LATEST NEWS ON
PROPOSED PURCHASE OF EVERDON OUTDOOR LEARNING CENTRE
This page has been set up by everdon.com to keep parishioners informed of what is happening regarding the proposed purchase of Everdon Outdoor Learning Centre by Everdon Parish Council.
You will find the latest news at the top of this page and scroll down for previous news below this .
(If anyone wishes to add to this page please email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Everdon Parish Council now has a page showing official communication with residents, this includes the presentation given at the Outdoor Learning Centre on 5th February - there is a new tab on the menu labelled "OLC Acquisition" at www.everdonpc.co.uk.
Reply to my last email (2.3.19) - ( this consultation process seems a bit one-sided - lets hope for better things at the Annual Parish Meeting on 8th April!)
Dear Mrs Megeary
Thank you for your e-mail of 25th March, the contents of which are noted. However, in the interests of fairness and openness, the Parish Council will not be entering into separate correspondence with individual members of the public. As previously stated, it will continue to update all Parishioners on a regular basis via hand delivered OLC Newsletters, which will also be also be published on the Parish Council website www.everdonpc.co.uk on the newly created tab on the menu, named OLC Acquisition'.
If members of the public wish to submit pertinent questions, these will be welcomed and should be routed via me, with responses being made via the written regular updates or at OLC related meetings.
With regard to item (8) in your e-mail below, I wish to advise that the approved minutes, available on the council's website, constitute the full record of meetings. Minutes do not record discussions and, where resolutions were passed, they were recorded in the minutes without undermining or disclosing confidential information.
Regards Erica Fothergill Clerk/RFO Everdon Parish Council
Second email sent to Everdon Parish Council with queries on the first newsletter sent out by the Parish Council (25.2.19) -
Dear Cllr Nichols
Thank you for the reply to my email which unfortunately did not answer any of my questions and I'm now even more confused. All I have is more questions to ask as follows:
1 Why did the Parish Council make a resolution at the Parish Council Meeting on the 11.2.19 to make the application for borrowing approval for a loan when it knew that it could not comply with the rules of the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to make such an application?
2 Has the Parish Council now submitted this application?
3 Why did the Parish Council understate the importance of making this application to borrow when it is the first and main stage of the actual loan application? Once the permission to borrow has been obtained the second stage application is just to draw down the funds.
4 If the application has been submitted, ( which seems very likely as the Parish Council made the resolution), what evidence did the Parish Council give in this application to show: (a) consultation with and majority support from the villagers and (b) the financial viability of the proposed lessees of the building when the Charitable Educational Trust Company is only just being set up?
5 How can the Parish Council apply for a loan on the basis that it will have no impact on the precept for the next 25 years when no acceptable guarantee of this has been given to villagers?
6 How could a charity have known we needed a grant for the Chartered Surveyor valuation fee when the confidential agreement was still in force and why would a charity want to remain anonymous? The valuation fee was paid out of Parish Council funds in July 2018 and the grant was received in January, 2019 and there is no record of the payment or receipt in the Parish Council minutes.
7 Why can you not name the solicitors who gave the legal advice on the proposed structure for an acquisition of this nature and will a copy of this legal advice be made available to villagers?
8 As asked in my previous email will the Parish Council make full information on the proposal so far, e.g. detailed feasibility report, full financial appraisal covering funding sources, cashflow forecast, revenue and future budget implication, funding of financial viability of the Trust taking on the lease and, now that confidentiality is no longer an issue, will the minutes of the closed meetings from the beginning of the process be made available to villagers.
It is not a case of anyone being for or against the Everdon Outdoor Learning Centre. It is the duty of the Parish Council to ensure that all residents are involved in the consultation process and are given full and transparent information and it is the duty of every ratepayer to hold the parish council to account if it does not do so. I am not in any way doubting the skills of your very experienced clerk but at the end of the day, she gives the Parish Council advice but it is the Parish Councillors who make their own decisions.
How can the Parish Council expect villagers to support the project when so little information is being made available to them to help them decide if the proposal is viable or one they think the Parish Council should be undertaking. The Parish Council has had over a year to consider this proposal whereas villagers have had 20 days at most to consider a very serious commitment for a village of approximately 150 householders to take on a loan of £300,000 over 25 years. Any borrowing of money carries a risk and parishioners need to vote on whether they want to take on this risk (a risk that will be there until the property is sold) before any expenditure on this project.
The whole parish needs to know your responses to my queries and I am quite happy for your response to be published on the Everdon Parish Council Website to avoid any accusations from others of favouritism towards myself.
Regards Jackie Megeary The Bakehouse, Everdon, Northants, NN11 3BL
Email received from the Chairman of Everdon Parish Council in reply to email sent to him on 20.2.19 (21.2.19)
Good afternoon Mrs Megeary
Thank you for your e-mail together with the guidance notes which had already been supplied to us, by our colleagues at Northamptonshire County Association of Local Councils, who are key advisors to the Parish Council.
