The MEETING of HASSOCKS PARISH COUNCIL will be held on Tuesday 12 October 2021 in Parish Centre, Adastra Park which is scheduled to commence at 7.30pm
Parish Clerk 6 October 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. A period of 15 minutes will be set aside in item 4 Public participation. However to maintain Covid safety it may be necessary to restrict attendance at this current time.
1.1 To accept Apologies for absence.
2. DISCLOSURE OF INTERESTS
2.1. To deal with any disclosure by Members of any dis-closable 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 14th September 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 items of business included in the agenda, in accordance with Standing Orders.
5. TO ACCEPT THE FOLLOWING MINUTES
5.1. Planning Committee – to note the minutes for 20th September,
5.2. Grounds & Environment Committee to note the minutes for 8th September 2021.
6.1. To approve the Financial Report and authorise the list of payments in the sum of £21,608.52 issued between 1 August 2021 and 31st August 2021. (Appendix 1). Please click here to view Appendix 1.
6.2. Annual Return 2020/21 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 2021. I am pleased to inform members that the accounts have been agreed without amendment by the External Auditors. (Appendix 2) The audit fee for the work undertaken for the financial year 2020/21 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. Please click here to view Appendix 2.
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 –oral report (Frances Gaudencio)
7.6. Reports from Councillors on meetings outside bodies where the Council is represented.
8. CHAIRMAN’S REPORT
8.1 Current matters (oral report)
9. CLERK’S REPORT
9.1 Adastra Park Ground Conditions
In December 2020 Members considered a proposal to utilise the funds allocated within the General Professional fees budget (20/21) to support the commissioning of a specialist drainage engineer to undertake a feasibility study into the drainage issues within the park and to determine whether a viable solution could be developed to resolve the current issues.
PC20/81.4 Members RESOLVED to approve the release of funds from the General Professional Fees budget to support the appointment of a suitable specialist to undertake this study.
It was also agreed that the Clerk should obtain quotations and report back to Council for consideration.
A project brief was developed and interested parties were sought; unfortunately due to the impact of Covid, significant workloads of the sector it proved difficult to secure any interest.
Earlier this year a company agreed in principle to undertake some work on the Council’s behalf at no cost in the preliminary stages. However after some initial work they have recently indicated they are no longer able to support the project due to other business pressures.
We have therefore sought to identify other companies with the appropriate expertise and capacity to progress this initiative and have obtained a proposal based on the project brief.
The proposal has been split into various elements of work to be covered which would include:
- Site visits
- Topographic & levels survey
- Soil samples
- Report & design
The above elements could be financed within the current existing Professional Fee budget (21/22) of £4,000.
If the Council were able to progress any proposed scheme the company have also indicated that they would also be able to support the drafting of tender documentation, managing the tender process and project managing the delivery of the scheme, although this would be at an additional cost.
As six months has lapsed since the original decision Members views are sought to:
- Indicate whether they are content to support the initial proposal to fund the study via the Professional fee (21/22) budget.
- Agree whether they wish the Clerk to commission the study from the appropriate specialist contractor, providing the initial cost is maintained within the Professional fee budget.
9.2 Adastra Park signage
In March 2021 the Grounds & Environment Committee (G&E) agreed to undertake a refresh of the signage within Adastra Park. The original intention was to fund this from the Park Repairs and Renewal budget. Normally this budget would have been sufficient to cover the costs of replacement however this year a higher level of unforeseen works have been incurred and further repair works will also be required later in the year, leaving insufficient funding to cover the cost of the proposed signage.
The signage design was approved by the Grounds & Environment committee earlier in the year and a detailed quote has now been obtained to supply 16 signs with fixings in the sum of £987 (plus VAT). The Council would also be required to fund the removal of existing signage and installation of the new.
It is proposed the signage will be affixed to existing posts and structures within the park.
To enable this project to be concluded Members are requested to consider funding the supply of signage from General Reserves.
