Steering group meetings

See below for the Minutes of the Steering Group meetings held on 5th January (1), 2nd February (2), 16th February (3), 2nd March (4),  23rd March (5), and 13th April (6).

Steering Group meeting 1

Lacy Thompson Hall, 7.30pm, 5th January 2015

This was the first meeting of Hallbankgate Hub and was initially presented and organised by Steve Bowles and followed on from the public meeting held in the hall on the 9th December 2014.

Those present at this meeting had offered to become part of a Steering Group which would explore the possibility of starting a community shop in Hallbankgate, by electing committee members and forming working groups.

Steve gave an update of the events so far which were:

  • Public meeting attended by about 100 people in the village hall. Questionnaire from that meeting showed strong support for a community shop and for this to be carried forward by the formation of a steering group.
  • Application to the city council to have the shop designated as a community asset.
  • Small group met our MP Rory Stewart and county councillor Laurence Fisher both of whom offered their support.
  • Plunkett Foundation contacted and made aware of our intentions. Information about the Foundation and the support they can offer distributed to the steering group.
  • Scotmid contacted by both phone and email to obtain information regarding any support they can offer and how the shop is to be sold and when.

This meeting on the 5th January 2015 of the steering group.

Short Power Point presentation on “How to set up a community Enterprise” This gave us information on Plunkett and their role and some statistics which showed how successful community shops can be and the steps that we need to take from here.

Election of the committee.

Chair – John Foster

Secretary/contact person – Chris Lloyd

Treasurer – Steve Bowles.

It was agreed that these roles could be rotated in the future and that it was important that we all work together and have clear and transparent communication so that all members know what is going on at any particular time. Chris Lloyd said that she would be away during the months of April and May and a replacement secretary will be needed during that time.

Our aims and objectives were discussed.

Points made in discussion included:

  • We shouldn’t simply assume that we are trying to preserve the shop as presently configured – this must depend on what turns out to be feasible and what community consultation shows is wanted, including services / functions not currently provided.
  • Are the stock lines what are required? – it’s not clear on what basis they are selected, nor whether they actually reflect what people want.
  • Some people don’t use the shop currently because the opening hours aren’t convenient, or aren’t sufficiently publicised.

It was agreed that our broad working aim should be to establish in Hallbankgate a retail facility meeting the identified needs of the community and offering other desired community facilities and benefits as far as possible.

Chris will draw up on this basis a Memorandum of Association in line with the suggested Plunkett template and distribute to everyone as soon as possible for formal adoption at the next meeting. It was agreed that this was important and may be a document that is required by funding bodies and supporters.

How to Proceed:


This is seen as a priority as the information gathered will be important in future decision making.

Plunkett have a sample questionnaire which was distributed.

Aimee agreed to lead on this, adapt the questionnaire for Hallbankgate and set up a working group. She will contact members for help in distribution and collection of the forms and the results will be available for our next meeting.

Visits to other shops.

It was agreed that this is something we should be doing and needs to be organised. Aimee’s group would include this in their broad ‘research’ remit for the time being.

Website and Facebook Page.

The Parish Council have been considering a website for a while and Steve will approach them at the next meeting to see if they will proceed with this and fund a website that will include a page on the village shop. It was agreed that a website is essential, particularly in informing the village about what progress is being made.

It was agreed that the ideal would be to have a village website that included news on the shop and not just a website for the shop. Peter Lloyd will gather quotes for this to give to Steve before the next PC meeting.

Janet offered to open a Facebook page and will let us know when this is done. Any contributions to the page would be done through Janet.

Business Plan.

Scotmid have offered to meet with us within the next month to see what help they can offer and to discuss our business plan so this is also something that needs to be done soon.

Walter Corbet agreed to lead on this and will work on an initial business plan which will be presented at the next meeting. It was agreed that the business plan might change over time especially as we have not yet decided which model of community shop we will follow.

Robin presented a diagram that he has devised which shows the different areas we need to consider. I have attached this to the email.

The name of the group was discussed and we are to be called the Hallbankgate Hub.


It was agreed that initially we need some start-up funds and a bank account.

Chris will call in at the Cumberland Building Society tomorrow to set up a bank account with three signatories.

Steve will ask the PC for some money to enable us to cover costs for items such as printing. The sum of £500 was suggested.


Steve has been contacted by the Cumberland News and will report back to them about this meeting. Aimee has agreed to coordinate and also instigate press releases and publicity.

The meeting ended at 10pm.

Date of next meeting: Monday 2nd February . Lacy Thompson Hall supper room. 7.30pm

Steering Group meeting 2

Lacy Thompson, 7.30pm, 2nd February 2015.


John Foster Chair. Christine Lloyd Secretary. Steve Bowles Treasurer.

