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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 09/11/2006
Minutes



Executive 135
09.11.06
WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL

MINUTES OF THE EXECUTIVE – 9TH NOVEMBER 2006

SUBMITTED TO THE COUNCIL MEETING – 12TH DECEMBER 2006

(To be read in conjunction with the Agenda for the Meeting)

*
Miss G B W Ferguson (Chairman)
*
Mr C H Mansell
Mrs C E Savage (Vice-Chairman)
*
Mr K T Reed
*
Mr S D Edge
*
Mr J E Robini
*
Mr B Grainger-JonesMr V K Scrivens
*
Mr P Haveron
* Present

152. MINUTES

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 3rd October 2006 and of the Special Meetings held on 31st October and 1st November 2006 were confirmed and signed.

153. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Apologies for absence were received from Mrs C E Savage and Mr V K Scrivens.

154. DISCLOSURES OF INTEREST

There were no interests raised under this heading.
PART I – RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE COUNCIL

155. MUSEUM OF FARNHAM GARDEN CLASSROOM (Agenda Item 12; Appendix G)

155.1 The garden classroom is a single-storey, L shaped structure located in the rear garden of Farnham Museum, at a distance of 20m from the main house. It is a flat-roofed, prefabricated building with a concrete floor and thin, barely insulated wooden walls. It was built in the 1960’s and was initially used as an exhibition space to display farm vehicles, which were later relocated to the Rural Life Centre in Tilford. Today, the classroom is used extensively by the Museum as a venue for its education sessions with schools visiting from all over the region. The classroom provides the only space within the museum which can accommodate a whole class of children, which is vital in delivering the schools programme. The facility is also used by the Museum Club at the weekends, is used for public lectures and fund raising events organised by the Friends of the Museum, provides a venue for exhibitions during the summer holidays and is used on an ad-hoc basis by local groups as a meeting venue.

155.2 The space provides an accessible multi-use area, which can accommodate up to 40 people seated. However, the roof is leaking, the exterior facia requires redecoration, the windows are rotted in parts, the heating and ventilation system is very poor with limited heating in the winter and no mechanical ventilation in summer. Rewiring is required to provide new circuits for lighting and power. There are no toilet facilities in the building, which means that when schools visit, the children need to walk back up to the main house to use the toilet and in poor weather conditions this is not ideal. There are no washing facilities, which preclude a number of activities from taking place in the building such as arts activities or the preparation of tea/coffee for meetings. To the rear of the building is an area of vacant land that is overgrown and untended with a dilapidated greenhouse. This area is not used at present but has the potential as a valuable teaching resource.
155.3 As the classroom urgently needs refurbishment there is an opportunity, if the Council choose to take it, to secure significant external funding to support the proposal to redevelop the garden classroom into a multi use facility which would not only improve on the current facilities but could assist in attracting new audiences and developing/extending the current education programme. A wide range of additional activities could be developed which would open the Museum up to a large number of new users. The proposed multi-use facility would provide a separate education room and exhibition/display room, which could be combined for larger activities/events or used by two different groups at the same time. The facility would also include toilet/wash facilities and a small kitchen area. The garden area at the back of the facility could also be brought back into use and provide an area of garden which could be used for educational purposes.

155.4 The aim of redeveloping the facility would be to expand the Museum’s education and community programme to enable more people to participate and benefit from their local heritage.

155.5 The objectives of the proposal are:-

v To improve access to the Museum by providing additional ground floor accessible gallery and education rooms – currently the first floor exhibition space is not accessible to those people with mobility difficulties.
v To expand the schools programme and facilities for people with disabilities by providing an accessible classroom, support facilities and heritage resources- currently there is little space available in which people with disabilities or families can use the discovery boxes, which limits the Museum’s capacity to open up the collections in this way.
v To expand the Museum’s local history service by running a programme of local history courses and lectures – currently classes and lectures are held elsewhere as affiliated schools have priority on the space. A new dual space could provide a venue for both schools and courses for adults at the same time.
v To increase the range and number of accessible exhibitions and displays by providing an accessible gallery which can display work throughout the year.
v To support the Museum’s existing volunteers and increase the number of new volunteers and provide training opportunities– currently the Museum Society meets in other premises, as their meetings are too big to be accommodated in the Museum, this is detrimental to the development of the volunteer base.
v To increase space for the safe and effective storage of the Museum’s equipment and teaching collections.
v To serve the wider community by providing an accessible community space for local organisations- the Museum is often approached by local groups looking for affordable meeting space.

