Hassocks Parish Council

Agenda

You are summoned to a virtual meeting of the Parish Council on 13th April 2021
at 7.30 pm

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 13th April 2021 to be sent an electronic invitation before 6pm on the 13th April 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 9th March 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 15th March 2021

5.2       Policy Resources & Communications Committee –to note the minutes for the 2nd March 2021

5.3      Grounds & Environment Committee to note the minutes for the 11th March 2021.

5.4        Neighbourhood Plan Committee – to note the minutes for the 18th March 2021.

6. FINANCE

6.1       To approve the Financial Report and authorise the list of payments in the sum of £15,463.88 for the period ending 28th February 2021 set out in Appendix 1. Please click here for Appendix 1.

7. REPORTS

7.1       District Councillors’ Report

7.2       County Councillor Report

7.3       Rail Matters.

7.4       Youth Initiatives

7.5       Police report

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

8. CHAIRMAN’S REPORT

8.1       Current matters (oral report)

9. CLERK’S REPORT

9.1      Insurance – The Councils current insurance arrangement with Axa is due to expire on the 31st May 2021. Parish Council insurance is a specialised market with limited providers therefore it is proposed that a similar approach to that taken previously and seek to test the market utilising a specialist insurance broker with an option to consider entering into a 3 year term agreement.

Our current broker Came & Company managed our previous insurance tender and will be approached to seek quotations from the market, it is anticipated that this approach will enable the Council to secure best value not only in terms of comprehensiveness of cover provided by the respective policies  but also the value of the premium.

Members are requested to consider and approve the proposed approach and the principle of entering into a term agreement with the successful company. The outcome of the exercise will be brought back to Council to consider.

9.2       Remote meetings – As a result of the Coronavirus pandemic last year the government introduced legislation to enable Council meetings to be conducted remotely, however this legislation was for a fixed period of time and Government have determined not to extend this element of the legislation. The impact of this decision is that the legislation permitting remote meetings will cease on the 7th May 2021. The Council will therefore be required to revert back to in person meetings after this date.

The impact of this legislative change will therefore impact on this Council and some members may feel less comfortable at reverting back to in person meetings at this time as any social distancing may be difficult in the Council chamber particularly for Full Council and Grounds & Environment Committees where there are a larger number of attendees present.

The Council is currently scheduled to hold its Annual Parish Meeting and its Annual Council meeting on the 11th May 2021 therefore falling after the legislation change and therefore would be required to be held in person if this date was retained. It is suggested that members consider bringing forward both these meetings forward to Tuesday the 4th May 2021 to enable those meetings to be held remotely. The Council will then need to give further consideration as to how it intends to operate its meetings going forward in line with the revised guidance.

9.3.     Banking – This is to advise members that our current provider’s local branch of Barclays in Burgess Hill will be closing permanently from 21st June 2021. Members have previously considered and agreed in principle to look at alternative bank providers. It is proposed to move over to an online provider (Unity Trust Bank) to operate our day to day account which specialises in providing banking services for parish councils and charities which will retain the need for joint signatories (two authorised signatories) to authorise any payments To facilitate this move the Council will need to designate some additional signatories to our current authorised members or draw up a revised group of signatories for this new account.

As the account will operate solely on-line it is important that any signatories are comfortable with using technology. It is suggested that the Council consider having a pool of say up to six signatories for the on-line account. A protocol will be drafted to enable the new processes to align with the internal control framework in place within the council before going live.

9.4.      Electoral Review: The Local Boundary Commission are currently undertaking a consultation on the Ward Boundaries for Mid Sussex. A 10 week consultation has commenced with a closing date of 31st May 2021. (Appendix 2) One of the options being considered is to reduce the current number of elected members from 54 to 48. Members are requested to consider whether the Parish Council wishes to put in a formal representation as part of this consultation. The tables set out below are an illustration of the impact on Hassocks if they were identified as one of the potential parishes to be affected.

https://www.midsussex.gov.uk/elections-voting/electoral-review-of-mid-sussex-district-council-2021/

Current Member Representation within the MSDC District

District 2021 2027
Number of councillors 54 54
Overall electorate

 

115,931 129,389
Average electorate per councillor 2,147 2,396

Potential Representation if the MSDC membership was reduced

District 2021 2027
Number of councillors 48 48
Overall electorate

 

115,931 129,389
Average electorate per councillor 2415 2695

 

Parish Based on retaining 3 members Based on reducing to 2 members
HASSOCKS 2021 2027 2021 2027
Number of councillors 3 3 2 2
Electorate

 

6,554 7,669 6,554 7,669
Average electorate per councillor 2,185 2,556 3,277 3,835

Member’s views are sought.

