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Town Hall, Market Hill,
Maldon, Essex,  CM9 4RL.

MINUTES OF THE FINANCE AND GENERAL PURPOSES COMMITTEE MEETING
HELD ON TUESDAY 15th JUNE, 2004 AT 7.30 P.M.
IN THE CONFERENCE ROOM, TOWN HALL.
Amendments.

PRESENT: Councillors: Mrs. M. Curtis, D. Keighley, I. Mackenzie, W. Prior,
Mrs. S. Riesebeck, S. Savage, T. Shrimpton (Deputy Mayor),
K. Smith (Town Mayor) and J. Swallow.
In Attendance: One member of the press, the Town Clerk and Administrative Assistant.
  
IN THE CHAIR - CLLR. K. SMITH (TOWN MAYOR)
  1. ELECTION OF CHAIRMAN FOR THE ENSUING MUNICIPAL YEAR

RESOLVED: that Councillor D. Keighley be elected as Chairman of the Finance and General Purposes Committee for the ensuing municipal year.
7.35 p.m. Cllr. Smith left the meeting to attend a Mayoral engagement.
  
IN THE CHAIR - CLLR. D. KEIGHLEY
  2. ELECTION OF VICE-CHAIRMAN FOR THE ENSUING MUNICIPAL YEAR

RESOLVED: that Councillor W. Prior be elected as Vice-Chairman of the Finance and General Purposes Committee for the ensuing municipal year.
  3. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Apologies for absence were received from Cllr. Smith who had left the meeting to attend a Mayoral engagement.
  4. MINUTES OF THE FINANCE AND GENERAL PURPOSES COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON 4TH MAY, 2004

Members received and considered the minutes of the Finance and General Purposes Committee meeting held on 4th May, 2004.

RESOLVED: that the minutes of the Finance and General Purposes Committee meeting held on 4th May, 2004 be approved and adopted.
  5.

 5.1
TOWN CLERK'S REPORT

Receipts and Expenditure

Members received and considered:

a. Financial reports detailing receipts and expenditure for the period 1st April to 31st May, 2004 and noted the following explanations regarding items on the report:

(i) The Cinema Budget had been overspent by £2.51 and a report regarding this would be considered later in the meeting.

(ii) The Miscellaneous Budget showed an overspend of £1990.05 arising from expenditure on the Mayor's Charity Ball held at Madison Heights. However, income of 2,978.56 for this event had now been received.

b. A list of cheques and Standing Orders for supplies and services in excess of £500 for May, 2004.

c. Members noted that, as a result of last year's Victorian Evenings, a donation of £700 had been received from the Maldon Chamber of Trade and Commerce to be allocated equally to their chosen "good causes" for last year which were the High Street Christmas Lights and Maldon in Bloom.

RESOLVED: that (a) the report attached as Appendix "A" to these minutes detailing receipts and expenditure be noted;

(b) the list of cheques and Standing Orders in excess of £500.00 be noted;

(c) the donation from the Maldon Chamber of Trade and Commerce towards Christmas Lights and Maldon in Bloom be noted.
 5.2 Donations

Members were informed that £3,000, including £1,000 provisionally committed for the official twinning visit from Cuijk in August, had been included in the Donations Estimate Head for the 2004/05 financial year. It was noted that to-date one donation of £250.00 had been forwarded to the Maldon Town Regatta Association.

a. Letter of Thanks
Further to minute 102.2 of the Finance and General Purposes Committee meeting held on 4th May, 2004 members were informed that a letter of thanks had been received from the Maldon Town Regatta Association.

RESOLVED: that the thank you letter from the Maldon Town Regatta Association be noted.

b. Maldon Twinning Association
Members received and considered a letter from the Chairman, Maldon Twinning Association regarding the sum of £1,000 which the Town Council had provisionally included in the Donations Budget for the forthcoming official twinning visit from Cuijk in August. The letter stated that a grant of £250 had now been received from the Maldon District Council, Community Grants Scheme and enquired if the Town Council would therefore consider releasing £750 for the Twinning visit.

