MINUTES OF THE STRATEGIC POLICY AND RESOURCES PANEL held on Thursday 15 April 2021 at 3pm via Microsoft Teams Video Conferencing
Cllrs John Lowman (Chair), Allan Brown, Claire Majsai, Martin Machan & Malcolm Llewellyn. Also in attendance: Sarah Groom, Clerk to the Council
1. Apologies for Absence: Apologies were received from Cllr Tony Lank.
2. Declarations of interest: There were no declarations of interest.
3. Minutes of the Previous Meeting of the Strategic Policy & Resources Panel: The minutes of the meeting of 13 October 2020 were agreed as a true record of the meeting. The minutes will be signed by the Chair at the next available opportunity.
4. Local Government Boundary Commission Review of Mid Sussex: The Panel noted the request from Council of 22 February 2021 (Minute C20/21.107), to consider the review being undertaken into the size of Mid Sussex District Council (MSDC), undertaken approximately every twenty years. The consultation period invites comments by 31 May 2021.
The Chair and Cllr Llewellyn introduced the review undertaken by MSDC itself which concluded they could reduce the number of councillors from 54 to 48 from 2022. The Boundary Commission was minded to support the proposal but welcomed ideas to help them draw up a pattern of wards to accommodate 48 councillors. The Panel was keen to submit information on the interests and identities of the local community noting the requirement for each councillor to represent roughly the same number of electors.
The parish is currently part of the MSDC’s “Hurstpierpoint and Downs” ward which includes Newtimber, Pyecombe, Poynings and Fulking, a total population of 7,430 (mid 2009).
The information on the interests and identities of the local community would be complied and include consideration of shops, schools, health care, social activities (including libraries, sport and faith groups), village halls, community centres and transport links. The natural and built features will also be observed. The Commission are projecting forward to 2027 and have asked that plans take account of imminent changes such as new housing developments or new road.
Initial observations on built features included i) the increasing influence of Burgess Hill on the development of the northern arc in the north east corner of the parish and the Jane Murray Way western distributor road ii) the creation of a dual carriageway on the A2300 in the north of the parish iii) the A23 through the middle of the parish and iv) the potential future development of Mayfields Market Town to the west of Sayers Common.
The Panel agreed to draft a response to recommend to Council on 29 April 2021 (as May’s annual council meeting is a very busy agenda). The draft response to the Local Government Boundary Review of Mid Sussex District Council will be finalised via email.
ACTION: The Clerk would:
i. Draft a response and circulate it for comments to the Panel with a deadline of 22 April, so that it can be circulated with the Council papers for 29 April 2021;
ii. Recommend to Council a submission by the deadline of 31 May 2021.
5. Matters for information or inclusion on next agenda:
Fundraising and Grants Policy: Cllr Majsai explained that the history of the fundraising and grant policy item was initiated by a Court Bushes Advisory Group meeting when the issue of raising funds to develop Court Bushes was being discussed. Further to recent discussions at the Community Engagement Committee, it was felt that a revised policy was now needed such as defining terminology and clarifying expectations e.g. with the St Lawrence Fair, Hurst Festival and Youth Club. Two separate policies may be required for i) grants issued by the Parish Council and ii) Fundraising by the Parish Council for it’s own purposes.
Environmental Policy: The ownership of this Policy was discussed as it currently sits in the terms of reference for the Planning & Environment Committee. Cllr Machan explained the P&E Committee was too busy with Planning Applications to oversee this Policy. Cllr Majsai was taking the lead on the Policy with support from Helen Valler. Feedback has been received following articles in the Hurst Life Magazine, and the Annual Parish Meeting on 18 May is structured around a discussion on helping to produce the strategic objectives and a realistic action plan for the Policy. A draft Policy can be presented to this Panel in the Autumn as it will take a few months to pull together. The Panel can then recommend its adopted by Council.
6. Date of Next Meeting
The date of the next meeting is to be confirmed as required.