Minutes of the Council Meeting held on Tuesday 20 October 2022 at 7.30 pm at the Village Centre, Trinity Road, Hurstpierpoint
|Cllr Malcolm Llewellyn (Chairman) Cllr Helen Bedford (part) Cllr David Evans||Cllr Rodney Jackson Cllr Tony Lank Cllr John Lowman Cllr Martin Machan||Cllr Claire Majsai Cllr Duncan Ranger Cllr Bob Sampson Cllr Julia Shorrocks|
Also Present: Sarah Groom (Clerk to the Council), Cllr Joy Dennis (WSCC) and Cllr Alison Bennett (MSDC).
C22/23.079: To receive and accept apologies for absence: Apologies for absence were given for Cllr Michael Avery, Cllr Allan Brown, Cllr Helen Bedford who would join the meeting later and, and it was:
RESOLVED: That the Council ACCEPTS the apologies for absence for Cllr Michael Avery, Cllr Allan Brown, and Cllr Helen Bedford who would join the meeting later.
Apologies were also received from Cllr Colin Trumble.
C22/23.080: To receive and record declarations of interest: There were no declarations of interest.
C22/23.081: To receive and accept the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 27 September 2022: Members reviewed the minutes, and it was:
RESOLVED: That the Council AGREES the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 27 September 2022.
C22/23.082: Adjournment for Questions from the Public: Members considered whether to adjourn the meeting in accordance with Standing Orders to receive questions from members of the public in attendance. There were no public present.
C22/23.083: Members received update reports from the representatives of other Authorities:
C22/23.083.1 West Sussex County Council (WSCC): The Chairman had been asked on behalf of Cllr Michael Avery, to raise his concern over tyres being deflated in College Lane. Cllr Dennis would explore options but it was probably a matter for the Police. Cllr Dennis updated Members on road works in the local area. The community road verges were doing very well in Hurstpierpoint with another ten joining in. WSCC would be abbreviating the Traffic Regulation Order and Community Highway Scheme timetables from the end of the year. The “Love West Sussex” portal feedback loop was being improved and re-launched. Warmer Home grants were still available to help raise the energy performance of properties. A Food Rescue pilot was underway with UK Harvesting to help reduce food waste with cookery lessons and advice on how to use less energy.
In response to a question from Cllr Tony Lank, Cllr Dennis explained the upsurge in requests for road works (possibly due to a post covid back-log) and the issues that arise when there is a small delay that can create a significant knock-on impact. A new lane hire scheme for contractors and utility firms will be in place from the end of the year. Cllr David Evans asked about Police Officers dancing at Festivals. Cllr Dennis would refer the matter to the Police and Crime Commissioner.
The Chairman thanked Cllr Dennis for her report.
C22/23.083.2 Mid Sussex District Council (MSDC): Cllr Jackson reported that Mid Sussex District Council was progressing to the consultation stages of the District Plan review. The Science Park will be an “Investment Zone”. Council Tax is likely to be increased by MSDC to the maximum permitted. Cllr Bennett updated Members on the enforcement at Alders Farm and 145 High Street. The Playing Pitch Strategy will be published in the new year with a ten year delivery plan and Court Bushes remains a priority site for MSDC. A new Winter Support Guide is being issued with the next Mid Sussex Matters magazine in the third week of November.
In response to a question from Cllr David Evans, Cllr Bennett supported local strategic gaps and hoped for a stronger policy on the issue and for settlement hierarchies. The policies were being weakened in order to allocate more new homes. Cllr David Evans had researched historic planning policies and hoped they could still be used today.
In response to a question from Cllr Julia Shorrocks, Cllr Bennett noted the lack of representation on the MSDC Planning Scrutiny Committee from the local area but reported she had substituted for a colleague on the Planning Scrutiny Committee when the District Plan Policies were reviewed. Cllr Claire Majsai enquired whether Investment Zones meant standard for affordable homes and environmental standards dropped. Cllr Bennett confirmed the Regulation 18 consultation dates were 7 November to 19 December 2022.
The Chairman thanked Cllrs Jackson and Bennett for their reports.
