Hassocks Parish Council

Agenda

You are summoned to a virtual meeting of the Parish Council on 9th February 2021 at 7.30 pm

Parish Clerk 2 February 2021

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.

If you wish to attend, this virtual meeting please email the info@hassocks-pc.gov.uk before 4pm on 9thth February 2021 to be sent an electronic invitation before 6pm on the 9th February 2021.

AGENDA

1. APOLOGIES

1.1 To Accept Apologies for Absence.

2. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

2.1 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.

3. MINUTES

3.1  To accept the minutes of the:

Parish Council meeting 12th January 2021

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 item of business included in the agenda, in accordance with Standing Orders.

5. MINUTES

To accept the following Minutes

5.1 Planning Committee – to agree the minutes for 11th January 2021 and to note the minutes for 1st February 2021.

5.2 Policy Resources & Communications Committee –to note the minutes for the 19th January 2021

5.3 Grounds & Environment Committee to note the minutes for the 28th January 2021

6. FINANCE

6.1 To approve the Financial Report and authorise the list of payments in the sum of £15,381.26 for the period ending 31st December 2020 set out in Appendix 1. Please click here to see Appendix 1.

7. Co-opting onto the Council the Council currently has one vacancy and is now able to consider co-opting a suitable person onto the Council. The initial notice placed in respect of the vacancy has resulted in two residents applying to join the Council.

Both residents meet the requirements to become a Councillor therefore Members are invited to consider the interested parties representation to determine who they wish to invite to join the Council at this time. Members are therefore requested to consider co-opting one of the two candidates.

The Council should RESOLVE to co-opt that person onto the Council.

The Clerk confirmed as this matter was being considered at a virtual meeting arrangements would be put in place to complete the procedural arrangements for the completion of the:

Declaration of acceptance which will be required to be signed by the clerk and the new councillor

The completed notification of interest forms.

Arrangements will then be put in place to set up a parish email account.

8. REPORTS

8.1 District Councillors’ Report

8.2 County Councillor Report

8.3 Rail Matters.

8.4 Youth Initiatives

8.5 Police report

8.6 Report from Councillors on meetings of outside bodies where the Council is represented.

9. CHAIRMAN’S REPORT

9.1 Current matters (oral report)

10. CLERK’S REPORT

10.1 Surrey Sussex Association of Local Council (SSALC) – see Appendix 2 for background information – A value for money review had been commissioned by West Sussex Association of Local Councils (WSALC) to explore different delivery model options for Member services which are currently delivered by SSALC across Surrey, West Sussex and East Sussex.

Prior to the publication of the Value for Money report by the WSALC authorities one of the other associations affiliated to SSALC (Surrey Association) have indicated they propose to leave the current arrangement in the near future.

The consequence of this is that SSALC may now become unviable to continue to operate as a trading entity in its current form, therefore West Sussex and East Sussex Parish & Town Councils may need to look at alternative delivery models to provide member services, therefore a future decision by members may be required on any proposal.

At the time of drafting the agenda options are emerging, it is therefore proposed to provide a verbal update on any further developments.

WSALC had previously scheduled its AGM for 10 am on 25th February 2021, however in light of the pending significant changes this may be subject to amendment. It is suggested however that Hassocks Parish Council formally nominate two representatives to represent the Councils views on any proposals that come forward at any future WSALC meeting. Previously Cllr Weir has represented the Council at WSALC meetings therefore it is suggested that another representative is also suggested to be nominated alongside Cllr Weir. Member’s views are sought.

11. Urgent Matters at the discretion of the Chairman for noting and/or inclusion on a future agenda.

12 Date of next meeting 9th March 2021

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 present they will be requested to withdraw from the meeting.

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.

Please Note
All members of the public are welcome to attend virtual 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

Parish Clerk Ian Cumberworth, Parish Centre, Adastra Park, Keymer Road, Hassocks BN6 8QH

Tel: 01273 842714, email: info@hassocks-pc.gov.uk

Appendix 1

Please click here to see a full version of Appendix 1.

