A MEETING of HASSOCKS PARISH COUNCIL will be held on Tuesday 11 October 2022 at 7.30 pm in the Council Chamber, Parish Centre, Adastra Park, Hassocks.
Parish Clerk 5 October 2022
Members of the public are encouraged to come to the meetings and there is an opportunity for them to address the Council relating to the non-confidential items on the published agenda. A period of 15 minutes will be set aside in item 4 Public participation.
1.1 To accept Apologies for absence
2. DISCLOSURE OF INTERESTS
2.1 To deal with any disclosure by Members of any disclosable pecuniary interests and interests other than pecuniary interests, as defined under Hassocks Parish Council’s Code of Conduct and the Localism Act 2011, in relation to matters on the agenda.
3.1. To accept the minutes of the
Parish Council meeting 13th September 2022
4. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
Up to fifteen minutes will be available to allow for the public to make representations, answer questions or give evidence in respect of any items of business included in the agenda, in accordance with Standing Orders.
5. TO ACCEPT THE FOLLOWING MINUTES
5.1 Planning Committee – to agree the minutes for the 12th September 2022 and to note the minutes for 3rd October 2022.
5.2 Policy Resources & Communications Committee – to note the minutes for 6th September 2022.
6.1 To approve the Financial Report and authorise the list of payments in the sum of £16,654.47 issued between 1 August 2022 and 31st August 2022. (Please click here to view Appendix 1).
7.1. West Sussex County Councillor
7.2. Mid Sussex District Councillors Report
7.3 Police Report
7.4. Rail Matters – oral Report (Leslie Campbell)
7.5. Youth Initiatives – presentation (Frances Gaudencio)
7.6. Reports from Councillors on meetings outside bodies where the Council is
8. CHAIRMAN’S REPORT
8.1 Current matters (oral report)
9. CLERK’S REPORT
9.1 Annual Return The purpose of this report is to advise Council that the External Auditor has signed off the Annual Return for the year ended 31 March 2022. I am pleased to inform members that the accounts have been agreed without amendment by the External Auditors. (Please click here to view Appendix 2). The External audit fee for the work undertaken for the financial year 2021/22 is £800 plus VAT.
The Notice of Conclusion of Audit has been duly published in accordance with the Local Audit & Accountability Act 2014 Section 20(2) & 25 and the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015(SI 2015/234) Government and is available for inspection.
Members are asked to note the completed External Auditors Report and Certificate for 2021/22.
9.2 Committee Membership
Members were requested to consider Cllr Bunting’s request to join the Policy Resources & Communications Committee.
9.3 Consultancy Support – Neighbourhood Priorities Statement/Community led Plan.
Council considered a proposed funding bid for this initiative (PC22/71) at its previous meeting in September and APPROVED an allocation of up to £7,500 to deliver this project.
To enable the project to progress the Council will be required to enter into a service level agreement with Action in rural Sussex (AirS) that sets out details of the service to be provided together with the fee payment structure. (Please click here to view Appendix 3). Authority is therefore sought from Members for the Clerk to enter into this contract on behalf of the Council and to instruct the consultant to commence progression of this initiative.
10. URGENT MATTERS AT THE DISCRETION OF THE CHAIRMAN for noting and/or inclusion on a future agenda.
11. DATE OF NEXT MEETING
To note that the date of the next Council meeting is Tuesday 8th November 2022 at 7.30pm.
EXCLUSION OF PUBLIC AND PRESS
In view of the confidential nature of the business about to be transacted Councillors will be referred to the Confidential Agenda. If any members of the public or press are in attendance they will be requested to withdraw from the meeting in the public interest.
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
All members of the public are welcome to attend 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.
Minutes of the meeting of the Parish Council held on 11th October 2022 at 7.30pm in Parish Centre, Adastra Park, Hassocks
Attendees: Parish Councillors Ian Weir, Kristian Berggreen, Leslie Campbell, Bill Hatton, Frances Gaudencio, David Bunting, Claire Tester, Angus Neil.
