MINUTES of the meeting of the Estates & Facilities Management Committee held at 8:00pm on Thursday 5th March 2020 at the Village Centre, Hurstpierpoint.
Committee Members Present
Stephen Hand Rodney Jackson
Malcolm Llewellyn – Chairman Claire Majsai
Nick Sinclair – Facilities Manager (Clerk)
3 Members of the public.
FM.19.20. Apologies for Absence and Declarations of Interest: The Committee received apologies for absence from Cllr Brown, Cllr Lowman, Cllr Sampson and Cllr Evans prior to the meeting. There were no declarations of interest.
FM.19.21. Minutes of the meeting of the Estate & Facilities Management 30th January 2020 and the Court Bushes Advisory Group 29th January 2020: The Committee considered the draft minutes and noted the following errors with the Estate & Facilities Management Committee Minutes from 30th January 2020:
- The date of the meeting was recorded incorrectly – as being Tuesday 29th January 2020.
- The venue was recorded incorrectly – as being held at Hurstpierpoint Village Centre.
The Facilities Manager amended the minutes by hand, which were then approved by the Committee and signed by the Chairman.
These Minutes will be published as showing the correct information regarding the meeting taking place on Thursday 30th January 2020 at Court Bushes Community Hub.
(REF: MINUTES Estate & Facilities Management 30th January 2020 and MINUTES Court Bushes Advisory Group 29th January 2020 ATTACHED)
FM.19.22. Adjournment for questions from the public: The Committee adjourned the Meeting in accordance with Standing Orders, in order to receive questions from members of the public. 2 members of the public spoke to thank the Parish Council for the work they have done on Hurst Meadows Buckwilly Field, to extend the hedgerow planting and to erect temporary barriers to prevent people creating unofficial footpaths across the field.
FM.19.23. Hurst Meadows
FM.19.23.1 Progress Report: The Facilities Manager and the Chairman updated the Committee on the progress within Hurst Meadows as per the Progress Report. The Chairman went on to explain that at the final meeting of the Millennium Garden Trust 3rd March 2020, it was agreed that a ¼ share of £2,500 would be donated to Hurst Society, who will be topping up the funds to plant a number of trees within Hurst Meadows, Subject to the agreement of the Parish Council.
It was noted that a tree had fallen from Ladies Walk, into Fifteen Acres and that it had been partially cleared by UK Power Networks due to the adjacent power lines.
(Ref: Hurst Meadows Progress Report 27 February 2020 ATTACHED)
FM.19.23.2 Income/expenditure to date: The Committee noted the income/expenditure to date, with the Chairman and Facilities Manager explaining that the Parish Council had now received the final transfer of s106 monies from the Developer which, due to inflation, now totalled £248,974.91.
The Chairman updated on the advice received, that the Parish Council should investigate the Countryside Stewardship scheme, although the application process is thought to be onerous.
(Ref: Hurst Meadows inc exp ATTACHED)
FM.19.23.3 Management Plan: The Committee discussed that the Management Plan was being developed by the Working Group and that they are meeting 18th March 2020 to make further arrangements. The Management Plan will be referred to the Advisory Board and Management Committee in due Course.
FM.19.23.4. Meetings with MSDC and Bovis: The Chairman detailed the recent meetings with MSDC Planning Department, Drainage Engineers and representatives of Bovis Homes 24th February 2020, 2nd March 2020 and 3rd March 2020, mainly related to drainage issues around the new development at Bramble Park and the subsequent actions proposed by the Drainage Engineer.
MSDC Planning Case Officer has agreed that the planning requirements to fence the 15m buffer zone between the woodland and the north-south footpath through the development will be enforced. This also includes managing the buffer as a graduated extension of the woodland with planting and natural seeding of native species.
A proposal for the boardwalk from the development through Tilleys Copse and into the Public Footpath to the south of Fairfield Recreation Ground would be designed out of composite materials and pegged out on the ground. Once the Parish Council and MSDC agree on the specification then a planning application will be submitted to MSDC along with the specification for the drainage in this area.
