Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Nocton Hall - latest update

Email to North Kesteven District Council - dated 20th September 2011

'From: Geoff Hall
Sent: Tuesday, September 20, 2011 12:12 PM
To: Karen Bradford [NKDC] ; Andrew McDonough [NKDC]
Cc: Stephen Phillips [MP] ; Nocton Parish Council ; Rob Kendrick [COUNCILLOR] ; John Money [COUNCILLOR] ; English Heritage

Subject: Nocton Hall

Dear Karen/Andrew,
I wrote to you by email (Andrew - 18th August & 4th September / Karen - 4th September) regarding progress on Nocton Hall. I also included a suggestion that representatives from the local community meet with both NKDC and English Heritage about the outcome of the Options Appraisal.

To date I have not had the courtesy of a reply from either of you, nor even a ‘Read Receipt’ to my correspondence.  As such, I have found it necessary to make a formal Freedom of Information request over the whole issue.

Would you please let me have an interim report on what is happening about the Options Appraisal.

I would also like to know what is being done to facilitate our request to meet with you.

Yours sincerely,'

Reply from North Kesteven District Council - dated 20th September 2011

'From: Andrew McDonough
Sent: Tuesday, September 20, 2011 1:22 PM
To: Geoff Hall
Cc: Karen Bradford

Subject: Nocton Hall - Options Appraisal

Dear Geoff

Thank you for your email this morning, and I apologise for the delay in replying to your earlier correspondence.

By way of update, I can advise as follows;
  • The Options Appraisal is at an advanced stage of preparation, and Officers have recently met with our Consultants to review the initial findings. The final draft is now due to be received by the Council at the end of this month.
  • Upon receipt of the final report, there will obviously be the need for Officers to carefully study its findings and to consider its recommendations. This will need to be done in conjunction with English Heritage who you will recall are joint funders of the study.
  • The Options Appraisal itself will also need to be presented to Members of the Council and I anticipate a detailed report being presented to the Council's Executive Board once Officers have fully considered the options and are in a position to assess and make a recommendation on the most appropriate way forward.
  • At the appropriate time the Council will make public the Options Appraisal and I anticipate a presentation being made to the Parish Council, acting as locally elected representatives.
  • Likewise, there will be the need for Officers to engage with the current owners on the findings of the Options Appraisal and to explore with them their own intentions on resolving the future of the Hall, having regard to their liability and obligations as land owner.
It's difficult at the present time to outline a timetable that takes us to an Executive Board meeting, as much will depend on the findings of the Options Appraisal and the tasks that it will recommend. However, I do anticipate the Report containing some commentary on the scope for a Building Preservation Trust to adopt a role in the future management of the Hall. In this respect I read with interest the establishment of the CLAN group and your expression of interest in exploring this potential. With this in mind, I do agree that it would be helpful to holds talks with representatives of CLAN once we have had the opportunity to fully consider the Options Appraisal, and perhaps we can keep in contact to arrange this at the appropriate time.

I apologise if it appears that the Council is proceeding in a very cautious manner. However, the potential serving of a Listed Building Repairs Notice represents a formal legal process on behalf of the Council that is ultimately subject to a right of appeal and potential legal challenge. In this respect, it is critical that the Council proceeds in accordance with due process and part of this entails discussion and dialogue with the owners and which has to involve an element of confidentiality. It would be wrong for the Council at this stage to express or infer any preferences in terms of the future use or restoration of the Hall.

I understand that your Freedom of Information Requests are being processed and that you are due to hear from the Freedom of Information Officer shortly.

If you would like to meet informally to discuss any aspects of the above, then please do let me know and I will arrange.

Yours sincerely,
Andrew McDonough
Development Manager'

My response to North Kesteven District Council - dated 20th September 2011

'From: Geoff Hall
Sent: Tuesday, September 20, 2011 2:11 PM
To: Andrew McDonough
Cc: Karen Bradford ; Stephen Phillips [MP] ; John Money [COUNCILLOR] ; Rob Kendrick [COUNCILLOR] ; Nocton Parish Council ; English Heritage
Subject: Re: Nocton Hall - Options Appraisal

Dear Andrew,

Thank you for the detail contained in this reply which gives us far more information on progress to date.

I’m not sure there would be much merit in having an informal meeting with you currently, but shall look forward to a formal invite for members of CLAN to be involved, once the Options Appraisal has been fully considered and made public. Likewise, I’m sure the Parish Council will also want to be involved with this matter, subject to any constraints outlined.

I note your comments with regard to the legal aspects of this case and my Freedom of Information request.

I look forward to hearing from you again regarding the arrangement of meetings with representatives of CLAN / Parish Council.

Yours sincerely,
Geoff Hall'

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