The MEETING of HASSOCKS PARISH COUNCIL will be held on Tuesday 8 February 2022 in Parish Centre, Adastra Park, Hassocks which is scheduled to commence at 7.30pm
Parish Clerk 2 February 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. 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 11th January 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 note the minutes for 4th January 2022 and the 24th January 2022.
6.1. To approve the Financial Report and authorise the list of payments in the sum of £15,368.21 issued between 1 December 2021 and 31st December 2021. (Appendix 1). (To view Appendix 1 please click here).
7.1. West Sussex County Councillor Report
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 Grants (Phase 2)
The purpose of this report is to inform the Council of the Grant applications received as part of the second phase of awards.The Council agreed a total budget of £4,000 for grants and donations to local groups and organisations for 2021/22. The current grant application process is set out for Members information in Appendix 2.
Hassocks Parish Council Community Grants Scheme 2021/22
Hassocks Parish Council is pleased to announce that it is now inviting applications for community grants for 2021/22. Projects must be achievable within a year and grants are for a maximum of £600 each.
The Council has powers to give financial aid under various statutes, notably the Local Government Act 1972:
- S137 in respect of expenditure for purposes not otherwise authorised, which are considered to be in the interests of, and bringing direct benefit to the area and its community
There is a limited budget each year for grants and the amounts requested can sometimes exceed the fund available. It is therefore important that all questions on the application form are answered as fully as possible to provide a detailed description of your proposed project/activity.
All grants are at the discretion of the Council. The Council is not bound by previous decisions, and retrospective grants will not be considered.
Once awarded the Council will require written confirmation of how the grant has been spent. This may include a report, photographs, copies of receipts etc. This must be provided by the end of the financial year.
Applications will be considered twice yearly by Council in September and February.
The Council supports voluntary and charitable organisations that provide services of direct benefit to the residents of the parish. The granting of funds will be considered in line with the aims and priorities set out within the Council’s Business Plan:
- Our Neighbourhood Plan
- Engaging with the Community
- A great place to live, work and enjoy
- A Parish for all
- Connecting our village
- Our staff and ourselves
Applications should consider:
- The benefit to the local community
- Increasing local peoples engagement and interest in local democracy
- Promoting involvement in community life.
- Bringing together people from different backgrounds.
- Reducing inequalities.
- Supporting individuals with disabilities.
- Engaging young people in positive activities.
- Supporting the needs of the elderly.
Each award is considered as a ‘one off’ grant and are therefore limited. However, this should not deter groups from applying. Applications will be particularly welcome from:-
- Voluntary groups/organisations that provide services to other people.
- Voluntary groups/organisations that support disadvantaged people to access something they could not otherwise access.
- Applications to purchase items that will be shared by many.
- Different and innovative events or projects that benefit the community.
- Grants will only be made to organisations (not individuals) with bank accounts.
- Applications will not be considered from private organisations operated as a business to make a profit or surplus.
- Applications from education, health or social services establishments will be considered where the organisation can demonstrate that it is working in partnership with other groups and where there are benefits to the wider community.
- Only voluntary or not for profit organisations will be considered.
- The organisation must provide, or propose to provide, an activity or service that is considered to be clearly needed by the local community or by a particular group of residents.
- All applications must specify a specific item(s)/purpose to be funded.
- No organisation will be allowed more than one application in any one financial year of the Council. (April 1st – March 31st)
- Any money granted will be paid directly to the organisation and not to any individual or private bank account.
- Once paid, the money must be used for the intended purpose and for no other unless so specifically approved by the Council.
- Hassocks Parish Council reserves the right to reclaim the grant in the event of it not being used for the purpose specified on the application.
- The recipient organisation should acknowledge Hassocks Parish Council as a funding source in any promotional matters.
- The Grant budget will be determined in advance of the financial year and will not normally be exceeded.
- All grant requests must be made on the appropriate form.
||Air Ambulance – Kent , Surrey & Sussex
||United Reform Church
||4 Sight Vision Support
||South Downs Refugee Group
||West Sussex Brighton & Hove Age UK
||Sussex Clubs for Young People
||Grants Awarded – Phase 1 September 2021
Based on the above allocations there remains up to £1,670 available within the budget to be potentially allocated as part of the phase 2 of awards.