Jessica Barron. Paul Barron. Walter Corbet. Ray Hinton. Richard Stamp. Stew Consterdine. Sue Consterdine. Linda Harman-Jones. Jacky Williams. Edna Eagleton. Tracey Gill. Duncan Sperry. Peter Lloyd. Rose Foster. Janet Lambert.


Charlotte Fretwell. Aimee Barber. Anne Radcliffe. Stella Howatt. Elaine Clark. Alison Hobson.

Minutes of the Last Meeting.


Matters Arising:

Treasurers Report

Steve requested some “seed corn funding” from the Parish Council and they have given us £200.00 which will be used towards the costs of setting up the website. They also took on the printing of 450 copies of the questionnaires for us. We had requested more than this but Steve pointed out that they don’t have large funds and it is more appropriate for us to apply to the Parish Trust for funds when the time comes.

A bank account has been set up in the name of Hallbankgate Hub. Steve Chris and John are signatories.

Memorandum of Association.

This is the agreed basis that will take us forward to forming whichever legal entity we become so needs to be incorporated and agreed.

The Name Hallbankgate Hub was questioned by Linda but there were no further objections to the name which has by now been used on all documentation including the bank account.

Two items that need to be added to the document.

  • Frequency of Steering Group meetings.
  • Membership of the Steering Group.

Pete said that he felt anyone should be able to attend.

Duncan feels there is a need for terms of reference.

Chris felt that 2 levels might be appropriate – a steering group and a public forum.

Rose used the Clapham example. Steve mentioned the questionnaire at the original public meeting where people asked to be kept informed.

After discussion, it was agreed that the Steering Group should be a welcoming and inclusive group for anyone in the village who had an interest in the hub and wished to be practically involved. This allows us to have a “bank” of people with expertise that can be called upon and the ability to create specialist groups with specific tasks. This doesn’t exclude all those people who filled in the questionnaire at the original public meeting who are interested but not actively involved. They will be kept informed and can join the steering group at any time.

Meetings at least monthly or when necessary.

Chris will add these items to the Memorandum.

ScotMid meeting

This took place this morning.

It was an encouraging meeting with Malcolm Brown Head of Communications at Scotmid and Jim Harper, Regional Manager. Members of our group were: Steve Bowles. John Foster. Christine Lloyd. Peter Lloyd. Janet Lambert. Ray Hinton. Duncan Sperry. Walter Corbet.

ScotMid have indicated a selling price of £70,000 including fittings. Stock would have to be negotiated. They appear to be serious and willing to help us succeed although we don’t know if this is a fair price or not until we have had surveys and valuations.

Steve had suggested that we lease the shop from them for a peppercorn rent for a certain amount of time. They thought that the answer to this would possibly be no but they would have to consult with their property people and would give us an answer to this within 48hours.

Renting at a commercial rate could be between £7-8000 a year and was not thought to be a feasible option.

Even though this was later on the agenda Steve was asked to update us on the application to make the shop a Community Asset as this had relevance in the discussion regarding the sale of the shop.

The application was started on the 6th of January. A decision will be made by the beginning of March. If it is deemed a community asset then we have 6 months of protected time to make a bid.

We were assured that If we buy it as a going concern we would have no responsibility for the staff or TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment) arrangements

Building needs to be surveyed for which we need finance.

Plunket would grant us £2000 as a pump primer if we need to raise at least £10,000.

Stew asked what are we buying? It is the shop, the buildings opposite and the approach road.

Alternative proposals.

Pete – portacabin. This could be researched in parallel to any ongoing negotiations with Scotmid. Richard estimated startup costs for a Portacabin with all services to be in the region of – £ 20 – 30,000. It would then need to be fitted out and the cost of that is unknown at the moment.

Would need planning permission and a site.

Jacky. Has Farlam Church been considered? They need the space to be used and there are examples of churches being used as community shops. ? Too far from HBG?

Is there any land available?

Time is an issue and their time scale may change.

Duncan: Scotmid have asked for a proposal. Nothing is legally binding. We can ask for an “air lock” where no other bidders can come in. Even at the end of that negotiations may not conclude as we want them to.

The Business Group are now tasked with creating a detailed business plan which will be presented to ScotMid in 3 weeks’ time.

Report from Groups.

IT and web development.

Janet has been working extremely hard on the website. Unable to show it on the projector tonight but Peter described the layout of the website.

Request for photos of Hallbankgate and the surrounding area. Home page. History. Round and About. The present shop. Links to businesses. News and events. Documents.

Not restricted in the number of pages it can have.

Facebook Page over 600 likes which is very good. Hundreds of comments.

Stew suggested we have a logo for Hallbankgate Hub. Chris will approach Hallbankgate School to see if they would be interested in having a “design a Logo” competition. If they are unable to do this we could organise a competition for anyone in the area to take part.

Research and Media.

The main focus of this group has been the distribution, collection and analysis of the questionnaire. Rose has put together an initial impression of the results which haven’t been finally analysed as yet. This will be attached to these minutes.

