Hounslow Council

Agenda and minutes

Venue: The Terrace Room, The Small Mansion, Gunnersbury Park

Contact: Carol Stiles Tel: 020 8583 2066 or email:  carol.stiles@hounslow.gov.uk 

No. Item


Apologies for absence, declarations of interest or any other communications from Members


Apologies had been received from Councillor Myra Savin, who was unwell; Councillor Adrian Lee; Sarah Ruane, LB Hounslow and Councillor Ed Mayne, Lead Member, LB Hounslow.


Election of Chair and Vice Chair for the Municipal Year


Nominations were requested for the posts of Chair and Vice Chair. Councillor Yvonne Johnson was nominated, seconded and agreed as Chair.


Councillor Mel Collins was nominated, seconded and agreed as Vice Chair.




Minutes of the meeting held on 30 January 2015 pdf icon PDF 84 KB


The minutes of the meeting held on 30 January 2015 were confirmed.


There were the following matters arising:


  • Councillor Walker thanked the Panel for sending condolences.
  • Page 2 – Item 14 - James Wisdom advised that he had not received the redacted information as agreed at the last meeting. Councillor Johnson understood that an email had been sent offering sections 2-4. However, this had not been received. It was understood that there were four sections to the document and sections 2-4 could be made available without signing the confidentiality agreement. The Chair asked that officers ensured that Mr Wisdom received an email stating this position.


Verbal Update on the Mela


The Chair had agreed to take this item earlier in the agenda as Julian Rudd from Remarkable Productions, London Mela Producer, was attending to speak to this item.


Mr Rudd advised of the reduction in public money available to fund the London Mela. There had been a substantial decrease in funding which had precipitated the introduction of an entry charge. The proposed charges would be an adult Early Bird rate of £5 plus a booking fee of £1.50 which would increase to £6 plus booking fee after 4 August. There were also family tickets for two adults and two children of £13 and £16 after 4 August. There was a Senior Citizen rate of £4 and an under 12 rate of £3.  The aim was to achieve a modest entry charge but this needed to be balanced against the cost of selling tickets which was high, involving security arrangements and infrastructure via a ticketing partner. 20% was also the VAT charge. The event itself would generate £2.50 -£3 on a charge of £5- £6.


In response to a question, Mr Rudd confirmed that there would be tickets available on the door. These would be the same price plus the booking fee. However, it was more expensive to offer tickets on the door because it was a temporary venue so the infrastructure needed to be provided.


Councillor Collins suggested that it might be better to call the ticket prices £6.50 and £7.50 rather than quote the price plus a booking fee. He asked whether the London Mela was registered as a charity and so VAT exempt.


Mr Rudd explained that the London Mela was not a registered charity and the London Borough of Ealing hosted the event. However, they were looking at governance issues with a view to an Arts Council bid and Trust arrangements. However, they were not yet in this position. The Chair considered that this was a sensible idea.


James Wisdom asked where the barrier for entry would be in place and was informed that it would be close to the site. The event site would be smaller than in previous years because it was defined.


Councillor Dabrowska joined the meeting at this point (6.40 p.m.)


Mr Wisdom asked whether the Mela was attracting fewer stalls or more. Mr Rudd did not expect that there would be fewer stalls than usual. If was expected that if there were tickets attendance would be less casual, with people tending to stay longer and spend more.


Mr Wisdom felt that last year the number of stalls had decreased and the offer was not rich last year. He was afraid that there was declining activity. Mr Rudd did not agree. He acknowledged that with the economic crash there had been fewer corporate organisations involved but the stalls increased last year. Mr Rudd thought that as the economy improved they would add sponsorship income. So it was clarified that Mr Rudd saw the pattern as cyclical decline based on the economy rather  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Presentation on the Project Proposals for the Museum and Discussion


The Panel received a presentation from Florence Andrews, LB Ealing, showing the Stage E plans for Interpretation in the Museum. The Chair noted that after the last meeting she had asked officers to send all members of the Panel slides so members may have seen some of this information already. However, it appeared that only the councillors had received the slides and they had not been sent to the Co-opted Member, James Wisdom.


The interpretation work had been developing since prior to the round one bids to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) in 2011. The interpretation had been developed based on initial work carried out by the then curator, Vanda Foster and Val Bott, which had influenced the themes. Consultation involved display boards from November 2013, an access forum, children and youth panels and focus groups for teachers and those involved in early years provision.


