Cricklade Campus on hold ? – Critical decision required ? – Extraordinary Meeting of Town Council

Cricklade Town Council

Cricklade Town Council

An Extraordinary Meeting of the Town Council will take place on Tuesday, 27th August 2013 at 7pm in the Council Chamber at Ockwells, 113 High Street.
The main item for discussion will be Cricklade Town Campus.
Please use this link to read the complete  agenda of the meeting.
Extracts –  Item 5. CRICKLADE TOWN CAMPUS
a) Members to DECIDE whether Cricklade Town Council continues to be actively part of the Cricklade campus programme and allow Wiltshire Council to pursue the
design of the Police Station which would entail the relocation of Cricklade Town Council.
 b) Members to DECIDE if there is a need for public consultation in relation to item 5a above, and if so what form that consultation should take.

Extract from the  draft minutes 29th July 2013 (Draft) published by CTC.

13.41 CRICKLADE CAMPUS – SHADOW COMMUNITY OPERATIONS BOARD
Cllr Szybiak gave an update to the meeting:
a. In 2011 the Campus project was started and in October 2012 finance was approved by WC Cabinet for a split site campus in Cricklade. The design of the campus is now on hold until it is clear what services could be provided over a split site. This is mainly dependent on Cricklade Town Council’s level of involvement and a possible relocation to the new site (existing Police Station). A decision will need to be made by CTC to allow the project to move forward.
b. Previous decisions made by CTC on 28th August 2012 under a recorded vote:
• Members RESOLVED that the Town Council’s preference for a Campus was at the Police Station subject to:
o Further, wide, public consultation into the detailed design at an appropriate
time.
o Dedicated autonomous space for Town Council officers and the preservation
of the Town Council’s identity.
• Members unanimously RESOLVED that the Town Council should be a partner in the Campus subject to:
o The project being to the overall benefit of the residents of Cricklade
o The Campus (either High Street site) being an Asset Transfer to Cricklade
Town Council.
o A reduction in the Town Council’s ongoing costs.
o The Town Council, as democratic representatives of the community, playing a
major role in the future governance of both Campus sites and having input
into the development of a governance model.
• Factors important in taking the above decision included:
o The Police Station being more central to the High Street and with the higher
footfall, bringing CTC closer to the general community.
o The Police Station being in need of a facelift, not being a listed building and
allowing greater flexibility to extend, redesign and increase type of usage.
o Ockwells having limited potential for redesign and limited footfall.
o The Library Officers’ preference for a library to be on the ground floor and in
the higher footfall area, preferably with a mixture of services.
o The importance of retaining and improving the vibrancy of the High Street and
not allowing it to turn into a wholly residential area. It was felt that by moving
public services and extending the use of a building in the main footfall area
would help achieve this.
c. Initial feasibility work for all three campus site options had been done which showed initial potential configurations of space. Following Wiltshire Council Cabinet approval of a campus proposal for Cricklade, the design period for Stones Lane site has progressed but designs for the police station option has not progressed, as it was not clear whether the Police Station building could be released (due to Police Commission and WC elections) and therefore even considered. However those initial design ideas included:
• The building increasing in size, having an open plan reception/coffee shop, display area for local arts and crafts exhibits, open plan library area (with extended opening hours) leading into a multi-use flexible space which could be used as a Council Chamber, council offices and a small meeting room situated on the first floor with separate access, disabled parking at the rear of the building, small outside space accessible from the coffee area.
• Locally, opposition was expressed to a move from Ockwells and it would be important to communicate and consult with the electorate.
d. The current position was that WC wants CTC to decide if they wish to be involved with the split site and what its intentions are in relation to relocation. It would be essential to represent the views of the community at the same time as making a sound decision based on new information. The resolution made a year ago still stands, but as one of the conditions (asset transfer) associated with that could not be met then the council needed to decide if a new decision needed to be made.
e. Mark Stone, Director of Transformation, briefed the meeting:
Irrespective of the CTC choice of location the campus would be delivered in Cricklade. However, as the Police Authority had confirmed that an asset transfer could not take place on the police station building, CTC would need to re-consider its position. Wiltshire Council (WC) have worked hard to deliver the four criteria that was asked for by CTC:
1. Benefit to residents
• That the campus would offer an overall benefit to the residents, that it would be operationally efficient and would work closely with other partners and service providers.
2. Asset Transfer
• WC Cabinet has agreed to an asset transfer of the Ockwells site to CTC but was unable to offer the asset transfer on the police station building. So WC wished to know if the asset transfer was still an important condition to be met?
3. Reduction in costs
• WC recognised this was an important factor and would ensure that costs would not be increased if there was a move to a new site.
4. Actively involved in the governance
• While the governance model had not been determined it was accepted that CTC would be involved at a management level with the governance of the campus.