Business Planning

Brain storming to start. Ideas and then projected into a plan going forward.

Looked at opportunities. Local supply. Community purchasing. Provision of community services.

Key people villagers. Partners. Other traders.

Main milestones. Making the hub known and all the work that has been done. Acquiring the premises and deciding a legal entity.

Need some sort of constitution and set up a viable community shop.

Marketing plan – is the least well developed at this stage.

Operational Plan. Creating a business plan. Research on other similar ventures.

Financial Plan. Spreadsheet.

Management structure as it is at the moment and the skills available within the community.

Need to understand about supply – where we get stuff from.

Have done a SWAT analysis.

PO counter is the most urgent facility as they have an end date in the HBG shop.

Also have looked at sources of funding.

Maybe a small group should be formed to visit other shops. This could be the function of the media group.

Scotmid want a business plan in three weeks.

Duncan is willing to be part of this group and Rose will contact someone from the questionnaire who is a bank manager and has offered to help.

First draft document from the business group in one weeks’ time.

To be sent to the secretary for circulation.

Post Office.

Ray will send out an email re the costs and timings of the service.

Need to identify how much funding we need and how we can get it. Duncan will work out the details of that.

Plunkett Support Form.

The Plunkett Foundation will offer us certain types of expert advice. This is a free service and would be for a limited number of sessions that would be decided between us and them. They have sent us a form which needs to be filled in and sent back to them as soon as possible. The options were displayed and the area decided as high priority were:

Specialist Business Advisor.

Establishing a Legal Structure.

Community Share issues.

They meet every Tuesday to allocate this support and it would be available to us about 2 weeks later. So this is a three week wait.

In the meantime Chris contacted an organisation called SECOD (Social Enterprise and Co-operative Development) and one of their group – Howard Long is willing to come and talk to us soon. Chris and Pete Lloyd offered to host an informal meeting with Howard at their house on a date to be arranged and it is hoped that everyone will be able to attend that. An email will be sent out soon regarding this.

Email Protocol.

There have been a lot of emails flying back and forth. Initial thoughts were that it needed to be more organised but now not so sure – it’s up to the individual who they email and who they reply to.

But an exception might be:

  • In the interests of everybody knowing what’s going on, if somebody wants to email the “village group” or the Steering Group then please do that through the secretary. The email list is being added to all the time and the secretary is the only person with that up to date list.It would be ok to “reply all” to that if you had a comment that you wished to be publicly aired.
  • Reports from groups to go through the secretary and then out to everyone.
  • Blind Carbon Copy – is this necessary? Someone has commented that they like to know who else has got that email and they find blind copy unfriendly and possibly unnecessary. If someone wishes for their email address to be hidden that could be done so please let Chris know. She will leave other email addresses visible if people say that is ok for them. We may be breaking data protection issues if we reveal email addresses so emails to the larger “village” group should be done with BCC.Any email sent with a blind copy should state in the subject box what the email is about and which group has received

A protocol for emails may be something that evolves over time and any thoughts or opinions on this would be welcome!

Date of next Public Meeting.

The aim of this meeting is to update the rest of the community on where we are so far and to also report on the Questionnaire findings. The committee will get together and make a date which is expected to be soon after the SECOD meeting.

Steve will check on hall availability for this.

Any Other Business

Research group. Due to pressure of work Aimee has stepped down from this group. She achieved a lot in the time she was with the group and organised the content, printing, distribution and collection of the questionnaires. Thanks to Aimee and we hope to see her at future meetings if her time allows.

Walter commented that only some us in the group use and look at social media and that we need to recognise its importance. It will play an important role in the future of this project by keeping people informed and gathering support for the Hub.

Duncan – Sale and Purchase agreement. When this is formulated we will need a solicitor to check it. This could be expensive and we would like the service of a solicitor for free! Janet told us that the Friends of Blencathra Group have had the services of a high powered legal person since they started and that it is possible if we ask through Facebook someone may come forward. Walter may know of someone and will follow that up.

Next Steering Group Meeting.

Lacy Thompson Hall, 7.30pm, 16th February 2015

 Steering Group meeting 3

16th February 2015, Lacy Thompson Hall, Hallbankgate7.30pm


John Foster Chair. Christine Lloyd Secretary. Steve Bowles Treasurer. Stew Consterdine. Sue Consterdine. Linda Harman-Jones. Jacky Williams. Edna Eagleton. Tracey Gill. . Peter Lloyd. Rose Foster. Tim Arndt. Simon Dalton. Janet Lambert.


Robin Murray. Sandy Murray. Duncan Sperry.

Minutes of the Last Meeting.

Agreed as a true record.

