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Hurstpierpoint & Sayers Common
Parish Council

DRAFT Minutes of the Community Engagement Committee meeting held on Thursday 8th October 2020 at 7.30pm via Microsoft Teams Video Conferencing.  

Members Present:  

Cllr Claire Majsai (Chair)  

Cllr Bob Sampson (Vice Chair)  

Cllr Duncan Ranger  

Cllr Tony Lank 

Cllr Malcolm Llewellyn

Helen Olsen Bedford

Also Present:    

Sgt Jon Crabtree (Police)

Lorna Cooksey (Assistant Clerk) 

CE20/21.015. Apologies for absence and declarations of interest: The Committee received the following apologies for absence prior to the meeting which were accepted: Cllr Evans, Cllr Griffiths and Cllr Jee. No declarations of interest were given.    

CE20/21.016. Minutes of the Community Affairs Committee Meeting held on 13th August 2020:  The Committee received and accepted the minutes which will be signed by the Chair at a later date in the Parish Office.   

CE20/21.017. Matters arising from Community Affairs Meeting held on 13th August 2020:  There were no other matters which were not covered elsewhere on the agenda.   

CE20/21.018. Adjournment for questions from the public:  The Committee was not required to consider whether to adjourn the Meeting in accordance with clause 1(d) of Standing Orders.   

CE20/21. 019. The Chair introduced Sgt Crabtree to the committee and asked Sgt Crabtree to brief the committee on his role. Sgt Crabtree explained that his focus was the Mid Sussex area which included Burgess Hill, Hayward Heath and surrounding villages. Sgt Crabtree encouraged the Councillors to report any concerns, worries or problem that involved a police presence to himself or his team. Sgt Crabtree confirmed that he would send an email to the Assistant Clerk which included names and contact details of all PCSO that cover our area. Cllr Lank explained that previously a speed gun had been placed on Wickham Hill going East to West but residents as well as Councillors felt the problem was West to East. Cllr Lank asked whether it was possible to organise a speed gun again and Sgt Crabtree confirmed that his team are regularly out using the speed guns and doing the same area at least twice a month to receive a well balance representation of the problem. Sgt Crabtree asked Cllr Lank to email him directly about the speed gun location but stressed it must be a relatively long straight so the speed gun can detect the speed and so the police can be seen. Cllr Ranger asked whether the PCSO will be more visible within Hurstpierpoint and Sayers Common. Sgt Crabtree confirmed that although they work a shift pattern of early, lates and days off all PCSO should be aware of anything happening within the Parish and one PCSO should be in our area, although may be pulled away depending on emergencies. The team plan to walk through the High Street and stop in places where they are visible and can engage with the community. Unmarked cars will not be used as much to help with the visibility aspect. Cllr Llewellyn asked about statistics for rural crime and county line activity. Sgt Crabtree explained that other teams within the force would be better placed to answer these questions and he didn’t have the information to hand. Sgt Crabtree requested that the questions were emailed to him so he could gather the statistics and bring to the next Community Engagement committee in January. Cllr Duncan referred to the police website and statistics that show a high level of domestic violence in Hurstpierpoint. Concerns were raised why these were so high for such a small Parish. Sgt Crabtree again requested for these questions to be sent to him so he could review the data but did comment that in previous years the data hadn’t always been collected and uploaded where as there is a big push on loading data and may mean figures look higher than previous years. The Chair voiced concerns about the impact of the pandemic and how this is impacting crime. Sgt Crabtree said that the data is collected year on year so currently wouldn’t show any effect currently. The Chair invited Sgt Crabtree to the next Community Engagement meeting in January and requested all questions to be sent to the Assistant Clerk so she can collate and send on to Sgt Crabtree. 

Sgt Crabtree left the meeting at 7:45pm.     

CE20/21.020. Parish Council Grant Applications:  The Committee noted the decision made by the Strategic Policy Group to defer all decisions on grant requests still stands. However, grant applications can be considered from organisations that may not survive the year without the Parish Councils support by examining their reserves, and to recommend its grant awards to Council for decision.  

