Minutes of the Meeting of the Council held on Thursday 24 June 2021 at 7.30 pm at Court Bushes Community Hub.
Cllr Malcolm Llewellyn (Chairman) Cllr Allan Brown (Vice-Chairman) Cllr Michael Avery Cllr Helen Bedford Cllr David Evans Cllr Rodney Jackson Cllr Tony Lank Cllr John Lowman Cllr Martin Machan Cllr Bob Sampson Cllr Julia Shorrocks
Also Present: Cllr Alison Bennett & Cllr Colin Trumble (MSDC), Cllr Joy Dennis (WSCC) and Sarah Groom (Clerk to the Council).
C21/22.029 To receive and record apologies for absence. Apologies for absence were received and accepted from Cllr Duncan Ranger, Cllr Seth Jee and Cllr Claire Majsai, and it was:
RESOLVED: That the Council ACCEPTS the apologies for absence from Cllr Duncan Ranger, Cllr Seth Jee and Cllr Claire Majsai.
C21/22.030 To receive and record declarations of interest. Cllr Bob Sampson declared a personal interest in Minutes C21/2.034.2.2, as he was a trustee of the Sayers Common Community Shop.
C21/22.031 To receive and accept the minutes of the previous meeting of the Council: Members received the minutes of the meeting held on 27 May 2021, and it was:
RESOLVED: That the Council AGREES the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 27 May 2021.
C21/22.032 To consider whether to adjourn the Meeting in accordance with Standing Orders to receive questions from members of the public in attendance: There were no members of the public in attendance.
C21/22.033 To receive verbal reports from Representatives of other Authorities: The following reports were received:
C21/22.033.1 West Sussex County Council County (WSCC): Cllr Dennis had amended her written reporting format in response to the request of the Parish Council. She reported that the number of cases of coronavirus were increasing across West Sussex but most sharply in Mid Sussex. Although vaccinations were going very well all the requirements to be cautious still stand until at least the end of the current extension of restrictions (currently 19 July). Cllr Dennis had a new portfolio of Highways & Transport and she was committed to projects, activities and policy changes. Cllr Jackson asked about the future of local committees. Cllr Dennis confirmed there had been an informal virtual meeting held this week which residents attended. Cllr Avery asked questions about the Burgess Hill Recycling Centre staff wearing face masks, and recycling wet cardboard. Cllr Lank was concerned about the scheduling of road works and ensuring they are co-ordinated. Cllr Shorrocks asked for WSCC’s view on the value of lateral flow tests. Cllr Dennis would respond on all points. Cllr Trumble congratulated Cllr Dennis on her new appointment. The Chairman thanked Cllr Dennis for her report. Cllr Dennis left the meeting.
C21/22.033.2 Mid Sussex District Council (MSDC): Cllr Bennett had supplied a written report in advance as follows:
Fly-tipping: Following questions from Newtimber Parish Meeting about large fly tips with evidence identifying the perpetrators having been collected and then not prosecuted, Cllr Bennet had been discussing MSDC’s fly tipping policy with officers and the Cabinet Member for Environment and Service Delivery. The policy in recent years has been to focus the budget on clearing fly tips speedily and as a result no officers had the correct permits to issue Fixed Penalty Notices and no prosecutions have been progressed. The Cabinet Member has confirmed to Cllr Bennet that they have decided to ensure that a small number of officers are warranted to take enforcement action when the opportunity presents itself. There will be a full update to councillors in the coming weeks.
Levelling Up Fund: MSDC have bid for £14m of the Government’s ‘Levelling Up Fund’. Applications closed last week, and the successful bids will be announced in September. The bid focuses upon Burgess Hill and has three elements: i) Money to help get the town centre regeneration going, ii) Further funding for sustainable transport; and iii) Further investment in digital infrastructure.