Phase 2 Grant Applications – February 2022
||Hurstpierpoint Gymnastics Club
||Request to support for the club in its recovery from covid
||UHS NHS Trust
||Contribution to fund rent of a room (Hurstpierpoint) to enable midwifery services to be delivered locally
||Up to £2163.20
(or £41.60 per day)
||Life Centre **
||Trauma Counselling service
||Adastra Park – May day community event
||Hassocks & Hurst Little Bees
||HKD Transition – Floods & Suds Group
||Acquisition of gauge boards to monitor stream flows
||Grants applied for.
Supporting documents for each of the above applications are attached as (Appendix 3) setting out the purpose of grant sought. ** indicates formal application forms have not been submitted. (To view Appendix 3 please click here).
Based on the current submissions the total value sought exceeds the remaining grant budget allocation therefore Members will need to determine the level of funding awarded.
RECOMMENDATION: The Council is invited to consider the above applications, and determine the grant awards for 2021/22 phase 2 taking into account the contents of the applications and the available budget.
9.2 Interim Internal Audit Report. Fidelity Insurance level.
|Internal Auditor recommendation: To review the level of fidelity Guarantee Cover which currently stands at £200,000 which is setup to protect the Council against potential fraudulent activity of staff. The current level is below our overall account holding at any one time and was set initially in consultation with our broker therefore the Council could be exposed to some risk.
Risk mitigation: The Council currently has a number of mitigating measures in place to reduce the risk of this eventuality including: Institute an internal audit system for all financial records; independent accountant performs a full audit annually; Bank accounts are reconciled regularly; Established countersignature procedures for checks; Security procedures for all computer operations; formal management procedures; formal employment policy for hiring new employees; Purchased Fidelity Guarantee Insurance. On all recent audits no issues have been identified with good control frameworks confirmed in place and operation.
Members were requested to consider the following options set out below at the last full council meeting (PC21/94.2)
The Councils insurance is due for renewal at the end of May therefore members may wish to either:
a) Retain the current level of fidelity cover and noting the risk mitigation measures in place.
b) Increase the overall coverage immediately and attract an increased premium.
c) To review the level of coverage when the policy is reviewed in June 22 as part of the insurance contract.
Members requested that prior to determining any action to be taken they requested the Clerk to seek confirmation of potential costs associated with increasing coverage which are now set out below:
To increase the level of cover from the existing coverage of £200,000 to:
£300,000 additional premium £217.45 per annum
£400,000 additional premium £289.90 per annum
Member’s views are sought as to what action they wish to consider.
10. Queens Jubilee – Verbal report
11. URGENT MATTERS AT THE DISCRETION OF THE CHAIRMAN for noting and/or inclusion on a future agenda.
12. DATE OF NEXT MEETING
To note that the date of the next Council meeting is Tuesday 8th March 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 8th February 2022 at 7.30pm in Parish Centre, Adastra Park, Hassocks
Attendees: Parish Councillors Ian Weir, Kristian Berggreen, Alex Simmons, David Bunting, Nick Owens, Carolyn Barton, Frances Gaudencio and Cllr Leslie Campbell.
Parish Clerk: Ian Cumberworth
Visiting Member(s): – County Councillor Kirsty Lord
PC21/97 APOLOGIES Cllrs, Kate Bailey, Jane Baker, Robert Brewer, Bill Hatton, Claire Tester and Sue Hatton.
PC21/98 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 11th January 2022 were accepted as a true and accurate record of the meeting.
PC21/100 PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
No members of the public were present.
Members noted the Minutes of the informal Planning Committee meetings on the 4th January and 24th January 2022.
102.1 Members considered the finance reports and the supporting bank statements and reviewed the following payment list.
The Finance report and payments totalling £15,368.21 (Appendix 1) for the period ending 31st December 2021 were considered and APPROVED.
