POSSIBLE SALE/CHANGE OF THE TINTAGEL VISITOR CENTRE BY THE PARISH COUNCIL
SOME QUESTIONS FOR THE COUNCIL TO ANSWER PLEASE
THIS EMAIL WAS SENT TO THE TINTAGEL PARISH COUNCIL
NEW EMAIL AUGUST 14th 2020
Nancledra, Back Lane, Bossiney. Tintagel PL34 0AU.
Councillor B Vice Chairman Tintagek= Parish Council
Matters Concerning The TVC etc.
Dear Councillor B
I am writing this to you as I am in shock after reading the minutes of the 1st. July 2020 Parish Council Meeting.
In previous meetings you stated that you could only go back three years in the TVC accounts. Now you are claiming that the Parishioners of Tintagel have supported it for eight years and the losses are substantial. Is this just laziness on your part or the results that you would have found would not suit your argument. All accounts are readily available in the Parish Archives and you have been a councillor long enough to know this.
What happened in the first five years that it was open? It made a profit each year and one of the years it was over £5,000 (as in accounts).
On 13th August 2018 there was a meeting of Volunteers and Councillors in the TVC. We were told by the then Councillor B that the TVC had lost £13,000 in the year 1917/1918. The volunteers were agape and many asked "How could it have lost this amount". They were never told how or shown any figures. After this some people wrote to the UNCIL about it. They we told this was harassment. So in nearly two years nothing has been done about the queries.
It had been agreed as the TVC was going to be a Parish asset, the P.C. would pay the loan of £6,000 plus a year and that the VC would cover the £1,000 plus interest on the loan, plus the rates of over £6,000 and the utility costs.
You stated in a recent meeting that the VC had losses of £47,000 plus (minuted). Then when the Clerk did her statement for the Council on the 15th June 2020, she states that the losses were £38,000. Which figure was correct, if either one?
A Councillor stated that one of the problems was short opening hours, but each time it came up the Clerk reported that it was fine and had more volunteers coming on stream. How then was the TVC closed nearly every afternoon? There were in the past two shifts 10am - 1pm and 1pm -4pm (when most people were around). For the first five years it was open 7 days a week throughout the season. Winter mornings only. (Please note the losses have been in the last three years). A Councillor also quoted that it was important to note that the TVC has been closed because of the restrictions imposed by Covid.19. How would this be relevant when lockdown only came in late March 2020? This had little or no impact on the financial year 2019/2020.
I agree with a residentsletter published on the Tintagelweb, especially on the subject of Fixtures and Fittings over £8,000 (nothing wrong with the ones already there). Paper Bags/Card stock £1,369.17, Stationary £832.02, Staff clothing "Sweatshirts"£532.85. I haven't even mentioned V.A.T., and CCTV and New till installed (Till already there was very adequate and quite new). Was this a responsible thing to do if the TVC was losing so much money??? It would also be interesting to know what proportion of the £6,000 plus rates is attributed to the toilets at the VC.
The most relevant question to be asked here. 'Why did so many experienced volunteers resign over the last three years, who actually ran the TVC with Tintagel Parish Council Volunteers and two previous clerks, AND made profits?'
Now the audited 2019/2020 accounts reveal that the Clerk has been allocated a further 10 hours for the TVC (15 hours per week in total). Could you please, tell me WHEN this was passed by the TPC and who proposed and seconded this. An in-depth search of the published minutes produced no record of this being done. The Clerk has 15 hours a week to administer the TVC and she is also the R.F.O., so if the TVC was in so much financial trouble, why was this great expenditure not stopped by the R.F.O. It was a directive, sent out by the Clerk that all purchases for sale had to be approved by the Clerk and the Chairman. So who can be held accountable for the losses?
It is interesting Councillor B that you refer to the Chairman of the time when the TVC was purchased. This was my husband and that he said "There was a requirement to run the facility as a VC for three years". It was kept open as the first five years it made a profit each year, so there was no need for anything to change.
On the evening of the 1st. July when the decision was made to close the VC and use it as a Community Centre/ Hub, no further figures or breakdown was given for the losses. Equally No figures were given on estimated costs for conversion of the building. NO mention of figures were given for the remaining stock in the VC and how it was going to be disposed of. NO mention of the commitment that had been made to the advertisers in the "Visit Tintagel" brochure. Are they going to be reimbursed ??? The slipshod way in which these proposals were made and voted on speaks volumes of how the TVC has lost so much money over the last three years. I'm afraid it has to be attributed to the Councillors and Clerk.
Also what is the £30,000 allocated for solicitors? This is approx. a quarter of the Parish Precept. Is this a responsible act with Parishioners money and for what?
