Minutes of an EGM of Gotham Parish Council (16/02/16)

Present: Councillors, M.J. Sheppard, (Chairman) B.J.Walker (Vice-Chairman), , J.P.Anderson, A.Clayworth, M.Wilkins, G.Clark, G.Holbrook, H.Taylor. J.M.F.Royce (7.05 p.m). G.Hutter (7.10 p.m)

16/43: Apologies: D.Bexon, C.Dabell.

16/44: Acceptance of Apologies:
PROPOSED: J.P.Anderson. SECONDED: G.Clark.

16/45: Declaration of Interest:
J.P.Anderson and M.J.Sheppard in matters relating to the purchase of the Royal British Legion site.

16/46: Minutes of the previous meeting:
Resolved: That the previously circulated Minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on the 2nd February, 2016, be accepted and signed as a true record of the business transacted.
PROPOSED: B.J.Walker SECONDED: J.P.Anderson. Vote: All in favour.
Progress from the Minutes:
16/38: Queen’s 90th Birthday Celebrations:
M.J.Sheppard had spoken to A.Howick who has agreed to light the Beacon on the Weldon Hill on the Queen’s birthday, in colaberation with RBC. The Trustees of the Memorial Hall are to be asked if it would be agreeable to open the Hall for refreshments during the evening. (Official birthday celebrations on Saturday, 11 or Sunday 12th June, 2016.

J.M.F.Royce arrived at the Meeting at 7.05 p.m.

16/39: RBC Parish Forum:
J.P.Anderson and B.J.Walker attended the RBC Parish Forum on the 10th February, 2016.

16/40: RBC Mayor’s Civic Dinner:
J.P.Anderson had attended the Rushcliffe Mayor’s Civic Dinner on the 5th February, 2016.

16/40: Fracking:
M.Wilkins will write an article for Gotham News on the up to date position of potential Fracking in this area.
J.P.Anderson and M.J.Sheppard left the meeting at 7.50 p.m.

G.Hutter arrived at the meeting at 7.10 p.m.

16/47: General Power of Competence:
J.P.Anderson reported, GPC do not qualify for the General Power of Competence due to the Clerk having not yet undertaken the appropriate CILCA qualification.

16/48: Grant to Gotham Community Hub Limited:
J.P.Anderson explained the negotiations had been a long and frustrating process following GPC’s decision to support the PWLB loan application at the 2nd February, 2016 main meeting. As previously circulated, he learnt very soon after that meeting there may be a problem with the decision which was unresolved by the meeting that was cancelled on the 9th February. Yet again, the timing was unfortunate but we finally learnt on the 10th February, that despite advice and the law appearing to state otherwise, DCLG would definitely not look favourably on a loan application that sought to ‘on lend’ to the CBS. This rule is insurmountable based on accountancy rules and precedent.

Therefore, the proposal before the council tonight will seek to transfer the loan into a grant which is the only way that DCLG will allow Parish Councils to support capital expenditure by third parties. The implications of this grant are these:

1. As with the loan, while we would seek approval at this stage, if the bid by the CBS fails then no actual grant will be made and no loan taken out.

2. The £80,000 grant will need to be funded from the Council Tax. As the precept request has already gone in for 2016/17 and the grant would fall in 2016/17 anyway, the Council Tax would rise for every household from 2017/18 by approximately, an extra £7 per annum for 20 years. The loan costs in 2016/17 would be met by GPC and added to their loan

3. This change would have to be subject to public consultation.

4. It was agreed, a letter drop around the village would reach everyone and invite written or email responses to the Clerk. In the event of a significant negative response then GPC could vote not to take out the loan in April.

At all stages we have sought and taken the advice of both Hilary Gibbons at NALC and the administrator at DCLG who deals with loan requests.

PROPOSAL: In the light of the declaration of interest made by the Chairman, M.J.Sheppard; it was PROPOSED by M.J.Sheppard, SECONDED by J.P.Anderson, that B.J.Walker, Vice Chairman, take the Chair for the rest of the meeting. Vote: All in favour.

J.P. Anderson and M.J.Sheppard left the meeting at 7.23 p.m.

B.J.Walker reported, intensive work by members of the Steering Committee and GPC had taken place over the last few days resulting in the following proposal:

J.M.F.Royce explained the reasons for forsaking the loan option, in favour of the grant option, is in line with legal and professional advice from DCLG and NALC.

PROPOSAL: That GPC apply to DCLG for borrowing approval on an PWLB loan for £80,000 to be given as a grant to the Gotham Community Hub PLC.

That GPC issue a letter to each household by way of public consultation on the loan to respond by 29th February.

In the event of the loan being applied for and in consideration of the responses to the public consultation, that GPC raise the Precept by approximately £7 per household (band D) per year from 2017/18 for 20 years.
PROPOSED: B.J.Walker SECONDED: J.M.F.Royce Vote: five in favour, three abstentions.

M.Wilkins made the following suggestions:
1) That the Grant would now be funded by the parishioners by way of a Council Tax rise which might prove unpopular. Unless overwhelmingly supported, GPC should not continue in this form.
2) A YES/ NO tickbox could be incorporated in the advice notice. ‘An 80% majority response would be used in deciding if to go ahead with the idea of recovering the Grant via a tax rise in the village’.

3) Apathy should not be counted either for or against a Tax rise.

J.P. Anderson and M.J.Sheppard returned to the meeting at 7.58 p.m.

16/49: Date of Next Meeting: The next Meeting will be held on Tuesday, 1st March,, 2016 at 7.30 p.m.

Meeting closed at 8.00 p.m.