Grimsby Freemen

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Previous Years Chairman's Reports, 2005 ~ 2014


 

Annual Reports

 

The following are the Chairman’s Annual Reports, back to 2005, extracted from the Annual Report & Accounts issued to all those Enrolled Freemen whose name appears on the Pastures Roll at the time of the Annual Meeting being the first Monday of June.

 

 

THE ENROLLED FREEMEN OF THE BOROUGH OF GREAT GRIMSBY

 

CHAIRMAN’S ANNUAL REPORT 2014

 

This last year has been another good one for the Freemen; much has been accomplished building on the achievements of 2013.

 

After a very hectic seven months our Business and Digital Hub, jointly paid for by European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) funding and situated in the north-east corner of the market, was completed on time, and in time for Christmas, and was jointly opened by local MP’s Austin Mitchell and Martin Vickers on 31st January this year. The event was well covered by the local press; hopefully you saw it and have been down to view the new facilities. We have not yet let out all of the offices, which we knew would take some time, but rooms are being taken for training purposes, video-conferencing and general meetings. In addition, the large seminar room on the ground floor, and which opens out onto the market, is being used regularly for our Saturday Kid’s Club and has also hosted the Grimsby Renewables Partnership “dress-down Friday” meeting and the re-launch of the Creative Humber Group at which local actress Julie Peasgood was our special guest. As I write, an exhibition devoted to the story of “The Grimsby Chums”, developed by Synergy, (who work out of the studio in “The Courtyard”), is taking place in the week leading up to Easter. Synergy have also obtained grant funding to conduct a project all about the Freemen so keep an eye on the press for any announcements.

 

A new website has been set up purely for this project under the banner of Freeman Creative and you can find this at www.freemancreative.co.uk

 

 

Following the completion of “The Hub” we have been busy reinstating the stalls under the new mezzanine floor, which had to be re-located whilst building work was in progress. This will include an enlarged café offering carvery meals and the famous Brigsley Ice Cream. As part of the ongoing work the external and internal façade of The Pea Bung have been renewed and the refurbishment of the stalls and floor within the market, including the new “barrows”, is now practically complete. These improvements have been greatly appreciated by traders and shoppers alike and almost all stalls are occupied. Following the Governments’ relaxation of rules concerning power generation, we have installed additional Solar PV on the roof in order to both safeguard us from possible power cuts and future increases in energy costs.

 

The Pastures Development Company also oversaw the complete restoration of 172-174 Freeman Street last year providing a double-fronted ground floor shop for the St Andrew’s Hospice and a first floor residential flat. We do not own many properties on the street but these are a couple that we acquired a few years back and we wanted to demonstrate just what could be achieved with a bit of careful thought and planning. Our design for the “traditional” external appearance was praised by the local authority and we received two grants toward the cost. We also received a grant for the work that we carried out to the front of the market.

 

The PDC comprises five Directors drawn from the Pastures Committee, Sara Meller, Richard Bellamy, Dr Stephen Bloy, Stephen Wakefield and myself and we meet regularly with our Clerk and Treasurer.

 

The effects of the “Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Bill (HL)”, which extended the franchise to Freemen’s daughters a couple of years ago, are still being felt. However, during the year admissions to the Freedom were more than offset by those names removed with the result that the number of Freemen on the Roll now stands at 1,059, (was 1,065 last year). I, along with Stephen Wakefield, (Vice-Chairman), and Stephen Savage, (Clerk), attended the Admission Courts last year and will continue to do so in order to add to the sense of ceremony of the occasion.

 

Please encourage members of your family to apply for Admission if you think that they may be eligible. It is not the case that only the first-born can apply, admission is open to all children, including legally-adopted children, of Freemen parents – father or mother.

 

I would like to thank all members of the Pastures Committee, and The Pastures Development Company, for their diligence and hard work over the last year. I would especially mention Mike Hill who decided to stay with us for another year but is now resolved to stand down owing to other commitments. Mike’s resignation will mean that there will be at least one vacancy on the Committee to be elected at the AGM but it will be up to you, the Freemen of Grimsby, to decide who the fourteen will be since the entire Committee has to be elected annually.

 

There is a list of current Committee Members on page 5 together with the number of meetings each has attended during the year; this is something that we have always done, without comment. All I would say is is that a number of our members have to fit in around their working arrangements and others around family commitments. Each one makes a valuable contribution to the work of the Committee.

 

It is very important that at least one Freeman (male or female) puts themself forward for election. Any person whose name is on the Pastures Roll, with the exception of Widows of Freemen, may propose themselves for inclusion on the Committee. If you wish to be considered please apply, in writing, to The Clerk’s Office no later than Monday, 26th May. Please include your full name and brief details of your education and employment history outlining what relevant skills and knowledge you could offer. In the event that we have more than fourteen candidates then a vote will be taken at the AGM, if we have the exact number required then they will be automatically appointed. If there are any vacant posts remaining then the Committee may co-opt at a later date after having given due consideration to any candidate’s credentials. Nominations from the floor will not be accepted on the day.

 

It is now six years since I first wrote about the plans for the regeneration of Freeman Street. The report of EC Harris, which was commissioned by North East Lincolnshire Council, is now a public document and the NELC Cabinet have adopted the Report and Plan as one of their Primary Regeneration Projects. Further meetings have been held over the last year between the Council, Shoreline Housing Partnership, other agencies and ourselves to ensure that the plans that are made will be achievable and appropriate for the area. It has to be said that we are enjoying a very positive relationship with the Council, (and their partner Cofely who took over Balfour Beatty), and we are delighted to have been offered this opportunity to work alongside them. This has meant that those of us from the Committee, as Trustees, have had to put additional time in to attend the various meetings, and to carry out research etc., along with our Clerk, Treasurer and Surveyor. We would not have achieved a fraction of what we have without their willingness and, again, I would like to express my gratitude to them on your behalf. You will all be aware of the improvements which have been made to the roads surfaces, footpaths, lighting and the Garibaldi Street car park. The end result is very pleasing but the late start to the work, and the protracted timescale for carrying it out in the lead-up to Christmas did cause severe disruption and difficulties in parking around, and accessing, the market.

 

There has been a very good take-up on the NELC Shop-front Improvement Grants Scheme, as mentioned earlier in connection with our own properties. There are a few contracts in progress with many making their way through the planning process and there will be further money made available in the Council’s 2014/15 budget, and these should help to give the street scene a much needed lift between the Market and Hainton Square.

 

Turning now to the Financial Activities and, in particular, the Market. Trading conditions continue to be difficult but are beginning to show signs of improvement. It is difficult to compare exactly like for like in each year for a variety of reasons. For example, income from stall rents is lower but that from The Skills Centre has increased. Because of the construction of The Hub a number of stalls had to be temporarily relocated and given concessionary rents. In addition, we lost a few traders during the Council’s work to the footpaths around the market and because of the extended duration we allowed a rent-free period in order not to lose any more. In the previous year we received a massive refund of business Rates from the Council; this was not repeated in 2013/14. Coupled with this is higher expenditure particularly in respect to the on-going refurbishment, which is now almost complete, and the depreciation charge for improvements completed in earlier years. The Dividend was increased last year but the Council’s 1/20 share returned to its’ normal level. If you have any specific questions regarding the accounts the Treasurer will be attending the Annual General Meeting to answer them.

 

As with last year, we have once again held our stall rents in an effort to retain our traders until the economy picks up.

 

The Solar Panels, mentioned earlier, yielded a higher Feed in Tariff of £15,300 over the year.