C22/23.083.3 West Sussex Association of Local Councils (WSALC): Cllr Jackson reported that a meeting was held on 13 October 2022 and the minutes were awaited. The Chairman had attended a WSALC Chairman’s briefing where the cost of living, recruitment of clerks and resilience plans were discussed. It was reported that Albourne Parish Council is working with Twineham Parish Council and the Sayers Common Village Hall on a warm places initiative.
C22/23.083.4 Mid Sussex Association of Local Councils (MSALC): Cllr Rodney Jackson and Cllr Allan Brown had attended the MSALC meeting on 21 September 2022 and had updated Members at the last Council meeting.
C22/23.084: Members considered the minutes of the following Committees:
C22/23.084.1: Planning & Environment Committee (29 September 2022) Cllr Julia Shorrocks enquired after enforcement action at 18 The Grange and whether the home owner would be required to amend unlawful works. Cllr Bennett would ask Cllr Colin Trumble to respond.
Cllrs Dennis and Bennett left the meeting at 8.20pm.
C22/23.084.2: Finance & Governance Committee (13 October 2022) There were three recommendations for Council. Cllr Duncan Ranger introduced each item as follows:
C22/23.084.2.1: F22/23.044 Review of 2021/22 External Audit Report: The Committee noted the comments made on the External Auditor’s (Moore West Sussex) Certificate for the 31 March 2022 accounts, and it was: RESOLVED: That the Committee RECOMMENDS to Council: That Council NOTES the comments made on the External Auditor’s (Moore West Sussex) and ADOPTS the Certificate for the 31 March 2022 accounts, and it was:
RESOLVED: That Council NOTES the comments made on the External Auditor’s (Moore West Sussex) which would be actioned and ADOPTS the Certificate for the 31 March 2022 accounts.
C22/23.084.2.2: F22/23.046 Budget and Precept Setting Timetable: The Committee considered thetimetable and assumptions for 2023/2024 budget setting process, and it was: RESOLVED: That the Committee RECOMMENDS to Council: That Council AGREES the timetable and assumptions for 2023/2024 Budget Setting process, as amended, and it was:
RESOLVED: That Council AGREES the timetable and assumptions for the 2023/2024 budget setting process, as amended.
C22/23.084.2.3: F22/23.047 Asset Register and Policy: The Committee considered the asset register and policy, and it was: RESOLVED: That the Committee RECOMMENDS to Council: That Council AGREES the asset register and policy, as amended, and it was:
RESOLVED: That Council AGREES the asset register and policy, as amended.
RESOLVED: That the Council RECEIVES the minutes of the following Committees:
- Planning & Environment Committee (29 September 2022)
- Finance & Governance Committee (13 October 2022)
C22/23.085: Councillor Co-option: Members were due to consider an application to fill the vacancy on the Sayers Common ward but were advised that the candidate was unable to attend the meeting and had not confirmed whether they wished to be co-opted in their absence. Members considered the position and it was:
RESOLVED: That the Council DEFERS the application for the co-option of a councillor to the Sayers Common ward.
C22/23.086: Community Governance Review: Members considered the four Mid Sussex District Council community governance review decisions agreed at their Council meeting on 12 October 2022. The Chairman asked Members for any suggestions for steps to be taken moving forward, and consideration of the option of holding more committee meetings in Sayers Common, and it was:
RESOLVED: That the Council AGREED to hold more Committee meetings in Sayers Common for the Community Engagement, Estates & Facilities Management and Finance & Governance Committees.
C22/23.087: Meeting Calendar Dates for May 2023. Members considered the briefing note which set out the Mid Sussex District Council election timetable for the 4 May 2023 election and considered reviewing the dates of meetings in May 2023 due to the election, and it was:
RESOLVED: That the Council AGREED to hold the Planning & Environment Committee on 2 May 2023, the Council meeting on 11 May 2023, the Finance & Governance Committee on 18 May 2023 and the Annual Parish Meeting on 22 May 2022.
C22/23.088: Winter Plan: Members considered the Winter Plan for 2022/2023 and agreed to submit it to West Sussex County Council, and it was:
RESOLVED: That the Council agreed to ADOPT the Winter Plan for 2022/2023 and agreed to SUBMIT it to West Sussex County Council.
