Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber - Guildhall, Bath. View directions

Contact: Michaela Gay  Email:, 01225 394411


No. Item



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The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting.




The Chair will draw attention to the emergency evacuation procedure as set out under Note 6.


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The Chair drew attention to the emergency evacuation procedure.




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Councillor Warrington gave her apologies and was substituted by Councillor Pritchard.


Councillor Singleton gave his apologies and was substituted by Councillor Dr Kumar.



At this point in the meeting declarations of interest are received from Members in any of the agenda items under consideration at the meeting. Members are asked to indicate:

(a) The agenda item number in which they have an interest to declare.

(b) The nature of their interest.

(c) Whether their interest is a disclosable pecuniary interest or an other interest,  (as defined in Part 2, A and B of the Code of Conduct and Rules for Registration of Interests)

Any Member who needs to clarify any matters relating to the declaration of interests is recommended to seek advice from the Council’s Monitoring Officeror a member of his staff before the meeting to expedite dealing with the item during the meeting.

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Councillor Hodge declared a non-pecuniary interest in item 7.


Councillor Elliott declared a non-pecuniary interest in item 7.



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There was none.



At the time of publication no notifications had been received.


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The following members of the public made statements to the Panel:


1 Andrew Ellison - Director Next Stage Theatre Company. A copy of this statement is held on the Council minute book.


Councillor Furse asked what would be the desired length of the lease. Mr Ellison stated that it would need to be at least 60 years to generate the hypothetical value for the balance sheet.


Councillor Elliott referred to the 99-year lease and asked about succession planning. Mr Ellison explained that there is a steering group and succession planning is part of their work. The shares would pass to our daughter, but the functions would be taken on by others.


In response to a question from Councillor Hodge, Mr Ellison confirmed that the Company is registered at Companies House under ‘Charitable Purposes’.


In response to a question from Councillor Hughes, Mr Ellison explained that if at any time, anyone wanted to change the aims of the company, they would have to change the Corporate Objectives. Michael Hewitt, Council Monitoring Officer, explained that this would entail the dissolution of one company and transferal to another.


2 Alison Paine - steering group member. A copy of this statement is held on the Council minute book.


In response to a question from Councillor Dr Kumar, Ms Paine confirmed that £30,000 had been raised for repairs to the roof and that this was all from small donations. She further explained that Capital funding required security of tenure which the CAT (Community Asset Transfer) would provide.


3 Barbara Ingeldew - Next Stage member and Drama Chair of the Mid-Somerset Festival. A copy of this statement is held on the Council minute book.


4. Jackie Herring - Artistic Director of the Jane Austen Festival. A copy of this statement is held on the Council minute book.


Councillor Dr Kumar mentioned that there were other theatres in Bath such as the Edge Theatre at the University. Ms Herring explained that the Mission Theatre is in the centre of the city and that many people arrive in regency costume and are photographed in the city centre. She further explained that the Mission building was versatile in the seats can be moved and it can be used for mid-week events.


5. Lily Styles - ex-Next Stage Youth Group. A copy of this statement is held on the Council minute book.


Councillor Furse asked about the background of the young people that attend in terms of inclusiveness and diversity. Ms Styles explained that in her experience, the group was wonderfully diverse and that members come from further afield than Bath such as Wiltshire and Bristol.


6. Ann Ellison - Artistic Director Next Stage and The Mission Theatre. A copy of this statement is held on the Council minute book.


Councillor Furse asked how the community outreach programme engages with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Ms Ellison explained that her background is in teaching largely in schools in Bristol that have pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds, and this led her  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

Public statements pdf icon PDF 211 KB

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Call-in of decision E3275: - Mission Theatre Community Asset Transfer pdf icon PDF 111 KB

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Councillor Blackburn – Lead Call in Member


Councillor Blackburn stated that, while he and his family supported the arts, theatre and drama, members are elected to serve all of their residents. He asked that the Panel scrutinize and consider if this decision is best for all our residents and asked that it be judged objectively rather than emotionally. He stated that scrutiny is about assessing risks and benefits. He stated that the building is an asset to the Council and outlined what he felt the risks are:


1.  Next Stage Theatre (NST) is a private company and directors aims and objectives can change and the company can be taken in another direction.

2.  There is a 5 year plan to gain a 99 year lease. This does not contain a succession plan. NST have been in the building for 16 years and have continued to secure funding despite a diminishing lease.

3.  The length of the proposal (99 years) will affect three generations. A picture of Western Riverside taken in 1986 shows the many changes in the area in the last 35 years and shows how things can change. The Council may want to utilize this building/asset in the future and suggested a 20 year lease. He confirmed that he supported Next Stage Theatre.


Panel members asked the following questions and raised the following points:


In response to a question from Councillor Elliott, Councillor Blackburn stated that he was aware of the difference between a company with shares and a company with directors, but stated that things could change.


In response to a question from Councillor Dr Kumar, Councillor Blackburn explained that a 20-year lease is a suggestion and that the Cabinet Member could come up with a similar alternative.


In response to the question from Councillor Hughes, Councillor Blackburn explained that the Council have a legal duty to secure benefits against the asset. A 5-year business plan does not stack up to legal scrutiny.


Councillor Hughes asked how the Council monitors social and economic benefits after 5 years. Councillor Blackburn stated that these issues are not considered after the event. He added that there should be a mechanism to monitor assets and lowering the lease time brings people back around the table.


Councillor MacFie stated that it would be unlikely that the building could be used for office space as it is one large room and the building is listed. Councillor Blackburn responded that office needs and designs do change over time.


Councillor Samuel – Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Resources


Councillor Samuel confirmed that members present had received the officer response to the call-in document (a copy of this document is attached to these minutes). He highlighted some of the points made in this document and reminded Panel members that they are only required to consider the points that are raised in the call-in notice and must disregard matters that fall outside that.


·  The Leader and Cabinet model enables decisions to be made in a timely manner,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.