12-13-22 TC MINS
MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF LOUTH TOWN COUNCIL
HELD IN THE OLD COURT ROOM, THE SESSIONS HOUSE, LOUTH
ON TUESDAY 13th DECEMBER 2022
Present The Mayor, Cllr. J Baskett (JB) (in the chair).
Councillors: Mrs. E. Ballard (EB), L. Cooney (LMC), S. Crew (SC), H. Filer (HF), J. Garrett (JG), D.J.E. Hall (DJEH), D. Hobson (DH), G.E. Horton (GEH), A. Leonard (AL), Mrs. S.E. Locking (SEL), Mrs. J. Makinson-Sanders (JMS), K. Norman (KN), B. O’Brien (BO), J. Simmons (JS),
Councillors not present: M. Bellwood (MB), M. Lamb (ML), Mrs. P.F. Watson (PFW) and D.E. Wing (DEW)
The Town Clerk, Mrs. L.M. Phillips and one member of the public were also present.
Prior to the commencement of the meeting the Mayor reminded Councillors that the Carols for All Church Service would take place on 21st December from 7pm and he invited all Councillors to meet at St. James’ beforehand from 6pm for a Christmas get together. The Chairman of the Personnel Committee, Cllr. Mrs. J. Makinson-Sanders also informed the Council that the Town Clerk’s Assistant had left.
- Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs. MB, ML, DEW, Mrs. PFW and LMC who would be slightly late.
- Declarations of Interest / Dispensations
- Mrs. JMS – agenda item 6 – as a Trustee of Hubbard’s Hills.
- AL – agenda item 6 – as a Trustee of Hubbard’s Hills.
- Council Minutes
It was RESOLVED to approve as a correct record, the notes of the Council Meetings held on 28th September 2022 and 11th October 2022.
- Committee Minutes
It was RESOLVED to adopt the resolutions contained within the following Committee Minutes:
- Planning Committee – 28th September 2022
- Planning Committee – 1st November 2022
- Governance and Finance Committee – 14th June 2022
- Louth United Charities
The Council noted that Cllr. Mrs. JMS’s term in office as an LTC representative on the above organisation would expire on 11th January 2023 and that it had been asked to reappoint or nominate a new representative. It was RESOLVED that Cllr. Mrs. JMS should be reappointed as an LTC representative on Louth United Charities.
- Hubbard’s Hills
The Chairman of the Hubbard’s Hills Trust, Mr. A. Leonard spoke to Council reporting that it had been a busy year which had put a strain on Hubbard’s Hills in terms of wear and tear with so many visitors using the facility. He also said that there had been quite a lot of vandalism. He explained that the Trusts next two major projects were to replace 2 bridges. One near the stepping stones and one linking the Hallington end of Hubbard’s Hills to the Crowtree Lane end. He explained that the Trust would also need to undertake significant work on the riverbanks as the gabion baskets were giving way and it was working with the Wolds Countryside Service and the Chalk Stream River Officer on this. A price of £300 per metre for gabion baskets had been obtained. BO asked if there was any possibility that the bridges could be made of a material more durable than wood. Mr. Leonard confirmed that a concrete walkway was to be cast on site for the walkway of the link bridge. Cllr. JB enquired if the Trust had made progress in its wish to work with the public more. Mr. Leonard confirmed that the Trust was working with the Co-op on a regular basis, the Wombles and working parties from local factories and other local employers as these organisations, when sending working parties into the hills were: managed, insured, undertook their own risk assessments and adhered to Health and Safety guidelines. The Trust felt that the enormous liability placed on it if individual volunteers were to work in the Hills was too much. Cllr. Mrs. EB asked if the fence on the top path would be repaired. Mr. Leonard reported that yes, the Hubbard’s Hills Trust would be repairing the Lincolnshire Post and Rail fence on the top path. Cllr. JG referred to money set aside in the Hubbard’s Hills accounts for land acquisition. He believed that this was for possible purchase of land to make another car park and asked if there had been any movement in that direction. Mr. Leonard confirmed that there had been no movement as the Trust would need in the region of £80,000 to sort the river out and it was far more important that that be done than anything else. Cllr. Mrs. SEL understood that the Hills had been bequeathed to the town and that no commercial activity could take place there. She wondered if that could be rescinded. Mr. Leonard thought that the people of Louth would not thank anyone for charging for entry to the Hills and he said that the Trust had looked into other ideas but had not found a workable solution as yet. Cllr. Mrs. JS said she believed (from the Town Plan) that one of the Trust’s objectives originally was to get sponsors and she wondered if that could be looked into. Mr. Leonard reported that while that was feasible he believed that with the current economic climate it was the worst possible time to ask businesses for money. He said that small amounts were easy to come by but that larger amounts were not. However, he praised the Louth Lions who, he said, had been very helpful through the years and who had just given the Trust 50% of the proceeds from the duck race it held there annually, to go towards the bridges. Cllr. Mrs. LMC asked if the Trust could take less than the Management Agreement allowed for. Mr. Leonard said that for a number of years the Trust had not increased the amount it had asked for. Cllr. Mrs. LMC reiterated the question and said she would take Cllr. Leonard’s answer as a no. He confirmed this. Cllr. Mrs. HF worried that finding other sources of funding was essential. Cllr. GEH agreed that Cllr. LMC’s question was good but referred to ELDC who had budgeted for the Cattle Market but who had been forced to pass on a massive bill to the taxpayers when maintenance was required. Mr. Leonard confirmed that the Town Council do have the financial liability of the asset. The Town Clerk reiterated this confirming that the Town Council were the custodians of the asset. While it had been agreed under the Management Agreement that the Trust could ask for £49,000 in 2023/24 and that going forward the amount asked for could not exceed the prior year’s amount, increased by CPI, ultimately the asset was the responsibility of the Town Council who would need to consider any requests put forward by the Trust for further funding. Cllr. Mrs. JS was concerned that the Council be protected from bankruptcy. She referred to a previous meeting where a figure of £400,000 in general reserves had been discussed. Cllr. AL explained that at that meeting he had been concerned over talk of taking money from the EMR only just set up for Hubbard’s Hills. Cllr. Mrs. JS referred to the Hubbard’s Hills Earmarked Reserve asking when that had been agreed. The Town Clerk confirmed that in the budget setting process the previous year it had been agreed to change the name of an existing Earmarked Reserve to Hubbard’s Hills. Cllr. JB reported and Mr. Leonard confirmed that the new supplemental agreement stated that if the Trust required use of that fund it would first have to bring a request to the Council for approval. Cllr. AL went on to say that he would not do anything untoward or that would place duress on the Council and neither had he or the Trust done for the past 13 years and they did not intend to go forward changing their tack. Cllr. JB asked if a walkaround for Councillors could be organised with a member of the Trust. Cllr. AL confirmed that that would be a good idea but perhaps when the weather was a little more clement. Cllr. AL finished by reiterating that metaphorically speaking his door was always open if anyone wished to ask a question about Hubbard’s Hills.
- Date of Next Meeting
It was noted that the date of the Council’s next scheduled meeting was 10th January 2023.
The Meeting Closed at 7.45pm.
Signed_______________________ (Chairman) Dated_________________________