RECOMMENDED: that, in accordance with minute 46.2(iii) of the Finance and General Purposes Committee meeting held on 15th October, 2003 and the Special Town Council meeting held on Monday, 8th December, 2003 a donation of £750 be forwarded to the Maldon Twinning Association.
(Local Government Act 1972 s.144)

c. Blackwater Quilters
Members received and considered a grant application and covering letter from the Blackwater Quilters, a non-profit organisation, requesting financial assistance to stage a Show. A copy of their accounts was viewed by members at the meeting.

Cllr. Savage declared a personal and prejudicial interest in this item and retired from the meeting.

Discussion ensued and it was

RESOLVED: that a donation of £100 be forwarded to the Blackwater Quilters.
(Local Government Act 1972 s.145)

Cllr. Savage returned to the meeting

d. Thomas Plume's Library
Members received and considered a grant application and a copy of a letter previously sent to the Town Council. The Trustees requested funding to compile and publish a history of the Library. A copy of their accounts was inspected by members at the meeting.

RESOLVED: that a donation of £300 be forwarded to the Trustees of the Thomas Plume Library.
(Local Government Act 1972 s.145)
 5.3 Subscriptions

a. Maldon Twinning Association
Members were informed that notification had been received that the annual renewal of membership of the Maldon Twinning Association for 2004/2005 was due at a cost of £20.

RESOLVED: that the Town Council renews its membership in the sum of £20.00 to the Maldon Twinning Association.
(Local Government Act 1972 s. 144)

b. Rural Community Council of Essex - Village Hall Membership
Members were informed that notification had been received that the Town Council's membership of the Rural Community Council of Essex - Village Hall Membership was due for renewal at a cost of £30. It was noted that this organisation provided information and a number of useful leaflets regarding Village Halls.

In response to a question from Cllr. Savage, the Town Clerk stated that she had found that the information available from this organisation had been relevant to the Town Hall.

RESOLVED: that the Town Council renews the annual subscription to the Rural Community Council of Essex - Village Hall Membership at a fee of £30.
(Local Government Act 1972 s.143)
 5.4 Courses/Meetings

a. Essex Association of Local Councils (EALC)
Members were informed that notification had been received of the following EALC training day and AGM:

Councillor Training Day - One Day Training Course to be held at Foakes Hall, Great Dunmow on Wednesday, 14th July, 2004 at a cost of £39 per delegate. Subjects for discussion include: Declaration of Interest, Powers & Duties, Managing Resources, Meetings and Planning & Quality Councils.

Cllr. Mrs. Riesebeck, who had attended a similar course previously, informed members that she had found it extremely beneficial.

It was suggested that information regarding this course should be forwarded to all new Councillors.

EALC - Annual General Meeting - to be held on Wednesday, 23rd June, 2004 at Foakes Hall, Great Dunmow commencing at 7.30 p.m. Members noted that the Mayor and the Town Clerk would be attending this meeting.

RESOLVED: that (a) information regarding the EALC, Councillor Training Day to be held on 14th July, 2004 be forwarded to all new Councillors;

(b) in all other respects the information be noted.

b. University of Gloucester - "Summer Seminars at the Spa 2004"
Members were informed that notification had been received from the University of Gloucester in partnership with the Society of Local Council Clerks of the above seminar to be held from Thursday 15 July to Friday 16th July, 2004. The cost of the seminar was £150.

In response to a suggestion from Cllr. Mrs. Curtis, the Town Clerk said that, although she would like to attend, she was uncertain whether she would be available to attend this seminar.

Cllr. Savage enquired if he could attend this seminar but the Chairman felt that the Seminar was mainly aimed at Clerks and that the cost, to which travel and accommodation costs would need to be added, would take up a considerable portion of the current training budget and other courses covering these topics were available locally.

It was noted that £290 remained in the budget head for both staff and Councillor training. Cllr. Savage felt that there should be separate budgets for staff and Councillor training and suggested that this should be reviewed at the Estimates meeting to be held in November.

RESOLVED: that (a) the Town Clerk, if she wishes, attends the University of Gloucester "Summer Seminars at the Spa 2004";

(b) the budget for training and courses in respect of staff and Councillors be discussed at the Estimates meeting in November.
(Local Government Act 1972 s.175)

c. Financial Risk Management and Internal Audit Course
Further to minute 102.4 of the Finance and General Purposes Committee meeting held on 4th May, 2004 members received the report of the Town Clerk regarding the above course held on 25th May, 2004.

