Agenda item

Dereham Memorial Hall (Agenda item 9)

Report of the Executive Member for the Communities and Place Shaping Portfolio (Adrian Stasiak).


The report sought Cabinet’s approval to grant Dereham Town Council the amount of £250,000 from the Breckland Council Match Funding Reserve toward the refurbishment and extension of the Dereham Memorial Hall.


The Communities and Place Shaping Manager explained that Breckland Council had two standard match funding grant schemes: 1) for small grants up to £3000 and 50% match; 2) for large grants up to £20,000 and 30% match.  The Dereham Town Council application fell outside these schemes at £250,000 and 11% match.  This did not, however, prohibit the funding being granted but under the terms and conditions of the match funding scheme applications for more than £20,000 must be considered on an individual case-by-case basis.


A detailed Business Plan for the Dereham Memorial Hall project had been attached to the report.


The amount of monies remaining in the Match Funding Reserve pot was over £2,000,000. 


The overall cost for the Memorial Hall project was being met by Dereham Town Council, the request to Breckland Council for funding was to address the £250,000 shortfall.


Tony Needham, the Clerk to Dereham Town Council, was in attendance and thanked the Cabinet for considering this project which he felt was very important for the area.  He informed Members that he was in receipt of the tenders and, unfortunately, were above the amount that had been tendered for, therefore, savings would have to be made.


There was some confusion with regard to the unspent funding previously awarded to Dereham Town Council towards the Feasibility Study and Business Plan.  Now that the Business Plan had been completed, it was asked if the residual amounts would be put back into the Match Funding Reserve pot.  It was pointed out that as these monies had already been committed in 2006, Members were being requested to allow the Town Council to draw down these amounts (£8,312 and £31,084.86) as well as the £250,000.  The Clerk of Dereham Town Council highlighted the project cost figures at section 16 of the Business Plan which showed that the total of £39,397 had already been subtracted from the overall cost.  He explained that he had been unable to draw down the monies until the Business Plan had been approved.


The Communities and Place Shaping Manager clarified that the terms and conditions specific to this project were being examined.


If Members were mindful to approve the funding requested, the Chairman suggested that Breckland monies should not be drawn down until the Town Council’s own funding had been expended.


As this was a very large project and as there was a very clear pressure on funding, the Overview and Scrutiny Commission Chairman questioned whether a Monitoring Officer should be required to oversee such sums to ensure that the monies being spent were being spent on what was required.


Members were assured that Breckland Council had managed budgets of this extent before and would ensure that the terms and conditions were appropriate for the size and scale of the project.


The Chief Executive believed that a review point ought to be added to the recommendation and suggested that, at the two year mark, a reasonable review should be undertaken.


Referring to the amount of monies raised by the Town Council alone, the Chairman felt that this was a good example of a community showing their own initiative and he hoped that Members would approve the funding requested to enable the Town Council to go forward for the benefit of Dereham and the surrounding communities.


The Vice-Chairman felt that the revamp would certainly benefit Dereham and Breckland as a whole; this was another step in the town’s development.


Option 1


To approve the Match Funding application for £250,000 from Dereham Town Council for the Dereham Memorial Hall project.


Option 2


To reject the Match Funding application for £250,000 from Dereham Town Council for the Dereham Memorial Hall project.




The Dereham Memorial Hall was a flagship venue for Dereham and the district as a whole.  The refurbishment and extension of the Hall would enable a greater range of community activities to take place with increased participation by Breckland residents and visitors to the area.  A Business Plan had been developed and consideration had been given to the financial viability and sustainability.  £250,000 was a large commitment on behalf of Breckland Council but represented only 11% of the overall project cost, with a significant contribution coming from Dereham Town Council themselves.


RESOLVED that the Revenue Match Funding application of £250,000 toward the refurbishment and extension of Dereham Memorial Hall for Dereham Town Council as detailed in the report be approved, subject to:


1)           the details of the grant terms and conditions being delegated to the Lead Member and the Section 151 Officer;


2)           a maximum of £250,000 or 11% whichever is the lower from the Revenue Match Funding Reserve;


3)           the remaining balance of £39,396.86 from the funding amount of £44,901 already awarded to Dereham Town Council and approved by Breckland Council in 2006 towards the cost of the completed feasibility study and Business Plan be released to the Town Council; and


4)           the balance of all other funding being confirmed.

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