MINUTES of the meeting of the Estates & Facilities Management Committee held at 8:00pm on Tuesday 29th October 2019 at the Village Centre, Hurstpierpoint.
Committee Members Present
Allan Brown – Chairman Malcolm Llewellyn
David Evans Claire Majsai
Nick Sinclair – Facilities Manager (Clerk)
Lorna Cooksey – Assistant Clerk
Hamish Raby – Maintenance Officer
3 Members of the public.
FM19.1. Apologies for Absence and Declarations of Interest: The Committee received and accepted the apologies for absence for Stephen Hand prior to the meeting. There were no declarations of interest.
FM19.2. Minutes of the meeting of the Village Centre Committee 11th June 2019, Hurst Meadows Management Committee 19th March 2019, Court Bushes Hub Committee 1st October 2019: The Committee receive and approved the minutes which were then signed by the Chairman.(REF: Court Bushes Minutes 1 October 2019; Village Centre Minutes 11 June 2019; Hurst Meadows Man Comm MINUTES 19 March 2019 ATTACHED)
FM19.3. Adjournment for questions from the public: The Chairman adjourned the Meeting in accordance with Clause 1(d) of Standing Orders, in order to receive questions from members of the public.
2 members of the public thanked the Committee for the way they have managed Hurst Meadows and specifically Buckwilly field, noting the improvements to the unofficial footpath that had established, since the Parish Council have blocked it off. It was confirmed that the measures in place to block this use will be removed once the grass has re-established in this area.
A member of the public raised the density of the hedging in the southern end of Buckwilly, with a Councillor confirming that this is being addressed under item number 4.7 of the Agenda.
4. Hurst Meadows
FM19.4.1 Progress Report: The Committee noted the Progress report up to 22nd October 2019.
(Ref: Hurst Meadows Progress Report 22 October 2019 ATTACHED)
FM19.4.2 Income/expenditure to date: The Facilities Manager briefed the Committee on the income/expenditure to date for Hurst Meadows. The Committee heard that 30% of the commuted sum should have been paid to the Parish Council by Bovis Homes, as they have now exceeded the 34th, and were closing in on the 65th occupancy requirements set out in the s106 agreement. The Facilities Manager agreed to chase this payment. The Chairman indicated that budget restraints are to be considered whilst the Management Plan is being developed and that selective management and volunteer support must be utilised.
(Ref: Hurst Meadows Budget 16 Oct 2019 ATTACHED)
FM19.4.3 Management Plan: The Chairman verbally updated on the discussions of the Hurst Meadows Advisory Board that met immediately prior to this meeting, as documented below:
“HM19.5. Management Plan: After the update on work to date, as minuted under HM19.4, the board discussed how the current management plan is not suitable for trying to manage such a large area of land as a whole. It was agreed that a new, revised management plan is required in time for the spring. The view of the board was that in areas such as Buckwilly and Bellows Nose, due to the already nutrient leeched soil, the grass could be cut and arisings removed much more frequently to promote the growth of wildflower. The cost of this action to the larger fields is prohibitive with around £7,000 per cut just to dispose of arisings. In the larger fields it was discussed that the meadows would be broken down into areas or zones, and that each area will be managed in a different way to suit its strengths/weaknesses and objectives. Some of this could include letting areas develop into scrub, or only cutting on a 2-year rotation.
With the current infrequent meeting schedule of the Advisory Board, it was discussed that measures need to be put into place to enable much more responsive management of the meadows. A smaller working group was discussed, and it was agreed that once established, this group would develop the Management plan and implement works, circulating documents and feedback with the Board for input and information where possible – with full progress reports coming to quarterly meetings. The Chairman updated on budget restraints with only around £20,000 per year to manage the whole area, this furthers the need for selective management and volunteer support.”
The Committee agreed with this approach as a way forward.