103.1 County Councillors reports: – Cllr Kirsty Lord (KL)
Budget & Precept
WSCC are scheduled to hold their budget meeting on 18th February which will be webcast. Consideration will be given to proposals to save £11m from services most of which will be within adult services. These savings are in-line with those identified as part of a programme of savings, identified and agreed, in previous years. County are currently projecting a funding gap of £25m in 2023/24.
County are proposing to apply the maximum precept increase allowed of 1.99% towards the overall running costs of the Council and the 3% increase to support Adult Social Care
KL is following up with highways as to why certain re-instatement works including at Stonepound and the lines under the railway bridge have not yet been completed.
Speeding & Road safety:
Following a recent fatal accident Cllr Lord has recently met with residents at Beaconhurst together with representatives from highways. Highways are now exploring options to potentially improve signage and road markings in the vicinity.
Cllr Lord indicated that she felt work on road safety and speeding was an issue that continued to be raised and requested that the Parish Council appoint a representative who can work with her on issues relating to speeding and road safety within the parish.
Cllr Weir indicated that he would be happy to undertake this role.
103.2 District Councillor Report – Clair Hall – MSDC Cabinet are scheduled to meet next Monday (14th February) to set up a steering group to oversee the work to develop investment options for the Clair Hall site.
The working group will consist of the leader of Haywards Heath Town council
Cllr Pulfer, MSDC Cabinet members for both Economic growth and Community, representatives from Estates and Facilities, plus the leader of MSDC council (total 5) together with 7 supporting officers, and the clerk of Haywards Heath Town council.
It is not proposed to have any cross-party representation therefore the only opportunity for other members to comment will be when the proposals are considered at Full Council as Cabinet is a standalone executive committee.
Budget: the forecast revenue outturn position for 2021/22 at the end of December is showing a projected net overspend of £1,191,000 against the original budget which is worse than previously reported.
This is due in some part to Covid expenditure on the further unbudgeted leisure centre re-opening costs. (£900,000); however this will be partly offset from the leisure Covid support reserve created in 2020/21 of £500,000 which will reduce the forecast overspend to £691,000.
It is anticipated that with the various compensation funds and the levelling up money being applied for, that this overspend could be reduced further. Further details can be viewed via MSDC website for the scheduled Cabinet meeting (Monday 14th February)
Review of District plan. Members may be aware that a huge paper draft of the review of the district plan, including some policies, had been due to be discussed at Scrutiny Housing Committee recently.
Members raised concerns over the extent to which the wider membership had been involved in the process and how the revised plan was drafted. This specifically related to the new call for sites (site selection process) and how the proposed sites were evaluated and selected. Concerns were raised that it did not appear to have been subject to the same rigours of site selection that were previously assessed when the original plan was drafted.
- Members felt that a working group should be established to look at all sites in comparison to each other.
- The Leader of the Council was asked to write to Mr Gove (MP) requesting that the number of houses to be delivered within the district should be reduced.
- Members agreed the District Plan review process should be ‘paused ‘in respect of the allocation of sites and that a working party be established to consider the next steps.
At the moment, officers are deciding the scope of work to be specifically looked at by the working party.
Needless to say, the report caused a lot of concern and anxiety with regard to the proposed placement of large sites, this information can be viewed via MSDC website.
103.3 Police Report – none
103.4 Rail Matters – Cllr Campbell advised members that former Cllr Gibbons will no longer provide the monthly rail performance data.
Members confirmed that discussions had been held with HCO (Catherine Cassidy) with respect to re-establishing the rail group, however it appears limited appetite exists at this present time to do so. Catherine Cassidy continues to act as a representative at the stakeholder meetings and alternative approaches have been adopted that appear to make some impact. Members discussed if the rail group were to be re-created it would need to recruit new blood and preferably users of the service. It is understood that an article from HCO will appear in a future publication of the local press which may generate some interest the level of which could inform any decision regarding the re-establishment of a rail group.
Cllr Weir informed members that the work currently being undertaken by Network Rail will extend beyond February as they are scheduled to undertake significant additional works on the Brighton line which will include not only embankment and line repairs in Hassocks but wider works generally on the upgrading of the Brighton Mainline. Work is likely to continue into April.
