Minutes of the Stonnall Y & C. C. Working Party meeting held on 2nd Dec 2020

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SHENSTONE PARISH COUNCIL

Serving Little Aston, Shenstone, Stonnall, Shenstone Wood End, Lynn, Parish Council Office 25C Main Street Shenstone WS14 OLZ
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Minutes from virtual meeting of Stonnall Youth & Community Centre Working Party held on December 2nd Dec 2020

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Register of members in attendance: Cllrs David Thompson, Stuart Jones, Sheila Beilby, Gail Nicholls, Mick Cox, Neil Perry & David Salter.

Clerk: Shirley O’Mara.

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Apologies received: None

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Introduction.

Cllr Thompson outlined the objective of the meeting by talking through the background to the agenda items & goals of the meeting.

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Shenstone Parish Council Trustee Status & how that limits its involvement in exploring the Stonnall Village Hall option.

Cllr Salter briefed the Working Party on the facts established by the Clerk following the last Working Party meeting in which he had queried the Council’s position as Custodian Trustees of the Village Hall, expressing doubt that Council could actually participate in the proposed project development.

The Clerk was informed by both Alan Topliss, the internal auditor & by Staffs Parish Council Association that the Parish Council may support the Village Hall by grant funding under Section 137.  The amount it may grant fund to is £8.32 per member of the electorate in any one financial year.

This is not restricted to Wards but the whole Parish.

Total electorate is 6239 in total. 6239 x £8.32 is £51,908.48 which is the total amount which may be grant funded- however other grants to the Parish must be included reducing the amount available to approx. £40,000 per year.

The Parish Council cannot do the administration. It can, however, claim back VAT by processing invoices up to the amount of grant funding agreed.

All planning & grant funding applications must be completed by the Management Committee of the Village Hall or appointed representatives.

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Options for Stonnall Village Hall Management Committee exploring the option independently.

To move forward the Village Hall Committee must:

  1. Vote to decide if they wish to progress the project & if so apply to Council for grant funding.

  2. The Village Hall Committee needs to complete the pre-planning application & any other (or bring in professionals to do so).

  3. Similarly, the same for other grant funding.

Cllr Thompson stated that the management committee of the Village Hall could, if they vote to pursue this option, co-opt others to support the task for a fixed period as a task and finish group. There is also the ability to bring in professionals as appropriate.

Cllr Thompson invited Cllr Beilby & Nicholls to comment as members of the SVH Committee, bearing in mind that though this is only one option, it is the previously acknowledged preferred one.

Cllr Nicholls expressed significant disappointment that in her view the amount of funds the PC is restricted to giving as Custodian Trustees is not enough to support the project , that the task of fundraising the rest is too big an ask and not something she would be part of. Cllr Thompson reiterated that much of the work could be done with external support such as from Mr John Punch.

Cllr Beilby presented the Working Party with the attached spreadsheet and explained her concerns at the possible effects of closing the VH to do any re-furb.

She stated that she did not want to be part of the project and both she and Mr Beilby, as Treasurer, would retire from the Committee if it goes ahead. Also having spoken to the other Committee members, they feel the same.

Cllr Beilby summarised her concerns as potential costs of the building project, the potential effects of the period of closure on the VH & the capacity of the VH Committee to deal with the workload.

Cllr Cox stated that any of the building option costs are far outside what the Parish Council alone may grant fund and in his opinion, there will still be overlaps of demand if bookings move to one facility. With 10-11 years more to run on the lease, the PC does not need to jump in and do anything immediately should the decision to purchase the land from Staffs CC still be possible.

Cllr Thompson reiterated that no decisions had been made and that all that had happened and was happening was the exploration of an option.

Cllr Nicholls stated that the overlaps could be managed out and many villagers would like to see the SY&CC building gone & Cllr Cox that many villagers feel the opposite wanting it to remain.

Cllr Jones said that the purpose of looking at the VHall was to accommodate all groups & that in a village as vibrant as Stonnall the public consultation could generate a number of younger people happy to get involved with the running of the project.

Discussions returned to the option of SY&CC and what, if any, limitations on funding exist as the PC is leaseholders. The Clerk called Alan Topliss for clarification and was told that there is no limit on what the Parish Council could spend under these circumstances and that there are several grant funding options available also.

Cllr Thompson stated that this clearly needs to be explored including what is needed for the SY&CC to function from an H&S perspective for the next 3-10 years using the original RICS building surveyor.

Cllr Cox queried an aspect of the actual survey that has been done & a re-fresh of the survey was agreed as being needed by Cllr Thompson.

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Other options.

Cllr Nicholls has looked at wooden acoustic partitions which could be used to separate rooms to create more capacity. She still has major reservations about spending £200,000 on a facility like the SY&CC with such poor usage.

Cllr Salter stated that, as he sees it, the SYCC building has two options;

one is that it remains under lease to the PC for the next 10-11 years and Council support it as and when required or, secondly, investigate further developing once absolute clarification of our legal status as Leaseholders is obtained.

Cllr Jones reminded the group that this was an opportunity to get rid of a building that is not very good with little to commend it and build something better. Cllr Nicholls agreed.

Cllr Salter said that perhaps another option is to extend the lease.

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Pre council review of proposed ratification decision not to reject the SCC offer.

The Working Party are neither rejecting nor accepting the offer but advising that Council ask for more time to consider further now that we have more information.

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Pre council review of proposed ratification decision to explore the SVH option.

Option explored and others now to be investigated.

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Communication & Consultation.

The Working Group have demonstrated and will continue to demonstrate they are listening and a well scripted communication/consultation will be prepared indicating that Council will continue to listen and take further contributions.