In response to a question the Town Clerk advised that the Town Council's utility bills were already paid by direct debit.

RESOLVED: that the report of the Town Clerk be noted.
 5.5 Accounts

a. Members Audit
Further to minute 89.3 of the Finance and General Purposes Committee meeting held on 8th March, 2004 members received the report of Cllrs. Mrs. Curtis and Shrimpton regarding their inspection of the accounts.

RESOLVED: that the report be noted.

b. End of Year Accounts
Members received and considered the year end accounts and supporting statements for the 2003/04 financial year as submitted to the internal auditor.

In response to a question, the Town Clerk said that these were the final accounts for the end of the 2003/04 year and they together with the Annual Return would be submitted to the Town Council meeting to be held on 5th July, 2004 and subject to approval, would be signed by the Mayor and then submitted to the external auditor.

The Town Clerk informed members that the amount of £5.50 included in the Income and Expenditure Account Income - Tenancies was in respect of the rent from the Maeldune Trust and Plume Trustees for their use of the Plume Building. Arising from an enquiry the Town Clerk reported that the cost for the new computers had been included under Expenditure - Administration and she would ascertain the sum attaining to computer software and forward the information to Councillor Savage.

The Town Clerk advised that the figure under Receipts in Advance was for deposits and fees paid for Town Hall bookings which would take place after 31st March, 2004.

In response to a question regarding the inclusion of items under Creditors which were dated 8th April, 2004, the Town Clerk stated that this was for work undertaken prior to 31st March, 2004. In response to a question from Cllr. Savage regarding the Asset Summary, the Town Clerk advised that three of the hanging murals referred to in the summary were in District Council storage and the fourth was on display at the West Maldon Community Centre. Originally they had been displayed in the former Jubilee Hall and they depicted the Battle of Maldon. Cllr. Savage suggested that the murals should be displayed on the walls of the Town Hall but other members felt that they would look out of place in a new building. It was suggested that, should a suitable occasion arise, they could be taken from storage and displayed on a temporary basis. Concern was expressed regarding the condition of the murals and it was suggested that, Cllr. Savage to view the murals and arrangements be made with the Maldon District Council and a report on their condition be submitted to a future meeting. (amended at Town Council meeting held on 5th July, 2004 - minute 27.5)

RESOLVED: that (a) the Town Clerk forwards information regarding the expenditure on computer software to Cllr. Savage;

(b) Cllr. Savage to view the murals and arrangements be made with the Maldon District Council and a report on their condition be submitted to a future meeting. (amended at Town Council meeting held on 5th July, 2004 - minute 27.5)

(c) the end of year accounts and supporting statement for 2003/04 be signed by the Mayor at the Town Council meeting to be held on 5th July, 2004.
 5.6 Profit for Learning - Compensation

Further to minute 74.5 of the Finance and General Purposes Committee meeting held on 13th January, 2003 members recalled that Mrs. J. Grant, Administrative Assistant had undertaken a NVQ level 2 qualification in conjunction with the Government run "Profit for Learning" scheme. In this respect the Town Council had subsequently received a cheque in the sum of £330.05 in accordance with the signed contract. It was noted that other than meeting the assessor from Witham Technology Centre within office time Mrs. Grant had undertaken all the work in her own time.

RESOLVED: that the Town Council congratulates Mrs. Grant on her successful completion of the course.
 5.7 Insurance

a. Insurance Policy
Members received and considered a copy of the Town Council's insurance policy for 2004/05 and the Town Clerk informed members that more comprehensive details were available on the complete schedule available from the office.

The Chairman noted that not all of the properties owned by the Town Council were insured, an example being St. Giles Ruins.

In response to a question from Cllr. Savage regarding the up-to-date valuations of works of art and artefacts located in the Moot Hall, the Town Clerk stated that this had been investigated on a previous occasion and the cost of a professional valuation had been prohibitive. It was suggested that the possibility of obtaining a new valuation in respect of these artefacts be considered in conjunction with Town Council Estimates.

