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  Mark Community Land Trust 

AGM held on the 18th November 2015

 

Minutes of Mark CLT Special General Meeting held in Mark Church Hall on Wednesday 18th November 2015, commencing at 19:00 hours.

 

Present:                 Simon Emary (Chairman & Director)

                          Geoff Francis (Vice Chairman & Director)

                                John Spencer (Treasurer & Director)

                                Jan Horn (Secretary & Director)

                                Hattie Stevens (Director)

                                Mike Schollar (Company Secretary & Director)

 

Members -  Gareth Woodcock, Maggie Borham, David Champion, Fred Cooper, Malcolm Fisher, Susan Gilmour, Jon Glauert, Anne & Tom Hanlon, Colin Holdom, Peter Horn, Jonathan Howse, Mark & Sue Johnson, Anne Lees, Ruth Millar, Michael Patten, Bruce & Julie Penrose, Anthony Hockin, Anthony & Jacqueline Houlden, Martyn Puddy, Marion & Robert Pudner, Dot Reaney, Yvonne Ryder, Mary Sinclair, Susan Smith, Jendy Weekes, Jean & Michael White, Leslie Smith

 

Apologies for absence Sally Flack (Director), Paul & Jean Abbott, Geoffrey & Lesley Catterall, William Clarke, Carol & Trevor Cooper-Johnson, Eileen & Neil Corkish, Michael Francis, Sue Gard, Neil Gilmour, Alison & Barrie Hicks, Peter Higman, Norman Lees, Geoffrey Peters, Christine Schollar, Sandy Spencer, Jenny Thomas, Joan Thompson

 

Welcome from Simon Emary - to the First General Meeting of members, explaining its purpose, aims and agenda. Thanks were also given to Mike Schollar for his work as Company Secretary since the inauguration of the CLT to present. Mike has elected not to stand for re-election as a Board Member for personal reasons.

 

  1. Election of Directors to Mark CLT

 

Simon Emary – Proposed by John Spencer, seconded by Jan Horn – All voted in favour

Sally Flack – Proposed by Geoff Francis, seconded by Gareth Woodcock – 25 voted in favour, 5 against with 9 abstentions

Geoff Francis – Proposed by John Glauert, seconded by Jendy Weekes – All voted in favour

Jan Horn – Proposed by John Spencer, seconded by Hattie Stevens – 36 voted in favour with 3 abstentions

John Spencer – Proposed by Tom Hanlon, seconded by Mike Schollar – All voted in favour

Hattie Stevens – Proposed by Jan Horn, seconded by Jon Glauert – 38 voted in favour with 1 abstention

Gareth Woodcock – Proposed by Geoff Francis, seconded by Martin Puddy – All voted in favour

 

Note: There were 4 votes in favour (via proxy) for all nominees listed.

 

Result: All proposed Directors were duly elected.

 

  1. Proposal not to appoint an Auditor but to have unaudited accounts in accordance with Rule 26.6

 

  1. Some concern was expressed with this proposal. Both the Company Secretary and the Treasurer explained the reasons for it.  It was however proposed by members and agreed by the majority present that those in the village who were so qualified, be approached to see if they would carry out an audit of the accounts for a nominal fee.  Three names were put forward for consideration i.e. Richard Banwell, Viv Forster and Liz Hall; all to be approached to see if they would undertake this role.
    1.  It was further proposed by the Company Secretary and agreed by all present, that in the event  the CLT were unsuccessful in their efforts to appoint an external examiner as stated in 2.1 above, then they would go ahead without an auditor for the next year only, with the accounts having the required internal checks. As an assurance the accounts would be made available upon request to any member for examination. Furthermore, the CLT is required to submit a statement of its accounts to the Financial Conduct Authority each and every year. 

 

                  Note: There were 2 votes via proxy against the initial proposal as outlined above

 

  1. Affordable Housing Project – update by Chairman

 

  1. Background – The Chairman gave a brief summary of the formation of the CLT, starting with the February Public Meeting with the Wessex CLT project and Sedgemoor District Council (SDC). The SDC Housing Needs Assessment published in March 2014 indicated a requirement for ten affordable rentable houses within the Parish of Mark. This was subsequently revised to twelve earlier this year. A Steering Group of interested parties was formed, with anyone having a potential conflict of interest being excluded. A total of 16 sites were considered, and taking into account points made by Officers at SDC and Wessex CLT Project, the field behind the White Horse Inn (adjacent to Northwick Road and Mark Causeway) was selected by the CLT and proposed at the public meeting held on the 11th September 2015. Just one acre of the five acre field is proposed for purchase, with a further option on another one acre should a further development be needed at a later date.                                                                                                                                                       

With a positive outcome of two thirds of attendees in favour of the proposed site the CLT proceeded to the next step of obtaining tenders and applying for a grant. Thirteen objections were received at the meeting, of which some members were subsequently approached to clarify their concerns.  Exact location of the houses or highway access will not be decided until after feasibility surveys have been undertaken.

 

  1. Draft Heads of Terms have been agreed with the Landowners and their Solicitors.

 

  1. A Community Buildings Pre-Feasibility Grant has been applied for from ‘My Community/Groundwork UK’ for architect and various technical surveys, and it was confirmed today that we would receive the sum of £9,270. It is anticipated that we will apply for a Community Buildings Project Support Grant of approx. £30,000 next March, which will then move our project to the point of submitting a Planning Application.