FM19.4.4. Working Group: The Chairman updated on the need for a working group, comprised of Council and Advisory Board Members, to discuss and make management decisions on Hurst Meadows. This would allow the Parish Council to be much more responsive in the Management of the Meadows. The Committee agreed that a working group is comprised of the members listed, with the work carried out by this group being reported back to the Advisory Board at their quarterly meetings and to future meetings of this Committee. It is agreed that the members of this working group are:
Allan Brown Claire Majsai
Malcolm Llewellyn Georgina Judd
RESOLVED: The Committee approved the formation of an informal Hurst Meadows Management Working Group, comprised of the listed members.
FM19.4.5 Marchants Close Boardwalk: The Facilities Manager updated on the progress with the Boardwalk and that the Parish Office have now received the pre-app report from MSDC, including advice from the District Ecologists. The Parish Office have been informed that they would need to carry out a survey of the Fauna within the ancient woodland in the spring and submit this information with any subsequent planning application for it to be considered. It was noted that we are not able to progress this matter any further without a planning application being submitted. If Advisory Board members are not able to carry out the survey then it is proposed that PJC are approached to carry out this requirement, in line with the design of the boardwalk and the arboricultural method statement prepared. It was agreed that the Working Group would take the survey forward in the Spring, before coming back to Committee to approve the submission of a full planning application.
(REF: MSDC Planners Email 9 October 2019)
FM19.4.6 Hovel Field Planting: The Chair updated the Committee on the current position with the Hovel Field planting scheme. The former Clerk had been in contact with Bovis Homes who confirmed that in their mind they have passed on the planning condition requirements in regards to planting, with the transfer of land and s106 funds to the Parish Council.
It was noted that the Advisory Board approved the planting scheme, subject to replacing Ash and Crack Willow with more suitable species.
A Councillor noted that the scheme is not only for 40 plants, as this only covers the crescent, in fact there are 55 trees in total. The Committee heard the advice from the President of the Sussex Wildlife Trust, in that whips should be used instead of the 10-16cm trunk trees, as whips tend to establish much quicker and outperform between trees. It was also noted that the Facilities Manager has a meeting scheduled with a suitable contractor for 6th November.
(REF: BRIEFING NOTE Hovel Field planting plan 12 March 2019 ATTACHED)
RESOLVED: The Hovel Field Planting scheme is approved, subject to the Working Group deciding the exact species. The relevant costings will be circulated via email out of Committee for approval, to avoid delays.
FM19.4.7 Buckwilly Planting: The Chairman updated on the the planting of the Apple Orchard, trees and hedging that was planted in Buckwilly field during Spring 2019. It was noted that there is a requirement for some infill planting to increase the density of the hedge and to replace ‘lost’ whips. The Chairman also thanked Martin Sadler for all the work he has carried out to date and informed the Committee that he will be planting the final 12 fruit trees in the coming months. A quotation has been received from the original contractor to carry out the work, including extending the hedge planting at the southern and north western end of the Layton Fields Close development into the exiting hedgerows. The Wild garden within the Orchard will also be rotavated and seeded again, as this did not establish over the dry spell during spring/summer 2019.
The Committee were asked to approve the purchase of a bill of materials for Martin Sadler and also to award the contract for the infill planting to Greenscene Landscapes.
A Councillor noted that the Management Company for the development is strimming the full width between the fences and the hedge, and that they have also not replaced a dead tree removed from their land. The Facilities Manager agreed to speak with the Management Company to inform them of the planting works, remind them that the width of their land is 1.5m and to ask them to remove/move the signage they have installed to keep people away from their retained strip.
(Ref: Greenscene 21 October 2019; Greenscene email 21 October 2019)
RESOLVED: (1) The Committee awarded Greenscene Landscapes the contract for infill planting within Hurst Meadows Buckwilly Field for a total cost of £1,284.09 + VAT.
(2) The Committee authorised Greenscene Landscapes to supply a bill of goods to Martin Sadler for fruit tree planting, at a total cost of £207.88 + VAT.
FM194.8 Volunteer Support: The Chairman informed the Committee that Advisory Board Member Patrick Howarth had offered to act as volunteer coordinator for Hurst Meadows, which was agreed by the Advisory Board. Once tasks have been identified through development of the Management Plan, these activities will be publicised using the Parish Council noticeboards, newsletters, websites and social media. The Parish Council hope to tap into the pool of volunteers currently working with Millennium Gardens Trust.