I am writing this to you as at meetings you have been the instigator and proposer of these decisions. It is useless to write to the Clerk, as her reply would be that we were being "Vexatious, Harassing and Bullying her and the council will not be entering into any more correspondence"
Finally I understand your wife is heavily involved with the local Brownies. As in the discussion of the new use of the VC as a community hub, it was mentioned that the Brownies could be one of the groups benefitting from this new facility. As the instigator of the closure of the VC and its conversion into a Community Hub. Is there a conflict of interest here?
I await your reply.
(Did not get one) Webmaster
A Very Concerned Parishioner
C. Wickett (Mrs.)
EMAIL AUGUST 14th 2020
I have just seen your survey on Tintagelwebsite. While I think that surveys to know public opinion are good. Like an Ex Councillor said "Ask a few people you know survey" and your "online surveys" are both flawed.
The only true survey is a Parish Referendum. This would be costly and unnecessary as I am certain the Parish would say "They have made their decision and it cannot be revisited for 6 months. What is really questionable is "Why and how did the Visitors Centre lose so much money in the last three years?" What is the true figure? "Is it Cllr. B. figure, or the Clerks, or neither?
Most of these questions are in my wife's letter to Cllr. ...... which after a week has not been answered or acknowledged.
What I would urge you to do is to campaign on your website and encourage the people of Tintagel to request the Parish Council to hold as soon as possible its Annual Parish Meeting (postponed in May). This meeting would contain Reports from the Chairman and Clerk. It would also give Parishioners the chance to ask any question they wish to the Parish Council.
I completely agree wih Roger Wickett that the Council MUST have a PUBLIC MEETING before our village makes an
unnecessary RUSHED DECISION which it may well regret
There will be a NEW COUNCIL from next May 2021 so THEY should handle this matter with an OPEN MIND!!
LATEST EMAIL FROM BARRY JORDAN REGARDING THE COUNCIL'S DECISION TO INVOLVE A SOLICITOR AND COSTS!!
WHY ARE THE COUNCIL SO WORRIED ABOUT LOCAL PARISHONERS KNOWING FULL FINANCIAL DETAILS??
Received today from Tintagel PC solicitors, as the Cornwall Council’s elected representative is this the right way for the council to be using ratepayers money just to try and stop access to the PC’s accounts, who approved this expenditure and what have the council got to hide?
This is a total waste of tax payers money and the people of Tintagel need to be made aware of this and they should be asking to have full disclosure into this waste and a full investigation into the accounts.
Sent via BT Email App
From: Crook, Jeremy
Sent: Aug 5, 2020 at 4:45 PM
To: BARRY JORDAN
Subject: Our Client: Tintagel Parish Council [S-S.FID9397797]
Dear Mr Jordan
We act for Tintagel Parish Council and write further to your recent request to inspect our client’s accounts and accounting records for the year ending 31 March 2020 (the Accounts). Please ensure that you direct all further correspondence for our client to this firm, and not our client direct, until further notice.
Our client is happy for you to inspect the Accounts at the Tintagel Visitor Centre at 2pm on Friday 14th August. If you are arriving by car, please feel free to park in the public car park. Please note that in accordance with our client’s Notice of Public Rights and Publication of Unaudited Annual Governance & Accountability Return in relation to the Accounts, you must inspect alone and wear an appropriate face mask whilst doing so. You will note that our client also reserves its right to arrange for security to be present during your inspection.
Should you have any queries arising from your inspection, please forward them to me in the first instance and I will provide them to our client.
Finally, I would also be grateful if you could please confirm in what capacity you are inspecting the accounts. I understand you are not a local elector or a journalist. Accordingly, please kindly confirm on what basis you consider yourself to be an interested person in accordance with section 26(1) of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 (as amended by the Local Audit (Public Access to Documents) Act 2017.
For and on behalf of Stephens Scown LLP
Commercial Dispute Resolution
Taken from the June minutes of Tintagel Parish Council
THESE MINUTES CAN BE READ ON THE TINTAGEL PARISH COUNCIL PAGE ON THIS SITE
Councillor B stated that the only three viable options for the building were: • To sell the building and re-invest the monies (minus the amount outstanding on the PWL); • To lease the building to a third party, or; • To use the building as a community space (this option would incur some costs). The Clerk advised that, should the Members elect to sell the building, there would be a need to fully advertise the same and ensure that ‘best value’ was achieved. Councillor A felt that the facility should be given a further year to operate. However, it was agreed that the future use of the facility would be decided at the next meeting on 1st July 2020.
Support Tintagel Visitor Centre 4th July
Tintagel Visitor Centre
When the Visitors Centre was acquired by Tintagel Parish Council at least 2 or 3 Public Meetings took place and the consensus was in favour of the purchase take place.
