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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Room B12. View directions

Items
No. Item

16.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors S H Brown and R Lees.

 

In the delayed arrival of the Chairman, the Vice-Chairman Councillor J A Kite MBE assumed the chairmanship for the entirety of the meeting.

 

Councillors A R Lloyd, T A Maddison and Independent Member Mr M Hussey subsequently joined the proceedings.

 

17.

Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations of interest from Members including the terms(s) of the Grant of Dispensation (if any) by the Audit Board or Managing Director.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest and the acting Chairman confirmed that there were no grants of dispensation.

 

The Council Solicitor advised that Cabinet Members present were not conflicted over any items contained in the Agenda.

 

Councillors A R Lloyd, T A Maddison and Mr M Hussey all subsequently confirmed, on joining the proceedings, that they had no interests to declare.

18.

Confirmation of Minutes of the meeting held on 13 October 2015 pdf icon PDF 72 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 13 October 2015 were confirmed as an accurate record.

19.

Conflicts of Interest Policy - Role of Trustees

Minutes:

 

At their meeting on 13 October 2015 [Min.No.14] Committee Members received individual copies of the Charity Commission’s guidance for trustees entitled “The essential trustee: what you need to know, what you need to do”.

 

Further to that guidance (which built on the specific training all Members of the Committee received following their appointment); the Council Solicitor, at the request of the Chairman, reminded Members of the essential elements of the Committee’s ‘Conflicts of Interest’ policy. 

 

The Solicitor advised Members that they were not themselves trustees, but managed the charity’s affairs on behalf of the Council as Charitable Trustee. The guiding principle for Committee Members was their primary duty to act in the best interests of the charities administered by the Committee and those who were beneficiaries of those charities, when they made and implemented their decisions. That duty took priority over any other duty that might be owed to the Council, the Cabinet or any other body.

 

The Committee’s ‘Conflicts of Interest’ policy, as agreed with the Charity Commission, was designed to assist Members to identify, avoid and deal with any conflicts of interest that might arise. The Policy took account of guidance issued by the Charity Commission in 2010 and subsequent revisions in 2014. In making their decisions Members should exercise reasonable care; as set out in the ‘Guiding Principles’ preamble to all the Committee’s agenda documents; remain independent of influence from the Council, Cabinet or any other body, and make decisions to further the purposes of the charities and those who were beneficiaries of those charities and for no other purposes.

 

Members were also reminded of the excellent material on the Charity Commission’s website, including the Commission’s “Conflicts of interest: a guide for charity trustees” [distributed to Members at DTOC on 30 July 2014 Min.No.5 refers] and the Commission’s guides on public benefit.

20.

Letter from Mr L P Ryan

Minutes:

The acting Chairman advised the Committee that a further letter from Mr L P Ryan (member of the public) had been received by Officers earlier that day (1 June 2016).

 

Mr Ryan had written to the Committee earlier that day stating his opposition to the proposal by Dartford Cricket Club to erect advertising hoardings in Hesketh Park [Agenda Item 6].

 

Copies of the letter were distributed to Committee Members present as a tabled item at the acting Chairman’s request. Drawing on the precedent established by the Committee at previous meetings [Min. No. 4 of 27.7.2015 and Min. No. 21 of 14.4.15] Members agreed that Officers should respond to Mr Ryan’s letter of 1 June 2016.

 

It was noted that Mr Ryan had joined proceedings in the public seating area and was therefore aware of the Committee’s decision in the matter.

 

21.

Charity Commission response to the Council's Lease proposals for Dartford Cricket Club in Hesketh Park

Minutes:

The Committee received as a tabled item at the request of the Head of Legal Services; a self-explanatory exchange of email correspondence between the Charity Commission and the Council regarding the Council’s proposals (in its capacity as Charitable Trustee) to grant a lease of charitable land in Hesketh Park to Dartford Cricket Club.