C22/23.089: West Sussex Pension Fund: Funding Strategy Statement Consultation 2022: Members considered the consultation from the West SussexPension Fund which formally consults members on the review of its Funding Strategy Statement. Any comments were to be submitted by 28 October 2022, and it was:
RESOLVED: That the Council AGREED it had no comments to make on the review of the West Sussex Pension Fund’s Funding Strategy Statement.
C22/23.090: Walnut Tree Field Planting: Members considered a briefing note setting out the costs for the Walnut Tree Field tree planting scheme, including the purchase of the tree whips, planting, canes, guards, weed suppressant mats and watering. The trees would be registered under the Queen’s Green Canopy. Members noted the generous donation of £2,000 from the Hurstpierpoint Society towards the new copse, and it was:
RESOLVED: That the Council AGREED to award Greenscene Landscapes the works to carry out the planting of the 840 tree whips in Autumn/Winter 2022 at a cost of £3,142.20 plus VAT, and the watering of the tree whips during the dry periods upon request from the Hurst Meadows Working Group, to the sum of £240 plus VAT per visit, for the first three years.
C22/23.091: Councillor Representatives on Outside Bodies: Cllr John Lowman reported on the good working relationship with the Hurstpierpoint Society and Members noted the current joint projects namely, the Walnut Tree Field Copse, the new bench for Bellows Nose, both in Hurst Meadows and the planting of a tree on South Avenue Recreation Ground in memory of their founder Lady Barnes.
C22/23.092: To note any further information items, correspondence received or requests:
C22/23.092.1: Sussex Police Briefing: Members considered the paper outlining the Sussex Police briefing to the towns and parishes of the Mid Sussex Association of Local Council’s held on 11 October 2022. Cllr Tony Lank highlighted the “car cruising” anti-social behaviour on the A2300 and had requested a greater Police presence by the designated PCSO in the parish, which the Superintendent had confirmed was a requirement under the PCSOs’ patrol plans. It was reported to the surprise of Members, that the beat surgeries were now being held at Hurst College, and it was:
RESOLVED: That the Council NOTED the Sussex Police briefing to the towns and parishes of the Mid Sussex Association of Local Council’s held on 11 October 2022 and Cllr Lank would request a greater presence by the designated PCSO in the parish.
Cllr Helen Bedford arrived at 8.50pm.
C22/23.092.2: Rialtas Business Systems: Members noted that Rialtas Business Systems (the Parish Council’s accounting system) is now under new ownership as set out in the company’s letter dated 11 October 2022. Members expressed concerns over possible changes in support or increases in costs, and it was:
RESOLVED: That the Council NOTED that Rialtas Business Systems (the Parish Council’s accounting system) is now under new ownership.
Council AGREED to RESOLVE that in view of the confidential nature of the following items, the press and public be excluded under section 1(2) of the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960.
C22/23.093: District Plan Review: Members received a verbal report from the Chairman on the outcome of the 18 October 2022 Mid Sussex District Council Scrutiny Committee meeting for Planning. Subject to approval at the 2 November MSDC Council meeting, the Regulation 18 consultation would commence on 7 November 2022 and close on 19 December 2022. Members considered the next steps in response to Regulation 18 consultation and any associated costs, and it was:
RESOLVED: That the Council AGREED to engage a consultant to assist the Parish Council with its response to the Regulation 18 consultation and the associated costs, up to the limit set within the in-year budget.
C22/23.094: Access to Hurst Meadows: Members considered a verbal update from the Chairman on the opportunity to acquire, and dispose of, land (as illustrated on the plan tabled) to improve access to Hurst Meadows with the associated legal costs. A vote was taken and the motion was carried, and it was:
RESOLVED: That the Council AGREED to enter into formal negotiations with the land owner to acquire and dispose of land as per the plan tabled, with legal costs falling to each party.
C22/23.095: Staff Panel: Members considered the confidential briefing paper with recommendations from the Staff Panel meeting on Monday 10 October 2022, and it was:
RESOLVED: That the Council AGREED the recommendations from the Staff Panel meeting on Monday 10 October 2022.
There being no other business, the Chairman closed the meeting at 9.50 pm.