The Town Clerk stated that the office computers were included under item 6 - Office Contents, Machinery etc. on the Insurance schedule.

RESOLVED: that (a) a revised valuation of works of art and artefacts in the Moot Hall be considered at the 2005/06 Estimates meeting in November;

(b) in all other respects the Town Council's insurance policy be noted.

b. Valuation of the Mace
Members were informed that a letter had been received from the Town Council's Insurers, Allianze Cornhill requesting that an up-to-date valuation of the mace be forwarded to them within the next three months. In this respect Toye, Kenning, Spencer from Birmingham, who had undertaken previous work on the mace and were specialists in this field, had been contacted. They suggested that they may be able to provide a valuation based on photographs but it was noted that if this course of action was not sufficient for valuation purposes then their valuation fee would be £150 and the mace would have to be transported to their London premises.

The Town Clerk informed members that photographs of the mace had previously been forwarded to the company.

Discussion ensued and it was

RECOMMENDED: that the response from Toye, Kenning, Spencer, be awaited regarding the photographs of the mace which had been forwarded to them.
 5.8 Staff

a. Salaries
Members noted that in accordance with the Contract of Employment the following members of staff had received a pay increase from 1 April, 2004:

Mrs. J. Good, Administrative Assistant/Mayor's Secretary
Mrs. J. Grant, Planning Committee Clerk/Administrative Assistant
Mr. I. Vince, Part-time Town Hall Caretaker
Mr. J. Littlewood, Part-time Hall Caretaker

RESOLVED: that the information be noted.

b. VDU Use
Further to minute 5.8 of the Finance and General Purposes Committee meeting held on 20th May, 2002 some members recalled that to comply with Health and Safety Regulations it had been agreed that the office staff should have eye tests. Members were informed that the two year period had passed and eye tests should be undertaken again.

RECOMMENDED: that eye tests for the three office staff be provided by Templetons in the sum of £20.00 per eye test including reports.
(Local Government Act 1972 s.111)
 5.9 Deputy Mayor's Badge of Office

Cllr. Shrimpton, upon his appointment as Deputy Mayor, noted that his badge of office needed to be repaired and as a result of this and in consultation with the Mayor it was dispatched to the makers, Thomas Fattorini Ltd. In this respect members received and considered letters from Fattorini who had recommended that the badge be aesthetically refurbished for £117.60 and a new badge be made. The cost of a new badge, similar to the existing would be in the region of £600; however, if the design were to be changed the cost would be from £300.

Discussion ensued and it was

RECOMMENDED: that Fattorini Limited be contacted and requested to (i) aesthetically repair the Deputy Mayor's Badge of Office in the sum of £117.60;
(ii) forward details and pictures for a new Deputy Mayor's badge for further consideration.
  6. CHRISTMAS LIGHTS WORKING PARTY

Members considered whether to nominate members to serve on the Christmas Lights Working Party.

The Town Clerk reminded members that it had previously been suggested that the Christmas Lights be switched on in conjunction with the first Victorian Evening and it was agreed that the Town Clerk should liaise with the Maldon Chamber of Trade and Commerce to pursue this matter.

Discussion ensued and it was

RESOLVED: that (a) the Town Council do not form a Christmas Lights Working Party in the current year;

(b) the Town Clerk contact the Maldon Chamber of Trade and Commerce regarding the date for switching on the Christmas Lights.
  7.

 7.1
CINEMA

Notes of the Cinema Working Party meeting held on 2nd June, 2004

Members received and considered the Notes of the Cinema Working Party meeting held on 2nd June, 2004.

Note 5 - Projector Stand for Balcony
Cllr. Savage explained that it would be beneficial for members to consider purchasing a replacement screen and suggested that a fixed or roll-up screen on the stage should be considered. The Chairman reminded Cllr. Savage that there was no funding available for additional equipment.

Note 6 - Compressor/Limiter and Noise Gate
It was suggested that the final sentence of the first paragraph be amended to read, "He also suggested that it would be beneficial to have additional audio wiring which would go from the balcony to the connection box in front of the balcony." Cllr. Savage stated that currently his personal cables were being used for this purpose.

