Further to the Cabinet Member Report that can be accessed below, Surrey County Council ("the Council") paid grant monies of £1,000,000 to the Watts Gallery on 11 May 2016. In accordance with the requirements of Article 107(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the Council is required to ensure this grant payment is state aid compliant.
The Report sets out in detail the reasons for the payment of this grant and the benefits it brings to residents.
In granting this aid, the Council has relied upon Article 53 of the General Block Exemption Regulation. Accordingly, the Council provided the monies exclusively for the purpose of funding the acquisition of Limnerslease, a property of significant cultural heritage. This grant accounts for 85% of the eligible costs of the acquisition as determined by virtue of Article 53(4)(b). The grant agreement entered into between the Council and Watts Gallery contains specific provisions concerning the claw-back of funds in the event that the Watts Gallery makes in excess of a reasonable profit from its ownership of Limnerslease. This clawback mechanism is protected by way of a first legal charge on the property in favour of the Council.
Full details can be found in the Cabinet Member Report for the meeting on Tuesday 10 November, Item 4 Watts Gallery and the Artist's Village of Compton.