Parish Clerk: Ian Cumberworth
PC22/78 APOLOGIES Cllr Jane Baker, Cllr Sue Hatton, Cllr Carolyn Barton, Cllr Alex Simmons, Cllr Kate Bailey and Cllr Dan Sewell
Visiting Member(s): – County Councillor Kirsty Lord
Absent without apologies: Cllr Robert Brewer
PC22/79 DISCLOSURE OF INTERESTS
Disclosure by Councillors of personal interests in matters on the agenda, and whether the Councillor regards their interest as prejudicial under the terms of the Code of Conduct. –
Cllr Gaudencio re 7.5 Youth matters in respect of Hassocks Youth projects.
The minutes of the meeting held on the 13th September 2022 were accepted as a true and accurate record of the meeting.
PC22/81 PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
No members of the public were present.
82.1 Members accepted the minutes of the Planning Committee meeting on the 12th September and to note the minutes of the meeting on 3rd October 2022.
82.2 To note the minutes of the Policy Resources & Communications Committee for the 6th September 2022
83.1 Members considered the finance reports and the supporting bank statements and reviewed the following payment list.
The Finance report and payments totalling £16,654.47 (Appendix 1) for the period 1st August to 31st August 2022 were considered and APPROVED.
84.1 County Councillors reports: – Cllr Kirsty Lord (KL) – had sent her apologies and provided a report for the Clerk to read out.
‘There are two main issues I have been working on in recent weeks plus a brief update on some WSCC issues.
I have been in touch with WSCC over the last couple of weeks about the work on Ockley lane and they have been to inspect the site a few times.
Local residents were going through as we think they assumed “resident’s access only” meant all local residents rather than just those within the works area. Consequently WSCC have asked the contractor to change the electric signs from “resident’s access” to “no through road” which we believe may have helped. While disruption will continue if you hear of or see particularly worsening conditions please let Cllr Lord know.
WSCC have been monitoring the impacts on Stonepound crossroads due to the additional traffic through the village. The lights were updated there relatively recently to allow more responsive adjustments to traffic flows and it means that while there have been heavy queues up Keymer road we haven’t had queues through the village unlike during previous road closures.
I raised the issue of the Common lane road closure at the same time. WSCC had spoken to ESCC about this, but ESCC were insistent that their works were emergency works that needed to happen as scheduled. However the works were only scheduled for night-time so I hope this has not proved to cause you too many additional headaches.
I also raised the issue of tree works on London road which were managed during off peak hours and also with close attention so they would have stopped those works if they had a significant traffic impact. I think those works happened without much additional impact.
I also raised the effect of the suspension of the 33 bus route for Hassocks residents after being contacted by Cllr Les Campbell and asked whether the contractor would be willing to assist the bus through as it would only require access twice per hour. However the bus operator felt that they could not deliver their timetable due to the issues in Hassocks and so this option wasn’t considered possible.
I did raise the impact of this on residents trying to access flu clinics in Hurstpierpoint with Mid Sussex healthcare after a resident raised this with me.
If you know of any residents who weren’t able to access the flu clinic due to the lack of the bus, please get them to call Mid Sussex healthcare because they are running a later clinic in hassocks on 24th October and also have doses available if people are attending the centre for other appointments.
Several councillors are raising the wider issue of the sheer amount of roadworks in Mid Sussex at the moment. Unfortunately the council is not allowed to unreasonably withhold access to the roads from utility companies – they have a statutory right to access the road and WSCC can only try to manage it as best they can, so if a lot of requests come in they have to try and manage multiple works at the same time. This makes it harder to manage a lot of the impacts of these works particularly when the roads are busy with things like broadband instalment as well.
I have been in touch with residents and WSCC officers about the broadband works at Church Mead since July. The verges were destroyed and very poorly repaired, trees have potentially been damaged and pavement repairs have many defects. In addition the contractors managed the works very poorly making pedestrian and car access often very difficult and storing items on the highway inappropriately.
I have recently visited again with a WSCC officer to inspect repairs so far and ensure that WSCC is aware of all issues. We are concerned about a few trees in particular and are hoping the arboriculturist at WSCC will be able to visit soon.
Utility companies have a statutory right to access the highways and WSCC cannot prevent them and can only issue specific fines and ensure remediation through a specific process.