 

  1. Legal Services - SDC have agreed to provide the legal services in lieu of a grant of £5000. 

 

  1. Mark Johnson expressed concern on the use of the SDC Legal Department as there could be potentially a conflict of interest. Mike Schollar explained that we have a dedicated Solicitor within SDC and is totally independent from the one that SDC will use for their legal requirements.  Assurances have been given that this situation will not arise and that the CLT had given very careful consideration to this point before accepting this offer.
  2. It was confirmed that this grant was unconditional and will not have to be repaid.

 

  1. Architects – 3 architects have been approached, 2 have been involved with CLTS previously, and all 3 have experience with developing social housing. Meetings will be conducted to select one of two firms whose tenders are the same.

 

  1. Housing Associations - 3 housing associations have been approached, 2 have had experience of social housing, 1 has worked with a CLT previously.  Two of these have submitted expressions of interest, whilst a meeting is scheduled with the third for Friday 20th November 2015.

 

  1. Development Design

 

  1. To provide insight in to the style, design and general quality of work of those partners being considered the CLT are visiting a sight in Devon next week, sites in Somerset, Dorset have already been visited by some members of the Steering Group.
  2. The CLT are very keen to ensure the houses are in sympathy with the surrounding area and compliment the site as a whole.
  3. SDC will not have direct input into the design of the properties

 

  1. Government Right to Buy policy (RTB)

 

  1. CLT groups across the South West and the rest of the UK have been lobbying MPs; Mark CLT representatives have met with James Heappey and Oliver Letwin. Indication is that CLT developments will be exempt from RTB rules, although this would not be in the form of specific legislation.
    1. Mark Johnson expressed major concern that the exemption would not be protected by Legislation.
    2. The CLT are mindful that these properties remain as affordable rental properties for local people, with strong connections to the Parish and are not sold off under the RTB rules.
    3. The Chairman advised members that the CLT Board were being continually updated on the government proposals and that if the final outcome was not favourable to CLT housing development then the Board would approach the members for their views.

 

  1. Property Occupancy

 

  1. The CLT will be the landowner, owning the freehold, and lease it to the Housing Association.
  2. Tenant Selection - MCLT will have control over who occupies the properties via the Section 106 Agreement (which is legally binding) this will define specific criteria, which will be attached to the planning application. Heads of Terms between the CLT and the Housing association will also stipulate the criteria for tenants, and the HA will have to approach the CLT with the proposed tenant’s details for confirmation of local connection.
  3. What happens if there are empty properties upon completion? The CLT believe this is highly unlikely based on experiences of other CLTs.  Furthermore, the revised housing needs assessment conducted by SDC earlier this year indicated there is possibly a need for 15 homes. In any case, this situation will be covered under the Section 106 Agreement by us stipulating that in the event of no person or family with Mark connections requiring an affordable rented home then consideration be given to those living in an adjacent villages we wish to include under what is known as the  “doughnut” arrangement e.g. villages adjacent to our parish boundary such as Watchfield, Burtle and/or Blackford.
  4. What age group will the properties be for? The MCLT board recognise there is a need for some village residents to downsize, and that there is also a requirement for young families and single people. The current property proposal is for: 4 x 1 bed, 4 x 2 bed, 2 x 3 bed and 2 x 2 bed bungalows
  5. How affordable will the rents be? – Until a HA partner has been agreed and the project is progressing to development will the rent levels be known, but will be set below current open market rates. Advice will be sought from SDC.

 

  1. Corner of Vole Road into Northwick Road - flooding concerns

 

  1. The feasibility surveys of the site will identify flooding potential and identify any required circumventions.
  2. If drainage tanks were required, it would be the responsibility of the HA to maintain them not the CLT.     
  3. Recent issues due to ditches not being cleared. Highways and owners are responsible. The Drainage Board has written to landowners resulting in the ditches being cleared.
  4. Jendy Weekes advised the meeting that a culvert is to be put in on the corner of Vole Road/Northwick Road which will also help to alleviate any flooding in this area.

 

                   It should be noted the MCLT have no influence over the current flooding issues. 

 

  1. Accounts & Membership – update by Treasurer John Spencer

 

  1. Bank Account opened at Co-operative Bank. All transactions require 2 signatures, 3 Directors have access.
  2. General Accounts reviewed at each Board and Steering Group meeting.
  3. MCLT is a Community Benefits Society. FCA registered.
  4. Mark Parish Council paid for both National CLT membership (£49) and FCA registration (£40)
  5. Printing of Public Meeting notices and membership application forms cost £10 but delivery was made by Board Members FOC.
  6. Following this membership mailshot and having a stand at a  Saturday Flea market, the CLT now has 90 members and 376 shares have been issued.

 

  1. AOB

 

  1. Confirmation was given that all raised development issues and concerns would be reviewed, discussed and addressed during the Feasibility Surveys and resulting actions.
  2. A further general meeting will be held once the Feasibility Surveys are complete to share the key points with the wider membership.
  3. The Chairman reminded all members that this is not the CLT’s project, but the whole community’s and constructive input is always welcome.

 

The meeting closed at 20:30, with the Chairman thanking members for their attendance.

 

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