As I read the document that had been circulated around the Community Shop Shareholders on 27th March, 2020, I find the inconsistences within this document amazing.
It clearly points out to me, as Chairman of the Parish Council, that some clarification needs to be put in writing to the Shareholders.
- Agreements which were confirmed at the start of this project. The Parish Council has managed this project from day one not the Shop Committee.
- The original Lease was removed from the table for changes to be made and internal works completed and Building Regulations obtained (this work was requested by the Shop Committee).
- A full list of outstanding works presented by the Shop Committee was presented to the Parish Council at a meeting and this work, where possible, has now been completed.
- A Special Meeting which was planned for the end of March with the Shop Committee but under the current restrictions this has had to be suspended.
- The Parish Council do have the funds to complete the outstanding building works on the outside of the building but under the current restrictions are unable to do so.
- In the original documentation agreed by both sides for the Parish Council to spend £20,000 of reserves on this project with a return of £10,000 as a Lease Premium from the Shop Committee to bridge the gap between grants and expenditure, this has not happened due to an overspend by the Shop Committee who now say they have no money?
- The Lease Premium was agreed between the Parish Council and the Shop Committee.
- There had also been considerable funds spent on behalf of the shop facility to provide extra security in the form of alarms and security cameras.
- A simple key safe system for the Community Room is quite adequate to provide easy access to this side of the building for the general public, bowlers etc and in the event of emergencies.
- The front door is the main entrance to this building which complies with insurance policies having a five-point locking system. The other doors on the shop side of the building were originally shown to have a three-point locking system with a fire escape provision. If the Shop Committee require further security then that is their responsibility.
- The planning application for the shop facility clearly stipulates 100 sq. metres of building floor space as it stands the Shop Committee have 110 sq. metres including the front incoming storeroom.
- Warranties for the equipment, such as fridges and freezers, are Parish Council responsibility and not the shop. How this would impact the shops ability to operate in a profitable way is beyond belief.
- The Parish Council do not believe the Shop Committee has acted in a responsible way having considered that the Heads of Terms were not fit for purpose and were hurriedly drawn up to facilitate the integration of a Post Office facility which the Parish Council have spent considerable amounts of money on installing ducting from the new building to the road and under the new floor to the appropriate positions. At this moment in time we have had no update on the post office and feel this has been totally mishandled. This was a vital part of this project particularly aimed at people without transport and the elderly. This part of the project was supposed to bring between £10,000 and £12,000 in funds to install post office equipment, technology and security?
Under the original Head of Terms, the Shop Committee was to pay half of the legal costs – this the Parish Council have not as yet asked them to do.
Under the original Heads of Terms there was no provision for a café area within this shop. The cafe was to form an important role within this facility. We, therefore, had no other option but to follow Solicitors advice and draft a new contract which covered all of these aspects.
- The Parish Council have worked with the Shop Committee in a positive way on this project and have worked many hours to bring this to a positive end but it would seem there is an element within the Shop Committee who strive to discredit the Parish Council in any way possible.
We are all volunteers on the Parish Council and not paid staff. We have all been subjected to a significant amount of abuse, which has led to a formal complaint to the Police, which is being investigated.