 Matters Arising:

  • Website up and running. Members asked to interact with the website and add comments to keep it alive and vibrant!
  • Logo competition. Jacky has taken on this project and has produced a draft design plan. She has approached Hallbankgate School and is awaiting a decision from them which she should have after half term.
  • Howard Long visit. All agreed that this was a really useful and enjoyable evening particularly in hearing about the Nenthead experience. Howard emailed Peter and mentioned that Penrith Coop are clearing out lots of old stuff that may be memorabilia for us. He has asked them to put any documents/ledgers etc that pertain to HBG to one side.
  • Howard also recommended 3 useful websites:

Public meeting.

It was felt that as we are in a very “in between” stage at the moment with little concrete news we should postpone a public meeting until we have something definite to report. Steve offered to put together a newsletter to update people as to where we are. This would be emailed to all village contacts and Linda suggested that it could be distributed with the next village news. Steve said he would ask Ian Howatt if this would be possible. It could also go on the notice board outside the village shop and the village hall.

Questionnaire survey.

This is now on the website. Thanks to Rose for all her work on this

Business Plan

There have been changes in the organization of the business aspect which will now be led forward by the committee as a whole.

All figures are provisional at the moment. It is work on the way to a business plan and leads to incorporation and fund raising.

This is a business plan for purchasing the existing premises.

Scotmid have not yet provided us with a profit and loss account but have given us stock figures today.

A discussion on the continuation of the PO concluded that we need more clarity and information on this issue.

Community Assett bid – results due this week or early next week. If it is designated as an asset of community value Scotmid will then be unable to sell it to anyone else for 6 months.

After discussion it was agreed:

  • to work on the basis of the provisionally proposed staffing model and opening hours;
  • to explore options for a level of post office service somewhere between outreach and the full Post Office Local service;
  • to configure the bid to ScotMid on the basis of the projected financial estimates tabled, subject to their being firmed up as far as possible by further information from ScotMid and elsewhere;
  • to accept the draft Business Plan as a whole as setting the framework for going forward.


There was unanimous decision that we should become a Society for the Benefit of the Community (formerly an Industrial and Provident Society for the Benefit of the Community) This is the model favoured by Plunkett and the majority of Community Shops nationwide.

Treasurers Report

£200.00 from the PC – spent approx. £70.00 for website. £10.00 expenses to Howard Long. Income:£34.00 donations from jazz night.

Balance £150.01

  • Structural Survey.

The provision and payment for a structural survey has been donated by Sandy Murray. Chris to email Sandy with thanks. Steve will negotiate access to the premises. John will contact Malcolm Brown for permission to access the premises.

  • Parish Trust application for funds.

PT meets on the 11th of March. Steve has indicated that HH will be putting in an application for funding. Steve and John will apply on behalf of the group.

Visiting Other Shops

Pete had put together a list of suggested shops to be visited and a list of questions to act as guidelines on the areas to be covered and information that will be useful to us. The list will act on a first come first served and Pete must be contacted and told which shops people are planning to visit so that it can be taken off the list.

It was felt that these visits need to be done soon and a feedback session arranged.with photos.


It was agreed that we need a member of the group to be responsible for communicating with the media. Aimee found that finding the time to do this was difficult due to work and other commitments and for now Jacky has offered to fill her place. Jenny Brown who is the Cumberland News journalist for the Brampton area will contact Jacky to establish initial contact.

Rory Stewart Visit 28th February.

Rory is holding a surgery in HBG village hall at 3pm . We will arrange a “photo shoot” at the shop with him for approximately 3pm.Councillor Sid Bowman will drop off some leaflets to place around the village beforehand.


Meeting with John Mills. Friday the 20th February. All are invited to The Old School House for pizza on Friday the 20th February. 6.30pm to eat or 7.30pm to meet and chat with John who is ex Chief Executive of Penrith Coop.

Janet. Request from Molly Matcham, photographer. She is undertaking a personal project following the Hallbankgate Hub and would like to take photos of individuals from the group outside their own houses. She will contact members about this.

Date of next meeting:

2nd March 7.30pm Hallbankgate Village Hall.


 Steering Group meeting 4

2nd March 2015, Lacy Thompson Hall. Hallbankgate 7.30pm


John Foster Chair. Christine Lloyd Secretary. Steve Bowles Treasurer. Stew Consterdine. Sue Consterdine.   Edna Eagleton.   Peter Lloyd. Rose Foster. Janet Lambert. Richard Stamp. Ray Hinton. David Jones. David Hayward. Renee Bales. Jacky Williams.


Robin Murray. Sandy Murray. Duncan Sperry. Tracy Gill.

Minutes of the Last Meeting.

Agreed as a true record.

 Matters Arising:

John Mills meeting. Felt to be helpful and he gave us good background information about how the shop functioned when it was owned by Penrith Coop. Since the meeting John has told JF that Scotmid are taking us seriously! Also put us in touch with a legal person with regard to TUPE. John Mills has said that he will keep in touch with the group and that he is willing to help if he can in the future.

Treasurers Report.


