Agenda and draft minutes

Abingdon and North East Area Committee - Tuesday, 13 March 2018 7.00 pm

Venue: Meeting Room 1, 135 Eastern Avenue, Milton Park, Milton, OX14 4SB

Contact: Susan Harbour 

No. Item


Apologies for absence

To record apologies for absence.


Apologies were received from Councillors Debby Hallett and Mike Badcock.



Minutes pdf icon PDF 299 KB

To adopt and sign as a correct record the Abingdon and North East Area Committee minutes of the meeting held on 12 December 2017. 


The minutes of the meeting on 12 December 2017 were agreed as an accurate record of the meeting, subject to a minor amendment, and were signed by the Chairman.


The following text was added to the minutes under ‘Declarations of interest’: “Councillor Sandy Lovatt declared that he was a member of the Abingdon Royal British Legion but was able to keep an open mind in relation to their application”.





Declarations of interest

To receive any declarations of interest in respect of items on the agenda for this meeting.  


Councillors Emily Smith and Judy Roberts declared that they had supported Branches Young People’s Support Service in their application and would stand down from the committee and join the public speakers when their application was considered.


Councillor Ed Blagrove declared that he was acquainted with the applicant representing Kennington Village Hall, but was not predetermined and would approach the item with an open mind.


Councillor Bob Johnston declared that he was the county councillor for Wootton and attends Wootton Parish Council meetings, but was not predetermined and would approach the item with an open mind. He also declared that he was familiar with Kennington Village Hall, but was not involved with their application.




Urgent business and chairman's announcements

To receive notification of any matters which the chairman determines should be considered as urgent business and the special circumstances which have made the matters urgent, and to receive any announcements from the chairman. 


Councillor Ed Blagrove announced that he would step down as Chairman of the Abingdon and North East Area Committee after this meeting due to his responsibilities as a Cabinet member. He stated that a successor would be appointed at the Council’s annual meeting in May.


Public participation

To receive any questions or statements from members of the public that have registered to speak. 


Speakers representing the applicants were present for all of the applications. They also had the opportunity to respond to questions of clarification from the committee. They would speak when their application was under consideration:


Branches Young People’s Support Service: Dave Goodspeed and Diane Long


Kennington Village Hall: Peter Biggs


Abingdon Vale Cricket Club: Paul White


Wootton Parish Council: Ian Bristow and Alex Parker




Community Grants pdf icon PDF 510 KB

To consider the communication and grant manager’s report.


Branches Young People’s Support Service


The officer introduced the application by Branches Young People’s Support Service for a New Homes Bonus (NHB) grant of £9,047 towards a £18,094 project to assist in staffing and equipment costs in the establishment of a new young person’s café in Botley.


The officer explained that this project was not recommended for funding during this round, because the application was for the same items that they had been awarded funding for in 2016, and as such any further grant would be contrary to policy. There was also concern over the application’s ability to meet the criteria of benefitting the community for at least five years, since the applicants did not have a secured lease to operate from (at the time of application) and had only produced a business plan for the first 18 months of operation. Finally, the officer noted that the applicants may have to secure change of use permissions for the building that they intended to lease, which increased the uncertainty over the viability of funding the project at this time.


Additional information had been received since the publication of the report which demonstrated that the applicants had now secured a lease for premises in the West Way area, but only for up to 18 months.  Therefore, this did not change the officer’s recommendation.


Dave Goodspeed and Diane Long, of Branches Young People’s Support Service, spoke in support of the application and answered questions from the committee. They outlined the vision for the café, which would be open to the general public and benefit the community as a whole, whilst offering targeted opportunities and assistance to young people of secondary school age. This would include workshops, advice sessions and opportunities to get involved in the running of the café. Financially, they stated that they had already received significant funding from Oxfordshire County Council and other private donors, and hoped that the café would be a long-term benefit to the community, extending well beyond the 18 months detailed in their business plan.


The committee debated the item. It unanimously agreed to award the applicants 75% of the requested amount, subject to the applicants submitting a robust 5-year business plan, no later than 6 months after the café opens. For the avoidance of doubt, the grant could be paid in the meantime, but if a satisfactory business plan was not received within six months, any grant paid out must be returned to the council.


The committee recognised that this was against officer and policy recommendation, but stated the following justification:


·         The applicants had been awarded funding for this project before, but since this money was never actually paid due to the collapse of a previous lease agreement, it would be unfair to withhold a grant on these grounds.

·         Without being given the funding they require to get the project off the ground, it was unrealistic to expect the applicants to be able to submit a long-term business plan at this time. This  ...  view the full minutes text for item 25.