08-29-23 CR MINS
MINUTES OF THE LOUTH TOWN COUNCIL COMMUNITY RESOURCES COMMITTEE
HELD IN THE OLD COURT ROOM, THE SESSIONS HOUSE, LOUTH
ON TUESDAY 29th AUGUST 2023
Councillor L. M. Cooney (LMC) (in the chair).
Present Councillors: M. Barnes (MB), J. Baskett (JB), Mrs. S. Crew (SC), L. Frost (LF), G. E. Horton (GEH), M. Lamb (ML), Mrs. J. Makinson-Sanders (JMS), Mrs. K. Parsons (KP), J. Simmons (JS) and P. Starsmore (PS).
Councillors not present: Mrs. E. Ballard (EB), J. Drake (JD), H. Filer (HF), D. Hobson (DH) and Mrs. P. F. Watson (PFW).
The Town Clerk Mrs. L. M. Phillip, the Town Clerk’s Assistant Miss S. Chitauro, President of Louth Football Club Mr. Findley, Chair of Louth Cricket Club Mr. Grist, District Councillor Mr. Andrew Leonard and 23 members of the public were also present.
Members of the public spoke in the public forum as follows:
- One lady expressed her concern that the condition of Charles Street Recreation Ground’s lawn had worsened over the years. She said that she was part of a Croquet Club which used the Grounds and that the Club had members who would be willing to provide upkeep to the lawn, but that they needed permission to do so. She stated that it was vital to allow people to use the Recreation Ground lawn to play, as it gave people the chance to exercise, get fresh air and an opportunity to socialise.
- A second lady said that Charles Street Recreation Ground had significant footfall on the tennis courts and lawns which are used during the holidays and for exercise and picnics. She stated that work had been done to the banks to make the area look spritelier and that the area was operational in its current state.
- District Councillor Mr. Andrew Leonard established that the District Council had offered Charles Street Recreation Ground to the Town Council and if LTC chose not to accept its offer, it would go back to the District Council to decide what to do with the Grounds. He said that whilst the District Council would help, the liability on LTC would be huge and that it would be costly to the point of potentially bankrupting the Council if they were to take on the Recreation Ground. District Councillor Leonard stated that people do not currently have permission to perform maintenance work on the grounds, and doing so was a criminal act. Lastly, he believed that contractually it must be an accredited body, such as the Town Council, who took on the responsibility for the Recreation Ground, as opposed to voluntary community groups.
- One man affirmed that the Council was unable to stop people from fishing at the grounds, but if a team of people would be allowed to oversee the area, they would get public liability insurance and do the necessary work to the grounds without funding from the Council. He suggested that the pond would sustain itself and that they would invest whatever money was made from the pond back into the other areas of the Recreation Ground such as the Croquet Club and play areas.
- Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs. Mrs. EB, JD, HF, DH and Mrs. PFW.
- Declarations of Interest / Dispensations
- Mrs. JMS and GEH – Agenda items 4 and 7 as members of ELDC.
It was RESOLVED that the notes of the Community Resources Committee Meeting held on 11th July 2023 be approved as the Minutes.
- London Road Sports Complex
The Committee heard a presentation from the President of Louth Football Club, Mr. Findley and the Chair of Louth Cricket Club, Mr. Grist. They stated that the three previously independent clubs that reside at the London Road Sports Complex, Louth Football, Cricket, and Hockey clubs, had come together to form a Charitable Trust called the London Road Sports Partnership to take over from the current owners, Magna Vitae, in April 2024. The Committee heard that the site attracts between 15,000 and 20,000 visitors annually due to its sporting events. Grist and Mr. Findley reported that ELDC were prepared to offer a long-term lease on the site. The Trust wanted to install solar panels and put back the revenue saved by those into the site. It wanted to upgrade or replace the lighting to LED. They shared that maintaining the complex would be expensive, but that they were looking into bringing in revenue with the bar, that they had submitted an application to the Home Advantage Programme which supports home clubs to take over their home grounds. It was also said that the Football Club gets up to £30,000 in grants each year, which would help with the general maintenance. In response to a Councillor’s question regarding whether they would have future support from the District Council, Mr. Grist and Mr. Findley stated that they were working with ELDC and didn’t think they would see the site fail, at least in the first 5 years. When asked what they would do if they had a shortfall, Mr. Grist and Mr. Findley explained that they would look into external sponsors and would look at other funding streams. One Councillor remembered that there had been talk of a local school becoming involved in the running of the site. He asked whether that was still the case and was told it was not. He then asked if each club would have the same number of votes and it was confirmed that they would. Finally, he expressed concerns as to whether current owners Magna Vitae had planned to restore the field to a reasonable standard and repair the fences and changing rooms. It was explained that groundwork had been redone by Magna Vitae with the help of Louth Football Club and that Mr. Grist and Mr. Findlay had provided a list of issues that they would like to see addressed prior to the Sports Partnership taking over the facility. It was RESOLVED to invite the presenters to a future meeting.
- James’ Church, Clock
The Committee noted that the upgrade to the firmware and fitting of St. James’ Clock pendulum regulator actuator and sensor had been completed and received a report on further repairs needed to the clock pulley system. It was RESOLVED to fund the pulley repairs quoted at £4,647, plus VAT, to be taken from the Capital Expenditure EMR (current balance £97,201.80). It was also RESOLVED to enter into an annual service agreement with Smith of Derby at the cost of £285, plus VAT, with funds to be taken from day-to-day budget head Clocks/Floodlights in 2023/24.
NB: Cllr. GEH abstained from voting on this item.
- James’ Church, Floodlights
The Committee received an update from St. James’ Church regarding plans to update their fixtures and lightbulbs which the Church estimated would save the Council up to 72% annually on electricity charges. The Church requested that the Council sponsor two new lamps at the cost of £1,000 for which the Council would be acknowledged as helping reduce the carbon footprint of St. James’ Church. It was RESOLVED that the Committee would sponsor two new lamps, with funds being taken either from EMR Tourism (current balance £2,115), EMR Civic Property (current balance £2,000) or EMR Contingency (current balance £10,743.56).
- Charles Street Recreation Ground
The Committee noted ELDC’s response to the questions submitted on 11th July and after discussion it was RESOLVED to ask Cllr. DH to lead discussions with ELDC as a representative of St. James’ Ward and Louth Town Council, with support from fellow Ward Cllrs. JD and LF and volunteers from community groups, regarding bringing Charles Street Recreation Ground back into public use.
NB: Cllr. Mrs. JMS abstained from voting on this item.
- Trinity Allotments
The Committee noted it had been confirmed by the owners solicitors that the Trinity Allotment land was not for sale at present. It was mooted that perhaps LTC might have the right to purchase the land. It was RESOLVED that the Council should look into this with its solicitors. GEH abstained from voting on this item.
- Closed Session Items
It was RESOLVED to move into closed session in accordance with the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960 in order to discuss confidential information from a third party in relation to Old Mill House. The Council received an offer for it to buy back the remaining lease on the Old Mill House. The Town Clerk made the Council aware of its solicitors advice and it was RESOLVED to defer making a decision on the offer and to delegate authority to the Town Clerk to progress the matter, in conjunction with the relevant Chairmen, if necessary, seeking a valuation from the District Valuer and an insurance valuation of the property and incurring expenditure as required e.g., with solicitors or the District Valuer.
- Next Meeting
It was noted that the next scheduled meeting of the Community Resources Committee would take place on 31st October 2023.
The Meeting Closed at 8.50pm
Signed_______________________ (Chairman) Dated_________________________