To consider the report of the Corporate Director of Regeneration & Community Services.
Having regard to the views expressed by the Proper Officer regarding the public interest test, that on balance, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighed the public interest in disclosing the information and that the report should be exempt.
RESOLVED that the public be excluded whilst this item of business is transacted as it is likely there would be a disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 14, Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act, 1972 (as amended).
Consideration was given to the report of the Corporate Director of Regeneration & Community Services.
The Executive Member for Environment spoke briefly to the report which set out the result of the re-assessment of information by the Selection Panel provided in support of an appeal by an organisation relating to the proposed Community Asset Transfer.
It was noted that the information submitted to support the appeal process had been re-assessed against the published evaluation criteria by the same representatives of the Council’s Community Asset Transfer Steering Group who had assessed the original business case. In addition, an assessment of the original and revised scoring had been reviewed and re-scored independently. The Executive Member for Environment concluded by proposing that Option 1 be endorsed.
Evaluation Matrix - a Member referred to the evaluation matrix that had been used and expressed his concern that organisations were not able to supply any historical information. He, therefore, questioned how this could then be classed as a track record if only the forward looking information was supplied. He also expressed his concern that both organisations had scored the same in terms of the financial issues which was not correct. The Member concluded by stating in his opinion the matrix was flawed.
The Corporate Director of Regeneration & Community Services said that the weighting in terms of the track record had been quite low. With regard to the track record - the point was not whether clubs had fulfilled particular fixtures, it was a look forward rather than a look back at historical information. He reiterated that an independent assessment of the scores had been undertaken. The Corporate Director concluded by pointing out that both organisations had equal opportunity to supply further information in support of their applications.
A Member said that this was one of the saddist days and in his view the Council had failed in a number of areas. The Charter that had been signed by the Council and the Town Council was a legal agreement. This particular recreation ground had been left to the people of Tredegar and any change to the recreation facilities must be discussed with the public and Town Council in the first instance. However, he pointed out that these discussions had never taken place.
He continued by stating that the track records of the clubs should have been taken into consideration as priority was being given to a club who had not played one fixture on the ground. He also pointed out that the fireworks display and horse show were also held annually at the ground and enquired whether these events would be permitted as part of the lease in the future. All factors should have been considered before a decision was made and children and senior sides should be permitted to use the facilities at the ground. The Member concluded by stating he did not support the report and would, therefore, not vote in favour of the preferred option.
The Corporate Director Regeneration & Community Services advised that if the report was supported this was providing a route on which to engage and the Town Council would form part of that process. It was noted that it was the role of the Charity Commission to take a view on whether the existing charitable objects continue to be observed and take a decision accordingly. Both parties had been treated equitably and had equal opportunities to discuss and sufficient time to present the information. In addition, there had been equity for both clubs to use officer time to help with regard to the completion of the forms. In terms of protecting current user rights and activities in any future lease this would be considered.
Another Member said that the Town Council should be consulted before any decision was made.
Councillor M. Cook and J. Hill returned to the meeting at this juncture.
Town/Community Council Charter - a Member referred to the Charter between the Council and Town Council and asked whether this was a statutory and legal contractual agreement and if this was the case pointed out that the Council would be unable to make a decision if the Town Council had not been consulted with.
The Head of Legal and Corporate Compliance advised that investigations would take place as to whether there was a legal obligation to consult with Town Council as part of the Charter arrangements on the proposal and pending this information suggested that the report be deferred and re-presented to Special Council the following week.
A Member pointed out that in the event the Town Council had not been consulted, it should have been consulted with as part of the Community Asset Transfer process. He, thereupon, posed the following questions/comment:
- Had the Council consulted with the Town Council in respect of the proposal.
- Was it a legal obligation under the Charter to consult with Town Council.
- If it was a legal obligation this consultation should have taken place prior to Council making a decision on the proposal.
The Leader of the Council said that he would support deferment of the report. He referred to the CAT process and the passion that the Tredegar Members had for the ground and said that he sympathised with them on this particular issue. He concluded by stating that he hoped that a solution could be found for this ground as the Council was no longer providing services for the facility.
A discussion ensued when it was
RESOLVED, subject to the foregoing, that the report be deferred pending further information and re-submitted to the Special Meeting of the Council on 19th December, 2019 for consideration.