At the 2012 Annual General Meeting a resolution was passed which approved in principle the sale of the Village Hall and site in School Lane and gave the Committee the mandate to progress this sale in the most economical and effective way possible so as to maximise the long term value of the assets owned by the Charity.
The Committee has met ten times since the 2012 AGM and has concentrated on preparing to sell the site as well as furthering the investigations of a number of potential investment projects.
Given the remit of maximising the assets represented by the site we have agreed that the site should be sold for development with outline planning permission. We are conscious of our duty to the Wigboroughs community to do all that we can to ensure that any development on the site is acceptable and appropriate. We have therefore decided to apply for outline planning permission for ideally three small houses rather than a single large one. For many years it has been apparent that the Wigboroughs lack small housing stock which makes it difficult for young people and young families to take up residence here and thus maintain a vibrant community.
A & P Designs has been engaged to take us through the process of preparing for and eventually obtaining outline planning permission. The Committee thinks that the eventual sale will be eased if the land is registered with the Land Registry beforehand. To achieve this the site has been cleared and a necessary survey carried out.
While there are historic documents, or at least copies of historic documents, proving our title to the site these are held on our behalf by the Charity Commission so the registration process may not be as straightforward as it might be for a more conventional site and we have identified a Licensed Conveyancer to handle the process on our behalf.
Our main focus has been on preparing to sell the site because until that is achieved we can make no active progress with the other projects.
Once we are ready to sell the site we shall arrange to show the plans to residents, confirm the agreement to sell and then seek the approval of the Charity Commission to do so. The Charity Commission will control the resulting funds on our behalf until we are ready to re-invest in approved project(s).
We have further explored three potential projects in which the proceeds of the sale might eventually be invested. Two of these came from the 2011 questionnaire sent to all residents and the third arose from a suggestion at the 2012 AGM.
Plans for each project need to be more fully developed to establish whether the project can be achieved in a practical sense, afforded as to set up costs and ongoing maintenance costs and fits the objectives of the Charity. Any project surviving these tests must then be approved by residents and the Charity Commission before it could be implemented.
Investment could be made in a single project or in more than one and at this stage we do not rule out the introduction of other potential projects as yet undefined.
This project envisages providing access to a physical site or building owned by another party for general community or specialist group events. It would be necessary to enact a proper legal agreement to protect the Charity’s investment and legacy. There are two possible such sites in the Wigboroughs – the nave of St Stephen’s Church and the event rooms at Abbotts Hall Farm. We have noted the latter but progressed no further with that possibility to date.
St Stephen’s nave is already used for a number of events but the Parochial Church Council in conjunction with The Friends of the Wigboroughs is seeking to improve the venue to make it more suitable and more attractive for a wider range of activities. One member of the Committee has visited
It should be noted that both of the venues, at St Stephen’s and Abbotts Hall Farm, are already available for community groups or individuals to use under normal booking and payment arrangements regardless of possible future interest and investment from the Village Hall Charity.
We have approached a number of people who own land in the Wigboroughs asking if they would consider selling a few acres to enable the Charity to set up a Village Green with facilities for a range of sporting and recreational activities for young people. Potential sellers have been given a promise of confidentiality at this stage of discussions.
We have checked with the Charity Commission that should we wish to become formally involved with the development of the new Village Hall in Peldon we would be permitted to do so. The Charity Commission was positive about such a proposal provided that the Wigboroughs legacy was protected by legal agreements related to the two Charities involved. This would probably involve merging the charities in a way which would give The Wigboroughs an appropriate measure of representation and control. Other than establishing the Charity Commission’s view on the matter we have taken no further action with regard to this potential project.
A regular subject of discussion since the re-establishment of the Committee has been the level and quality of communications with the community. We considered holding open meetings and publishing Minutes but the Charity Commission does not recommend this and because there are various sensitive and confidential matters being discussed we decided that it would not be helpful to do so. Instead we committed to publishing regular reports in the Parish Newsletter and publishing them on the Parish Council website.
At the AGM we propose to ask the community to pass a resolution enabling us to change our Governing Document so that we can support postal voting to allow people unable to attend an AGM to participate in votes taken there.
We intend also to capture e-mail addresses of attendees at the AGM to support more direct interaction.
Christine ‘Jinny’ Gale
The Wigboroughs Village Hall Management Committee
June 2013 @ 19.30
Essex Wildlife Trust HQ at Abbotts Hall
Maldon Rd, Great Wigborough
1. Present at the Meeting: 6 Members of WVHMC, Jinny Gale (JG), Carol Wyatt (CW), John Hutchinson (JH), Melanie Newton (MN), Mark Waterfield (MW), Phil Gladwin (PG). 32 Residents of Great and Little Wigborough and One Non-Resident.
2. Apologies for Absence: Sam Norton
JG (Chairman) welcomed the community to the AGM, and to the new modern facilities at Abbotts Hall. JG said that it was an opportunity for the community to have a look at the new meeting rooms. She stressed that we as a committee were answerable to the community for our actions, and that the WVHMC are answerable not only to the villages we serve, but also to the Charity Commission. We also have to work within the framework of our governing document.
4. Noting the resignation of all committee members
JG explained that all current members have to resign, and be re-elected. She explained the nomination procedure for the Parish Council and the Parochial Church Council representatives (2 reps and 1 rep respectively). JG confirmed that all members from last year had resigned, and were duly re-elected as there had been no other nominations from the village.
5. Noting the names of appointed members
Jinny Gale (Parish Council), Phil Gladwin (Parish Council), Sam Norton (Parochial Parish Council
6. Noting the names of elected members
Carol Wyatt, John Hutchinson, Melanie Newton, and Mark Waterfield were duly elected.
7. Annual report and resulting questions
(Please see separate Annual Report for details) JG noted that the Annual Report was available for people to take away with them. It would also be printed in the Parish News, and would be on the Parish Council website. A Question/Answer session followed in which the following issues were raised:
8. Finance report and resulting questions
JH presented the Financial Report and spoke about running a tight ship due to lack of funds. £4090.54 currently in the bank. The WVHMC had liabilities to pay out for the survey, planning costs in future. The committee’s aim was to husband the money and keep the expenditure down. One option would be to borrow against our assets but the committee did not want to go down this route.
9. Resolution re postal voting
A vote was taken on the resolution “That a method of postal voting acceptable to the Charity Commission be developed and incorporated into the Wigboroughs Village Hall Management Charity’s governing document, to enable a wider electorate in the Wigboroughs to vote on key issues.” Votes in favour 30. Against 2. Abstentions 0