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Minutes of the Town Council Meeting held on Wednesday 23rd June 2021 at 7.30pm at Birchwood Leisure Centre, Longmead, Hatfield AL10 0AN

PRESENT:

Councillor Richard Griffiths – Mayor

Councillor Mark Bolitho - Deputy Mayor

Councillor James R. Bond               Councillor Jackie Brennan

Councillor Rory Craig                      Councillor M. Eames-Petersen 

Councillor Caron Juggins                Councillor Linda Mendez

Councillor John Percival                  Councillor Tristan Wiltshire

 

OFFICERS:

Carrie Lloyd (Town Clerk)

Sam Frake (Head of Operations)

Ali Ogilvie (Head of Estates)

 

1 member of the public in attendance

29.            ANNOUNCEMENT BY TOWN MAYOR

“I will follow the protocol to put Party politics aside and make decisions and opinions based on the interests of the Council (and not on any political leanings) in accordance with the remit bestowed on Hatfield Town Council.

 

This means, for example that in some instances when I am required to give an opinion or make a casting vote I will do so in an unbiased manner with the interests of the Council in mind and not for any particular political persuasion or grouping.

 

In addition, I shall take note during a debate of any signs indicating that a member or members are not following the same principles, which I recognise will be entirely their prerogative.  Any signs such as these that I make note of I will then use as I see fit to assist me with forming a judgement and/or the way I cast my vote.

 

My opinions will only be based on any land or structure which is on the List of Assets of Hatfield Town Council. Or I will make suggestions as to ways of dealing with issues that arise with private or personal projects or other matters which are not on the Council's List of Assets.

 

I will take into account at all times considerations to do with our staff. Firstly, that elected Council members direct members of staff to implement policies after agreement has been reached on an issue at a meeting, such as this one.

 

And secondly, recognising and respecting that staff members undertake their duties in accordance with their professional qualifications, training and experience on how to implement directions we have given to them through our Committee System without interference from elected members.”

 

He further advised that his charity for the year was Breaks Manor.

30.            APOLOGIES

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Brisbin and Mackay who were unable to attend due to work, Councillor Laming was unable to attend due to ill health and apologies were received through the Labour Group Leader from Councillor Brandon.

 

No apologies were received from Councillor Lee Newman.

31.            DECLARATION OF INTERESTS BY MEMBERS

There were none.

32.            MINUTES FROM PREVIOUS MEETINGS

Members approved the minutes of 19th May 2021 as a correct record.

33.            QUESTION TIME

The emailed question by Cllr Thorpe had been answered prior to the meeting.

 

There were no other questions.

34.            LEADER AND DEPUTY LEADER OF THE COUNCIL AND LEADERS OF POLITICAL GROUPS

Members noted the advice previously circulated from Wellers Hedleys.

 

The Leader of the Labour Group disputed this advice and advised Members that she had received legal advice from NALC.  The Town Clerk requested that this advice be passed to her.

 

(Action: Cllr Eames-Petersen)

 

Members requested that this item be brought back to Council if the advice from NALC’s legal team (once received by the Town Clerk) differed from that given by Weller Hedleys.

 

(Action: Town Clerk)

 

RESOLVED that Councillor Juggins was Leader of the Council, Councillor Wiltshire was Deputy Leader of the Council.  Standing Order no. 26 remain unchanged.

35.            APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEES AND SUB COMMITTEES

The Labour Group Leader still disputed the allocation of seats on each Committee and Sub Committee.

 

RESOLVED that the make up be as follows;

 

The Leader and Deputy Leader are ex-officio voting Members of each of the Committees (shown underlined).

 

Resources and Policy Committee: (5 Members including Ex-Officio)

Chairman: Cllr. T. Wiltshire             Vice Chairman: Cllr. C. Juggins

Members: Councillors Bolitho, Bond, Brennan

 

Sport and Leisure Committee: (7 Members plus Ex-Officio)

Chairman: Cllr. J. Percival         Vice Chairman: Cllr. J. R. Bond

Members: Councillors Brisbin, Craig, Eames-Petersen, Griffiths, Juggins, Newman, Wiltshire

 

Planning Committee: (7 Members plus Ex-Officio)

Chairman:      Cllr J. Brennan          Vice Chairman: Cllr. R. Craig

Members: Councillors Brisbin, Eames-Petersen, Juggins, Laming, Mendez, Mackay, Wiltshire

 

Capital Projects Sub Committee: (5 Members)

Members: Cllrs. Bond, Eames-Petersen, Griffiths, Juggins and Percival

 

Human Resources Sub Committee: (5 Members)

Chairman:      Cllr. Caron Juggins  Vice Chairman: Cllr T. Wiltshire

Members: Cllrs. Brennan, Percival and Craig

 

Appeals Sub Committee - (3 Members)

All Members are Members of the Appeals Sub Committee provided they have not been involved with the matter under discussion beforehand.