MSDC Drainage Engineer will work with Bovis to agree the specification of the proposed ditch and culvert work to the eastern side of the development to take the runoff from Edgerley Meadow and Little Edgerley since the original ditch was filled in. The Engineer also agreed to write to ditch owners to advise of the required clearance works once ownership is proved.
The Chairman and the Facilities Manager informed the Committee of the large amount of bagged dog waste that has been thrown into the woodland either side of the Iden Hurst access road. The Committee agreed that the Clerk and Chairman should obtain costings to install a litter bin and a dog waste bin at this location, with the collection being added to the Councils private contractor collection. This shall be considered with the Chairman and Clerk out of Committee.
FM.19.23.5. Latchetts Lane: The Facilities Manager explained that following the resolution made under minute FM.19.14.5 of the Estate & Facilities Management Committee 30th January 2020, that a quote had been received from the contractor awarded the works to install a path across Hovel Field, to address the drainage issues between the vehicle gates on Latchetts Lane.
The Committee agreed that due to the value, this expense could be delegated to the Clerk and Chairman once they are satisfied that they have strived to obtain 2 further quotations.
FM.19.23.6. Signage: Cllr Jackson declared a personal interest in matters relating to the woodland. The Committee discussed the proposed signage designs for around the woodland and agreed that the wording should be revised. Some text could be removed, in order emphasise the hazards in a larger font. The Committee agreed to the expenditure, subject to the Facilities Manager revising the wording and circulating to the Committee for agreement.
RESOLVED: The Committee AGREED to install up to 7 signs around the perimeter of The Wilderness for a total cost of £910.00 + VAT. Additional required materials such as timber posts, postcrete and screws are also AGREED up to a value not exceeding £150 + VAT. The signs will be installed at areas where trespassers have already broken through to access the woodland.
FM.19.23.7 Seating: The Committee heard an email that had been sent to the Facilities Manager by a member of the public. The email requested to site a memorial bench within the Millennium Gardens, in memory of their daughter. The Committee discussed the request and agreed that the Facilities Manager should investigate moving the eastern Monday Group plank style bench from Millennium Gardens and into Fifteen Acres. The plank bench can then be replaced with a carved wooden bench with an inscription. Designs and costings would be agreed with the resident and brought back to the Committee in due course.
FM.19.24. Hurstpierpoint Village Centre
FM.19.24.1 Income/expenditure 2019/20: The Committee noted the current year income against expenditure. The Facilities Manager updated on the significant in year expenditure to address regulatory and compliance issues such as fire safety and emergency lighting requirements. The Chairman requested that the Parish Office establish what expenditure should be allocated against the sinking fund and what is allocated as operating costs so that it can be correctly accounted for at year end.
(Ref: Village Centre Inc Exp 2019 20 and Village Centre Budget 2019 20 ATTACHED)
FM.19.24.2 Hand Sanitizer: The Committee heard that following Finance and Governance Committee meeting 13th February 2020, the Chairman had authorised 4x Deb Cutan hand sanitizer units to be purchased with 8x 1l sanitizer cartridges. These have been installed within the Main entrance foyer, Parish Office, Club Suite Foyer and adjacent to the Club Suite side entrance to the Village Centre. The total cost of this was £57.40 + VAT.
FM.19.24.3 Defibrillator: The Committee noted that a successful training session took place for 12 people with links to the Village Centre on Monday 24th February 2020. With the unit now installed and registered with the Ambulance service back in December, the device is fully operational should an emergency occur.
FM.19.24.4 User Groups: The Committee noted the schedule of activities at Hurstpierpoint Village Centre for March 2020.
(Ref: Village Centre Programme of activities ATTACHED)
FM.19.25. Court Bushes Community Hub
FM.19.25.1 Income/expenditure 2019/20: The Chairman explained the position with current year projections in regard to Income and Expenditure. The income figures should be consistent with the budget, but unforeseen costs are still increasing the expenditure beyond the budget allocation. In due course the accounts will be submitted to MSDC for payment of the next 6-month allocation of the revenue grant at £3,100.
