WELSH CHURCH ACT ESTATE COMMITTEE

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 16th July, 2018.

 

Present:  Councillor G.A. Cox (Chairman); Councillor A.C. Parker (Vice-Chairman); Councillors Mrs. P. Drake, B.T. Gray and N. Moore.

 

Also present: Councillor R.A. Penrose.

 

 

174     APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE –

 

These were received from Councillor Mrs. M. Wright.

 

 

175     MINUTES –

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the minutes of the meeting held 8th January, 2018 be approved as a correct record.

 

 

176     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST –

 

No declarations were received.

 

 

177     LAND AT GLEBE FIELDS, SULLY (HOF) –

 

At the beginning of the item, permission was granted by the Chairman following a request from Councillor Penrose to address the Committee.

 

On behalf of members of the public, who were also present at the meeting, Councillor Penrose advised that he wished to share a proposal for the land at Glebe Fields on behalf of the Sully Community.

 

Sully had an expanding populace but with limited doctor surgery facilities.  The doctor resident at the current surgery had expressed interest in developing a new health centre in the Sully area. 

 

Councillor Penrose added that the Sully Community was mindful of funding restrictions however, believed that a scheme including the following would be the best use of the relevant land and for the benefit of the community: 

  • A Health Care Centre;
  • New Public Library;
  • 100+ Space Car Park;
  • A Private Nursing Home; and
  • Supported Living Bungalow Accommodation.

The Councillor highlighted that if it were possible to commission a developer to build the bungalow accommodation and nursing home then it would be an excellent foundation to try and obtain funding and contractors to build the health centre. 

 

There were a significant amount of large properties in the Sully area occupied by single elderly individuals.  Unfortunately, if said elderly individuals were required to leave their homes, they were currently unable to stay within the Sully area which was generally the desired option. 

 

The community appreciated that the project needed to be sustainable and was in its very early stages of consideration however, the community was planning to go ahead with a pre-planning application based on the scheme suggested above. 

 

The Chairman asked for further clarification on the Councillor’s comments around financing the proposal and welcomed a Member’s supplementary question on whether or not the community was waiting for a developer to come forward. 

 

Councillor Penrose acknowledged that both these matters would be influenced by the Committee’s decision with regards to future plans for the land and it was the community’s assumption that the land would be sold. 

 

A Member asked about the library provision and how this would sit within the scheme.  Councillor Penrose advised that, to cut down on building costs, it was envisaged that the library would be attached to the health centre. 

 

A Member asked if the community had considered an age restriction on the assisted living bungalows.  Councillor Penrose advised that, due to his knowledge of other similar schemes, he was aware that a 50+ restriction had been put in place previously but considering the demographics of the community it may even be possible to go as far as a restriction of 65+ pending further research.  The community would support an age restriction and understood that there was a requirement for a certain amount of affordable units to be built into the scheme.

 

In referring to the Officer’s report, Councillor Penrose addressed the statement regarding the possibility of further sports pitches being incorporated in to the site and wished to express the community’s strong views that no further pitches were required as there were already adequate facilities in place within the area. 

 

The Vice-Chairman added that the local need must be considered for any form of large development and advised that the current site was not included within the Council’s Local Development Plan. 

 

A Member thanked Councillor Penrose and the members of the public present for sharing their views and highlighted that it was extremely beneficial to have input from the local community. 

 

The Chairman subsequently invited the Officer to present the report. 

 

The Operational Manager (Property) presented the report to seek Committee’s approval to appoint marketing agents to provide an options report for the marketing of vacant land at Glebe Fields. 

 

The Head of Legal presented a report to Committee in January 2017 which sought to update Committee on the progress made in relation to Resolution (3) of Committee Minute No. 390, authorising the instituting of legal proceedings to forfeit the lease held by Sully Centurions, for the Glebe Field.  The land was shown for identification purposes on the plan attached to Appendix A to the report.

 

Committee was advised that, since January 2017, matters had progressed and a Consent Order had been entered into to gain possession of the land at Glebe Field.  The lease was forfeited and possession given up at the same time. 

 

Since gaining possession of Glebe Fields, the land had been secured, with fences and locked gating having been erected by the authority.  The Council's parks department was instructed (following consultation with the Chairman of this Committee) to cut the grass during the grass cutting season and to cut back any overgrown areas to the boundaries in order to keep the land in good order, which had also been undertaken.

 

Since possession of the land was secured, officers had received expressions of interest in using the land from third parties for a range of sporting activities such as local football and croquet clubs.    

 

Committee were reminded that the sole concern of the Committee was to act in the best interest of the Trust in deciding the future use of land and property within the Trust's portfolio. 

 

In order that Committee were fully briefed in connection with the options relating to the future use of the land, it was proposed that the Council's Planning section be asked to produce a brief statement outlining the Policy Context for the land and set out a range of uses that the land could potentially be put to. 

 

Following receipt of the planning statement, it was recommended that marketing agents be instructed to provide a report outlining what potential demand there might be for the range of uses outlined in the planning statement.  The report would then be presented to a future Committee meeting for discussion in order to seek instructions on how best to proceed with marketing the land (either by lease or freehold sale), if Committee was minded to take forward either option.

 

The Operational Manager concluded by advising that there would be costs associated with engaging marketing agents to prepare a marketing report.  These costs were estimated to be no greater than £2,500.  There were no other resource implications as a direct result of the report as any recommendations from the marketing options report would be presented back to Committee prior to any further action being taken in respect of marketing the land.