RS had a look round on Wednesday which was the same day as the Edwin Thompson survey. No report yet from John Hayley the Edwin Thompson surveyor but he told Steve that it could take 4-5 days so may receive it sometime this week.

RS appraisal. Repointing the external kerbage. Problems with RWP’s and drainage. Windows need replacing round the back.The remainder is decoration. Alarms and electrics are relatively modern. RS will circulate his report.

SB will circulate the survey results as soon as we get them.

Is there a plan to do a structural survey? SB thinks the ET survey will be enough. DH – structural survey is very different and would look at all issues including building regulations, flying freeholds and access.

DH will cost a full structural survey.

Rate Relief.

Rateable value is £9500.00. If business rates were paid they would be £4000 pa approx. Small business relief only kicks in at below £7000. £2660 is what we would have to pay. Rural rate relief is given on discretion.

Retail relief £1500 off. £1160 is what we would have to pay at the moment. If designated as a charity £883.00 . JF- this is something that Rory Stewart may be able to help us with by writing to the council on our behalf.

Parish Trust application for funds has been submitted today. SB has written to all the members of the Trust explaining why we need this funding. Members of the PT don’t normally find out what the requests are until the actual meeting which only lasts half an hour prior to the full Parish Council Meeting. It was felt that they needed to be prepared as it is a significant amount of money. We have requested £20,000 plus £3000 per year for the next 3 years. The decision would be carried through on a majority vote.

JF interviewed by Jenny Brown at the Cumberland News today and has mentioned the PTapplication for funding. He felt that the PT group should be aware of this.

Community Asset

SB apologized about how the news “leaked out” and was not declared to everyone at the same time.

Good news is that we do have CA status which lasts 6 months and we have 6 weeks to declare our right to bid. Then until the 20th of August and Scotmid cannot sell it to anyone else in the meantime.

Steve has been told verbally by Adrian Lorimer (Estate manager for Scotmid) that they will sell us the shop premises only and that they intend to sell the sheds and the track separately. The PC only applied for CA for the shop as part of the rest of the property is rented. CA status is nothing to do with title – it can be part of the asset.

JF will question the issue of the track and sheds in his next communication with Scotmid.

This issue caused some discussion and questions raised as to whether we are being treated fairly and openly by Scotmid.

PL suggested that we request another meeting with Scotmid as at our original meeting they said they would meet with us again. He also suggested that Howard Long be invited as an “independent observer”

SB suggested that Adrian Lorimer be asked to attend as well.

Report back on Plunkett visit.

Charlotte Foster who is our allocated adviser from Plunkett met with us on Saturday the 28th of February. Her task after meeting us and hearing of what we have done so far is to develop an action plan of where we go from here. This will assist us in moving towards incorporation and a bursary of £2000 which will help with setting up costs. We expect to receive Charlotte’s report within the next 4-5 working days.

A short verbatim report of the meeting will be attached to these minutes.

Following the meeting with Charlotte a group of us met with Rory Stewart as part of his surgery in Hallbankgate. We were also photographed with him outside the shop and this will form part of a press release to the Cumberland News.

Decision on level and timing of bid to Scotmid

JF doesn’t think we are at the point where we can do this yet but we do need to be thinking about how much time we have got to do this.

Suggest we discuss this at the next meeting.

We still require 3 years of accounts from Scotmid – Charlotte from Plunkett advised that this is our right and that we cannot proceed with any serious negotiations without these figures. We cannot perform due diligence without these figures as we don’t know what we are bidding for.

PL suggested we set up a temporary shop to cover any break in shop services that might occur. DJ suggests that we could refurbish at the same time as keeping the shop open.

Steve raised the” moral argument” about the historical aspect of the shop being gifted to both Penrith Coop and Scotmid.

Organisational issues.

At the moment we act as one big steering group and there is no allocation of specific tasks. John has drawn up a paper that had been previously distributed which suggested the following areas where task groups need to be formed. These groups will act independently and will have one spokesperson who will feed back to the main group on a regular basis and when needed.

The groups are:


Operational Planning



Not everyone was in a position to volunteer at the moment but the following “offers” were made:

Fundraising – SB. DH

Operational Planning- SC. DJ. EE. DH

Redesign – RB. RS.

Staffing – RF. EE

Charlotte Foster had suggested we use Dropbox as our communication tool. JL suggested that the website may be easier and this is what we would use for now but members would need to be aware of not putting any sensitive information onto the website.

JL will continue to run the website and moderate information put on there.


Charlotte Foster advised that this could take 4-6 weeks and it was agreed that we need to start soon on the process. CL will contact Plunkett to find out the process and how we start it.



SB has looked into this and general feeling was that it is complicated but may be something we might revisit further down the line.

SB circulated a form that he has devised and had previously sent out to the group inviting people to offer their pledges to see how much we may be able to raise this way. Objections were that there was not enough information on this form to inform people about what they are investing in.

Also a little early for this to be sent out.

DJ suggests approaching large businesses to ask for donations. They will often give for tax relief purposes.

