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Hurstpierpoint & Sayers Common
Parish Council

Minutes of the Council Meeting held on Thursday 25 January 2024 at 7.30 pm at Hurstpierpoint Village Centre.

Members Present:

Cllr Malcolm Llewellyn (Chairman) Cllr Michael Avery Cllr Sarah Baldey Cllr Susan Dyke Cllr David Evans Cllr Mark Froud  Cllr Rodney Jackson Cllr Claire Majsai Cllr Duncan Ranger Cllr Bob Sampson Cllr Annette Street Cllr Lindsay Thompson 

Also Present:  Sarah Groom (Clerk), Cllr Alison Bennett and Cllr Geoff Zeidler (MSDC).

C23/24.113: To receive and accept apologies for absence:  Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Bedford and Cllr Shorrocks.  Apologies were also received from Cllr Joy Dennis (WSCC), and it was:

RESOLVED: That the Council ACCEPTS the apologies for absence for Cllr Bedford and Cllr Shorrocks.

C23/24.114: To receive and record declarations of interest:  There were no declarations of interest.

C23/24.115: To receive and accept the minutes of the previous meeting of the Council held on 14 December 2023:  Members reviewed the minutes of the previous meeting, and it was: 

RESOLVED:  That the Council AGREES the minutes of the meeting held on 14 December 2023.

C23/24.116: Councillor Co-option:  Members considered two applications to co-opt one councillor to fill the final ordinary vacancy following the 4 May 2023 uncontested local election.  A written ballot was undertaken and the successful candidate was declared by the Chairman.  The declaration of acceptance of office form was signed, and it was: 

RESOLVED:  That the Council AGREES to CO-OPT Barry Forster to serve on the Hurstpierpoint ward.

C23/24.117: Adjournment for Questions from the Public: Members considered adjourning the meeting to receive questions from members of the public in accordance with Standing Orders.  There was one member of the public present who didn’t wish to speak.

C23/24.118: Reports from Other Authorities: Members received reports from representatives of:

C23/24.118.1: West Sussex County Council (WSCC):  The Chairman, on behalf of Cllr Dennis provided an update on the east/west cycle route and that the tree work required in St George’s Green and off Brown Twins Road, would be undertaken very soon.  The Parish Councils’ Community Highways Scheme (CHS) submission from 2021 had been consulted on and approved and would now be incorporated into the works programme.  Work was ongoing on the London Road crossing refuge, the Chalkers Lane/College Lane/Malthouse Lane speed limits and the expansion of the Hurstpierpoint village centre 20mph zone. The Chairman had asked that trees and hedgerows encroaching on roads and pavements be cut back.  Cllr Dyke queried why the Bishopstone Lane height barrier had now been removed and the Chairman agreed to enquire.

C23/24.118.2: Mid Sussex District Council (MSDC):  Cllr Jackson gave an update on the budget setting process, Applaud Awards and the Triangle Leisure Centre refurbishment.  Cllr Bennett reported back that the Trinity Road car park light had been scheduled for repair (Cllr Avery pointed out one light also needed upgrading to LED) and she would circulate the email she had received about the Cyprus Road car park in Burgess Hill.  The MSDC budget would be finalised at the February Council meeting but the increase is unlikely to be more than the 2.95% increase permitted. This did require the use of £540,000 from their reserves.  There would be no changes in service levels and no introduction of car parking charges in the villages this year.  The significant pressures on the budget are inflation, and the demand for the homeless and temporary accommodation services.   Cllr Zeidler had previously circulated a written report.  He confirmed that the developer of Panattoni Park was free to say on their signage, that the Hub was in Burgess Hill.  Cllr Zeidler is now getting a reasonable response from Southern Water (to an unacceptable situation) although he is unable to attend the meeting on 16 February with Andrew Griffith MP in Sayers Common Village Hall.  Cllr Zeidler has spoken with the Woodland Flora and Fauna Group and Director responsible, about them volunteering at the Berrylands Pond.  He is investigating ditches to the rear of Chestnut Drive that are flooding adjacent gardens and will investigate the question as to whether trees can be protected e.g. in the LVS site, as they are already being felled in advance of development.  Cllr Dyke asked whether the recently closed Ladymead Nursing Home i.e. the provision of services for the elderly, should be being protected under the District Plan policies.  Cllr Zeidler believed one policy does identify extra nursing provision is needed but he doesn’t think it talks about the replacement of the loss of existing provision.  Cllr Majsai enquired about whether MSDC had any news on youth provision, as there were rumours of the Park Centre in Burgess Hill becoming a youth centre.  The Chairman requested copies of the street and pavement cleaning schedules and frequencies. 

The Chairman thanked Cllrs Zeidler, Bennett and Jackson for their reports.  Cllrs Zeidler and Bennett left the meeting at 845.pm.