 

Audit Sub Committee - (3 Members)

To be decided at Resources and Policy Committee

 

Health and Well-Being Sub Committee (3 non-senior Members and 3 non-senior Staff)

Cllrs Brennan, Juggins and Mendez

 

All Members are substitute members.

 

Joint Project Lead on de Havilland Grange Capital Working Group

Cllrs Brisbin and Eames-Petersen

(Action: Town Clerk)


 

 

36.            APPOINTMENT TO OUTSIDE BODIES

RESOLVED that following appointments be approved;

 

 

2021/22

Members

 

a)

Newgate Street Village Hall

 

Cllr Wiltshire

Cllr Craig

 

b)

Wellfield Trust

 

Cllr Mendez

T. Lyons

Cllr Bolitho

 

c)

Welwyn Hatfield Highways Liaison Meeting

 

Cllr J. R. Bond

d)

Hatfield 2030+

 

Cllr Brennan & Cllr Eames-Petersen

e)

Town Team

 

Cllr Eames-Petersen

f)

Community Liaison Forum (University)

 

Cllr Eames-Petersen

g)

Borough, Town & Parishes Meeting

 

Cllr Juggins

h)

Hatfield Community Sports Fund Board

 

Cllr J. R. Bond

i)

Ellenbrook Park Preservation Trust

 

Cllr Brisbin

j)

Police liaison

 

Cllr Brennan & Cllr Eames-Petersen

(Action: Town Clerk)

37.            RECOMMENDATIONS OF COMMITTEES

The recommendations of the Sport & Leisure Committee of 26th May 2021 were approved.

 

 

The recommendations of Resources & Policy Committee of 9th June 2021 were considered;

 

INTERNAL AUDIT REPORT 2020/21

RESOLVED THAT;

(i)               The report be noted;

(ii)              The Head of Operations close down the inconsistencies in Sage to provide an actual balances brought forward figure subject to external auditors approval.

 

(Action: Head of Operations

 

AGAR 2020/21

Members noted that there was a separate agenda item to discuss this.

HOWE DELL LEASE

The Mayor advised that he would bring forward the motion by Cllr Eames-Petersen for consideration, noting that the recommendation from Resources & Policy Committee was that the Town Clerk commence discussions with the County Council to work out the best way to hand the lease over to Howe Dell School and support community use.

 

Cllr Eames-Petersen moved that Howe Dell Community hall be kept under the trusted role of Hatfield Town Council* for use by the Community, ( as understood by the s106 agreement) and not handed over to Herts County Council and Howe Dell School.  (Exclusive use by the School was only a temporary arrangement, during the Covid pandemic).

 

The school have plenty more hall space and classrooms and a field to build in.  The community have nothing else there.

 

*understanding that the Town Council provide good notice of the bookings to the school and there is a signed agreement by school/caretaker to provide hot water and reserved car- parking spaces on the day of bookings.

 

The Chairman of Resources & Policy Committee requested that the recommendation from Resources & Policy Committee be amended to consider leaving the lease in the Town Council’s name but adding a clause to permit the Town Council to sub let the hall to the school , with a review brought back to a future meeting.

 

The Leader of the Labour Group requested that community and user consultation be carried out.

 

RESOLVED that the recommendation of the Resources & Policy Committee, as amended by the Committee Chairman, be approved.

(Action: Town Clerk)

DRAFT LEASE FOR NEWGATE STREET VILLAGE HALL

RESOLVED that;

The Town Clerk carry out discussions with the Village Hall Management Committee and report back to a future meeting.

(Action: Town Clerk)

ELECTRICITY SUB STATION LEASE OF LAND (DE HAVILLAND GRANGE – OFF MULBERRY MEAD)

RESOLVED that the lease be signed.

(Action: Town Clerk)

REPORT FROM HEAD OF ESTATES

RESOLVED that the lowest quote of £5,600 for a new FunZone boiler be ear marked in reserves.

(Action: Town Clerk)

RESOLVED that the lowest quote for new doors at Lemsford Village Hall of £4,000 be earmarked in reserves but expenditure be incurred only if necessary.

(Action: Town Clerk)

RESOLVED that the Head of Operations to include a line item on the future view of the reserves in the R&P Financial overview going forward

(Action: Head of Operations)

 

The recommendations of Planning Committee held on 16th June 2021 were approved.

