LANGHAM COMMUNITY COUNCIL
Draft Minutes of a Trustee Meeting
held on 28th Oct 2021 at 7.30pm.
Alan Cadman (Chairman), Maureen Shouksmith (Treasurer), Paul Armstrong (Secretary), Martin Bottwood, Liz Winter, Cliff Jones, Sallie West, James Puxley, Bob Schofield, Elizabeth Schofield, Sue Armstrong
Apologies for Absence
Sue Thorpe, Charlotte Parker, Mark Kleingeld
Minutes of previous Trustee Meeting on 22nd July 2021
Draft minutes of this meeting had been circulated previously. Minutes of the Extraordinary Meeting on 4th October had also been circulated. Maureen proposed and Liz W seconded that they both be accepted as true records. All agreed. Alan signed hard copies of both.
Obtain all signatures for Shop and Pre-School Leases (PA):
Final signatures for the Pre-School Lease were obtained this evening. Paul will now circulate hardcopies to all signatories for archiving. The Shop Lease has still not been signed. Alan explained again to all Trustees the reasons why our Solicitors FJG had strongly advised us against contractually granting a permanently reduced rent: namely, if the Shop charity were to wind down and sell out to a commercial shop operator, the LCC would be bound to maintain the same reduced rent figure for Tesco or whoever. Paul will therefore speak again to Gill Flack to explain this and hopefully secure signatures to the Lease as currently drafted by FJG.
Arrange for 2nd professional risk surveyor to inspect and report on our Car Park (AC): Discharged (but see Chairman’s Report section for the follow-on discussion).
Speak to Stutton and Bentley for advice on shared-use car park facilities (PA):
Discharged. Paul had spoken to the Trustee Chairman at each venue, but they had no experience of any similar insurance problems to ours.
Submit pre-application for CIF grant for hearing loop (PA):
Discharged. The pre-application was approved, and a full grant application has now been submitted, awaiting confirmation of result in early December.
LCC Trustees to run first post-COVID coffee morning when these re-start (All):
Discharged. A first coffee morning was held on 22nd October, with a moderate turnout of around 40 people.
Place advert in Parish Newsletter for new 100 club members (PA):
Discharged. A small advert was included in the September newsletter, but 9 of the 100 tickets remain unsold.
Share details of Youth Strategy Group Grant Opportunity with Scouts and Youth Karate Group (PA):
Ongoing. Paul to email application form details to James and Doug and seek their urgent confirmation of whether they might have any relevant projects to submit to Essex County Council.
Register LCC’s land ownership with the Land Registry (AC):
Ongoing. Alan had deferred this pending full sign-off of the Pre-School and Shop Leases.
Car Park Insurance:
The second surveyor recently attended site, but refused to sign-off the safety of the Car Park due to the narrow entrance and lack of marked pedestrian walkways. There is therefore now a risk that our current insurers (Ansvar - who have provided excellent service over many years) will heavily load our renewal premium when our current cover ends on 30th November. Should this occur, Alan will then instruct our insurance broker to seek alternative quotes. The renewal negotiation window starts on 1st November and Alan will keep the Finance Sub-Committee updated with progress.
An alternative approach to obtaining a Car Park risk assessment is also now being explored by Martin, who has approached our Essex County Councillor Lewis Barber to see whether Highways Essex might be able to offer any professional advice. This is normally a chargeable pre-planning application service, but Highways Essex have been asked whether they can offer any general advice regarding the current status of the entrance. A response is expected within the next few days. Action MB
Cliff asked whether Alan was certain that our cover remained valid until the end of November, now that a second inspector had refused to sign-off a risk assessment. Alan confirmed that the supplementary premium of £60 paid following the potential accident insurance claim did indeed confirm shared-use car park cover until the end of November. It is the situation from 1st December onwards that remains unclear, pending further discussion with the broker and with Ansvar during the renewal negotiation window.
Martin asked Alan whether he would expect pedestrian walkways to be mandated, irrespective of the outcome of any Highways Essex ‘judgement’ on the site entrance. Alan thought yes, this would be required, but he anticipated that we may be granted a grace period of one further year of insurance during which to implement an approved walkway solution.
LCC Roof Replacement Project:
Tender invitations are ready to be sent out any day now, for returns in December. Only 4 Tenderers remain at the moment, following the withdrawal of Evers (the original builders of the Hall). Alan has provided a couple of other smaller builder names to our project manager, in an effort to make sure that we do end up receiving at least the minimum three valid quotations.