HASSOCKS PARISH COUNCIL

Current Account

Summary Bank Reconciliation and Cashbook statement December 2020

Bank Statement Account Name (s) Statement Date Balances
Current Bank A/C 2114 31/12/2020 £40,420.56
£40,420.56
Unpresented Cheques (Minus) Amount
£11,127.93
£29,292.63
Receipts not Banked/Cleared (Plus)
12/01/2021 0592 £805.00
£805.00
£30,097.63
Balance per Cash Book is :- £30,097.63
Difference is :- £0.00

Appendix 1

HASSOCKS PARISH COUNCIL

Tracker Account

Summary Bank Reconciliation and Cashbook statement December 2020

Bank Statement Account Name (s) Statement Date Balances
Tracker A/C 3548 30/12/2020 £413,966.59
£413,966.59
Unpresented Cheques (Minus) Amount
£0.00
£413,966.59
Receipts not Banked/Cleared (Plus)
£0.00
£0.00
£413,966.59
Balance per Cash Book is :- £413,966.59
Difference is :- £0.00

Appendix 1

HASSOCKS PARISH COUNCIL

Saver Accounts

Cashbook statements December 2020

Appendix 1

HASSOCKS PARISH COUNCIL

Current bank A/C 2114      

Payments made between 01/12/2020 and 31/12/2020 (incl. VAT)

Date Paid Payee Name Ref Amount Paid £ Transaction Detail
03/12/2020 Warnes Windows 6374 25.00 P/O window clean Nov
03/12/2020 Close Invoice Finance/TSS 6375 114.66 Pav water Nov
03/12/2020 Royal British Legion Poppy App 6376 37.00 2 x Poppy Wreaths
03/12/2020 Jason Lainchbury 6377 256.30 Aerate grass in Gdn Rem
03/12/2020 Computer Systems Engineers Ltd 6378 231.76 Exchange Online Licences
03/12/2020 Moore Stephens 6379 960.00 External Audit 19/20
03/12/2020 Biffa Waste Services Ltd 6380 218.88 Biffa Waste 24.10.20-20.11.20
03/12/2020 Kipper Creative Ltd 6381 120.00 Hassocks Life Dec 2020
18/12/2020 HMRC/PAYE 6382 2149.74 PAYE/NI December Salaries
16/12/2020 Greenscene Landscapes 6383 234.00 Concrete base – mem bench
08/12/2020 Computer Systems Engineers Ltd 6384 450.00 Remote software install
08/12/2020 EW Burrow Nursery Ltd 6385 272.82 Memorial Winter Cherry
08/12/2020 Safeplay Playground Services L 6386 91.80 Play safety inspections Nov
17/12/2020 Jason Lainchbury 6387 228.00 Flower bed Gdn of Rem
16/12/2020 Rob Eager- Rooted Gdn Services BACS 173.50 Burial Grd Maint Nov 20
18/12/2020 Total December salaries BACS 6591.76 December Salaries
18/12/2020 WSCC Pension Fund BACS 2403.32 December Pension Conts
07/12/2020 Barclays Bank BARCLAYS 35.66 Bank Charges 13.10.20-12.11.20
22/12/2020 British Gas BGAS D/D 65.92 P/O Gas D/D Dec
08/12/2020 Scottish Water Business Stream BSTREAMD/D 8.11 Bowls Water Dec D/D
15/12/2020 British Telecom BT D/D 94.30 P/O Telephone D/D Dec
07/12/2020 Castle Water CASTLE D/D 30.23 P/O Water D/D Jan
07/12/2020 Castle Water CASTLE D/D 5.57 Bowls water D/D Dec
07/12/2020 Castle Water CASTLE D/D 14.93 Pav water D/D
01/12/2020 edf energy EDF D/D 52.00 P/O elec D/D Dec
01/12/2020 edf energy EDF D/D 146.00 Pav elec D/D Dec
01/12/2020 Mid Sussex District Council MSDC D/D 275.00 Business Rates Dec D/D
01/12/2020 Southeast water SEWAT D/D 95.00 Allot water supply D/D Dec
Total Expenditure 15381.26


