Grounds & Environment Committee

Agenda

HASSOCKS PARISH COUNCIL

To:      All Members of the Grounds & Environment Committee (Kate Bailey, Jane Baker, David Bunting, Kristian Berggreen, Leslie Campbell, Frances Gaudencio, Bill Hatton, Sue Hatton, Alex Simmons and Ian Weir) with copies to all other Councillors for information.

cc. Richard Higgs


A meeting of the GROUNDS AND ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE will be held on Wednesday 7 September 2022 at 7.30pm in the Parish Centre, Adastra Park, Hassocks.

Parish Clerk  – 30 August 2022

1. TO ACCEPT APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE.

2. TO ACCEPT DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST.

3. MINUTES. To accept the Minutes of the Grounds and Environment Meeting held on 6 July 2022. (Previously Circulated)

4. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

5. OFFICER’S REPORT (Appendix 1)

6. PARKLANDS ALLOTMENT. Members are invited to consider the introduction of an allotment deposit scheme at Parklands Allotments. (Appendix 2)

7. MEMORIAL BENCH POLICY. Members are invited to review the Memorial Bench Protocol. (Appendix 3)

8. TREE WARDEN. Members are invited to consider the future of the role of a Tree Warden. (Appendix 4)

9. STREET TREE SCHEME. Members are invited to note changes in the administration of the Street Tree Scheme and to consider the future organisation of this scheme. (Appendix 5)

10. WINTER/SPRING PLANTING. Members are invited to consider the implementation of a Winter Planting Scheme in the planters on Orion Parade and at the entrance of Adastra Park. (Appendix 6)

11. TALBOT FIELD. (Appendix 7) Members are invited to:

11.1 Note a report from the Woodland Flora and Fauna Group.

11.2 Consider the planting of a replacement tree.

11.3 Approve the purchase and planting of further wildflower plug plants.

12. PARKLANDS COPSE. Members are invited to approve the Lost Woods Project Agreement. (Appendix 8)

13. ADASTRA PARK MASTERPLAN. Verbal Update.

14. HASSOCKS MAY CELEBRATION. Members are requested in principle to approve a request from Michelle Binks for a May Day Event to be held in both the North and South Fields of Adastra Park on Monday 1 May 2023 subject to the same terms and conditions as previously applied. It is hoped that the event could be expanded and both fields may be required to enable this. If approved, Members are invited to agree to waive any hire charges for this community event as for previous May Day events. Any Councillors who would like to volunteer to assist with running the event would be very welcome.

15. FLOOD ACTION GROUP. Verbal Update

16. PUBLIC RIGHTS OF WAY (PROW). Verbal update Cllrs Ian Weir and Leslie Campbell. Cinder Track report.

17. URGENT MATTERS at the discretion of the Chairman for noting and/or inclusion on a future agenda.

18. DATE OF NEXT MEETING. Wednesday 19 October 2022 at 7.30pm 

Please Note:
All members of the public are welcome to attend meetings of the Parish Council and its Committees. Item 4 – a period of 15 minutes will be set aside for the public statements and questions relating to the published non-confidential business of the Meeting.
It may be necessary to consider particular items in confidential session and where this arises, these items will be considered at the end of the agenda.

FILMING, RECORDING OF COUNCIL MEETINGS AND USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA. During this meeting members of the public may film or record the Committee and officers from the public area only, providing it does not disrupt the meeting. The Confidential section of the meeting may not be filmed or recorded. If a member of the public objects to being recorded, the person(s) filming must stop doing so until that member of the public has finished speaking. The use of social media is permitted but members of the public are requested to switch their mobile devices to silent for the duration of the meeting.

 Appendix 1

HASSOCKS PARISH COUNCIL

To: Grounds & Environment Committee – Date: 7 September 2022

Contacts for this report: Deputy Clerk   Subject: Agenda Item 5 – OFFICER’S REPORT


1. The purpose of this report is to update the Committee on (G&E) Matters.

2. ADASTRA PARK.

2.1 ICE CREAM VAN.  Unfortunately, the Ice Cream Van owner has decided not to continue trading in the park. She was on site on a handful of occasions, however felt that in order to build up trade she would need to be present regularly for several hours at a time which she was not able to do. The trader also felt that the middle car park was too hidden and therefore did not attract enough business even with a board. The operator also noticed a number of park users were purchasing ice creams from the village due to the close proximity to the park.

There was some trade, however overall the proposition was just not right for this particular business.

2.2 ADASTRA PAVILION.  The showers in the pavilion have increasingly deteriorated to a point where the push buttons do not work consistently and the shower heads have become blocked and cannot be cleaned effectively due to the erosion of the fixings. Furthermore the mixing valves are outdated and do not allow for a safe level of hot and cold water. One set of showers has now had to be taken out of use for safety reasons. Therefore quotes have been sought to address the issues and a contractor has been appointed to carry out the necessary repairs at a total cost of £1644.39 plus VAT.  The cost will be met within existing budgets.

