Minutes of the meeting of Avebury Community Sports and Recreation Committee held on Tuesday 12th January, 2016 at the Social Centre, High Street, Avebury.
In these minutes ACSReC refers to the above committee, APC to Avebury Parish Council, WC to Wiltshire Council
Present: Dr. Mike Bedford (Treasurer), Mrs Maggie Lewis (Secretary), Mr David Brotheridge, Mrs Di Gater, Mr Alan Blake, Mr Bruce Hinder, Mr Dominic Fry
- Apologies for absence – Mr Mike Daniel (chairman)
- In attendance – Mr Andrew Williamson, Chairman APC
- Declarations of interest – None
- Minutes of last meeting Proposed by Dr. Bedford, seconded by Mrs Lewis
- Matters arising from the minutes
- Bank accounts: Dr Bedford reported that the Nationwide account now has himself as a signatory and that Mr Daniel and Mr Williamson are to be added to the account as signatories. Dr. Bedford has the passbook. The previously received invoices have been paid from the Nationwide account. We are still struggling to change the signatories on the Lloyds account; Lloyds have sent forms, completed in the relevant sections by themselves, for signature.
Two more bills have been received from London Road Roofing, for work to the pavilion roof, and from PJ Mills, for control of moles on the sports field. He proposed that he be authorised to pay these from the Nationwide account. Proposed by Mrs Gater and seconded by Mr Blake
The Nationwide account has £3,202.85 and the Lloyds account approximately £3,000. It wasn’t possible to be more precise about the Lloyds account as the changes to the account are not yet finalised. A spreadsheet for the ACSReC account to track spending and income has been started.
Dr. Bedford also reported on his research into the issue of VAT and what ACSReC should collect it on. VAT must be collected on supplies i.e. hiring, called output tax, unless 10 sessions are booked and paid for in advance. One off events, such as Avebury Day or Avebury Rocks may be exempt as they do not use the field on a continuous basis. There is a ‘de minimis’ of £1000 a year output tax collection, payable on the collection of £5000 of revenue of VATable revenue, from which the football and cricket bookings will be exempt. It is unlikely that the sports field will generate this much income. HMRC’s advice is that they “will only accept a ‘clearance applications’ where you can show that there is uncertainty about the interpretation of the legislation” which Dr. Bedford felt we could use to apply for clearance as he has been given different, conflicting advice from HMRC when calling them.
Mr Williamson felt that this should be endorsed by APC, and should be on APC’s agenda for the next meeting; he also suggested that any advice should be backed up in writing. This is a very complicated area and needs further discussion and research.
- Future membership: Mrs Lewis couldn’t update the meeting on the co-option of a new member but had spoken to Mrs Kremer recently who had indicated that she was willing to continue to attend meetings until such time as a new councillor could be appointed. Mrs Lewis said that Mrs Kremer had said she would attend tonight’s meeting.
- Internal decoration: Mr Hinder reported that, following the cancellation of the football match last weekend (Sunday 10th January) he and another member of AYFC’s committee inspected the pavilion and found mould spreading in several areas caused by the damp conditions in the building due to the leaking roof. They managed to clear some of it away and he felt that the committee should focus resources on improving the building. In light of the damp and mould in the building a decision on when internal decoration can start was deferred until the damaged wall has been removed and the building dried out. Mr Hinder also mentioned the electric sockets some of which are in the affected area and one of which appears not to be working.
In discussion it was decided that the water damaged sections of the internal wall should be removed to speed the drying out process and dehumidifiers and space heaters hired to dry the damp areas. Mr Williamson suggested regular checks should be made when the dehumidifiers were in to ensure the wood wasn’t being dried out too quickly or too much. The hire of dehumidifiers and space heaters was proposed Mrs Gater, seconded Mrs Lewis.
- Further removal of rubbish/junk from pavilion: agreed, proposed by Mr Hinder, seconded by Dr Bedford
- Removal of sign from front gate: agreed, proposed by Mr Fry, seconded by Mr Blake
- Western boundary Hedging: Mrs Gater gave an update on an ongoing project by the COG. Conservation area consent has now been obtained and a plan made.
Planting should be done by mid-March and volunteers will be needed. A clear up session will take place on 6th February, and coppicing and removal of old fencing over the weekend of 27th/28th February. Tree work on the west boundary will be done on 5th March and planting of new whips on 13th. Fencing will be done between 6th and 13th March. This is all in accordance with the terms of the NT lease with APC
Mr Brotheridge asked where the tree that was being planted in memory of Paul Dixon could be planted, would it be possible to integrate it into the hedgerow. Mrs Gater replied that this would not be possible as the hedge will be laid in due course so another site will be found. Mr Williamson remarked that APC wished for a tree to be planted and after discussion no suitable location was settled on. To be discussed at next meeting.
- New Community notice board/sign at NW corner of field: the present notice board is in poor condition, having been made from an MDF cupboard door and is in dire need of replacement. It was felt that it should not be in the style of NT notice boards to distinguish the sports field from NT held facilities in the village. Mrs Gater asked if permission should be sought, which is should as they have been more accommodating and supportive but that APC and ACSReC should be able to take their own decisions
- AYFC floodlights on Sportsfield: Item has previously been discussed and is included under ‘Any Other Business’.