I am confident that WSCC officers are fully aware of how poorly the work and repairs have been carried out and they are working to do what they can to fix this situation. If you see or hear of any signs of poor workmanship by broadband contractors please report to WSCC and me so that we can ensure that any safety or access issues are dealt with promptly and that proper remediation is chased.
A children’s home that was rated outstanding by Ofsted at inspection was recently down rated to inadequate. You will remember the inadequate rating for children’s social services in 2019 which the council has been recovering from. There will be an urgent update to councillors at full council on Friday (14th) on the reasons for this inspection
On Friday there will be debates on oil and gas, following national government decisions on fracking, led by me, and also a debate on adult social care. My proposals on the cost of living crisis were turned down.
It has been recommended that the County Local Forum (CLF) which replaced the County Local Committee (CLC) is ceased after its year trial as it didn’t work well at the district level, so there will be no forums like this going forward. My group has asked that consideration be given to how WSCC highways now engages directly with residents given this is a significant proportion of the issues that Councillors and the Council are contacted about and was one of the more popular items on the old CLC agenda (WSCC officers did not attend the CLF).
The 2022/23 West Sussex care guide has been released. If the parish office hasn’t received any copies, it may be worth contacting WSCC and asking for some as they can be very useful if residents pop in with questions on services and providers.’
84.2 District Councillor Report (Cllr Sue Hatton) Cllr Hatton had sent her apologies but provided a report which the Clerk read out.
‘MSDC have restructured their senior management team with the departure of Peter Stuart from finance and Tom Clark from legal services:
The new structure is
Kathryn Hall Chief Executive
Judy Holmes Deputy Chief Executive
Simon Hughes People & Commercial services
Louise Duffield Resources & Organisational Development (responsible for new s151 officer and interim monitoring officer)
The new structure will come into effect from November 2022.
Cllr Hatton indicated that there was a ‘map’ she could provide to the clerk who can make it available for any members interested together with links to the revised district plan.
The MSDC Scrutiny’s Planning and Net zero committee meets on the 28th October to agree the draft revised site selections:
The key points from the review are that the 1,600 Strategic site at Ansty has been removed from the original paper circulated in February which was subsequently then paused.
Two sites pertinent to Hassocks have emerged as part of the review plan:
DPH 15- para 68 p15 – land to rear of 2 Hurst road ( previously application not supported by WSCC highways due to proximity to three lane element running up to Stonepound crossroads – WSCC now support the proposed scheme and will provide a right hand turning lane.) 25 properties
Cllr Sue Hatton strongly opposed this at the working group meetings – and now county have suggested a right hand turning arrangement – I am still unsure how this will work in practice due to congested road system very near the lights and the impact it will have on traffic flow.
DPH 27 Byanda – para 77 p16.
This is now at application stage and the officers’ recommendation of approval will be considered at the district planning committee on the 20th of this month. This meeting is two days after the scrutiny committee will have decided to accept the Draft
Revised District plan – which promotes Byanda. Subject to scrutiny committees approval the revised District Plan will then go forward to council for approval to go out for consultation. The two dates and the deliberations will inform the trajectory of the application.
In relation to the London road site – opposite Stanford Avenue, I am frustrated that WSCC feel disposed to do a right-hand safety turn in order to allow this site to be built but refused to support the very strong request for one into the 500 strategic site on Ockley lane. It feels that the whole question of ‘safety on our highways’ is completely irrelevant with regard to consistent, safe, fair and sensible solutions.
I have had lots of complaints about access to Ockley lane because of the closure for building aspects of supply to the new 500 site and not good public relations on the part of Taylor Wimpey.
It is not a short time (2 months or so) and could definitely have done with better and more sympathetic communications. Cllr Lord may well be reporting on this as she has taken up many complaints on this.
Similarly the footpath west to east on the southern boundary is to be closed for heavy plant movements etc. for one year. I have written to MSDC to ask if that is correct under the conditions of the approval, as the proper entrance should be in place to be used for this surely.’
84.3 Police Report the Clerk advised members that he and the Chair had attended a Mid Sussex Police engagement meeting where the police outlined their priorities and approach to community policing. The police confirmed that they are currently undergoing a major recruitment campaign for police officers some of whom have previously been PCSO therefore there will be a delay before they are replaced however they will play a key role in community policing.
