MINUTES OF THE LOUTH TOWN COUNCIL COMMUNITY RESOURCES COMMITTEE
HELD IN THE OLD COURT ROOM, THE SESSIONS HOUSE, LOUTH
ON TUESDAY 25TH JANUARY 2022
Present Councillor A. Leonard (AL), (in the chair).
Councillors: Mrs. E. Ballard (EB), J Baskett (JB), M. Bellwood (MB), S. Crew (SC), D. Ford (DF),
D.J.E. Hall (DJEH), G. Horton (GEH), Mrs. S.E. Locking (SEL), Mrs. J. Makinson-Sanders (JMS), K. Norman (KN), J. Simmons (JS) and Mrs. P.F. Watson (PFW).
Councillors not present: L. Cooney (LMC), H. Filer (HF), J. Garrett (JG), D. Hobson (DH), F.W.P. Treanor (FWPT) and D.E. Wing (DEW).
The Town Clerk, Mrs. L.M. Phillips, the Town Clerk’s Assistant, Mrs. M.C. Vincent, Mr. A. Richardson and Mr. J. Brindle (Magna Vitae Trust), Mr. P. Perry, (BBC, ELDC and SHDC) and Cllr. Graham Marsh (ELDC) were also present.
C18. Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs. LMC, HF, JG, DH, FWPT and DEW.
C19. Chairman’s Remarks
C20. Declarations of Interest / Dispensations
Cllr. DJEH – item 5 as members of ELDC.
Cllr. Mrs. JMS – item 5 as a member of ELDC and of KEVIGS.
Cllr. Mrs. EB – item 5 as a Warden and Chair of KEVAEC.
It was RESOLVED that the notes of the Community Resources Committee Meeting held on 28th September 2021 be approved as the Minutes.
NB: Cllr. Mrs EB left the meeting at 7:07pm before the London Road Pavilion item due to a declaration of interest.
C22. Presentation – London Road Pavilion and Sportsground
Cllr. AL welcomed the speakers and outlined some of the Councils concerns on the subject: why were Magna Vitae ‘handing over’ the management of their ‘flagship’ venue to another group, why had KEVIGS been approached to be one of those bodies to manage it. Why hadn’t Louth Town Council been officially approached regarding the discussions taking place, when they were landowners of the site of the Astro Turf pitch. Mr. A. Richardson, Executive Director of Magna Vitae Trust for Leisure and Culture (MV). Mr. P. Perry, Assistant Director for Leisure and Culture at Boston, East Lindsey and South Holland Councils, Mr. J. Brindle, Executive Director of Magna Vitae Trust for Leisure and Culture and Cllr. Graham Marsh from ELDC gave a presentation led by Mr. Richardson who explained that ELDC staff were transferred to MV in 2015. MV lease the area used for Astro Turf from Louth Town Council (LTC). The remainder of the site belongs to ELDC. MV are paid a management fee by ELDC to operate the facility. ELDC has asked MV to negotiate to reduce the fee it receives, they challenged their efficiencies. This is so that ELDC can save money in this area but subsequently spend more money on other areas in the district which are in need of support. MV feel that they already operate in as economically viable way as they are able to so they cannot reduce their costs by operating more economically. However, on analysis, of all of the assets that they manage London Road Pavilion and Sportsground has been identified as the only one which could be successfully managed by the community and flourish, hence why MV are planning to withdraw. Mr. Richardson reported that in 2018 MV decided to build up their relationship with the clubs who use the site and the clubs began to take on more responsibility for the site. Last year the Astro Turf was developed at a cost to ELDC of £180,000. Louth Hockey Club will put £50,000 back in over the next 20 years. The project was managed by MV and delivered on budget and 2 weeks early. Mr. Richardson was happy to say that host clubs were showing a real buy in to make the site their own. Volunteers of Louth Hockey Club now maintain the pitch and other ancillary bits. Louth Cricket Club run the bar and have taken on event and private hire in the evenings and at weekends. Louth Old Boys assist in the grounds maintenance of the football pitches. All of the clubs help clean the changing rooms. Mr. Richardson opined that the quality of those facilities is not bettered anywhere else in the County. He reported that on Tuesday and Thursday a special needs school use the venue in the day. The Grammar School use the site Monday to Thursdays in the day too and the NHS use the venue for training and blood donation. The site has hosted both minor and major sports events. Pre-covid it was welcoming 80,000 visitors a year. Back to 60,000 now. He advised that there is a deficit of £50,000 currently, down from £100,000 and MV cannot reduce this anymore. It said that there were 14 months to go until MV withdraw from the site and they are trying to finalise a new governance model with the users of the site. The Grammar School had been incorporated into the discussions because it had staff and resources that could be of benefit to the management of the complex and along with the Hockey, Football and Cricket Clubs, would need less financial support having the benefit of a large volunteer base. Concerns were raised that originally the venue had been run by volunteers and after a number of years this had floundered. Further that some schools had in fact removed all community use of venues in Louth of late, and it was not inconceivable that this could also happen in this situation. It was explained that as ELDC and LTC are