This evening at the Civic Centre Shepway District Council – soon to be Folkestone & Hythe District Council – Overview & Scrutiny Committee will meet scrutinise and make a recommendation on Agenda Item 10, Report C17-84. The committee chaired by Cllr Peter Gane will scrutinise whether or not the Sir Roger De Haan’s Quarterhouse (pictured) receive £75,000, £60,000 (over the next 3 years) or nothing at all from SDC. Then whatever their recommendations are, these will be sent to SDC’s Cabinet led by Cllr David Monk the next day, March 28, 2018, to vote on.
The three options are:
Option 1 – Provide funding at the current level of £25k for 3 years from 1st April 2018 and then review in line with the Art’s Council’s review (after 3 years) of NPO status.
Option 2 – Provide tapered funding for the next 3 years, of £25,000 in 2018/19; £20,000 in 2019/20 and £15,000 in 2020/21 and then review in line with the Art’s Council’s review (after 3 years) of NPO status.
Option 3 – Not provide any funding for the Quarterhouse
It is not just SDC who fund the Quarterhouse. KCC has confirmed that it is committed to continuing to provide £100,000 per annum financial support to the Quarterhouse for the next 4 years. So all in all that’s £400,000 from KCC with potentially £75,000 to come from SDC. And let’s not forget the Arts Council will fund the Creative Foundation (CF) to the tune of £2 million between 2018/19 – 2022/23 according to an FoI request.
The author of Report C17-84 is Jyotsna Leney, Community Services Manager. However those responsible are SDC Head of Service, Katherine Harvey Head of Economic Development (pictured below left). The Cabinet Member for Communities, Cllr Jennifer (Nine Homes) Hollingsbee (pictured right) is the elected member responsible.
Is it truly necessary to give a public purse subsidy to the Quarterhouse when SDC are laying off so many staff? What do you think? If you have an opinion, do write to Councillor Hollingsbee politely, setting out your reasons why you might not agree:
In Report C17-84 there are a few nuggets of information which are of use to you the Community of Shepway.
The first nugget, the most import nugget can be found at paragraph 3.3 which states:
A condition of the NPO application was that the funding would not be used to replace local authority funding and that it should be additional to it. In view of this the Creative Foundation indicated in its application that “We [The Creative Foundation] will continue to receive Kent County Council and Shepway District Council funds for the programme which supports the NPO bid”
Does the language used by the CF not presume that continuing funding from SDC & KCC will be automatically forthcoming? Has been continued in KCC’s case. After all Report C17-84 does state with certainty “We CF will continue to receive… SDC funds for the programme…” which could imply the issue has already been decided, couldn’t it? If so, what’s the point of our democratically elected Cllrs needing to scrutinize the document when the CF “will” continue to receive funding from SDC’s public purse?
Moving on, another nugget can be found at Paragraph 1.5 which states:
4 days a year for a potential £75,000 donation to the CF. Is 4 days enough? Is that the best value for money SDC can extract from the CF? Shouldn’t the O&S Committee, headed up by Cllr Peter Gane (pictured) recommend that more days are offered for “community purposes”. This could then go to Cabinet the following day 28 March 2018 for them to consider at least. If you have an opinion on this do let Cllr Gane or his Deputy Cllr Claire Jeffrey know – (pictured)
As an aside does anyone know how to book the Quarterhouse for “Community Purposes”. If so, do drop us a line please.
If all four days have not been used up, might we suggest the developer – Sir Roger De Haan (a Trustee of CF) – of the Folkestone Seafront Development meet with the people at the Quarterhouse. We know a request has been declined by the developer, but as the public purse will be donating £500,000 plus a potential further £25,000 every year for the next 3 years, might it be prudent and wise to meet with the public about Folkestone becoming Benidorm -On -Sea.
Artist view Seafront development Benidorm skyline
Now to put this into context, KCC and SDC lent £3.5 million pounds to the Creative Foundation on the 22nd June 2007. On the 28th June 2016 that loan was repaid. Now add onto this that KCC have already funded the Quarterhouse to the tune of £400,000 over four years and SDC to the sum of £125,000 over five years, (Agenda Item 99). Means both KCC and SDC, will have invested £1 million between them by 2020/21. As the CF website says, “It was built by the Creative Foundation Trading Company with funding from Kent County Council, SEEDA, the Roger De Haan Charitable Trust and the fit out was supported by the Arts Council of England.” No mention of SDC which is strange as they were lenders in 2007 along with KCC.
The Quarterhouse is owned and operated by the Creative Foundation, the company, not the Charity. So the Company can make money, surely? Yet it does not make enough money seemingly to fund itself, hence receives a subsidy, some might say. If you run a company and are not making enough what happens? You go under, but not the CF’s Quarterhouse, the taxpayer appears to step in.
Finally, some have said and say Sir Roger is nothing more than a property developer, “buying Folkestone/Shepway’s love with his philanthropic donations to local charities, to enable his vision.” This has lead some to say that because of these ongoing “philanthropic donations” one cannot and must not dare speak against Sir Roger. We – the Shepwayvox Team – firmly believe in our honest opinion that the CF and Sir Roger have more than enough money to fund the Quarterhouse themselves. It is our opinion and wish for all of us to live our lives free from those who pretend to act in our interests; but are only ever about giving more of what we’ve got (public money) away to those who already have too much.
The Shepwayvox Team