(Ref: Court Bushes Inc Exp 2019 20 ATTACHED)
FM.19.25.2 Acoustics: The Committee were aware that all 17 acoustic panels have been installed within the building and the Chairman of Council was able to update that the acoustics seemed much improved at meeting held at the building 3rd March 2020.
The Chairman of Council also noted that the lighting was poor within the Function Room and that once budgets allow; we should improve the lighting. The Chairman explained that the plan was to install a further 2 rows of spotlights as soon as possible, once the final budget position for the year is known. Costings will be sought and brought back to Committee in due course.
FM.19.25.3 Drainage issues: The Chairman updated on the site meeting they attended along with the Facilities Manager and the quoting contractor to agree the specification for the work and the 2 subsequent quotes that have been received to deliver the revised spec. It is thought that 25sqm is not enough to fully discharge the water from this area and address the failing wearing surface at the junction between the entrance road and the carpark. An increased area of 50 sqm would allow a better fall away from the ramped area, into the carpark and towards the stream, tying into existing tarmacked areas and also prevent the development of further potholes in this area. As expenditure of £2,340 has already been agreed, it was requested that an additional £2,360 + VAT be approved for the surfacing, with a contingency of up to £2,500 to address any works to adjust levels following a laser level survey. This expenditure exceed the budget allocation for Court Bushes Community Hub, so the funds are proposed to come from a reduction in the sinking fund contribution, to be balanced where possible from any underspend elsewhere within the budget at year end.
(Ref: VG Builders 26 February 2020)
RESOLVED: (1) The Committee AGREED the revised specification for the Tarmac repairs and AGREED the expenditure of £4,700 + VAT.
(2) The Committee AGREED a contingency allocation of up to £2,500 to address issues arising from a laser level survey. This can only be spent with agreement on the final specification between Clerk and Chairman.
(2) Due to the reduced sinking fund, the Committee AGREED that any underspend elsewhere within the budget is re-directed to the Sinking Fund at year end to reduce the potential shortfall.
FM.19.25.4 Property Management: The Facilities Manager updated that MSDC have now repaired the faulty emergency lighting at Court Bushes Community Hub and addressed a number of modifications required by Building Control. Unfortunately, following a meeting with MSDC Building Control 27th February 2020, the building was still not signed off due to a number of small issues not being resolved by MSDC and the original contractor. 28th February 2020, the contractor was back on site to address the minor issues, but some items seem to be falling between MSDC and the contractor where expenditure is required. The main items outstanding are:
- The emergency battery back up panels for the fire shutters are not performing consistently with each other, with one not being fitted in a suitable location. The original installer says they will fit the panel correctly but only once it is agreed to replace the faulty unit as it is not under warranty. The Parish Council are challenging this with MSDC.
- The Contractor must prove that they used adequate damp proofing to the Nursery and Kitchen Steps.
- The emergency lighting is on permanently 24/7. The contractor has given a price of £150 to address this, with the Parish Council referring this back to MSDC.
- The control for the immersion thermostat is located in the loft space within the Bar Store Area. This means it is not accessible to the user and give poor management ability in terms of energy efficiency.
It was noted that contractors on the behalf of MSDC, carried out the required clearance to the north of the building on 11th and 12th February 2020, with the help of the Parish Council Maintenance Officer. In due course this area can now be cleared and seeded/turfed to achieve a tidier site with easier maintenance, as well as being a useful space for hirers of the building.
Openreach attended site 19th December 2020 and the WiFi and phoneline are now active at Court Bushes for both the Parish Council and the Nursery on separate lines.
An electrician has attended site and changed a fused spur in the Nursery and repaired some faulty wiring to the Function Room dishwasher, they will return in due course to replace the Office PIR light sensor – in agreement with the Chairman.
