Agenda and minutes

Special meeting Of Environment and Prosperity, Environment and Prosperity Scrutiny Committee
Monday, 25th July, 2011 9.30 am

Venue: Committee Suite 1 & 2, Westfields, Middlewich Road, Sandbach CW11 1HZ. View directions

Contact: Mark Nedderman  Senior Scrutiny Officer

Items
No. Item

122.

Declarations of Interest/Whipping Declarations

To provide an opportunity for Members and Officers to declare any personal and/or prejudicial interests in any item on the agenda

Minutes:

Councillor Roy Cartlidge declared a personal interest in the Heritage Centre as a visitor to the museum.

 

Councillor Dorothy Flude also declared a personal interest in the Heritage Centre as a visitor to the museum.

123.

Officers Present

Minutes:

Caroline Simpson- Head of Regeneration

Peter Hall – Assets Manager

Tessa Leonard - Solicitor

Mark Nedderman – Senior Scrutiny Officer

James Morley – Scrutiny Officer

124.

Also Present

Minutes:

Councillor J Macrae – Cabinet Member for Prosperity

Councillor D Flude

Councillor D Brickhill

125.

Crewe Heritage Centre - Correspondence

Minutes:

The Chairman wished to place on record that all Members of the committee had received correspondence directly from the Crewe Heritage Centre Board of Trustees and the Exeter West Group.

126.

Public Speaking Time/ Open Session

A total period of 15 minutes is allocated for members of the public to make a statement(s) on any matter that falls within the remit of the Committee.

 

Individual members of the public may speak for up to 5 minutes, but the Chairman will decide how the period of time allocated for public speaking will be apportioned, where there are a number of speakers

Minutes:

Mr Peter Barnard a member of the Crewe Heritage Centre Board of Trustees attended the meeting and addressed the Committee in respect of called –in decision concerning the Crewe Heritage Centre.

 

He stated that all parties involved in the site, wanted to see capital investment in the Heritage Centre for the benefit of Crewe’s regeneration and heritage.

 

He contended that the Council’s view that the offer to sell a 125 year lease on the site which would include the preservation of the existing rights of the current leaseholders for the next 30 years would encourage investment, was misguided.

 

He referred to the historic arrangements for the site put in place by the former Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council in 1994 and to subsequent arrangements to permit part of the site to be used by the LNWR Society.

 

He described the Trust’s efforts to secure funding for the future through an application to the heritage Lottery Fund and to resolve current issues on the site including the appointment of a manager in 2007. He asked that the committee recommend deferring the decision for two years and to give support in the application for Lottery Grants.

 

127.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 74 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday, 5th July, 2011 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

128.

Call-in of the Decision of the Cabinet Member for Prosperity dated 27 June 2011 relating to the Crewe Heritage Centre pdf icon PDF 73 KB

To consider the call-in of the above decision.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman outlined the procedure for the Call-in of the decision of the Cabinet Member for Prosperity made on the 27th June 2011 to declare the site of the Crewe Heritage Centre surplus to the requirements of Cheshire East Council.

 

The Chairman clarified to those present, that the decision was not related to the future of the Centre but to the ownership of the land.

 

On behalf of the eight Members who had signed the Call-in, Councillor D Flude addressed the Committee and outlined the reason for the Call-in which stated:

 

‘That Members have not been provided with adequate information about the site occupied by the Crewe Heritage Centre i.e. site plan and estimated value of site, that the proposed lease of 125 years is not best in the interest of the Borough of Cheshire East or the towns people of Crewe town’

 

Councillor Flude added that:

 

·        The group recognised that the current situation on site was not perfect but the proposal to offer a 125 year lease for sale on the open market would disadvantage some groups at this point in time due to their lack of funds and suggested that the future of the site should be considered in conjunction with other Heritage sites within Crewe, such as the Lyceum Theatre, Municipal Buildings and the Library.

·        The ‘Call-in’ group were not opposed to the principle of a new lease but considered that it was premature to offer the lease at this point in time and the needs of the town of Crewe as a whole needed to be taken into account.

 

Councillor D Brickhill also addressed the Committee on behalf of the group and stated that:

 

·        The Engineering activity on the site was occurring on land appropriated by LNWR since the original permission to use part of the site was granted by Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council in the 1990’s.

·        The Trustees should be given time to process their application for £2 million grant funding from the Heritage Lottery fund.

 

·        There were sites elsewhere in Crewe that were more suitable for the heavy engineering activities carried out at the site by LNWR

 

 

Councillor Macrae Prosperity Portfolio Holder outlined the decision taken on 27 June, referring to the Report Summary (item 5 appendix 2). The Council was seeking to establish a long-term viable future for the Crewe Heritage Centre, by regularising an inherited position from the former Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council. He acknowledged that tensions existed between the trust and LNWR.

 

Councillor Macrae clarified that the new 125 years lease was a ‘head lease’ and would have restrictive covenants to protect the site for rail heritage. The remaining 30 years of the current lease would also have to be adhered to.

 

The decision to sell a 125 year lease offered an opportunity to set out a clear way forward for the site and the Heritage Centre. It was suggested that the new lease would provide added security for the long term viability of the site and would  ...  view the full minutes text for item 128.