Beehive charity's descent into adminstration would be Honiton Town Council's fault, says director

PUBLISHED: 14:49 04 October 2019 | UPDATED: 14:49 04 October 2019

(L-R) Honiton Community Complex director David Perkins, trustee Serena Sexton, and charity chairman Barry Simmonds. Picture: Callum Lawton

(L-R) Honiton Community Complex director David Perkins, trustee Serena Sexton, and charity chairman Barry Simmonds. Picture: Callum Lawton

Archant

A claim that the charity which runs Honiton's community centre is considering going into administration has been rejected by one of its directors.

David Perkins, who is on the board of directors at Honiton Community Complex, said a statement released by Honiton Town Council, which made the revelation, was not true.

The town council said the charity, which is in possession of the lease at the Beehive, are 'potentially considering entering into administration'.

A spokesman for Honiton Community Complex, said: "The council are in breach of a lease that they entered into with the Honiton Community Complex pursuant to which they owe Honiton Community Complex significant sums of money which they currently refuse to acknowledge and/ or pay.

"Honiton Community Complex are not currently planning to go into administration, but if the council continues to refuse to meet its liabilities this could be the outcome."

The town council and Honiton Community Complex have been locked in a dispute for more than two and a half years over an alleged back-payment of £40,000.

The charity says the money is owed according to the 10-year Beehive lease, signed in 2015.

In a statement, Honiton Town Council said: "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 Honiton Community Complex if an amicable settlement cannot be achieved."

The spokesman for Honiton Town Council said its members recognise the Beehive is 'vital contributor' to the community.

They said the council would not have paid in excess of 20 per cent of its precept income towards providing the building each year if it was not.

"The town council is however not an open cheque book," they said. "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 Honiton Community Complex.

"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."

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