FM19.4.9 Millennium Gardens: The Facilities Manager updated that he has been in contact with the Millennium Garden Trust to agree the tree safety works being carried out following the tree survey report commissioned by the Trust, and prior to the handover of the Gardens to the Parish Council. The Chairman updated that the Working Group and Advisory Board will now take into account maintenance and management works to the Millennium Gardens as part of the overall Hurst Meadows Management Plan being developed for 2020/21.
A Councillor expressed that Hurstpierpoint Village Society are keen to include Hurst Meadows and the Millennium Gardens in a Heritage Walk. It was requested that further detail be brought back to the Committee in due course.
5. Hurstpierpoint Village Centre
FM19.5.1 Income/expenditure 2019/20: The Facilities Manager updated the Committee on the current year income/expenditure for the Village Centre. The Chairman questioned the Sinking Fund and would like this to be separated out on the accounts to show separately from general reserves. It was noted that currently there is no dedicated ‘Sinking Fund’ account and that it is part of the general reserves, located across a number of deposit accounts.
(Ref: Summary VC Inc & Exp 2019-20 ATTACHED)
FM19.5.2 Trusteeship: The Committee were informed that the Parish Council were officially appointed as Sole trustee at the change of constitution 25th April 2019, as lodged with the Charities Commission. The Parish Council are required to hold one annual general meeting of the Village Centre Trustees, that is open to the public. This meeting must not be combined with any other matters and is to discuss the Village Centre only. It was agreed that the meeting for 2019/20 is held immediately prior to the meeting of the Council on 27th February 2020. Following on from this, it is proposed that the annual general meeting is held immediately prior to Council in June each year, with the main purpose of signing off the end of year accounts, preceding submission to the Charities commission before the end of December.
RESOLVED: The Committee agreed that the Village Centre AGM would be set for 27th February 2020.
FM19.5.3 Defibrillator: The Assistant Clerk briefed the Committee on an incident in the Trinity Road Carpark and that the Parish Council Office had been investigating the provision of defibrillators at both the Village Centre and Court Bushes Community Hub. The Committee noted the progress to date via the briefing note and a verbal update and agreed for a defibrillator to be purchased from Village Centre funds, to be located in a locked cabinet on an external wall.
A Councillor suggested that an employee of St Lawrence School is included on the training as it is their closest unit.
(Ref: Defibrillator Briefing Note 3rd October 2019 ATTACHED and Primary Care Quotation 4th July 2019)
RESOLVED: The Committee agreed to purchase of 1 defibrillator unit Inc. training for the Village Centre at £1,834.80, to be purchased using the Village Centre funds.
FM19.5.4 Fire Safety Works: The Facilities Manager updated on the progress regarding the Fire Safety Works carried out at the centre and that it was all now completed. Concern was raised over the new fire exit installed by the Library, in that it potentially prevents disabled users from exiting from the rear of the building – once discussed with the Fire Risk Assessor, this will be raised with WSCC. It was agreed that since it is now 2 years since the Fire Risk Assessment was carried out, a new survey can be commissioned with Coastline Fire Protection who have previously carried out work at the Village Centre and Court Bushes Community Hub.
The Committee also heard that during the 6-monthly service of the Fire Alarm and Emergency Lighting System at the Village Centre, a number of faults were found as detailed in the attached report. The Committee approved the repair/replacement of emergency lighting and the replacement of 21 smoke detectors.
(REF: Coastline Fire Protection 28 August 2019; Coastline Fire Protection 10th October 2019; MVG 21 October 2019)
RESOLVED: (1) The Committee awards Coastline Fire Protection the contract to carry out a full Fire Risk Assessment at Hurstpierpoint Village Centre for a total cost of £550.00.
(2) The Committee awards MVG Electrical Services the contract to replace the faulty Emergency Lighting units for a total cost of £1,395.00 with no VAT payable.
