20 September 2017

Some Additional Information About the Heritage Centre's Continuance or Closure

Picture courtesy of the Buxton Advertiser

Today's online edition of the Buxton Advertiser carries the following story, published here verbatim:

The future of New Mills Heritage and Information Centre has been thrown into doubt after it emerged that the landlords had reached the ‘end of the relationship’ with the tenants - the town council.

Site owners Maryland Securities Limited says it has not heard from New Mills Town Council since the lease came up for renewal nearly a year ago.

The town council is in charge of the day-to-day running of the facility. But speaking to the Advertiser this week, Maryland associate director Robert Timson said: “We think it is the end of our relationship with the council. “We put the terms of the new lease to them several months ago but they have yet to respond and say whether they are suitable. “Discussions and negotiations have been protracted from their side, we have given them every opportunity to say if they want to stay but heard nothing back.

“We are already making plans on how we can develop the site as we believe the council wish to give notice and look for new premises. “There is no ill-feeling or upset on our part and to some extent the ball is in the council’s court and we await their response.”

The centre - which is run by the town council and is housed in several rooms on the ground floor of a converted building - was opened in July 1989 and attracts 12,000 people every year. But despite the uncertainty surrounding it, town council chairman Barry Bates insisted this week that the authority was ‘committed to the Heritage Centre’. “However, I can’t tell you the council’s plans for the centre’s future because whether we chose to keep the lease on or not has not been fully discussed with councillors and it will have to be put to the vote to see where we go from here,” he said.

The running costs of the centre, which generates income by selling books, maps and trails, are met by the town council. An administrator employed by the town council is responsible for the day-to-day running of the centre and is assisted by a large group of experienced volunteers. The current curatorial adviser is a former member of staff of The Manchester Museum.

Here is the link to the original article in the online edition of the Buxton Advertiser:


12 September 2017

New Mills Heritage Centre May Close After 28 Years

Model of New Mills in circa 1883. The large central empty space is where Union Street now is

Last night's New Mills town council meeting learned that formal Notice to Quit has been served on New Mills Town Council in respect of the New Mills Heritage And Information Centre by the landlord Maryland Securities.

Set up by local history enthusiasts in the late 1980s, its official opening in 1989 was conducted by broadcaster Brian Redhead and local Labour stalwart Marion Williams.

An interesting fact stated in Sir Martin Doughty's 2003 book The Park Under The Town:
"High Peak Borough Council now meets the annual rental costs."  This may explain why some recent correspondents with HPT mistakenly believed the annual cost to the New Mills town council of the Heritage Centre is "only" £5,000 per year.  In fact it costs the New Mills council taxpayers about £14,000 every year, according to the latest accounts prepared for the town council.

The capital cost of converting the then-derelict cellar to house the Heritage Centre was £80,000 in 1989 prices.  This was nearly all public money spent on the project to get it open.

Among other things, the wonderful large but delicate model (pictured) of the town at the time of the key Union Road bridge construction will have to be removed from the Centre and preserved very carefully.

06 September 2017

Secret Ballots In A Council Chamber? The Law’s Antidote

Are you a councillor who craves secret ballots in New Mills town council chamber?

The following comment arrived today at 13:39 from an esteemed HPT reader using the handle 'Protect Democracy' :

"HPT You say Councillors are required by law to vote by a show of hands'

"In the case of co-option, however, this simply isn't true. If you google 'cooption processes for town and parish councils' you will find a variety of co-option measures which include show of hands, secret ballot or a mixture.

"Please check your facts before issuing such statements"

What follows are the law’s two main antidotes to the secret ballot disease starting to afflict certain concealment-happy New Mills town councillors:

Local Government Act 1972, Schedule 12:

Paragraph 13 (1):

Unless otherwise provided by the council’s standing orders the manner of voting at meetings of a parish council shall be by show of hands.

Paragraph 13 (2):

On the requisition of any member of the council the voting on any question shall be recorded so as to show whether each member present and voting gave his vote for or against that question.

And no, the above statute was not located through Google.

Google is more suitable for finding out about Justin Bieber's latest car crash or Wayne Rooney having to sleep on the couch or theories of covert baby ID implants in areas of high immigration or Molly King's secret intention to extend the Curse of Strictly for at least one more series so far as a married male participant is concerned.

Instead of simply being on Google, the above statute governing the voting at town council meetings is available for anybody to view online at the government's official UK Statute Law Database.