In response to a question from the Chairman regarding why the Cinema Budget was overspent at this time of the financial year, the Town Clerk stated that members had requested that additional quotations for the fixed projector stand be sought, the cost for the stand had therefore been met from this year's budget and provision had not been carried forward from the previous year.

It was suggested that users of the cinema equipment should be charged for its use and in this respect the Town Clerk advised that this was already the case and a charge of £10.00 was made for use of this equipment.

In answer to a question from Cllr. Shrimpton, the Town Clerk said that it was possible for a budget head to be in deficit.

The Chairman expressed the view that the Town Council were financing the cinema and that they should not be footing the bill to entertain the community. However, the view was also expressed that the original idea of the Town Council running a Saturday morning cinema for children was to provide a service to the local community.

Cllr. Savage felt that the Town Council should advertise the availability of the digital projector in the Town Hall as it was suitable for use with lap-top computer presentations.

Discussion ensued and it was suggested that the Cinema Working Party compile a Business Plan for the running of the cinema in its existing format.

RECOMMENDED: that (a) the first paragraph of Note 6 be amended to read, "He also suggested that it would be beneficial to have additional audio wiring which would go from the balcony to the connection box in front of the balcony."

(b) the Cinema Budget Head be run with a negative balance for the time being;

(c) the Cinema Working Party be requested to compile a Business Plan to run the Cinema in its existing format;

(d) the availability of the digital projector be advertised in the local press;

(e) in all other respects the Notes of the Cinema Working Party meeting held on 2nd June, 2004 be noted.
 7.2 Financial Requirement

Further to Note 6 of the above Notes members were requested to consider making a virement in respect of the Cinema and a report detailing projected costs for the remainder of the 2004/05 financial year were circulated.

Cllr. Savage informed members that some of the projected costs had been amended and the Chairman stated that it would not be necessary to consider this matter as it had been superseded by the previous minute.

RECOMMENDED: that the information be noted.
  8.

 8.1
PLUME BUILDING

Sundial

Further to minute 105.1 of the Finance and General Purposes Committee meeting held on 4th May, 2004 members received and considered a letter from the local sundial maker regarding a breakdown of his quotation which stated that he had been unable to obtain a written quotation from the builder and having considered the difficulties of working with a third party he wished to withdraw his offer to take on the whole job. He stated that he would be happy to offer his services as an advisor on the day of removal and in this respect his hourly rate would be £28.50.

Members were asked to consider whether quotations should be sought from local builders for the removal of the sundial.

It was noted that a response was still awaited from the Lottery Fund - Local Heritage Initiative with regard to the Lottery Application in respect of refurbishment of St. Peter's Churchyard which included work to the sundial.

Discussion ensued and members agreed that quotations should be sought from local builders for the removal of the sundial from the wall of the Plume Building and that the sundial maker be requested to oversee the removal of the sundial.

In response to a question from the Chairman, the Town Clerk stated that the Town Council when requiring a contractor either used the District Council's list of approved contractors or used contractors recommended by the Architect.

RECOMMENDED: that (a) quotations be sought from builders for the removal of the sundial from the Plume Building;

(b) the sundial maker be requested to attend once the scaffolding has been erected to oversee the removal of the sundial at a cost of £28.50 per hour.
 8.2 Blue Plaque

Further to minute 105.2 of the Finance and General Purposes Committee meeting held on 4th May, 2004 members were informed that the Chairman, The Maldon Society had forwarded the following text for the proposed Blue Plaque to be installed on St. Peter's Tower:

Maldon Grammar School was founded here in 1608.
The library of Dr. Thomas Plume (1630-1704), which he
bequeathed to Maldon, is housed here.


On viewing a photograph of a similar blue plaque members expressed concern that the plaque would be promoting the Maldon District Council on a building which was the responsibility of the Town Council. The view was expressed that the wording "Maldon District Council" should be replaced with "Maldon Town Council" and the District Council be named as sponsors of the project on the base of the plaque

RECOMMENDED: that a letter be forwarded to the Maldon Society stating (i) that the Town Council approves the text regarding the description of the Plume Building,

(ii) the wording "Maldon District Council" be replaced with "Maldon Town Council" and the District Council be named as sponsors of the project on the base of the plaque.
  9. COUNCIL PROPERTY - PROPERTY PORTFOLIO

Members received a report from Cllr. Keighley regarding Town Council property.