Website. Updates and Input.

Request for press releases and press cuttings to Janet.

All contributions to the website are welcomed – anything at all of interest. This keeps the website alive and interesting. Photos especially welcomed and the photographer would be acknowledged!

Logo competition

The school are delighted to be involved and JW will liaise with them and get started on this.

Public meeting.

PL and RB to organise. This will be held on the 28th of March in the village hall. CL suggested this could be done in the form of an “open day”.

Visit to Nenthead Community Shop

CL. EE. RF. to visit this Thursday and to meet with Peter Davidson and Sally Orrell at 2pm.

Secretary Replacement.

CL will be away from the beginning of April until the end of June. Renee and Jacky will consider doing a secretarial job share and will meet to discuss this with Chris soon.


David requested a fundraising meeting soon.

Chris had received a letter from the North Pennines AONB regarding a scheme to develop and promote the Eden Valley and the northern part of the AONB which just about includes HBG. They have nearly £3m of lottery money to spend on various categories of work. There is a meeting to be held in Castle Carrock Village Hall on the 17th of March between 6.30 and 8.30pm. The meeting is open to all local residents and SB has offered to go to represent us and see if we can be involved.

Date of next meeting.

Monday 23rd March 2015. 7.30pm Hallbankgate Village Hall.

 Steering Group meeting 5

23rd March 2015. Lacy Thompson Hall. 7.30pm



John Foster Chair. Christine Lloyd Secretary. Steve Bowles Treasurer. Sue Consterdine.   Edna Eagleton.   Peter Lloyd. Rose Foster. Ray Hinton. David Jones. David Hayward. Renee Bales. Jacky Williams.Angie Waring. Stella Howatt. Duncan Sperry.


Robin Murray

 Minutes of the Last Meeting.

Agreed as a true record.

Matters Arising:

None declared

Treasurers Report.

Following our application for funding from the Parish Trust we were granted 2k with immediate effect – to allow the completion of surveys, solicitors etc.  A further £13k was allocated and can be claimed when we are in a position to complete on any purchase from Scotmid.  An application for funding in subsequent years will be considered on its merits at the time. This money has been banked and a deposit for the solicitor paid.

JF has written to Alan Shaw – Chair of the Parish Trust to ask for the offer of funding to be put in writing as he feels that in the future we may need a “paper trail”. This is in hand. A draft of conditions to be agreed at a special Parish Trust meeting shortly asks us to sign up to the £13k’s being a first charge on any sale proceeds if the shop failed. It was agreed that this was fair, but that we might need to get advice before signing.

JF added that the intention would be to donate monies to the Parish Trust for the benefit of the community in the future when we are making a profit.

Community Asset Update.

We have now applied to have the whole of the freehold and the outbuildings and track declared as a community asset. Unknown to us our original application did not include the access road and outbuildings and according to Adrian Lorimer from Scotmid they are in negotiations to sell these separately.

We should have a decision on this in about 61/2 weeks. The original asset is still there and it is unknown whether the timing changes the first application or not.


CL received the documentation from the Plunkett Foundation that are needed for us to become incorporated. These included the “Model Rules” that they recommend we adopt. SB. PL. CL. have met to look at the rules and insert information pertinent to Hallbankgate Hub.

SH proposed that we adopt these rules and this was seconded and agreed. However it was also agreed that the rules should be circulated and read by everyone. CL to email the document to all this week. It is hoped that all documentation could be signed and returned to Plunkett at the end of this week so any comments should be made to Chris before Friday.

Once our application is in it is expected that it could take 3-5 weeks before we become Hallbankgate Hub Ltd.

Task Groups Feedback.


North Pennines AONB held a meeting in Castle Carrock Village Hall on the 17th February and CL and PL attended. The AONB plan to make a Heritage Lottery Bid of 3 ½ million pounds in order to carry out projects in this part of the North Pennines which includes Hallbankgate and down the Eden Valley as far as Kirkoswald. At the moment they are seeking out ideas for projects similar to a very successful scheme just carried out in the Allendale area. Projects cover nature, conservation and heritage. The group were interested in Hallbankgate Hub particularly in relation to a possible interpretation centre/tourist information emphasisint the rich industrial heritage of Hallbankgate and the surrounding area.

Leader money is soon to be available for the Rural Development Fund – contact is Zoe Sutton.

DJ suggested that we contact local landowners or businesses.

PL Tebay services have a community fund.


RF and EE have been looking at job descriptions for a manager and templates for applications.

Planning for one manager but the PO issue means that we may need two people employed as we will need a sub postmaster.

DH asked whether the PO would give us any income. SC states that it is about £600.00 annually.

Awaiting news from Mr Mitchelson from Brampton PO.

DJ suggested that we could consider having a part time manager and a full time “second in command”. This would ensure adequate cover for the P.O.

DJ needs clarity about what the hub is going to offer.