I consoder it only right and proper that if a disposal of the Visitors Centre is being contemplaed by the Parish Council, a similar Public Meeting
should be held to allow parishoners to have their say. Paticualarly in the light of restricted access to the Council during the lockdown period!
Comment By The Webmaster
I completely agree with this correspondent and the Tintagel Parish Council MUST ACT DEMOCRATICALY
Have a Special Meeting on the future of the Visitor Centre and ask Questions to see why the financial position of the Centre turned to a
This is what I posted on Facebook Wednesday July 1st 2020
This evening I listened in to the Tintagel Parish Council meeting, I have withdrawn my support of that council because of the abuse and
threats that were made against me. They made reports to Cornwall Council which were a pack of lies,
I was not in attendance at one of the meetings where I was accused of berating the clerk.
The Clerk even contacted a Cornwall Councillor and threatened to ‘get me’.
She made public this evening a confidential document that I have appealed against because I only received the paperwork yesterday and have not had
the chance get the appeal done That leaves to door open for me to go public tomorrow, Radio Cornwall and Laurence Reed will be the start
It would appear that although it says confidential on the notice it is not. I tried to record it last night but she must have refused it.
On Facebook Friday July 3rd 2020
Following last nights post, unfortunately Laurence Reed cut me of before I could say what I wanted to put in the public domain.
The Tintagel Parish Clerk, says I accused her of stealing, totally untrue, that is her version
because I sent an Freedom. Of Information for the accounts plus other things and it was refused, which is unlawful.
From their website for 2019/20
Balance carried over from 2018/19. £173,914
Income 2019/20. £147,996
Expenses 2019/20. £160,562
Leaving a balance of. £161,348
Balance in all accounts 31/03/2020. £66,950
So there is a deficit of £93,612 unaccounted for
At last night meeting she stated she had found another account with £56,000 in, she has been the clerk for over 3 years
How come she has just uncovered this account.
Now in conversations with members of the public we don’t know if this is bad accounting,
total incompetence or the result of someone who doesn’t know what they are doing,
I will leave you to think what you want, but losing £93,612 is not something to brush over
so now I have to contact the Police Fraud Squad or else that makes me an accomplice, and the HMRC VAT office
will need to be informed. If it is just incompetence that would mean the the people of Tintagel have no need to worry.
It was with some interest that we read the statement on your website – appertaining to Tintagel Visitor Centre. It is perhaps a pity that the author of the commentary was unwilling to add his, or her, name to the piece.
It is clear from the quotation from the Parish Council Minutes for May 2020, that the author of this statement has been rather selective in his, or her, offering to the public. He, or she, has clearly omitted the fact that the Visitor Centre has made substantial losses for a lengthy period of time, and that those losses are being met by the Parishioners of Tintagel. Nor is the fact that one suggestion under consideration is the creation of a community space for Parishioners alluded to. The author was evidently aware of the comments raised (clearly articulated in published minutes) a month ago – yet pens his, or her, statement a few days prior to the next Parish Council Meeting. How could this individual have been so negligent? - failing to provide adequate notice to Parishioners of his, or her, opposition and disgust and offering an early opportunity to object to any changes relating to the TVC?
Yet, in his, or her, statement, there is no cohesive argument put forward to justify why such a facility should be retained, or highlighting the perceived benefits that the facility brings to the village. Does he, or she, ask how many Parishioners use the Visitor Centre? Do they object to financing the centre? – not a bit of it!
Tintagel is an area of severe deprivation, as attested to by the Index of Multiple Deprivation. Is it fair that those who are struggling to meet their financial and social commitments should unnecessarily bear the costs of a loss making enterprise? Perhaps the author of the letter does not share the hardships of those who are struggling. The principle, that the poor should finance the wealthy, was clearly disabused at the time of the French Revolution.
Despite inferences to the contrary, the public has had a month to register any views which they hold in respect of the suggestions made about the TVC at the last Parish Council meeting. Only ONE has been received (on 29th June 2020).
The author of the statement has also provided erroneous and misleading advice to readers. Whilst the Parish Council Meetings are ‘virtual’, our published agenda clearly advises Parishioners that they can access the Meetings by requesting a link to the same.
I would like to offer my view on the Tintagel Visitor Centre if I may.
First of all, can I emphasise that it is my just my thoughts and views. I have no political or personal agenda other than I live here. We moved to Tintagel about 18 months ago although we have lived in the area for some ten years.
I was interested in looking at current affairs of the parish council as, shortly after moving in, a planning application was made that directly affects us. So that is the circumstance of my viewing the minutes.
To me the TVC is a conundrum about which I have questions and views. I do not profess to know the way forward but just feel the need to say something.
It is said that the TVC is needed for the visitors, paid for by the Parishioners and owned by the Parish Council.