Council Tax Support: MSDC and WSCC have agreed to provide an extra Council Tax discount of up to £150 in 2021/22 for those most in need. People who are experiencing financial difficulties can contact MSDC directly for support by calling 01444 477564 or emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cllr Trumble had also supplied a written report in advance as follows:
Levelling Up Fund: Cllr Bennett has mentioned that Mid Sussex has put in a substantial bid to the Government’s Levelling up Fund. Mid Sussex is in the lowest priority group for the Fund but this is a high quality and well argued bid that projects a significant return on investment. It is being actively supported by MP’s Andrew Griffith, Mims Davies and Jeremy Quin. Cllr Brown asked if there was a plan for the Burgess Hill Town Centre redevelopment if the application was not successful. Cllr Trumble agreed a firm plan was needed.
Site Allocations DPD: Last week saw the conclusion of the Planning Inspector’s hearing into the Site Allocations DPD. These have gone broadly as expected. The Inspector has stated that he will focus on 5 broad areas: i) Will the DPD allow the Council to maintain a 5 year land supply, ii) Is there any ‘major’ development in the AONB?, iii) Should there be more provision for extra care / retirement villages?, iv) What impact is there on the South Downs National Park?, v) What impact is there on transport issues in the north of the district? MSDC is working with the relevant authorities to develop statements of common ground and expect an interim letter of findings from the Inspector by early August. Cllr Sampson confirmed he was pleased with the way the inspector managed the enquiry.
Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee: Members will be aware of the work a number of representatives have been doing looking at the possibilities of planting an E shape of trees on the Downs escarpment to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum jubilee. It has not been possible to progress this on the proposed site because of ecological concerns. However, there is the possibility of combining this with some proposed tree planting schemes in the Parish although very likely not in an E shape. Cllr Lowman thanked Cllr Trumble for the great deal of work he had made to explore the original initiative. Cllr Brown supported tree planting in Hurst Meadows and explained it is a very complex matter in terms of choosing the right tree for the soil type and the costs of 3-4 years maintenance and watering thereafter.
Cllr Avery enquired whether MSDC could issue reference numbers when an enquiry is made. Cllrs Bennet and Trumble confirmed all complains and compliments are logged and reported on, and will investigate how enquiries are logged. Cllr Evans enquired about the Council’s position on e-scooters. There is no official MSDC view whilst trials using hire e-scooters take place in some other local authority areas.
The Chairman thanked Cllr Bennett and Cllr Trumble for their updates and they left the meeting.
C21/22.034 To receive the minutes and where appropriate, consider the recommendations of the following Committees: The Committee Chairs introduced the following sets of minutes:
C21/22.034.1 Planning & Environment Committee (3 June 2021) Cllr Shorrocks confirmed there were no recommendations for Council and no further updates were required.
C21/22.034.2 Community Engagement Committee (10 June 2021) Cllr Sampson confirmed the Committee had two recommendations for Council. The Chairman also outlined the background to the recommendations:
C21/22.034.2.1 Minute CE21/22.007.4 Applaud Award Nominations: That the Committee had AGREED to recommend nominating the Manager of the Hurstpierpoint Pre-School under the Stronger Together category, to Council for approval, and it was:
RESOLVED: After consideration, that Council AGREED to nominate the Manager of the Hurstpierpoint Pre-School for the MSDC Applaud Awards, under the Stronger Together category and Cllr Majsai would submit the nomination.
C21/22.034.2.2 Minute CE21/22.007.5 Christmas Light information: That the Committee had AGREED to ask Full Council for permission to use £3,000 from the Ear Marked Reserve towards the £9,000 project for Christmas Lights for Sayers Common, and it was:
RESOLVED: After consideration, that Council AGREED to use £3,000 from the Ear Marked Reserve for Christmas Lights on the Sayers Common scheme.
C21/22.034.3 Highways & Cycleways Joint Council Working Group (14 June 2021) Cllr Lank confirmed there were no recommendations for Council. Cllr Lank will be meeting a small number of WSCC Highways and Traffic Officers to walk the High Street on 28 June 2021 to agree what work can be carried out as maintenance items, such as line marking, instead of under the recently resubmitted Community Highways Scheme (CHS). The Chairman confirmed the first occupancy of the Kingland Laines development had recently happened which will help fund the CHS.
C21/22.034.4 Finance & Governance Committee (17 June 2021) The Chairman confirmed the Committee had one recommendation for Council.