the landowners there would be no danger of that happening here. Mr. Richardson promised that MV would still be available to assist or answer questions, depending on the technical nature there might be a consultancy fee but he described his personal attachment to the site and its success and did not wish to leave it in the lurch. Those present explained that there were currently 4 governance models on the table and when the details had been thrashed out by the host clubs and KEVIGS to ascertain which might be the most viable then MV would formally consult with LTC on this. Mr. Perry explained that they hadn’t yet discussed leases but when they did again LTC would be consulted. In the meantime, while there was little to report, MV had not felt it necessary to involve LTC formally. Cllrs. felt that the Council should have representatives at the discussions. ELDC explained that even it was not actively taking part in the discussions. Cllr. GEH said that the process seemed like a tendering process. Without making the details available to all and receiving input from any interested parties how could they know that they had the best deal? Cllr. JB was of the opinion that an assurance system was needed. ELDC representatives assured those present that ultimately ELDC would always be on hand in the background to help and support where required but it did not wish to run the facility or finance it. Cllr. Mrs. JMS asked why the new 3G football pitch was being located at Wood Lane, and as a consequence the current football field there would be lost. Why was it not being located at London Road? Cllr. Marsh reported that the Clubs using London Road had confirmed that a 3G pitch would inhibit it’s use as the area would be too busy, further that the drainage was not good at London Road. Cllr. Marsh confirmed that any profit from the new 3G pitch on Wood Lane would go to support sport and leisure in ELDC villages. Cllr. GEH was disgusted, thinking it disgraceful that they had taken ratepayers money to bring the site on and were planning to leave it while it was still struggling. Cllr. JB expressed concern that handing the site over would make it lose its flexibility. How would new clubs becoming involved be facilitated? Mr. Richardson confirmed that the new governance model would most likely mean there would be a new operating organisation formed. He envisaged savings being made by the use of volunteers to run the facility and perhaps some paid staff.
Cllr. AL brought discussions to a close and requested that LTC be kept informed of all discussions moving forward.
NB: Cllr. Mrs. EB returned at the end of this discussion at 8:24pm. Cllr. JS left the room at 8:24 and returned at 8:27pm.
Councillors noted the tabled update and that an informal zoom meeting with Mr. J. Challen, the Service Manager for Safer Communities at ELDC had been organised for Monday 28th February at 10am. They also noted that the Louth Police would be invited to attend to discuss possible sites for a new CCTV camera.
C24. Cemetery Tree Report
The Committee noted the Cemetery tree report and that work to implement the recommendations was ongoing.
C25. Environmental Permitting Regulations 2016
The Committee noted the report regarding changes that may need to take place at Louth’s London Road Cemetery due to proposed amendments to the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2016 as applied to Groundwater Activities and related Surface Water Discharge Activities. It was RESOLVED that while confirmation is sought of exactly what the proposals will apply to, the Town Clerk should:
a. Continue preparing the new burial area for use, as previously agreed e.g., leveling the ground, deciding on best use of the area, investigating the practicalities of that and ensuring the Council is able to implement that use, should it be required sooner than anticipated when originally discussed.
b. Seek the services of professionals to undertake a cemetery review, particularly looking at how best to continue the service and the technicalities of using previously cleared land at the cemetery, starting afresh on land owned by the Council elsewhere in the town or the possibility of purchasing new land for use.
C26. Closed Session Item
It was RESOLVED to move into Closed Session in accordance with the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960 due to the business to be discussed in the following item, information being of a confidential, third party and commercial nature in relation to Insurance matters.
a. It was RESOLVED that company 1, Clark Weightman Limited should undertake a valuation of Council owned property for insurance purposes at a cost of £2,500 plus vat. Funds to be taken from EMR Contingency.
b. It was RESOLVED that company 1, Zurich Municipal, be engaged to provide insurance cover for the pool van at a cost of £731.12. Funds to be taken from Vehicle Running Costs budget.
It was RESOLVED to come out of Closed Session.
C27. Next Meeting
The Committee noted that the date of the next scheduled Community Resources meeting was 8th March 2022.
The Meeting Closed at 8.48pm.
Signed_______________________ (Chairman) Dated_________________________