(Action: Town Clerk)

38.            MEMBER / OFFICER PROTOCOL

Members noted the document as circulated and RESOLVED that it be approved.

 

(Action: Town Clerk)

39.            MOTION FROM COUNCILLORS

Following debate, Councillor Bond withdrew his first motion.

 

Councillor Bond moved that in accordance with Standing Order 9, the Town Clerk to find out information on the Hatfield Community Sports Fund (including money already allocated to projects), and circulate the information to all Councillors as soon as possible.

 

A request be sent to the Fund Administrators advising that the Town Council is looking at schemes for football and the Sports Specific Major Fund (football - £800,000) should be ring-fenced for application by the Town Council for 2 years.

 

RESOLVED that the motion be approved.

(Action: Town Clerk)

40.            ANNUAL GOVERNANCE AND ACCOUNTABILITY RETURN (AGAR) 2020/21

Members noted the recommendation from Resources & Policy Committee.  The Head of Operations was thanked for all of her hard work in getting the accounts prepared and resolving the matters raised in the previous External Audit.

RESOLVED that;

(i)       The dates of the period for the exercise of public rights be confirmed as 24th June 2021 – 4th August 2021;

 

(ii)      Section 1 - The Annual Governance Statement on Page 4 be approved and the Mayor and Clerk be authorised to sign Page 4 on behalf of the Council;

 

(iii)    Section 2 – Accounting Statements 2020/21 on Page 5 be approved and the Mayor and the Clerk be authorised to sign Page 5 on behalf of the Council;

 

(iv)    The Annual Internal Audit Report 2020/21 at Page 3 be noted;

 

(v)     The checklist at Page 2 be agreed.

 

(vi)    The Head of Operations retain and circulate an on going list of s.106 funds held as well as the explanation of why the boxes do not add up due to those sums held.

(Action: Town Clerk / Head of Operations)

41.            ROE HILL HALL PLAY EQUIPMENT

Members considered the report of officers.  Cllr Percival requested that Members consider adding a further piece of equipment suitable for toddlers (up to £7,500), the funding of most of which could come from some s.106 playground funds due to be returned to reserves.

The Chairman of Resources & Policy Committee urged caution on capital spend during the first part of the year until the Council better knew its revenue prospects.

Members thanked the Estates Team for their hard work on all of the Council’s sites.

RESOLVED that a maximum of £18,774 be spend on providing teen equipment, £7,500 on toddler equipment, £7,015 on outdoor gym equipment and £9,161 on repairing the safety surface at Roe Hill Play Area.

(Action: Town Clerk)

42.            SETTING UP “HELP A HATFIELD CHILD” CHARITY

Members considered the model documents from the Charity Commission website and RESOLVED that the Town Council be sole trustee of the charity and it be operated in the same way as the Birchwood & deHavilland Playing Fields Trust.

(Action: Town Clerk)

43.            PUBLICITY ON COUNCIL’S SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS AND WEBSITE FOR CHARITIES

Members did not agree to any “links” on the Town Council website but agreed to retweets and sharing on social media.

RESOLVED that this item be brought back to a future meeting should a revenue stream be identified.

(Action: Town Clerk)

25.            DATE OF NEXT MEETING

Noted that the next meeting of the Council is 28th July 2021.

26.            EXCLUSION OF THE PRESS AND PUBLIC

RESOLVED that the press and public be excluded for the following item as their presence would be prejudicial to the public interest by reason of the confidential nature of the business to be transacted.

 

(i)               Property matters

 

Cllr Juggins declared an interest in this item as she had assisted the applicant with the submission of plans to the Planning Department.

27.            GARDEN NURSERY AT BIRCHWOOD PLAYING FIELDS

Members noted that the plans relating to the submitted planning application had been submitted for an area 54.4m x 27.2m.

 

Subject to confirmation of percentage increase, Members felt that Mr Carrol should pay £800 per month for the increased size site and the Town Clerk advise the Borough Planning Officers that the original application required amendment to reflect the new site size.

 

Members stressed that as previously agreed, if planning permission is not obtained then the operator will need to vacate the site.  The licence which will be issued to the operator (subject to planning permission being obtained and regardless of how long the temporary planning permission will last) will only be for 1 year commencing in March, potentially renewable subject to planning permission and use of the site by Council.

 

RESOLVED that the preamble to these minutes be agreed, the Town Clerk bring the finalised license back to Council for approval and that the licence only ever be for one calendar year commencing March each year.

(Action: Town Clerk)

Closure: 9:53pm

Mayor