MINUTES VILLAGE CENTRE ADVISORY GROUP Meeting at 7.30pm on Monday 8 February 2021 via Microsoft Teams Video Conferencing.
Present: Cllrs John Lowman (JL) – (Chair), Martin Machan (MM), Helen Valler (HV) & Sarah Groom (SG).
Carey Tighe, Manager Hurstpierpoint Pre-School (CM), Andrew Hair, Hurstpierpoint Gymnastics Club (AH)
1. Apologies for absence: There were no apologies for absence.
2. Village Centre Update Report
2.1 The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting. A review of the last twelve months had been circulated previously as an update report. MM noted the plans to eventually replace all the lighting to more cost effective LED lights. JL highlighted the loss of income secured during 2020 and that only 30% of the budgeted income had so far been received. Whilst most running costs were still payable. CM enquired whether the sinking fund/reserves will have to be used to make up the shortfall and this was confirmed by JL. AH was happy that the proposals were a legitimate use of the reserves in the circumstances. He also felt the new LED in the main hall and kitchen were a great improvement on the previous lights.
2.2 SG outlined the current improvements being made to the parish council office at the parish council’s expense. New furniture had been donated and the Maintenance Officer had painted the room. New carpet tiles were being laid on 25/26 February. AH advised SG that there were spare carpet tiles and ceiling tiles in the Conference Room loft space.
2.3 CM wanted to raise her concerns about the standards of cleaning which she felt were still not up to acceptable standards and both SG and CM had spoken to the cleaners. SG will ask the cleaners for a list of jobs completed during each visit so that this can be reviewed. HV added that this was an ongoing issue for all hirers and AH had noticed the floor and the corners of the main hall floor were not clean enough.
ACTION: SG will request a cleaning schedule from the cleaning company.
2.4 MM enquired whether any defibrillator training was planned. Some 20 people had received training last January 2020. CM thought the training probably last for three years before refreshers were required much like most first aid training.
3. Fees & Charges
3.1 JL outlined the process whereby the Trustees have considered and reviewed the charges for hirers from 1 April 2021 and agreed the new approach to charging and the new rates. The issue of hourly charges or charges per five hour session, would continue to be debated. There were advantages and disadvantages to both approaches. CM said that
the former Treasurer had studied this issue and taken advice from the Action in Rural Sussex advisory group. AH was concerned that making comparison between venues and benchmarking data may not tell the whole story. He was in favour of charges rising in line with inflation/indexes. MM can see how more staff administration time may be required if the sessional rates became hourly rates. HV explained before lock down there was little availability for new hirers with the weekly programme.
3.2 CM wondered if a different style of agreement would suit the Pre-School and the parish council staff better. This was agreed as an action point for further investigation.
4. Matters for information or inclusion on the next agenda
4.1 The issue of whether to expand the current membership of the group was discussed and JL suggested the group was kept small for now but that up to 7 groups are permitted to join under the terms of reference for the group.
4.2 The issue of charging by the hour or session, would also be included on the next agenda.
ACTION: SG will include the charging by the hour/session on the next agenda.
4.3 The Chair thanked everyone for attending the meeting.
5. Date of next meeting
5.1 The Clerk will circulate a proposed date for the next meeting using Microsoft teams.
ACTION: SG will circulate a proposed date for the next meeting.