Members are therefore invited to consider a request to release £987 from General reserves to enable the scheme to progress, it’s proposed that the installation costs will be contained within the existing Adastra Park Repairs and Renewal budget.
9.3 Release of SDNP CIL funding
The Grounds & Environment Committee (8th September 2021) considered a report setting out a number of proposals to fund various PROW works in the forthcoming year including the allocation of SDNP CIL funding currently held in Earmarked Reserves (EMR) which is yet to be allocated to support any specific initiatives.
Particular reference was made to a jointly funded scheme in partnership with WSCC (22/23) on PROW 13C, with an overall cost of circa £20,000 part funded with a contribution (to be agreed) from the Parish Council.
The proposal considered by G&E was to allocate the EMR SDNP CIL funding to contribute towards this specific scheme together with existing allocated PROW EMR. SDNP CIL funds are permitted to be expended on PROW improvements.
Current PROW improvements scheduled for this financial year will continue to be funded via an allocated revenue budget and allocated Earmarked Reserves (EMR).
Grounds & Environment Committee (8th September 2021)
i. Members are invited to note the expenditure on PROWs 11C and 23C from the current revenue budget (£3500) plus additional funding up to £2100 from the PROW Earmarked Reserves.
ii. Members are invited to approve the allocation of up to £6000 from the remaining PROW Earmarked Reserve Budget and SDNP CIL funding to enable a jointly financed improvement to Path 13C with the work carried out by WSCC.
1. G+E Committee is asked to support the programme of proposed PROW works for 2022/23 and seek to secure the allocation of funding of £41,000 for PROW improvements when the 2022/23 budget is being considered.
At this stage Members are only being requested to consider the allocation of CIL funding to PROW 13C and the additional funding request of £41,000 will need to be considered as part of the budget setting process later in the year when all Council priority funding initiatives are being considered together.
The progression of PROW 13C is reliant on WSCC therefore there is currently no guarantee that this scheme will be progressed at this point. As CIL funding is time limited, it is suggested that rather than tie the funds specifically to a named PROW scheme they are allocated to PROW EMR generally; if Members are happy to approve the assignment of SDNP CIL to support PROW initiatives.
This would mitigate the risk of the funds becoming time barred in the event the specific scheme does not progress and provide the Council with flexibility to support other PROW initiatives.
Members are therefore invited to consider approving the allocation of current SDNP CIL funding to support PROW initiatives.
9.4. South Downs National Park – Technical Advice Note (TAN) on community-based renewable energy
The Council has recently received an email from SDNP (Appendix 3) inviting the Council or individual members to feedback on TAN proposals in respect of community based renewable energy and have requested that the matter be considered at the next available meeting. It’s understood the consultation period will close on Monday 1st November 2021.
The SDNPA is preparing a Technical Advice Note (TAN) on community-based renewable energy proposals.
SDNPA would like to hear what guidance and information parishes would like to see in the TAN.
Currently it is proposed to include guidance on the following:
• What is micro-generation / community-based renewables?
• Do I need planning permission? Permitted Development Rights, Prior Approval
• Making a pre-app enquiry
• Submitting an application – what to include?
• Principles for considering appropriate location for renewables
• Principles for assessing impact on landscape
• Biodiversity and contributing to net gain
• Guidance on Policy SD51 criteria relating to loss of agricultural land
• Community Infrastructure Levy funding opportunities
• Case studies
Members are therefore requested to consider whether they wished to respond to this request as a collective body or as individuals taking into consideration the timeframe to do so.
Members’ views are sought
The SDNPA is preparing a Technical Advice Note (TAN) on community-based renewable energy proposals and we’d welcome the input of parish and town councils. The purpose of the TAN is to help applicants (householders, community organisations or local businesses) to make successful planning applications for micro-generation or community-based renewable energy schemes in the South Downs National Park (SDNP). Once published, the TAN will be a material consideration for development management.
We would like to hear what guidance and information parishes would like to see in the TAN. Currently it is proposed to include guidance on the following:
- What is micro-generation / community-based renewables?