FM.19.25.5 CCTV: The Committee were informed that the installation of 2 additional CCTV cameras to the north and south elevations of the Court Bushes Community Hub Building was completed 4th March 2020. The entire perimeter of the building is now visible. The effectiveness of the cameras has been proved following some damage to the Nursey Post box in early February. The damage was in sight of the camera and a clear identification of the culprits was made. The Committee agreed to the purchase of 6 CCTV signs on the Councils trade card for a total cost of £19.14 + VAT – with the proposed expenditure coming from 8005 for general expenditure.
RESOLVED: The Committee AGREED to the purchase of 6x 210 by 148mm CCTV signs for a total cost of £19.14 + VAT
FM.19.25.6 User Groups: The Committee noted the schedule of activities at Court Bushes Community Hub for March 2020.
(Ref: Court Bushes Schedule of Activities February 2020 ATTACHED)
FM.19.25.7 Defibrillator: The Committee were informed that the Defibrillator for Court Bushes Community Hub has now been delivered to the Parish Office. A further expenditure of £150 was agreed to install the unit, with this expense coming from the money that the Facilities Manager negotiated off of the purchase price due to the issue of the aborted training session at the Village Centre. The total cost of the defibrillator and training was £1,274 + VAT.
RESOLVED: The Committee AGREED to install the defibrillator on the exterior wall adjacent to the Main Entrance at Court Bushes Community Hub for a total cost not exceeding £250 + VAT.
FM.19.25.8 Outside Taps: The Committee was informed that the prices received of £695 were excessive and that more competitive pricing is being sought. This expenditure will be agreed with the Chairman and Vice-Chairman in due course.
FM.19.25.9 Ash Trees: The Chairman updated the Committee that following the works agreed at the last meeting of the Estates and Facilities Management Committee 30th January 2020, to remove the two diseased Ash trees at Court Bushes Community Hub, the Facilities Manager had obtained another quotation from an alternative contractor. In agreement with the Chairman, the contract was instead awarded to J. Wilson Tree Care for £600 with no VAT payable.
FM.19.25.10 Hand Sanitizer The Committee heard that following Finance and Governance Committee meeting 13th February 2020, the Chairman had authorised 2x Deb Cutan hand sanitizer units to be purchased with 4x 1l sanitizer cartridges. These have now been installed within the Main entrance foyer and adjacent to the Club Lounge entrance at the Court Bushes Community Hub. The total cost of this was £37.70 + VAT.
FM.19.25.11 Speed limit signage The Committee noted some recent anti social driving in the Court Bushes Carpark, that could have cause a severe accident if any member of the public had been coming around the blind corner from the Nursey at this time. The Committee agreed the installation of 3x 5mph speed limit signs within the site, at the south east corner of the building when approaching down the track, on the western edge of the bin store and at the main entrance gates. These will be purchased on the Parish Council trade card under 8005 for general expenditure.
RESLOVED: The Committee AGREED to the purchase of 3x 450 by 450mm 5 mph speed limit signs for a total cost of £50.97 + VAT
FM.19.26. Other Matters
FM.19.26.1 South Avenue Recreation Ground: The Committee received an update that tree works originally scheduled for 27th and 28th February have been postponed due to the wet weather and possibility of damage to the Recreation Ground. The works have been scheduled for a date in April but will only go ahead subject to an Ecologists survey of nesting birds in the relevant trees. A number of trees have been lost on the recreation ground over the last few years, owing to leaf mining moths and disease. In due course a scheme will be costed to replace the lost trees on South Avenue with semi-mature disease resistant species, as close in species to the lost trees as can be achieved. Once some details are available this will be brought back to the Committee.
FM.19.26.2 South Avenue Cemetery: The Committee noted that the Cemetery wall and fencing is now complete. The standard of work is thought to be high and the work has made a vast improvement to this area of the cemetery.