2.3 ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR.  There have been some incidents of anti-social behaviour in the park, mainly in the vicinity of the skatepark and Garden of Remembrance. This has included youths attempting to light fires, graffiti and verbal abuse towards adults who have intervened.  All incidents have been reported to the Police and a regular Police presence has been requested on every occasion, however such a presence remains irregular and often fleeting due to limited resources.

2.4 ORCHARD LANE REPAIRS. A number of pot holes have appeared and sections of the road are deteriorating therefore remedial repairs will be required to be undertaken, it is anticipated these works will cost circa £1,400 (net) and will be met from existing Repairs budgets.

3. FLORAL DISPLAYS. The contractor has been able to continue watering baskets despite the temporary use ban on hosepipes as he is providing a commercial service. The floral displays have therefore continued to remain in good health despite the hot weather and continue to brighten up the high street.  Most businesses have continued to water the baskets and an email was sent out at the beginning of August informing the traders that the contractor would be happy to water any baskets during staff holiday periods if requested to do so.  Traders were also asked to let the contractor know if they did not feel able to continue with the commitment to water the baskets and would prefer to have them removed, rather than leave them to die.

4. STREET TREES. There have been several complaints regarding the recent fibre installation work being undertaken around the village, particularly with reference to the Church Mead area. In order to install the cabling in this area it appears that the contractors had to dig deep trenches across paths and grass verges, potentially damaging the street tree roots.  WSCC Highways department is aware of the concerns and has been liaising with the contractors responsible.  The Hassocks Street Tree representative has been informed of the concerns and will endeavour to monitor the condition of the trees in that locality.  Any concerns will be reported to WSCC who will follow this up with the contractors.

5. GARDEN OF REMEMBRANCE. Work has been carried out on the Garden of Remembrance to lower hedge(s) between the 2 gardens and lift various trees to open the garden up more. The Monday Group are going to make 2 3 seater benches with backs which will be installed in the far end of the garden to provide seating with shade.   The cost for the materials for these benches will be in the region of £570 and will be funded from the Ear Marked Reserve Allocation for improvements to the Garden of Remembrance.

Appendix 2

HASSOCKS PARISH COUNCIL

To: Grounds & Environment Committee – Date: 7 September 2022

Contacts for this report: Deputy Clerk  Subject: Agenda Item 6  – ALLOTMENT DEPOSIT


1. The purpose of this report is to invite Members to consider a request for the implementation of a refundable deposit scheme for all allotment holders, and to approve a change in allotment tenancy agreement to include this policy.

2. Tenants who are giving up their allotment plots are given a four week notice period and in that time are asked to:

The Tenant must give up possession and use of the allotment garden at the end of the tenancy in a state suitable for re-letting, removing any personal property items or rubbish from the plot. If any items are left on the plot, the outgoing Tenant may be charged for their removal. (Tenancy Agreement point 15.)

3. Unfortunately in several cases the plots are not left in a suitable condition to be re let and the Council or Hassocks Allotment Holders Association (HAHA) have to undertake work to correct this, as best they can given the resources available. Unfortunately, the Council does not currently always have the resources to ensure plots are at the level it would like to see prior to re-letting.

4. It appears that increasingly other local authorities are implementing a scheme whereby prospective tenants are required to pay a deposit at the time of taking on the tenancy on the understanding that this will be returned at the end of that tenancy, subject to certain requirements being met. This provides a greater incentive for tenants to ensure the plot is left ready to be re let, whilst also providing the council with the funds to cover the additional cost should any clearance work be required.

5. The implementation of a deposit scheme would enable plots to be let in a more acceptable condition and therefore support the expectations from the Council that new, and existing, plot holders ensure plots are maintained to a good standard.

New Tenants.  It is proposed that a deposit of £50 be charged per plot; a photo will be taken on letting the plot and shared with the tenant.  Tenants are then required to ensure that their plot is in at least the same condition at the end of the tenancy in order to have the deposit returned.  Any allotment keys would also need to be returned.

Existing Tenants.  Existing tenants who are continuing with their tenancy from 1 October 2022 would be informed of the change in the Allotment Agreement and be given one year’s notice of this change.  As from the 1 October 2023, any existing tenants who wish to renew their tenancy would then be required to pay a deposit of £50 along with their annual rent.  Again a photograph of their plot would be taken at this point.  All existing tenants will have the option of giving up their tenancy at the end of September 2023 if they do not wish to accept the change in the agreement.

Hassocks Allotment Holders Association Committee members have been informed of this proposal.

6. OFFICER RECOMMENDATION. Members are invited to approve the implementation of a £50 refundable deposit scheme as part of the Parklands Allotments Tenancy Agreement as described above. To be implemented from 1 October 2022, for all new allotment tenants and 2023 for existing tenants.

Appendix 3

HASSOCKS PARISH COUNCIL

To: Grounds & Environment Committee – Date:  7 September 2022

Contacts for this report: Deputy Clerk Subject: Agenda Item 7 – Memorial Bench Protocol


1. The purpose of this report is to invite Members to review the Memorial Bench Protocol.

2. The Parish Council has a Memorial Bench Protocol which was approved at the G&E Committee meeting held on 30 June 2016, and has been reviewed on numerous occasions. The purpose of the protocol was to provide a clear operational procedure for the installation of Memorial benches in Adastra Park. The Policy allows for a specific design of bench with a brass plaque to be purchased by the Parish Council and installed in a location agreed by the Parish Clerk in consultation with those requesting the bench.   A donation of £650 was requested towards the bench and installation.