- Do I need planning permission? Permitted Development Rights, Prior Approval
- Making a pre-app enquiry
- Submitting an application – what to include?
- Principles for considering appropriate location for renewables
- Principles for assessing impact on landscape
- Biodiversity and contributing to net gain
- Guidance on Policy SD51 criteria relating to loss of agricultural land
- Community Infrastructure Levy funding opportunities
- Case studies
Can I suggest you have this as an item to discuss at your next meeting, or if this isn’t possible can you circulate this email to your Councillors so they can feedback directly? We’d welcome comments on the scope of the TAN and if possible, please can you provide feedback by Monday 1st November. Please send any comments / thoughts to email@example.com
We are aiming to take the draft TAN to Planning Committee in January 2022, followed by a period of targeted consultation before the TAN is published.
Senior Planning Policy Officer
South Downs National Park Authority
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 9th November 2021 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 12th October 2021 at 7.30pm in Parish Centre, Adastra Park, Hassocks
Attendees: Parish Councillors Ian Weir, Alex Simmons, Kristian Berggreen, Leslie Campbell, Claire Tester, Bill Hatton, Sue Hatton, Kate Bailey, Robert Brewer and Frances Gaudencio.
Parish Clerk: Ian Cumberworth
Visiting Member(s): Kirsty Lord
PC21/64 APOLOGIES Cllr Jane Baker, Cllr Carolyn Barton, Cllr David Bunting and Cllr Nick Owens
PC21/65 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.
The minutes of the meeting held on the 14th September 2021 were accepted as a true and accurate record of the meeting.
PC21/67 PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
No members of the public were present.
To note the Minutes of the Planning Committee 20th September
To note the minutes of the Grounds & Environment Committee of the 8th September 2021.
Members considered the finance reports and the supporting bank statements and reviewed the payment list.
69.1 The Finance report and payments totalling £21,608.52 for the period ending 31st August 2021 were considered and APPROVED.
69.2 Annual Return 2020/21. Members were advised that the Council had just received the External Auditor Report and Certificate for 2020/21. The accounts have been signed off without amendment. The Council has therefore published its Notice of Conclusion of Annual Audit notifying residents that the Annual Return is available for inspection.
Members wished to place on record their thanks to the office team for all their work in relation to the financial governance of the authority.
70.1 County Councillors reports: – Cllr Kirsty Lord (KL)
Members were advised that County have decided to disband the County Local Committees (CLC) and replace them with a County Local Forum (CLF) covering the whole of Mid Sussex on a twelve month trial. It’s anticipated this group will meet three times annually with the first meeting being scheduled as a virtual meeting with the remaining two being in person meetings. It is hoped that these meetings will be held centrally in either Burgess Hill or Haywards Heath.
At present the intention is that this forum will not have a formal agenda or minutes.
County have taken the view to disband the CLC meetings in part as a result of the Community Initiative budget being cut.
Cabinet are due to meet on Tuesday 19th October to consider WSCC financial position, at present there is a predicted £8m funding gap however this may be subject to change with further government announcements pending as part of the forthcoming spending review.
At present a number of areas have been identified for savings/cuts including Adult services and Children’s services.
Cllr Lord then updated Members on a number of local highways issues:
Firstly the post outside Sainsbury’s has now been righted, it’s assumed a vehicle caused the initial damage.
Issues regarding the surface at Dale Avenue/Keymer Road have been raised and inspected by highways and KL is currently awaiting feedback on potential actions. Also issues have been raised regarding the pavement outside McColl’s with a view to undertaking repairs.
The Cycle consultation feedback is still being analysed and a report will come back later in the year.
KL indicated that she has had some preliminary discussions with highways regarding the possibility of providing a crossing near Adastra Park.