 

The Skills Centre has had a better year with Synergy getting involved in the process of grant application and running community projects. Whilst practically fully occupied now, a number of rooms have had lengthy spells with no tenants. Our own market staff have now left their office for a new one in “The Hub” but we are hopeful to let that out soon. What was the Tukes Bistro is now under new management and is even more popular and opens on non-market days. Compass FM and another agency have re-located to The Hub and have been replaced by a Bridal Shop and Hairdressers; we also have a “shabby-chic” furnishings shop. The area is completed by an outlet for printed mugs, tee-shirts and workwear etc., although we still have the pottery kiln lurking in a corner and a fully equipped joiners workshop available. The whole of the market has Wi-Fi and the courtyard bistro is proving to be very popular with shoppers who like the atmosphere that we have created.

 

We are always open to ideas and suggestions for other possible uses within the Courtyard area.

 

We are members of the Grimsby Renewables Partnership and have been supportive of the Ice Factory/Prince’s Regeneration Trust collaboration for the possible positive effects that these could have on the Freeman Street/East Marsh Regeneration.

 

None of this could have been achieved without our dedicated staff and I would like to take this opportunity to thank our Market Managers and their team for their hard work on the Market in helping to transform it and for steadily improving its internal appearance. Those of you with access to the internet may care to visit www.freemomarket.co.uk, or www.enrolledfreemenofgrimsby.org to see how we are moving with the times. My thanks, on behalf of the Committee, also go to our Clerk and Treasurer and their respective staff who work most diligently to keep our legal and financial affairs in good order. I would also like, again, to thank the Members of the Committee for the time they have given to the affairs of the Freemen on your behalf.

 

I would urge you all to support the Market, if you have not seen the improvements we have carried out do go and have a look; I think that you will be surprised.

 

As has been said in previous reports, if you require any assistance please apply to the Benevolent Fund through either the Clerk or the Treasurer.  The criteria for applying to the Fund are, in the case of extreme hardship, the payment of a household utility bill, (usually gas or electricity), the replacement/repair of cooking facilities, (e.g. a new basic cooker if your existing one is not able to be repaired, to enable one to keep warm, (e.g. a portable heater), and essential repairs to property.  Each case will be considered on its own merits.  The Fund is not available for general financial assistance. Please do not be afraid to ask, we have had no requests for assistance at all over the last year.

 

If you move home kindly inform either the Clerk or the Treasurer of your new address.

 

The Annual General Meeting is to be held on Monday, 2nd June 2014, at 12.00 noon at the Town Hall.  Please make every effort to attend in order that you can elect the new Pastures Committee for the next twelve months and to ask any questions that you may wish to put to the Committee or its’ Officials.

 

Stephen P. White

Chairman                                

 

THE ENROLLED FREEMEN OF THE BOROUGH OF GREAT GRIMSBY

 

CHAIRMAN’S ANNUAL REPORT 2013

 

 

This last year has been a good one for the Freemen, much has been achieved and the forthcoming year holds further promise.

 

Our bid for European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) funding to redevelop the north-east corner of the market (The Hub) finally received approval and a contract signed last October. This in turn lead to the formalisation of the creation of the Pastures Development Company, whose Directors are made up of members of the Pastures Committee, to take this, and other such projects, forward. At the time of writing the professional team members who will oversee the project have been appointed and advertisements have been placed for expressions of interest from suitably qualified building contractors. We are intending to appoint the contractor by the beginning of June with all work being completed by the end of December.

 

A new website has been set up purely for this project under the banner of Freeman Creative and you can find this at www.freemancreative.co.uk.

 

Alongside of this, we have recently completed a substantial investment in the refurbishment of the stalls and floor within the market and now offer a number of “barrows”, in addition to the usual stalls, to traders. These improvements have been greatly appreciated by traders and shoppers alike and almost all stalls are occupied.

 

The effects of the “Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Bill (HL)”, which extended the franchise to Freemen’s daughters a couple of years ago, are still being felt. However, during the year admissions to the Freedom were largely offset by those names removed with the result that the number of Freemen on the Roll now stands at 1,065, (was 1,063 last year). I, along with Stephen Wakefield, (Vice-Chairman), and Stephen Savage, (Clerk), attended the Admission Courts last year and will continue to do so in order to add to the sense of ceremony of the occasion.

 

Please encourage members of your family to apply for Admission if you think that they may be eligible.

 

I would like to thank all members of the Pastures Committee for their contributions over the last year. I would especially mention Mike Hill and Edward Cullum for their time on the Committee since they have now decided to stand down owing to other commitments. Their resignations will mean that there will be possibly four vacancies on the Committee to be elected at the AGM but it will be up to you, the Freemen of Grimsby, to decide who the fourteen will be since the whole Committee is elected annually for a period of one year.

 

It is very important that at least four Freemen put themselves forward for election. Any person whose name is on the Pastures Roll, with the exception of Widows of Freemen, may put themselves forward for inclusion on the Committee. If you wish to be considered please apply, in writing, to The Clerk’s Office no later than Monday, 27th May. Please include your full name and brief details of your education and employment history outlining what relevant skills and knowledge you could offer. In the event that we have more than fourteen candidates then a vote will be taken at the AGM, if we have the exact number required then they will be automatically appointed. If there are any vacant posts remaining then the Committee may co-opt at a later date after having given due consideration to any candidate’s credentials. Nominations from the floor will not be accepted on the day.

 

It is now five years since I first wrote about the plans for the regeneration of Freeman Street. The report of EC Harris, which was commissioned by North East Lincolnshire Council, is now a public document and the NELC Cabinet have adopted the Report and Plan as one of their Primary Regeneration Projects. Further meetings have been held over the last year between the Council, Shoreline Housing Partnership, other agencies and ourselves to ensure that the plans that are made will be achievable and appropriate for the area. It has to be said that we are enjoying a very positive relationship with the Council, (and their partner Balfour Beatty), and we are delighted to have been offered this opportunity to work alongside them. This has meant that those of us from the Committee, as Trustees, have had to put additional time in to attend the various meetings, and to carry out research etc., along with our Clerk, Treasurer and Surveyor. We would not have achieved a fraction of what we have without their willingness and, again, I would like to express my gratitude to them on your behalf. Following the Council’s public announcement with regard to their plans for Garibaldi Street, and the area around the market last year, extensive public consultation was undertaken which led to a number of changes being made to the proposals. This, in turn, lead to delays but by the time of our AGM work should have, or should be about to commence.

 

In response to a number of requests, and strongly supported by the Freemen, grants, (as opposed to loans), are being made to businesses along Freemen Street wishing to improve the outward appearance of their premises. A number of such grants were awarded from the 2012/13 budget, with more to come in 2013/14, and these should help to give the street scene a much needed lift.

 

Turning now to the Financial Activities and, in particular, the Market. Trading conditions continue to be difficult but are beginning to show signs of improvement. It is difficult to compare exactly like for like in each year for a variety of reasons. For example, income from stall rents is lower but this is because stallholders became responsible for paying their own Business Rates so we made a proportionate reduction in the rent payable. As it transpires, many of our traders are exempt so they are making a real saving on their overheads which has helped them through the recession. Almost as an aside, because the Enrolled Freemen are a Registered Charity, and are able to claim for concessions on the rates payable, we have, through the perseverance of John Hood, our Surveyor, successfully claimed refunds in respect of prior years, and you will see that this has made a substantial difference to our income for the year. Coupled with this though is higher expenditure particularly in respect to the on-going refurbishment and the depreciation charge for improvements completed in earlier years. The cost of the improvements has had an effect on the dividend which you receive. However, we have been able to set some of the “windfall” against the cost of improvements (Special Repair Fund) which means that after accounting for North East Lincolnshire Council’s 1/20th share, and other liabilities, the balance for distribution from November will be higher.