3. The protocol was created due to a historic variation in the design and quality of the memorial benches previously installed in the park with no consistency, particularly with regard to quality. The bench currently used is supplied by Alexander Rose.

4. Due to an increase in costs in supply and installation, an alternative supplier has been sought for a less expensive bench which would enable the bench donation amount to remain the same. A recommended supplier has been contacted and can supply a similar bench to that currently used at a lower cost. The bench is of a very similar design and suitable for use in public spaces.

5. OFFICER RECOMMENDATION. Members are therefore requested to consider the following matters:

5.1 To approve the change of supplier of the bench used for Memorial Benches in Adastra Park to address the increase in prices, and to enable the donation amount requested to remain at £650 per bench.

5.2 To consider delegating to the Clerk as an operational matter any further changes in supplier or design of bench which are necessary due to difficulties with supply or increasing costs.  In consultation with the Chair of the Council and the Chair of Grounds and Environment Committee.

Appendix 4

HASSOCKS PARISH COUNCIL

To:      Grounds & Environment Committee – Date: 7 September 2022

Contacts for this report: Deputy Clerk  Subject: Agenda Item 8 – Tree Warden


1. The purpose of this report is to inform Members that the current Tree Warden, David Brown, has given notice of his intention to retire from his role towards the end of this year, and to invite Members to consider the future role of a Tree Warden.

2. Tree Warden. David Brown has been a volunteer Tree Warden for Hassocks Parish Council for almost 20 years, and in that time has provided much valued advice to the G&E Committee on the management of trees on land owned by Hassocks Parish Council, to the Planning Committee on Tree Planning Applications and was also very instrumental in the initial transformation of Talbot Field from a relatively unmanaged recreation area to a natural wildlife area; including co-ordinating the planting of many new trees.  David has also supported various tree planting initiatives over the years and the Council is extremely grateful to David for his ongoing support, advice and assistance.

At its most recent meeting, the Planning Committee was invited to consider the future of the role of the Tree Warden in terms of supporting this particular committee and the following was agreed:

‘that whilst the advice from a Tree Warden has provided a useful and greatly appreciated additional level of information to the Planning Committee, given the changes which have taken place over time much of the role can now be met by Committee Members directly’ (Min ref P22/52).

3. OFFICER RECOMMENDATION. Given that the original role of the Tree Warden has changed significantly since it was first introduced by the Council, the Grounds and Environment Committee is therefore invited to consider:

i. If the role of a volunteer Tree Warden is still appropriate for Hassocks Parish Council.

ii. If so, what the role should involve.

Appendix 5

HASSOCKS PARISH COUNCIL

To: Grounds & Environment Committee – Date: 7 September 2022

Contacts for this report: Deputy Clerk  Subject: Agenda Item 9 – Street Tree Planting


1. The purpose of this report is to inform Members that Steve Richards, who manages the Hassocks Tree Group has indicated that he wishes to step down from his role at the end of the year and to invite Members to consider the future management of the Street Tree Scheme.

2. The Hassocks Tree Group was established in 2008 and Steve Richards was part of the initial Hassocks Tree Group along with Phil Mead, Penny Wadsworth and Judith Foot. The group hoped to promote the development of a tree planting scheme in the village, as part of the Village Design Statement and worked with Hassocks Parish Council to support and manage the very successful Tree Planting Scheme. Since this scheme was established, in the region of 400 trees have been planted in verges around the village funded by the Parish Council with support from community organisations including Hassocks Community Organisation and individual donations. This scheme has been primarily organised and managed by the Tree Group and Hassocks Parish Council extends its sincere thanks to all of the past members of the Hassocks Tree Group, for their involvement in this very popular scheme and indeed to Steve who has managed the planting single-handedly over the past few years.

3. West Sussex County Council (WSCC) has changed the administration and organisation of the scheme over the past twelve months and this, alongside Steve’s decision to retire, requires the Council to review the management and aims of the scheme. Almost every eligible street in Hassocks has now been targeted by the scheme and over the past year, the focus has changed from the focus being on specific roads to offering planting to all residents who would like a tree. This has worked well, and residents from across the village have responded to the open invitation; most being new residents with some requests for replacement trees for those that have died.

4. In the past the Tree group would collate a list of residents who had registered an interest, discuss the preferred species and requirements for having a tree, and then would liaise in person with the designated WSCC Arboriculturalist for Hassocks. However the scheme has now become more automated and all tree orders need to be entered online via the Parish Office. We are very grateful that Steve has continued to liaise with interested residents and collate the list in the first instance, with the list then being passed to the office to progress the order.  Residents now also have the option of ordering and funding their own tree directly with WSCC.

Information on the WSCC Donate a Tree Scheme can be found here – https://www.westsussex.gov.uk/roads-and-travel/maintaining-roads-verges-and-pavements/verge-maintenance/donate-a-tree-scheme/

5. OFFICER RECOMMENDATION. As the scheme has changed recently and is new to all involved, it is suggested that for the forthcoming year, the Parish Council Office manages the scheme in-house and that this is reviewed in August 2023. Member’s views are sought.

