Minutes of the Council Meeting held on Thursday 23 February 2023 at 7.30 pm at the Village Centre, Trinity Road, Hurstpierpoint.
|Cllr Malcolm Llewellyn (Chairman) Cllr Mike Avery Cllr Helen Bedford Cllr Allan Brown||Cllr David Evans Cllr Rodney Jackson Cllr Tony Lank Cllr John Lowman||Cllr Claire Majsai Cllr Bob Sampson|
Also Present: Sarah Groom (Clerk), Cllr Colin Trumble & Cllr Alison Bennett (MSDC), Cllr Joy Dennis (WSCC). One member of the public.
C22/23.133: To receive and accept apologies for absence: Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Martin Machan, Cllr Duncan Ranger and Cllr Julia Shorrocks, and it was:
RESOLVED: That the Council ACCEPTS the apologies for absence for Cllr Martin Machan, Cllr Duncan Ranger and Cllr Julia Shorrocks.
C22/23.134: To receive and record declarations of interest: There were no declarations of interest.
C22/23.135: To receive and accept the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 26 January 2023: Members reviewed the minutes and noted the revised numbers for the final two paragraphs, and it was:
RESOLVED: That the Council AGREES the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 26 January 2023, as amended.
C22/23.136: 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. There was one member of the public present who did not wish to speak, so the meeting was not adjourned.
C22/23.137: Members received update reports from the representatives of other Authorities:
C22/23.137.1 West Sussex County Council (WSCC): The Chairmanthanked Cllr Dennis for organising the urgent patch repairs and then full re-surfacing of parts of Trinity Road by the St Lawrence School, at such short notice and during the February half term. It was much appreciated. Cllr Dennis updated Members on the New Bedelands Academy Secondary School and the new Woodlands Meed Primary School in Burgess Hill.
The new roads lane rental scheme has been in place since 1 December 2022 and is already paying dividends with contractors competing their road works in shorter time scales, so less inconvenience to drivers. Automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras will be placed on key roads to monitor speeding as part of the County’s new speed policy. A 25% increase has been agreed in the Highways core budget with an extra £4.5m agreed to tackle the backlog and preventative works.
The County applied for a ‘dragons den’ style bid to the Greenprint Project for £30m for decarbonising projects for the local roads. This includes the further roll-out of electrical vehicle charging points for people without access to a personal charging point. One project uses green waste to fuel work vans. £17.5m will be spent on bus projects such as use of the Enviro6 buses, bus stop upgrades and a discount scheme for 16-21 year olds. A further £2m will be spent on decarbonising WSCC’s estate.
Cllr Avery reported the poor state of pavement surfaces in College Lane. The Chairman enquired after progress on the Parish Council’s enquiry into land at Ladies Walk. The Chairman thanked Cllr Dennis for her reports.
C22/23.137.2 Mid Sussex District Council (MSDC):
Cllr Jackson informed Members that the District Council will decide their 2023/2024 budget on 1 March 2023. There is a funding shortfall on the planned Centre for Outdoor Sports. Cllr Bennett had requested street sweeping on the Hassocks Road, which she is pursuing. There are a number of Scrutiny Committee meetings in March and the Planning Scrutiny meeting will meet on 15 March and address the Regulation 18 District Plan consultation responses and next steps for the Regulation 19 consultation. Cllr Trumble reported over 2000 responses had been received to the Reg 18 consultation which will be addressed at the Scrutiny Committee meeting and the Reg 19 consultation period is expected to be in June/July 2023. MSDC will also respond to the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill consultation on reforms to the National Planning Policy before the deadline date of 2 March 2023. Cllr Trumble is collecting details of any issues concerning Clarion Housing Group. It was noted that Horsham District Council had paused their District Plan Review until the outcome of the National Planning Policy review.
The Chairman thanked Cllrs Dennis Bennett, Jackson and Trumble for their reports and Cllrs Dennis, Bennett and Trumble left the meeting at 7.55pm.