Cllr. Keighley stated that he had been shocked when viewing the quotation for repairs to the Moot Hall and had felt that a review of other properties which were the responsibility of the Town Council should be undertaken. The following matters were raised from items detailed on the report:

4. Assets of no commercial value

· Allotments - no foreseen expenditure

· All Saints Churchyard and walls - the expenditure was for rebuilding boundary walls and it was felt that the Town Council should monitor the situation regarding the proposed church extension.

· Amenity Areas - Cllr. Savage felt that details of the amenity areas should be listed. He also requested that British Telecom be contacted regarding the condition of the telephone box at the amenity area at the junction of Downs Road and Victoria Road. The Town Clerk stated that she would contact the relevant body to request that the broken glass be cleared.

· St. Mary's Churchyard and Wall - The Town Clerk stated that the boundary wall was due for an inspection and that as far as she was aware the situation regarding water on the St. Mary's Lane steps had been resolved.

· St. Peter's Churchyard - It was anticipated that the suggested repairs to the boundary walls would be undertaken in conjunction with the refurbishment project to which grant funding had been applied for.

· St. Giles Leper Hospital - Cllr. Keighley expressed concern that upon visiting the site the entrance gate had been locked. He suggested that English Heritage should be asked to take over the site which was part of Maldon's heritage and it was noted that as this was an ancient monument the Town Council would not be expected to rebuild any walls that collapsed as a result of natural causes.

The view was expressed that such a small Town Council was blessed with an incredible amount of historic buildings and relics.

Cllr. Mackenzie expressed the view that Maldon would be poorer if it relinquished responsibility for the town's ancient monuments as the Town Council were their guardians and therefore had a vested interest in the town's heritage.

The Chairman stated that he was not anti Maldon but felt that the buildings would still be there and that English Heritage would be more suitable custodians.

In response to a question regarding the responsibility for tomb stones the Town Clerk said that the Town Council were only responsible should no living relative be found for the tomb and that in the past dangerous tombs had been laid flat.

3. Other Property
It was noted that there was a higher asset value for these properties detailed in the insurance policy.

1. Building of Historic Importance
Members noted that the Thomas Plume Trustees and the Maeldune Trust were responsible for the interior of the Plume Building and that the Maeldune Trust were endeavouring to reduce their annual financial request to the Town Council.

RECOMMENDED: that (a) costs for an inspection of the north boundary wall at St. Mary's Churchyard be obtained;

(b) a list of amenity areas which are the responsibility of the Town Council be forwarded to Cllr. Savage;

(c) in all other respects the report be noted.
 10.

 10.1
MOOT HALL

Letter from Cllr. Keighley

Further to minute 104.2 of the Finance and General Purposes Committee meeting held on 4th May, 2004 members received a letter of the response from Cllr. Keighley dated 11 May, 2004 regarding the Moot Hall.

Cllr. Keighley expressed concern that there had been no expenditure on the fabric of the Moot Hall from 2000 to 2003. The Town Clerk stated that this was because at the time members were aware that the Quinquennial report was awaited and the repairs specification. However, they had been accumulating a provision within the budget for these repairs. Members were informed that the Town Council had purchased the Moot Hall from the District Council in 1987 for the cost of approximately £36,000 after certain works on the building had been undertaken.

RECOMMENDED: that the letter of Cllr. Keighley be noted.
 10.2 Repair Works

a. Column Repairs
Further to minute 104.1 of the Finance and General Purposes Committee meeting held on 4th May, 2004 members were informed that it had not been possible to obtain an exact quotation for the column repairs which involved the builder obtaining prices for joinery, scaffolding and decoration. It was reported that, approximately fifteen years ago, Bakers of Danbury had propped the balcony and taken away the columns for repair; their advice at that time to renew and do proper repairs had not been accepted by members who had instructed that the columns be patched which had subsequently left many cracks where water had got in and caused rot. The cost of the work had been in the region of £20,000 so any major work would now be considerably in excess of this figure.

