Agenda item


To receive an update from the Alice Park Sub Committee which met on 6 December 2016.


The Board received the following update from Councillor Michael Norton, the Chairman of the Alice Park Trust Sub-Committee regarding its work and decisions made at the last meeting.  The draft minutes of the Sub-Committee meeting were also circulated.


  The Board have now appointed 2 co-opted independent members - Sujata McNab and Paul Hooper – who both attended the meeting last Tuesday.


  The Sub-Committee received further information regarding the valuation of land and equipment and the sale of Cottage No. 2 at Alice Park.  Members have asked for further information regarding the charging regime for events within the park at the next meeting with a view to raising funds to increase the income of the Trust.


  The Sub-Committee agreed the content of the submission to the Charity Commission and agreed to adopt the relevant Council policies for the Alice Park Trust.  Members also asked for a copy of a summary of the Council’s financial controls to satisfy themselves that appropriate controls were in place.


  The main item for discussion on the agenda was the options for improvement at Alice Park which included proposals for a skate park.  A number of members of the public attended for this item and there were speakers both for and against the provision of a skate park.  This was a very emotive topic and there were strong views on both sides.  The Sub-Committee discussed the matter at length and considered the various options for the park bearing in mind that the Council has allocated £97k towards the provision of a skate park at this site.


There were some concerns about the consultation that has taken place and whether this had been wide enough.  There were also some questions around future maintenance costs which would have to be met by the Trust.  Some members were also concerned that if the skate park proposal did not go ahead that the allocated funding would be lost.  On balance the Sub-Committee decided that it did not have adequate information to make an informed decision at the meeting.


The Sub-Committee ultimately decided to proceed as follows:


To determine that a skate park development is in line with the Trust’s objectives and determine that, in principle, the skate park be progressed subject to:


(1)  Further information, analysis and reassurance on viability.


(2)  Establishing whether the Council will permit alternative use of the allocated funds.


(3)  Requesting interested members of the Sub-Committee to prepare a further consultation document, the form of which is to be approved at the next meeting of the Trust.


  The Sub-Committee also considered a SWOT analysis of the park and made recommendations for improvement works with a view to compiling a comprehensive management plan.  Future capital funding will be sought from the Council for 2018/19.


  Lastly the Sub-Committee noted the recommendations of the Tree Inspector to fell four trees in Alice Park for health and safety reasons.


  The next meeting will be held in March on a date to be agreed.


Councillor Moss asked a question regarding the sale of Cottage 2 in Alice Park.  He queried whether disposing of the cottage under the right to buy scheme had been lawful.  The Chairman advised Councillor Moss to raise this issue with the Monitoring Officer.


Councillor Moss also queried whether the Alice Park Trust should be seeking alternative sources of funding for equipment such as a skate park rather than from the Council.  Councillor Norton agreed to respond to Councillor Moss regarding this issue.


Councillor Patterson pointed out that a petition requesting the provision of a skate park in Alice Park had been presented at the meeting and that there were also a number of people who spoke in favour of a skate park.


Councillor Ward commented that this had been a highly charged meeting and had focussed mainly on the issue of the skate park to the exclusion of other matters.  He expressed concern about the behaviour of some people at the meeting and felt that respect should be shown to both councillors and officers at the sub-committee meetings.  He felt that there had been a lack of respect shown towards the chair and other trustees.  It was important to have the best interests of the park at the heart of any discussions.


Councillor Veal stated that he was both disturbed and disappointed by comments he had heard about some of the behaviour displayed at the Alice Park Trust Sub-Committee meeting.  He stated that any member representing the Council at a meeting should conduct themselves in a proper manner.  They should present a balanced view and ensure that they do not incite, excite or intimidate and should show respect to others.  He noted that complaints about the conduct at this meeting had been received from councillors and members of the public.  He felt that this presented the Council in a negative light. 


Councillor Veal requested that a report from the Monitoring Officer be submitted to the next meeting of this Board explaining how future meetings of the Alice Park Trust Sub-Committee should be taken forward.


Councillor Patterson contested the view expressed about the meeting.  She felt that people supported the provision of a skate park at Alice Park and were concerned that the Council was now trying to quash the proposal.  She agreed to contact the Monitoring Officer to express her views about the meeting.


RESOLVED:  To note the report from the Alice Park Trust Sub-Committee.