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Joint Committee
Date: Report of: Title 25 March 2008 Governance Lead Meeting Venues for Shadow Authority

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Purpose of Report To consider where the shadow authority should meet up to 31 March 2009. This is not a decision about a civic Headquarters for the new authority and is not a decision about where the Council meets after 1 April 2009. Decision Required On which venue the shadow authority is to meet at on 13 May 2008 and whether to make a recommendation to the shadow authority on where it should meet subsequent to that up to April 2009. To agree dates and time for the Shadow Council meetings, including the start time for the meeting scheduled for 13 May 2008. (Suggested dates are attached at appendix 1). To note the draft agenda items for consideration at the meeting to be held on 13 May (Appendix 2, attached) Effect on Transitional Costs The set up costs for each option are identified within the appraisal of the option and in the attached table. Background and Options The requirements for a venue for the shadow authority to meet are that it can provide suitable seating for 81 Members and up to 10 support officers; 1 2 3 4 5 seating Members of the public (including members of current authorities who are not on the shadow authority); break out rooms for at least 3 political groups and room to eat prior to meeting; microphone facilities sufficient for members and support officers to be able to participate effectively; car parking; disabled access.

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The possible options that have been assessed against the above criteria are:-

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Municipal Building, Crewe Assembly Room and Council Chamber, Town Hall, Macclesfield Sandbach Town Hall Congleton Town Hall

Members might wish to consider alternating venues. However, it should be noted that this would mean that new equipment would need to be purchased for more than one venue and would result in additional costs. 1. Municipal Building, Crewe Members Accommodation A trial layout to consider 81 councillors was conducted, as currently there are chairs, tables and a microphone system for 60 and it is feasible to accommodate further chairs and tables, as required. However, the purchase of furniture to accommodate the additional Councillors would be necessary at a total cost of £3000. Public Seating There is seating available for the public. Break out Rooms The Municipal Building does have 4 large rooms suitable for pre-meetings for 3 or more political groups. Microphones The present system, which uses table standing microphones could be extended if the necessary parts are still available. This would cost approximately £4,300 in total in order for each microphone to service 2 or 3 councillors. Car Parking Car parking in the area is ample and owned by Crewe & Nantwich Borough Council and the County Council. The parking is Pay and Display, but it is possible that Members could be issued with passes and areas reserved, if necessary. If however, the Council Meetings are held after 6pm then all spaces are free of charge at this time. Disabled Badge holders may park on any CNBC Car Park free of charge, as long as badges are displayed. Access by Rail involves a brisk 15 minute walk from the station or a 5 minute taxi ride. Disabled Access All of the above facilities are on the first floor of the building with good disabled access and a lift to the first floor. Ladies and Gents Toilets and a disabled toilet are also conveniently placed on the first floor for easy access. Refreshments Refreshment facilities are available

Admin/Photocopying facilities Admin/ Photocopying facilities are available Cost Additional tables and chairs - £3000 Microphones/Sound system - £4300 The building is in the ownership of Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council and therefore, a charge would not be made for room hire. It is understood that the enhancement costs of furniture and microphones would be met by the Borough Council. 2 Assembly Room or Council Chamber, Town Hall, Macclesfield Members Accommodation 81 Members and support officers could easily be accommodated in the Assembly Room. There are moveable tables in the Council Chamber and these could be relocated into the Assembly Rooms, if required. The Council Chamber is smaller than the Assembly Room and currently seats 60 Members, plus officers and the public. However, additional tables and chairs could be provided to accommodate 81 Members, without any additional cost. Fire/health and safety regulations permit 200 persons, standing, in the Council Chamber. However, further guidance is being sought from the Council’s insurers to ascertain whether the numbers could be safely accommodated in the room with the additional furniture required. Public Seating There is plenty of seating available for the public in the Assembly Room and an adequate amount in the Council Chamber. Break out Rooms Break-out rooms are available for 3 political groups or more, if required. Microphones Roving microphones are available in the Assembly room. However, it would be necessary to purchase a new wireless sound system if the room were to be used for this purpose. There are currently 60 fixed microphones in the Council Chamber, which could be reconfigured to allow sharing of microphones at, a cost of approximately £500. Car Parking There are 65 spaces available at the rear of the Town Hall. However, if the meetings were to take place in the evening, after 6pm, there are additional public car park spaces available at the rear of the Town Hall (up to 100). In addition, there are several pay and display car parks, which are in close vicinity of the Town Hall and in the ownership of Macclesfield Borough Council. Members could be issued with passes for these, if necessary. There is a 5 minute walk, up hill, from the railway station to the Town Hall.

