Agenda and draft minutes

Boston Town Area Committee (BTAC) - Wednesday, 7th October, 2020 6.30 pm

Venue: Online Meeting - view the meeting at www.mybostonuk.com/youtube

Contact: Janette Collier, Senior Democratic Services Officer  01205 314227 email:  janette.collier@boston.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

74.

APOLOGIES

To receive apologies for absence.

Minutes:

There were apologies for absence from Councillors Alison Austin and Viven Edge.

75.

DECLARATION OF INTERESTS

To receive declarations of interests in respect of any item on the agenda.

Minutes:

None.

76.

PUBLIC QUESTIONS

To answer any written questions received from members of the public no later than 5 p.m. two clear working days prior to the meeting – for this meeting the deadline is 5 p.m. on Friday 2nd October 2020.

Minutes:

None.

77.

SETTING UP A TOWN COUNCIL pdf icon PDF 103 KB

To receive a presentation on the process involved in setting up a Town Council from Justin Griggs, Head of Policy and Communications for the National Association of Local Councils (NALC).  Katrina Evans, Chief Executive for the Local Association of Local Councils (LALC) will also be in attendance.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Justin Griggs and Katrina Evans introduced themselves and explained their roles within the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) and the Local Association of Local Councils (LALC).

 

Members’ debate began with the role of Mayor and their desire to preserve it along with its artefacts and charters.  The Assistant Director confirmed that an inventory would be drafted at the appropriate stage if Members decided to begin the process towards setting up a Town Council.

 

The Chairman explained that if the Council remained as it was, the role of Mayor would remain with the Council.  The only decision the Committee could make that evening would be whether to ask the Council to trigger the Community Governance Review (CGR) process.  The cost of the CGR process was not known at this stage.

 

A Member stressed that if Local Government Reorganisation (LGR) did not affect the Council then they would not support BTAC becoming a Town Council. However, if a unitary authority took over, then they would support the formation of a Town Council.

 

Other Members spoke in full support of forming a Town Council and asked for costs, direction and plans.  They were concerned about the strategic alliance, considering that, even without LGA, the Council merging with East Lindsey meant that Boston needed a Town Council to retain the town’s identity. 

 

Mr Griggs advised the Committee that undertaking CGR and setting up a new Town Council was a process for which they would need guidance. NALC could connect Members with other Town Councils and good practice, and outline the main issues. They would try to demonstrate what good community engagement looked like, making local decisions and having local influence. They would support Members, help navigate them through the process and advise on costs.  LALC would also give advice, guidance and training.  Members of the public could present a petition to the Council to trigger a CGR or the Council could decide itself to proceed with a CGR and consult the public on the matter.

 

Members still felt they needed more details: an idea of finances, the officer team, where they would be situated, how independent the Town Council would be, what Members roles would be on the Town Council, what the mayor’s role would be, etc.

 

Mrs Evans gave details of local areas where Town Councils had been established:

 

·         Stamford, with a population under 18,000 with an electorate of 15,000. Had a precept of £538,033, with responsibilities including cemeteries, allotments and recreation grounds.

 

·         Skegness, with a higher population, had a precept of £498,000. There was a £1.5 million transfer of assets and they took on responsibilities including car parks, the Tower Pavilion etc.

 

·         Mablethorpe had a lower population, but a precept of £614,000. They received a good income from beach huts and were therefore able to deliver more.

 

Mrs Evans advised Members to look at the websites of these Town Councils along with those of Gainsborough, Sleaford and Louth Town Councils and see what services they delivered and their level of precept  ...  view the full minutes text for item 77.

78.

WORK PROGRAMME - STANDING ITEM pdf icon PDF 120 KB

(The Committee’s work programme for the current year for discussion and/or updating.)

Minutes:

The Assistant Director – Support Services & Partnerships advised Members that security of all open spaces would be included in the December open spaces report.

 

Members discussed the skate parks.  The Central Park facility was commended.  Feedback from users was excellent.  St John’s skate park was still being used and it was hoped it could remain open, despite having to deal with ongoing litter and drug paraphernalia, as more youngsters than ever were using them.  The Assistant Director – Support Services & Partnerships reported that the operations team was looking at the defective parts of the skate park at St John’s in line with a report from ROSPA to try to ensure it remained open. 

 

Members agreed that a report on BTAC’s current finances would be welcome.