Venue: Council Chamber - Farnham Town Hall. View directions
Contact: Email: Town.Clerk@farnham.gov.uk
To receive apologies for absence.
Apologies were reeived from Cllr Beaman who attended the meeting virtually, Cllr Edmonds and Cllr Hesse. Cllr Dickson apologised for late arrival
Disclosures of Interest
To receive from members, in respect of any items included on the agenda for this meeting, disclosure of any disclosable pecuniary or other interests, or of any gifts and hospitality, in line with the Town Council’s Code of Conduct.
(i) The following councillors have made a general non-pecuniary interest declaration in relation to being councillors of Waverley Borough Council: Cllrs Beaman, Blishen, Cockburn, Dickson, Edmonds, Gray, Hesse, Macleod, Martin, Merryweather, Mirylees, Neale, and Ward.
(ii) The following councillors have made a general non-pecuniary interest declaration in relation to being councillors of Surrey County Council: Cllr Macleod and Cllr Martin; and
(iii) Members are requested to make declarations of interest, on the form attached, to be returned to email@example.com by 5pm on the day before the meeting.
Members are reminded that if they declare a pecuniary interest they must leave before any debate starts unless dispensation has been obtained.
Apart from declarations from double and triple hatted councillors, Cllr Mirylees and Cllr Merryweather made a declaration of interest, as Portfolio holders at Waverley Borough Council, in relation to the discussion on Farnham Museum and left the room for this item.
To sign as a correct record the minutes of the Farnham Town Council meeting held on 17th March (Appendix A).
The Minutes of the meeting held on 8th March were agreed as a correct record for signing by the Mayor.
Questions and Statements by the Public
In accordance with Standing Order 10.1, the Town Mayor will invite members of the public present to ask questions or make statements.
At the discretion of the Town Mayor, those members of the public, residing or working within the Council’s boundary, will be invited to make representations or ask questions in respect of the business on the agenda, or other matters not on the agenda, for a maximum of 3 minutes per person or 20 minutes overall.
i) Mr Michael Longford outlined a proposal to donate ambulances to Ukraine through his medical diagnostics company and asked for Farnham Town Council’s support having had some initial discussions with Cllr Blishen. He was hoping to acquire supplies for people to go into the ambulances and particularly burns kits and nappies for children.
The Mayor congratulated Mr Longford on his initiative which underlined the amazing support being given by the people of Farnham to Ukraine.
ii) Cllr Jerry Hyman, of Waverley Borough Council, asked if the Town Council had a copy of the detailed assessment relating to the Farnham Park SANG showing that it was defective.
The Mayor advised that he did not believe so but there would be a written reply.
Town Mayor's Announcements
To receive the Town Mayor’s announcements.
The Mayor paid tribute, on behalf of the whole Council to Sir Ray Tindle CBE DL, who had passed away. He was made the first Freeman of Farnham for his philanthropy, civic pride and his passion for the local community.
Over the years, Sir Ray had been a prime mover in saving some key Farnham assets that faced an uncertain future as well as helping unemployed people through his Tindle Enterprise Centres. He had responded to the community in purchasing the Wrecclesham Community Centre and gifting it to the town; in providing key finance to enable the Bishop’s Meadow Trust to purchase the water meadows; and in purchasing the historic Church House and the adjacent magistrate’s court. The name Tindle was now synonymous with Farnham and Sir Ray had left an indelible mark with his generosity and support for local schools, clubs and community organisations.
The Mayor said that Farnham Town Council was particularly grateful to Sir Ray for being the inspiration and sponsor of the Services to Farnham Awards which recognise the service of so many people to the town he loved. There was no doubt that Sir Ray was “Mr Farnham” and the town had benefited greatly from his immense contribution over many decades and his bringing together of key players when there were controversial local matters under discussion. He was always generous, charming and a shrewd businessman and his wise counsel was valued. The Council’s condolences go to his widow, Lady Tindle, and his son Owen and family.
The Mayor said he had been privileged to welcome some of the Ukrainian families who had arrived in Farnham and their local sponsors. It was a very humbling experience to hear of the journeys of those who have travelled from Kharkiv, Kherson, Luhansk and Donetsk. He commended the fantastic efforts of Farnham Homes for Ukraine, Farnham Stands with Ukraine and local volunteers as well as individual families who were doing so much.
The Mayor advised that the Waverley Abbey Trust Remembering Garden in the grounds of Waverley Abbey House would be opened on 29th April.
Questions by Members
To consider any questions from councillors in accordance with Standing Order 9.
There were no questions by Members.
To receive the notes and any recommendations of the following Working Groups:
i) Tourism and Events held on 13th April 2022Appendix B
ii) Strategy and Finance held on 19th April 2022 Appendix C
1) Tourism and Events Working Group
Cllr Evans introduced the notes of the Working Group held on 13th April at Appendix B to the agenda. Cllr Evans advised that following the very successful inaugural Literary Festival, the Walking Festival and Summer Programme were next, to be followed by the Platinum Jubilee festivities.
The Working Group had reviewed the suggestion for the Coffee vendor to be in Gostrey Meadow for an additional day each week and this had been agreed as a positive service for visitors to Gostrey Meadow.
