Cost of Years of Neglect.

News reaches me that part of Anston Parish Hall is suffering from structural defects. It seems the annexe part of the hall, including the toilets, which is used by the Pre School and other users is falling away from the main hall. Closer inspection revealed the annexe was built without being tied into the main structure and the current problem is suspected to be a broken drain which has soaked the ground and caused the annexe to tilt away from the hall.

Other problems include the roof of the annexe which during the last 12/15 years has suffered from ‘repair’ work by Billy the Bodger and is leaking. I understand a structural survey of the annexe has been carried out by a professionally qualified local surveyor and his report is being considered urgently by APC councillors.

This problem has not arisen overnight. The previous administration knew the annexe was not securely fixed to the main building and as long ago as 2010/2011 a gap appeared at the top of the annexe wall where it joins the hall and has since got progressively worse. From about 2011 amateurs were given the go ahead to supposedly repair the annexe roof and it seems all they did was to put patch upon patch. How much of our money was wasted employing these cowboys?

Plans were drawn up some years ago-at great expense-for a new Parish/Community hall and then shelved. Why is anyone’s guess.

Anston Parish Councillors have the unenviable job of funding and rectifying years of neglect. Not all of the parish council reserves can be used to pay for the new hall.

The Council is required, under statue, to maintain adequate financial reserves in order to meet the needs of the organisation. Section 50 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 requires that billing and precepting authorities in England and Wales have regard to the level of reserves needed to meet estimated future expenditure when calculating the budget requirement.
The Council’s policy on the establishment, maintenance and adequacy of reserves and balances will be considered annually.
The Council will hold reserves for these three main purposes:  A working balance to help cushion the impact of uneven cash flows and avoid unnecessary temporary borrowing – this forms part of the general reserves;  A contingency to cushion the impact of unexpected events or emergencies – this also forms parts of general reserves;  A means of building up funds, often referred to as earmarked reserves, to meet known or predicted requirements; earmarked reserves are accounted for separately but remain legally part of the general fund.
2. General Fund balance
The general fund balance, commonly termed the ‘working balance’, is a balance on the council’s revenue account which is not held for any specific purpose other than to cushion the council’s finances against any unexpected short term problems in the councils cash flow.
The general fund balance is to be maintained at a level based upon a risk assessment carried out annually by the Responsible Finance Officer (RFO) when setting the budget for the forthcoming year. Any surplus on the reserve above the required balance may be used to fund capital expenditure, be appropriated to earmarked reserves or used to limit any increase in the precept.

The impact of unexpected events or emergencies‘. Nobody expected the parish council to have to find the money to repair the annexe at the time when plans are being considered and debated to secure extra external funding to build a bigger and better parish/community hall for everyone’s benefit.

 

 

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13 Responses to Cost of Years of Neglect.

  1. Mark says:

    Mr caulkwell I am not a labour supporter or troll I have an option and it is fact over 60 per cent of the budget go’s on administration 1fso 1Clark 1senor administration officer 3 ground staff 2cleaners and now if that’s not enough the possibility of a caretaker please explain how all these salary s and pensions to not effect cash flow if the hall and other buildings had proper management the repairs may have been given a high level of attention it doesn’t matter what party is in control repairs need to be done that is the point of this post the building clearly shows neglect and disrepair but the present council has been here best of two years but only noticed the status of the place now really

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    • Mr Mick Colman says:

      Mark, I am not disputing your claim that 60% of the budget is used for the running of the Council simply because I don’t know. We could ask the RFO for accurate figures but there’s no point. It costs what it costs. If the Council didn’t employ the people that you mentioned then I am sure that the Council will be all ears if you would provide the names of other people who would do the work for nothing. Incidentally and for readers information Anston Parish Councillors do just that, work for nothing, in fact in the period that I was a Councillor it actually cost me money. So from that perspective I think that any undue criticism of the current Council members is uncalled for and an insult. If any members of the public are unhappy with the Councils performance then let them put their name to their written complaints then put their names down to be members themselves. Let see how they like working for nothing with no thanks.