CE20/21.020.01. Small Grants: The Chair briefed the committee on the grant application received from the Hurst Covid-19 Neighbours Support Group. Cllr Llewellyn encouraged the committee to consider putting in recommendations for grants to the Full Council. It was explained that the Parish Council financial position was in a better state than first calculated at the start of the pandemic. Grants would still need to be considered by Council, but it was suggested that this was the correct opportunity to review the applications. Co-opted member Bedford felt the work from the COVID group would be needed again through the Winter period and that the amount requested was very small and should be granted. It was stressed that as Covid continues we need to keep the community involved and pulling together to ensure we can get through another potential lockdown. Cllr Sampson agreed and said it would be money well spent. It was also highlighted that the group had been nominated for a MP award and the Mid Sussex Applaud award. Co-opted member Bedford highlighted the need for a pot of money for winter to support this group or other groups in the Parish. Cllr Llewellyn confirmed that there is a dedicated pot of money for this exact situation and any requests need to go directly to the Finance & Governance committee. The Chair raised that previously she had asked the Covid-19 group if they needed any financial backing, but it was stressed that the advertising through leaflets was the best support given from the Parish Council.

The committee discussed the other grant applications and whether the request still reflect the needs of the group/organisation in the current climate. The Assistant Clerk was asked to contact all grant applications apart from the Cricket Club.  The Assistant Clerk will discuss problems the groups/organisations may be facing due to Covid and whether they would like to change their grant application and re-submit for the January meeting. It was stressed that if an application had great urgency and affected the Parish and vulnerable groups this would be taken to the Finance & Governance committee or Full Council before the Community Engagement meeting in January.

Recommendation: It was AGREED to recommend to Full Council that the grant of £165.51 be approved for the Hurst Covid-19 Neighbours Support Group.

CE20/21.020.02. Memory Moments Update: The committee noted that on the 14th August 2020 an email was received by the Assistant Clerk confirming that the costs for PPE would only cover the Memory Moment Café in Hurstpierpoint. A further email was sent confirming that the costs for PPE had reduced to £73.30 for Dettol wipes, hand sanitiser, disposable gloves, face shields, disposable masks and disposable aprons. The Assistant Clerk emailed to ask if approval had been given from the NHS lead to re-open the café but has had no reply regarding this.

Grants gifted in 2019/2020

OrganisationGrant Request for:Grant ApprovedDate
Know DementiaSupport with running the café£50030.5.19
CancerviveRunning costs of the office£6005.9.19
Older Peoples Tea PartyAnnual Christmas party for the elderly£18014.11.19
Hurstpierpoint PlayersTowards the costs of Hurstpierpoint Player Theatre, mainly new carpets£50014.11.19
Sayers Common Village SocietyFourth and final phase of tree planting along London Road£100014.11.19
St Catherine’s HospiceSupporting the community team who care for local residents facing the end of life, within the comfort and familiar surroundings of their own home.£5006.2.20
Sussex Clubs for Young PeopleTo help cover some of the costs for running the Sussex Clubs for Young People youth club.£5006.2.2020
Knit ‘n’ NatterTo help the group continue running.£2206.2.2020 – Paid in 2020/21 Budget

Grant applications that have been received and deferred for 2020/21:

Grant Budget 2020/21: £4,000

Grant Budget Remaining 2020/21: £3,799

OrganisationAmount RequestedGrant Request for:Grant approved
Know Dementia£500To cover the costs of part support for the Memory Moment Café for the year April 2020-March 2021 
West Sussex Mediation Services£150To support the provision of free mediation services to the residents in your parish who are experiencing conflicts in their lives. 
Victim Support£150Support for victims and volunteers’ expenses 
Older Peoples Tea Parties£300Outings to garden centres, Christmas party and some tea expenses 
St Peter & St James Hospice£400Patient transport services delivered by our 40 volunteer drivers. A free door to door service for patients attending wellbeing services. 
Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex£250To help reach the £14 million required to continue providing our vital pre-hospital care to patients across Kent, Surrey and Sussex. 
Albourne, Sayers Common & Twineham Parochial Church Council£700To assist with the maintenance of fabric and the grounds of Christchurch, Sayers Common; and to assist with disability access. 
Hurst Covid-19 Neighbours Support Group£165.51Thank you posters, thank you cards and street banners produced to thank everyone involved in the Neighbours support group. 
Hurstpierpoint Cricket Club£500To aid the overall refurb & redecoration of the communal space & social area within the pavilion including new flooring. 

CE20/21.021. Community initiatives and projects: 

CE20/21.021.01 Budget Monitoring: The committee received the budget monitoring report. The Chair discussed spending that had taken place and that the largest amounts had been due to the Christmas tree display and the Village Garden planting. Cllr Llewellyn and Cllr Sampson commented on the positive feedback they had received about the Village Garden. The Chair stressed the need to continue caring for the Village Garden to highlight that the Parish is looked after and cared for. It was confirmed that the leaflets and chocolate bars during the lockdown period had been paid back to the Community Engagement committee and all changes had been authorised and were visible on the latest income and expenditure sheet that the Assistant Clerk had issued.