I know that you were able to attend both the open evening at the Outdoor Learning Centre on 5 th February and the Parish Council meeting on 11 th February, so will be well aware of the Parish Council's clearly stated position in respect of the opportunities for the Outdoor Learning Centre. However, for the avoidance of any doubt, I would again like to reassure you that the Parish Council will not undertake any actions in relation to the Outdoor Learning Centre, without having the appropriate mandate.
This fact has been confirmed in the recent OLC Newsletter update, which also made it quite clear that The Parish Council would update ALL Parishioners on a regular basis via these updates and a series of meetings. Therefore, it would be unfair and possibly disingenuous of the Council if it was seen to be favouring individual Parishioners ahead of others, particularly with enquiries of a general nature, where the Council's proposals have already been made clear.
Everdon Parish Council is extremely fortunate to have a highly qualified Clerk who will ensure that it is fully compliant in respect of its responsibilities, both internally and with the public.
However, I did notice two specific points raised in your e-mail, to which I have responded below, in red .
Please look out for further updates.
Regards Kevin Nichols Chairman Everdon Parish Council
Email sent to Everdon Parish Council with queries on the first newsletter sent out by the Parish Council: (20.2.19)
(Parish Council replies in red))
Dear Cllr Nichols
Thank you for the first Everdon Outdoor Learning Centre newsletter.
There seems to be some confusion regarding the application for borrowing approval by the parish council and I am sending a copy of this email to all parish councillors and the clerk for clarification to them all, together with a copy of Parish Council Guidance issued by the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government. This guidance , together with the Good Councillor's Guide to Finance and Transparency, clearly sets out that all details of the project should be made available to residents and taxpayers and majority approval for the scheme obtained PRIOR to an application for BORROWING APPROVAL being made this is a precondition of obtaining the borrowing approval and this is not made clear in your newsletter.
There has not been any meaningful consultation with the village on this project and it would seem that the resolution made by the Parish Council on 11.2.19 to obtain the borrowing approval was premature and should therefore be reversed If the application has already been submitted then it would seem appropriate that this should be withdrawn until there has been a full, fair and transparent consultation with parishioners and a majority vote for the scheme has been obtained.
My other comments and queries on your newsletter are:
1. You state that it is not proposed to raise the funds directly from the precept but without full information there is no way of knowing if this can be achieved and no acceptable guarantee of this has yet been presented to the village.
2. You state that a grant covered the Chartered Surveyor fee to value the premises where did this grant come from? A charity which wishes to remain anonymous
3. You state that legal advice was given on the proposed structure for an acquisition of this nature free of charge who gave this legal advice? An independent firm of solicitors recommended by Northamptonshire County Association of Local Councils
4. Now that confidentiality is no longer an issue will you make all the minutes of the closed meetings from the beginning of the process available to parishioners to provide full transparency ?
It would seem to be advantageous to everyone to have the full information you have on the scheme so far ; e.g. detailed feasibility report, full financial appraisal covering funding sources, cashflow forecast, revenue and future budget implications and also including the funding of and financial viability of the Trust taking on the lease (this Trust will surely have a tangible financial base from which the charity will be able to call which should be made known). It would seem preferable to make all this information available as soon as possible so everyone has an idea of the implications before the Annual Parish Meeting and are able to take part in the discussion will the Parish Council make this available?
Regards Jackie Megeary, The Bakehouse, Everdon, Northants, NN11 3BL
The whole village was invited to attend an open evening at the Everdon Outdoor Learning Centre on Tuesday, 5th February, 2019 if they were: -
- interested in the the future of the Outdoor Learning Centre
- would like to contribute to the discussion
- would like to learn about the ongoing possibilities and what opportunities and developments are planned and
- would like to have a say
Those who attended were given a presentation, given the opportunity to ask questions and asked to fill in a questionnaire, one of the questions being "Do you support the idea that the property should be purchased by the Parish Council, in order to protect its future". A parisioner asked if a full vote of all parishioners would take place before any agreement on moving forward but it was indicated that the vote on the questionnaire would be used to guage the support of the village and move forward. It was very vague as to whether there would be any further vote.
A concerned parishioner wrote to the Chairman of Everdon Parish Council outlining his concerns and was unhappy with the reply so he sent out a letter to all houses in the Parish on 9th February .
As a result there were about 29 residents who attended the Parish Council meeting as observers on 11th February and 3 of them spoke in the public open forum.
At the start of the meeting the Parish Council Chairman set out what was proposed and clarified some of the points he had made at the presentation at the Outdoor Learning Centre. He stressed that the reason for the confidential discussions taking place away from the public view was that the County Council were insistent on the signing of a non disclosure authority and confidentiality agreement in return for exclusivity of talks.
The Parish Council made 4 resolutions at their meeting and it seems that further consultations with the village will take place before a decision is made. Please click below to see these resolutions.