1) To receive the notes and any recommendations of the following Working Groups: Strategy and Finance held on 7th March 2023 and its adjourned meeting held on 14th March at Appendix B
2) To receive a verbal update on any relevant matters from the Cemetery and Appeals, Community Enhancement and Tourism & Events Working Groups.
1) Strategy & Finance Working Group
i) Cllr Evans introduced the notes of the Strategy & Finance Working group meeting held on 7th March at Appendix B to the agenda. Council noted the expected outturn for the end of the financial year, the latest position on sponsorship and received an update on the Council’s Complaint to the Financial Ombudsman re HSBC. Cllr Evans advised that the Working group had considered the detail of the latest Actuarial Valuation for the Pension Scheme which would see the Employer’s rate increase from 14.2% to 16.9%. Initially Surrey CC had placed the Town Council into a pooled pot which was at a higher rate, but Council agreed to a recommendation to maintain the current position outside the pool noting it was 132% funded against the pooled funded rate of 116%.
It was RESOLVED nem con that FTC remains outside the Town and Parish Council Pension Pool for the next three years.
ii) Council noted that the Hoppa had requested the release of a pledge held for a new Electric Vehicle and it was RESOLVED nem con that that FTC release the £20,000 held in earmarked reserves for HOPPA to purchase a new electric vehicle.
iii) Council received proposals for policy updates considered by the Strategy & Finance Working Group and agreed with the suggested amendments.
It was RESOLVED nem con that the following updated policies be adopted:
1. Standing Orders
2. Financial Regulations
3. Scheme of Delegation
4. Member Officer Protocol.
iv) Council noted the updates on the work of the Task Groups that report to Strategy & Finance including the Riverside Sculpture Task Group, the Coronation Task Group, the Younger People Task Group, the Community Infrasructure Task Group and the Conservation areas Task Group. After discussion, the following recommendations were agreed.
It was RESOLVED nem con that
a) progress work to restore the Farnham Flame and seek confirmation of costings;
b) investigate defining character areas within the Conservation Area in conjunction with the Local Planning Authority (LPA).
a) supports the work that the Conservation Area Task Group has been pursuing to prepare a submission to the LPA on the Article 4 Direction and the Regulation 7 Direction;
b) endorses bringing together the relevant estate/property agents so that views can be exchanged regarding how all parties can work collaboratively to remove banners and boards and avoid the detrimental effects on the visual amenity of the Conservation Area; and
c) supports the initial work being carried out for a new St James Conservation Area
v) Cllr Cockburn provided an update on the Review of Local Plan Part 1 and its impact on the sites currently coming up for appeal. The lack of a five year land supply meant that Farnham needed the expected change in Paragraph 14 of the national Planning Policy Framework to be implemented quickly. She also advised that the review of the AONB and its proposed extension was good news for Farnham as two sites designated in the Neighbourhood Plan were going forward for inclusion.
vi) Cllr Beaman provided an update on the Farnham Infrastructure Programme and an update on the Crest Nicholson proposals for a replacement bridge on the Brightwells Scheme which were not satisfactory and a more appropriate and elegant solution was being sought which would not dominate Borelli Walk with the scale of the proposed ramp and its supporting Gabions.
Cllr Beaman reported on the positive meeting with Cllr Oliver and that there was a strong assurance that what happened in Farnham had to have the backing of the Town Council.
vii) Council received an update on contracts and assets including the new Chapels’ Garden in Hale Cemetery, the tender for the repair of the lift and other works in progress, the replacement photocopiers; and the need for new battery packs for grounds maintenance.
It was RESOLVED nem con that
1) the contract to repair the lift be awarded to Liftsy, subject to satisfactory reference checks and an agreed payment profile at a cost of £26,920 with the costs met from the Town Hall earmarked reserve; and
2) FTC purchase 2 backpack batteries plus chargers with a cost of no more than £2,350.
viii) Council noted the key date for the retirement of councillors was 9th May and dates for induction of the new Council, the Annual Town Meeting on 18th May and the first meeting and appointment of Working Groups on 25th May. It was recommended that the meeting scheduled for 26th June, which was very close to the May Council, should be kept as a reserve date.
It was RESOLVED nem con that the Council Meeting scheduled for 22nd June would be changed to a ‘reserve meeting’ and only take place if required.
ix) Council noted the retirement of Achim Hütten, Oberbürgermeister of Farnham’s twin town Andernach after three decades of service and recorded its appreciation for his leadership in supporting the friendship between the two communities.
2) Tourism & Events Working Group
Cllr Mirylees advised Council that the second Literary Festival had been a great success with a lot of diverse things incorporated including films, monologues and operaexcerpts as well as great author events. She passed on her enormous thanks and gratitude to the volunteers and staff including Sue Keogh and Oliver Cluskey for their contribution.