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Agenda Item No

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting: 23 February, 2015

Report of the Cabinet Member for Leisure, Parks, Culture and Sports Development

Gibbonsdown Community Allotments – Request for Lease

 

 

Purpose of the Report

1. To consider a request from Newydd Housing Association to grant them a lease for land forming Gibbonsdown Community Allotments.

Recommendations

1. That delegated authority is granted to the Managing Director in consultation with the Head of Legal Services and the Director of Visible Services and Housing to agree the terms and conditions and grant the lease to Newydd Housing Association for the land forming Gibbonsdown Community Allotments.

 

2. That the Head of Legal Services be authorised to sign the new lease on behalf of the Council and register the same.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1. To continue to support the work of volunteers involved in this project.

 

2. In order to execute and complete the legal documentation.

Background

2. Cabinet in June 2009 agreed to lease an area of land at Gibbonsdown to Communities First People’s Allotment Group with a view to bringing plots 1 - 6 at Old Pencoedtre Allotments back to use (Cabinet Minute C468 refers).  The location and size of the land area is shown at Appendix A.

 

3. A lease was duly entered into with the Trustees of the Communities First Allotment Group for a term of five years from 3rd June 2010 at a peppercorn rent.  The lease was excluded from the protection of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 Part II and at expiration of June this year, the tenants would have no automatic right to a new tenancy.

 

4. The Communities First People’s Allotment Group was dissolved and the land has been managed initially by Barry Communities First Ltd and then Barry Community Projects Ltd. The allotment project still has many groups from the local area attending, including the Youth Service, Scope, Gibbonsdown Children’s Centre and local schools to name but a few. 

 

5. Grants to run the site and employ a paid Garden Manager / Outreach Worker at the allotments have been received from Environment Wales and Tackling Poverty. In March 2013 a request was received to transfer the lease to Barry Communities First Ltd as this group had applied for a management grant to employ a Garden Manager / Outreach Worker at the allotments.  However due to the fact that officers of the Authority were also members / officers of Barry Communities First Limited, Internal Audit were concerned with this transfer.  It was determined that before any assignment could take place it would be necessary for those officers to resign or alternatively remain on the basis that the words "Communities First" would be removed from the name and the registered offices would be changed.  Only one officer remains involved with the company and that individual will not sign any lease and has made the necessary notification of interest in the company.  Subsequently Legal Services were advised that the company was changing its name to Barry Community Projects Limited.

 

6. A new request has been received from the Directors of Barry Community Projects Ltd stating that they are unable to take the project further due to time constraints and now wish for the lease to be transferred to Newydd Housing Association.

Relevant Issues and Options

7. The Directors of Barry Community Projects Ltd have been in consultation with Newydd Housing Association, who see the community garden as an excellent opportunity to work with their residents to improve health and wellbeing. In order to satisfy the legal requirements and to obtain further investment in the site it is considered appropriate to enter into a new form of lease with Newydd Housing Association, especially given that the current lease expires in June this year.  It is also considered to be the case that due to the dissolution of the original tenant that the lease is effectively ended by operation of law.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

8. There are no direct resource implications as Newydd Housing Association is self-financing.  Whilst the previous lease was offered at a peppercorn rent, the new lease value will be negotiated with Newydd Housing Association.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

9. Allotments provide sustainable food resources and reduce the implications on climate change.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

10. The Council has a Statutory and Fiduciary duty to obtain best consideration for all disposals of land and property (for longer than a term of 7 years) pursuant to S123 of the Local Government Act 1972.  There are certain exemptions to this requirement however these exemptions are not being relied upon in this particular case and therefore a Market rent will need to be negotiated with the proposed Tenants.

 

11. It will be necessary to agree the terms of the new proposed lease.

 

12. It is proposed that the agreements contain similar conditions as the existing agreements with the exception of insurance liability that must be a minimum of £5,000,000

Crime and Disorder Implications

13. The lease and sublease agreement will serve to reduce crime in the area and provide security of the premises

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

14. None.

Corporate/Service Objectives

15. The Corporate Priority and service aim is “To achieve a quality of the environment through the promotion and use of sustainable practices and by making the best use of current and future resources”.

 

16. The Service Objective is “To provide, manage and maintain Parks, open spaces and play areas”.

 

17. The provision of an agreement will improve the working with the Community, Stakeholders and the Voluntary Sector.

Policy Framework and Budget

18. This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

19. The local ward Members have been consulted and have raised no objections to this proposal.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

20. Economy and Environment.

Background Papers

Cabinet Minute C 468 June 2009

Request for the use of Emergency Powers 25/3/13

 

 

Contact Officer

Phil Beaman - Operational Manager, Parks and Grounds Maintenance

01446 709 543

 

 

Officers Consulted

Group Estates Officer

Operational Manager, Legal

Visible Services Accountant

 

 

Responsible Officer:

Miles Punter Director of Visible Services and Housing