C22/23.138: Members considered the minutes of the following Committees:
C22/23.138.1: Planning & Environment Committee (2 February 2023): No recommendations for Council.
C22/23.138.2: Estates and Facilities Management Committee (9 February 2023): There were three recommendations for Council:
- EF22/23.047 Estate & Facilities Update: The Committee considered the update report and noted the contents, and it was RESOLVED: That the Parish Council AGREED to recommend to Council a transfer of an additional £1,125 in-year from the Millennium Garden Earmarked Reserve, to allow the Holm Oak work to be paid for at a cost of £1,600.
RECOMMENDATION: That the Parish Council AGREES to the transfer of an additional £1,125 in-year from the Millennium Garden Earmarked Reserve, to allow the Holm Oak work to be paid for at a cost of £1,600.
- EF22/23.049 South Avenue Play Area Resurfacing: The Committee considered the briefing note to resurface around four items of play equipment in South Avenue Recreation Ground, and it was: RESOLVED: That the Committee AGREED to recommend to Council to appoint Redlynch Leisure Ltd to resurface around 4 items of play equipment in South Avenue Play Area at a cost of £17,713 ex. VAT, using the 2023/2024 £10,000 Recreation Ground code (5400-202); and use £7,713 from the South Avenue Earmarked Reserve.
RECOMMENDATION: That the Parish Council AGREES to:
Cllr Lank highlighted that the south east area of the play area by the teenager swings gets very wet and some drainage measures may be required. Cllr Brown would take up this issue and investigate.
- EF22/23.051 Hurst Meadow Cutting Programme for 2023: The Committee considered a quotation from Greenscene Landscapes to carry out the grass cutting within Hurst Meadows in 2023 at a total cost of £10,730+VAT, and it was: RESOLVED: That the Committee AGREED to recommend to Council that Greenscene Landscapes be appointed to complete the 2023 Hurst Meadow cuts at a total cost of £10,730; and a transfer of an extra £1,000 in-year from the Hurst Meadows Earmarked Reserve to allow the Spring cut (at a cost of £4,200) to be paid for in 2022/2023.
RECOMMENDATION: That the Parish Council AGREES:
- that Greenscene Landscapes be appointed to complete the 2023 Hurst Meadow cuts at a total cost of £10,730; and
- a transfer of an extra £1,000 in-year from the Hurst Meadows Earmarked Reserve to allow the Spring cut (at a cost of £4,200) to be paid for in 2022/2023.
C22/23.138.3: Finance & Governance Committee (16 February 2023): There were four recommendations for Council. Three are listed below and one is under Confidential Items:
- F22/23.085 Reserves Policy: The Committee considered the Reserves Policy for recommendation to Council for re-adoption, and it was: RESOLVED: That the Committee AGREED to recommend the Reserves Policy to Council for adoption.
RECOMMENDATION: That the Parish Council ADOPTS the Reserves Policy.
- F22/23.086 Savings and Investment Policy: The Committee considered the Savings and InvestmentPolicy for recommendation to Council. It was agreed to add the words ‘suitably qualified’ professional to the second sentence of 4.6, and it was: RESOLVED: That the Committee AGREED to recommend the Savings and Investment Policy to Council for adoption, as amended.
RECOMMENDATION: That the Parish Council ADOPTS the Savings and Investment Policy, as amended.
- F22/23.087 Document Retention Policy: The Committee considered a revised version of the Document RetentionPolicy for recommendation to Council. It has been revised to reference the handling of electronic data such as emails and files. It was agreed to add the option of exporting emails and One Drives as PST files to be accessed by the Clerk if required, and it was: RESOLVED: That the Committee AGREED to recommend the Document Retention Policy to Council for adoption, as amended.
RECOMMENDATION: That the Parish Council ADOPTS the Document Retention Policy, as amended.