 

As with last year, we have once again held our stall rents in an effort to retain our traders until the economy picks up.

 

The Solar Panels, mentioned last year, yielded a Feed in Tariff of £13,800 over the year.

 

The Skills Centre has not had such a good year with Synergy having to suspend trading due to a downturn in work opportunities. Whilst practically fully occupied now, a number of rooms have had lengthy spells with no tenants. Our own market staff now occupy the office which was Contract Lincs, but will re-locate to The Hub once it is built. We still have the Tukes Bistro which is very popular and Compass FM and a variety of new traders and agencies. The whole of the market has Wi-Fi and the courtyard bistro is proving to be very popular with shoppers who like the atmosphere that we have created.

 

We are always open to ideas and suggestions for other possible uses of the Courtyard area.

 

The Council’s application to be a “Portas Pilot” Scheme, which we assisted with, (as mentioned in my report last year), was, unfortunately, unsuccessful and even after NELC being invited to make a second application.

 

We are members of the Grimsby Renewables Partnership and have been supportive of the Ice Factory/Prince’s Regeneration Trust collaboration for the possible positive effects that these could have on the Freeman Street/East Marsh Regeneration.

 

None of this could have been achieved without our dedicated staff and I would like to take this opportunity to thank our Market Managers and their team for their hard work on the Market in helping to transform it and for steadily improving its internal appearance. Those of you with access to the internet may care to visit www.freemomarket.co.uk, or www.enrolledfreemenofgrimsby.org to see how we are moving with the times. My thanks, on behalf of the Committee, also go to our Clerk and Treasurer and their respective staff who work most diligently to keep our legal and financial affairs in good order. I would also like, again, to thank the Members of the Committee for the time they have given to the affairs of the Freemen on your behalf.

 

I would urge you all to support the Market, if you have not seen the improvements we have carried out do go and have a look, I think you will be surprised.

 

As has been said in previous reports, if you require any assistance please apply to the Benevolent Fund through either the Clerk or the Treasurer.  The criteria for applying to the Fund are, in the case of extreme hardship, the payment of a household utility bill, (usually gas or electricity), the replacement/repair of cooking facilities, (e.g. a new basic cooker if your existing one is not able to be repaired, to enable one to keep warm, (e.g. a portable heater), and essential repairs to property.  Each case will be considered on its own merits.  The Fund is not available for general financial assistance.

 

If you move home kindly inform either the Clerk or the Treasurer of your new address.

 

The Annual General Meeting is to be held on Monday 3rd June 2013, at 12.00 noon at the Town Hall.  Please make every effort to attend in order that you can elect the new Pastures Committee for the next twelve months and to ask any questions that you may wish to put to the Committee or its’ Officials.

 

Stephen P. White

Chairman

 

                       

THE ENROLLED FREEMEN OF THE BOROUGH OF GREAT GRIMSBY

 

CHAIRMAN’S ANNUAL REPORT 2012

 

I have to start my report this year on a sad, or rather a couple of sad notes.

 

Last October one of our committee members, John Moody, died after a short illness. As Vice Chairman of the Market sub-Committee, and a Director of the Pastures Development Company, John played a very prominent role in the Freemen’s affairs and will be greatly missed. More recently, in March of this year, Ken Rendall, who was one-time Deputy Superintendent at the market, and then our investigator after he retired, died, again after a relatively short illness. The committee were well represented at both funerals.

 

We have filled the vacancy by co-opting Dr Stephen Bloy, recently retired from the Grimsby Institute, and he will be standing for election at the Annual General Meeting along with the other Committee members.

 

The effects of the “Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Bill (HL)”, which I reported fully last year, are still being felt with the result that the number of Freemen on the Roll has risen this year to 1,063, (was 951 last year). I, along with Stephen Wakefield, (Vice-Chairman), and Stephen Savage, (Clerk), attended the Admission Courts last year and will continue to do so in order to add to the sense of ceremony of the occasion.

 

We had an informal discussion after last years AGM regarding the discretionary section of the Act and this has been further discussed by the committee. Full consultation with all those on The Pastures Roll will have to be held before any proposed changes are put to the Local Authority for consideration.

 

I would like to thank all members of the Pastures Committee for their contributions over the last year. All but four of the present committee have expressed their willingness to stand again at the AGM but it will be up to you, the Freemen of Grimsby, to decide who the fourteen will be since the whole committee is elected annually for a period of one year.

 

It is very important that at least four freemen put themselves forward for election. Any person whose name is on the Pastures Roll, with the exception of widows of freemen, may put themselves forward for inclusion on the committee. If you wish to be considered please apply, in writing, to The Clerk’s Office no later than Monday, 28th May. Please include your full name and brief details of your education and employment history outlining what relevant skills and knowledge you could offer. In the event that we have more than fourteen candidates then a vote will be taken at the AGM, if we have the exact number required then they will be automatically appointed. If there are any vacant posts remaining then the committee may co-opt at a later date after having given due consideration to any candidate’s credentials. Nominations from the floor will not be accepted on the day.

 

It is now four years since I first wrote about the plans for the regeneration of Freeman Street. The report of EC Harris, which was commissioned by North East Lincolnshire Council, is now a public document and the NELC Cabinet have adopted the Report and Plan as one of their Primary Regeneration Projects. Further meetings have been held over the last year between the Council, Shoreline Housing Partnership, EC Harris and ourselves to ensure that the plans that are made will be achievable and appropriate for the area. We are also involved in four working groups looking at different aspects of the Plan, getting right down into the detail of things. It has to be said that we are enjoying a very positive relationship with the Council, (and their partner Balfour Beatty), and we are delighted to have been offered this opportunity to work alongside them. This has meant that those of us from the Committee, as Trustees, have had to put additional time in to attend the various meetings, and to carry out research etc., along with our Clerk, Treasurer and Surveyor. We would not have achieved a fraction of what we have without their willingness and, again, I would like to express my gratitude to them on your behalf. The Council made a public announcement with regard to their plans for Garibaldi Street, and the area around the market earlier this year, and they are now undertaking public consultation. It might be said that the proposals did not receive universal approval so we shall have to wait and see what happens.

 

Turning now to the market. Trading conditions continue to be difficult and you will see that the income for 2012 was slightly up from 2011. Despite the continuing recession, we do feel that things are now improving with a major part of the market hall being refurbished and just the north-west corner to complete. Expenditure on the market remains high due to the investment that we are making in new stalls and other improvements and this is having an effect on the dividend which you receive. In an effort to help our traders through the this difficult time we have once again held our stall rents in order to retain the traders that we have so that we are ready to take advantage of any upturn in the economy.

 

We have had 138 Solar Panels installed on the roof of the Market to maximise the Government’s higher rate of Feed in Tariff. We expect the pay-back period for these to be approximately 5 years but they will give us a good steady income for the next 25 years, in addition to reducing our energy costs.