 

The Council Solicitor advised the Committee that the Council was a copy address to the principal correspondence between the Charity Commission and Mr L P Ryan. Mr Ryan, a member of the public, had written to the Commission complaining of the Council’s proposals [Min. No. 20 also refers].

 

The Council’s role had been confined to providing copies of certain legal and professional documentation to enable the Commission to undertake an investigation into Mr Ryan’s complaint.   The Commission’s tabled email of 25 May 2016 concluded that the Council (in its capacity as Charitable Trustee) could proceed with the proposed lease to the Cricket Club and that the Commission would be advising Mr Ryan accordingly.

 

The acting Chairman confirmed with the Council Solicitor that the outcome of the Charity Commission’s investigation of Mr Ryan’s complaint was that it was ‘unfounded’.

 

He also confirmed for the record, that Independent Members present were satisfied with the Charity Commission’s ruling as set out in their email of 25 May 2016 as tabled.

 

 

 

22.

Urgent Items

The Chairman will announce his decision as to whether there are any urgent items and their place on the agenda.

Minutes:

There were no urgent items for consideration.

23.

Hesketh Park and Dartford Cricket Club - Advertising Hoardings pdf icon PDF 61 KB

To consider proposals by Dartford Cricket Club Limited to erect advertising hoardings on the land at Hesketh Park owned by the Council as Charitable Trustee.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report asked Members to consider proposals by Dartford Cricket Club Limited (the Club) to erect advertising hoardings on the land at Hesketh Park owned by the Council as Charitable Trustee. Additionally, Members were asked to review the existing arrangements for such advertising hoardings and determine whether permission for such hoardings should be granted to the Club on the terms recommended by Watson Day LLP as set out in para. 3.7 of the report [agenda page 6].

 

The Council Solicitor advised Members that the report followed on from previous reports presented to the Committee, most recently on 27 July 2015 [Min.No.5] which had detailed proposals for the Council acting as Charitable Trustee to grant a lease of land at Hesketh Park to the Club. The proposed Lease to the Club was now in the final stages of preparation and included terms that would require the Club (as tenant) to seek consent from the Council (as landlord acting as Charitable Trustee) to erect advertising hoardings on the leased land. The Club’s proposals for the hoardings were set out in Appendices A and B to the report.

 

In addition to considering the Club’s application for the erection of advertising hoardings and whether such hoardings should be granted to the Club as recommended by Watson Day LLP; Members were asked to consider whether the arrangements for hoardings should be reviewed on an annual basis, with initial consent being granted to the Club for a period of one year or throughout the forthcoming cricket season (as appropriate).

 

The acting Chairman opened the debate.

 

He expressed his concerns over the principal of erecting advertising hoardings in Hesketh or any of the Council’s parks and charitable land holdings given that the Objects of the Charities for those land holdings was that of public recreation grounds.

 

His specific concerns regarding the proposals by the Club for Hesketh Park as set out in the report (Appendices A and B) included:

 

·         The permanent nature of the proposed hoardings;

·         The number of hoardings proposed for the main park (16) as opposed to the cricket nets (6);

·         The imbalance created by such permanent hoardings for other non-cricket users of the park e.g. dog walkers and parents accompanying their children to school and other activities in the park;

·         The danger of setting a precedent for such advertising hoardings leading to fresh requests from e.g. Hesketh Park Bowls Club further undermining the public nature of the park facility;

·         The detrimental impact to the Council’s reputation for allowing advertising hoardings to be erected on charity land.

 

Committee Members supported the acting Chairman in his concerns, both in the detail and over the general principal of erecting advertising hoardings in parks and charitable lands held by the Council as Charitable Trustee, including the reputational impact for the Council of such undertakings.

 

Some Members put forward the counter view that the Committee, acting on behalf of the Council as Charitable Trustee, should consider the benefit to the Trust of an increased revenue stream from advertising hoardings  ...  view the full minutes text for item 23.