing approval for a PWLB fixed-rate loan of £90,800 to be repaid over 25 years.

Voting 6 in favour, 1 abstained (Cllr Irwin), 1 against (Cllr Wheatley).

26.6 Next step. RESOLVED: That a further meeting of the Council would be held when borrowing approval has been obtained to re-assess the situation.
26.7 Architectural Services. RESOLVED: That Pumphouse Designs of Sedlescombe should be appointed to undertake architectural services for the project. A meeting would be held on site later this week regarding the exact position of the building. The Council had already approved Stage 1 of the project for foundations and piling work and this would go ahead as soon as possible.
26.8 Further action. The Clerk/RFO would issue a press release on Thursday 12 June regarding the situation with the project. A meeting would be arranged with the Sports Association in due course.

 

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