Closure of the shop is significant because of TUPE – SC.

EE spoke to ACAS. They can’t do anything about us individually and advised solicitor advice.

DS – has a friend in employment law who may advise us. He will contact her for advice.

Operational planning and re-design.

DJ we need one vision and one concept to work towards. It needs to be a “destination” shop.

DJ will contact the rest of his group to discuss.

LHJ – took as their starting point, feedback from the survey. History and environment should be taken into consideration. Craft exhibition. These things would generate interest.

JF – pointed out that there is a lot of overlap between the two groups and some combined working is essential.

Solicitors Report on the Title Deeds of the shop.

DH has received a report from Minihan McAlister Solicitors who were commissioned by the Steering Group to conduct an investigation into the title deeds of the shop. It is a long and involved report but concludes that the property is complicated and in some aspects “a bit of a mess” Their advice is to consider offering to take a long lease of the building as opposed to buying the freehold as this leaves the mess to a certain extent with the freeholder.

It was felt that Scotmid would not agree to this proposal.

Plan is incorrect. The flats above and below are different. Mark Glouchcoff who lives at Store House spoke to SB and said that Hayley Jump who owns the flats is responsible for the roof and this is stated in his deeds although the solicitor says the roof is Scotmids responsibility.

Quotes on the basis of this from 2 surveyors. Walton Goodland – to areas that they can get access to – £1250.

£900 +VAT Edwin Thompson just for a structural survey. We need to ask them if we may need more from them.

Edwin Thompson are also involved with Ennerdale Hub and will have that sort of experience to offer.

Issue with planning consent because of change of use and parking issues.

Possibly need an architect to be involved.

  1. For the next meeting we need the vision of what we want the shop to be.

DH to approach an architect for advice regarding the building and potential problems.

Decision on bid to Scotmid.

John had distributed a proposal designed to follow up on the strategy for proceeding to purchase adopted by the Steering Group at its meeting on 16th February.

After considerable discussion it was agreed by a majority vote that we will put in a bid to ScotMid for the shop, outbuildings and associated access by the end of w/c 13th April.

This initial bid will be subject to whatever by that stage it needs to be subject to – i.e. ‘due diligence’, our ability to raise the balance of the required capital, and any outstanding survey / legal information required.

We will inform ScotMid immediately of this decision, and on the strength of it ask for access to their survey data.

In the meanwhile David H will establish the costs of a full structural survey from Edwin Thompsons, and will commission this on our behalf unless he thinks on the strength of data acquired that we needn’t.

The Steering Group at its next meeting on 13th April will determine the level of the initial bid, and also the way in which negotiation over it with ScotMid will be conducted. It will do so on the basis of a proposal from the business planning group which will meet at some point before then for the purpose.

Public Meeting 28th March. Village Hall 1-5pm.

  1. The format of the meeting will be face to face contact by members of the SG with members of the public in an informal and friendly setting. The hall will be set out in such a way as to display our vision and will have stalls depicting the history of the shop itself, results of the survey, displays of other shops around the country and ones which we have visited. Local craftspeople and bakers and providers of local fruit and veg have been invited and there will be a “pop up” café. North Lakes Food have offered to provide us with milk.

Leaflets have been designed, printed and distributed around the area and also reprinted in the village news so it is hoped we get a good turnout. All members of the SG are asked to attend and PL will supply us with badges. The group who have organized the meeting want it to be a vibrant, enthusiastic and informative event which will help engage local people into the project.

SB has designed a form to ask for pledges at the public meeting which will inform us as to what we can expect from our share issue. We need to design a prospectus and Plunkett have a suggested template for this.

Plunkett Report and Recommendations.

  • Study Visit – Charlotte Foster recommended we visit Clapham Community Shop which is opening this weekend. She feels that their experience will help inform us. This visit would be arranged and facilitated by Charlotte and financed by Plunkett.

No decision made.

  • Feasibility Study – this was recommended by Charlotte and she suggested we use the Plunkett bursary to employ Howard Long to do this for us. It was agreed that this had been pre-empted for the moment by the decision to bid for the Co-op premises, but that we might need to return to it if the bid failed.
  • Dropbox. Charlotte recommended Dropbox as an excellent communication tool which will give us access to numerous documents. CL will email Charlottes email address to all and members are asked to email her and ask to be invited onto Dropbox.

Feedback from Rose on Somerset community shop and Nenthead.

RFspoke of the two shops she recently visited and shared written reports on each. These report are available to all and will be on show at the public meeting on Saturday.

Other Options and Plan B

PL had prepared a short presentation on this subject but did not present it as he felt that the decision to bid to Scotmid was the dominant focus in the group at the moment. He does feel however that should the negotiations with Scotmid fail then a Plan B would be essential and so far we have not addressed this at all. It was agreed that this was an important issue and that we should return to it at the next meeting to “ensure that a process of calibrating fallback options was in train”(JF)

Organisational Issues.