Appendix 6

HASSOCKS PARISH COUNCIL

To: Grounds & Environment Committee – Date: 7 September 2022

Contacts for this report: Deputy Clerk  Subject: Agenda Item 10 – Winter/Spring Planting


1. The purpose of this report is to invite Members to consider the addition of winter planting in the 6 planters on Orion Parade and the new Jubilee Planter at the entrance of Adastra Park.

2. Previously the original four planters on Orion Parade have only been planted up during the summer, however this year these have been refurbished and with the addition of the two new Jubilee Planters these could be used to enhance the high street by providing all year round colour.

3. A quote has been sought from the contractor who has provided the floral displays this year and is as follows:

  • Timescale of the project: Mid October (when the current Summer Bedding is removed – Mid May (just before the new Summer Bedding needs to be planted for 2023).
  • The planters will be planted with Red Riding Hood Tulips and Tete a Tete Daffodils (both miniature varieties ideal for planters).

A good mixture of Winter Flowering Pansies and trailing variegated leaf Ivy will also be planted.

The best colours of Pansies that generally perform well in colder periods are Yellow, Blue & Purple.

All plants will flower well in Autumn, however in the depth of Winter the colour will subside a little, as soon as we get a little warmth in early Spring, will flower well again.

  • The cost to supply and plant the planters would be £460.00 plus vat (Including Labour, Compost & all Plants).
  • The cost to maintain and water the planters, when required would be £480.00 plus vat.

4. There are insufficient funds in the Floral Displays budget to cover the £940 cost of this scheme and therefore if Members were in support of the proposal, a request would need to be taken to Full Council for the release of additional funding from General Reserves.

5. OFFICER’S RECOMMENDATION. Members are recommended to:

i. Approve the winter/spring planting scheme in the six planters on Orion Parade and the planter at the entrance of Adastra Park as proposed above.

ii. Approve the recommendation to Full Council for the release of £940 to fund a winter/spring planting scheme.

Appendix 7

HASSOCKS PARISH COUNCIL

To: Grounds & Environment Committee – Date: 7 September 2022

Contacts for this report: Deputy Clerk  Subject: Agenda Item 11– TALBOT FIELD

The purpose of this report is to update Members on Talbot Field, to invite Members to consider the planting of a replacement tree following the recent felling of a large Oak Tree due to disease and to approve the purchase of further wildflower plug plants.

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1. THE WOODLAND FLORA AND FAUNA GROUP REPORT. The Woodland Flora and Fauna Group (WFFG) have continued their much appreciated work in Talbot Field over the year.

Over the year a key task is brush clearance across the site.  The clearance allows woodland flowers to flourish in the spring and keeps the meadow in the best condition for the wildflowers to flourish in summer.  Brush clearance adjacent to the perimeter hedgerows and fences out to controls its spread into the meadow and addresses the concerns of neighbouring properties who resent it spreading into their gardens. It also allowed the perimeter bluebells and other wildflowers to grow freely without being smothered.

Another clearance task was to collect and cut up all the fallen winter debris from trees and stack it in piles under the trees to provide habitat for indigenous wildlife.

The group also undertook the removal of emerging ragwort plants which spreads so freely and has reputation of deadliness to grazing animals. This year was a bumper year for ragwort due to favourable growing conditions and required a later return visit to remove the clearance of a second flush of growth. After this effort, the meadow was left undisturbed for the meadow flowers to flourish.

Several years ago, Hassocks Parish Council, who we have always found to be an enthusiastic supporter of the natural environment, purchased some wildflowers for us to plant to enrich the meadow. Last year several packets of wildflower seeds were additionally sown by our group in the spoil heaps of the very vigorous mole population and have grown. A number of foxgloves and other wildflower plugs from our own group nursery garden were also planted last year and watered throughout the summer. The rewarding results of these efforts were seen this year with patches of ox-eye daisies, mallow, ribwort plantain, knapweed, vetches, cow slips and several other species providing colour amongst the meadow grass. The increased insect activity witnessed around these species clusters was evident.

The only planting this year was a small beech tree donated by a parish resident which has been watered weekly during the recent hot spell.

The bird nest boxes mounted in the tree formations on the site have provided homes again to the local population of nuthatches, great tits and bluetits.

The bat boxes have produced a regular colony for bats of various species to a remarkable degree for the size of the woodland area. Each year in the late summer we inspect them and record occupancy and always find that virtually every box has either resident bats in them or evidence from droppings that they are highly used. Last year quite a stir was created amongst bat groups and enthusiasts following our discovery of many ‘restricted and rare’ Bechstein’s bats in a number of the boxes.

With the woodland being so continuously attractive to bats for colonisation, we strive to keep it in its current pristine condition to continue this high box occupancy. We therefore are nervous when unavoidable external factors force change on the woodland structure and its existing formation, as with the unavoidable removal of several trees that were undermining a neighbouring property to the south last year and the large roadside oak tree detected to be unsafe to the north earlier this year which had to be felled.