 

The Skills Centre has been fully occupied, providing an income, but the woodworking shop has recently been vacated by Tukes following the completion of the work they were carrying out for us. Contract Lincs, our first tenant, announced in April that they were having to wind up their business due to a lack of contracts being placed with them and their presence will be missed. We continue to attract interest though from such diverse operations as hairdressers and potters so we are confident that we will find new tenants. We are on the verge of agreeing terms with a major client who will make a tremendous impact to the ambience of the Centre but that is all I can say until they have signed on the dotted line. We still have the Tukes Bistro which is very popular, Synergy Media Centre and Compass FM. The whole of the market has Wi-Fi and the courtyard bistro is proving to be very popular with shoppers who like the atmosphere that we have created. The Meniscus Film Club Monthly Film Night had a moderately successful run last year, including an Asian Film Festival, but with a change in committee make-up they have since re-located to the Parkway Cinema.

 

We are always open to ideas and suggestions for other possible uses of the Courtyard area.

 

At the time of writing, our bid for European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) funding to refurbish the north-east corner of the market is still being assessed at the Government Office following the abolition of Yorkshire Forward last year. It has been suggested that our proposals are being viewed as a “good scheme” but the evaluation process has been dogged by delays. Our hopes for a start on site last November turned out to be rather optimistic.

 

We continue to meet with the various agencies working within the Borough, and the East Marsh area in particular, such as East Marsh Involve (EMI), Voluntary Action North East Lincs (VANEL), eFactor, Community Chest, Foresight and Tukes. We hosted the International Market again last year and are booked again for this year; this having previously been held in Victoria Street in the open.

 

We were invited to meet with Greg Clark, the Government Minister for Decentralisation and Regeneration when he visited Grimsby in February, to explain the problems which are facing the area in order to try and elicit some special consideration and funding for our plans.

 

In March we collaborated with our Regeneration Partners in a submission of a grant application to be a “Portas Pilot” Scheme, with Synergy producing a You-Tube type video to support it. The deadlines were very tight but the lucky 10 Pilots get to share £1m so it was well worth it.

 

In addition, we have signed up with the Grimsby Renewables Partnership and have been supportive of the Ice Factory/Prince’s Regeneration Trust collaboration for the possible positive effects that these could have on the Freeman Street/East Marsh Regeneration.

 

None of this could have been achieved without our dedicated staff and I would like to take this opportunity to thank our Market Managers and their team for their hard work on the Market in helping to transform it and for steadily improving its internal appearance. Those of you with access to the internet may care to visit www.freemomarket.co.uk, or www.enrolledfreemenofgrimsby.org to see how we are moving with the times. My thanks, on behalf of the Committee, also go to our Clerk and Treasurer and their respective staff who work most diligently to keep our legal and financial affairs in good order. I would also like, again, to thank the Members of the Committee for the time they have given to the affairs of the Freemen on your behalf.

 

The decrease in the dividend this year was noted on the payments sent out last December and this was due to the reduced surplus on operating activities and reduced income from our investment portfolio brought about by the worldwide recession. I am pleased to say that these are now showing signs of improvement as you will see from the accounts leaving the overall position much improved since last year.

 

I would urge you all to support the Market, if you have not seen the improvements we have carried out do go and have a look, I think you will be surprised.

 

As has been said in previous reports, if you require any assistance please apply to the Benevolent Fund through either the Clerk or the Treasurer.  The criteria for applying to the Fund are, in the case of extreme hardship, the payment of a household utility bill (usually gas or electricity); the replacement/repair of cooking facilities, (e.g. a new basic cooker if your existing one is not able to be repaired; to enable one to keep warm (e.g. a portable heater); and essential repairs to property.  Each case will be considered on its own merits.  The Fund is not available for general financial assistance.

 

If you move home kindly inform either the Clerk or the Treasurer of your new address.

 

If you move home kindly inform either the Clerk or the Treasurer of your new address. The Annual General Meeting is to be held on Monday, 11th June 2012, at 12:00 noon at the Town Hall.  Please make every effort to attend in order that you can elect the new Pastures Committee for the next twelve months. The attendances over the last few years AGM’s have been much better than hitherto which has been most encouraging.

 

Stephen P. White

Chairman

 

 

CHAIRMAN’S ANNUAL REPORT 2011

 

 

Another year has passed and further changes seen for the committee and significant, if not historic, changes for the Freemen of Grimsby, indeed, for Freemen throughout the land.

 

I have to make mention, first of all, of the “Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Bill (HL)”, which received Royal Assent early in 2010, as noted in my report last year. The effect of this is to amend Section 249 of the Local Government Act 1972 which deals with admission to the Freedom. There are two sections within the Act of interest to Freemen, Section 27 which is mandatory and Section 28 which is discretionary.

 

The mandatory section effectively deals with Sexual Discrimination and requires the same rights to be extended to Freemen’s daughters as are enjoyed by their sons. In addition, it provides for the sons and daughters, (including legally adopted children), of Freemen to apply for admission to the Pastures Roll regardless of where they were born and whether they were born before or after their parent’s admission. This neatly gets around the potential “difficulties” of being born in Cleethorpes (Croft Baker) whilst the family home was in Grimsby, and siblings being divided simply by being born “at the wrong time”.

 

We discussed these new requirements fully with the Legal Section of the Local Authority and as a result there have had to be four Mayor’s Courts held, so far, during the last year in order to cope with the overwhelming number of new applicants, mainly women, who had previously been disenfranchised. The Mayor herself, Councillor Norma Lincoln, was among the first to be admitted, being the daughter of a Freeman.

 

I, along with Stephen Wakefield, (Vice-Chairman), and Stephen Savage, (Clerk), attended these Admission Courts and we now have a standing invitation to attend in order to add to the sense of ceremony of the occasion.

 

We also need to consider the discretional section of the Act and this will be discussed at the Annual General Meeting for your opinions. In any event, proper consultation with all those on The Pastures Roll will have to be held before any proposed changes are put to the Local Authority for consideration.

 

As a result of these changes to the Rules of Admission the number of Freemen on the Roll has risen this year to 951, (was 839 last year).

 

Following retirements from the Committee last year we were left with three vacancies so we were very pleased when father and son, Edward and Robert Cullum stepped up to the mark. Later in the year and as a direct result of our new “Lady Freemen” being admitted, we were able to co-opt our first lady onto the Committee, Sara Meller, whose father, Dave Pearce came onto the Committee in 2009. Sara brings with her experience of the digital and media industry which has been most useful in our discussions with the Grimsby Institute, and others, looking at the provision of opportunities and workspace to cater for this fast growing business.

 

I would like to thank all members of the Pastures Committee for their contributions over the last year. All of the present committee have expressed their willingness to stand again at the AGM but it will be up to you, the Freemen of Grimsby, to decide since the whole committee is elected annually for a period of one year.

 

Any person whose name is on the Pastures Roll, with the exception of widows of freemen, may put themselves forward for inclusion on the committee. If you wish to be considered please apply, in writing, to The Clerk’s Office no later than Monday, 30th May. Please include your full name and brief details of your education and employment history outlining what relevant skills and knowledge you could offer. In the event that we have more than fourteen candidates then a vote will be taken at the AGM, if we have the exact number required then they will be automatically appointed. If there are any vacant posts remaining then the committee may co-opt at a later date after having given due consideration to any candidate’s credentials. Nominations from the floor will not be accepted on the day.

