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Hurstpierpoint & Sayers Common
Parish Council

MINUTES of the Meeting of the FINANCE, GOVERNANCE & ESTATES COMMITTEE held at 7.30pm on Thursday 15 June 2023 in Sayers Common Village Hall.

Members present: Duncan Ranger (Chair) Rodney Jackson (Vice-Chair) David Evans  Malcolm Llewellyn Claire Majsai  

Also present: Sarah Groom, Clerk to the Council and Responsible Finance Officer and Stephen Witchell, Estates & Facilities Manager.

F23/24.012: Apologies for absence:  Apologies for absence were received form Cllr John Lowman, who will be formally appointed to the Committee at the next Council meeting.

F23/24.013: Declarations of interest: There were no declarations of interest.

F23/24.014: Previous Minutes: The minutes of the Finance, Governance & Estates Committee meeting on 25 May 2023 were received and accepted by the Committee and signed by the Chair, and it was:

RESOLVED:  That the Committee AGREED the minutes of the Finance, Governance & Estates Committee meeting on 25 May 2023.

F23/24.015 Adjournment for questions from the public: There were no members of the public present. 

F23/24.016 Parish Council Financial Monitoring for Month 2 (May 2023): The Committee noted:

  • Payments of £54,558.55 (EX VAT).  This included the payment for the Court Bushes car park tarmacking and lining but did not included May salaries.
  • Receipts of £26,348.48 (VAT N/A). This included the Section 106 receipt from MSDC for the Court Bushes car park tarmacking and lining.
  • Bank Reconciliations.  These were signed by Cllr Jackson.
  • Balance Sheet.  
  • Nominal Ledger.
  • Income and Expenditure. 
  • The funds held in CCLA shares on 31 May 2023 of £101,618.66.
  • The deposits and investments accounts on 31 May 2023 were as follows:
Financial InstitutionAccount TypeMaturity Date
Unity TrustCurrent AccountN/A
Unity TrustSavings AccountN/A
Nationwide95 Day Savings Account95 Days notice
Cambridge & Counties BS1 Year Fixed Term Bond22/06/2023
Cambridge & Counties BS1 Year Fixed Term Bond28/11/2023
United Trust Bank1 Year Fixed Term19/12/2023
Redwood Bank1 Year Fixed Term17/02/2024
  • The Committee considered the Cambridge & Counties 1 Year Fixed Term Bond that expires on 22 June 2023, and it was:

RESOLVEDThat the Committee AGREED:

  1. the Parish Council financial monitoring for Month 2 (May 2023);
  2. to reinvest £50,000 with the Cambridge & Counties 1 Year Fixed Term Bond (Issue 61) offering a 4.25% interest rate and the interest earned to be paid into the Unity Trust Bank current account.

F23/24.017 Village Centre Financial Monitoring for Month 2 (April 2023): The Committee noted:

  • Payments of £1,271.70 (VAT N/A).
  • Receipts of £13,781.90 (VAT N/A).  £10,668.65 was paid to the Village Centre by Shawbrook Bank in error and repaid the next day.
  • Bank Reconciliations.  These were signed by Cllr Jackson.
  • Balance Sheet.
  • Income and Expenditure.
  • Deposits and investments accounts held on 31 May 2023:
Financial InstitutionAccount TypeMaturity Date
CAF BankCAF Cash Current AccountN/A
CAF BankCAF Gold AccountN/A
Shawbrook Bank60 Days Notice60 Days Notice
  • Following the Trustees decision on 23 March 2023, to transfer the £65,000 balance from the Shawbrook Bank 60 Day Notice Account into the CAF Gold Account (via the CAF Cash Account) the letter giving notice on the account was sent on 31 March 2023, and it was:

RESOLVED:  That the Committee AGREED the Village Centre financial monitoring for Month 2 (May 2023).