(3) The Committee awards Coastline Fire Protection the contract to replace all 21 aged smoke detector units for a total cost of £1029.00 + VAT.
FM19.5.5 Lighting: The Committee discussed the failure of 5 light banks in the Main Hall at the Village Centre which is causing the hall to be very gloomy in the evenings, especially as the nights are drawing in. The existing light units are not energy efficient and are costly when they go wrong. A local electrician quoted to replace the units with led fittings and based on an average use of 8 hours per day, 6 days per week – at £0.15KWh, the replacement cost would become neutral within 14 months. The Facilities Manager explained that the maximum lumen output of a led panel is 7000 lumens, which was less than the lights installed, although without diffusers, the electrician had advised that light output would be comparable. The electrician had also advised that the lights are too close to the wall so waste light through poor spread. The Committee asked the Facilities Manager to investigate the relocation of the lights to a more suitable location, with the possibility of adding additional or larger units. This would also be tested against another contractor. The Facilities Manager expressed concern over the time between meetings and it was agreed that this would be handled by circulation outside of Committee.
(Ref: MVG Electrical 21 October 2019 (2))
RESOLVED: The Committee did not award the contract for replacing all high-level light fittings in the Main Hall and will aim to handle this via circulation outside of Committee.
FM19.5.6 User Groups: The Committee noted and discussed the confidential briefing note.
(Ref: User Groups Briefing Note 17 October 2019 ATTACHED)
RESOLVED: The Committee asked that the Facilities Manager and the Clerk meet with a key user to define their use of the building in accordance with the Terms and Conditions of the Village Centre Hiring Agreement.
FM19.5.7 Parish Council Reimbursement: The Chairman updated the Committee on the current position with the charges the Parish Council make to the Village Centre Charity. It was noted that the current charge does not cover the resources used in running the centre and that the Charity are no longer paying a maintenance officer separately, as this is all handled by the Staff Team. A Councillor made the point that the Centre is now run as a Local Authority operation which attracts a different risk profile to a place run by volunteers, with much less unpaid support. When the Parish Council first took on the bookings for the Village Centre in November 2016, it was agreed that the Trust would be invoiced for £2,704 per year to cover 2.5 hours of staff time at £20.80 per hour. This amount was increased to £5,408 per year in May 2017, following a 6-month review. The amount charged has stayed the same for 2.5 years and following the handover of the Centre in April 2019, the Village Centre now takes up a considerable amount more Staff resource above the 5 hours, with a conservative estimate being around 12-15 hours per week. The Committee agreed that they support the motion that the Village Centre Charity are charged a fee in line with the time taken and therefore make a recommendation of the same to Finance and Governance Committee.
RECOMMENDATION: The Committee recommends that Finance and Governance Committee increases the amount charged to the Hurstpierpoint Village Centre Charity to £16,224 per annum, to cover Parish Council Staff resources used in direct connection with the Village Centre.
6. Court Bushes Community Hub
FM19.6.1 Income/expenditure 2019/20: The Committee noted the current income/expenditure against budget. A Councillor updated that the Small Business Rate Relief has now been swapped from South Avenue Cemetery to Court Bushes Community Hub, with the Facilities Manager confirming that the current year bill was £355.59. The Councillor also explained that MSDC had now made payment of £3,100 of the Revenue Grant which covers the first 6 months. The Parish Council will submit end of year accounts in April 2020 to receive the remaining £3,100 for the year. It was noted that with the updated rates liability, that there is headroom in the budget to support the spending identified elsewhere on the agenda. The Facilities Manager explained that the year to date income had now been separated into areas showing income for regular hirers and public in each area and also for storage, crockery hire and lock up fees. This detail will be available in all budget versions moving forward.
