The Liberal Democrat councillors Jeremy Hilton, Declan Wilson, Phil McLellan, David Brown, Sebastian Field & Chris Witts have called in the cabinet decision to release protective covenants held by the council on Llanthony Secunda Priory.
Statement by Jeremy Hilton: “We have called in the decision of the Tory cabinet to release covenants that the city council holds on Llanthony Secunda Priory.
The covenants were put in place to protect the future of the historic priory, should the management trust fail. The council would buy back the ownership of Llanthony Secunda Priory for just one pound. This is a better solution than handing the priory over to the Official Receiver should the Llanthony Secunda Priory Trust become insolvent.”
A successful trust today is not necessarily a successful trust tomorrow. We must protect the future of one of Gloucester’s most historic assets. The cabinet decision must be reconsidered and that is why Liberal Democrat councillors have called-in the decision so that it can be reconsidered.”
“This is a request to call-in the cabinet decision made on the 11th of September, in relation to agenda item 12 – Llanthony Secunda Priory. The call-in is supported by members of the council who have acknowledged their support for this particular call-in via email.
The decision of cabinet was as follows:
- That the restrictive covenants be removed in accordance with the request from LSPT.
- That Planning Committee be requested to vary the S106 agreement relating to the property.
- That the above are subject to agreeing a provision for continuing public access to the property and that the City Council shall have the continued right to nominate a Trustee.
Ahead of the cabinet decision Cllr. Jeremy Hilton did raise his concerns, at group leaders meeting (2nd September) about the proposal to remove covenants the council holds on Llanthony Secunda Priory and also to waive the original Section 106 Agreement.
On the 9th of September Cllr. Hilton wrote to the leader of the council asking him to withdraw the cabinet paper so that further discussion could take place. The leader responded negatively to Cllr. Hilton’s request and did not withdraw the cabinet paper. He suggested that if Cllr Hilton was not happy with his decision then Cllr Hilton should call-in the decision.
The original decision to sell Llanthony Secunda Priory to a management trust was made at full council on the 15th of February 2007.
In making the decision council agreed to the following clause:-
‘To covenant the site so that should the Management Trust fail, ownership of the monument and its grounds would revert to the Council.’
The matter of whether council should remove the covenants it holds on Llanthony Secunda Priory is therefore a matter for full council and not cabinet.
- The covenants were put there for the benefit of the city
- The possibility of the trust failing was in the original risk assessment. This was mitigated by the covenant relating to the transfer of the land back to the council should the management trust fail.
- The decision to go ahead with the trust was done on the understanding that this safeguard would remain.
- A successful trust today is not necessarily a successful trust tomorrow.
- To remove the covenant now would not therefore be in the best interests of the city as it could potentially put the future of one of Gloucester’s most important historical assets at risk.
The signatories to the call-in request that the decision of cabinet is reviewed in particular the resolution to remove the covenants that this council holds on Llanthony Secunda Priory.”