MINUTES OF THE ANNUAL BUDGET MEETING OF LEOMINSTER TOWN COUNCIL
HELD ON 23 NOVEMBER 2009 IN THE COUNCIL CHAMBER, LEOMINSTER.
PRESENT - Chairman: The Mayor, Cllr R J Westwood.
Councillor A P Begg Councillor R C Hunt
Councillor M E Cooke Councillor P Jones
Councillor P H Davies Councillor B A Meadows
Councillor B Ferrari Councillor P N Reed
Councillor C Fothergill Councillor J P Thomas
Councillor P J Goody
09.11B.01 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies were received from Cllrs J R Atkinson, E Clark, P McCaull and P E Simpson.
09.11.01a REQUEST FROM THE LEOMINSTER AREA REGENERATION COMPANY LTD
(LARC) FOR FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR THE GRANGE COURT PROJECT
Council had invited Mr Bill Jackson, Chairman of LARC, to attend the meeting to provide further
details of LARC’s request that Council consider budgeting a regular financial commitment to
LARC to help support the loan to Community Builders. Mr Jackson was accompanied by LARC
Board Member, Wendy Coombey.
Mr Jackson first gave details of the funding received for the Grange Court project. This included
£1million from the Big Lottery provided that funding for the balance of £1.15 was raised. LARC
now found itself in the position of having to secure this additional funding. LARC had
approached Community Builders with a request for £1million funding, which would be in the form
of a grant and a loan. After giving details of the annual cost of repaying the loan, Mr Jackson
reported that Herefordshire Council had already made a commitment for a regular financial
contribution to help towards this. He indicated that LARC would be making a request to
Herefordshire Council to increase this contribution which, if successful, would leave an annual
shortfall of £7,000. Mr Jackson said that LARC was now asking Town Council to consider
making a regular contribution to support the loan to Community Builders.
Mrs Coombey provided Members with information on the Community Builders Fund and its
criteria for grant funding. She said that LARC considered Town Council to be a major partner in
the Grange Court project, pointing out that it had always been LARC’s intention that Council
would retain the Mayor’s Parlour. Mrs Coombey then invited questions from Members.
Regarding the ratio of the grant to the loan from Community Builders, she agreed that this was
more favourable than expected. She indicated that, if a grant was forthcoming from Town
Council, it would commence in the financial year 2011-12. She confirmed `that Council would
not be charged for use of the Civic Suite. After giving details of the various loan repayment
terms, Mrs Coombey said that LARC was trying to fit the loan repayments to the amount coming
in, indicating that repayment over a period of 15 years would be manageable. Mr Jackson gave
some details of how LARC could raise further funding. He indicated that there was also a
considerable demand on the accommodation in Grange Court.
Finally, Mr Jackson and Mrs Coombey requested that Council arrange, as soon as possible, for
the removal and storage of items belonging to Town Council.
The Mayor thanked Mr Jackson and Mrs Coombey for their attendance, after which they left the
The Mayor then referred Members to the request from LARC for a regular financial contribution
to support the loan from Community Builders. It was pointed out that the success of the bid for a
grant/loan from Community Builders was dependent, in principle, on LARC receiving this funding
support. Members were aware that LARC needed an early decision regarding its request to
enable the project to move forward. Members then gave consideration to LARC’s request.
Cllr Reed proposed that Council commits to making a contribution of £7,000 per annum to
LARC, in principle for 5 years from the 2011/12 financial year, to support the loan from
Community Builders. This was seconded by Cllr Hunt and carried. Cllrs Begg and Davies
abstained from the vote.
09.11B.02 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
Cllrs Meadows and Reed declared personal interests in Leominster Museum, as Council’s
Cllr Jones declared a prejudicial interest in the Priory Churchyard.
Cllrs Reed, Thomas and Westwood declared prejudicial interests in Leominster Festival
Cllrs Cooke, Hunt and Thomas declared prejudicial interests as Board Members of LARC.
Cllrs Meadows and Thomas declared personal interests in the Leominster District Community
Association, as Council’s representatives.
Cllr Thomas declared a prejudicial interest with regard to the Citizens Advice Bureau.
09.11B.03 FINANCIAL STATEMENT 2009-10 TO DATE
Cllr Westwood, Chairman of the Finance Committee, referred Members to the Financial
Statement up to 31 October 2009:
Expenditure to date against budget and committed expenditure including the Finance
Committee’s recommendations regarding virements. Members examined the expenditure to
date and the available funds for each budget heading.
Cllr Thomas proposed that Council vires in £1,750 from Contingency to Office Equipment
to cover the cost of the major item of new software. This was seconded by Cllr Jones and
The Mayor reported that the Finance Committee had recommended that Council consider
awarding a further grant of the £500 surplus from the CAB budget for 2009-10 to CAB to assist
with the extra work due to the recession.
Cllr Goody proposed that Council accept the recommendation of the Finance Committee
that the £500 surplus from the CAB budget for 2009-10 be given to CAB. This was
seconded by Cllr Reed and carried, with two abstensions.
Cllr Thomas declared a prejudicial interest and took no part in the discussion and vote.