Ref: 7.1 CE 2021-22 Budget

Ref: 7.1 CE Income & Expenditure Report

Ref: 7.1 Nominal Ledger Report

CE20/21.021.02 Budget Setting for 2021/22: The committee discussed the previous budget and action plan and the fact  that very little had been able to be actioned due to the pandemic. The Chair explained that the Parish Office had tried to contact groups who had previously expressed an interest in running clinics at Court Bushes but at present they are not engaging as too busy and restricted under guidelines. The Chair explained that she felt the budget should stay the same as last year but with the flexibility to move sums of money if the committee felt more newsletters or leaflets needed to be sent out. Cllr Llewellyn confirmed that a committee can spend their total budget on any code within their committee without seeking permission from Finance & Governance. It was stressed that the total budget cannot be exceeded. Co-opted member Bedford agreed that we are living in uncertain times and we can’t predict what will happen in the next year so it is essential that the budget can be moved around depending on local needs and our ability to step in and help. The Chair explained that the Heritage Trail would be a key project for the Parish during the pandemic and that the Tourism & Attractiveness budget would be the best place for us to help and support them. The committee commented about the very difficult trading conditions in the High Street currently and ways that we could help, it was agreed that at the moment it is hard to see how but that this would also be considered throughout the financial year.

Ref: 7.2 Community Engagement Committee Budget 2021 2022 DRAFT

RECOMMENDATION: The committee AGREED to present the Draft Community Engagement budget to the Finance & Governance Committee in November.

CE20/21.021.03 Hurst Festival – Cllr Sampson informed the Councillors that the online festival had been very successful and that a very small profit had been made.

CE20/21.021.04 Phone Signal Issue in the Parish: The briefing note was discussed by the committee and co-opted member Bedford raised the point that she felt the issue with Broadband should be highlighted as well. Cllr Lank said he was hesitant to combine both issues as he felt we needed to make a business case around why the poor phone signal was affecting businesses. Co-opted member Bedford expressed concerns about why a phone provider would pay for a new mast if there was no return on their investment. Cllr Llewellyn agreed with Bedford that ultimately if a provider cannot meet a business or residents’ requirements, they will leave them and go to a provider that can. Cllr Lank voiced that online you can no longer find the information regarding masts. Cllr Llewellyn confirmed the information can be found using the critical asset database. Cllr Llewellyn expressed that with the current climate and changes to most people’s working environments that the bigger picture may already be being looked at by West Sussex and Mid Sussex and it would be more beneficial to join forces with them then try and run a survey. Co-opted member Bedford felt very sceptical about a survey working as it would show a few unhappy businesses due to poor service. It was discussed that providers would rather lose revenue than fix a problem so there is not an incentive for them to put in a new mast with just the survey. Cllr Lank agreed that the best approach would be to contact Joy Dennis and work collectively to try and solve the issue. The Chair asked the Assistant Clerk to thank Matt Rosin for his time and to ask him to stop any work on writing survey questions for now. Cllr Llewellyn confirmed he was having a virtual meeting with Joy Dennis next week and he would raise the subject.

Ref: 7.4 Briefing Note Phone Signal Issue in the Parish

RECOMMENDATION: The committee AGREED to contact Joy Dennis about the phone signal issue.

CE20/21.021.05 Heritage Walk: To committee considered the costs for the Heritage Trail including the aluminium board, posts and possible license and planning application fees from Mid Sussex District Council.

Ref: 7.5 MINUTES Heritage Trail 10th September 2020

Ref: 7.5 Heritage Trail Sign Quotes

RECOMMENDATION: The committee AGREED in principle that the Parish Councils costs towards the Heritage Trail will be budgeted under code: 5610 Tourism & Attractiveness.

CE20/21.021.06 Bus Re-Routing Update: Cllr Sampson informed the committee that he had been in contact with Albourne Councillors and they would also support the proposal when sent to the Compass bus company. 

Ref: 7.6 100 Bus re-routing Briefing Note 1.9.20

RECOMMENDATION: The committee AGREED to take the proposed route and briefing note to Full Council.

CE20/21.021.07 Dog Poo Fairy Campaign: The Chair briefed the committee on the ‘guerrilla’ style campaign for helping the dog poo issue in the Parish. Small laminated signs will be used around the Parish next to any piles of poo left in public. The idea is to draw attention to the issue and ‘shame’ the perpetrators and hopefully generate discussion amongst the dog owner community. The second phase will use larger A3 laminated poster around the Parish to continue to highlight the issue. Co-opted member Bedford requested to be involved with displaying signs and posters.