C23/24.119: Committee Minutes: Members received the minutes of the:

C23/24.119.1: Planning Committee (8 January 2024) There was one recommendation for Council as follows:

MINUTE P23/24.067(10): DM/23/3182: Reserved matters application pursuant to outline application DM/21/3279, to consider access, appearance, landscaping, layout and scale with respect to the provision of a Centre for Community Sport.   The Committee RESOLVED: To recommend to Council that a letter is drafted to MSDC Planning to highlight the lack consultation during early planning stages of the Centre for Community Sport, and it was:

RESOLVED: That the Parish Council will write to Mid Sussex District Council, the Local Planning Authority about the Centre for Community Sports to highlight Members concerns over the limited range of sports facilities, the lack of the Parish Council feedback from the March 2023 event appearing in the consultant’s report such as active travel routes from the south, and the omission to state that the receipts from Section 106 funds should come to Hurstpierpoint and Sayers Common, not Burgess Hill.

C23/24.119.2: Staff Panel: (15 January 2024) There were two recommendations for Council set out separately on the agenda below.

C23/24.119.3: Finance, Governance & Estates Committee (18 January 2024) There were no recommendations for Council.  Cllr Thompson asked for an update on the Reeds Lane Drainage project and was advised that the Clerk is investigating the use of a consultant to manage the project to conclusion, and it was:

RESOLVED:  That the Council RECEIVES the minutes of the following Panel and Committees and AGREES the above recommendations:

  1. Planning Committee (8 January 2024)
  2. Staff Panel (15 January 2024)
  3. Finance, Governance & Estates Committee (18 January 2024).

C23/24.120: Local Government Pension Scheme Discretions Policy:  Members considered a recommendation from the Staff Panel to agree the draft Local Government Pension Scheme Discretions Policy.  It was noted that this was an important matter and Members may require specialist advice in the Autumn on the process of considering discretions and the implications of the LGPS scheme generally, and it was: 

RESOLVED:  That the Council ADOPTS the Local Government Pension Scheme Discretions Policy and reviews it annually in May.

C23/24.121: Job Evaluation Policy:  Members considered a recommendation from the Staff Panel to agree the draft Job Evaluation Policy.  It was clarified that the Review Panel would be called from Members not on the Staff Panel and the Review would be an employee’s route for a final appeal, and it was: 

RESOLVED:  That the Council ADOPTS the Job Evaluation Policy.

C23/24.122: South Downs National Park Authority: Draft Settlements Facilities Assessment:  Members considered a letter from the SDNPA asking the Parish Council to consider the draft Settlement Facilities Assessment.  As Hurstpierpoint did not appear in the assessment, Members queried what had happened to the Parish Council feedback, and it was: 

RESOLVED:  That the Council NOTES the letter from the South Downs National Park Authority regarding the draft Settlements Facilities Assessment but would enquire what had happened to the Parish Council feedback.

C23/24.123: Reports from Representative on Outside Bodies: Members received reports from representative on outside bodies as follows: 

C23/24.123.1: Hurstpierpoint Society:  Cllr Majsai has asked the Society to include their excellent District Plan Review article on their website for all residents to view.   

C23/24.123.2: West Sussex Association of Local Councils (MSALC): The Chairman and Vice-Chairman, Cllr Majsai had attended the recent WSALC Chairman’s zoom meeting.  Items covered included a call for sanctions for poor councillor behaviour.  Although the Parish Council adopted the Member’s Code of Conduct each May, local councils were also being asked to support the cause by signing up to the Civility and Respect Pledge.  This will be included on the February Council agenda.  Pressure on budgets at Principal Council level means some local councils are choosing to take on increased responsibilities.  The Chairman raised the issue of Members’ Register of Interests on website being partially redacted, which is not currently lawful.  Some County, District and Parish Councils had already taken the decision to remove this information by providing it upon request through the Clerk.  This matter will be raised at the WSALC Board meeting on 26 January 2024, and it was:

RESOLVED:  That the Council NOTES the reports from representatives on outside bodies.

C23/24.124: Information Items:  Members considered the letter from Andrew Griffith MP of 8 January 2024 and expressed concern over the choice of wording regarding the new National Planning Policy Framework coming into immediate effect, when in fact it did not apply to the current review of the Mid Sussex District Plan as explained in Cllr Zeidler’s MSDC report.  Mr Griffith also felt village car parks should not be under threat from additional car parking charges.  Members noted demand for car parking spaces continued to rise, especially in villages where high street properties were being converted into residential with no parking extra provision being required.

Members RESOLVED 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.

Confidential Matters:

C23/24.125: Mid Sussex District Plan 2021-2039 Review Update:  Members received a verbal update on Regulation 19 consultation. Following the informal meeting on Thursday 11 January 2024 with the Planning Consultant, a draft response was able to be included within the February Hurst Life magazine which is released on 27 January, a copy of which Members have had. The information is also now on the website and Facebook page and will be shared on local Facebook sites.  A poster with a QR will be placed on noticeboards and traders would be free to display copies.  Members agreed to consider the final draft via email to meet the 23 February 2024 deadline, and it was: 

RESOLVED:  That the Council AGREES to consider the final response to the Mid Sussex District Plan Review by email for submission by 23 February 2024.

There being no other business, the Chairman closed the meeting at 10.05pm.

Chairman