Minutes of the Projects Committee Meeting held on Thursday 24th November 2016 at 7pm in the Council Chamber, Town Hall, Abergavenny.

Present: Cllr Mr Chris Woodhouse(Mayor)

Cllrs S Woodhouse, D Simcock, S Dodd, MJ Hickman, M Harris, M Toombs, D Edwards,      J Prosser, T Thomas, M Powell,

In attendance: The Town Clerk, Tracey Thomas, Marie Bartlett (MCC), Jacqui Warren , Alan Michie (Town Team), Rachel Rogers (Museum).

Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs R Harris, N Tatam.

  1. There were no declarations of interest.

Would the council be willing to support events or even hold events there?

Currently looking at next summer – using a marquee – on a trial basis before spending money on a permanent structure. They are not currently asking for any money, but would welcome any donations.

It is estimated the structure will cost between £90,000 to £110,000 for a simple building oak framed roofed structure with some sides and possibly cost around £250 for the Council to hire.

Councillors queried the sighting of the building within the grounds. Current options being considered as the most practical include: –

  1. In the entrance – left had side (preferred option)
  2. Central Area
  3. The Hall – Cadw are not happy with this area
  4. Entrance right hand side – lodge owned by Angel Hotel (Alan Griffiths)

It is believed that a geo-physiological study would need to be conducted before any building could commence.

Alan Michie asked who would own the building and could it be incorporated into the Parks and Open Spaces – all councillors agreed this would be a good idea.

Councillors agreed that the plan would fit in well with the 5 Year Town Plan that is currently being developed. The Mayor congratulated Rachel on the standard of the current Egyptian exhibition – all present agreed.

      MCC is currently working with Anthony Collins, who are experts in this field, who have carried out in-depth data analysis. It is deemed important to improve services through innovation to be able to attract funding and raise staff morale. MCC are looking at a few options: –

  1. Do nothing – manage the decline.
    1. Transform service in-house – possibly reduce or lose services.
    1. Change the delivery model to a 3 company model, 1 tackle company, 1 charitable arm, 1 trading arm, that would all work in harmony.

MCC have been given the go ahead to move forward and the full council will make a decision in March to commence the change in April. Papers will be produced outlining all options and the changes would be fully operational by 2018.

The Mayor stated that the plans and budget need to be put in place first. MCC are fully aware of this and are looking currently at setting them.

Councillors agreed that there was a lot to look at and consider and they needed to see more information on the proposals before being able to make comment.

MCC stated the importance of engaging with partners on a level playing field and stated the importance of the Town Council’s support and understanding of the concept.

The delivery model could include a Board of Trustees and be committee focused – the model is currently working well in other areas. 441 staff, 1200 service users and trade unions have already been consulted. Local money raised will be reinvested into an asset base for MCC who also want to support local businesses and hopefully reinvest money there. (though they cannot promise this).

MCC will keep councillors informed of updates, once the business case is written, via the clerk at the same time as the County Councillors.

Cllr Edwards stated he is fully in favour of a new model but it should be noted that Blaenau Gwent who use this model losed a lot of services, Alan Michie asked would this mean decentralisation and services being passed down to Town or community councils. MCC stated this was not the case. MCC also realise that the timing will be very fast once a model is chosen, so they need to put everything in place. The companies would have separate owners, the Tackle company would be owned by MCC, the charitable Arm would be independent and the Trading Arm would have a Board of Directors.

Tracy Warren & Marie Bartlett left the meeting.

Further prioritisation of the list has taken place of the initial 650 ideas – a printout was provided of the new list which is divided into 4 areas: –

  1. Publicity and attractions,
  2. Encouraging Business,
  3. Enabling Communities and
  4. Enhancing our Environment.

Feedback on the provided list from councillors is most welcome and required asap. A public consultation is being held on 5th December at the Methodist Hall Abergavenny between 2.30 – 4.30 and 7pm -9pm, there is also a drop in session at 4.30 – 7pm. Following Christmas work will start on Governance, Partnership and Funding – the area committee will need to be involved in this. The next meeting will be held at the end of January 17, following that meeting a report will go to the Council and an easy to read booklet produced.

The plan will concentrate on 3 – 4 initiatives which could possibly we refreshed yearly.

Cllrs stated the need for the plan to be organic especially as the town is going through many changes at the present time. This is all part of the plan to improve tourism in the town, we have many assets for a small town. In the future we may be able to develop a tourist trail to incorporate more of our assets.

Jacquie stated that we are still struggling to gain feedback from both the education and business sectors in the town.

Cllrs Edwards and Prosser stated that they have written to all businesses in Abergavenny in an  attempt to resurrect the Chamber of Trade.

The Mayor thanked Jacqui on the hard work she has put into a very comprehensive plan.

Rachel Rogers and Jaqui Warren left the meeting.

      A salary payment was paid in error to Peter through a standing order in August of 2016, however Peter agreed to return as interim clerk following the former Clerks sickness, therefore he has now actually worked the hours he has been paid for. It was proposed to let Peter keep the payment as he is also still helping the new clerk.

      All councillors agreed.

The Mayor then closed the meeting at 8.45pm.