Our late summer checks this year should indicate whether these losses have impacted usage by our local bat populations. We are hopeful that they haven’t and that a replacement for the tree to the north, indicated as a possibility by the Parish Council, materialises.

The area is a valuable oasis for nature in a diminishing natural environment and we are extremely grateful to Hassocks Parish Council for the support they give us in our effort to increase its value still further.

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2. REPLACEMENT TREE. It has been recommended that a new tree is planted in place of the recently felled tree. The WFFG would select the most suitable site for planting and plant the tree.   The following species is suggested:

  • Wild Service Tree (sorbus torminalis). This is an ancient woodland indicator species native to England, which is one of the most attractive of our few native trees and now comparatively rare.

2a. The Parish Office has been contacted by a representative of the local U3A group to enquire about planting a tree in memory of a former U3A member who has sadly passed away recently.  It was suggested that they might like to consider funding the replacement tree in Talbot Field which was well received as the lady concerned was also a supporter of the Woodland Flora and Fauna Group.  This proposal has also been supported by the Woodland Flora and Fauna Group.  The tree would also be recognised with a plaque to be provided by the U3A subject to the approval of the Clerk and the WFFG.

The donation offered by the group would purchase a 150-175cm tall tree with the necessary support package.

A larger tree with a 10-12cm girth plus the necessary tree support package would cost in the region of £346 plus VAT,

Both trees would be suitable, however as a replacement to the felled tree, the larger tree would have a better start given that it would be surrounded by other well established trees.

2b. OFFICER RECOMMENDATION. Members are therefore invited to consider the following options:

i. To approve the donation of a 150-175cm Wild Service Tree to be planted in place of the felled tree.

OR

ii. To approve the donation of a 150-175cm Wild Service Tree to be planted in the meadow in a suitable location as advised by the WFFG and

To approve the purchase of a 10-12cm girth Wild Service Tree at a cost of £350 plus Vat inc del to be planted in place of the felled tree.  Expenditure to be taken from the Talbot Field Tree Maintenance Budget.

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3. WILDFLOWER PLUGS. Further to the WFFG report, Members are invited to consider a request for the purchase of further wildflower plugs to be planted in the meadow by the WFFG.  It is suggested that a tray of 150 Ox Eye Daisy plugs are purchased at a cost of £113.00 inc VAT.

3a. OFFICER RECOMMENDATION.  Members are invited to approve the purchase of 150 Ox Eye Daisy Plug at a cost of £94.17 plus VAT to be funded from the Talbot Field Tree Maintenance Budget.

Appendix 8

HASSOCKS PARISH COUNCIL

To: Grounds & Environment Committee – Date: 7 September 2022

Contacts for this report: Deputy Clerk  Subject: Agenda Item 12 – PARKLANDS COPSE


1. The purpose of this report is to update Members on Parklands Copse and the Lost Woods Project.

2. Further to the G&E meeting held on 3 February 2022, the Council has agreed in principle to participate in the Lost Woods Project. Following this, an Ancient Woodlands Restoration Survey has been carried out which has identified the threats to the woodland in Parklands Copse and necessary intervention to manage these threats. (Distributed to Committee Members as a background paper.)

3. At the time of writing, a Landowner Works Agreement is being drawn up by the Woodland Trust which will identify the elements of the Restoration Survey fundable through the Lost Woods Project. The agreement will be shared as a background paper for Members to review before the meeting, and it is anticipated that further information will be provided at the meeting.

4. OFFICER RECOMMENDATION.

i. Members are invited to review the Landowner Works Agreement and raise any questions in advance of the meeting where possible.

ii. Once the Works Agreement has been reviewed, if Members are in agreement with the works proposed and the terms of the agreement Members are invited to approve the signing of the Agreement by the Clerk/ Deputy Clerk on behalf of the Parish Council.

Minutes

HASSOCKS PARISH COUNCIL

Draft Minutes of the meeting of the GROUNDS AND ENVIRONMENT Committee held on  Wednesday 7 September 2022 at 7.30pm in the Parish Centre, Adastra Park, Hassocks

Attendees: Councillors Jane Baker, Kate Bailey (from item 10) Kristian Berggreen, Leslie Campbell, David Bunting, Frances Gaudencio, Bill Hatton, Sue Hatton, Alex Simmons and Ian Weir

In attendance: Ian Cumberworth – Parish Clerk.  Tracy Forte – Deputy Clerk.

GE22/24 APOLOGIES. Apologies were received from Cllr Frances Gaudencio.

GE22/25 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST. There were no declarations of interest.

GE22/26 MINUTES. It was RESOLVED that, the minutes of the Grounds & Environment meeting held on 6 July 2022 be signed by the Chair as a true and accurate record of the meeting.

GE22/27 PUBLIC PARTICIPATION. There were no members of the public present.

GE22/28 OFFICER REPORT. Members noted the Officer’s report.

GE22/29. PARKLANDS ALLOTMENT.  Members were invited to consider a request for the implementation of a refundable deposit scheme for all allotment holders and to approve a change in allotment tenancy agreement to include this policy.