RESOLVED: That the Council RECEIVES the minutes of the following Committees and AGREES the above recommendations:
- Planning & Environment Committee (2 February 2023)
- Estates and Facility Management Committee (9 February 2023)
- Finance & Governance Committee (16 February 2023)
C22/23.139: West Sussex Pension Fund: Members considered i) the updated Funding Strategy Statement which was previously reviewed at the October 2022 Council meeting, ii) a requirement for ill-health insurance iii) the 2022 valuation results, and iv) signing the SSB Pooling Agreement Variation letter by 20 April 2023, and it was:
RESOLVED: That the Council AGREES to investigate further why the risk of the strains has transferred to the Parish Council, the implications if the Letter of Variation isn’t signed, if the Fund was previously paying for the Insurance cover for strains, is the Fund receiving commission on the sale of insurance cover and whether our existing insurance covers these risks.
C22/23.140: Training for Councillors: Members considered the courses recommended that all councillors complete, proposed as the WSALC new councillors training course plus four WSCC Learning and Development Portal on-line courses namely Safeguarding, Health and Safety, Equality and Diversity and Data Protection and it was:
RESOLVED: That the Council AGREES that the courses that all councillors complete as a minimum each four year term, are the WSALC new councillors training course, plus four WSCC Learning and Development Portal on-line courses namely Safeguarding, Health and Safety, Equality and Diversity and Data Protection and that a record of councillors training will be kept by the Clerk.
C22/23.141: Councillor Representatives on Outside Bodies: Cllr Jackson had attended an MSALC meeting on 31 January where town and parish council’s had received a report from the Police, a presentation by South East Water, a reminder of the requirement for voters to bring ID to polling stations in order to vote in the 4 May 2023 district and parish elections, and the importance of promoting being a parish councillor so that all vacancies can be filled. The General Power of Competence can only be adopted by town and parish council’s where, at the point at which the Parish Council adopts it, they have an appropriately qualified clerk and two thirds (rounded up) of councillors must have been elected (this does not include co-opted councillors).
C22/23.142: To note any further information items, correspondence received or requests:
C22/23.142:1 Members receive a verbal update on the Inter Parish Group meeting held on Monday 20 February 2023 (regarding the Horsham and Mid Sussex District Plans). It was chaired by an Albourne Parish Councillor and focused on the current status with the Mid Sussex and Horsham District Plans. A key issue was the use of the national algorithm to calculate housing numbers and the impact that has on Mid Sussex as so much of the District is either a Special Protection Area, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or National Park. There was also concern over the ownership of potential areas of land in play, that might blanket development in the parishes of Albourne and Hurstpierpoint & Sayers Common. There were no plans for the groups to keep meeting but it was agreed to keep sharing information.
C22/23.142:2 Members reviewed the WSALC responses to the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill consultation on reforms to the National Planning Policy. Members agreed that a response will be prepared and shared via email for agreement before the deadline date of 2 March 2023. A number of key issues were raised and these will be referred to in the response.
C22/23.142:3 Members noted the invitation to attend a public exhibition at the Triangle Leisure Centre on 8 March 2023 from 11am-3pm or 4.30pm to 7.30pm on the plans for the new Centre for Outdoor Sports in Hurstpierpoint.
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.
C22/23.143: Assistant Clerk (2) Vacancy – Recommendation from Finance & Governance Committee (16 February 2023) Minute: F22/23.090: Members noted the resignation of the Assistant Clerk (2) and agreed the next steps to recruit a replacement, to be recommended to Council due to the budget implications, and it was: RESOLVED: That the Committee AGREED to thank the Assistant Clerk for her hard work, and the next steps for recruiting a replacement would be recommended to Council due to the budget implications.
RECOMMENDATION: That the Parish Council thank the Assistant Clerk (2) for her hard work and AGREE the next steps for recruiting a replacement, due to the budget implications, and it was:
RESOLVED: That the Council thanked the Assistant Clerk (2) for her hard work and AGREED the next steps for recruiting a replacement, and a potential increase of up to 12 hours in salary and on-costs.
There being no other business, the Chairman closed the meeting at 21.11.