Members raised a query regarding whether Burgess Hill Recycling Centre will be moving over to an appointment system only. KL indicated that a trial had been run at various other tips across the county where it had been necessary to pre book time slots to visit. This could be done either online or by phone. Overall the scheme has been successful and well received and improved the traffic flow in and around the various sites. In light of these successful trials the intention is to move other tips including Burgess Hill over to pre booked time slots in the near future.
KL indicated that County are in the process of formulating their response to the 2nd runway proposal at Gatwick Airport and some initial work has commenced looking at the county’s speed limit policy generally.
70.2 District Councillor Report – Cllr Sue Hatton (SH)
The consultation on the future of Clare Hall has now concluded and cabinet are scheduled to consider a report at a future point.
MSDC have had to take on a number of additional responsibilities as a result of the pandemic.
There appears to have been an increase in fly tipping particularly during lockdown and SH raised concerns if this would be impacted further if the tips move over to a booking system.
Scrutiny Committee are due to review the electric car charging points within the borough.
On a positive note footfall is starting to increase at the Councils various leisure sites
70.3 Police Report – nothing to report
70.4 Rail Matters – Members were advised that in September there were 374 train cancellations of which 324 were cancelled outright and 50 ran but failed to stop at Hassocks. This is the second worst month performance this year.
Cllr Campbell indicated that former Councillor (Peter Gibbons) who continues to collate this data has indicated that he is happy to continue to do so but would like to see the information utilised.
Cllr Gaudencio indicated that she had recently attended a Hassocks Community Organisation (HCO) meeting and was approached by a representative formerly on the Rail group as to whether the Parish would be able to become more actively involved in rail matters.
Members discussed the option and acknowledged that no current members are currently commuters who would probably be best placed to progress this initiative as they would have first-hand experience of the service delivery, however members agreed that Cllr Gaudencio, Cllr Campbell and Cllr Weir meet to explore this opportunity prior to meeting with the HCO representative for further discussions.
70.5 Youth Initiatives – Cllr Gaudencio in her role on Hassocks Youth Projects (HYP) group which sits under the umbrella of Hassocks Community Organisation (HCO) updated members on a number of youth events that have or are scheduled to happen in the near future from seed funding provided by HCO. This has included a number of guided bike rides which have received positive feedback from attendees and the group are now scheduled to run various Bike maintenance courses in conjunction with HCO.
With regard to the support provided by the Parish Council these initiatives have not progressed at present as they are reliant on the schools giving the group the green light to use their facilities. It’s anticipated these funds will be ring-fenced until the school are in a position to allow the group to commence using the school facilities.
70.6 Report from Councillors on meetings of outside bodies where the Council is represented –
Cllr Gaudencio referenced the issue regarding rail matters discussed earlier in the agenda above when she recently attended a Hassocks Community Organisation (HCO) meeting as the Parish Council representative.
Cllr Sue Hatton raised some of the issues the Adastra Hall Management Committee have had to manage as they have reopened the facility. This has included where the hall have tried to put in place covid measures such as opening windows etc. to provide ventilation in line with advice provided which has then resulted in some complaints from neighbouring properties from the increase in noise.
PC21/71 CHAIRMANS REPORT – nothing to report.
PC21/72 CLERK’S REPORT
72.1 Adastra Park Ground Conditions – The Clerk introduced the report and advised Members that earlier in the year a report was considered at Grounds & Environment committee where it was agreed to utilise the 20/21 General professional fees budget to fund this initiative.
This was subsequently approved at full council to support the commissioning of a specialist drainage engineer to undertake a feasibility study into the drainage issues within the park and determine whether a viable solution could be developed.
A project brief was developed and interested parties sought however this proved difficult to secure any interest due to a number of reasons.
A potential contractor was identified who undertook some preliminary work at no cost however they have recently indicated they are now unable to support the project further.
The Clerk has therefore sought to identify other parties one of whom has submitted a proposal in response to the project brief.
Their proposal has been split into a number of elements including
- Site visits
- Topographic & level surveys
- Soil samples
- Report & design
These elements could be delivered within the existing budget for 2021/22 with the Budget £4,000.