The scheme will require tenants to pay a refundable deposit of £50; a photo will be taken on letting the plot and shared with the tenant.  Tenants are then required to ensure that their plot is in at least the same condition at the end of the tenancy in order to have the deposit returned.  Any allotment keys would also need to be returned. It is proposed that this would be implemented from 1 October 2022, for all new allotment tenants and 1 October 2023 for existing tenants.  Members offered their full support to the scheme.

GE22/29.1 It was RESOLVED that a refundable deposit scheme would be implemented commencing on 1 October 2022 for all new allotment tenants and 1 October 2023 for existing tenants.  The deposit amount is to be set at £50.  Members approved a change in allotment tenancy agreement to include the deposit scheme in the policy as presented above.

GE22/30 MEMORIAL BENCH POLICY.  Members were invited to review the Memorial Bench Protocol.  Due to an increase in costs in supply and installation, an alternative supplier has been sought for a less expensive bench which would allow the bench donation amount to remain unchanged at £650.  A new supplier had been identified who could supply a bench of a very similar design to that currently used which is suitable for use in public spaces.

GE22/30.1 It was RESOLVED to approve the changing of supplier for Memorial benches in Adastra Park to address an increase in prices, and that the donation amount would therefore remain at £650 per bench.

GE22/30.2 It was RESOLVED to delegate to the Clerk as an operational matter any further changes in supplier or design of bench which are necessary due to difficulties with supply or increasing costs. Any change would be in consultation with the Chair of the Council and the Chair of Grounds and Environment Committee.

GE22/31. TREE WARDEN. Members were informed that the current Tree Warden, David Brown, has given notice of his intention to retire from his role towards the end of this year.  David has been a volunteer Tree Warden for Hassocks for twenty years.  Members were all very appreciative of David’s commitment and support over the years in his role and it was proposed that he should be nominated for a Mid Sussex Applauds Award for his services.  Members were also very keen to recognise David’s longstanding service and contribution formally when his role comes to an end.

GE22/31.1 It was RESOLVED that David Brown should be nominated for a Mid Sussex Applauds Award for his services.

Members were invited to consider the future role of a Tree Warden within Hassocks PC.  It was noted that that the original role of the Tree Warden has changed significantly since it was first introduced by the Council many years ago, as has the operational management of the Council.  Members were also advised that the Planning Committee had been invited to consider the future of the role of the Tree Warden at a previous committee meeting in terms of supporting Planning and that the Committee had agreed:

‘that whilst the advice from a Tree Warden has provided a useful and greatly appreciated additional level of information to the Planning Committee, given the changes which have taken place over time much of the role can now be met by Committee Members directly’. (Min ref P22/52)

After some discussion it was agreed that the G&E Committee concurred with the Planning Committee and:

GE22/31.2 It was RESOLVED that the Council would refrain from recruiting a new Tree Warden for the current time but that this would be reviewed in the future as appropriate.

GE22/32 STREET TREE SCHEME.  Members were invited to note that Steve Richards, of the Hassocks Tree Group has indicated that he wishes to step down from his role at the end of the year and were invited to consider the future management of the Street Tree Scheme. Members noted the success of the Tree Planting Scheme and were appreciative of the involvement of the Hassocks Tree Group in supporting this scheme.  Members were informed that the administration of the scheme by West Sussex County Council had changed for 2022 which required an increased involvement of the Parish Office.  It was proposed that as the scheme has changed recently and is new to all involved, the Parish Council Office would manage the scheme in-house for the 2023 Tree Planting and that this is reviewed in August/September 2023.

It was confirmed that the structure of the scheme would not change and that any resident who wished to have a tree planted under the scheme funded by the Parish Council would still be able to do so, subject to funding being agreed for the 2023/2024 budget.  The change would be in the administration only; the Parish Council would promote this scheme and that any interested residents would need to contact the Parish Office directly.  It was also noted that requests for replacement trees could be included in these requests.

The Chair informed Members that any reports of dead street trees should be directed to Hassocks Parish Office for reporting to West Sussex County Council.

GE22/32.1 It was RESOLVED that the Street Tree Planting Scheme would be managed by the Parish Office for 2023.

Cllr Kate Bailey joined the meeting.

GE22/33 WINTER/SPRING PLANTING. Members were invited to consider the implementation of a Winter Planting Scheme in the planters on Orion Parade and at the entrance of Adastra Park.  The total cost of this scheme including supply, planting and maintenance would be £940 plus VAT, and would be undertaken by the contractor who currently manages the summer floral displays on behalf of the Council.  Such a scheme has not been budgeted for, however Members were in agreement that it would enhance the village High Street and welcomed the proposal to provide all year round colour.  Members fully supported the proposal and:

GE22/33.1 It was RESOLVED to approve the recommendation to Full Council for the release of £940 to fund a winter/spring planting scheme in the six planters on Orion Parade and the planter at the entrance of Adastra Park.

GE22/34 TALBOT FIELD.

GE22/34.1 Members noted a report from the Woodland Flora and Fauna Group (WFFG) on its work in Talbot Field over recent months.  Members were very appreciative of the efforts of the group and greatly welcomed the improvements to Talbot Field as a wildlife habitat.

