Effingham Parish Council (EPC) considered a Report from the Effingham Village Recreation Trust (EVRT) on financial arrangements for the King George V Field and Hall at its meeting on 31st October. EPC currently has a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with EVRT in which it provides £12,000 per year (£9,000 towards revenue costs and £3,000 capital replacement funds) as its contribution to the provision of publically-used facilities at the KGV. 2018/19 is the last year of the current SLA. In consequence of the Howard of Effingham School not renewing its license to use the KGV facilities with effect from 1 September 2017, nearly £29,000 of annual income has been lost. As a result, EVRT expects a deficit of around £16,000 after efficiency savings and new income.
EVRT asked EPC to increase the SLA by £19,000 for 2018/19, which Councillors were uncomfortable with, and the general view was that EPC should cover the deficit for 2018/19 by up to £16,000 but not as part of the SLA. The split of the cost of KGV facilities in the Report between three groups including the Parish Council was commented to be arbitrary and not based on financial data. It was agreed that a full review into the future organisation of the KGV and the facilities provided should be carried out, consulting across all areas and organisations in the village. An extra £4,000 was allowed for this. There was criticism that the EVRT trustees continued to have three vacancies (although there was an understanding that this was an onerous role with potential liabilities) and concern that the trustees were not seen as representing a wide cross section of the village. Although providing this sum to EVRT would not increase the precept, the present level was historically high to cover potential legal costs on the Berkeley Homes Appeal. Councillor Symes said that a figure of £31,000 for the precept year on year was unsustainable. The chairman of Effingham Residents Association said from the floor, that whilst its committee was likely to support a short-term measure to cover the deficit, EPC must be open and transparent and inform the village that short-term increased support for the KGV was keeping the precept at a higher level than normal. Any review of the running and facilities of the KGV must involve all users and interested parties in the village and must not be run by the trustees.