It was noted that the Architect appointed by the Town Council had suggested that the columns be patched either by the Town Council's handyman or Bakers of Danbury and grant funding be sought for this work as well as for the tender works.

Discussion ensued and it was felt that the Conservation Officer, Maldon District Council and David Whymark, Structural Surveyor be contacted for advice on the most suitable materials for filling and patching the columns. It was also felt that David Whymark should be requested to obtain formal quotations for the repair of the columns and balcony as they were the most visible part of the Moot Hall.

Cllr. McKenzie suggested that Corporate Sponsorship should be sought for the Moot Hall as it was a fantastic asset for the town and it should be exploited. It was agreed that the views of the Town Centre Manager should be sought on this matter.

RECOMMENDED: that (a) the Conservation Officer, Maldon District Council and David Whymark be contacted to request advice on suitable materials for patching the columns;

(b) Mr. Whymark be contacted to enquire if he could obtain quotations for the repair of the Moot Hall balcony and columns;

(c) a letter be forwarded to the Town Centre Manager requesting his views on Corporate Sponsorship. (amended at Town Council meeting held on 5th July, 2004 - minute 27.5 refers)

b. Maldon in Bloom
Members were informed that at the Maldon in Bloom Working Party meeting held on 2nd June, 2004 concern had been expressed regarding the condition of the columns and the general decoration of the front of the Moot Hall. It had then been suggested that the columns should be filled and Community Service workers be asked to undertake the decoration of the front of the building or a working party be set up to undertake the work as a temporary measure.

Discussion ensued and members were of the opinion that the importance of the building was too great and that the work should be undertaken by professionals. The Chairman felt that the Working Party should be thanked for their comments and advised that the repair of the columns was being investigated.

RECOMMENDED: that the Maldon in Bloom Working Party be thanked for their comments and informed that the matter was being investigated.

c. Grant Funding Members were informed that a preliminary form for Heritage Lottery Fund - Heritage Grants of £50,000 or more had been completed and despatched with a covering letter and the replies received were circulated at the meeting. A grant application form had also been completed and forwarded to English Heritage and it was noted that other sources of grant funding would need to be pursued.

In response to a question from the Chairman, the Town Clerk stated that as yet a request for funding for the repair work to the Moot Hall had not been forwarded to the Maldon District Council. The Chairman suggested that an official letter should be sent to the District Council to enquire if any funding would be available to assist with the repair work to the building.

Discussion ensued regarding sponsorship from local businesses and concern was expressed regarding the names of sponsors appearing in the Moot Hall. It was suggested that letters should be sent to ten prominent local companies. It was also suggested that the Maldon Chamber of Trade and Commerce, although it was noted that they were undergoing changes since their Chairman had left the area, the Maldon Business Club, the Maldon Promotions Group and the Town Centre Manager should be contracted regarding Corporate Sponsorship and ideas for raising funds for the Moot Hall.

RECOMMENDED: that (a) a letter be forwarded to the Maldon Chamber of Trade and Commerce, Maldon Promotions Group, Maldon Business Club and the Town Centre Manager be contacted regarding fundraising for the Moot Hall;

(b) a letter regarding Corporate Sponsorship of the Moot Hall be forwarded to ten prominent local businesses;

(c) an official letter be sent to the Maldon District Council requesting financial assistance with repairs to the Moot Hall.
 10.3 Time Team

At the request of Cllr. Prior, members considered inviting the Channel Four "Time Team" to investigate the history of the Moot Hall and the Plume Building.

Discussion ensued and it was felt that other programmes such as "The House Detectives" should also be contacted.

RECOMMENDED: that the Channel Four "Time Team" and B.B.C. "The House Detectives" be invited to investigate the Moot Hall and the Plume Building.
 11.

 11.1
TOWN HALL

Access Audit

Further to minute 106 of the Finance and General Purposes Committee meeting held on 4th May, 2004 a quotation had been received from Essex Disability Access Services Limited regarding an access audit of the Town Hall. In view of the cost, a further quotation had been sought from the organisation who had recently undertaken an audit for the Maldon District Council in respect of the Blackwater Leisure Centre and West Maldon Community Centre.