CE20/21.021.08 Communication Strategy: The Chair briefed the committee on the reasons behind the need for a review of the communication strategy. The Chair stressed the need to put more of a human face to the Parish Council partly through increasing usage of our website and Facebook page.  

RECOMMENDATION: The committee AGREED that the Assistant Clerk will organise a meeting to discuss the communication strategy with Cllr Majsai, Cllr Llewellyn and the Clerk. 

CE20/21.021.09 Donation from Hurst Society: The committee discussed the need for the Christmas tree display and lights this year to help raise spirits after a very tough year and potentially long winter. It was confirmed that the tree display and High Street lights will go up as normal at the end of November. The string of lights that was put up last year by the traders was discussed as a possible item that the Hurst Society could donate to. The Assistant Clerk confirmed that Merlin lighting would charge £250 +VAT for these lights. It was suggested to contact the Hurst Society to see if they would like to fund the whole project and if not that the Community Engagement budget would cover any surplus. The Councilor’s all agreed that we must help celebrate Christmas this year and bring a bright spot back to the High Street.

Cllr Sampson raised that the High Street was in a bad shape and that certain landlords were increasing rents at such a very difficult time for businesses. Co-opted member Bedford asked what we could do as a Parish Council to help encourage people to shop locally. Cllr Llewellyn confirmed that we regularly push the High Street in our Hurst Life articles and it was confirmed this will happen again in the latest publication. It was also explained that Mid Sussex have a ‘shop local’ campaign and banners are displayed throughout the district. It was suggested to the Chair that a Councillor was needed to walk the High Street and be the face of the Council. The committee agreed in principle this was a good idea but due to the current climate it didn’t feel like the appropriate time. Several Councillor’s commented that the High Street is changing due to the impact of Covid-19 in the community and the fear of being out and about.

RECOMMENDATION: The committee AGREED that the Assistant Clerk will ask the Hurstpierpoint Society to fund the full cost of £250 +VAT for the new string of lights. The committee AGREED that any remaining costs for this string of lights will be covered by the Community Engagement budget.  

CE20/21.022. Publicity: The Committee noted the following: 

CE20/21.022.01 Newsletter & Hurst Life:  The newsletters will remain on hold. The Christmas information such as opening hours, winter maintenance and winter volunteers will be shared on the Parish Council website and Facebook page and then shared to the Hub. The Chair suggested displaying posters on the Parish Office noticeboards for anyone who did not use Facebook or our website.

The Hurst Life article remains a monthly one-page spread. Feedback was received from Councillors about the look and feel of the page and the need to change the layout. Each article must now have at least three images to help break up the amount of text displayed. It is the responsibility of the author to make the Parish Office aware if photos need to be sourced. The Parish Office is working with Hurst Life to change the look of our page and this will continue with each article and possible branding changes.

CE20/21.022.02 Website: The Assistant Clerk was asked about the website and she confirmed it is working well and all searches are correct. The Parish Office is receiving daily communication about bookings, allotments, issues etc… Cllr Llewellyn raised the question about budget and confirmed this would not be placed under the Community Engagement committee. The Assistant Clerk confirmed she had spoken to Wasabi design and requested the costs for April 2021 to either carry on a monthly contract or to revert to a one-off package with only an hour support a month. The committee agreed that it is essential to continue to develop the website so the preferred option would be a monthly package.

CE20/21.022.03 Social Media: The Chair stressed the need to help make the Parish Council more humanised and whether social media could be the right place for this. Co-opted member Bedford raised her concerns about nasty people trolling Councillors and then abusing them on the High Street. Cllr Llewellyn agreed that we cannot make Councillors targets. The Chair agreed more consideration was needed on this subject but suggested using videos and voice overs rather than Councillor faces. It was agreed that this would be a good compromise and projects such as the Heritage Trail and Hurst Meadows would be the obvious starting point to trial it.

CE20/21.023 Other Matters: The Chair informed the committee that the Ian Nelson memorial bench had been fitted in the Village Garden on Monday 5th by the Monday Group. On Wednesday 7th October the Sussex Rotary Club had kindly planted crocuses bulbs in the Village Garden. Planting of crocus bulbs has not taken place in Sayers Common as the Parish Office is waiting on exact location.

Cllr Llewellyn asked Cllr Sampson whether he felt that the Sayers Common gateway sign was in the correct place. Cllr Sampson agreed it was not best placed but was unsure what could happen now. Cllr Llewellyn suggested raising it in the project list with the Clerk.

Meeting Closed at: 21:08pm