APPENDIX 2

The structure of SSALC and the component CALCs (background document)

This note is intended to provide clarification and explain terminology. Local Councils – The generic name for all town and parish councils in West Sussex including Chichester City Council. CALC

A County Association of Local Councils WSALC – West Sussex Association of Local Councils Ltd – the body to which the towns and parishes in West Sussex subscribe. Its role is to collect subscription income and ensure that member councils are satisfied with the services provided by SSALC. ESALC Ltd– The equivalent body for East Sussex Surrey ALC Ltd – ditto Surrey SSALC Ltd

The overarching company of which WSALC, ESALC and Surrey ALC are the three shareholders; its main responsibilities are to employ the staff, manage contracts, set subscription levels and arrange training / events. Staff employed by SSALC provide response and advice to questions and issues from member councils over an extended day or at weekends if urgency is required.

Directors – Each County Board has Directors found from the local councils in that County. If we focus on WSALC the Board is made up of nine Directors appointed by the District Associations, two from each of Chichester, Arun, Horsham and Mid Sussex Districts with one from the two parishes in Adur District.

Up to four Directors of WSALC are appointed to serve on the SSALC Board together with four from each of ESALC and Surrey ALC – twelve in total plus the Company Secretary and the Honorary Solicitor. Subscriptions –

All member councils pay a subscription to enable them to access information and support provided by SSALC on behalf of the three County Associations. Subscriptions are collected in West Sussex by WSALC and a proportion paid to SSALC.

Cross Charge – The term given to the amount requested by SSALC from subscription income, in 2019/20 the charge to WSALC was £74,000, any balance above this figure remaining from subscriptions remains with WSALC to undertake project work determined by the WSALC Board.

MembershipThis varies slightly each year but currently there are 138 local councils in membership in West Sussex, 78 in Surrey and 102 in East Sussex, representing 98% in total with only 7 councils across Sussex and Surrey not in membership.

The cross charge is calculated on the proportionality of members in each County. NALC –

The National Association of Local Councils, based in London supports the 43 County Associations by providing information and advice; it engages with Parliament and civil servants on proposed legislation and the likely effect on local councils. NALC Assembly comprises a councillor representative of each CALC, normally the Chairman but not always and meets four times a year.

Governance – Each CALC Board meets every three months to discuss issues within their counties and receive an update from the NALC representative.

The SSALC Board also meets quarterly to discuss matters affecting the delivery of services across the three counties, receive a financial report from the Company Secretary and agree the subscription level for the coming year.

Minutes

Draft Minutes of the virtual meeting of the Parish Council held on 9th February 2021 at 7.30pm.

Attendees: Parish Councillors Ian Weir (Chair), Jane Baker, Sue Hatton, Kristian Berggreen, Frank Rylance, Frances Gaudencio, Bob Brewer, Claire Tester, Leslie Campbell, Bill Hatton and Nick Owens.

Parish Clerk: Ian Cumberworth

Visiting Member(s): County Councillor Kirsty Lord

MINUTES

PC20/96          APOLOGIES   Cllrs Alex Simmons, Kate Bailey

PC20/97          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. – None

PC20/98          MINUTES

The minutes of the meeting held on the 12th January 2021 were accepted as a true and accurate record of the meeting.

PC20/99          PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

There were no Members of the public present.

PC20/100        MINUTES

To agree the Minutes of the Planning Committee 11th January 2021.

To note the minutes of the Policy Resources & Communications Committee for the 19th January 2021.

As the minutes for Planning Committee 1st February 2021 and Grounds & Environment Committee 28th January 2021 had not yet been circulated to Members consideration of these will be held over to the next Council meeting in March.