 

It is now three years since I first wrote about the plans for the regeneration of Freeman Street. The report of EC Harris, which was commissioned by North East Lincolnshire Council, is now a public document and the NELC Cabinet have adopted the Report and Plan as one of their Primary Regeneration Projects. Further meetings have been held over the last year between the Council, Shoreline Housing Partnership, EC Harris and ourselves to ensure that the plans that are made will be achievable and appropriate for the area. We are also involved in four working groups looking at different aspects of the Plan, getting right down into the detail of things. It has to be said that we are enjoying a very positive relationship with the Council, (and their partner Balfour Beatty), and we are delighted to have been offered this opportunity to work alongside them. This has meant that those of us from the Committee, as Trustees, have had to put additional time in to attend the various meetings, and to carry out research etc., along with our Clerk, Treasurer and Surveyor. We would not have achieved a fraction of what we have without their willingness and, again, I would like to express my gratitude to them on your behalf. We expect the Council to make several public announcements following the Local Elections but at the time of writing some of the options being put forward for consideration are subject to confidentiality and subsequent consideration by the new Council Cabinet.

 

Turning now to the market. Trading conditions continue to be difficult and you will see that the income for 2011 was slightly down from 2010, but better if the grants received from Shoreline in 2010 are ignored. However, we do feel that things are now improving with all of the units in the Skills Centre let and occupied and the Pea Bung once again open for business. Expenditure on the market remains high due to the investment that we are making in new stalls and other improvements. In an effort to help our traders through the recession we have held our stall rents in order to retain the traders that we have so that we are ready to take advantage of any upturn in the economy.

 

The Skills Centre is now all but complete and was officially opened by the Mayor on 15th April with Austin Mitchell MP also in attendance. I would like to thank all those involved in the project and particularly Richard Bellamy whose original concept it was. Within the Skills Centre we have Contract Lincs, Tukes (Woodwork and Bistro), Synergy Media Centre and Compass FM. The whole of the market has Wi-Fi and the courtyard bistro is proving to be very popular with shoppers who like the atmosphere that we have created. One a month we host the Meniscus Film Club Film Night run by Stuart Hall of Synergy and we are always open to ideas and suggestions for other possible uses.

 

At the suggestion of NELC, we submitted an application to Yorkshire Forward last October for European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) funding towards the cost of refurbishing the other rear corner of the market. Having been successful with our outline business plan we are now having to submit a Full Business Plan supported by architects drawings, costings and planning permission etc. This Project will cost around £1m to deliver with about half of this coming from ERDF and could commence as early as November this year. It would be wrong of me to go into further detail now since the plans are still being finalised and are subject to further consultation with interested parties.

 

We continue to meet with the various agencies working within the Borough, and the East Marsh area in particular, such as East Marsh Involve (EMI), Voluntary Action North East Lincs (VANEL), eFactor, Community Chest, Foresight and Tukes. We hosted the International Market again last year and are booked again for this year; this having previously been held in Victoria Street in the open.

 

None of this could have been achieved without our dedicated staff and I would like to take this opportunity to thank our Market Managers and their team for their hard work on the Market in helping to transform it and for steadily improving its internal appearance. Those of you with access to the internet may care to visit www.freemomarket.co.uk to see how we are moving with the times. My thanks, on behalf of the Committee, also go to our Clerk and Treasurer and their respective staff who work most diligently to keep our legal and financial affairs in good order. I would also like, again, to thank the Members of the Committee for the time they have given to the affairs of the Freemen on your behalf.

 

The decrease in the dividend this year was noted on the payments sent out last December and this was due to the reduced surplus on operating activities but moreso due to greatly reduced income from our investment portfolio brought about by the worldwide recession. I am pleased to say that these are now showing signs of improvement as you will see from the accounts leaving the overall position much improved since last year.

 

I would urge you all to support the Market, if you have not seen the improvements we have carried out do go and have a look, I think you will be surprised.

 

As has been said in previous reports, if you require any assistance please apply to the Benevolent Fund through either the Clerk or the Treasurer.  The criteria for applying to the Fund are, in the case of extreme hardship, the payment of a household utility bill (usually gas or electricity); the replacement/repair of cooking facilities, (e.g. a new basic cooker if your existing one is not able to be repaired; to enable one to keep warm (e.g. a portable heater); and essential repairs to property.  Each case will be considered on its own merits.  The Fund is not available for general financial assistance.

 

If you can reclaim the tax deducted from the dividend please make application to HM Revenue and Customs.

 

If you move home kindly inform either the Clerk or the Treasurer of your new address.

 

The Annual General Meeting is to be held on Monday, 6th June 2011, at 12:00 noon at the Town Hall.  Please make every effort to attend in order that you can elect the new Pastures Committee for the next twelve months. The attendances over the last few years AGM’s have been much better than hitherto which has been most encouraging.

 

Stephen P. White

Chairman

 

 

CHAIRMAN’S ANNUAL REPORT 2010

 

 

Another year has passed and further changes seen for the committee.

 

First of all my thanks go to Alan Cooper and Ted Taylor who both stood down at last years Annual General Meeting, at the same time Dave Pearce was elected. Vernon Shaw, who has been on the committee since 1980 has indicated that he will not be standing for re-election this year and so we lose another of our stalwarts and with him much valued knowledge and experience. My thanks to them all for all that they have contributed over the years.

 

During the last year committee members have had training in “the roles and responsibilities of trustees” whilst I personally attended a Charities Conference. We have also begun to put together an induction pack for new trustees following good practice advice received from the Charity Commission.

 

It is now two years since I first wrote about the latest plans for the regeneration of Freeman Street. I am hopeful that by the time you read this the report of EC Harris, who have been commissioned by North East Lincolnshire Council, will have been made public. (EC Harris have also worked with NELC in the Top Town Regeneration). Over the last year meetings have continued to be held between the Council, Shoreline Housing Partnership, EC Harris and ourselves to ensure that we have a solid agreement on the issues and opportunities which present themselves in a regeneration plan of this magnitude. A very well attended meeting on the market in February this year of invited guests, facilitated by the Royal Society of the Arts, saw a presentation by EC Harris and which then broke up into groups to discuss the various aspects in deeper detail. We are hopeful that eventually we shall witness a new “urban village” with a reduction in retail but an increase in, and a good mix of, quality social and private housing  incorporating the latest eco-friendly technology and design. The recent announcement by the council that they are “out-sourcing” some of their functions to Balfour Beatty means that they too will become an active partner in the delivery of any plans.

 

Turning now to the market. In last years annual report you saw that we had suffered a reduction in income from the market due to very difficult trading conditions and we knew that this downturn would continue; this is evident by the fact that in the year just ended we actually made a loss. (However, please note that the total funds held show a marked increase from 2009). In an effort to help our traders through the recession we have held our stall rents in order to retain the traders that we have so that we are ready to take advantage of any upturn in the economy. From the figures which are provided to us each month by the Treasurer it would appear that our position, in terms of number of stalls let and income, has now stabilised. Along side of this we have continued to develop The Freemen’s Community and Craft Project (Skills Centre) in the back corner of the market. Our first tenant, Contract Lincs, is already in-situ and, subject to contracts being exchanged, we have tenants for the woodworking and cookery units and media centre which will increase our revenue. These are very exciting and “new” ways for us to develop and expand our links with the local community, enhance our profile and use our position and influence for the public good and benefit. Once the Skills Centre is completed we shall set about refurbishing the other back corner, creating meeting and interview rooms for use by the various community groups, agencies and individuals seeking advice etc., should an adequate demand for such a facility be demonstrated.

 

Following the idea first raised in November 2008 of the market becoming a “community anchor” we have strengthened our links with the various agencies working within the Borough and the East Marsh area, such as VANEL, (Voluntary Action North East Lincs), eFactor, Community Chest, and Tukes. We hosted the International Market last year and are booked again for this year; this was previously held in Victoria Street in the open.

