Minutes of the Projects Committee held on Thursday 16 October 2014 at 7pm in the Council Chamber, Town Hall, Abergavenny.

Present : Cllr Mrs M Powell (Deputy Mayor)

Cllrs J L Prosser, N Tatam, Miss M Toombs, C Woodhouse, Mrs S Woodhouse and D Edwards

In attendance: The Town Clerk and Ms Rachael Rogers (for first item) and Mr Joel Morgan (For second item)

1. Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs M Hickman JP, Mrs M Harris, R Harris and P Wadsworth.

2. Declarations of interest would be made as and when necessary.

3. Museums Projects.

The Deputy Mayor welcomed Ms Rogers, Museums Curator, Abergavenny, to talk about a number of projects that she was hoping to develop at the Museum in the future. The object of coming to the Committee was to explore whether the Council would be prepared to consider supporting any of these projects and if so, which ones were more likely to gain support.

A number of questions were raised by members on her list. There was a general view that projects which had a strong sustainability element were favoured. In reply to a query about which project she felt would be most beneficial, Ms Rogers said that opening during the present lunch period would be most beneficial. Opening hours generally need review. This might involve closing to the public on a day but making that day available to school groups or other groups.

A number of other possibilities were discussed, including a wooden structure or a large canopy to provide shelter in certain areas of the castle grounds (both would be very expensive) , a tea room or vehicle, ice cream vehicle, moving the museum itself into an alternative building with the library and more and better use of volunteers.

The alternative opening hours proposals need to be worked up in more detail and the Committee would be interested in receiving details in due course.

Reference was made to the general constraints on budgets for the next few years and the upcoming talks between County and Town Councils in Monmouthshire next Monday.

The Deputy Mayor thanked Ms Rogers for attending and she left the meeting at this point.

4. Summer Play Scheme.

The Deputy Mayor welcomed Mr Joel Morgan, Leisure Officer, to the meeting to give a report on the Summer Play Scheme from this recent summer. He circulated a report which set out the detail of how many children attended, compared with last year, and statistics on how the Scheme was received by the children and parents.

There were more children with disabilities on the scheme but the numbers overall were down on the previous year. This may have been attributable to the better summer wether or possibly the increase in cost applied to this year`s scheme. The full Finance Report on the scheme will be prepared in the next few weeks and we will receive a copy.

The feedback from the parents on the cost seemed to be satisfactory. There are discounts for siblings and concessions for those on benefits.

Comments included that it would be good if the scheme covered the whole of the summer holidays and was extended to cover the working day from the present 9am to 3:30pm school hours.     It was noted that the statistics showed Abergavenny but did not show Llantilio Pertholey separately. Contributions from other councils were also not shown in this report.

The Council is being requested to consider the continuation of its 8000 per annum funding for next year.

A member asked what is the purpose of the scheme activities for children or child care. The Scheme Organisers saw it as Activities for Children but conceded that parents may well see it as child care. It was suggested that if the child care element is acknowledged, it might be worthwhile to have an added cost for those who wish to extend the scheme from 8:45am until say 5:15pm. This would recognise a need and might generate more income.

The Deputy Mayor thanked Mr Morgan for attending and he left the meeting at this point.

5. Notes from the Towns Alive Presentation.

The Notes prepared by Mr Bowyer after the presentation were considered. It was agreed that the Town Clerk would write to Monmouthshire CC for feedback on the points raised by him.

6. E-mail addresses.

The Town Clerk noted that the Councillors all have Town Council e-mail addresses but it was clear from the feedback he is getting that not all of them use these e-mails on a regular basis. This means that if material is circulated to members not all of them will read it in timely fashion, and thereby are not being properly informed of significant issues as they arise.

After some discussion, during which it was noted that the reason for having specific Town Council e-mails was to channel official material away from private e-mails to avoid any problems with disclosure of information, it was agreed that the Town Clerk would ask all members which e-mail address they wanted to use for Town Council business, and he would compile a new circulation list. If the dedicated Town Council e-mails were not needed by some, they could be cancelled to sve a small amount of money when the next renewal comes due.

7. Co-option of two new councillors.

This was raised as an item of other business. Cllr Mrs Woodhouse asked how the detailed process was to be carried out and how much information candidates would be asked to send in.  The Town Clerk referred to the Press Release that had appeared in the Chronicle setting out the basic requirements. After discussion it was agreed that:

a) Four questions should be prepared by the Clerk and the Mayor to ensure each candidate is treated fairly.

b) The interviews will be held in private.

c) A special meeting may be needed to ensure that sufficient time and care is given to getting the process right.

There being no other business the meeting ended at 8:25pm