28th August 2018, 7pm, Farlington Village Hall
John Wills (JW, Chair and Village Hall Trustee)
Sue Scotter (SS, Secretary and Village Hall Trustee)
David Waring (DW, Treasurer and Village Hall Trustee)
Jason Brown (JBr, Member)
Julia Brewer (JB, Member)
Beverley Kershaw (BK, Village Hall Trustee)
Belated apologies from Martin Galfe.
2. Approval of minutes of previous meeting
3.1 para 2. JB asked for some minor corrections to be made in relation to her understanding of the Trustee role. SS agreed to amend as suggested.
3.5. SS reported that Sarah Utting (Mahon) of the Old Post House suggested we contact Friends of St Monica’s to see if they were willing to offer us financial support for the purchase of our defibrillator. SS to make contact.
3.6. SS reported on latest developments in relation to the installation of fibre broadband to the village. As yet no time scales were available, however, BT Openreach had been to the village several weeks ago to conduct surveys of likely routing of fibres and had confirmed that it is coming.
Minutes approved without further amendment.
3. Treasurer’s report
DW reported that across both Parish and Village Hall accounts there was a total £1812.61. DW had now separated the accounts on paper, as required by the external auditors. It was agreed that after looking at what was received into the Parish account i.e. Parish precept and allotment rental, the remaining £1200 should be moved to the new village hall account (making total available for hall approx. £1600).
SS suggested that the accounts be renamed to more accurately reflect what they were related to. The “Community” account would become Farlington Parish Meeting Account and the “Business Saver Account” would become Farlington Village Hall Account. A cheque book will need to be ordered for the latter. DW is in process of setting up new mandates for both accounts so that at least two signatories are required.
BK said that previously some years ago, when she had been Treasurer and the accounts were separate, she had held the post for both committees. DW agreed to continue as Treasurer for both committees for the time being.
DW reported that there is a need to check the requirement for submitting a Charity Commission report of village hall accounts. SS thought we would not need to do this as our income this financial year was well below the threshold but agreed it did need to be verified.
The Parish account still needs to be audited and signed off by PKF Littlejohn. Action: DW
JW queried when the hire charges for the village hall were last increased. It was agreed by parish committee that this should be reviewed in the new year but that a small increase was necessary due to rising utility bills. This would be looked into by the Village Hall Trustees in due course.
4. NYCC/HDC Notices
SS reported that only two NYCC notices had been issued since the last committee meeting as follows:
NYCC Parish Survey on Vehicle Activated Signs and NYCC Renewal of Subsidised Local Bus Services. Neither of these were of relevance to Farlington as, firstly, the speed signs cost in excess of £3000 to install and more to maintain on a contract which is unaffordable and secondly, we do not have a bus service.
5. Confirmation of items for September Parish AGM
It was agreed that the usual AGM items would be on the agenda i.e. Treasurers report, election/re-election of parish committee members, review of progress on village issues since last AGM (defib, fibre bband, highways issues).
Additionally, due to the change in management issues of both the Parish and Village Hall, it was agreed that the current Governing Document for the Parish needs to be revised taking out
all references to the village hall. The new draft document would need to be ratified at the AGM and so should be an agenda item for discussion with Parishioners.
JB reported that she had been in further discussion with the Land Registry regarding the status of the village hall, its Trustees and ownership. Previously, the village hall was owned by so-called Holding Trustees and each time there was a change in Trusteeship, there was a legal requirement for a Deed of Appointment.
So as to avoid this cumbersome, time-consuming and costly procedure, in 2015, the village hall was registered with The Official Custodian for Charities. At the same time, we also registered the legal title at HM Land Registry. This in turn means that we no longer have any Holding Trustees only Managing Trustees who are responsible for financial matters relating to the charity (the hall), its maintenance and how it is used. Under these new rules, any new Managing Trustees must be recorded in the official Village Hall records and there is a legal requirement, as long as the hall retains its charitable status, for the new Trustees to be registered on the Charity Commission website.
JB said that although the Official Custodian of Charities is the “owner” of the hall with the title held by Land Registry, they were still acting on behalf of any Managing Trustees. Therefore, they strongly recommended that we formulate a “robust” village hall constitution and have a documented policy on the appointment of future Managing Trustees so as to avoid the possibility of the hall being sold against the wishes of the majority of parishioners. They also suggested that we take legal advice on this matter. SS said that there may be a possibility in the future whereby the hall is just not sustainable due to lack of interest, rising costs, large maintenance bills, uninsurable etc. and, conceivably, at some stage, selling it might be the only option. It was unanimously agreed that, if this decision should ever have to be taken, it would only be with agreement of parishioners and not simply the incumbent Managing Trustees and that this requirement must be built into the new constitution.
SS agreed to speak with the national Village Hall Network who offered good advice on such matters and templates for writing a suitable constitution and to talk again with retired solicitor Peter Coomer who had helped us with legal aspects of village hall matters previously.
7. Date of next committee meeting
Dec 2018 tbc