Greenwich Council

Agenda, decisions and minutes.

Venue: Committee Room 6 - Town Hall, Wellington Street, Woolwich SE18 6PW. View directions

Contact: Gurdeep Sehmi  Email: gurdeep.sehmi@royalgreenwich.gov.uk or tel: 020 8921 5134

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

To receive apologies for absence from Members of the Committee.

Minutes:

Apologies for lateness were received from Councillor Rajinder James.

 

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Miranda Williams, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and the Third Sector.

 

2.

Urgent Business

The Chair to announce any items of urgent business circulated separately from the main agenda.

Minutes:

There was no urgent business for consideration at the meeting.

 

 

 

3.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 62 KB

Members to declare any personal and financial interests in items on the agenda.  Attention is drawn to the Council’s Constitution; the Council’s Code of Conduct and associated advice.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Resolved -

 

That the list of Councillors’ memberships as Council appointed representatives on outside bodies, joint committees and school governing bodies be noted.

 

 

4.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 39 KB

Members are requested to confirm as an accurate record the Minutes of the meeting held on 09/10/2018.

 

No motion or discussion may take place upon the Minutes except as to their accuracy, and any question on this point will be determined by a majority of the Members of the body attending who were present when the matter in question was decided.  Once confirmed, with or without amendment, the person presiding will sign the Minutes.

Minutes:

The Committee noted the following amendments to the minutes.

 

Councillor David Gardner, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Schools was in attendance under standing orders.

 

Item 4 – Declarations of Interest

 

Dr Jennifer Patterson also declared a personal interest on the item, advising that she was involved with the Trust via a funded research project.

 

Item 6, paragraph 4 was amended to read:

 

The meeting was addressed by a resident who advised that he was an ex-employee of the Trust. The Sub-Committee heard that since 2014 Margaret McMillan House was underfunded.

 

Item 6, paragraph 5, second sentence was amended to read:

 

The Sub-Committee also heard that Wide Horizons Trust had asked and undertaken to fund a University of Greenwich evaluation of a project for children with special needs in September based on a smaller one undertaken the previous year, for children who were experiencing HIV.

 

Resolved

 

That the minutes of the meeting of the Margaret McMillan Field Study Centre Trust Sub Committee held on 11 December 2018 be agreed and signed as a true and accurate record.

5.

Wide Horizons Ltd - The Margaret McMillan Centre Wrotham, Kent pdf icon PDF 122 KB

To obtain the further legal advice; to submit a letter of objection to Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council; to appoint a specialist agent to advise on the likely strength of interest should the site be marketed for rent and to assess the rental value; and to open discussions with JC Adventures to assess the level of rent that they are prepared to pay and the terms of any lease.

Additional documents:

Decision:

 

1.     Noted the contents of the report.

 

2.     Agreed that further legal advice be obtained as referred to in the report. To establish how any sale proceeds could be used and whether the Right of First refusal to the Education Boards of the former Inner London boroughs applied.

 

3.     Agreed submission of a letter of objection to Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council for the property to be designated as an Asset of Community Value.

 

4.     Agreed the appointment of a specialist agent to advise on the likely strength of interest should the site be marketed for sale or rent and to assess the rental value.

 

5.     Agreed that open discussions be undertaken with all interested parties to assess the level of rent they would be prepared to pay and the terms of any lease.

Minutes:

Mike Penny, a former member of the Wide Horizons Trust gave an overview of the history of the Margaret McMillan Trust. Following Margaret McMillan’s death, Nancy Astor set up the Margaret McMillan College as a charity. This was funded by the Astor family and Lettice Floyd. Margaret McMillan House was used as an outdoor centre for children from Deptford and Greenwich. During World War Two the House was used for evacuated children. When the Astor family ceased financial assistance, the House became part of the LCC educational property. When ILEA was abolished the House became the responsibility of Greenwich Council.

 

The Director of Regeneration, Enterprise and Skills gave an overview of the report including the options available to the Committee. These were Option 1, do nothing; Option 2, sell the site for educational use; Option 3, sell the site for residential development or Option 4, lease the site to a tenant. Officer’s recommendation was to proceed with both Option 2 and 4 in parallel, but that Option 2 was preferred.

 

The Director of Communities and Environment advised the Committee that to date four expressions of Interest had been received with regard to Option 4. These were JC Adventures, Greenwich Leisure Limited, Dandelion Time and Wrotham Parish Council who had also submitted a nomination for the property to be designated as an Asset of Community Value.

 

The Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Schools highlighted the need for due diligence, with regard to all four representations. That the historic ethos of the property be retained if possible. Dr Patterson added that there were many types of outdoor provision but very few with good quality education provision, and added that there needed to be an assurance of the history of the site as a centre providing outdoor benefit for children.

 

Councillor Hartley was of the opinion that the committee should not favour any option, ahead of all information being made available. That the wider issue of the Wide Horizons Trust also needed to be taken in to account.

 

A member of the public also asked that the Committee focussed on the wider impact. That outdoor education has a positive change and outcome on young lives.

 

The Director of Communities and Environment advised that investigation of the wider impact of the collapse of the Trust was in hand.

 

The Chair responded that the Council was already incurring costs and a decision needed to be taken as soon as practicable. He added that he was visiting the site Friday 14 December 2018 and said that other members were welcome to join him.

 

The Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Schools queried why the recommendation was to object to the ACV nomination. The response was that it would reduce the financial viability of the site.

 

The Deputy Head of Legal Services advised that the Trust would require their own independent legal advice. That this could be provided using a legal framework and instruction given quickly.

Action: Legal Services

 

The Director of Regeneration, Enterprise and Skills  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.