PC20/101        FINANCE

Members considered the finance reports and the supporting bank statements and reviewed the payment list. The Finance report and payments totalling £15,381.26 for the period ending 31St December 2020 were considered and APPROVED.

PC20/102   Co-opting onto the Council – Members were advised that the Council currently had one vacancy which the council is able to co-opt into. A vacancy notice had been published and attracted two residents indicating an interest in joining the council. Members will be invited to consider the candidates this evening and invited to vote on a candidate to be co-opted onto the Council.

The Clerk indicated that each candidate Carolyn Barton and Phil McGuiness will be invited to make a short presentation to members setting out why they would like to join the council together with details of any specific initiatives/interests they may have within the village.

Members and candidates were informed that as this was a virtual meeting it was proposed that each candidate will be placed in the waiting room whilst each is invited to speak and take any question from members, following which both candidates will then be placed in the virtual waiting room whilst members are invited to vote.

Candidates will then be brought back into the meeting where they will be informed of     the outcome of the vote, then the Clerk will arrange to complete the procedural paperwork and issue the necessary induction pack to complete the appointment.

The Chair (Cllr Weir) indicated that he would consider each candidate alphabetically therefore Phil McGuiness was placed in the waiting room and Carolyn Barton invited to set out to members why she wished to become a member, what skillset she could bring together with any specific areas of interest within the parish.

Carolyn provided a broad overview of her business background and association with Hassocks over many years and particular areas of interest she would be interested in becoming involved in with the Council.

Members were then invited to ask Carolyn a range of questions to seek a further understanding which she duly responded to. One area of particular interest from Carolyn related to Communication and how the Council could raise its profile further of all the work it delivers within the parish.

Members thanked Carolyn and requested that she be placed into the virtual waiting room and invite Phil McGuiness back into the meeting.

The Chair then invited Phil McGuiness to introduce himself. Phil went onto provide an overview of his business background and association with Hassocks and indicated that he was now semi-retired and would now very much like to give back some of his time to the community.

Phil indicated that he had many interests and used a number of the Parish services personally and very much appreciated them. He has a particular interest in the tennis club in Adastra Park and sees a great opportunity for the parish to promote health and wellbeing for the slightly older generation within the village.

Members sought clarification and raised a number of questions which Phil responded to. Members thanked Phil for his presentation and he was then placed in the virtual waiting room whilst members considered the candidates.

Members acknowledged that the Council had received two strong candidates and it would be difficult to make a choice. Cllr Weir then invited each member to express a view on the respective candidates. Members expressed the view that each candidate could bring different strengths to the Council and either candidate would make an excellent member.

Members discussed the process being followed in that one individual will be brought back into the room and be unsuccessful however on balance it was felt appropriate and that this process had been successful previously and did not put off the unsuccessful candidates from reapplying to join the Council at a later point. Members therefore concluded the vote and invited the candidates back into the virtual meeting.

Cllr Weir welcomed the candidates back and thanked them for two excellent presentations and confirmed that it had been a very difficult and close-run choice, however based on the vote the Council RESOLVED to Co-opt Carolyn Barton onto the Council which she duly accepted. The Clerk confirmed that he would be in contact post meeting to conclude the necessary paperwork.

Cllr Weir re-iterated that it had been a very difficult and close decision and hoped that it would not discourage Phil McGuiness from expressing an interest in the event of another vacancy arising. Phil indicated that it would not and thanked members for their time.

At this point Phil McGuiness left the meeting and Carolyn Barton remained.

PC20/103        Reports

103.1      District Councillors reports: – Cllr Sue Hatton (SH) advised members that MSDC are due to start a review of the District Plan and as part of this currently called for sites which will run from 7th January to 19th February.

