12th September 2005
Present: Councillors Mrs S Gilchrist (Chairman)
CJ Carey (Sub CJ Mobbs)
Mrs NJ Graham
Mrs M Larkins
Clare Evans (Town Clerk)
Stuart Oliver (Deputy Town Clerk)
Apologies were received from Cllr CJ Mobbs.
4954 QUESTIONS FROM THE PUBLIC
4955 SPECIFIC DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
Members asked for an update and were informed that a letter had been sent to Three Valleys Water but no reply had yet been received. The matter would be followed up this week.
Resolved: To confirm the Minutes of the meeting held on the 11th July 2005 and for these to be signed by the Chairman.
(Cllr Mrs NJ Graham arrived.)
Members were advised that the time needed for the Town Council’s Grounds Staff to do all the current areas of work allocated to them now exceeded the number of working days available. (Days per annum required: 1,220 compared to Days per annum available: 1,144). Bearing in mind that these calculations did not include likely new areas of work and projects that required attention, it was suggested that the time had come to consider employing a new member of staff for the grounds team.
It was reported that, if the suggestion was agreed, it was unlikely that the new person would start work before January 2006 and therefore the cost to the current budget would be around £4,000.
(Cllr EW Ball arrived)
It was suggested that, as the workforce got larger, perhaps individual members of staff could be given specific areas of responsibility, but still be able to undertake all aspects of the work. It was pointed out that this was already the case to an extent.
Resolved: To recommend to the Policy & Resources Committee that a new grounds man be appointed as soon as possible under the job description and the terms and conditions of employment currently applicable to the grounds staff.
4958 VILLAGE GREEN PAVILION
Members were provided with an update on the state of the Village Green pavilion following the fire on the 30th July, which caused damage that warranted an insurance claim. It was reported that the pavilion had been professionally cleaned and that the electricity was due to be reconnected on the 22nd / 23rd September. The wiring would then need to be checked and repaired where necessary and the interior redecorated.
It was considered that the whole appearance of the pavilion was poor and that there were a number of measures that could be taken to improve it, including:
· Installation of a new roof
· Elevation alterations – structural
· Elevation alterations – painting
Members considered the designs for a new roof and structural elevation alterations that had been drawn up by ‘R Noble Associates’. It was anticipated that the cost of the new roof would be £65,000 and the elevation alterations and landscaping a further £35,000. In addition, or alternatively, the building could be coated in anti-graffiti paint at an approximate cost of £2,000. Members were advised that £15,000 was available in the budget for work on the pavilion and it was anticipated that a further £20,000 would be forthcoming from an s106 agreement, although the date of receipt was not known.
It was felt that the installation of well-established deterrent planting was a good idea. It was agreed that there should be steel security shutters on all doors and that the doors themselves should be steel rather than wood. Any glass should be a strengthened variety and protected by wire mesh.
It was requested that the Clerk should investigate Lottery Funding and that in the meantime short-term improvements of painting the doors, walls and posts should be undertaken, along with replacing the wooden shutters on the roof windows in a more attractive means.
1. o approve the design in principle for the Village Green pavilion.
2. To programme the structural elevation alterations and landscaping to take place once the s106 funding had been secured.
3. To paint the structural posts and entrance doors and to undertake any other minor improvements works identified in the short term.
4959 DUNSTABLIANS RUGBY CLUB
Members were advised that Dunstablians Rugby Club had asked if the Town Council would cut their pitches, as their previous contactor could no longer undertake the work. They would require a cut every other week during the summer (13 cuts) and a cut once a month during the winter (6 cuts). It was estimated that each cut would take approximately 3-4 hours. The Club had requested that the grass cutting service be free of charge in recognition of the work that they do in the community. It was also possible that they might ask that the Council undertake the marking of their pitches.
Members were mindful that the Town Council currently undertook regular grounds maintenance work at St Vincent’s Lower School and had also completed a one off project at Thomas Whitehead Lower School, for which payment was received, and therefore felt that it was not appropriate to undertake the work for the Rugby Club free of charge.
It was agreed that £1,710 was an appropriate charge, but that the annual inflationary increase should read “not less than 3%” rather than a set 3% to allow for the possibility that inflation might rise. It was also agreed that the contract should be for one year only, to be renegotiated each year.
1. To offer to Dunstablians Rugby Club that the Town Council cut the rugby pitches once a fortnight from April to September inclusive and monthly October to March inclusive.
