Trust Annual Report 2020
THE CITY OF WINCHESTER TRUST LIMITED REPORT OF THE COUNCIL AND FINANCIAL STATEMENTS FOR THE YEAR ENDED 31 MARCH 2020
I am writing this report in June in the midst of lockdown. Although we have been ticking over, most of our activities have been curtailed this year and we are now beginning to think about next year’s activities. .
The Station Approach proposals have taken up much of our time, firstly with the judicial review and then mopping up the fall out afterwards. I am not going to dwell on the subject as it has been widely reported in the Hampshire Chronicle as well as in Trust News. We are currently underway with the Trust’s proposal for what we consider to be an acceptable content for the site based on the local authority’s adopted local plan. A team of architects and planners are undertaking the review. The idea is to produce an outline brief for consideration.
Vision for Winchester
We produced a ‘Vision for Winchester’ document last year which we always said should be regularly updated. We are now in the process of updating the document although the Covid19 lockdown is giving us further need for thinking about the future and how Winchester might evolve.
We are aware that Winchester City Council are also carrying out a vision statement and have appointed a firm to undertake the work. Progress of their exercise has no doubt also been affected by the lockdown. The Trust has been in contact with the firm concerned and has also sent them our vision document.
Balancing Heritage and Growth
We have been taking part in an interesting and comprehensive study on ‘Balancing Heritage and Growth in Cathedral Cities and Historic Towns’. The study is being undertaken by a group of civic society representatives, which started under the umbrella of Civic Voice but is now with the Historic Towns and Villages Forum and has funding from Historic England. 15 civic societies are participating. Although work has been interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, progress should be made this autumn. It should be interesting to see the outcome of such a study and whether it has any effect on Government thinking.
Before lockdown, Iain Patton managed to organize a very successful visit to the Barnsley Workshops near Petersfield. Unfortunately, all other outings have been cancelled this year, although they will be re-organised for some time next year. There is a great deal of work associated with outing arrangements, so our thanks to Iain and Penny Patton and to Sue Owers. It must be disappointing for them when such visits have to be cancelled.
Local Plan Review 2023-2038
Winchester City Council has started the review of the current local plan. This is programmed to finish in 2023 with a new plan which will cover a 15-year period up to 2038. The Trust has formed a small group which will monitor the process, take part in the consultations and submit comments at the appropriate stages. Housing numbers and their location are always a contentious issue and we are led to expect the City Council will be required to plan for an increase of about 10% above the current numbers allocated to the District. The Trust will alert members at various stages of the plan so individuals can participate in the consultations, with the next opportunity expected to be in the autumn this year when the City Council will be publishing an Issues and Options document for public comment.
Planning Advisory Group
I should like to thank Mary Tiles and all those involved with the Planning Advisory Group monitoring of planning applications, who have kept going throughout the lockdown period. Planning applications have been submitted throughout the last three months and the teams and Mary have monitored them and kept us all informed throughout this time.
We have taken advantage of the lockdown to remove all of the archive material into the meetings room so that a total refurbishment can take place. The archive room has been painted, shelving and cupboards fitted, and the room is just about ready for re-organising the files into a more useful arrangement. This should make the archives much more accessible.
Support and administration
John Beveridge and Arthur Morgan have been particularly supportive to me during this year of my chairmanship, as well as spending a good deal of time and effort on Trust business. I have always considered the Treasurer’s task the most important of all the positions on the Trust Council and we have been very lucky in having Nick Gibbins in that position and on behalf of us all, I would like to thank him for his work.
Finally, and on behalf of the Trust, I should like to thank Tessa Robertson. Tessa has been a tower of strength, as I am sure many of the Trust Council and Trust members recognise, and we very much appreciate all her work and dedication.
We are very pleased to have recruited 17 new members during the year taking the Trust’s membership to 512 at the year end.
Plans for the future
We aim to produce a design framework for the Station Approach area, including the Cattle Market site, in order to seek to influence the City Council’s review of the development proposals for the area.
We intend to update and circulate a revised version of the ‘Vision for Winchester’ document.
We plan to develop proposals for the regeneration of the Central Area, based on the adopted Supplementary Planning Document
We will engage in the consultation on the City Council’s draft Local Plan for the period to 2038.
We are considering whether to hold a Design Awards competition in 2021.
We will seek to ensure that the re-thinking of local priorities arising from the social and economic effects of Covid-19 has regard to conserving the character of Winchester.