Cllr Evans provided an update on other matters discussed including the Welcome Back Fund, sponsorship and future plans.
2) Strategy & Finance Working Group
i) Cllr Neale introduced the Working Group notes at Appendix C for the meeting held on 19th April. The main item was the signing off of the end of year accounts and these would be dealt with at a later point in the agenda. In terms of other financial matters there were two items with recommendations, and it was
RESOLVED nem con that
a) the total Corporate Commercial Card limit be increased to £25,000;
b) a grant of £1,000 be approved for the 1st Bourne Guides.
ii) Community Governance Review
Cllr Neale outlined the discussion that had taken place on the Waverley Borough Council Community Governance Review of Farnham Wards and the timetable for the next stage of the consultation between 3rd May and 10th June. The Farnham comments had not been taken on board by the Boundary Commission but were being reflected in the Borough Review. Council agreed that the number of wards should be reduced from nine to eight, with a reduction of two councillors, and be coterminous with the Borough Wards. There was further discussion on the proposed names for the wards and it was RESOLVED that
a) the Town Council Wards to be co-terminous with the Borough Wards with two councillors per ward
b) the new Moor Park Ward to be renamed Badshot Lea and Moor Park;
c) the new Farnham Heath End Ward to be renamed Hale and Heath End;
d) the new Firgrove Ward (East and West) to be renamed Shortheath and Firgrove and;
e) the new Rowledge Ward be renamed Wrecclesham and Rowledge.
Cllr Dickson arrived at this point.
iii) Design Statement
Council agreed the Working Group proposal that the proposed amendments be incorporated and published on FTC’s website for a consultation period of 4 weeks (following WBC’s recommendation) prior to submission to WBC for adoption. Cllr Fraser was disappointed that a large number of qualifying adjectives had been added by WBC which left more wriggle room for developers, although Council noted that these few amendments were required if the documents were to be acceptable to the Local Planning Authority. It was likely comments would come back for a more robust version.
It was RESOLVED nem con, with Cllr Fraser abstaining, that the revised Draft Design Statement be approved for consultation.
iv) Farnham Infrastructure Programme ... view the full minutes text for item C131/20
The following papers are to be read in conjunction with the minutes of the Strategy and Finance Working Group held on April 19th 2022 and are for formal approval by the Council prior for submission to the External Auditor.
i) To receive a report on the 2021/22 OutturnAppendix D
ii) To receive the Summary 2021/22 Income and Expenditure OutturnAppendix Ei, Eii
iii) To receive and agree the draft Report and Financial Statements for 2021/22 and earmarked reserves at 31st March 2022Appendix F
iv) To consider the final Internal Auditor’s Report for the Year Ended 31 March 2022
and accept the issues raised Appendix G
v) To approve the Annual Governance Statement (Section 1 of Annual Governance and Accountability Return) Appendix H
vi) To approve the variances list between the 2020/21 and 2021/22 Annual Returns as required. Appendix I
vii) To approve the Annual Governance and Accountability Return for the Year Ended
31st March 2022 for signature and submission for External Audit Appendix J
Cllr Neale introduced the report on the 2021/22 Outturn at Appendix D. He advised Council that, perhaps surprisingly in a year disrupted by Covid and the extra commitments that FTC undertook in support of its citizens and business community, the accounts had ended up in a healthy state, due to excellent financial management by the officers, in particular the Town Clerk and extra government funding for Covid support, that had added to council revenues.
The Town Clerk gave an overview of the outturn position and confirmed the year end accounts were considered in detail at the Strategy & Finance Working Group held on 19th April with papers circulated to all councillors in advance of that meeting.
Council agreed the Income and Expenditure reports, noting that the surplus was primarily due to Section 106 and CIL funding received for specific and future projects and external grant income received. The income for the year had been 125% of that budgeted £1,728,639 (against a budget of £1,374,700) whilst expenditure was 111% of budgetat £1,548,470 (against a budget of £1,399,850) as a result of the implementation of two significant capital projects.
The draft Report and Financial Statements for 2021/22 at Appendix F contained a list of the earmarked reserves and general reserves. In line with the decision made in 2021, the general reserve level had been reduced to one third of the operating expenditure (40% of the precept).
The Town Clerk introduced the Internal Auditor’s Report at Appendix G. The Internal Auditor had made three recommendations all of which were accepted by Council and he had signed off the page 3 of the AGAR as required by the External Auditor.
Cllr Ward considered the outcome was exceptionally good with the net position being just 2% different from budget after a tumultuous year. The review of the new internal auditor with no serious comments was also good and the overall accounts were a feather in the cap of officers that fo out and get things moving.
The Town Clerk introduced the Annual Governance and Accountability Return.
Section 1 (at Appendix H) required Council to confirm the accounts had been prepared in accordance with the law and proper practices and that Council had fulfilled its duties in respect of the South Street Trust. All boxes had been confirmed with yes, and Council confirmed its agreement.
Council approved the variances between the 2021and 2022 year-end as required and agreed the AGAR for submission to the External Auditor.
