Ex-councillor fails in bid to join Stanhope Hall trustees

Bill Aron at Horncastle's Stanhope Hall EMN-140508-083238001
Bill Aron at Horncastle's Stanhope Hall EMN-140508-083238001

A former Horncastle Town Councillor has failed to secure a place as a trustee of Stanhope Hall, just days after making a series of allegations.

Richard Barker wrote to the Board of Trustees and Directors complaining about several of issues.

Mr Barker questioned why the Board had ‘lost’ the services of eight directors/trustees, with five leaving in the last nine months.

He questioned the appointment of officers and said the failure of the treasurer and accountants to attend the recent AGM was “wholly unacceptable.”

Mr Barker claimed accounts showed Stanhope Hall had made a loss in 2013-14, despite a surplus being predicted in a Business Plan.

He said the financial performance went against the terms of a deal negotiated by the Board with East Lindsey District Council.

He also criticised the Board’s chairman, Coun Bill Aron, accusing him of making “ill conceived” and misleading assumptions.

However, the News has been handed a copy of the Board’s reply to Mr Barker in which they make a robust defence of their operations.

Their reply covers 10 different issues, including finance.

The Board said: “Dexter and Sharpe, this area’s leading firm of accountants, have produced the accounts in accordance with the Charity Commission and Company House requirements from the balances of our “Quickbooks” system, which our accountants and consultants both recommended.

“We did not trade at a ‘loss’ but apparently it is just how some capital expenditure was allocated.”

The Board goes on to state the Business Plan Mr Barker referred to was drawn up prior to 2010 and was only a ‘desk-top’ exercise.

The Board added there were no other nominations for the role of chairman so Coun Aron was re-elected.

Coun Aron subsequently wrote to Mr Barker, informing him of the Board’s decision to decline his offer to join the Trustees.

Coun Aron said: “All the Directors and Trustees received a copy of your impressive business related CV.

“In the end, there was a unanimous decision, by the Board, to decline your kind offer, at this point in time.”

Please be assured that we will bear your interest in mind and wish you well in the future.