Cllr Thomas requested clarification of the £3,000 committed expenditure for general town
enhancements. The Town Clerk explained that this covered the contract for the traffic islands,
enhancement work by Amey Herefordshire, mowing of the Millennium Green and maintenance of
the Booth Memorial Garden. She said that, as no work was coming in for the Lengthsman
scheme, Council could not make a financial claim for funds from Herefordshire Council under this
The Town Clerk pointed out that the Youth Support budget head had been changed to
Participatory Budgeting. Members agreed with Cllr Thomas that the Youth Support budget head
should remain until 31 March 2010, after which Council could change the title.
Bank and capital account balances to date
It was noted that the total funds held at 31 October 2009 was £92,133.05 and that the total
earmarked reserves, included in the total funds, was £13,283.00. Cllr Westwood then referred
Members to the Earmarked Reserves. He reported that the Finance Committee had suggested
that the sum of £1,283 earmarked for the Millennium Clock Fund be put into the General
Reserve Fund. This was followed by a discussion on the appropriateness of taking this action.
The Mayor then proposed that the Millennium Clock Fund be merged into the General
Reserve Fund. This was carried with one abstention.
The Town Clerk explained that Council needed to keep the earmarked reserve for the Riverside
Walk Leaflet as the Nature Trust would be producing this leaflet for Town Council. She reported
that the earmarked reserve for Speed Indicator Devices (SIDs) had now been spent.
Income for year to date and projected
Cllr Westwood pointed out that the expected income from Bank Interest might be optimistic. It
was noted that income from the Lengthsman Scheme was dependent on work being carried out
under this scheme. Members were pleased to see that donations of £575 have been received
for this year’s Festive Lights. Cllr Westwood pointed out that the Town Clerk was investigating
an alternative scheme for future festive lighting, involving the leasing of festive lights.
09.11B.04 PROJECTED BUDGET FOR THE FINANCIAL YEAR 2010-11
Budget Projection Proforma for 2010-11
This included the 2009-10 budget figures and the Finance Committee’s recommendations, which
Council noted and considered.
£6,800 Proposed Cllr Jones, Seconded Cllr Thomas.
£6,500 Proposed Cllr Davies, Seconded Cllr Reed.
08.11B.04.3 Audit fees
£1,600 Proposed Cllr Cooke, Seconded Cllr Thomas.
£12,000 Proposed The Mayor.
£4,500 Proposed Cllr Goody, Seconded Cllr Jones.
09.11B.04.6 Council Office Building
£8,100 Proposed Cllr Goody, Seconded Cllr Meadows.
09.11B.04.7 Election Expenses
£1,000 Proposed Cllr Hunt, Seconded Cllr Goody.
£6,100 Proposed Cllr Goody, Seconded Thomas.
(£5,500 – Mayoral)
(£500 – Other)
(£100 – Hospitality)
09.11B.04.9 Festive Lights
£20,000 Proposed Cllr Jones, Seconded Goody.
£28,500 Proposed Cllr Jones, Seconded Cllr Goody.
(£6,000 – Citizens Advice Bureau)
(£12,500 – Leominster District Community Association)
(£10,000 – General)
£3,000 Proposed The Mayor.
09.11B.04.12 Library Newspapers
£600 Proposed Cllr Cooke, Seconded Cllr Davies.
09.11B.04.13 Market Towns Forum
£100 Proposed Cllr Goody, Seconded Cllr Reed.
09.11B.04.14 Priory Churchyard
£7,500 Proposed Cllr Reed, Seconded Cllr Begg.
09.11B.04.15 Regalia and Civic Officers
£1,600 Proposed The Mayor.
09.11B.04.16 Repayment of Loan
£8,500 Proposed Cllr Jones, Seconded Cllr Reed.
£9,000 Proposed Cllr Reed, Seconded Cllr Davies.
09.11B.04.18 Staff Costs
Cllr Jones proposed that this item be discussed in Confidential Session at the end of this
agenda item. This was seconded by Cllr Goody and carried.
Following confidential discussion, Council accepted the Personnel Panel’s recommendation that
Leominster, currently classified as an LC2 small town, sits more appropriately in the lower third
of LC3. It also accepted the Panel’s recommendation that the Town Clerk and Deputy Town
Clerk be paid on the scale appropriate to this classification, at spinal column points 41 and 39
£60,082.61 Proposed Cllr Jones, Seconded Cllr Goody.
09.11B.04.19 Town Enhancement
£13,200 Proposed The Mayor.
09.11B.04.20 Town Council Newsletter
£2,000 Proposed Cllr Davies, Seconded Cllr Begg.
09.11B.04.21 Web Site
£400 Proposed The Mayor.
09.11B.04.22 Participatory Budgeting (formerly Youth Support)
£5,000 Proposed Cllr Goody, Seconded Cllr Thomas.
Draft Precept Calculation
The Town Clerk calculated that the total expenditure thus allocated for the Financial Year
2010-11 was £206,082.61. The 2010-11 anticipated income would be set against the budget
figure to provide the precept requirement. This final calculation would be presented at the
December meeting of Full Council, when the 2010-2011 budget and precept would be finalised.