2. That the contract be for 12 months and that it be renegotiated annually.
3. To charge £1,710 in the first year and that subsequent fees are subject to renegotiation and an annual inflation increase of not less than 3%.
4. That pitch marking could be undertaken at a fee of £30 per time, again subject to the same annual inflation increase.
4960 DOG KENNEL DOWN
Members were advised that the transfer of the land known as Dog Kennel Down to the Town Council had been completed and that the s106 funding of £19,000 attached to this had been received.
Members were asked to consider a Management Plan for the maintenance of the land, which had been prepared by the Greensand Trust. Within the upkeep of the site, Members were anxious that careful consideration would be given to when work was done so that it was sympathetic to unique flora and fauna of the area. It was pointed out that the Greensand Trust could be employed to manage the site with regard to the hay cuts and wildlife management for approximately £1,500 per annum. This would leave the Town Council to maintain the pathways and other general aspects of the maintenance.
It was pointed out that the area would benefit from the installation of 2 litter and 3 dog waste bins, plus a notice board. It was suggested that the cost of these could be taken out of the s106 funds and the remaining money transferred to a reserve account for the maintenance of the area.
1.To approve the Management Plan.
2. To seek a Service Level Agreement with the Greensand Trust.
3. To approve the purchase of litter and dog waste bins and a notice board.
4. To off set the cost of the Management Plan, the litter and dog waste bins and the notice board against the s106 funding received for the site.
5. To transfer the remaining funds into a reserve account, to be known as “Dog Kennel Down s106 Funding”, and for a proportion to be transferred out annually into the grounds maintenance budget.
4961 WINDSOR DRIVE
Members were aware it had previously been agreed that SBDC would transfer the land known as ‘Land at Windsor Drive’ to the Town Council on the condition that a full sized football pitch and changing facilities (to be funded by SBDC) would be provided on the site. As discussions have continued, SBDC have subsequently suggested that it may be easier for them to provide the pitch and changing facilities and then, once completed, pass the land over to HRTC.
Whilst this would save the Town Council a considerable amount of work, it had been anticipated that the Town Council would use the funding from SBDC to apply for grant funding from the Beds Football Association to develop the site as a multi pitch site. SBDC had been told of this and they had advised that they could do the same. Assurances had been received from SBDC that the Town Council would still be fully involved in the design process.
Members were advised that it was anticipated that this would still take some time to complete due to the scale of the project, and accordingly discussions had been entered into as to whether the Town Council could use the site in the interim period for mini league football, particularly as for the forthcoming season existing pitches had been over subscribed. SBDC had agreed to this and were preparing a ‘Tenancy at Will’ lease which would grant the Town Council use of the site. Whilst this was in place the Town Council would undertake the cutting of the grass and the marking of the pitches. This lease was not for a set period and could be terminated by either party at a months notice, but would ultimately be superseded by an ‘Intention to Lease’ and then by the Lease itself.
Resolved: To note the report and to authorise the ‘Tenancy At Will’ to enable the site to be maintained by the Town Council and used for mini league football.
(The Town Clerk left the meeting)
4962 UTILITY BILLS
Members were informed that lengthy investigations had been conducted into whether or not the Town Council’s annual gas and electricity bills could be reduced by changing supplier and had received a report detailing the savings that could be obtained for each of the Council’s properties. Overall it was estimated that an annual saving of between £763 and £731 could be achieved by changing suppliers, whilst at the same time using recognised companies
It was suggested that, in the light of recent announcements about further increases in prices, that another check should be made on the figures presented and the performance history of potential new suppliers investigated.
1.To achieve savings on the gas and electricity bills by changing suppliers, but to opt for recognised companies.
2. To leave the final decision to the discretion of the Deputy Town Clerk.
4963 BUS SHELTERS
Members, having received information about a variety of different bus shelters and their relative costs, were asked to consider their preferred option with a view to purchasing two and locating them on Windsor Drive. It was pointed out that there was a total £15,000 available in the budget for bus shelters in general.
After much deliberation it was agreed to go for the Arun Enclosed version (1500mm wide x 2m) with the low barrel vault roof and half width side panel options in 6mm graffiti resistant coated polycarbonate, at a cost of £3,462.
Resolved: To purchase two bus shelters as detailed above and for these to be located on Windsor Drive, subject to successful negotiations with Bedfordshire County Council Highways Department, the Police and the local bus company.
4964 4-MONTH BUDGET REVIEW
Members had previously received a summary of the expenditure for the first 4 months of the 2005/06 financial year for their information and consideration.
Resolved: To note the information.