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    • Watchman says:

      Thank you for your comments.
      Most of the moaners and groaners who post on this site couldn’t be councillors because they have no understanding of procedures or finance. They’d much rather be keyboard warriors trying to hide under false names. At least councillor’s names are published……….

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    • Veritas says:

      Mark-and others-either does not read the parish accounts or doesn’t know how to read them.
      The total wages bill represents 47.5% of costs not 60%. The figures are verifiable from the accounts which all members of the public are allowed to see on request.
      Back on track….
      Mr.Cauldwell hit the nail on the head when he said the previous administration failed to make any provision for future maintenance costs for the parish hall. It was also pointed out the present council has been in place for almost two years and while this is true they cannot be held responsible IMV for a collapsed drain which has compounded the problem of the jerry built annexe tilting away from the hall.
      The councillors, Clerk and RFO will have to bite the bullet and find the money.

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  2. David Caukwell says:

    Trolls like ‘mark’ and ‘Sean’ are trying to derail this thread. Nothing new there.
    The poor state of the parish hall fabric has been known for at least 8/9 years and I remember quite clearly ex part-time councillor Dalton and ex chairman Shouter Beck ignoring repeated requests from Independent councillors to call in qualified contractors to repair the roof and the sagging floor of the parish hall where where the utilities ducting meets the wall.
    The current council is now faced with rectifying years of neglect and bodged ‘repairs’.
    Mr.Colman makes two very good points when he said the current council are not at fault and APC must find the money from internal and external sources.

    One other point; ‘Mark’ said “….60 per cent of the budget is lost in administration”. He obviously reads a different set of parish accounts to everyone else but like all trolls and Labour supporters numbers and finance aren’t his strongest subjects. Evidence the previous administration who were financially incompetent muppets, they failed to put a proper maintenance schedule in place and the parish hall now needs extensive repairs.

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  3. Mark says:

    I totally understand mick colman I attended the awards evening the inside of the building is totally unacceptable moth eaten curtains light covers missing decor in a state of decline how this hall is fit for functions is beyond me I would like to see the maintenance schedule for this property as far as iam aware this hall generates income for the council how I don’t no as it as alot in common with a wold war 1 bunker

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    • Watchman says:

      My sources tell me there has never been a maintenance schedule for the parish hall.
      I understand Independent Cllr.Clive Jepson, who has a lot of experience in the construction industry,suggested a proper maintenance schedule on more than on occasion.

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  4. Sean says:

    If we’ve got Cowboys builders doing repairs ,to council buildings I think they should be named and shamed , or on the other hand we could contact rogue traders and let Dominic littlewood deal with this .

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  5. Mark says:

    When 60 per cent of the budget is lost in administration whot do you expect hall falling apart football pitch flooding play equipment falling apart this is why you need a small rise in precept to maintain such things look s like meltdown

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  6. vocalyokel says:

    It’s all well and good blaming councillors for the the failings of the council but at the end of the day their job is to represent the views of the electorate. The job of the day to day running of the council and it’s assets is the job or the responsible officers. (I use the term responsible in it’s loosest possible sense) Any half decent clerk would have covered themselves by minuting any deviation by councillors from their advice. It’s about time APC got their act together and started serving the best interests of residents.

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    • Mr Mick Colman says:

      The present state of disrepair of the property can hardly be blamed on the current Council. Anyone who says it is can only be considered a complete idiot, but now that the problems have been identified (by this Council) then it is surely their responsibility to get the ball rolling so that the best solution is found and acted on to rectify the situation and that the finances are put in place and that all possibilities of grants etc. are looked into to enable the work to proceed asap. From a personal point of view my hope is that any refurbishment or rebuilding work includes, at the end of the project a state of the art audio system so that never again will a Councillor be forced to resign because he or she can’t confidently follow proceedings or vote on important issues due to hearing difficulties.

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