In the current volatile environment, Alan has been advised to include a variable price clause for the cost of building materials, rather than enforce a totally fixed price quotation. Whilst this price uncertainty is unsettling, at the end of the day we will not sign a final contract until all our supporting grants are in place, which is likely to be in June next year.
The provisional work schedule included in the Tender documentation envisages an 8 week building program from mid-late July through to early September 2022. In practice the winning bidder will be asked to propose their own detailed work schedule, which we hope might be slightly shorter in duration.
Cliff asked Alan whether the roof replacement was essential right now. Alan confirmed yes, based on the roof fragility that was discovered whilst attempting to replace roof tiles after a vandalism incident last year.
Sue noted the challenge of managing the summer 2022 closure period with such short notice once the project dates are confirmed in ~June. This could be managed better if she was able to offer hires of the Pre-School room during the summer holidays. It was agreed that Sue should approach the Pre-School to discuss the logistics of this. Action SA
Bank balances at close of business today were £2,909.09 (current account) and £77,135.93 (deposit account).
Maureen’s report had been circulated prior to the meeting. October figures are looking pretty good so far with a likely monthly surplus of around £1k. Cygnet, our largest commercial hirer, are returning to the hall, but not yet at pre-COVID booking levels. They have however booked some forward dates well into 2022.
Regarding our £8k Covid re-start grant, a small amount has been spent on new ventilation fans and extra cleaning activities, but it is still mostly unspent. Maureen has spoken informally to most of our regular clubs, but none have requested financial assistance. We should therefore look to provide some start-up help to any new clubs which launch activities within the hall – if indeed any volunteer organizers come forward to try and establish new clubs and activities.
In response to a question from Cliff, Maureen indicated that the Finance Committee had recently reviewed our reserves position and recommended that a sum of £36k, corresponding to one year’s typical operational costs, represented a minimum safe savings level which we should aim to retain once all the expensive roof repair work is completed and paid for. In a worst case scenario, there is also a £26k savings bond held in trust for us by the Parish Council, which could be accessed in an emergency.
Maureen noted that room hire rates had remained unchanged for the last two years, and would probably be subject to an increase at the next review in September 2022.
Marketing Manager’s Report
Sue’s report had been circulated prior to the meeting. Sue confirmed that she has successfully registered our 100 Club gambling license on the new CBC website facility. She will need to submit a return each month after the draw - one of our authorised bank signatories will need to check and approve her figures each month before she submits it.
Sue gratefully accepted the following volunteers to run forthcoming Community Cafes: Nov – Operation Christmas Child; Jan – Bowls Club; Feb – Scouts; Mar – Bridge Clubs. Volunteers are still required for April 2022 onwards.
The missing window opener has been found and returned to us, but there are still 3 or 4 small tables that cannot be accounted for, and Sue will now progress the purchase of replacement tables to bring us back to a full complement.
Work to address the problem with the men’s urinals is still on Alan’s plumber’s to do list.
A new bank account card is currently ‘in the post’, with a PIN which should allow Sue to make petty cash deposits.
A batch of old metal chairs are currently clogging up the Green Room, pending imminent removal to the storage cabin on the Recreation Ground. This will then clear space for the large and heavy Karate Club Punchbag to be stored in the Green Room between meeting sessions.
LCC support for Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Event in June 2022
With Cliff’s help, we reviewed an outline event plan that Charlotte had emailed us together with her apologies for not being able to attend tonight’s meeting. It is hoped to run various events on four consecutive days from Thu 2nd June through to Sun 5th June, but the two key days for hall usage look like being Fri 3rd and Sat 4th June. Liz S proposed that the hall be provided free of charge for these two days. Maureen seconded this and all agreed.
A live band may be engaged for the Saturday event; some band suggestions were mentioned and details passed to Cliff for further consideration.
Any Other Business
The Fire Brigade are making a routine inspection of our fire safety provisions next week. Sue has issued reminders to all of our regular hirers that they need to conduct a fire drill in the next 8 weeks and submit the results to her. Sue has also advised the Shop and Pre-School of a possible inspection during the site visit.
Dates of next meetings
Next Finance Committee Meeting: Monday 29th November 2021, 7.30pm, Club Room LCC.
Next Trustee Meeting: Thursday 20th January 2022, 7.30pm, Club Room LCC.
There being no further business, Alan thanked everyone for attending and closed the meeting at 9.20pm.