9.5.      Parklands Copse – Flood initiative

Grounds & Environment considered a report from representatives of the Flood Working group and recommended the approval and the installation of a debris dam within Parklands Copse (subject to survey) which is in the ownership of the parish council. The proposal will assist in reducing and managing the potential risk of flooding within the village. Grounds & Environment Committee also sought to request full council to approve the release of funds to enable the survey to be completed by the Ouse and Adur Rivers Trust (OART).

GE20/74.1RESOLVED to approve the construction of debris dams within the reference area of Parklands Copse.

GE20/74.2 RESOLVED TO RECOMMEND to Full Council that funds are made available from General Reserves for the expenditure of £450 in payment for the survey and costings to be carried out by OART, with provision for funding for potential future costs relating to materials.

Subsequent to the initial report being considered by Grounds & Environment Committee further information has been obtained in respect of the overall cost of delivery of the scheme if it were to progress. A report is set out in Appendix 3 estimating that the overall cost of the scheme would be circa £1,000 which would include the survey and all construction materials, the majority of labour would be provided by volunteers via HKD.

If members are minded to approve the initial funding (£450) as requested by Grounds & Environment Committee and the survey supports the feasibility of the site utilisation. To enable the scheme to progress and programmed in without the need to come back to Council for further funding, it is suggested members may wish to consider allocating an overall budget of £1,000 in line with the attached report. Member’s views are sought.

Any funds drawn down would be from General reserves.

9.6.   Committee Membership – Members are requested to consider a request from Cllr Berggreen to sit on the Neighbourhood Plan Committee.

Member’s views are sought

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

11. Date of next meeting TBA

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.

Appendix 2
What is an electoral review?

Our electoral review will recommend new electoral arrangements for Mid Sussex District Council. We will propose:

  • the total number of councillors elected to the council in the future;
  • the number of wards;
  • the number of councillors representing each ward;
  • ward boundaries; and
  • the names of wards.

How to get involved

This is a public consultation and we welcome views from individuals and organisations across Mid Sussex on where they think new ward boundaries should be drawn.

We are minded to recommend that 48 councillors should be elected to Mid Sussex District Council in the future.

This is six fewer than the current number of councillors.

We are now inviting proposals to help us draw up a pattern of wards to accommodate 48 councillors.

In drawing up new electoral wards, we must balance three legal criteria, namely:

  • to deliver electoral equality: where each councillor represents roughly the same number of electors as others across the district;
  • that the pattern of wards should, as far as possible, reflect the interests and identities of local communities;
  • that the electoral arrangements should provide for effective and convenient local government.

We will treat all submissions equally, and judge each case on its merits and against the legal criteria.

If you wish to put forward a view, we would also urge you to ensure that evidence supports your submission.

For example, if you wish to argue that two areas should be included in the same electoral ward, make sure you tell us why they should be together, providing evidence about community facilities, ties, organisations, and amenities, rather than simply asserting that they belong together.

There is more advice on our website about how you can get involved in the consultation.

Our website features technical guidance that explains the process and our policies, as well as guidance on how to take part in each part of the process.

We have also set up a webpage dedicated to the review of Mid Sussex, where you can find all the relevant information.

You can also access interactive maps of the current ward boundaries across Mid Sussex on our specialist consultation portal. The portal also allows you to comment and upload documents directly to the site.