GE 22/34.2 REPLACEMENT TREE Members noted that it has been recommended that a new tree is planted in place of the recently felled tree.  Advice had been sought from The WFFG regarding the species of tree and it was suggested that a: Wild Service Tree (sorbus torminalis) should be planted. This is an ancient woodland indicator species native to England, which is one of the most attractive of our few native trees and now comparatively rare.

Members were also informed that the local U3A group had enquired about planting a tree in memory of a former U3A member who has sadly passed away recently, and therefore it had been suggested that the group could purchase a replacement tree as referenced above.

Two sizes of tree had been sourced for planting; a 150-175cm tall tree which could be purchased within the budget of the donation offered by the U3A or a larger tree with a 10-12cm girth plus the necessary tree support package which would cost in the region of £346 plus VAT.  Members were informed that both trees would be suitable, however because the proposed location is surrounded by other well established trees, the larger tree would have a better chance of thriving.

Members were invited to consider the following options:

  1. To approve the donation of a 150-175cm Wild Service Tree to be planted in place of the felled tree

Or

  1. To approve the donation of a 150-175cm Wild Service Tree to be planted in the meadow in a suitable location as advised by the WFFG and

To approve the purchase of a 10-12cm girth Wild Service Tree at a cost of £350 plus Vat inc del to be planted in place of the felled tree.  Expenditure to be taken from the Talbot Field Tree Maintenance Budget.

GE22/34.3 It was RESOLVED to approve the donation of a 150-175cm Wild Service Tree to be planted in the meadow in a suitable location as advised by the WFFG and

To approve the purchase of a 10-12cm girth Wild Service Tree at a cost of £350 plus Vat inc del to be planted in place of the felled tree.  Expenditure to be taken from the Talbot Field Tree Maintenance Budget.

GE22/34.4 WILDFLOWER PLANTING. Further to the WFFG report, Members were invited to consider a request for the purchase of further wildflower plugs to be planted in the meadow by the WFFG.

GE22/34.5 It was RESOLVED to approve the purchase of 150 Ox Eye Daisy Plug at a cost of £94.17 plus VAT to be funded from the Talbot Field Tree Maintenance Budget.

GE22/35 PARKLANDS COPSE. Members were invited to consider an Ancient Woodlands Restoration Survey which was carried out on behalf of The Woodland Trust as part of The Lost Woods Project.  The survey which had been distributed to Members as a background paper and had identified threats to the woodland in Parklands Copse and necessary interventions to manage these threats.

Members were then invited to review the Lost Woods Project Agreement (shared as a background paper) which identified the elements of the Restoration Survey fundable through the Lost Woods Project and to agree whether to approve the signing of the Agreement by the Clerk/ Deputy Clerk on behalf of the Parish Council.

Members attention had been drawn to the Agreed Work as set out in the Agreement as follows:

  1. Monitor Selective felling of ash trees with significant dieback would be prudent. Some stems could be left to decline naturally or be monolithed where safe to do so. Leave deadwood as habitat.
  2. Zone could be divided into smaller blocks and small-scale coppicing of the willow, alder and hazel undertaken – would open up canopy in targeted areas to benefit wildflowers, increase structural diversity, manage varied light levels and prolong stool lifespan.
  3. Installation of leaky woody dams and /or bolstering of the existing ones with new woody debris.

It was confirmed that the works proposed would be covered and managed by the Lost Woods Project in consultation with the Parish as appropriate.

Members were in full agreement that the project would be of great benefit to the Parklands Copse woodland and:

GE22/35.1 RESOLVED to approve the terms of the agreement and to approve the signing of the Agreement by the Clerk/ Deputy Clerk on behalf of the Parish Council.

GE22/36 ADASTRA PARK MASTERPLAN.  The Clerk provided a verbal update to the Committee.

GE22.36.1 TENNIS COURTS. The Clerk informed Members that he had recently met with the Lawn Tennis Association to confirm arrangements on how the proposed contract for improvements will operate.

It was hoped that their designated contractor would have been able to attend site and draw up a detailed specification and costing for the park – unfortunately this has not happened yet.

One cause for the national scheme stalling is that the LTA are required to run decisions regularly past the Department of Media, Culture & Sport which has slowed down the roll out process.

It was hoped that the project would commence on site this September /October however this is now increasingly unlikely due to the delays. It is likely to be Spring 23 at the earliest due to anticipated change in ground conditions & leaf fall which would impact on the ability to lay macadam on the courts.

If this is the case, the way the scheme is being administered by the LTA would mean that our project would be programmed in for early Spring subject to contractor capacity.

There is a risk that any delay may result in increased costs due to the current trajectory of inflation but this will only be known once a detailed priced specification has been received.

A preliminary meeting has also been held with the Adastra Tennis Club and further meetings will be scheduled with potential users once it becomes clearer with regard timeframes of any installation. One of the primary focuses of the meeting was to ensure the removal of the shed at short notice if required was viable.

Earlier this week some draft Terms & Conditions were received by the Clerk for the funding from the LTA.  The Clerk reported that he is currently seeking further clarification on these. However on the basis these are draft and not finalised, it is likely to result in further delays to the scheme being rolled out nationally.