There has been disquiet in the group about the lack of transparency and cohesion within the SG and that with an improved organizational structure this could be addressed and rectified.

PL presented 3 scenarios which expanded the management committee and shrunk the Steering Group.

It was agreed that it was too late to discuss this fully at this meeting. To make progress it was agreed on JF’s proposal that the existing Committee (Chair, Secretary and Treasurer) would be augmented for the immediate future by the leads of the three task groups other than Fundraising (led by the Treasurer), with DH as property / purchase lead, and we would return at the next meeting to the issue of moving to a management committee appropriate to our forthcoming incorporated status.

Thus the interim committee will comprise:

Treasurer: Steve (also Fundraising lead)

Secretary : Chris’s successor, to be determined

Operational lead: David J

Property / purchase lead: David H

Staffing lead : Edna

Redesign lead : Renee or Linda (to decide between them)

Chair : John Foster

Replacement Secretary.

No one has come forward to do this as yet and this issue was remitted to CL, JF and SB for action.

There was no other business.

Date of next Steering Group meeting

13th April 7.30pm in the hall.

 Steering Group meeting 6

Monday 13th April 2015, Lacy Thompson Hall 7.30pm

Summary of Minutes,

Those Present: John Foster, Steve Bowles, David Jones, David Hayward, Renee Bales, Hamish Nicholson, Robin Murray, Sue Consterdine, Angie Wareing, Janet Lambert, Sandy Murray, Rose Foster, Jackie Williams.

  1. Apologies: Linda Harmer-Jones, Duncan Sperry, Edna Eagleton
  2. Minutes of last meeting (already circulated): These were agreed to be correct.
  3. Matters arising

Parish trust donation – Steve explained the basis on which the grants had been made. This was £2000 for immediate expenses, surveys, fees, etc., and £13000 towards the purchase price of the co-op shop building. The Trust requires a first charge on the property which, if sold on the collapse of the business, the first £13000 would revert to the Trust. The grant was not to be applied, for example, for the purchase of other properties. If funding was required for other purposes then a new application would have to be made.

Incorporation: As of Friday 10th April we are incorporated as Hallbankgate Hub Ltd. And registered with the Financial Conduct Authority – Number 7111

Secretary/treasurer roles. Steve explained that with Christine’s departure, we needed a secretary urgently to sign the incorporation papers. Steve had agreed to be secretary whilst Sue Consterdine agreed to be treasurer. These changes were agreed by the steering group.

Fundraising. No fund-raising has yet taken place other than pledges made at the open day and as a result of email contacts. Robin informed the committee that there are a number of tax rebate schemes which are possible when people purchase shares in a CBS. This will be taken into account by the management committee when drawing up the share prospectus.

Vision. David Jones presented some options for either the purchase or hire of a temporary shop. It was agreed that, in parallel with whatever we decide regarding a bid process, we should find out more and David agreed to do this.

Plan B This was discussed as part of the report on the open day.

  1. Treasurers Report. Income to date has been £2000 from Parish Trust, £200 from Parish council, £29 from sale of woollen hearts and £5 donation to open the account. Total £2234.   Expenditure: Website £73.99, Howard Long expenses £10, Solicitor £396, School prizes £35, printing 70.80. Total £585.79. We have also received a bill for the structural survey (£1080) although this may be negotiated lower.
  2. Report on the open day

pledges To date these come to just over £6000 with a considerable range. It was agreed that who had pledged what would not be published as this confidentiality should also apply to the share register once shares are purchased.

volunteers Only one person completed a volunteer form on the day. Janet thought that this may be because potential volunteers need clarity about what they would be committing to. We do have a list from earlier surveys/questionnaires so hopefully a good number will volunteer when things are more clear.

‘suggestions’ Renee had produced a report (previously circulated)based on leaves attached to the suggestion tree which she spoke to and emphasised certain aspects.

Proposal to bid (from Business group)

The business group (John, David H, Duncan, Robin and Steve) had met on Friday. The structural survey was not available then but had become available at the weekend. Robin summarised the bid proposal.

A lengthy discussion followed where all aspects and opinions were voiced by everyone present

Robin now proposed – seconded by Rose – that we agree to bid to purchase the present premises along the lines outlined by Robin.

Those for: 7. Those against 4, Abstentions 1.

It was deemed vote carried and John will contact Scotmid to action the matter further.

  1. New management committee.

All agreed it was now too late to agree who should be on the management committee – but this is urgent as we need to agree a share prospectus before being able to raise share capital. It was agreed that John would circulate to everyone a proposed process so that nominations would be received by the end of the week and, if necessary, a voting process would be carried out at the next meeting.

  1. .   None
  2. Date of next management committee meeting

As a management committee had not been elected a further meeting of the steering group was arranged for Monday 20th April – 7.30 pm in the Village hall.

Meeting closed at 10.05pm