F23/24.018: Parish Action Plan:  The Committee reviewed the:

  1. the Finance & Governance Action Plan:

The Committee noted the item to create a Sharepoint folder as discussed below and agreed not to recommend it to Council as a policy for adoption, as it was purely an improvement in our working practices, and it was:

  1. the Estates & Facilities Action Plan:

The Estates & Facilities Manager gave updates on the new notice boards for Hurst Meadows which will be installed in-house when ground conditions are more favourable.  Section 106 funds are covering the costs of the noticeboards purchase.  The new vehicle gate to Hovel Field South and the new pedestrian gate to Ladies Walk will be installed on 26 June 2023.  Cllr Majsai advised the Committee that the Lost Woods Project for the Wilderness and Tilley’s Copse has a new Project Manager so the project will be re-launched.   Cllr Evans enquired about bird life in the woods and Cllr Majsai explained there were no formal surveys but Skylarks and a Kestrel have been seen in Edgerly Meadow and 15 Acre Field.  Regular bird walks are held and a good selection of birds are spotted.

RESOLVED:  That the Committee AGREED the Action Plans for 2023/2024, as amended.

F23/24.019: Sharepoint:  The Committee considered recommending a policy to Council for approval, for Councillors to have access to Sharepoint folders and files in Office 365, to make access to Council documents more professional and efficient.  The Committee agreed that this improvement in working practices did not require Council approval and could be rolled out by the office under the existing Microsoft Business Basic Licence. The office would establish consistent naming conventions for the title of read-only documents.  The documents would include agendas, minutes, budgets, policies and photos in the first instance.  Cllr Llewellyn also advised the Committee that a new email signature format would be provided to Councillors shortly, and it was:

RESOLVED:  That the Committee AGREED to create a Sharepoint Folder for Councillors to access certain read only documents.

F23/24.020: To note any further information items, correspondence received or requests.

F23/24.020.1: Estates & Facilities Update Report: The Committee noted the Estates & Facilities Manager’s update report.  Areas highlighted included:

  • Strimming around the whips in Hovel field will be undertaken.  Watering will include the saplings in Buckwilly.
  • All the Hurst Meadows Tree Work has been completed except one veteran oak that is being monitored for now.  Sequencing of the tree survey and works will be looked at again in three years.  The Estates & Facilities Manager and Maintenance Officer attended a LANTRA Tree Course at Plumpton College and will use the knowledge learnt in practice.
  • Data is being gathered to assist the consultant before the MSDC Energy Audit is carried out in the Village Centre.
  • MSDC are reviewing their approach to community engagement alongside the mobilisation of their new green space management contract, once agreed they will be in contact about the Green Circle Steering group meeting.
  • Chapel door repairs are required as the right hand side door is rotten at the base.  Two quotes have been requested from local carpenters, including Stephen Bull who carried out the windowsill repairs.  A hard wood will be used.
  • We have finally had a plumber view the public toilets and they will be providing a quote shortly.  Quotes are also being sort for the flush on the Pitt Lane toilets and for the urinals sensors at the Village Centre.
  • The Public Right of Way is to be cut on Friday 16th June with apologies received from Contractor for the delay.
  • A contact for the Bramble Park Management Company (Gateway PLC) has been contacted, so the bins in the play area should be resolved shortly.  Enquiries have also been made about the ditches and culverts.
  • The first quote for repairs to Chantry Stables as per the Building Survey report, have been received.  The block paving works quote came back excessively expensive so other options will be looked at.  Other companies have been chased up for a response.
  • Quotes have been received for window cleaning at the Village centre and Court Bushes.
  • Quotes for cleaning the gutters at all the Parish maintained buildings will be sought as well.

F23/24.020.2: Albourne Road Overgrown Vegetation:  Cllr Evans reported overgrown vegetation on the Albourne Road near The Grange and this will be report to WSCC.

F23/24.020.3: Bullfinch Lane Dog Bin:  Cllr Evans enquired after the request for an additional dog waste bin on Bullfinch Lane.  The Estates & Facilities Manager had requested one but MSDC were not adding new bins to their waste collection contract at present.  Cllr Llewellyn said there was also a request for a dog waste bin on the route from Kemps to Sayers Common.  The bin audit will be completed as soon as possible and all sites will be assessed.

There being no other business, the Chair closed the meeting at 9.10pm.