The Committee received a report on the Tamworth Youth Centre Fund (Charity Number 522734), asking them to consider whether they still favoured the amendment to the charitable scheme to enable the sale of the Property and the reinvestment of the sale proceeds following the outcome of the public consultation.
The Committee were also asked to confirm whether, if the scheme was amended, they would support a direct sale of the Property to Tamworth Borough Council, rather than a sale of the Property on the open market, subject to independent valuation advice.
The Committee were reminded of the discussion at their meeting on the 15th June 2021, where they made the following resolution:
Resolved – That (a) an application be made to the Charity Commission to amend the charitable scheme to enable the sale of the Property and the reinvestment of the sale proceeds as part of an endowment in line with previous Charities and Trusts Committee approvals across all Staffordshire County Council Charitable Funds;
(b) an annual grant programme to be run by appointed quasi management trustees to deliver against the charitable objectives;
(c) the marketing of the sale of the Property jointly with adjoining landowners;
(d) approval of the sale be delegated to the Assistant Director for Commercial and Assets;
(e) fund management be undertaken in the normal way for charity trusts capital.
Since then, an application had been made to the Charity Commission to amend the scheme and as part of the application, the Commission had requested a consultation on the future options for the Property. A summary of the outcome of the consultation was set out in the report.
Of the 6 responses received, 3 individuals favoured maintaining the status quo, 2 individuals favoured the sale of the Property and the reinvestment of the sale proceeds and 1 individual favoured sourcing an alternative tenant.
Members were informed of the next steps which included the disposal of the property. As discussed previously, this was proposed to be a joint market sale with County Council corporate properties in that area. Members were reminded that Tamworth Borough Council wanted to regenerate the area in question and were submitting a Levelling Up bid for the regeneration, therefore wishing to acquire the interest that the County Council has.
Corporately, the County Council had agreed in principle to sell the former magistrates court and the 56 Albert Road property, to Tamworth Borough Council, based on a valuation exercise. However, the charity status of the Youth Centre is slightly different, and therefore separate rules needed to be followed for disposal of assets.
Members further questioned the use of the proceeds and what this would entail, along with the independent advice being sought and the procurement of such advice. In response, the income generated from the sale would be invested by a process where local youth charities bid for funding annually, managed by SCVYS, and return to the Committee every 12 months with an update.
A registered valuer would be sought from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors who are appropriately ensured and bound by rules and regulations. Clarification was provided to propose that the same valuer would be used, which had been used before during a joint valuation with Tamworth Borough Council, under the stipulation that they are acting specifically for the Trust.
Members raised their concerns around the use of an existing valuer and questioned how independent this would be. To that end, usual County Council procurement rules would be followed, and three qualified organisations would be sought to provide a price and a fresh set of eyes. Members put this forward to the Committee as a proposal.
Resolved – That the Committee (a) approves the Charity Commission being informed of the outcome of the consultation and the progression of the current application with the Charity Commission to amend the charitable scheme to enable the sale of the Property and the reinvestment of the sale proceeds into an endowment to be run by appointed managing trustees if deemed appropriate by the Committee;
(b) approves the sale of the Property to Tamworth Borough Council, subject to revised valuation advice; and
(c) delegated approval to the Assistant Director for Commercial and assets to agree sale and fund management terms for the approval of the Committee.