The financial losses would indicate that the visitors don’t need (use) it enough! Or would it be fair to say that it could be that the TVC don’t offer more of what the visitors need. Do we know what that is? There must be some idea as it was decided that whatever it is can be done on a smaller scale in Trevena Square.
I read that the losses have been substantial and two years ago, the TVC was given a year to turn itself around. Although it wasn’t required to make a profit, it did need to break even. (I am from a business background so I apologise for using the terminology I am familiar with in this context) but who was put in to ‘ manage’ this or given the ‘project’ to achieve the goals required? I am not familiar with the ways of Parish Councils so I may have missed this.
Another option was community use but would that not need to be managed also? Is there a way that the ‘use’ could raise funds towards the cost? Would this use impact on the Social Hall?
It could be sold. It would be great to see our payments to the council go down but I doubt they will! Lease / rent to a third party? What is the criteria here? Any restrictions?
In fairness I think I have been in the TVC less than a handful of times since moving here. Mainly because it was usually closed but also because there is no draw or attraction.
I understand that minutes are there to be read so in theory everyone had a voice to agree or object. (Although it is noted that March, May and June have only just been uploaded to Tintagel Web ) In practise not everyone has the technology, the ability or indeed, the inclination to go through ‘council speak’. Please don’t take offence, it is just an archaic form of writing that is not found in many businesses now. My view is that given the diversity of the village a public meeting should be held to get the views of the locals or that the area is canvassed to gain opinion……
…… then came along Covid-19.
It seems that a decision is going to be made without the village contributing and I did feel a little miffed at this because the Coronavirus has taken over our lives quite dramatically often to the exclusion of anything else. I am torn between ‘well somebody has to make a decision’ and ‘everyone has to be part of the decision’.
In summary, it would be sad to see the TVC go but if it is not serving it’s purpose can it be repurposed to suit the village?
On another note, also mentioned in the minutes, (March) is aggression and bullying. Absolute zero tolerance should be applied here. Whoever is involved for whatever reason. Totally unacceptable behaviour.
Although I would like to observe / attend the virtual meeting we are victims of the Cornish wifi. It dips in and out constantly. So, I look forward to the minutes.
Hi David Flower,
Having only just read the latest parish council minutes I am aghast at the proposal of the thinking, behind almost closed doors,
of the selling of one the most beautiful designed Visitor Centres in North Cornwall.
I have been a volunteer since 2010 there and until I had to retire due to poor health at the end of last year, this was a enjoyable time.
In all the years I was there meeting and helping the visitors to enjoy our beautiful surroundings and being very much a local lass born in the local area and knew where to send folk if they were tracing their family tree. I knew who they could contact the family themselves and these people were amazed and grateful that that some one so local, knew all about their family and most often those who were asking came from outside of England. In one instance a family from New Zealand were even part of even my own husbands family tree and we met up with them that evening. One of the many aspects of a visitor centre that Is what we have here and IT SHOUD NOT BE SOLD. The Parishioners gave its blessing to purchase and
Build it in the first place AND they should BE CONSULTED AGAIN if it should BE SOLD and it Should not even be up for Discussion at ALL.
COVID-19 is not our fault and should be not be blamed because there is no income coming in at the moment at this present moment of time. In the past The Centre made a small profit and we paid our way with the very happy band of VOLUNTEERS that we had and we could back them. Open from 10am - 4-30pm and no problems at all.
All of us gave our time so there was no charge to our Council at all. All or / most people coming through our door WOULD ALL SAY WHAT A BEAUTIFUL BUILDING IT WAS
and how LUCKY TINTAGEL WAS IN HAVING THIS GREAT ASSET HERE for them to enjoy and they would sign our VISITOR BOOK with that in mind.
PARISH COUNCIL JUST THINK BEFORE YOU GET RID OF IT. This Pandemic will go sometime AND WE WILL BE LEFT with nothing. The FUTURE is there and we will be great AGAIN.
from a loyal dedicated Volunteer who Just Wishes She could come back again and greet the return of people again.
PLEASE GIVE THE TINTAGEL VISITOR CENTRE ANOTHER CHANCE
TINTAGEL VISITOR CENTRE
The villagers of Tintagel BACKED the Council when they decided to buy the Visitor Centre from the
Cornwall County Council.
To think they are going to decide whether to sell the building I'm afraid is out of order!.
The CORONA VIRUS is still in Cornwall and now the Council want to sel/closel the building without first asking the villagers?!
This should be delayed to seek some questions from the local people on why this situation has arrived
and what can be done to rectify this valuable asset to OUR Council and Village
I personally am very unhappy with this sudden decision without seeking the people of Tintagel's views!
If the people want to sell it thats fine but we MUST have our views before such a decision is made by the Council
What are your views.
Please let you own local website have your thoughts and they will be printed on the website.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or 01840 770775
David Flower (Webmaster)