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Hurstpierpoint & Sayers Common
Parish Council

Court Bushes Advisory Group

October 1, 2019

MINUTES 

Attendees: 

 Colin Trumble (MSDC)          Stephen Hand (HPSC PC)            Malcolm Llewellyn (HPSC PC) – CHAIR         

 Elaine Clarke (MSDC)           Regina Choudhury (MSDC)           Paul Williams (MSDC)           Nick Sinclair (HPSC PC) 

The meeting started at 9.08am 

  1. 1. Introduction and Intent of the meeting. 

Malcolm Llewellyn (ML) opened the meeting by noting that it had been an action point of the Court Bushes Hub Committee 30th July 2019, to write to MSDC outlining all the issues faced at Court Bushes Community Hub through the Parish Council’s first quarter of operation. It was felt that a round table meeting would be more beneficial, to continue the partnership between the Councils, avoiding to a ‘them and us’ or ‘landlord and tenant’ relationship.  

  1. 2. Review of first quarter operation. 

ML updated that the Parish Council are currently just below where they would like to be with invoiced bookings, but that is to be expected in the first quarter. The uptake in bookings is growing and with Hurst Festival holding events at the facility during September, promotion online and within newsletters, we are hoping that this will continue. 

ML updated on the ad-hoc advisory group meeting 11th September and the various matters arising. ML expressed that a great deal of enthusiasm came from the attendees, especially regarding funding. Other notable points discussed were the lack of storage and the poor acoustics in the building. The attendees noted the raised flower beds installed as part of the Hurst Festival workshop (funded by Bell Group and Sussex Police). 

Regina Choudhury (RC) updated on a recent HPP Strategic Partnership Meeting that was held at Court Bushes 17th September 2019. Attendees at the meeting raised concern that the building was not being promoted well enough and that the Mosaic sign had not been erected. ML confirmed that the mosaic and signage proposals were being taken to Committee 1st October and should be in place shortly, subject to approval. ML also expressed that the facility has its own website linked through the PC website and social media and that booking details are published in our quarterly newsletters. RC and Elaine Clarke (EC) agreed to ensure that Court Bushes Community Hub facility is included on the MSDC website. RC went on to update that the fencing is being perceived as a barrier for people and making it look like it is not inclusive – ML confirmed that the fencing is for the security of people inside the facility such as the playgroup etc, and less so about preventing people coming in, noting that the pedestrian gate is left open for people to enter if they want to, even when the main gates are closed. 

Stephen Hand (SH) stated that he would investigate the addition of ‘brown signs’ with WSCC Highways, directing people to the building from around the village.  

3. Review of first quarter issues and resolution. 

(REF: Court Bushes Community Hub Q1 Review ATTACHED) 

ML informed that the current in year spend by the PC on Court Bushes Community Hub had now exceeded £50,000 vs a precept of only £218,000. 

The attendees discussed the list of unforeseen costs to date, snagging issues and building control concerns as per the document circulated prior to the meeting. ML and Nick Sinclair (NS) highlighted the issues faced by not having confirmed capacities for the building and the subsequent legal exposure. 

Paul Williams (PW) informed that the fire signage costs picked up by the PC should have been delivered by the original contractor. Colin Trumble (CT) asked PW to check all the costs incurred by the PC and establish what MSDC and/or the building contractor should have provided prior to handover.  

PW committed to actioning the following points; extending the Club Lounge ramp to the edge of the pathway, adjusting the Main Entrance Door to be lighter and hold open, investigate ‘dorguard’ style devices to hold Function Room doors open, confirm room capacities with building control, clear debris to the north of the building and to chase Openreach for costings and installation date for the phoneline. PW was also awaiting a quote to install a deck along the whole western side of the building to create a level entrance to all doors – ML expressed that the PC must be consulted on this before any decision is made due to the maintenance liabilities. 

PW noted that many of the issues listed as building control issues were already existing, so they would not be required to rectify. Also, if NS forwarded the electricity meter number on to PW, he would investigate who the utilities suppliers are, so that the PC can take over the services. 

