Agenda and minutes

South Side Task and Finish Group - Monday, 15th February, 2021 10.00 am

Venue: This will be a remote meeting held via Microsoft Teams in accordance with The Local Authorities and Crime Panels (Coronavirus)(Flexibility of Meetings)(England and Wales) Regulations 2020

Contact: Committee Officer  01525 631920 or: Email:

Note: or by tel: +44 3795 5672 (Conf ID: 934 957 316#) 

No. Item




No apologies for absence had been received



(i)     Under the Localism Act 2011 (sections 26-37 and Schedule 4) and in accordance with the Council’s Code of Conduct, Members are required to declare any interests which are not currently entered in the Member’s Register of Interests or if he/she has not notified the Monitoring Officer of it.

(ii)    Should any Member have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in an item on the agenda, the Member may not participate in consideration of that item unless a Dispensation has first been requested (in writing) and granted by the Council (see Dispensation Procedure).



Members were asked to declare any interests, including the nature of those interests, which they had in any of the items under consideration at this meeting.


Councillor Palmer declared an interest as a member of LB Society and LB

Archeological and History Society.  Councillor Harvey declared an interest as a

Member of LB Society and LB Friends of the Earth.





There were no questions from members of the public.




To welcome guests and receive information of existing venues around the country.


(a)      10.10am  - Rufus Centre, Flitwick TC - guest Jonathan Barkat, Business and Facilities Manager (Rufus Centre) -  


(b)      10.40am – The Neeld  and the History Museum, Chippenham TC – guests Matt Kirby, Director of Community Services, Julie Hook, Head of Venues (Neeld) and Melissa Barnett, Head of Museum and Heritage (Museum). (Community and Arts Centre) (History Museum)


Appendix A – Background & Introduction paper.

Appendix B - The Rufus Centre.

Appendix C –The Neeld.

Appendix D –The History Museum.


Additional documents:


By invitation, guests from the Rufus Centre in Flitwick and The Neeld and The History Museum at Chippenham gave an overview of how the venues delivered their services, what groups used the facilities, governance of the venues and the annual running costs and practices involved.


Rufus Centre, Flitwick Town Council


Jonathan Barkat informed Members the centre had 30 fully serviced offices, conference and meetings rooms and the main hall which could seat approximately 250 people.  There was also a bar/café which opened Monday to Saturday between the hours of 0800 to 1600 hours and opened for events on a Friday evening.  The Town Council, which owned the building, was based in the centre and community events were regularly held there.   The centre was run as a community facility with a room set aside for charitable and community groups free of charge.  In normal times the centre operated 6 days a week with tenants having 24 hour and 7 days a week access.


A question was raised as to which type of hiring proved the most profitable and it was confirmed the regular meeting room hirers provided a regular income in ‘normal times’.  Weddings could also be held in the centre and these generated a large income when bookings were received.  A virtual office had been introduced within the last few months and also hot desking was being reviewed for the near future.


The vision for the future would be expansion and the possibility of creating a hotel on site, extend the car park and increase tenant’s office space.  It was confirmed that the centre would make approximately £50,000 profit per annum but in the present climate a true reflection was not possible with reduced hiring income because of COVID with the aim being to keep  the business side separate from the Council element.  A more accurate picture would be known by next year.


The Neeld, Chippenham Town Council


Matt Kirby informed members that both venues were located in the town centre.

Julie Hook informed members about The Neeld. It could be used for weddings, dances, concerts and themed fairs as the retractable seating allowed the space needed to be adapted to what purpose was required.  Primarily the centre was run at cost to the Council for the benefit of the community and not for profit.  Community groups used the facilites for dance and theatre groups and are charged community rates with a corporate rate for businessess.  The size of the venue offers versatility of use and provides a great community hub for meeting up.   It was noted that the size of a venue could be influential to whether or not it was on the touring circuit, i.e. host national touring shows and perfomances.  The Neeld did receive touring shows.


The venue had a bar/café which was seen as an important income stream. It was felt that more could be made of the facility to boost income further. 



A question about available parking was raised and Julie commented that town centre  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.



(a)  To receive and approve as a correct record the minutes of the South Side Task and Finish Group meeting held on 11 January 2020 (attached) in accordance with Standing Order 12.


(b)  To receive information updates on matters arising from the previous meeting (if appropriate).



(a)          The Committee received the minutes of the South Side Task and Finish Group of 11 January 2021. Two minor changes were requested in minute reference 06/SS, second paragraph on the first line to change “would” to “could” and in paragraph 3 the Development Brief of 2016 be changed to 2017.


RESOLVED that the minutes of the South Side Task and Finish Group meeting held on 11 January 2021 be approved as a correct record and were signed accordingly.


(b)          A suggestion was made for a preliminary paper to be put together giving the options suggested from these meetings.  These options could then be looked at in more detail and either discarded or reviewed as necessary.    Members agreed a vision document giving the options discussed would be a good idea however it might  be better to wait until the Options Analysis had been completed by Cornerstone.   This was due to be completed by the end of March 2021.  After discussion, it was suggested that a summary document be prepared by Vivien Cannon with the assistance of Sam Caldbeck from CBC.  





(a) Monday 22nd March, 10am TBC



The date for the next meeting was set for Monday 22 March 2021, at 10.00 am





The Committee may consider it appropriate to consider the following resolution should they consider that any discussion would be prejudicial to the public interests: that, under the Public Bodies (Admissions to Meetings) Act 1960, the public be excluded on the grounds of the confidential nature of the business about to be transacted which involves the likely disclosure of exempt information. The public and press to withdraw from the meeting during consideration of detailed discussion regarding: Unadopted 2016 Development Study.



RESOLVED that, under the Public Bodies (Admissions to Meetings) Act 1960, the public be excluded on the grounds of the confidential nature of the business about to be transacted which involves the likely disclosure of exempt information.  The public and press to withdraw from the meeting during consideration of detailed discussion regarding: documentation for Land South of the High Street.




To receive an update on work pertaining to plans for the area of land south of the High   Street. (Discussion thereafter to be undertaken at Committee’s next diarised meeting.)




Members received an update and documentation on work pertaining to plans for the area land south of the High Street.  It was confirmed that a new Development Study would not be required to progress the planning applications for a new development on land south of the High Street.  The 2012 document would be used with consideration given to current needs and how High Street retail had changed and what would be required and needed now in this environment.


Consideration would be given to the initial overview of feedback from the Options Analysis Document being prepared by Cornerstone at the next meeting of the group. Sam Caldbeck explained the final document is unlikely to be ready for sharing by the next meeting date, yet he would be able to offer an overview. 


It was suggested that other venue organisations be invited to give presentations to the group.  No invitations would be extended immediately. In the meantime the venue questions along with the background introduction would be circulated for group members to use.