RECOMMENDED: that the quotation from Essex Disability Access Services Limited in the sum of £250.00 per day for access audit plus £300.00 for a full written report plus VAT be accepted.
(Local Government Act 1972 s.133)
 11.2 Access Officer

Further to minute 106 of the Finance and General Purposes Committee held on 4th May, 2004, members received the report of the Town Clerk regarding a meeting held on 15th June, 2004 between Cllr. Shrimpton, Mr. N. Wright, Access Officer, Maldon District Council, Mr. D. Rookard, Maldon District Access Group and the Town Clerk regarding improved access to the Town Hall.

The report informed members that reference had been made to the gradient of the access ramp into the Town Hall as it was greater than that recommended due to the angle and narrowness of the footpath. Other points raised referred to the necessity for automatic doors to both the inner and outer entrances and a suggestion that an Access Audit should be undertaken as this would highlight areas of concern and would prioritise and suggest remedial action.

The Town Clerk reported that those present had also looked at access into the Moot Hall and she expressed concern that the Moot Hall may have to be shut to the public due to limited access. It was suggested that, when the next phase of the High Street improvement was being carried out, the pavement be raised outside the Moot Hall, as at the National Westminster Bank, to allow disabled access. It was felt that anyone hiring the Moot Hall should be made aware that the access to the building involved a number of steps.

Discussion ensued and it was

RECOMMENDED: that the report be noted.
 11.3 Wall Speaker

Members noted that on the advice of Cllr. Savage, the Town Clerk, in consultation with the Mayor, had authorised the purchase of a new Yamaha replacement speaker as one of the four original speakers in the Town Hall had blown. Cllr. Savage replaced the speaker as it had been thought that it would be required for a Town Hall event. The cost of the speaker was £153.00 and would be financed from the Community Hall - General Fund/Decoration Budget Head.

Cllr. Savage informed members that he would try to repair the broken speaker for use as a replacement.

RECOMMENDED: that the information regarding the replacement speaker be noted and the cost of the speaker be financed from the Community Hall, General Fund/Decoration Budget Head.
Cllrs Mrs. Riesebeck and Swallow left the meeting at 9.40 p.m.
 11.4 Hire Charges

Members recalled that it had been agreed at the Finance and General Purposes Committee meeting held on 8th September, 2003 (minute 38.1 refers) that the hourly rates in respect of the Town Hall/Conference Room should be increased by £1.00 per hour from 1st April, 2004 and new leaflets were produced containing the new charges. This had been the first increase since the Town Hall had been opened in January, 1999.

A copy of the financial report regarding income and expenditure for the period 1st April, 2003 to 31st March, 2004 had been circulated to all members together with a schedule of the present charges.

RECOMMENDED: that there be no increase in hire charges of the Town Hall for the year 2005/06 and that the matter be reviewed again in 12 months time. (amended a the Town Council meeting held on 5th July, 2004 - minute 27.5 refers)
 12. BINDING OF THE MINUTE BOOK 2003/2004

Members were informed that a quotation in the sum of £48.00 had been received from Hipwell Bookbinders to bind the Town Council Minute Book 2003 - 2004 to match the existing books.

RECOMMENDED: that the quotation from Hipwell Bookbinders in the sum of £48.00 be approved.
(Local Government Act 1972 s. 111)
 13. SHAPING THE FUTURE OF ESSEX - A COMMUNITY STRATEGY 2004-2024

Further to the letter from the Town Clerk dated 14 May, 2004 members received and considered the draft document on this subject from Essex County Council. A letter had also been received from the Essex Association of Local Councils stating that some of their members had served upon the Partnership compiling the document and the Association very much hoped that different organisations in the County would formally approve this document.

Discussion ensued and it was agreed that members should be aware of the contents of this document.

RECOMMENDED: that the draft document be noted.
 14. QUESTIONS FROM THE PRESS AND PUBLIC

There were no questions from the Press or Public.
   Councillor Dennis Keighley
Chairman

The Chairman closed the meeting at 9.45 p.m.

Signed…………………………………………….. Date…………………………..



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