Venue: Whitehill Village Hall, Sutton Field, Whitehill, Bordon, Hampshire GU35 9BW. View directions
Contact: Cynthia Haveron Democratic Services Officer - 01730 234092
Apologies for Absence
To receive and record apologies for absence.
There were apologies for absence from Councillors L Ashton, R Millard,
Parish Councillor J Poole and Town Councillor S Pond.
Confirmation of Minutes
Please note that it is helpful if Councillors could give advance notice, to Democratic Services, of any questions they wish to raise in respect of the Minutes.
Minutes of the last meeting held on 15 October 2013 previously circulated.
The minutes of the meeting held on 15 October 2013 were confirmed and signed.
There were no Chairman’s announcements.
Declarations of Interest
To receive and record any declarations of interest from members present in respect of any of the various matters on the agenda for this meeting.
There were no declarations of interest.
Public Question Time
There were no public questions.
2014 -2015 Draft Budget Proposals
There will be a short briefing to outline the draft 2014/15 budget proposals and financial projections to 2014/15. Some of the financial issues likely to impact on the Council will be outlined and feedback and comments are sought on the proposals.
The Forum received a presentation from Cllr Ferris Cowper, Leader of East Hampshire District Council, which is attached as Appendix 1 to these minutes.
A decade ago, half of EHDC’s total income had been from Government grants. Since 2006, Government grants had been cut. However, EHDC had managed its costs and doing this had enabled the Council to keep Council Tax low.
EHDC now required new means of delivering its services. A Non-Executive Board was being established which involved people outside of the organisation who would act as a sounding board and help advise the Council. Some very senior people were lined up to sit on this board.
The Council was receiving more income from property investments and had started to buy commercial property to improve its income stream. Income from business rates had increased due to the letting of more business units.
At the next Cabinet meeting, on 29th January 2014, Cllr Cowper would be proposing a freeze on Council Tax.
Following the presentation, there was an opportunity for questions.
It was confirmed that East Hampshire District Council’s portion of the Council Tax was only a small part. Hampshire County Council, the Police Authority, the Fire & Rescue Authority and the local Town and Parish Councils were all precepting authorities. It was understood that HCC might also freeze their portion of the Council Tax, although it was not clear what the other precepting authorities would be doing.
Cllr Cowper explained that he had attended a meeting on Monday with Hilary Benn MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and his team. There were only six local authorities at the meeting, all of them Conservative led and it had been a fascinating discussion. From this discussion he did not visualise any significant change in policy on funding to local councils should there be a change to grants and funding.
In respect of economic growth the Council was working with the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership in generating growth in the area. East Hampshire was the second most competitive local authority in the area beaten only by Winchester.
Some concern was expressed about the proposal to personalise services. It was felt that this would badly effect those in areas of depravation and could lead to an increase in fly tipping. It was also confirmed that this had not been costed.
The Phoenix Theatre & Arts Centre
A presentation by Rob Allerston on the Theatre and its future.
Mr Rob Allerston, Phoenix Director of the Phoenix Theatre and Arts Centre gave a presentation on the work of the theatre and its future.
Mr Allerston had been the Phoenix Director for three years and had moved to Bordon a year ago. He was an eternal optimist and liked to put a positive spin on the town. There was a huge gap for what they were trying to deliver to Bordon and the surrounding villages.
The theatre and arts centre was at an exciting crossroads. Alan Carr, the comedian was performing at the theatre in February and Jo Brand was also due to perform in the near future. Omid Djalii, the comedian was starting his UK tour at the theatre that evening and the Guardian newspaper were attending the performance to do a report on the tour and he hoped for some good photographs of the theatre in the report. It was fantastic to get this calibre of stars to perform at the theatre.
The theatre was growing along with the town and he felt that this was a real opportunity for both. It was really important to keep on building on the numbers attending the theatre and arts centre.
He briefly explained some of the work he had done in the last two days including attending a meeting of Whitehill Town Council who had given them a major grant. He had been very nervous before the meeting as these were tough financial times and he had been concerned that they might not have been given the grant.
He explained that the theatre and arts centre had worked with a youth theatre and produced a play on domestic abuse which they had performed at local schools. They had visited about 20 schools in the area, the Army in Aldershot and the Police Force in Southampton with the play.
The theatre was not just about comedy nights, they held a pantomime every year and this year’s was The Snow Queen. This show was very popular and got children away from their computers and televisions.
The theatre was a brilliant place but not perfect. Great people worked there and it was good that young people were getting involved. He wanted the theatre to be part of the future of Bordon and the Trustees of the theatre and arts centre would love to give an input into what was possible in the town. The theatre trustees and staff were always ready to listen to people if they were missing something.
Mr Allerston thanked local District Councillors for their support and quick response to a crisis at the theatre just before Christmas. There had been no heating and they had a lake developing in the cellar and needed to replace the boiler very quickly. The five local Councillors had rallied round and given the theatre money to have the repairs done. This had meant that a small day centre for 20-30 people with Learning Difficulties had been able to continue meeting.
Councillors ... view the full minutes text for item 21.
To consider Report PS.419/14, enclosed.
The Forum considered report PS.419/14, which had been previously circulated.
The Developer Contributions Monitoring Officer introduced the report.
Following a discussion it was
(i) the application from Grayshott Parish Council for up to £9,000 from the open space and recreation contributions held for use in Grayshott, to allow for the drainage improvements to be undertaken and to provide a disabled access ramp at the pavilion in Grayshott Recreation Ground be APPROVED; and
(ii) that Grayshott Parish Council’s List of Parish Spending Priorities and Requirements for 2014 Onwards attached as Appendix A of the report be NOTED.
To consider Report CT.02/14, enclosed.
The Forum considered report CT.02/14, which had previously been circulated.
The Community Officer introduced the report.
Mr N Grange-Bennett, Chairman and Chief Executive of Hospice Services at Home TLC Ltd was present to answer any questions.
In response to concerns from Councillors about the scope of the charity in that they also covered West Sussex and Surrey it was confirmed that in the Whitehill Bordon area there were 9 volunteers and 8 benefactors of care. In the whole of East Hampshire it was believed that there were about 40 volunteers. Over half of the charity’s operation was within East Hampshire.
It was confirmed that the charity’s offices were based in the Forest Centre in Bordon, provided rent free and the scope of the charity was a 25 mile radius of these offices.
It was also confirmed that all carers were CRB (Criminal Record Bureau) checked.
Councillors acknowledged the excellent work the charity had done over the years.
Following the discussion
It was RESOLVED that the application from Hospice Services at Home TLC Ltd for £1,000 from the Community Project Fund (Annual Ongoing) be APPROVED. The money to be spent within 12 months or the grant will be returned.