Appendix 3

Natural Flood Management Measures in Parklands Copse

Background

Following the serious flooding incident in the centre of Hassocks in October 2020 the Grounds and Environment Committee set up a Flood Working Group with the remit to review the evidence of flood incidence and risk in the parish and the potential solutions and make recommendations for future action.  The Working Group is chaired by Cllr Frances Gaudencio and attended by Parish Councillors Claire Tester, Bill Hatton, Kristian Berggreen and Alex Simmons; County Councillor Kirsty Lord; District Councillor Benedict Dempsey; HKD Transition representative Juliet Merrifield and Ouse and Adur River Trust (OART) representative Peter King.

As part of this work the Group reviewed the flood interventions proposed in reports by WSCC and HKD Transition and considered that the project where the Parish Council could add most value and make early progress on was carrying out ‘Natural Flood Management’ (NFM) measures in Parklands Copse, which is owned by the Parish Council.  The extent of the land ownership is shown below.  The NFM measures would take the form of one or more ‘debris dams’ placed in the stream, similar to those installed by HKD in Lag Wood as shown below.

To see the images of the map and debris dam please click here.

Grounds and Environment Committee

A report was taken to Grounds and Environment Committee on 11th March 2021 which explained the proposed project.  It is intended that the dam(s) will de-synchronise the flows near to where the two channels meet (from Butchers Wood and Parklands Copse). Slowing the flow in this location will further reduce the amount of water meeting Spitalford Bridge in the centre of the village, creating additional capacity within the culvert. This needs to be calculated but this should facilitate additional drainage from the road surface water drains which often back up once the level of water in the channel overtops the invert level of the pipes from the road. It is expected that this project would complement the work already done in Lag Wood in slowing the movement of water into the village centre.

The Committee was invited to approve the construction of debris dams in Parklands Copse and to support the undertaking of a survey by OART involving a walkover survey of the stream, map the suitable locations for installation of the debris dams, provide a plan and cost estimate for materials required and source these if necessary.  Members were invited to consider supporting the expenditure of £450 for the survey plus potential future costs for materials.

The Committee was very supportive of the project.  It was agreed that this was a low cost scheme which has been shown to be effective in reducing flooding whilst working with nature.  However, some concern was expressed over the risk of damage to the flora and fauna along the banks of the stream in Parklands Copse.  It was noted that it had been observed by Peter King that the banks of the stream are quite steep which would then reduce much of this risk.   Cllr Gaudencio also noted that this concern could be included in the remit provided to OART when undertaking the survey. Cllr Weir requested that any rise in water level was planned so that it did not affect the bridges in Parklands Copse in any way.

After a full discussion it was resolved to approve the construction of debris dams within the reference area of Parklands Copse; and to recommend to Full Council that funds are made available from General Reserves for the expenditure of £450 in payment for the survey and costings to be carried out by OART, with provision for funding for potential future costs relating to materials.

Request to Full Council for Project Budget
Since the Grounds and Environment Committee further information has been received from OART.  To address the concerns raised by some Committee members it was clarified that the top of the debris dam would be below the level of the bank top so all water would be contained within the stream and not be encouraged out onto the surrounding land, as such there would be no impact other than having deeper water in the channel. The footpath and land within Parklands Copse would not get wetter as a result of installing the debris dams.

It was also clarified that the works would require Ordinary Watercourse Consent (OWC) from Mid Sussex District Council – a technical consent process required for any works which effect the flow of a watercourse.  There is a fee payable to MSDC for this consent and some costs associated with preparing documents for the application. There would also be some costs for materials to construct the dam(s).  Whilst it is anticipated that the horizontal timber can be sourced from the woodland itself, the vertical stakes will need to be purchased.  The intention is that the works will be carried out by HKD Transition volunteers so there will be no labour costs.  Given the involvement of volunteers and the need to maintain momentum on the project, it would be helpful if Full Council could allocate a budget for the full project rather than just the survey.

Overall OART consider the project costs including the survey, OWC and materials would be approximately £950.  Allowing some contingency, a budget of £1,000 is considered reasonable to complete the project.

Recommendation
Council is asked to allocate a budget of £1,000 from reserves to the project for Natural Flood Management measures in Parklands Copse.