It was RESOLVED nem con that the:
1) 2021/22 Outturn be welcomed;
2) Annual Governance Statement (Section 1 of the Annual Governance and Accountability Return) be approved;
3) Internal Auditor’s report and recommendations be agreed;
4) Updated Asset Register be approved;
5) Report and Financial Statements for 2021/22 be adopted for signature;
6) Variances list for the Annual Return be agreed;
7) Annual Governance and Accountability Return and associated papers be approved for signature and submission to the External Auditor.
The Town Clerk asked that thanks be recorded ... view the full minutes text for item C132/20
To receive the minutes of the Planning & Licensing Consultative Group meetings held on 21st March and 4th and 25th April at Appendices K, L and M.
Cllr Fraser introduced the reports of the Planning & Licensing Consultative Group meetings held on 21st March and 4th and 25th April.
During this time there had been 147 applications considered 85 of which were routine and five of which were licensing applications and five of which were appeals. 39 applications were significant meriting detailed discussion. The most damaging recent applications were for estates not covered in the Neighbourhood Plan for Hawthorns and Oast House Lane.
The history and constraints documents were now coming through but the planning system was ponderous and hybrid meetings were frustratingly slow. Thanks were again due to the planning officer Jenny de Quervain for preparations for each meeting.
Cllr Cockburn was concerned that Waverley Officers seemed to be recommending granting every speculative application and there was a huge battle ahead. The Gladman Judgement meant that the presumption in favour of development could be challenged as Farnham has a complete Development Plan.
To elect Working Groups, Task Groups and Panels in accordance with Standing Orders 15 at Appendix N
A report on the election of Working Groups, Task Groups and Panels for 2022/23 at Appendix N was introduced by the Town Clerk. Council noted that Councillors had identified preferences for the Working Group for 2022/23 in accordance with Standing Order 15. The appointments were made as per Annex 1 to these minutes.
The Mayor proposed and it was agreed nem con, that Council be adjourned in order that each Working Group appoint its Lead Member to confirm the composition of Strategy & Finance Working Group.
Meeting of each Working Group were held in turn.
Community Enhancement Working Group
It was agreed that Cllr Dickson be appointed as Lead Member.
Tourism & Events Working Group
It was agreed that Cllr Evans be appointed as Lead Member.
Cemeteries & Appeals Working Group
It was agreed that Cllr Cockburn be appointed as Lead Member
Planning & Licensing Consultative Group
It was agreed Cllr Fraser would be the Lead Member.
With the resignation of the Leader, it was agreed that the Lead Member of Strategy & Finance would be deferred to the Annual Meeting of Council.
Panels and Task Groups would appoint their Lead Members at the first meeting.
To elect representatives to external bodies from member preferences attached at Appendix O
A report on the Appointment of Representatives to Outside Bodies at Appendix O was introduced by the Town Clerk.
Councillors had identified preferences for being the Council’s representative to External Bodies 2022/23. A suggestion was made for an additional outside body (Tice’s Meadow) where representation was thought to be beneficial and this was agreed ahead of a formal request.
Following a discussion appointments were made and agreed as shown in Annex 1 (attached to these minutes).
Actions taken under the Scheme of Delegation
To receive details of any actions taken under the scheme of delegation not already reported.
The Mayor proposed and it was agreed that Actions under the Scheme of Delegation be moved into Part 1 of the meeting.
The Town Clerk reported that an additional payment had been agreed with the contractors refurbishing the Public Conveniences to allow for a tile backing to be applied and for repointing the building. The additional cost on the contract was £6,383.30 making a total cost of £158,461.26.
The Town clerk confirmed, in response to a question from Cllr Hesse submitted in advance of the meeting, that normal decision making processes were being followed and that the emergency delegation arrangements agreed for the pandemic had been superseded (Decision 85/21 referred).
The Town Clerk advised that he and Iain McCready had met with the Chairman of South and South East in Bloom (SSEIB) about the possibility of Farnham hosting the 2022 SSEiB Awards. Members welcomed this concept and the potential resulting benefit to the local economy. Although no formal request had been made, noted that a contribution of up to £1,500 may be required
The Town Clerk advised that a donation had been received from the Demeric School of Dance to support Ukrainian refugees in Farnham. Cllr Cockburn proposed, seconded by the Mayor and RESOLVED nem con that a Ukrainian Support fund similar to that operated during Covid be managed by the Town Council.
Reports from Other Councils
To receive from Councillors any updates on matters affecting Farnham from Waverley Borough Council and Surrey County Council.
There were no reports from other councils.
Reports from Outside Bodies
To receive from Members any verbal reports on Outside Bodies where they represent Farnham Town Council.
Cllr Cockburn reported on the Loneliness Project and all the activities that were being co-ordinated and organised, linked in with the Farnham Neighbours Network, Farnham Assist and other organisations.
Date of Next Meeting
To note that the next meeting will be the Annual Meeting of Council and Mayor Making on Thursday May 12th 2022.
It was noted the date of the next meeting would be the Annual Meeting and Mayor Making, and would be held on Thursday 12th May 2021 at 7pm.