LGCSA : Statement on the Pavilion Cafe April 28th 2023

Thank you to Matthew Sankey for the time he has spent on the mediation process. Below is LGCSA's response to his report, which we post in the spirit of transparency. At the end of it you will find our proposals to resolve this matter.


Sankey Recommendation:

'Being able to store one's belongings or stock privately is a fundamental right that any licensee / leaseholder should have available to them. This removes any conflicts or doubt. The venue comprises of several underused spaces. It is my recommendation that Emma is given a dedicated storage space that is hers and hers alone. I would propose that the LGCSA make an entire container dedicated to her.'

LGCSA Response:

LGCSA is a registered charity.

The Pavilion Cafe is a proprietary commercial business.

As a charity LGCSA cannot (financially) support a private commercial business. Therefore to achieve this recommendation Speldhurst Parish Council (SPC) would be the party to provide the storage container. As SPC cannot legally grant tenure at the Recreation Ground to any other party than LGCSA,  any storage facility must be subject to a hire agreement - and must be linked to the hirer using the building.

Practically speaking: IF SPC enable LGCSA to place another container on the Rec (not necessarily near to the existing containers) LGCSA could remove all its fiesta items stored in the container nearest the kitchen and make that container wholly available to Pavilion hirers for their activity.


Sankey Recommendation:

That a set timetable is created, agreed & made publicly available comprising of three uses:

  1. Café Use
  2. LGCSA Use
  3. Mixed use (mixed use is then available on a first come first served basis)

My recommendation is that both Emma and LGCSA confirm to me the times that they wish to use the venue and I produce a draft.

LGCSA Response:

It needs to be acknowledged that by right, LGCSA has first call on the Pavilion and exclusive use of parts of it.

Other usage can occur in the periods LGCSA offers it back to SPC. It is worth noting that the nature of sports fixture scheduling means it is not possible to anticipate some LGCSA needs until quite close to the time. SPC cannot offer the Pavilion to a hirer in a way that precludes LGCSA's natural activity.

It can be safely assumed that LGCSA has regular weekend requirement of the Pavilion, and occasional midweek evening demand for it. It can also be safely assumed that LGCSA is wholly supportive of (for example) a midweek daytime community café - and any other charitable uses that arise, and may actually support them.

The timetable above overlooks a 4th usage class; namely other parties aside from the Pavilion Café who wish to use the facility.The Cafe is currently operated on a “part time” basis. Weekday evenings and school holidays are both periods where the Pavilion has effectively been left as a 'mothballed' café. Use by this 4th group in these periods should be facilitated.

LGCSA want “more Cafe” not less.

Bookings and System

Sankey Recommendation:

That a digital / online booking system is used, managed by the SPC office with both the LGCSA & Emma having user permissions. A quick search online shows there are hundreds of software options to do this. I recommend that SPC grant their officers time to research and submit some options to Emma & LGCSA for consideration

LGCSA Response:

SPC should establish a booking system and manage bookings. LGCSA have the default right to book the time they require, before that time is offered to anyone else. It is then up to SPC to decide how they prioritise other parties who wish to hire the Pavilion (a published booking policy would assist - if they wish to prioritise any one hirer over another they should explain their reasoning).

Fixtures and Stock

Sankey Recommendation:

Upon creation of the digital timetable and booking system it is not unreasonable to allow Emma to keep belongings where they are, if the LGCSA are not using the venue. The current default position to assume it will be used is, in my opinion unreasonable. Therefore, my recommendation is that this position is reversed, and the default position is that Emma is allowed to leave her belongings as they are, unless the LGCSA give her written notice. This notice only needs to be 1 day.

LGCSA Response:

This recommendation is directly at odds with the legal and rightful position. The building was built and paid for as a sports pavilion first, and a café (or anything else) second. The unwillingness to accept this situation has been a root cause of strife. Making the café the 'default' in recent times has created an unacceptable barrier both to LGCSA's use, and any other potential uses by other hirers.

The new hire agreement must accept that reality, and enforce it. Once that occurs, then LGCSA agrees it is not unreasonable to allow a hirer to keep some items in place overnight if neither LGCSA, nor anyone else, is using the venue. But those items are there at the owner's risk and the failure to remove them must never be allowed to "block" any other parties' rightful use of the building. Anything of value should be stored away.


Sankey Recommendation:

Neither party is asking the unreasonable here. The question is of course, what are the satisfactory levels of cleanliness and does one have any evidence that a space wasn't left as it should be. Without forcing the parties to record the state in which they have left the venue this isn't something that can be policed. However, I would urge both parties to act responsibly and within the spirit of the agreement.

LGCSA Response:

The unavailability of weekend cleaners means there will be times the sports use on a weekend cannot be fully cleaned until Monday morning.

LGCSA Proposals

Thank you Matthew Sankey for your hard work to date.

We now need to resolve the problems we currently face, and create a management structure that prevents them reoccurring.

After our lengthy discussions — here are LGCSA's proposals to resolve this matter.

  • SPC supports an additional container on the Rec which would enable the allocation of a dedicated 'Pavilion' container that can be included in a hire agreement. This in turn enables a hirer to store their stock, fixtures, and fittings out of the Pavilion, therefore allowing the building to be fit for multiple uses.
  • LGCSA will inform SPC of its building usage requirements.
  • SPC will put these into the booking system it runs and is free to rent out all other periods to would-be hirers.
  • LGCSA and SPC will draft a new hire agreement which will apply to any party using the building outside of LGCSA's agreed usage.
  • SPC publicly acknowledge their legal responsibilities to servicing and maintaining the building and must make adequate provision to fund them. We believe this sum may represent a significant percentage of SPC' net stipend and request that all Councillors are made fully aware of the Council's potential liabilities.
  • In the periods where LGCSA is not using the building, SPC's role in hiring out the Pavilion is to provide greatest benefit and value for the entirety of the Parish in their operation of the Pavilion — any and all expressions of interest to operate a Cafe in the future should be judged equally on their merit (as opposed to merely the weight of their social media presence).
  • Should SPC elect to hire out the Pavilion in a less than revenue optimising manner this does not reduce their obligations in respect of building servicing.