GE22.36.2 PLAY EQUIPMENT.  The Parish Council currently holds contract retention funds which will be released once outstanding issues have been resolved with our supplier.

The supplier has agreed to replace the ‘Swingo’ piece of kit under warranty and ongoing discussions are taking place regarding the roundabout. The Swingo has been removed and a replacement from Poland is awaited.

It has also been necessary to commission a repair to the safety surface area around the roundabout due to ‘soft spots ‘appearing as a result of ground movement.

GE22.36.3 DRAINAGE. The main scheme has not progressed any further, however any works if progressed would probably need to be scheduled in for Spring 23 onwards. Ongoing discussions are being held with the drainage consultant to establish costs prior to presenting to Members for consideration.

Arrangements have been made to decompact the North Field and bottom third of the South Field with a machine called ‘Shockwave’ that should improve the surface water drainage. This machine slits the ground to decompact the upper layers of soil which had been identified as one of the problems the park currently suffers from. It also improves aeration & assists in removing surface water. Can work up to 25cm depth.

This will be undertaken by our grounds contractor probably this month subject to ground conditions permitting.

GE22.36.4 SEATING IN PLAY AREA. (creating shade) Some preliminary discussions have been held with the Monday Group who have indicated that to construct seating its approx. 6-8 week lead in time for timber and a further 4-6 week build time frame.  They also indicated that due to the current hard ground conditions they would not be able to install/fix any seating.

Concerns were also raised by them regarding placing seating immediately under trees, due to the risk from debris and falling branches.

Due to this timeframe (in excess 10-14 weeks) the seating has not been progressed at this stage As the Summer season is coming to an end, therefore the need to create shade at this time is not so time critical. This will also provide Members with more time to consider what design of seating should be installed and the location prior to next Spring. This could be seating or picnic tables.

Some trees canopies will need to be lifted in the play area prior to considering installation of seating as they are very low.

Members noted the report.

GE22/37 HASSOCKS MAY CELEBRATION.  Members were invited to approve a request in principle from Michelle Binks for a May Day Event to be held in both the North and South Fields of Adastra Park on Monday 1 May 2023 subject to the same terms and conditions as previously applied. It is hoped that the event could be expanded and both fields may be required to enable this. If approved, Members are invited to agree to waive any hire charges for this community event as for previous May Day events. Any Councillors who would like to volunteer to assist with running the event would be very welcome.

GE22/37.1 It was RESOLVED to approve a request in principle from Michelle Binks for a May Day Event to be held in both the North and South Fields of Adastra Park on Monday 1 May 2023 subject to the same terms and conditions as previously applied, including the waiving of any hire charges for this community event.

GE22/38 FLOOD ACTION GROUP.  In her absence, Cllr Frances Gaudencio had requested that the Deputy Clerk confirmed the Council Members of the Flood Action Group.  It was noted that Cllr Bill Hatton had confirmed that he wished to step down from the group and that Cllr Carolyn Barton had confirmed that she would be happy to remain on the group.  The Deputy Clerk invited the Members present to confirm their membership; Cllr Ian Weir confirmed that he would remain on the group, as did Cllr Alex Simmons although this would be subject to his availability to attend meetings.  All other members of the G&E meeting were also invited to indicate if they would like to join the group.  The Deputy Clerk would contact Cllr Claire Tester to ascertain her position and would also send out an email to all remaining Councillors with an open invitation to join the group.

A discussion took place around the organisational aspect of the group and Councillor membership.

GE22/39 PUBLIC RIGHTS OF WAY (PROW).  Cllr Leslie Campbell raised the condition of the Cinder Track, PROW 14C.  It was noted that concerns had been raised over the condition of the Cinder Track, and that the Clerk was in the process of trying to arrange a meeting between Parish Council representatives and the WSCC Principle Public Rights of Way Officer to discuss this.  WSCC have indicated that the Cinder Track has been classified as a medium priority due to it being primarily inaccessible during the winter months only, however the PROW Officer has confirmed that he is happy to attend a meeting to discuss the path.   Updates would be provided to the Committee by Cllr Weir, Cllr Campbell or the Clerk in due course.

Cllr Weir informed the Committee that surface works had been carried out on Bridleway 15C in Clayton and that the path was greatly improved.   In addition the improvements to Footpath 13C near Coldharbour Farm which had been carried out by WSCC and part funded by the Parish had also been completed and provided a far more accessible footpath.

Cllr Weir also informed the Committee that further improvement work scheduled for other PROW by the Parish had been postponed temporarily due to unexpectedly high predicted costs.  The Clerk reported that WSCC was in the process of renewing its Framework Agreement and that the Clerk had requested that this could be developed to allow Parishes to draw off the agreement.  If this was achieved it would enable parishes to benefit from the contractors and schedule of rates negotiated through the WSCC tendering process.

Members noted the reports.

GE22/40 URGENT MATTERS at the discretion of the Chairman for noting and/or inclusion on a future agenda.  There were no urgent matters

GE22/41 DATE OF NEXT MEETING. Wednesday 19 October 2022 at 7.30pm.

There being no other business the meeting closed at 8.28pm.