We will work on the implementation of a programme of events for our members in 2021, following the cancellation of most of our activities for the benefit of members this year.
ln setting objectives for the year, the Trust Council has given careful consideration to the Charity Commission's general advice on public benefit and is mindful of the need to report on how its aims have been achieved during the year. The Trust was founded for the purposes and objects set out later in this report, and continues to carry out its work in serving the public interest.
The City of Winchester Trust Limited (the Trust) was founded in 1957 and incorporated as a company limited by guarantee in 1958. As such it has no share capital. The liability of individual members is limited to a sum not exceeding £10. It is governed by its Memorandum and Articles of Association, which were last amended in 2000. The Trust is registered as Company number 00609812 and Charity Number 251798.
The Council has responsibility for the management and control of the Trust. However certain financial functions are delegated to the Finance and Resources Committee and other panels and groups are formed and their leaders appointed by Council for specific purposes, projects and continuing activities. Council members are elected for three years at the Annual General Meeting but may stand for re-election at the end of their term. Council members act as trustees of the charity and directors of the company limited by guarantee.
The Objects of the Trust
The Trust's objects are fully described in the Memorandum of Association. They can be summarised as follows:
To seek to conserve the character of the City of Winchester and its surrounding area by:
- Preserving and protecting its buildings, spaces and artefacts;
- Sponsoring and encouraging new building, redevelopment, landscaping and conservation in accordance with the highest architectural standards
- Promoting awareness of the above
Investment Objectives, Powers and Policies
The Investment powers of the Council are given by the Memorandum and Articles of Association.
The investment objectives of the Trust are to preserve the Trust's assets to allow the charity the ability to finance its activities both in the short and longer term.
The Trust's policy is to of balance its investments in financial instruments between active and passive investment approaches. The active element comprises a portfolio managed on a discretionary basis by an investment manager while the passive element comprises investments in low cost Exchange Traded Funds, for which the Trust's investment manager acts as custodian. In addition, part of the Trust's leasehold property, the flats at 30 Upper Brook St, is held for investment purposes, the rental income representing the main element of the Trust's annual income.
The investment objective for the Trust’s investments in financial instruments is to achieve a balance between capital growth to secure the Trust's longer-term objectives and income generation to provide income, in addition to membership subscriptions, to finance its current charitable activities.
The Trust's policy is to accept a high risk of volatility within its investment portfolio, both in terms of capital value and income generation, while aiming over time to achieve returns above the rate of inflation. This policy has been adopted due to the lower returns currently available on lower risk asset classes and the Trust's capacity as a long-term investor to accept temporary capital losses as a result of fluctuations in equity markets. The Trust's investments are confined to listed investments of a collective nature, in order to achieve diversification, which reduces the risk of permanent capital loss arising from the failure of a particular company or sector.
Property Revaluation Policy
The Trust adopts the policy of revaluing its property every five years, commencing 31 March 2003, so that Trust's property was last revalued at 31 March 2018.
The annual accounts show the assets and liabilities attributable to the funds by type and which are approved by the Council. The Council plans its expenditure within available resources whilst maintaining reserves which gives the Trust flexibility to achieve its aims for the foreseeable future.
The Council has reviewed the major risks to which the Trust is exposed, as identified by the Council, and is satisfied that systems and planned actions are in place to mitigate those risks.
It is a requirement of company law for the Council to prepare financial statements for each accounting period. They must give a true and fair view of the state of affairs of the Trust and of the surplus or deficit for that period.
The Council must:
- Prepare the financial statements on the basis that the Trust is a going concern;
- Select appropriate accounting policies and apply them consistently;
- Make judgements and estimates that are prudent and reasonable;
- Disclose whether any material departures have been made from these policies
The Council is responsible for keeping proper accounting records which should be able to disclose at any time the financial position of the Company and enable the Council to ensure compliance with the Companies Act 2006. The Council is also responsible for safeguarding the assets of the Trust and for taking reasonable steps for the prevention and detection of fraud and other financial irregularities.
During the period under review the Charity has complied with the provisions of the Charities Act 2011.
Butler & Co. have been appointed as Independent Examiners and will be proposed for re-appointment.
Small Company Status
This Report has been prepared in accordance with the special provisions of Part 15 of the Companies Act, 2006 relating to Small Companies.
On behalf of the Council
22 July 2020