 

As part of some of the initiatives we have taken on the market we have successfully applied for three separate grants from Shoreline over the last 2 years totalling some £13,800. These are detailed in section 10 of the accounts.

 

But this could not have been achieved without our dedicated staff and I would like to take this opportunity to thank our Market Managers and their team for their hard work on the Market in helping to transform it and for steadily improving its internal appearance. Those of you with access to the internet may care to visit www.freemomarket.co.uk to see how we are moving with the times. My thanks, on behalf of the Committee, also go to our Clerk and Treasurer and their respective staff who work most diligently to keep our legal and financial affairs in good order. I would also like to thank the Members of the Committee for the time they have given to the affairs of the Freemen on your behalf.

 

There has been a decrease in the dividend this year, as noted within the Treasurer’s report, despite the further reduction in the number of Freemen on the Roll. As you will see from the accounts, whilst the market operating costs have shown a modest increase compared to 2009, there has been a much larger reduction in the income from stall rents which is due to the combined effect of traders leaving or taking fewer stalls and the zero increase on stall rents; this will be offset somewhat in 2010/11 by the lettings in the Skills Centre. It is therefore most important that you support the Market, and Freeman Street in general since both have, once again, experienced difficult trading conditions over the last year. Markets nationally are facing similar difficulties; you will also see a number of empty stalls on the Council-run “Top Town” market.

 

The number of Freemen on the Roll has fallen again and now stands at 839, (was 874 last year).

 

I would now like to give you a further up-date on “The Borough Freedom (Family Succession) Bill”, initially drawn up by Charles Sparrow, QC, who was Honorary Counsellor to the Freemen of England & Wales but which had, in its’ original form run out of Parliamentary time.

 

The new Bill, which I mentioned in last years report, as included within the Government White paper entitled “Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Bill (HL)”. (Amendments 152A and 152B refer) has received Royal Assent in recent months. The effect of this is to amend Section 249 of the Local Government Act 1972 which deals with admission to the Freedom. We are now in conversation with the Local Authority in order to determine how we may best incorporate the provisions of the Act into our Rules of Admission whilst preserving what has been our Custom and enshrined in The Pastures Act.

 

And yes, the Freemen of Beverley also had their own Private Bill passed.

 

As has been said in previous reports, if you require any assistance please apply to the Benevolent Fund through either the Clerk or the Treasurer.  The criteria for applying to the Fund are, in the case of extreme hardship, the payment of a household utility bill (usually gas or electricity); the replacement/repair of cooking facilities, (e.g. a new basic cooker if your existing one is not able to be repaired; to enable one to keep warm (e.g. a portable heater); and essential repairs to property.  Each case will be considered on its own merits.  The Fund is not available for general financial assistance.

 

If you can reclaim the tax deducted from the dividend please make application to HM Revenue and Customs.

 

If you move home kindly inform either the Clerk or the Treasurer of your new address.

 

The Annual General Meeting is to be held on Monday, 7th June 2010, at 12:00 noon at the Town Hall.  Please make every effort to attend in order that you can elect the new Pastures Committee for the next twelve months. The attendances at last 2 years AGM’s have been much better than hitherto which has been most encouraging.

 

Stephen P. White

Chairman

 

CHAIRMAN’S ANNUAL REPORT 2009

 

 

This has been a year of some significant changes for the committee.

 

First of all my thanks go to Michael Campbell who had served on the Pastures Committee since 1991 before standing down at last years Annual General Meeting due to ill health. His brother, Martin Campbell was duly elected to take his place.

 

In January of this year Edward Green, our Property Surveyor and Valuer for the last 10 years, tendered his resignation owing to the fact that he was retiring from the partnership of his firm Jackson Green and Preston. Edward suggested that we consider John Hood, a Chartered Surveyor and partner in the same firm, and after an interview we were delighted to offer him the position which he has accepted.

 

Our last farewell goes to Peter Roberts, Treasurer for the last 15 years, who has also taken retirement from the partnership of his firm, Forrester Boyd. Peter will continue to serve as our Treasurer until our AGM but thereafter his deputy, Peter Fearn, a Chartered Accountant also from Forrester Boyd, will take over the reins although Peter, and Edward for that matter, have both offered their assistance if needed in the future.

 

I wrote last year about the then recent press coverage regarding the latest plans for the regeneration of Freeman Street. Although on the surface nothing appears to have happened the Council have appointed Neil Bradbury as Project Director and we had a very useful meeting with him at which he outlined his initial thoughts for the scheme should it go ahead. Meetings have also been held between Mr Bradbury and Shoreline Housing Partnership and between ourselves and Shoreline since they are social housing providers in the area and any regeneration plans would be bound to include them on a large scale. We have continued to state our case that we are keen to work in partnership with the Local Authority, and any other agency, in order to secure the future prosperity of the Freeman Street area.

 

I mentioned in my last report that Richard Bellamy had been elected to the committee and suggested that he would bring his business expertise to the table, how right I was. You will be aware that we have been affected by a downturn in income from our market as traders have given up some of their stalls, or simply left, and not only has the effect of this been felt financially but cosmetically the market has suffered from empty stalls and open spaces. By consolidating the traders that we have to the front of the market we have, under Richard’s guidance, created an area at the rear which will be set up under the guise of The Freemen’s Community and Craft Project which is a very exciting and new way for us to develop and expand our links with the local community. When complete, this area will house some traditional craft units, woodworking, pottery, cookery and even a bakery. We have created links with local schools and community groups and, as well as providing a better equipped office for the market manager and his assistant we will also be creating meeting and interview rooms for use by the various agencies and individuals seeking advice etc. All of this was covered in the circular which we sent out last November so I wont repeat it all again now.

 

Last November Richard and I attended a seminar which explored the concept of becoming a “community anchor” and discovered that we had all of the attributes necessary, or could provide them within the market development and this also provided us with a further opportunity to forge links with the various agencies working within the East Marsh area.

 

As part of some of the initiatives we have taken on the market we have successfully applied for three separate grants from Shoreline totalling some £10,000. These are detailed in section 10 of the accounts.

 

But this could not have been achieved without our dedicated staff and I would like to take this opportunity to thank our Market Manager and his Assistant and their team for their hard work on the Market in helping to transform it and for steadily improving its internal appearance. Those of you with access to the internet may care to visit www.freemomarket.co.uk to see how we are moving with the times. My thanks, on behalf of the Committee, also go to our Clerk and Treasurer and their respective staff who work most diligently to keep our legal and financial affairs in good order. I would also like to thank the Members of the Committee for the time they have given to the affairs of the Freemen on your behalf.

 

The increase in the dividend continued again this year, as noted within the Treasurer’s report, but as with last year this is as much as a result of a further fall in the number of Freemen on the Roll as any up-turn in our fortunes. As you will see from the accounts, whilst the market operating costs have shown a modest saving compared to 2008, there has been a much larger reduction in the income from stall rents which is due to traders leaving or taking fewer stalls. It is therefore most important that you support the Market, and Freeman Street in general since both have, once again, experienced difficult trading conditions over the last year. Markets nationally are facing similar difficulties; you will also see a number of empty stalls on the Council-run “Top Town” market.

 

The number of Freemen on the Roll has fallen again and now stands at 874, (was 909 last year).

 

I would like to up-date you on “The Borough Freedom (Family Succession) Bill”, drawn up by Charles Sparrow, QC, who was Honorary Counsellor to the Freemen of England & Wales but which had, in its’ original form run out of Parliamentary time.