The plans were shown starting with the ground floor. After Reception, the Skylight gallery would showcase the collections and the variety of both boroughs. There would be opportunities to explore with a mixture of objects from the 40,000 held in the collection. These included a dolls’ house, the Lucozade sign and items from Wilkinson Sword. The current gallery layout would be redesigned to ensure that the displays do not distract from the  beautiful space with double height. On the current plan a case blocked the view so this would be changed. This was an important space in the middle of the building and would be used to show items such as a clock from Brentford Gas Works, a printing press and some suspended items such as a penny farthing. A panel with graphics would provide an introduction to the history of Gunnersbury Park and its stories.


There would be a People and Place gallery and there was ongoing work on the names to be included. This would focus on the number of settlements and changes in the boroughs and their diversity. It would cover early history and archaeology and an audio visual display would show how the boroughs had changed based on census data. There would also be information about key local people, part of which could be changed to reflect different community groups. This would show a mix of history and career and allow for workshops for community groups to explore famous people in their area.


The historic state rooms would have a light touch in respect of display, with removable displays so that they could be hired out. Position of displays to allow views of the gardens from these rooms would also be considered. There would be information linking Gunnersbury to other large houses in the area In the Drawing Room it was proposed to reflect the Rothschild’s entertainment focusing on Leonora Rothschild’s wedding banquet. Information from the archives would be used to feed into a sound scape to make visitors feel as if they are at the wedding. The Long Gallery would focus on the house as the Rothschild summer residence  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Verbal Update on Other Aspects of the Project


Bridget Gregory, LB Ealing, updated the Panel on other aspects of the project. She informed members of the procurement of the main contractor. Interviews had taken place and they were now at the stage of a tender report for sign off. There was a clear winner from the process and they were very pleased with the outcome. However, matters were still being finalised so it was not yet possible to share the name of the contractor, but it had been a very successful process.


It had taken seven weeks to decant the collections from the Large Mansion and move to storage in Upper Heyford, with a few large items plus archive material remaining in the Small Mansion. The Storage Plan for the collections would be put to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Board the following week. Those items which would be brought back for display in the Museum would need restoration and research so would be brought back to the Small Mansion for preparation at Christmastime. Flat 11 would be made suitable with the correct conditions. When the museum reopened, it was intended to store the collection in an accessible store in the Sports Hub and a feasibility study was being undertaken to achieve this. Hallahans the collections consultants were preparing a specification to ensure that conditions in the store would meet the correct environmental conditions required.


The carriages were to be stored in the Feltham Barracks which was managed by the Ministry of Defence. An enclosure had been built and the environmental conditions would be monitored monthly. A specialist mover had been commissioned to move the carriages that month. They had to be dismantled to be taken out through the windows. The removal of the carriages would also enable the update of an historic feature of the Large Mansion.


With regard to Governance, registration of the community interest company (CIC) was ongoing and it was aimed to register the CIC in July. There was a need for the CIC to appoint permanent staff but it was not possible to advertise until the CIC was registered. So there were temporary staffing measures in place.


The Development Trust had seen the appointment of shadow trustees, Val Bott and Howard Simmons and the induction of trustees through a tour and induction day. LB Hounslow was still to nominate a new Trustee. There needed to be a minimum of 5 trustees to register the Trust and it was hoped that registration would take place in July.


In respect of dedicated fund raising bids, LB Hounslow was looking at a range of potential funders such as the Fidelity Foundation, the Country Houses Foundation, the Veolia Environment Trust and the Wolfson Foundation.


A planning application had been submitted and planning permission granted for the new build of the Café and Carriage building. This had full support from Historic England and their new Executive Director, Duncan Wilson, had visited the site. Historic England was represented on the Project Board and was very  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Dates of future meetings

The usual pattern of meetings is quarterly – May/June; October; January; April.


Possible dates for 2015/16 might be:


October – Friday, 9 October; Friday, 16 October or Friday, 23 October 2015.


January – Friday, 15 January; Friday, 22 January or Friday, 29 January 2016.


April – Friday, 8 April; Friday, 15 April or Friday, 22 April 2016.


All at 6.30 p.m.


Members discussed a series of proposed dates for future meetings and agreed the following dates:


Friday, 16 October 2015

Friday, 22 January 2016

Friday, 15 April 2016


All the meetings would start at 6.30 p.m. in the Terrace Room, Small Mansion, Gunnersbury Park.


It was agreed that the clerk would send outlook appointments to members for these dates.


Urgent Business

Any business which the Chair agrees to accept on grounds of urgency.


There was no urgent business.