The Clerk advised Members that as six months had lapsed since the initial decision members were being asked to consider whether they were content to support this initiative from this year’s professional fee budget (2021/22).
If members were minded to support this proposal they would also need to determine whether they wished the Clerk to commission the study.
Members discussed the impact of the flooding/surface water within the park with some members expressing the view that it seemed to be getting worse. The Clerk indicated that a Cricket match had to be cancelled earlier in the summer as a result of waterlogging in the outfield.
Members expressed the view that the Council needed to be in a position to be able to make an informed decision as whether there is a viable drainage solution for the park which this proposal should do.
Members therefore RESOLVED to APPROVE the use of the 2021/22 General Professional Fees budget to fund the appointment of the drainage consultant to undertake a study on Adastra Park.
RESOLVED to APPROVE that the Clerk commission the study and that a report be brought back to the Council for consideration at a future point.
72.2 Adastra Park Signage – Members were informed that in March 2021 the Grounds & Environment Committee (G & E) agreed to undertake a refresh of the signage within the park.
It was originally intended to utilise the park repairs and renewal fund budget however a higher level of unforeseen works have been required this year and further works are likely to be required later in the year.
The signage design was previously approved by G & E committee and a quote has now been obtained to supply sixteen signs with fixings in the sum of £987 (plus vat).
Members were requested to consider a request to release £987 from General Reserves to enable the scheme to progress. It was proposed that the installation costs will be met from the remaining park repairs and renewal fund budget.
After careful consideration Members RESOLVED to APPROVE the release of £987 from General Reserves to fund the replacement signs for Adastra Park.
72.3 Release of SDNP CIL Funding – Grounds and Environment committee (G & E) considered a report regarding the allocation of South Downs National Park Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) funding currently unallocated within the Councils Earmarked Reserves to support future Public Rights of Way (PROW) initiatives.
G & E supported the principle of allocating this funding to support PROW initiatives and considered specifically ring-fencing this funding in relation to PROW 13c.
Members were advised that the progression of 13c is reliant on WSCC part funding the scheme and at present no firm commitment has been provided as to when/if this will be realised.
The Clerk informed Members that CIL from the national park is time limited and required to be expended within 5 years of receipt therefore it was suggested that rather than allocate funding to a specific scheme at this stage (that may or may not happen) if members were supportive of the proposal to allocate SDNP CIL towards supporting PROW initiatives it was suggested that members allocate the fund to PROW EMR generally rather than specify a particular scheme. The rationale for this was that it would provide the council with greater flexibility to ensure that funds are expended within the time limited period so that monies are not required to be returned.
Members discussed the use of CIL contributions generally and what they could be used for, some expressed the view that as the funds came from the national park ideally they should be expended within the park. The Clerk informed members that based on current guidance there is no limitation on where it can be utilised within the Councils local area therefore it would not necessarily have to be spent within the National Park.
Members considered the proposal to agree to utilise the SDNP CIL funding to support PROW initiatives.
Members RESOLVED to APPROVE the current SDNP CIL funding to support PROW initiatives
Members then considered whether the SDNP CIL fund should be assigned to a specific scheme or whether it should be held in the general PROW Earmarked Reserves.
Members RESOLVED to APPROVE that the funds should be held within the PROW EMR and not assigned to a specific project and drawn down when required.
72.4 South Downs National Park – Technical Advice Note (TAN) on community based renewable energy. Members were invited to consider the contents of an email set out in Appendix 3 and invited the Parish Council to comment on the proposed TAN.
Members discussed the options of approach and felt that the bullet points seemed to address the areas however they felt they would be better placed to comment once more detail was provided once the draft document is being consulted on rather than at this time.
PC21/73 URGENT MATTERS AT THE DISCRETION OF THE CHAIRMAN – None
PC21/74 DATE OF NEXT MEETING
To note that the date of the next Parish Council meeting is Tuesday 9th November 2021 at 7.30pm