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1)       T H A T the current position with the land be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T the appointment of a marketing agent to consider possible demand for alternative uses for the land be approved and delegated authority be given to the Head of Finance to appoint a suitable advisor in consultation with the Chairman of the Committee.

 

(3)       T H A T the interest in the land by parties outlined in the report be noted.

 

(4)       T H A T a further report highlighting the possible future uses for the land be presented to the Committee as soon as possible after receipt of the marketing report.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)       To apprise Committee of the current position with the land.

 

(2)       To seek Committee’s approval to appoint marketing agents to report on the future use of the land.

 

(3)       To advise Committee of the recent interest in using the land from third parties.

 

(4)       To update Committee at the earliest possibility.

 

 

178     ANNUAL REPORT AND ACCOUNTS 2017/18 (MD) –

 

The Committee was asked to consider the Annual Report and Accounts as required by the Charities Act 2011 Section 162.  The Charities (Accounts and Reports) Regulations 2008 require that the Annual Report and Accounts be approved by the Trustees as a body in accordance with their normal administrative procedures. 

 

The Principal Accountant presented the report, highlighting the Annual Report and Accounts for the year ended 31st March, 2018 as contained in Appendix A to the report.  The main features of the Report, when compared to the previous year, were as follows: 

  • Statement of Financial Activities

Surplus of £7,000 reduced from a surplus of £8,000 in 2016/17.  This was due to a continued increase in investment income (£8,000) and reduced rental income (‑£4,000) when compared with 2016/17.  The grants allocation was increased from £45,000 in 2016/17 to £51,000 in 2017/18 to reflect the increased income (£6,000). 

  • Balance Sheet

An increase in the value of Long Term Investments of £12,000 due to the transfer of the short term investment (£8,000) and an increase in valuation (£4,000).

 

The value of the fund at year end was £4.960m, an increase of £11,000 on the previous year.  This was attributable to the gain on the revaluation of stock market investments (£4,000).  There was also an increase in the unrestricted funds held of £7,000 during 2017/18.

 

The Principal Accountant drew Committee’s attention to an error on page 10 of Appendix A where the 2017/18 fund total for Debtors on the balance sheet had been amended to 7 on the version of the accounts to be signed.

 

Subject to approval by the Committee, the Annual Report and Accounts would be forwarded to the Council's external auditors, Wales Audit Office, for independent examination in December 2018.

 

The Chairman asked which level of risk the Trust was currently operating at, to which, the Principal Account advised the cautious end of balanced.

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1)       T H A T the Annual Report and Accounts 2017/18, as set out at Appendix A to the report, be approved.

(2)       T H A T the Chairman be authorised to sign approval on behalf of Trustees.

 

Reason for Decision

 

(1&2) In accordance with the requirements of the Charities Act 2011 and The Charities (Accounts and Reports) Regulations 2008.

 

 

179a   APPLICATIONS FOR FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE 2018/19 (MD) –

 

The Committee was asked to consider applications for financial assistance funded from the Welsh Church Act Estate and for Trustees to consider an amendment requested to a previous award.

 

The Welsh Church Act Estate Committee had delegated authority to manage the Trust’s affairs in accordance with “The Scheme” the Welsh Church Act Estate as vested in the Council.  The purpose for which the Welsh Church Act Fund may make grants was set out in the summary at Appendix B to the Officer’s report.  Applications received were also set out in the report at Appendix A.  Appendix C to the report set out the Fund’s revenue estimates for the current financial year. 

 

The Principal Accountant advised that the closing date for applications was 15th June, 2018.  Subsequently, the sum of £55,000 had been provided for grants in the Trust’s revenue estimates for 2018/19.  It was recommended that an allocation of £32,196 be made for applications for grant assistance as set out at Appendix A which would leave a remaining balance of £22,804 to be allocated during 2018/19.  The required funding of £400, to be drawn down from the unrestricted reserve, which was primarily held for the maintenance of the Trust’s investment properties.

 

At its meeting on 8th January, 2018, the Welsh Church Act Estate Committee agreed to progress the recommended options for the lane to the rear of Church Road, Cadoxton at an estimated cost of £30,000.  The cost would need to be funded from reserves and was reflected in the financial estimates shown in Appendix C. 

 

The drawdown of £30,400 of reserves would leave an estimated reserve balance of £89,600 at 31st March, 2019.

 

The Officer drew the Committee’s attention to Appendix A of the report and provided a brief summary of the ten applications contained therein. 

 

A Member recommended that the funding applied for regarding applications 2, 4 and 6 (as contained in Appendix A) only be released subject to further audit and evidence being provided by the organisation that the alternative sources of funding, as specified, have also been received. 

 

RESOLVED –

(1)       T H A T applications 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 9 and 10 for grant assistance, as set out at Appendix A to the report, be approved.

(2)       T H A T applications 2, 4, and 6 for grant assistance, as set out at Appendix A to the report, be approved subject to sufficient evidence being provided that the specified alternative funding streams have been received.

 

Reason for decision

 

(1&2) In furtherance of the objectives of the Trust.

 

 

179b   ANNOUNCEMENT – FUTURE MEETINGS –

 

The Chairman advised that the dates of future meetings were as follows with the meetings commencing at 4.15 p.m.: 

  • 15th October, 2018;
  • 21st January, 2019;
  • 1st April, 2019.