In addition MSDC are going through a process of Electoral review where the Council is looking to reduce the number of elected members from 54 to 48. The Parish Clerk and the Chair are due to attend a briefing session with MSDC later this week. It is understood that the baseline property figure will use property numbers up to 2027 therefore for Hassocks this would probably only reflect 275 properties for the Clayton Mill site as the remainder will be built after 2027. MSDC had commissioned a consultant to undertake a governance review alongside the initial review being undertaken by the electoral commission but due to delays the findings from this review will be considered later on in the review process.

Some positive news on the Air Quality readings at Stone pound crossroads with the reading now below 40. This data will be published therefore anyone interested can review the data further. In addition, the data will be subject to review by DEFRA.

Cllr S Hatton informed members that the vaccination site at Clair Hall was working well. Some people had indicated that they were receiving mixed communication messages from different sources whether it be from the hubs or GP’s. This issue has been formally raised and efforts are to be made to improve communication channels.

Members discussed their personal experiences of the vaccination arrangements to date and although a number of members have attended different vaccination sites all expressed how well the sites had been run.

103.2   County Councillor – Cllr Lord confirmed that County would be considering its Budget on Friday 12th February.

At a recent Climate Change Working Group it was agreed that more work was required regarding Electrical vehicle charging points across the County.

The tree that was on the bank of Spitalfield bridge that came down in the recent bad weather, although cleared by WSCC was the responsibility of the landowner which was a property management company based in London. County initially cleared the debris from the pavement and road but the remainder should have been cleared by the property company.

As a result of the recent flooding at Beaconhurst the drains have been jetted and cleared again and further investigation is being carried out with the use of cameras. It is understood cameras are also to be used, for further investigation, at Parklands/Keymer Road and the Railway Bridge where the water pools.

Mill Lane has continued to cause issues re access with vehicles parking in passing places. The police have now installed signage – access only and indicated they may use Covid powers temporarily to ensure the road remains clear.

KL is currently in discussion with Richard Speller (WSCC) re possibility of a potential crossing point near Adastra Park together with exploring a number of safety initiatives for cyclists.

The cycling route Sayers Common to Downlands is likely to progress to the detailed design phase.

103.3   Rail matters –  Members were advised that in January there were 235 train cancellations of which 180 were cancelled outright and 55 ran but failed to stop at Hassocks.

103.4   Youth Initiatives – Cllr Gaudencio informed Members that in her role as part Hassocks Youth Project (not as a Councillor) she had recently held a meeting with the youth club who indicated they were keen to run various online sessions. The content of which were to be informed from the recent consultation undertaken by (FG) with Windmills and Downlands School but as of now this has not been realised.

Cllr Gaudencio in her role as Councillor expressed a view that in light of the Parish Council funding the youth club earlier in the year it would be appropriate to ascertain how these funds have been utilised to date. The Clerk agreed to follow this matter up.

103.5   Police matters – nothing to report.

103.6   Report from Councillors on meetings of outside bodies where the Council is represented – Cllr Ian Weir indicated that he recently attended a meeting held by MSALC to consider the ongoing study being undertaken by West Sussex Association of Local Councils (WSALC) into SSALC (Surrey & Sussex Association of Local Councils) which is the subject of a later item on the agenda. Both the Chair and the Clerk had been interviewed as part of this study which appears to have created a lot of bad feeling amongst West Sussex parish and town councils.

In addition, MSALC indicated they propose to take up the issue of MSDC failure /reluctance to adopt the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL)

PC20/104        CHAIRMANS REPORT

The Chair (IW) informed members that he had previously circulated the notification received from Nationwide Building Society advising the Council of its intention to close the branches in Hassocks and Hurstpierpoint. The building society represents the last financial institution in the village. Member’s views were sought as to whether the Council should write to the society setting out its concerns and the impact it would have on the community, Members were in agreement that the Council should write on behalf of the parish.

It was then brought to member’s attention that a parish councillor (not present at the meeting this evening) had already without the knowledge of other members signed a letter together with a county councillor (non-Hassocks representative) and the MP which had been posted up on social media.

