To consider delivery of a minor Capital refurbishment scheme at Abbot Hall Gallery, which will allow Lakeland Arts to re-open to the public and to extend the current lease (by way of new lease covering wider area) to support with grant funding applications for major capital investment works.
The Economy, Culture and Leisure Portfolio Holder presented a report on the refurbishment works to Abbot Hall, lease and contact award. He highlighted the significant impact of Covid-19 on the museum sector and emphasised the importance of Abbot Hall as an asset to the district as a leading regional arts collection. The report informed Members that the Council had been involved with Arts Council England and Lakeland Arts to secure the future of Abbot Hall and ensure that the building was opened as soon as possible. The Portfolio Holder expressed his support for the proposals and drew Members attention to an additional recommendation to read ‘all the above recommendations are conditional on the receipt of grant monies and the satisfactory negotiation of the terms and conditions of the National Cultural Regeneration Fund grant agreement. Such to be delegated to the Director of Customer and Commercial Services, the Section 151 Officer, Monitoring Officer and Economy, Culture and Leisure Portfolio Holder.
The Legal, Governance and Democracy Lead Specialist (Monitoring Officer), highlighted the public response to the proposed public open space disposal as referred to in the report. Only one representation was made whicih was for a request for information as the proposed use by Lakeland Arts. Members considered the representation and expressed their support for the proposals, emphasising the cultural importance of Abbot Hall as an asset to the district. A query having been raised relating to the risk of flooding to the building which had been raised by the Planning Committee when they considered the Kendal Flood Relief Scheme, the Operational Lead for Delivery and Commercial Services confirmed that there were a number of concerns relating to the flood resilience of the building and that the concerns had been flagged as a risk to both Lakeland Arts and the Environment Agency. In addition to this response, the Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder requested that a more detailed, written response be provided to the Shadow Cabinet and Leader of the Labour Group.
The Leader asked the meeting if the motion was agreed. There was no dissent.
RESOLVED – That:-
(1) therefurbishment scheme be approved and permission be given for theCouncil toreceive grantmonies fromthe NationalCultural RegenerationFund (NCRF) and Lakeland Artsto deliver the scheme, be approved;
(2) the entering into of a grant agreement and related agreement’s be delegated to the Director for Customer and Commercial Services in conjunction with the Operational Lead for Delivery and Commercial Services, Lead Specialist for Legal, Governance and Democracy and Lead Specialist forFinance;
(3) theappointmentof LambertSmith Hamptonto deliverthe project managementfor thescheme andapproves theuse ofan exemption/ waiverfor theappointment, contractvalue is£56,630.00. Delegatesapproval ofthe exemption/waiverto theDirector ofCustomer andCommercial Services, Section151 Officerand Monitoringofficer onthe groundsthat thecontract isfor the execution ofservices certifiedby therelevant Directoras being required so urgentlyas not to permitthe invitationof quotationsor tenders, be approved;
(4) thescheme toproceed tocontract awardfollowing arobust tenderexercise inline withthe Council’sprocurement policy be approved and thatauthority toenter intothe relevantBuilding Contracts be delegated to theDirector for Customerand CommercialServices inconsultation inwith thePortfolio Holder in conjunction with the Lead Specialist for Legal, Governance and Democracy;
(5) thegrant ofa newlease (at an undervalue)to providea minimum termof 99years tosupport LakelandArts inseeking futureCapital monies tosupport withthe longerterm Capitalinvestment forthe site, be approved;
(6) the entering into of related licences to enter and alter in order to carry out works in Abbot Hall. Change Control procedure to also be agreed with Lakeland Arts to ensure that any changes to the scheme are properly recorded andmanaged be delegated;
(7) Council be recommended to approve amendment of the Capital Programme to include the full value of the capital works offset by the grantsdue; and
(8) All the above recommendations are conditional upon the receipt of the grant monies and the satisfactory negotiation of the terms and conditions of the National Cultural Regeneration Fund grant agreement. Such to be delegated to the Director of Customer and Commercial Services, the S151 Officer, Monitoring Officer and Economy, Culture and Leisure Portfolio Holder.
Reasons for Decision
The refurbishment works to Abbot Hall link to Council priorities for the economy and culture, work with our partners to deliver regional growth by:
· working across Morecambe Bay and the North West to secure inwardinvestment;
· attracting external funding and delivering critical infrastructure;
· participating in the Northern Powerhouse and contributing to the preparation and implementation of the Local Industrial Strategy; and
· promoting unique selling points such as marine and cultural and creativeindustries
To not support with the refurbishment of the Abbot Hall, his would likely mean that the NCRF funding was lost which would mean that essential and desirable works to Abbot Hall were not undertaken and therefore meaning the site could not open to the public. This is not considered to be a suitable alterative option when considering the importance of the site in terms of Kendal’s cultural offer and Kendal Vision’s cultural Quarter vision.