 

The situation a year ago was that a new Bill was being proposed, simply entitled The Borough Freedom Bill, again sponsored by Lord Ted Graham who had sponsored the original Bill. Although this received its’ second reading in The Lords week commencing 31st March 2008 further progress was again denied by a shout of “object” in the Commons. That would have normally put an end to things but there was a general feeling of sympathy to the objectives set out in the bill so it was further redrafted and has been incorporated as a friendly amendment to a Government White paper entitled “Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Bill (HL)”. (Amendments 152A and 152B refer). The effect of the White Paper is to amend Section 249 of the Local Government Act 1972 which deals with admission to the Freedom. Since both amendments were redrafted with the assistance of Parliamentary Officials of the Public Bill Office, and with reference to The Freemen of England and Wales, there is no doubt that a fair compromise has now been reached in what will become Government Policy in due course.

 

The effect of this Bill will be to enable, where it is desired, to give the same rights to a woman to be admitted to the freedom of a city or town in any or all circumstances where a man has that right and to use the title “freewoman”; to put a civil partner or surviving civil partner of a person admitted to the freedom of a city or town in the same position as a spouse or surviving spouse of such a person. There will also be a provision to make a variation to admission to any person, (male or female), previously debarred by location of birth, date of birth in relation to a father/parent, step-children and children-in- law, right by marriage, apprenticeship or residence if proposed by a ballot at a local referendum which can alter customary precedence, local or national legislation or Royal Charters.

 

In a rather peculiar twist to the end of this tale, the Freemen of Beverley are now promoting their own Private Bill for their own location; they probably got fed up of waiting…….

 

As has been said in previous reports, if you require any assistance please apply to the Benevolent Fund through either the Clerk or the Treasurer.  The criteria for applying to the Fund are, in the case of extreme hardship, the payment of a household utility bill (usually gas or electricity); the replacement/repair of cooking facilities, (e.g. a new basic cooker if your existing one is not able to be repaired; to enable one to keep warm (e.g. a portable heater); and essential repairs to property.  Each case will be considered on its own merits.  The Fund is not available for general financial assistance.

 

If you can reclaim the tax deducted from the dividend please make application to the Inland Revenue.

 

If you move home kindly inform either the Clerk or the Treasurer of your new address.

 

The Annual General Meeting is to be held on Monday, 1st June 2009, at 12:00 noon at the Town Hall.  Please make every effort to attend in order that you can elect the new Pastures Committee for the next twelve months. The attendances at last 2 years AGM’s have been much better than hitherto which has been most encouraging.

 

Stephen P. White

Chairman

 

CHAIRMAN’S ANNUAL REPORT 2008

 

 

I would like to start my report this year by thanking David Good for the time he spent on the Pastures Committee before standing down following last years Annual General Meeting. In his place we appointed Richard Bellamy, a well-known local businessman who I am sure will be an asset to the committee bringing with him a wealth of commercial experience.

 

The increase in the dividend has continued this year, as noted within the Treasurer’s report, but as with last year this is as much as a result of a further fall in the number of Freemen on the Roll as any up-turn in our fortunes. As you will see from the accounts, whilst the market operating costs have shown a modest saving compared to 2007, there has been a much larger reduction in the income from stall rents which is due to traders leaving or taking fewer stalls. It is therefore most important that you support the Market, and Freeman Street in general since both have, once again, experienced difficult trading conditions over the last year. Markets nationally are facing similar difficulties; you will also see a number of empty stalls on the Council-run “Top Town” market.

 

I wrote last year about the recent press coverage regarding the latest plans for the regeneration of Freeman Street and as I write this I get a feeling of deja vu. Although nothing tangible has happened since my last report I can inform you that there has been a preliminary meeting, earlier this year, between officials of the Pastures Committee and North East Lincolnshire Council at which we discussed the proposals in their broadest sense. We made it clear that we would prefer to work positively in partnership with the Local Authority, rather than be subject to compulsory purchase orders on our land, in order to ensure the future prosperity of the Freemen’s estate.

 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our Market Manager and his staff for their hard work on the Market in making it the success it is and for steadily improving its internal appearance. Those of you with access to the internet may care to visit www.freemomarket.co.uk to see how we are moving with the times. My thanks, on behalf of the Committee, also go to our Clerk and Treasurer and their respective staff who work most diligently to keep our legal and financial affairs in good order. I would also like to thank the Members of the Committee for the time they have given to the affairs of the Freemen on your behalf.

 

The number of Freemen on the Roll has fallen again and now stands at 909, (was 933 last year).

 

I wrote last year of The Freemen of Beverley who were also faced with diminishing numbers in their Roll, and of the Freemen of Huntingdon who, the Charity Commission decided, no longer served the public interest because they numbered less than a dozen. Whilst we are not yet in that position our numbers are steadily decreasing and do give some cause for concern.

 

A remedy to this would have been found in the Borough Freedom (Family Succession) Bill, drawn up by Charles Sparrow, QC, who was Honorary Counsellor to the Freemen of England & Wales. However, as I noted, the Bill ran out of Parliamentary time and was dropped with the Government expressing the view that any modifications to the admission to the freedom should be dealt with locally and that local authorities already have powers to promote Local Bills under the 1972 Local Government Act.

 

Interestingly, a new Bill is now being proposed which would do exactly that, simply entitled The Borough Freedom Bill, and is being sponsored by Lord Ted Graham who had also sponsored the original Bill. Although we have the full text of the Bill we have little further to report other than it was to have received its’ second reading in The Lords week commencing 31st March but the House is in recess until 21st April so it is really a question of “watch this space”. I hope to be able to report further to you at the AGM.

 

As has been said in previous reports, if you require any assistance please apply to the Benevolent Fund through either the Clerk or the Treasurer.  The criteria for applying to the Fund are, in the case of extreme hardship, the payment of a household utility bill (usually gas or electricity); the replacement/repair of cooking facilities, (e.g. a new basic cooker if your existing one is not able to be repaired; to enable one to keep warm (e.g. a portable heater); and essential repairs to property.  Each case will be considered on its own merits.  The Fund is not available for general financial assistance.

 

If you can reclaim the tax deducted from the dividend please make application to the Inland Revenue.

 

If you move home kindly inform either the Clerk or the Treasurer of your new address.

 

The Annual General Meeting is to be held on Monday, 2nd June 2008, at 12:00 noon at the Town Hall.  Please make every effort to attend in order that you can elect the new Pastures Committee for the next twelve months. The attendance at last years AGM was much better than the previous year which was most encouraging.

 

Stephen P. White

Chairman

 

 

CHAIRMAN’S ANNUAL REPORT 2007

 

 

I would like to start my report this year by noting the retirement last October, after many years of loyal service, of Ken Rendall, Market Superintendent. As a token of our appreciation a surprise presentation was made to him on his last day on the market, complemented by a collection organised by the market traders. In addition, and although not strictly an employee of the Enrolled Freemen, we also took the opportunity to present a gift to his wife Barbara who was also retiring from Forrester-Boyd where part of her duties were to assist our Treasurer, Peter Roberts.

 

Sean McGarel, who comes from a local family who held a stall for many years selling their own-grown produce, joined us as Assistant Market Manager at the end of November whilst Karen Bacon has taken over from Barbara. We extend a warm welcome to both of them.

 

The increase in the dividend has continued this year but this is as much as a result of a further fall in the number of Freemen on the Roll as any up-turn in our fortunes. As you will see from the accounts, whilst the market operating costs have shown a modest saving compared to 2006, there has been a much larger fall in the income from stall rents which is due to traders leaving or taking fewer stalls. It is therefore most important that you support the Market, and Freeman Street in general since both have, once again, experienced difficult trading conditions over the last year. Markets nationally are facing similar difficulties; you will also see a number of empty stalls on the Council-run “Top Town” market.