155.6 Following early discussions, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) indicated that this project would meet their criteria for funding and that if successful they could fund up to 60% of the total costs. The HLF will not fund refurbishment costs but will support new developments that can demonstrate an opportunity to increase community involvement and reach new audiences. The Fund will also support a built development, such as this project, with revenue funding for a temporary staff post to establish links with new audiences.


155.7 The application process to the HLF is either in the form of a full bid or a two-stage bid. Given that this scheme has potential to attract significant external funding, in March of this year officers prepared and submitted a tentative Stage 1 bid to test whether the proposal would be eligible for funding. The HLF has now assessed the application and has decided to award a Stage 1 pass. In addition, the HLF has decided to offer a development grant to fund the development of the project to Stage 2, if the Council wish to proceed. Having been successful at Stage 1 it is usual that the funding is ring fenced until the second stage has been assessed.

155.8 The condition survey of the existing structure highlighted a number of issues which require rectification if the building is to continue to be used by the public. The estimated costs for a basic refurbishment total approximately 95,000. A budget sum of 95,000 has therefore been included in the 2007/8 draft capital programme to meet these costs. Based on an outline specification, estimates for a new and much improved facility would be in the region of 390,000 including professional fees, fixtures and fittings. The HLF has also agreed to fund a two-year part-time development officer post to develop the service into new areas, increase community involvement and broaden access. These revenue costs total approximately 45,000. Allowing for contingencies and inflation the project costs will total 510,000.

155.9 If the facility is redeveloped there will be an improvement to the Museum’s revenue position as it is anticipated that income will be generated through lettings of the facility.

155.10 In addition to the Council’s contribution of 95,000 and 59% funding from the HLF, the remaining funds, approximately 114,000, could be sought from a number of other external sources. The Farnham Building Preservation Trust (FBPT) has informed officers that it would be willing to consider applications for funding from suitable schemes within Farnham locality and that this scheme may be eligible for funding. Early discussions with the Trust have been positive and they have indicated that they would consider an application to the Trust for this project. Other funding sources that would be approached would include Farnham Town Council, South East Museum, Library and Archive Council (SEMLAC), various Charitable Trusts with an interest in heritage and education, SITA and Onyx as well as fund raising through the Friends and Museum Society.

155.11 If successful, the cost of providing a new improved facility, which would attract greater audiences to the Museum and provide a valuable asset to the town, could be funded in the main from external sources with the Council contributing 19% of the total project costs. Officers are of the view that this project would bring significant added value and that the current window of opportunity is very narrow. To delay the project would undoubtedly result in loss of HLF funding as from 2008 it is likely that a substantial proportion of lottery funding will be redirected to the 2012 Olympics and away from projects such as this.

155.12 Working up a Stage 2 HLF application would require some funding to cover the cost of professional fees associated with producing the basic designs and plans to support the application. The professional fees are estimated to be in the region of 16,000 and as part of the Stage 1 application the HLF have agreed to pay 11,600 to cover the costs of these development fees. The remaining 4,400 of development costs would be made up of officer time allocation and voluntary assistance as non-cash contributions to the project development work.

155.13 A summary of financial implications is set out in the table below:-


Option A
Refurbishment
Option B
Renewal
Cost of refurbishment identified by the current condition report95,000
Estimated cost of renewal with improved facility (inc professional fees)391,000
Activity Costs associated with the proposal45,000
Other costs – contingency and inflation73,000
Total costs
95,000509,000
Possible contribution towards renewal costs from Heritage Lottery Fund at 59%300,000
Possible contributions from other sources Up to 114,000
Total Cost to Waverley Borough Council95,00095,000

155.14 Any scheme would require planning permission and listed building consent as it is located within the curtilage of an existing Grade I listed building. The Council’s Historic Buildings Officer has been engaged in early discussions regarding the refurbishment and possible redevelopment. English Heritage has also been consulted and is satisfied that the proposal would meet their requirements.

155.15 If members agree to officers progressing the scheme, the following timetable would be pursued:-

TIMETABLE HLF APPLICATION
Stage 1 HLF application confirmed as successful
    Stage 2 HLF application completed / submitted

    HLF Board determines application

    If successful start on site

    Appointment of P/T Education officer

    Building Completed

    Education programme Initiated
    September 2006


    February 2007


    June 2007

    September 2007

    September 2007


    December 2007

    January 2008

    155.16 There is an urgent need for the Council to fund the capital costs of refurbishing the Museum’s garden classroom if it is to remain in operation. This facility provides an essential space within the Museum in which a number of activities take place on an almost daily basis. The loss of this space would be detrimental and would result in lost audiences especially the schools programme.