Mr Hinder said that he had arranged for Wheelers of Warminster to come and do the lights. He has yet to receive a schedule of what they are going to do but they are asked wire the lights correctly and issue the relevant certificates. Mr Hinder asked if the committee would require a separate meter to calculate the electricity used when the lights were in use. He was not aware of how the wiring will be done but they won’t be digging a trench as far as he’s aware. Mrs Lewis requested that Mr Hinder inform the committee when Wheeler’s were going to attend. Mr Fry asked if the supply wiring would be permanent or removable which Mr Hinder didn’t know. It would appear that the initial visit would be to survey and recommend and Mr Hinder thought that no work would be carried out until the committee had been consulted on the recommendations.
- Review of draft Conditions of Hire: There was discussion of the conditions of use with amendments being discussed; Mr Fry will update the document.
- A member of the committee will check the pavilion and sports field before the return of the deposit after each hire.
- Scale of the deposit – to be decided on a case by case basis
- Method of hire – if bookings are made on line it will give a trail to check back to. Online banking will also be investigated to improve payment.
- Cleaning the pavilion – previously done by a member of ASA, no decision on whether a cleaner is hired.
- Hirer’s liability – advice to be sought from WALC on activities covered and general terms
- Adult team bookings – there was a long discussion as to whether adult teams should be allowed to play, given that they may cause more damage to the pitch. A case by case basis with consultation with the committee was thought to be the best solution. AYFC may have a team of older players in the future as the youngsters come up. Mr Williamson suggested a deposit commensurate with the damage potential on a sliding scale and Dr. Bedford suggested that ACSReC should be able to cancel bookings. At the end of the discussion it was felt that ultimately the user should pay for damage.
- Review of summary of NT lease: Mr Williamson updated the committee on the situation regarding the lease. The current lease was set in 1990 and the National Trust has asked for a renegotiation. In discussion with Katherine Hosey NT surveyor an annual rent of £75 over a 25 year period or the same reviewed periodically over 40 years has been proposed with the former being the favoured option.
The sports field was conveyed to the NT in 1947 and let to the PC for 1/- a year for 25 years. He felt that this demonstrates that APC is not a normal tenant paying a market rent as the NT is a ‘landlord in trust’ i.e. holding the land in trust for the community. He also commented that APC had noted 5 or 6 possible uses for the sports field, being sports, recreation, community benefit events e.g. Avebury Day, charity events that benefit parishioners e.g. Avebury Rocks that raises funds for the Prospect Hospice, ACSReC events to raise funds so the committee can meet expenses and ‘other similar events which could be included in the updated version of the lease.
- Review of draft schedule of proposed fees: A discussion was had as to whether a booking fee mechanism a sensible way to account for the risk of potential external clubs or better to have one fee and deal with it by deposits. Fee shouldn’t be a deterrent but should reflect cost of preparing ground for external i.e. non parish related, hire and or some repairs after. Equipment belonging to AYFC is often used by external hirers. It was suggested that the simplest way would be to deal with the occasional external hire by committee decision, reviewing who the hirer was, what facilities or extras they might need, whether they had hired before and at what cost. Local hirers could all be treated in the same way. Groups like the Jaguar Owners Club will be reviewed if they apply to use the field this year and decide by committee decision. Fees schedule to be updated to show ‘Parishioners’, ‘Local teams/groups’ and ‘Any other group’ which would cover events like Avebury Rocks and teams from outside the area. An indication of the deposit expected will be included. Review at next meeting.
- update on online bookings: no online bookings are being taken as yet. Avebury Rocks is on the schedule as being 9th July and appropriate arrangements for cricket matches to be away that day have been made with the League.
- Mr Williamson suggested that the practice of occasional sellers, such as the map seller, should be restricted to one pitch only under the rule of custom and practice. As a new committee ACSReC could make a clean break from the past practice of allowing a number of casual sellers. Dr Bedford commented that this could cause problems under the ongoing VAT research. To be discussed at the next agenda.
- update on booking form: Mr Brotheridge expressed his view that the draft booking form was too complicated for the small number of new external hirers we are likely to attract. He thought that conditions of hire should be sent out and it should be discussed on a case by case basis.
- Mr Fry outlined how the system would work using the APC website which will give all the information a hirer needs and the enquiry form to complete. The enquiry form will generate an email that is automatically sent to Mr Brotheridge, as bookings secretary, which he can circulate to the committee if required. A calendar of events with dates already booked marked, the webmaster for APC will enter any bookings onto the calendar. Once the booking has been accepted the booking secretary will contact the potential hirer to discuss fees, deposit etc.
- It was thought that existing users, such as the sports clubs, should also fill out the form so that all relevant information could be recorded. All new hirers will proceed as discussed. Mrs Gater suggested she trial the system by booking for the COG’s proposed work on the hedge.
- Date of next meeting: The next meeting will be held on Thursday 11th February in the Social Centre