 

You may have read in the local press recently of the latest plans for the regeneration of Freeman Street. Although at an early stage, and still quite sketchy, it does seem that this time there is real money on the table and that major investment will take place. Discussed at a recent meeting of the Pastures Committee it was resolved that we would work positively with the Local Authority, Yorkshire Forward or any other agency to ensure the future prosperity of the Freemen’s estate.

 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our Market Manager and his staff for their hard work on the Market in making it the success it is and for steadily improving its internal appearance. My thanks, on behalf of the Committee, also go to our Clerk and Treasurer and their respective staff who work most diligently to keep our legal and financial affairs in good order. I would also like to thank the Members of the Committee for the time they have given to the affairs of the Freemen.

 

The number of Freemen on the Roll has fallen again and now stands at 933, (was 955 last year).

 

The Freemen of Beverley were also faced with diminishing numbers which took a further knock when their new maternity home was unveiled OUTSIDE of the town boundary. In order to address the problems they faced they had they engaged the services of Charles Sparrow, QC, who was Honorary Counsellor to the Freemen of England & Wales and well known for the lectures he gave at their AGM’s. His solution was to draft a bill, which was presented to Parliament, which would have modified the rules of admission of freemen throughout the whole of England and Wales and would have, effectively, allowed the enfranchisement of both sons and daughters of freemen even in instances where a generation had been skipped due to the father, perhaps, being away in the armed forces or simply not being born “in the right place”. However, the adoption of the Borough Freedom (Family Succession) Bill was not to be. Parliamentary sessions ran out of time to allow sufficient reading and debate and with Charles’ passing in May 2005 much of the initial enthusiasm died with him. Recent advice received from the Government has stated that they take the view that any modifications to the admission to the freedom should be dealt with locally and that local authorities already have powers to promote Local Bills under the 1972 Local Government Act. It is interesting to note that the Freemen of Berwick upon Tweed do not even consider themselves answerable to the local authority so long as any changes they make do not conflict with any pre-existing legislation.

 

There is a point to all of this and this is it.

 

In fairly recent years the number of Freemen in Huntingdon dwindled to such an extent that eventually the Charity Commission took the view that they, the freemen, were not serving any charitable function, their assets were stripped away and handed over to the general good of the people of Huntingdon. The Charities Act 2006 introduces a new principle of “Public Benefit” and this could have serious implications on the way in which our charitable status is viewed. The paper is currently out for consultation and will come into force in early 2008 but our Treasurer has already been in contact with the Charity Commission to present our case.

 

As has been said in previous reports, if you require any assistance please apply to the Benevolent Fund through either the Clerk or the Treasurer.  The criteria for applying to the Fund are, in the case of extreme hardship, the payment of a household utility bill (usually gas or electricity); the replacement/repair of cooking facilities, (e.g. a new basic cooker if your existing one is not able to be repaired; to enable one to keep warm (e.g. a portable heater); and essential repairs to property.  Each case will be considered on its own merits.  The Fund is not available for general financial assistance.

 

If you can reclaim the tax deducted from the dividend please make application to the Inland Revenue.

 

If you move home kindly inform either the Clerk or the Treasurer of your new address.

 

The Annual General Meeting is to be held on Monday, 4th June 2007, at 12:00 noon at the Town Hall.  Please make every effort to attend in order that you can elect the new Pastures Committee for the next twelve months. The AGM last year almost had to be postponed since, with just one minute to noon showing on the clock, we did not have sufficient numbers of Freemen present to conduct the meeting in accordance with the Act.

 

Stephen P. White

Chairman

 

 

CHAIRMAN’S ANNUAL REPORT 2006

 

I felt very honoured and privileged to be appointed Chairman of the Pastures Committee last year, a position at one time held by my late father-in-law, Edmund T. Ellis, who was probably well known to many of you.

 

I would like to start my report by paying tribute to my predecessor, Chris Brambley, who stood down as Chairman last year but remained on the Pastures Committee. However, he has now informed us that having retired, and given 30 years service to the Freemen, he feels it is now time to “bow out” which will create a vacancy on the committee. Sadly, I must also report that Denis Brydges, who stood down from the committee last year having given 40 years service, passed away shortly after a presentation which had been arranged to mark his retirement.

 

The increase in the dividend has continued this year.  As was stated in last years report, it is hoped that this trend will continue, but there are, of course, no guarantees.  As you will appreciate, costs are always increasing and it is therefore most important that you support the Market, and Freeman Street in general since both have, once again, experienced difficult trading conditions over the last year.

 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our Market Manager and his staff for their hard work on the Market in making it the success it is and for steadily improving its internal appearance. My thanks, on behalf of the Committee, also go to our Clerk and Treasurer and their respective staff who work most diligently to keep our legal and financial affairs in good order. I would also like to thank the Members of the Committee for the time they have given to the affairs of the Freemen.

 

The number of Freemen on the Roll has fallen again and now stands at 955, (was 976 last year).

 

As has been said in previous reports, if you require any assistance please apply to the Benevolent Fund through either the Clerk or the Treasurer.  The criteria for applying to the Fund are, in the case of extreme hardship, the payment of a household utility bill (usually gas or electricity); the replacement/repair of cooking facilities, (e.g. a new basic cooker if your existing one is not able to be repaired; to enable one to keep warm (e.g. a portable heater); and essential repairs to property.  Each case will be considered on its own merits.  The Fund is not available for general financial assistance.

If you can reclaim the tax deducted from the dividend please make application to the Inland Revenue.

 

If you move premises kindly inform either the Clerk or the Treasurer of your new address.

 

The Annual General Meeting is to be held on Monday, 5th June 2006, at 12:00 noon at the Town Hall.  Please attend in order that you can elect the new Pastures Committee for the next twelve months.

 

Stephen P. White

Chairman

 

 

CHAIRMAN’S ANNUAL REPORT 2005

 

 

The increase in the dividend has continued this year.  As I stated in my last report, it is hoped that this trend will continue, but there are, of course, no guarantees.  As you will appreciate, costs are always increasing and it is therefore most important that you support the Market.

 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our Market Manager and his staff for their hard work on the Market in making it such a success.

 

Please continue to support the Market and, of course, Freeman Street in general!!!

 

The number of Freemen on the Roll is now 976.

 

As I have said in previous reports, if you require any assistance please apply to the Benevolent Fund through either the Clerk or the Treasurer.  The criteria for applying to the Fund are, in the case of extreme hardship the payment of a household utility bill (usually gas or electricity); the replacement/repair of cooking facilities (e.g. a new basic cooker if your existing one is not able to be repaired; to enable one to keep warm (e.g. a portable heater); and essential repairs to property.  Each case will be considered on its own merits.  The Fund is not available for general financial assistance.

If you can reclaim the tax deducted from the dividend please make application to the Inland Revenue.

 

If you move premises kindly inform either the Clerk or the Treasurer of your new address.

 

The Annual General Meeting is to be held on Monday, 6th June 2005, at 12:00 noon at the Town Hall.  Please attend in order that you can elect the new Pastures Committee for the next twelve months.

 

Finally, the Pastures Committee and myself would like to thank our Clerk and Treasurer, and their respective staff for all their help given during the past year and I would also like to thank the Members of the Committee for the time they have given to the affairs of the Freemen.

 

Chris Brambley

Chairman