(Ref: Court Bushes Inc Exp 2019 20 v14 22 Oct 19 ATTACHED)
FM19.6.2 Acoustics: The Chairman detailed the issues to date around poor acoustics and that this has been brought up through many discussions of the Court Bushes Hub Committee and with users during the ad-hoc meeting. The Committee noted that the Facilities Manager had received 2 quotations for installing curtains and blinds throughout the Function Room and Club Lounge, along with a number of different options for acoustic panels to be installed. Some investigation has been carried out into the use of printed acoustic panels, but the logistics of getting good quality images and the costs involved are seen to be prohibitive. The Committee approved the installation of blinds and the purchase of acoustic panels up to a value of £1,500. The colour is to be decided by the Parish Office Staff, in plain and neutral colour. It was agreed that the funds to support this expenditure are taken from Revenue Expenditure in respect of Rates and re-allocated to CAPEX.
(Ref: Mr Trax 14th October 2019)
RESOLVED: (1) The Committee awards the contract for the installation of curtains and blinds to Mr Trax for a total cost of £2499.00 + VAT, with the colour being decided by the Parish Office.
(2) The Committee agrees the purchase of acoustic panels up to a value of £1,500 + VAT.
(3) The funds to support the expenditure are taken from Revenue Expenditure in respect of Rates and are re-allocated to CAPEX.
FM19.6.3 Storage: The Committee were asked to approve the purchase of 3 roll cages to be kept in the Function Room Store at Court Bushes Community Hub. It was agreed that the cages will be offered to key hirers to store equipment for a monthly charge of £8, as per the resolution made at Court Bushes Hub Committee 1st October 2019:
“CB19/027.4 RESOLVED: The Committee agreed a monthly charge of £8 per roll cage and that the Facilities Manager would bring costings for the Parish Council to purchase the cages at a subsequent meeting.”
It is proposed that the funds to support this expenditure are taken from Revenue Expenditure in respect of Rates and re-allocated to CAPEX.
The Committee were also informed that quotations had been received for the purchase of 2 x 20ft storage containers to be painted in ‘Parish Council Green’, with insulation, ply lining and lighting. The total cost of supply and delivery is £7414 + VAT, with additional costs running into the thousands being required to get power from the building to the containers and providing a base/support for the containers.
(Ref: Abis 10th October 2019)
RESOLVED: The Committee approved the purchase of 3 roll cages from Abis, for a total cost of £442.74 + VAT.
FM19.6.4 Hurst Colts Container: A Councillor updated that along with the Facilities Manager, they had met with an Officer of MSDC 24th October 2019 and had agreed that the container could stay on site. It was also agreed that some of the funds earmarked for its relocation were to be redirected to help with unforeseen costs at Court Bushes Community Hub, once some of the money had been used by MSDC to fund a solution to the Club Lounge ramped access. Once a solution is implemented, the Parish Council should receive around £2,000 from MSDC. The Committee discussed the Hurst Colts use of the site and it decided that clear boundaries must be put in place, with a nominal charge of £20 pcm being charged for the siting of the container within the Community Hub Carpark. The Facilities Manager and a Councillor were scheduling a meeting with the Colts within the next fortnight.
RESOLVED: The Committee agreed a charge of £20 pcm towards the facility running costs, for keeping the Hurst Colts container within the carpark.
FM19.6.5 Property Management: The Facilities Manager updated that all the snagging was now complete at the building, with the exception of the Club Lounge Velux control panel. A Councillor updated that a decking solution was being implemented to the entire western end of the building to provide level access from the track to all 3 doors. The construction shall be from composite materials, improving the lifecycle and maintenance liability and safety of the decked area. Once a site visit has been conducted by MSDC Building Control on 6th November and the decking has been constructed, then the building will be fully signed of by Building control. The Committee heard that the signage had now been installed at the junction with Willow Way, the main gates and at each entrance to the building. Also the mosaic had been fixed on the wall and the bollard lights were due to be installed on 22nd November 2019.
FM19.6.6 CCTV: The Committee noted that following the installation of a new Network Video Recorder, the CCTV was still not working due to the unit being incompatible with the cameras. The Facilities Manager updated that the cameras had now been replaced 24th October 2019 for a cost of £163.00 + VAT each, with 2 being required. This cost was picked up by the contractor and the Committee declined to contribute to the costs.
