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Agenda item

Hesketh Park and Dartford Cricket Club - Advertising Hoardings

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.

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 to supplement the Trusts limited financial resources which were already augmented by the Council in its corporate capacity. Those Members also noted that increased revenue from advertising hoardings would enable the Club to meet its increased costs in the new Pavilion facility and continue to grow to the benefit of the Dartford community as a whole. It was proposed that the Committee make a site visit to the Park to view at first hand the Club’s proposals [for advertising hoardings].

 

The Committee debated the counter arguments including the value of a site visit, alternative advertising options such as sponsor naming the new Pavilion or the Council (in its corporate capacity) making funds available to the Club ‘in lieu’ of lost advertising revenue. Further specific suggestions made by Members to lessen the impact of advertising hoardings in Hesketh Park for other (non-cricket) users included:

 

·         temporary hoardings for [defined] match days only;

·         hoardings confined to the nets area only;

·         double-sided hoardings confined to the nets area;

·         hoardings confined to the perimeter of the park to lessen the impact for other park users. 

 

In the absence of a uniform consensus, the acting Chairman proposed the following Motion, seconded by Councillor Lloyd, that the Committee:

 

(i)            Reject the recommendations as set out in para. 2.1 and 2.2 of the report to allow Dartford Cricket Club Limited (the Club) to erect advertising hoardings as detailed in Appendix A to the report and on terms recommended by Watson Day LLP as set out in para. 3.7 of the report; and

(ii)          Request that the Club, in consultation with Council Officers and the Chairman of the Committee open fresh negotiations regarding the erection of advertising hoardings in Hesketh Park, taking note of the  Committees concerns and submit fresh proposals for consideration by Members.

 

 

On such Motion being put to the Members it was RESOLVED:

 

1.    That the Officer recommendations as set out in para 2.1 and 2.2. of the report to allow Dartford Cricket Club Limited (the Club) to erect advertising hoardings as detailed in Appendix A to the report and on terms recommended by Watson Day LLP as set out in para 3.7 of the report be rejected;

2.    That Officers in consultation with the Chairman of the Committee open fresh negotiations with the Club regarding the erection of advertising hoardings in Hesketh Park, taking note of the Committee’s concerns as expressed in these Minutes and submit fresh proposals for consideration by Members;

 

 

The Motion establishing the above Resolutions was passed on a unanimous basis by Committee Members present with the exception of Councillor T A Maddison who expressed a wish to abstain from the vote.

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