Members agreed that the Council should write to the nationwide setting out its formal objection to the proposed closures together with making representation to the Communities Secretary. Members agreed that the detail would be undertaken by the Chair in conjunction with the Clerk.

PC20/105        CLERK’S REPORT

105.1 The Clerk introduced the item on the Surrey Sussex Association of Local Councils (SSALC) Appendix 2 setting out some background structure of the association which provides a range of governance services to parish councils. A number of members may well have had first-hand experience of the services as they have previously provided training and recruitment support to the Council.

Members were advised that in the summer of 2019 SSALC agreed to undertake a value for money review (VFM) of its services which was approved by the SSALC board (Surrey, East Sussex and West Sussex boards)

This piece of work commenced but ceased when the pandemic struck in March 2020.

In June 2020 West Sussex Association of Local Councils (WSALC) announced they were to undertake their own separate VFM study and commission a Professor Copus to undertake the review.

The Clerk advised that both he and Cllr Weir had been selected at random to be interviewed by Professor Copus as part of the review.

This study appears to have been commissioned without consultation with the West Sussex member parish councils which includes Hassocks.

This review has created significant disquiet amongst member authorities who have struggled to obtain definitive clarification as to the basis and rationale of this review, such that a number of organisations are threatening to leave WSALC.

The outcome of the review is that WSALC subject to member’s approval are proposing that they join with Hampshire to obtain services and break away from SSALC (Sussex association) the effect of this would be that SSALC would no longer exist.

At present no detailed information has been provided on the proposed offer and even though WSALC are supposed to represent the West Sussex parishes they have been reluctant to share information with the membership, to the point where they even sought legal advice to block disclosure of information – claiming legal privilege/commercial sensitivity.

WSALC AGM is scheduled for 25th February 2021 however the membership have requested 3 special resolutions to be considered and some ordinary resolutions.

At the time of this Council meeting, they were as follows but maybe subject to amendment:

1. The parish councils of West Sussex instruct the directors of WSALC as a special resolution not to purchase governance services from the Hampshire association of local councils.

2. The parish councils of West Sussex instruct the directors of WSALC as a special resolution to work with the East Sussex association of local councils to re-establish a Sussex association and to receive joint governance arrangements through a single service.

3. The parish councils of West Sussex instruct the directors of WSALC as a special resolution to appoint a new chairman and vice chairman of WSALC.

The following Ordinary resolutions – per the companies’ act 2006 are also on the agenda and these will need to be voted and passed by 50% of the membership present at the meeting and entitled to vote.

1. that the chairman and vice chairman of WSALC resign with immediate effect.

2. that the remaining directors of WSALC confirm that they will operate to meet the company objectives set out in the memorandum and articles of association.

3. that the remaining directors of WSALC confirm that they will establish an open and transparent dialog with parish councils in West Sussex to effectively understand and meet their needs.

4. that the remaining directors of WSALC work constructively with SSALC on its current value for money exercise and establish a clear and constructive framework for moving forward.

Members were requested to formally nominate Hassocks Parish Council representatives able to attend the said meeting and consider their views on the options.

Members discussed the benefits of SSALC and acknowledged the value provided   and the support previously provided to the Council. The consensus was that Members would be against the move over to services provided by Hampshire and would wish to retain a Sussex association and support the motions to retain the current structure.

If WSALC pursues the intention to move over to taking services from Hampshire the authority will consider serving notice to cease its affiliation to WSALC.

Members RESOLVED to APPROVE Cllr Ian Weir and Cllr Kristian Berggreen as the Councils designated representatives and to vote at the forthcoming meetings representing Hassocks Parish Councils views.

PC20/106        URGENT MATTERS AT THE DISCRETION OF THE CHAIRMAN – None

PC20/107        DATE OF NEXT MEETING

To note that the date of the next Council meeting is Tuesday 9th March 2021 at 7.30pm.