Disabled Access There is disabled access available via a link from the new section of the Town Hall building. Members would be able to gain access to the building and lift by an access card system. Members of the public requiring use of the lift would need to be escorted by a member of staff, as the lift is positioned in a secure area. There is parking for the disabled at the rear of the Town Hall, close to the building and lift. It should be noted, however, that the lift is at the rear of the building, some distance away for the Assembly Room and Council Chamber. There is a second lift, situated at the front of the building, which could be used, but this is further away from the car park. Refreshments Refreshment facilities are available. Admin/Photocopying facilities Admin/ Photocopying facilities are available Cost The Town Hall is in the ownership of Macclesfield Borough Council and a charge would not be made for room hire. If the Assembly Room were to be used, PA equipment would be required - Approximate cost 40-60k. If the Council Chamber were to be used there would be a charge to reconfigure the microphones. (Approximately £500). However, the cost for this would be met by Macclesfield Borough Council. 3. Sandbach Town Hall Members Accommodation A trial of a suitable layout for the main room was carried out, which proved that it could hold seating for 105 Councillors/Officers. Public Seating There would be adequate public seating. Break out Rooms There are no separate rooms available for holding group meetings at the Town Hall. However, there are plenty of rooms available at Westfields, which is very close by. Microphones There is currently a microphone system, but it is likely that this would need to be replaced. It is possible that Congleton Borough Council would be able to fund this, outside the transition costs, subject to approval by its Executive. Car Parking Car parking, including disabled parking, is situated outside the Town Hall at Little Common (38 places) and Scotch Common (140 places). The distance from Sandbach Station (in Elworth) to Sandbach Town Hall is approximately 2 km.

Disabled Access Sandbach Town Hall is easily accessible to disabled people. The room is on the first floor, however, there is a lift. There is also a toilet for the disabled on the first floor. There is Parking for the disabled, situated immediately outside the building. There are no steps at the front door of the building. Refreshment facilities Refreshment facilities are available Admin/Photocopying facilities No Cost Microphones/sound system – 40-60k (Congleton Borough Council might be able to fund this, subject to approval). No hire charge would be made. 4 Congleton Town Hall Members Accommodation The room could adequately accommodate 81 Councillors and support officers. Public Seating There is a large public gallery. Break out Rooms There is a separate Conference Room which could be used for group meetings and one smaller room available. Microphones It would be necessary to install a new system. Car Parking There are 3 car parks in the vicinity Back Park Street (98 spaces) Chapel Street (52 spaces) Fairground (97 spaces). The distance from Congleton Station to Congleton Town Hall is approximately 1.3 km. Disabled Access The main room is on the ground floor with easy access. Refreshment Facilities Refreshment Facilities are available Admin/photocopying facilities Admin/ Photocopying facilities are available. Cost Congleton Town Hall will come under the ownership of Congleton Town Council

during April/May this year. The room hire for the main hall is £37.00 per hour at present and the Conference Room is £24.00 per hire. Microphones/sound system – 40-60k.

Alsager Civic Centre During the process of obtaining information in respect of a suitable venue, Alsager Civic Centre was suggested as a possible venue. However, it is well used by organisations who book well in advance. There is main hall and two further rooms, which could be used for group meetings. All rooms are on the ground floor. There is a large car park adjacent to the Civic Centre although, again, this is well used during the daytime. Evening is less of a problem. The room rates are: Main Hall Meeting Room Bar Area £29.50 per hour £20.50 per hour £10.50 per hour

It should also be noted that visits have been made to all the venues, apart from Alsager Civic Centre. New Microphone Systems Indicative cost estimates for a new wireless microphone system suggest a range of £40 – 60k for 81 Members, depending on venue. A proper procurement exercise would be required if this option is to be pursued. Travelling Distance and time Consideration also needs to be given to the travelling distance and time to each Venue and the resultant cost in Members Allowances. Some Members may have to travel long distances, depending on the choice of venue. Also, depending on the start time agreed, this may be late in the evening. Summary Cost Table Option Municipal Building, Crewe (Existing Budget) Assembly Room, Town Hall, Macclesfield ( New Mic System) Council Chamber, Town Hall, Macclesfield (Existing budget) Sandbach Town Hall ( New Mic System) Congleton Town Hall (Inc New Mic System) Alsager Civic Centre Assumptions: £ 7,300 60,000 500 60,000(Might be funded by CBC 60,000 + room hire charges-Approx1,000 Not known

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That all Council owned venues would not charge for room hire That the new microphone system would cost £60,000 That fire/health and safety regulations would permit the numbers required in the Council Chamber at Macclesfield That a new microphone system is not required for Alsager Civic Centre

Additional Work:  Produce an estimated cost for room hire at Congleton Town Hall and Alsager Civic Centre.  Obtain further information re numbers allowed under Health and safety regulations for Macclesfield Council Chamber.

For further information:Officers Tel No: Email: Julie North and Mike Flynn 01625 504221

Background Documents:Documents are available for inspection at: Macclesfield Borough Council Member Services Section Town Hall Macclesfield SK10 1DX

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