ML and NS highlighted the issues faced by only having 2 keys to the height restrictor at the entrance to Court Bushes. CT agreed to take this matter further as the current system is not suitable. CT also requested a complete list of all items covered by the PC to date, including all costings. NS will supply this following the Court Bushes Hub Committee on 1st October 2019. 

4. MSDC Revenue Support Grant. 

ML updated the current position in regards to business rates – that the Parish Council (PC) had requested a Check of the rateable value of the building achieving a reduction from £13,259 to £12,000. ML raised the question on whether we would still receive the £6,200 per annum revenue grant awarded by MSDC Cabinet, for the first 3 years of operation against revenue costs. EC noted the updated rates position and stated that the PC could be confident in receiving the grant, with the first payment of £3,100 being made in October 2019. The other half will follow in May 2019 on submission of accounts, providing that PC overheads in respect to Court Bushes Community Hub were in line with the original budget submission. With current unforeseen costs totalling £7,088.46 within the first quarter, it is unlikely that the overheads will be better than expected, even in light of the updated rates position. 

ML raised the question, why MSDC have sent us a rates bill with a liability from 12th May 2019, when the PC had submitted the lease dated 17th May 2019. EC said that if NS sent over the rates bill, then she would seek to clarify on MSDC end. 

5. Forward look. 

ML raised the issues with parking for the Hurst Colts Football Club. The storage container re-siting was discussed, with all attendees agreeing that the northern side of the recreation ground was not a suitable location, as approved via MSDC planning. EC and PW to explore a planning application to site the container adjacent to the hedgerow south of the skatepark. In addition to this the PC would consider an arrangement with the Colts to keep the container located within the carpark, with some/all of the £4,500 cost that MSDC were paying to re-site the container coming towards the Community Hub. The Colts would also need to make a suitable contribution to the running of the facility in turn for their storage allowance.  PW to also explore scraping back the overgrown tarmac area adjacent to the PC vehicle gates to see if more parking spaces can be facilitated for users of the recreation ground, with the PC gates being moved accordingly. 

RC raised that the Advisory Group could take some ownership of promoting the building by giving its own identity on social media and with noticeboards etc. It was also agreed that RC would now be included as a member of the advisory group. 

Action By who 
• Investigate height restriction issues and enquire about better access/more keys for the Parish Council.  • Investigate what issues should have been addressed by MSDC/Contractor prior to handover – following report from Paul Williams.   Colin Trumbe 
• Investigate ‘brown signs’ with WSCC Highways, to direct people to the building from around the village.  Stephen Hand 
• Investigate business rates starting from 12th May 2019 instead of 17th May 2019.  • Investigate Court Bushes Community Hub being listed on MSDC website. Elaine Clarke 
• Ensure building control issues addressed and signed off (inc front door stiffness/staying open)  • Confirm room capacities following building control sign off.  • Clear debris north of building.  • Chase Openreach regarding phoneline.  • Investigate what issues that the PC rectified, should have been sorted by MSDC prior to handover and update Colin Trumble.  • Investigate ‘dorguard’ units to be fitted to Function Room to Foyer doors.  • Investigate utilities and water supplier details.  • Investigate additional parking to overgrown tarmac at entrance gates. Paul Williams 
• Investigate Court Bushes Community Hub being listed on MSDC website. Regina Choudhury 
• Compile list of all issues rectified to date, including costings, and forward to Colin Trumble.  • Forward rates bill to Elaine Clarke.  • Forward Meter Number to Paul Williams.  • Add Regina Choudhry to future Advisory Group meetin.  •  Nick Sinclair 

The meeting concluded at 10:20am 

Addendum 

Since the meeting, VG Builders attended site 30th September 2019 and informed that they were starting works to bring the entrance ramps to the Club Lounge and Nursery area entrances up to Building Control standards. It is unlikely that the ramp to the Club Lounge will be able to reach 1:15 standards so it may be necessary to install decking to give a level access along the entire western side of the building. VG Builders will be quoting to install this decking using anti-slip composite materials – The Parish Council have asked to be consulted on any solution, before approval is given. 

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