Louth Town Council - Working with the community to make Louth a better place to live and work

Minutes for the Governance and Finance Committee 12th December 2023

12-12-23 G&F MINS



                                                 Councillor Mrs. E. Ballard (Mrs. EB) (in the chair).

Present Councillors: J. Baskett (JB), L.M. Cooney (LMC), Mrs. S. Crew (Mrs. SC), J. Drake (JD), H. Filer (HF), L. Frost (LF), D. Hobson (DH), G.E. Horton (GEH), M. Lamb (ML), Mrs. J. Makinson-Sanders (Mrs. JMS), Mrs. K. Parsons (KP), J. Simmons (JS), P. Starsmore (PS), Mrs. P.F. Watson (Mrs. PFW).


Councillors not present: M. Barnes (MB).


The Town Clerk, Mrs. L.M. Phillips and the Town Clerk’s Assistant, Miss. S. Chitauro, Mr. J. Timson, Mr. D. Manders and 16 members of the public were also present.


  • Apologies for Absence
    There were no apologies for absence to note.


  • Declarations of Interest / Dispensations
    The following declarations of interest/dispensations were made:
  1. Mrs. JMS – Reminded the Committee that she had previously been granted a dispensation to remain in the meeting when Hubbard’s Hills was being discussed (item 6). She also declared an interest in Item 4 as a member of East Lindsey District Council (ELDC).
  2. GEH – Item 4 as a member of ELDC and as a representative of St. Michael’s Ward in which Wood Lane was located.
  3. Mrs. EB – Grant Application from Louth Art Trail Action Group as a member of the group.


  • Minutes
    It was RESOLVED that the notes of the Governance and Finance Committee meeting held 10th October 2023 be approved as the minutes.
  • Update from Mr. J. Timson re. Wood Lane Playing Field
    D. Manders opened the presentation by sharing his observations about the upcoming planning application for installing a 3G pitch at Wood Lane Playing Field. He explained that there were concerns regarding noise pollution for neighbouring properties of the area and expanded that Wood Lane was the only public open area in the southern part of Louth.  It had officially been identified as a ‘green space’ by Fields in Trust.  Mr. Manders reassured that Council that he was not against sport, but that he believed there were other sites in Louth where the 3G pitch would be better suited, such as London Road or at the Industrial Estate and that the Wood Lane Playing Field should be safeguarded.  He stated that Wood Lane was an area that was available to the public throughout the year for recreational purposes free of charge and that the area provided many health benefits to users.  Mr. Manders went on to address the environmental concerns.  He believed that the installation of a 3G pitch would disturb many plant, animal, and insect species in the area and that the Wildlife Trust, RSBP and Nature Conservancy Council had expressed their concerns about 3G pitches.  Mr. Manders then expressed a possible conflict of interest for ELDC as they were the planning authority who were applying to themselves and believed that the application should be sent to another Council or government department.  Mr. Manders ended his presentation by hoping that Louth Town Council would support them by objecting to the 3G application and potentially support them in a possible judicial review.  Mr. Timpson then gave a short history of the field, which was acquired by ELDC in 1972 under s164 Public Health Act 1975.  He stated that the fields acquisition of floodlights in 2004 had created issues for the surrounding residents of Spire View and Wood Lane, who no longer used their gardens in the evening due to the floodlights and noise.  He expressed that a 25-year agreement was to be signed when the leisure centre Magna Vitae was erected in 2008 which would provide two football pitches which were to be a better standard, however this was never signed by ELDC, resulting, in his opinion, in at least five full sized pitches being built over green spaces due to lack of protection.  Mr. Timson told the Council that Wood Lane was a vital green space because the population could use it for free and it served all communities of Louth, particularly the more deprived areas. He expressed his dismay that Wood Lane Playing Field had never been recognised as an informally used green space for Leisure and Culture by ELDC, despite the field being used extensively for informal use.  He maintained that the space allowed a place for children to play and exercise safely and reiterated the Governments introduction of the Environmental Improvement Plan, in which everyone should have a large green space within 15 minutes of their property.  Mr. Timson affirmed that he believed that they had a strong case for judicial review and thanked the Council for their objection to the initial planning application for the 3G pitch in February 2023, highlighting parking, drainage, traffic, loss of habitat and noise pollution as issues with the application.  He divulged to the Council that the noise pollution at Wood Lane was on the verge of statutory nuisance, and that the installation of the 3G pitch would worsen that.  He further reported that ELDC were to apply for a slightly smaller 3G pitch due to FA lowering the standard size of 3G pitches.  Mr. Timson finished by asking the Council for its advocacy in protecting Wood Lane Playing Field, and whether the Council would apply for judicial review in the likely event that ELDC applied for and approved the 3G pitch.  The floor was opened for questions.  Cllr. JD asked about the cost of judicial review and what their plans for fundraising were.  Mr. Timson explained that, regarding judicial review, there would be an initial cost of £12,000 – £15,000 and, once the review had been granted by a judge, the costs would then increase to £25,000, giving a rough total of £40,000.  He then explained that the Council would be able to claim the VAT back plus any costs if the judicial review ruled in ELDC’s favour, and that the solicitors cost would be capped at £10,000 if the judicial was successful. Mr. Timson told the Council that they would begin crowdfunding to raise money towards fees and that he would be circulating letters to every household in Louth with the bank details for donations towards Save Wood Lane.  He clarified that if the judicial review was successful, any money donated to the cause would be refunded or split between Grassroots Football and green space improvements in Louth.  Cllr. GEH affirmed that the people of Louth are not against a 3G pitch, but that Wood Lane Playing Field was not the place for it as the quality of life for those in the area would be affected.  He opined that there were better suited locations in the town for the pitch.  Cllr. JS expressed concerns about the 3G pitch being made of artificial materials, stating that it went against ELDC’s climate change commitments.  Cllr. HF said that she believed that the Council needed to be clear on the message they wished to send out regarding the 3G pitch.  Cllr. EB reminded the Committee that it could not make any decisions without having seen the application as that would be pre-determination and an application had not yet been submitted to the Planning Authority.  Cllr. LMC asked whether the 3G pitch would be locked and only accessible by paying, saying that, if so, the plans for the pitch would discriminate against disadvantaged users who could not afford to pay to use the pitch.  She also commented that she felt taxpayers would be forced to pay for the pitch regardless of whether they could afford their children to use the pitch.  Cllr. EB affirmed that public consultation concerning the matter would be important, she then informed Mr. Timson that the Council could not claim VAT back on anything that the Council had not purchased using its own money.  She asked Mr. Timson where he received the £40,000 estimate for judicial review from, to which he replied he had got the figure of £40,000 plus VAT from two different solicitors but could not give full final figures.  Cllr. GEH assured Mr. Timson that he would be writing to the FA as a District Councillor regarding his concerns.  It was RESOLVED to hold a meeting once the planning application for the 3G pitch was received by the Council, to which the public and ELDC would be invited to consult on and discuss the application.
  • Finance
    It was RESOLVED to note/approve/authorise the following:

    1. Receipts and Payments – Cashbooks 1 and 2
      1. Month 6
        1.   Cash Book 1         Receipts     £155,477.00            Payments       £44,527.83
      2. Cash Book 2 Receipts               £0.00            Payments        £31.03
    2. Detailed Income and Expenditure Report (Budget Variance Report) as at Month 6 to 30th September 2023.
    3. Earmarked Reserves Report as at 30th September 2023.
    4. Balance Sheet to 30th September 2023 and Cash Book 1 and 2 Bank Reconciliations which reconcile to account statements showing balances as follows:
      1. Lloyds Treasurers Account (balance at 30/09/23 on statement 82) – £525,640.94.
      2. Petty Cash (balance as at 30/09/23) – £110.99.
  • Lloyds Deposit Account (balance on statement 8) – £166,652.51.
  1. National Savings and Investment Account (balance on statement 12) – £111,438.
  • Hubbard’s Hills
    The Committee noted that a letter had been received from the Hubbard’s Hills Trust formally serving notice to terminate the management agreement between it and the Town Council as per and that the notice would expire on 29th November 2024. It was RESOLVED that a standalone meeting would be held on the provisional date of 23rd January 2024 for Councillors to discuss a way forward.



  • Budget 2024/25
    The Committee received the draft budget for 2024/25. One Councillor questioned the proposed London Road Sports Partnership Budget of £10,000, to which the Town Clerk clarified that no spend had been approved thus far.  The Councillor said that they had calculated the unused Council funds which totalled £13,000 and asked whether it could be used towards offsetting the London Road Partnership which would reduce the precept, as opposed to putting the burden on the taxpayer.  The Town Clerk explained that the unspent Council budgets would be put back into general reserves, meaning that if the Council made an initial precepted contribution of £10,000 to the London Road Sports Partnership, they could then potentially afford to present the Partnership with another £10,000 from the general reserves, however the Council had not been presented with evidence of the total amount of funds that the Partnership required.  Another Councillor added that £10,000 precept would work out a smaller amount per household a week, which the lower income houses would not be required to pay.  It was RESOLVED to recommend approval of the budget and earmarked reserves to Town Council on 9th January 2024, with a 3% increase per band D property for 2024/25, which increase it was expected would decrease when up to date tax base figures were released by ELDC.
  • Local Government Services Pay Agreement from 1st April 2023
    It was RESOLVED to note and approve that an agreement had been reached on the above, that amendments to pay scales had been implemented accordingly and that backpay had been issued.

  • Churches, Charities and Local Authorities (CCLA)
    Further to receipt of information on investing with the above on 10th October 2023, the Committee RESOLVED to defer the investment of Council funds with CCLA due to impending issues which might require quick access to funds.

  • Closed Session Item
    It was RESOLVED to move into closed session in accordance with the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960 in order to discuss confidential and commercial information from a third party in relation to Grants. It was RESOLVED to award the following Grants:
  1. Louth Art Trail Action Group – £1,000.
  2. Louth Community Arts Centre Project – £200.

  • Next Meeting
    It was noted that the date of the next scheduled Governance and Finance Committee meeting was 20th February 2024.


The Meeting Closed at 8:57pm.



Signed_______________________ (Chairman)                Dated_________________________