Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document
Meeting of the Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 30/07/2007
MINUTES of the MEETING of the ENVIRONMENT AND LEISURE OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE held
on 30TH JULY 2007
(To be read in conjunction with the Agenda for the Meeting)
Cllr Mrs J I Arrick
Cllr Ms D M-R Le Gal
Cllr M W Byham
Cllr A J Lovell
Cllr J H B Edwards
Cllr S J O’Grady
Cllr Mrs P Ellis
Cllr S L Pritchard
Cllr M R Goodridge
Cllr K Reed
Cllr R A Gordon-Smith
Cllr Mrs J R Thomson
Cllr N P Holder
Cllr Ms N Warner-O’Neill
Cllr S R E Inchbald
Cllr C A Wilson
Cllr Mrs D M James
Cllr Mrs G M Beel, Cllr J P Hubble and Cllr Dr N J Lee attended as substitutes
[Cllr R J Steel, Cllr B Morgan , Cllr R A Knowles and Cllr C A King were also in attendance and spoke on Minute No. 20]
Cllr R J Gates also attended
Consideration of the minutes of the meeting of 19th June 2007 was deferred until the next meeting on 11th September 2007.
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND SUBSTITUTIONS
Apologies for absence were received from Cllr N P Holder, Cllr Ms D M-R Le Gal, Cllr Mrs N Warner-O’Neill, Cllr J I Arrick, Cllr S J O’Grady, Cllr S L Pritchard, Cllr K Reed and Cllr C A Wilson. Cllr Mrs G M Beel, Cllr J P Hubble and Cllr Dr N J Lee attended as substitutes.
DISCLOSURE OF INTERESTS
There was one disclosure of interest from Cllr R A Knowles as Borough Representative on Haslemere Museum. During the discussion on the call-in item, Cllr M R Goodridge also declared a personal interest as the trustee of Godalming Museum.
It was agreed that Cllr J H B Edwards should take the place of Cllr Mrs P Ellis on the Environment and Leisure Performance Indicators Sub Committee.
CALL-IN MUSEUM OF FARNHAM GARDEN CLASSROOM
The Committee was informed that the Museum of Farnham Garden Classroom report had been considered by the Executive at its meeting on 10th July 2007. It had been subject to call-in and four councillors -
Cllr Dr N J Lee, Cllr J H B Edwards, Cllr C A Wilson and Cllr Mrs J I Arrick -
requested that they would like to scrutinise the decision taken at that meeting. The Executive’s decision was that a grant of £25,000 from the 2007/8 Community Partnership Fund be earmarked as a contribution to the Museum of Farnham Garden Classroom.
The Committee considered the report which had been submitted to the Executive on 10th July, together with an earlier report considered by the Executive on 9th November 2006 and an explanatory note to assist the call-in discussion.
Cllr Dr N J Lee and Cllr J H B Edwards explained the four members’ concerns. There was concern about various issues including:
the perceived inequality in the budget for the Museum provision across the Borough about which a number of written representations had been received;
the possibility of any further future funding requests;
how to cover any on-going costs;
perception of high staffing costs and unrealistic spending plans; and
reference to LEA contribution.
The Head of Leisure Services, said that the refurbishment of the garden classroom at Farnham Museum was very much needed given the bad state of repair of the building. A recent property survey had also concluded it did not meet the needs of the education service. Officers had sought Heritage Lottery Funding (HLF) which was significant, but dependent on the Council’s support alongside it, and necessitated a fully funded application to support the bid. HLF guidelines required that a development officer post oversee the work programme. Given that the majority of grant would come from the HLF, it was considered to be an excellent opportunity to refurbish the facility at minimum cost to the council taxpayer.
The Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, Cllr R J Steel, said it was difficult to compare Farnham Museum to other museums as they were set up, and run very differently. He said that Farnham Museum had received awards for its facilities and that this would be an opportunity for it to earn income e.g. through use of meeting facilities. He felt it was important to act before preparations for the 2012 Olympics.
Cllr R A Knowles tabled funding figures for other local leisure facilities and queried whether it was justifiable that such a large proportion of funds was spent on the Farnham Museum.
Cllr B Morgan said that the Museum performed a valuable educational function and suggested a review of what was spent across the Borough given that Godalming and Haslemere Museums were run as independent trusts, rather than being wholly owned and managed by WBC. Cllr Mrs G M Beel said that the finance requested was only small in comparison to additional funds being sought, and that it was a pity to let the opportunity pass by.
Other questions included whether there was a contingency fund for building if costs overran, the level of visitor numbers at the Museum and the availability of LEA funding. Officers confirmed there was a 10% contingency in the project fees for the build, and that visitor numbers were comparable with Haslemere Museum. Officers said that they were unaware of any Museum that received direct LEA funding. Officers also confirmed that the Council had previously considered different operating models for the Museum and specialist legal advice had been sought on this issue. Officers felt it would be useful for new members to see a copy of this report as it would provide valuable background information on the issues being raised. It was also noted that the Museum of Farnham provided services to the whole Borough, not just Farnham.
In concluding discussions, Members generally supported the Executive decision and felt that £25,000 was good value for money in view of the amount of external funding of up to £415,000 including a grant of £300,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund that would potentially be generated for the Museum. Members also felt the discussion had been a useful introduction to the current position and generally agreed that a review of how Waverley supports cultural services across the Borough to include the Cranleigh Arts Centre could be helpful.
The Chief Executive reassured the Committee that having supported the Heritage Lottery Fund bid, should it be unsuccessful, there would be no presumption to proceed to an alternative option of refurbishing the building and a further report on the alternative options would be brought back to members for consideration.
RESOLVED: The Vice Chairman then moved that the Committee endorse the Executive’s decision, which was agreed 11 votes in favour, and none against.
The meeting concluded at 8.12 pm