    155.17 There is a window of opportunity for the Council to secure external funding to support the proposal to re-build and develop a multi use classroom and gallery space with associated facilities which will not cost the Council any more than the cost of the basic refurbishment. This new facility will provide space for a much wider range of community activity, which will increase the range of users and visitors to the Museum a key statutory best value performance indicator for the Council. There is a clear indication that a major part of the funding (59%) could be secured as the HLF have accepted a Stage 1 application.

    155.18 The Executive accordingly

    RECOMMENDS that

    Background Papers (DoEL)

    Stage 1 Application to Heritage Lottery Fund and supporting papers.
    PARTS II AND III – MATTERS OF REPORT

    Background Papers

    The background papers relating to the following report items in Parts II and III are as specified in the agenda for the Executive.

    Part II – Matters Reported in Detail for the Information of the Council

    There were no matters falling within this category.

    Part III – Brief Summaries of Other Matters Dealt With

    156. FOUR-MONTH ROLLING PROGRAMME (Agenda Item 5; Appendix A)
    157. RESTRUCTURING – INTERIM REPORT (Agenda Item 6)

    The Executive received an oral report on a visit by officers and members to Chichester District Council earlier in the week which had been very constructive.

    158. PROPOSED TRANSFER OF PUBLIC TOILETS FROM WAVERLEY TO HASLEMERE TOWN COUNCIL (Agenda Item 7; Appendix B)
    1. The existing public toilet at High Street, Haslemere being leased to Haslemere Town Council for a peppercorn rent and subject to certain conditions restricting future use for business and for public toilet use only; 2. This redevelopment being undertaken by Haslemere Town Council at their expense; 3. In the event that Waverley wishes to regain possession of the building to facilitate a future redevelopment scheme, the Council would agree to defray the reasonable costs incurred by Haslemere Town Council; 4. Any income being retained by the Town Council to finance the cost of the project and future cleaning and maintenance costs; 5. Any excess income to be used by the Town Council to provide grants to local businesses, such as hotels, restaurants and pubs with toilets suitable for use by the public, such grants being paid as a contribution towards their cleaning and maintenance costs, in return for making them available for public use and displaying signs to this effect; 6. Waverley revenue grant aids the transfer on a sliding scale for three years at 30%, 20% and 10% of the current cost to the General Fund, of water and electricity services, and for cleaning and repairs, estimated in 2006/07 to be 7,400; 7. Waverley and Haslemere Town Council funding their own legal costs, with Haslemere being responsible for obtaining any necessary planning or other permissions, including access and egress; relating to future use of the site and access to it; and 8. Satisfying the Property Manager and Solicitor to the Council as to the adequacy of the arrangements set out in the report. 159. STATEMENT OF ACCOUNTS 2005/2006 (Agenda Item 8; Appendix C)

    160. TREASURY MANAGEMENT – BORROWING AND INVESTMENT TRANSACTIONS AND PERFORMANCE MEASUREMENT (Agenda Item 9; Appendix D)

    RESOLVED that the report be noted.

    161. BUDGET MONITORING – SEPTEMBER 2006 (Agenda Item 10; Appendix E)

    162. ELECTRONIC DOCUMENTS AND RECORDS MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS (EDRMS) (Agenda Item 11; Appendix F)

    RESOLVED that the report be noted.


    163. LOCAL GOVERNMENT WHITE PAPER (Agenda Item 13; Appendix H)

    A report from the meeting of the Local Government Reform SIG which had met earlier in the day was tabled.

    RESOLVED that

    1. the briefing papers be noted;
    164. WAVERLEY LOCAL STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP (Agenda Item 14; Appendix I)

    RESOLVED that the report be noted.

    165. CORE STRATEGY – MONITORING AND IMPLEMENTATION (Agenda Item 15; Appendix J)
    166. REPORT OF THE PLANNING SIG (Agenda Item 16; Appendix K)

    RESOLVED that the report be noted.

    167. REPORT OF THE MEMBER/TENANTS' SIG (Agenda Item 17; Appendix L)

    RESOLVED that the report of the SIG be noted.

    168. MEMBER DEVELOPMENT SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP – TERMS OF REFERENCE (Agenda Item 18; Appendix M)

    RESOLVED that
    169. SURREY LOCAL GOVERNMENT ASSOCIATION – APPOINTMENTS TO AD HOC BODIES (Agenda Item 19)

    170. ACTION TAKEN SINCE LAST MEETING (Agenda Item 20)

    RESOLVED that the action taken since the last meeting be noted.
    The meeting commenced at 7.00 p.m. and concluded at 8.55 p.m.




    Comms/exec/2006-07/252