C21/22.034.1 Minute F21/22.009 Coronavirus Cancellation Policy: That the Committee had AGREED to recommend to Council that due to the uncertainty of the end of lock-down, that the above policy is still applicable for the time being and a new revision date of 30 September 2021 be applied, and it was:
RESOLVED: After consideration, that Council AGREED that due to the uncertainty of the end of lock-down, that the above policy is still applicable for the time being and a new revision date of 30 September 2021 be applied but that the matter be kept under review with feedback from hirers taken into account.
Following the review of the Committees and Working Group minutes, Members:
RESOLVED: That the Council RECEIVED the minutes of the following Committees and Working Group:
i. Planning & Environment Committee (3 June 2021)
ii. Community Engagement Committee (10 June 2021)
iii. Highways & Cycleways Joint Council Working Group (14 June 2021)
iv. Finance & Governance Committee (17 June 2021)
C21/22.035 Annual Parish Meeting: Members considered discussing the Annual Parish Meeting held on 18 May 2021 however, the Chairman proposed that in the absence of Cllr Majsai, Chair of the Community Engagement Committee, the item be deferred to a future meeting, and it was:
RESOLVED: That the Council DEFERS the review of the Annual Parish Meeting to a future date.
C21/22.036 Insurance Documents: Members received the details of the cover agreed on 27 May 2021. A meeting was arranged between the Clerk and the Vice-Chair of the Finance & Governance Committee, Cllr Duncan Ranger, to go through all the detail and cross reference it with the Asset Register. A number of suggestions for clarification were tabled including whether the policy extends to cover for contractors and subsidence. Cllr Lank enquired about the free subscription to Parish On-Line which the Chairman confirmed was a very useful mapping tool with access to layers of information relating to our own, and WSCC and MSDC assets, and it was:
RESOLVED: That the Council NOTED the details of the insurance cover for the Parish Council.
C21/22.037 SALC and Sussex Police Meeting: Members considered questions to be raised at a meeting with the Chief Constable and Police and Crime Commissioner, attended by the Chairmen of the County and District Associations for Local Councils on Monday 5 July 2021. Any questions are to be emailed to email@example.com by 5pm on Friday 25 June 2021. A question was proposed regarding the earlier discussion about e-scooters illegally using the footways and highways, and it was:
RESOLVED: That the Council AGREES to the submit a question to Sussex Police and the PCC: “How is Sussex Police preventing the illegal riding of e-scooters on highways and footpaths, as we have already experienced a growing number of conflicts between them and pedestrians within the Parish. This would be appear to be another example of a lack of enforcement of existing Traffic regulations, which is adding to the perception of residents that they are not being supported by Sussex Police.”
C21/22.038 Information Items, Correspondence Received and Requests: Members noted:
C21/22.038.1 College Lane Drainage: The Chairman explained the background to the flooding on College Lane. The matter was raised by Cllr Avery at the January Council meeting. The MSDC Drainage Engineer had inspected the site one two occasions and had concluded that the east/west drain be allowed to flood periodically and the road-side ditch does not contravene any laws. Any evidence Members can provide to support a case for further work to alleviate this problem is welcomed.
C21/22.038.2 Formal Complaint: The Chairman advised Members of the conclusion of the formal complaint concerning the decision made at the 6 May 2021 Planning and Environment Committee concerning DM/21/1118. The Clerk had followed the formal complaints procedure and it is thought that MSDC will consider the application again at is 8 July 2021 Planning Committee. An article had also been included on the Mid Sussex Times website refencing the Parish Council’s Committee decision.
C21/22.038.3 Informal Complaint: The Chairman updated Members on the complaint from a resident concerning deer and rats accessing her property, allegedly from Hurst Meadows and the action taken.
C21/22.038.4 Locum Finance Officer: The Chairman advised Members that Andy Beams who had joined the Council two years ago as Locum Clerk and stayed on as Finance Officer, was due to finish on 2 July 2021. Members formally thanked him for the excellent work he has completed and all wished him every success in the future.
There being no other business, the Chairman closed the meeting at 9.16 pm. Chairman