7. Other Matters
FM19.7.1 South Avenue Recreation Ground:
FM19.7.2 South Avenue Cemetery: The Committee were informed that following Finance and Governance Committee 10th October 2019, a contract has been let to improve the Garden of Rest area and the old spoil heap that will now be used as a space for future grave plots. The works are due to take place over the Autumn. The Committee also heard that the contract for the Cemetery Wall repairs had been awarded, which should commence over the winter months, following a meeting between the Clerk, Facilities Manager and the contractor 30th October 2019.
FM19.7.3 Reeds Lane Recreation Ground: The Committee noted that following Finance and Governance Committee 10th October 2019, the Committee agreed the scheme proposed by Sovereign Playgrounds, subject to identifying the s106 funds and SCVS approving the design. A Councillor updated that they had attended meeting had taken place with Sovereign Playgrounds, Assistant Clerk and another Councillor who also represents the Sayers Common Village Society. The scheme was agreed by all, with a revised costing being submitted by the company to include measures to prevent strimmer damage to the wooden equipment.
FM19.7.4 Chantry Stables: The Committee noted that 25th September 2019 the Parish Office were alerted to the fact that the roof was leaking to the Chantry Stables lean-to out building. On inspection it was found that the lead flashing had been stolen from the roof. The Maintenance Officer repaired this using adhesive and flash banding and that the repair was thought to be sufficient for the longer term – this will be monitored by the Maintenance Officer.
FM19.7.5 Village Garden: The Committee discussed the planting on the Village Green and that the planting of Geraniums had caused some complaints from residents feeling a little underwhelmed. The Chair of Community Engagement Committee and the Facilities Manager held a meeting with the contractor 3rd October 2019, who had in turn submitted a proposal for a revised planting scheme with raised ‘fountain planters’. It was noted that Community Engagement Committee are currently reviewing their budget and will discuss the scheme at their meeting 14th November 2019.
FM19.7.6 St Georges Green:
FM19.7.7 Bus Shelters: It was noted that the new bus shelter and waste bin on London Road in Sayers Common has been agreed by Finance & General Purposes Committee and is scheduled for installation 13th December 2019.
FM19.7.8 Allotments: The Committee were updated that following Finance and Governance Committee 10th October 2019, the hosepipe ban at the allotments was lifted and the Committee agreed to install 1-way valves to the supply. A further review into the addition of more standpipes will be undertaken by the Assistant Clerk, with an update being brought in due course.
FM19.7.9 Public Toilets:
FM19.8. Terms & Conditions for the Village Centre and Court Bushes Community Hub: The Committee discussed the terms and conditions that have been prepared to create parity between both of the Parish Council Community Buildings. The Committee approved the Terms and Conditions for use, subject to amending the wording for safeguarding including a positive reply box for the same and clarifying that users must be packed away and vacated by the end of their session time.
(Ref: New Thank you for Booking Form, New Terms & Conditions. New Friday & Saturday Night Agreement ATTACHED)
RESOLVED: The Committee APPROVES the new Terms and Conditions for the Village Centre and Court Bushes Community Hub, subject to amendments listed.
FM19.9. Election of a Vice Chairman: The Committee were asked to agree and appoint a Vice-Chairman to the Estates & Facilities Management Committee. A Councillor proposed Malcolm Llewellyn, with another Councillor seconding the motion.
RESOLVED: Malcolm Llewellyn is appointed as Vice-Chairman of the Estates & Facilities Management Committee.
FM19.10. Out of Committee Approval: The Committee agreed that the Chairman and Vice-Chairman have authority to approve expenditure out of Committee where required, within the allocated project budgets, to maintain momentum with projects and support the Parish Council’s operation of its land and assets. Any such expenditure will be reported at subsequent meetings of the Committee.
RESOLVED: The Committee agreed that the Chairman and Vice Chairman are authorised to approve out of Committee spending where necessary, within the allocated project budgets, with any such expenditure being reported back to the Committee at the next meeting.
There being no other business the meeting closed at 9:58pm