‘We’re not an open chequebook’ town council says as Beehive charity ‘considers entering into administration’

Honiton Town Council has issued a statement about its ongoing legal dispute with The Beehive and says it would like to resolve the issue in an ‘amicable way’.

However, it says, it may have to go down the arbitration route if a way forward cannot be found.

The statement, released today by town clerk Mark Tredwin, says more than 20 per cent of the council’s precept currently goes towards supporting the building but that the council is ‘not an open cheque book’.

The statement has been released at a time when the council believes Honiton Community Complex is ‘potentially considering entering into administration’.

The statement reads: “It has been brought to the attention of the town council that Honiton Community Complex (HCC), the charity who are in possession of the lease at the Beehive, are potentially considering entering into administration.

“There is an ongoing legal dispute that has been in process since early 2017 and despite numerous attempts by the town council to establish a mutually agreeable and amicable conclusion, it has so far, unfortunately, not been possible to do so.

“The issues lie within a lease of the Beehive and Service Level Agreement that was drawn up and there is a dispute about the interpretation of these documents.

“The council has resolved twice to allow the town clerk and the town council’s solicitor in the hope of reaching a negotiated outcome based upon open and transparent documentation.

“The council would much prefer to conclude the dispute by settlement in an amicable way and will be continuing to work towards this, but it may have to follow through with an Arbitration instigated by HCC, if an amicable settlement cannot be achieved.

“The council is aware of a campaign to show how important an asset the Beehive is to the community. The members of the council recognise that it is a vital contributor to the community of Honiton and have continued to support this community enterprise; it would not have put itself in the position of paying in excess of 20 per cent of its precept income towards providing the building every year if it did not.

“The town council is however not an open cheque book and, as such, it cannot agree to an ever-increasing demand on precept income without suitable checks being implemented.

“Any organisation within the community can apply for a grant if they require assistance. This includes HCC. Members would then consider those requests in a public meeting. It is vital that transparency is provided where public money is being utilised and requested.”

EastDevonNews.co.uk has contacted the Beehive (HCC) for its response.

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