f. To summarise, WC was able to meet 3 of the 4 conditions and unable to deliver the asset transfer on the building. The SCOB and Wiltshire Council now wished to progress with the detailed design to the Stones Lane site but it was felt that this work was not able to proceed until it is clear what the position of CTC was, and therefore what the high street campus option would be. Wiltshire Council hoped that the town council would, at a future meeting, consider whether the four criteria above were still an essential factor in determining a relocation.
If the town council chose to do nothing then Wiltshire Council will proceed with the plans for the single campus site at Stone’s Lane.
g. Questions were raised by councillors:
 i. What would CTC’s involvement be with the governance of the site? Could CTC be tenants of the high street location but have no control over the site?
Mr Stone replied that the long term model of governance increased the community involvement and with a variety of services involved CTC would be part of the governance process. WC was not delegating power to CTC to run the campus but would encourage CTC to be one of a wider group of the community to be involved. Cricklade Leisure Centre was run through a management committee and had demonstrated it had the knowledge and ability to implement a management process. If  CTC was the tenant of the high street location then they would be autonomous within that site and have control over their day to day operations, but in relation to the general governance of the whole campus CTC would be one stake holder among other community groups.
The Chairman suspended Standing Orders to receive a question from a member of the public.
ii. Did the asset transfer on Ockwells include the GP surgery?
Mr Stone confirmed in answer to a question that the council would be willing to consider an asset transfer of the entire building, given the existing layout of the building (the library is over the top of the GP surgery) but that it would be necessary to look at the legal position of the tenancy agreement that existed between the GP and WC and to consult them.
iii. Would the lease from the Police Authority to WC be a long-term lease?
Mark confirmed in answer to a question that subject to negotiation, the lease from the Police to Wiltshire Council would be a long term lease and would make the town council the primary user.
 iv. What would happen to Ockwells if CTC moved to the police station? Would WC be able to do anything to preserve the building?
Mr Stone confirmed that should the town council wish to re-locate to the police station site, Ockwells would be disposed of (in consultation with the GP surgery as the other existing tenant of the site) but as it was a listed building this disposal would be undertaken in a way designed to ensure it has a sustainable future.
Standing Orders were reinstated.
v. If CTC chose to remain in Ockwells what would happen to the police station?
Mr Stone updated that if the police station did not form part of the campus then he believed the building would be disposed of by the Police Authority as part of its county wide asset programme.
vi. What were the implications for the Leisure Centre while CTC considers its position?
Mr Stone confirmed that there was a pause on the design of the Stones Lane (Leisure Centre) site.
The Chairman suspended standing orders to allow a question from a member of the public.
vii. Is there a link between the High Street and the leisure centre and the library?
Yes, the service mix needed to be explored to ensure that it offered a complimentary range of services.
viii. If CTC chose to remain at Ockwells would the library need to be on a ground floor?
Mark Stone updated that if the police station was not utilised then WC would deliver the best outcome it could at the Stones Lane and may wish to consult on the development of a ground floor library offer at Stones Lane, subject to consultation and member decision.
ix. Was funding an option to consider, whether CTC stays at Ockwells or relocates?
Mr Stone confirmed that if the police station was not utilised then WC would deliver the best outcome it could at the Stone’s Lane with the addition of the library.
x. Other issues that were mentioned:
The Leisure Centre was not the easiest place to access if you did not live on that side of the town. Major renovation work within Ockwells to produce a down stairs library had not been an option previously but could this be re-visited?Mark Stone updated that as part of the feasibility process it became apparent that it would not be feasible to undertake major refurbishment to the Ockwells site but that minor refurbishment could be an option.
It will be for the Town Council to determine the financial impact of an asset transfer of Ockwells, which might not necessarily be the cheapest option, as it is possible that costs would rise in the long-term.
h. Cllr Clarke brought the discussion to a conclusion and proposed that it was necessary for CTC to agree a way forward. An Extraordinary Meeting would be necessary and councillors would be given sufficient time to consider evidence so they would not be forced into rushing a decision. Items to consider were whether CTC wished to remain at Ockwells or move to the Police Station, whether the asset transfer was still an important condition and to consider the public consultation that needed to take place. It was agreed that councillors would need the following in order to make a decision:
• Background information
• Summary of the way forward from Wiltshire Council~
• Financial implications of staying or moving
• Conditions of the lease at Ockwells and the Police Station
The Chairman suggested that the meeting could take place on 27th August 2013 and that a notice would go out as soon as possible.

PRESS AND PUBLIC ARE WELCOME TO ATTEND the Extraordinary Meeting.
Cricklade Town Council Website – http://www.cricklade-tc.gov.uk

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