Members discussed policing generally and matters relating to Hassocks specifically, it was agreed that these matters would be raised at a future liaison meeting scheduled in November where the Chair and the Clerk attends.
84.4 Rail Matters – Cllr Campbell advised members that the Rail group was proposing to meet later this month and advised that Hassocks ticket office is currently on the list of proposed closures. Cllr Campbell indicated that the automated ticket machine on the platform to Brighton (east side) is deemed almost unusable on bright sunny days due the reflection on the machine.
84.5 Youth Initiatives – Cllr Gaudencio introduced a short presentation on the work of the Hassocks Youth projects (HYP) group providing feedback on the initiatives run in the last year which in part has used some funding previously provided by the Parish Council. Members were advised that some funds still remain unused and they will be looking to explore further initiatives to promote future activities. The group is run under the umbrella of Hassock Community Organisation (HCO) and further details can be viewed on their website. https://www.hassockscommunity.org.uk/
Cllr Gaudencio provided feedback on the attendances of the various events that had been offered which had included Guided Bike rides, Art club, Bike Maintenance Workshops and a Coding club, all of which received positive feedback from attendees.
A short film of the guided bike rides was viewed by members which is available on the HCO website. HYP are in the process of exploring potential initiatives that may be possible to be run and welcomed any suggestions from councillors. Overall the longer term objective is that all activities will be self-financing.
Members asked a range of questions which Cllr Gaudencio responded to.
Members thanked Cllr Gaudencio for all work undertaken and expressed their appreciation of the activities being provided by the group.
84.6 Report from Councillors on meetings of outside bodies where the Council is represented –
Cllr Berggreen indicated that he recently attended a meeting of the Mid Sussex Association of Local Councils (MSALC) which represents the majority of parish councils within the Mid Sussex area. Efforts are to be made to encourage those authorities not currently signed up to join as it was felt the group was becoming more effective in engaging and influencing Parish matters with the District Council as a collective group. Consideration was also given to agreeing the level of subscription fees and the election of officers for the forthcoming year.
Cllr Weir recently attended a meeting of the West Sussex Association of Local Councils (WSALC) where a number of points were raised in respect of Community Resilience Plans, Police initiatives with Sussex Alerts, Local Prosperity funds and warm hubs. He advised that the Clerk would be attending a similar meeting later in the week where he will also receive further details on these.
PC22/85 CHAIRMANS REPORT – Nothing to report.
PC22/86 CLERK’S REPORT
86.1 Annual Return 2021/22 – External Audit
The Clerk introduced the report and informed Members that the External Auditor had agreed the Annual Return without amendment which was set out in Appendix 2 .The Notice of Conclusion has been published and the fee for the external auditors work is £800 (net).
Members NOTED that the Annual Return had been signed off without amendment by the External auditors.
86.2 Committee Membership
Members were requested to consider Cllr Bunting’s request to join the Policy Resources & Communications Committee.
Members RESOLVED to AGREE Cllr Bunting’s appointment to the Policy Resources & Communications Committee.
86.3 Consultancy Support – Community Led Plan/Neighbourhood Priority Statement.
Members were requested to consider authorising the Clerk to enter into a contract with Action in Rural Sussex (AiRS) in accordance with the service level agreement incorporated within the agenda papers.
Members discussed the service level agreement in detail and sought clarification from Cllr Tester who is leading on the project. Clarification was provided on how the initiative would progress together with an indication of the timeline and how the initiative might be publicised. The Clerk circulated a draft promotional poster produced by the consultant for consideration. Members suggested that some modifications were made and that the timeline should be modified for the initial online consultations. It was clarified that the initial online sessions will inform the survey questions to be used in the wider consultation exercise. Members were also advised that it was also proposed to run a member workshop in November to enable members to feed into the process, once dates have been confirmed the Clerk agreed to advise members.
Members RESOLVED to APPROVE that the Clerk enter into the agreement with Action in Rural Sussex on behalf of the Council.
PC22/87 URGENT MATTERS AT THE DISCRETION OF THE CHAIRMAN – none.
PC22/88 DATE OF NEXT MEETING
To note that the date of the next Parish Council meeting is Tuesday 8th November 2022 at 7.30pm.