SHIPTONTHORPE TURMOIL – 3. Restrictions on use of village hall.

Since last November a recurring theme of discussions and statements in Shiptonthorpe has been that that the former council were planning to add restrictions to the new village hall lease.

Cllr David Gough has said:

“ We have now been able to remove all the terrible restrictions planned by that (Village Hall) working group , those new restrictions if allowed to pass would have had a devastating impact up on our village hall making it impossible to function and no doubt forcing its closure . The losers would be our village and its residents.”

In an effort to provide a full and balanced picture I have written to Village Hall Chairman Richard Waud and Cllr Gough on several occasions to request further information about various aspects of the lease. Neither has replied.

Therefore, the only evidence I have now are the two key documents posted on the parish council website after their September meeting. These are notes from a meeting of the village hall lease working group meeting dated October 22 and another dated January 16 2023. Both are on the council website marked as minutes. They are not. They are notes. There is a significant difference between notes and minutes.

Extract from note dated October 2022

  1. Priority must be given for Shiptonthorpe residents and organisations.
    There are currently concerns that our resident Natterbox group are having to meet elsewhere as the hall is being let for a higher income to external organisations.


And the carry through note from the meeting dated 16 January 2023

  1. Priority must be given for Shiptonthorpe residents and organisations.

It was agreed that the lease should include a clause to the effect that any Shiptonthorpe village group bookings must take priority over any profit- making bookings.

As members of Shiptonthorpe Forward Together and the Village Hall Management Committee have said on several occasion the hall is for the benefit of the whole community of Shiptonthorpe. On the evidence provided to date it looks to me as if members of the working party agree with them!

A trustee of the village hall committee has stated:

“I am grateful to you for sending the retrieved documents to me following my Freedom of Information request and bringing this all out into the open and publicly setting the record straight.”

I do not understand this statement. If he is referring to the notes, they record the fact that the working committee wanted to put local residents first. My interpretation is that if someone outside the community was trying to make a booking which would have been financially beneficial to the village hall committee, local residents would be prioritised. Or am I missing something? The current PC Chairman thinks I am and has stated

“Extensive evidence exists but until I know more from the ICO (Information Commissioners Office) it is inappropriate to comment”.

Many councils form working groups and it looks to me as if the ‘Village Hall Lease Working Group’ was properly constituted. The minutes from the full council meeting on 29 September 2022 records:

RESOLVED: that a working group be set up comprising of:
Cllr. Robert Ducker
Cllr. Mike Stathers
Cllr. Katy Wrathall
The Clerk
The purpose of the group will be to review the current lease and draft a revised document for submission to full Council once complete.


  • To date I have seen no evidence to support Cllr Goughs claim that the ‘so called’ working party’ were planning to introduce terrible restrictions on the use of the hall.
  • A spokesman for the existing council has told me extensive evidence exists but until he hears back from the ICO it is inappropriate to comment.
  • The two documents mentioned in this article are notes NOT minutes as labelled on the PC website.
  • Neither Richard Waud or Cllr Gough responded to a series of questions about the hall which I sent to them on various occasions since 18 May 2023.
  • The ‘Village Hall Lease Working Group’ seem to me to be a properly constituted group charged with looking in detail at options and reporting back to the full council.
  • Working Groups cannot make decisions therefore minutes are not required. Hence the notes.
  • Several councillors and other residents have said that all this should have been discussed by the trustees of the Shiptonthorpe Parsh Council and not the Parish Council. I will come back to this issue in more detail soon.
  • The Parish Council is the sole trustee of the Shiptonthorpe Parish Charity.

Given the facts so far it seems that that evidence is being sought to justify earlier claims.

I will tackle the issue of a commercial rent in my next post.

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