Options for Methodist Church & Hall

Methodist Church and Hall

1. Introduction

Methodist Church

At the last PC meeting a consultation was agreed to ascertain the public interest in the potential purchase of the former chapel and all by the PC. The attached draft consultation explains how this might be approached by outlining some of the context and questions plus some accompanying FAQs.

2. Latest Information

Information provided by the agent working for the Methodists, Boydens indicates that there are several interested parties with one favoured bidder. The property is now advertised as being “under offer” and it is understood that the sale will undergo the usual due diligence discussions and investigations before a sale is confirmed. The status of the sale is now different to that presented at the Parish Council meeting in February.

3. Options for Consultation

The Parish Council needs to move forward with its agreed intention to consult on the principle of acquiring the properties through a consultation. A draft survey has been assembled and is laid out in the accompanying annex to this report.

The Parish Council is asked to consider the draft survey questions and determine the way forward.

The options are:

  1. Agree with minor revisions and ask the Webmaster to format for electronic survey with a paper copy PDF file for distribution by other means,
  2. Disagree with the draft and propose a differently worded survey,
  3. Defer the survey to another date as the buildings are under offer and await whether the sale goes through. It is suggested that if this option is selected that the situation is revisited in April.

4. Risks and Opportunities around the options

Each option carries both risks and opportunities.

  • Option A fulfils the Parish Council resolution and commits the Council to nothing more than a survey,
  • Option B would need careful thought as to how to repurpose the survey without undermining the Parish Council decision,
  • Option C could only be considered on the basis that it is new information since the last Parish Council meeting and could if necessary be formalised at a subsequent Parish Council meeting.

5. Finance/Resourcing

The survey will not represent a major cost to the Council, but the following are useful to understand nevertheless:

  • Much of the resource required is Cllr time, but the publicity, web design and analysis may cost a small amount, but experience of other surveys (NP, Playground) shows this to be manageable,
  • Although this was a Chairman’s report further Cllr support is required to help with the survey,
  • The survey is only one part of the Parish Council resolution. The other part was to do further research including updating costs, looking for potential tenants, re-inspecting the premises and having a further meeting with the agents or with the Methodists. Again, this is primarily Cllr time although researching further building costs would require some expenditure.

6. Publicity

Although a simple survey to gauge the appetite of the community, there is bound to be some expectation management required, and some need to answer queries, and so a bit more thought would be needed into the accompanying FAQs. The FAQs are supporting statements and so will be refined before they are publicised. As things stand the FAQs are a work in progress.

7. Next steps/timetable and Recommendation

The Finance Committee has considered this report and the draft survey and recommends that:

It is recommended that Option A and C are the most appropriate options to endorse.

Draft Consultation

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