FM.19.26.3 Reeds Lane Recreation Ground: The Facilities Manager updated that following the meeting of Community Engagement Committee 6th February 2020, the Estates & Facilities Management Committee have been asked to look into drainage issues at Reeds Lane recreation ground. Contact has been made with the MSDC Parks and Landscapes department who are experienced in managing drainage projects of this nature. MSDC Drainage Engineer has also been sent the plans of the play equipment and the layout of the recreation ground, to advise on possible drainage schemes. It is thought that the initial steps would be to obtain a quotation to clear the series of failed ditches that run across the northern and southern boundaries of the recreation ground. The next step after this would be to agree what surface should be used for the play equipment e.g will it remain grassed or replaced with a bound rubberised bark material, similar to South Avenue playground. Depending on what final surface material is to be used, this will determine what drainage solution is required. Proposals will be obtained and prepared to submit to MSDC once s106 funds are available from Kingsland Laines. Cllr Majsai requested that a piece of specialist disabled use play equipment be included in the design.
FM.19.26.4 Chantry Stables: Nothing was reported.
FM.19.26.5 Village Garden: Nothing was reported.
FM.19.26.6 St Georges Green: At a recent walk through the area, Working Group members discussed the specification of repairs to the St Georges Green Path where it runs from Millennium Gardens to the gate onto St Georges Lane. The Contractor who was present has submitted price to reinstate this footpath, to include some repairs to the eroded surface at the top of St Georges Green Steps. The work will build up the level of the path and include provision to divert surface water away from the path and steps.
RESOLVED: The Committee AGREED to resurfacing the section of footpath where Millennium Gardens meets St Georges Green and at the top of St Georges Green Steps for a total cost of £1,200.00 + VAT.
FM.19.26.7 Bus Shelters: The Committee heard that the Bus Shelter on London Road in Sayers Common has been installed and that the Parish Office have received positive feedback from residents. The invoices have been submitted to MSDC for release of s106 funds.
FM.19.26.8 Allotments: The Committee discussed the proposed documents used in regards to the Allotment tenancy agreements, Protocol and Terms & Conditions. The current documents used for the Albourne Road Allotments are out of date and are in need of revision. The Chairman of the Council raised their concern that clause 8 of the Protocol was allowing excessive exposure to the Council for things beyond their control. The Parish Office will re-draft this Clause alongside the Chairman of Council, if needed with the consultation of the Parish Councils Solicitors.
(Ref: Briefing Note for new Allotment Documents 4.2.2020, Allotment Protocol between HPPSC & HAA 4.2.2020, Allotment Rules and Regulations on Erection of Sheds, Greenhouses and Other Structures 4.2.2020,and NEW Tenancy Agreement 4.2.2020 ATTACHED)
FM.19.26.9 Public Toilets: Nothing was reported.
FM.19.26.10 Noticeboards: Nothing was reported.
FM.19.26.11 Streetlights: The Facilities Manager confirmed that following the works awarded at the last meeting of the Estates and Facilities Management Committee 30th January 2020, the Parish Council Office is awaiting a date for the contractor to complete the repairs.
FM.19.27. Utilities: The Facilities Manager updated that they have commenced a procurement exercise to rationalise the Parish Council’s energy contracts. Currently the Parish Council holds electricity contracts across 4 different suppliers and have a contract with 1 gas supplier. All 6 fresh water supplies are handled by Castle Water, with the 3 wastewater contracts being handled by Business Stream. Castle Water also handle the waste as well as the fresh water for 1 contract.
A price has been obtained directly by Total Gas and Power who currently supply 3 of the Councils properties, but the savings were disappointing. A tender of 3 prices had been received from 1 energy consultant, with further prices awaited from at least 1 more consultant who is experienced in working with Local Councils and unmetered supplies such as streetlights. The costs of the Energy Consultants are paid within the unit charges, directly from the supplier.
The Facilities Manager also passed water bills to a Water Consultant on a no obligation basis, although if the Parish Council proceed with their recommendations then they charge 50% of savings for 3 years, which is thought to be excessive. The Consultant has confirmed that the Parish Council are being charged correctly and that there were no suggestions for cost savings. The Facilities Manager has approached Castle Water directly and obtained a price for them to take on the waste for all properties, to bring all water bills under 1 supplier. This will be brought to the Committee formally on 2nd April 2020, once a recommendation is made regarding the utilities.
The Chairman closed the meeting at 9:50pm.