103.5 Youth Initiatives – Cllr Gaudencio in her capacity on Hassocks Youth Projects informed members that a number of initiatives had or are scheduled to run in the near future although some of the intended initiatives had not been possible to deliver due to covid restrictions in operation at some of the facilities.
Cllr Gaudencio sought clarification as to whether funding previously granted by the parish council to support youth initiatives identified for specific events could be utilised to fund alternative youth activities being organised instead.
The Clerk indicated that the Parish Council provided funding to support youth initiative projects. The delivery of the originally intended programme of events has been impacted by the pandemic and therefore it had been necessary to identify alternative projects. It would seem reasonable that this funding could be used to support the alternative initiatives as this will still support the parish council’s objective of supporting youth projects within the village. Members were supportive of this approach.
103.6 Report from Councillors on meetings of outside bodies where the Council is represented –
Cllr Gaudencio advised members that she recently attended a virtual meeting of the Hassocks Community organisation (HCO). HCO were updated on the work of Flood Working Group now to be renamed Flood Action Group and the intention to progress a Community-led plan as part of the Neighbourhood Plan review.
Cllr Owens advised members that HKD energy will be funding the installation of solar panels on St Lawrence’s school in Hurstpierpoint.
PC21/104 CHAIRMANS REPORT – Cllr Weir recently attended a meeting run by WSCC regarding the roll-out of Electric Vehicle (EV) charge points across the county. WSCC have entered into a partnership with a private company (ConnectedKerb) to install and manage Electric Vehicle chargers across the County over a 5-10-year period. ConnectedKerb will install 7KW Fast chargers themselves and through a partner-company (Osprey) will also provide Rapid (50KW) chargers in selected locations.
Cllr Weir informed members that MSDC have indicated that they are proposing to install up to 4 x 7kw charge points in the Orion Car Park and these will hopefully be in operation by end of March 2022. The option of installing chargers in Dale Avenue is also being explored which would be available for use to not only visitors but flat owners as well. MSDC propose to roll out 80 chargers across Mid Sussex.
PC21/105 CLERK’S REPORT
The Clerk introduced the report and informed Members this report represented the second phase of applications being considered this financial year.
The overall budget for the year was £4,000 of which £2,330 was allocated at its September meeting therefore members have potentially £1,670 to allocate at today’s meeting. The Council has received funding bids for up to £5,313 therefore members will be required to review each grant application in turn and determine the funding allocation if any in each case.
Members were requested to review the table set out on page 2 of the agenda which set out details of the phase 1 grants awarded in September together with a summary of the current funding bids received for phase 2 which were too be considered.
To assist members the grant application process and conditions were set out in Appendix 2 and the six current grant applications and supporting information set out in Appendix 3.
The Council carefully considered each of the following grant applications taking into account the purpose of the funding request and the level of support being sought together with the content set out within the respective submissions.
The following grant requests were considered for phase 2 of the 2021/22 grant scheme.
||Hurstpierpoint Gymnastics Club – the purpose of the funding was to subsidise costs for Hassocks based children who attend the club. The finances of the club had been significantly impacted as a result of the pandemic
|Members RESOLVED to award the sum of £600
||UHS NHS Trust – to secure funding towards room hire to enable antenatal and postnatal appointments to be run locally in Hurstpierpoint.
||Up to £2163.20
|Members were supportive of the service however they felt there was insufficient information within the application to make an informed decision at this point and they wished to have a greater understanding as to why the NHS were seeking contributions from a Parish Council. Members indicated that this request may be reviewed at a later point however at the present time they RESOLVED not to award any funding
||Life Centre – to support trauma referrals in Hassocks
|Members RESOLVED to award the sum of £200
||Michelle Binks – Community May Day event within Adastra Park
|Members RESOLVED to award the sum of £550
||Hassocks & Hurst Little Bees
This group primarily provides activities for toddlers aged 2-5 years and seeking funding to contribute towards buying additional equipment. This is a relatively new group and the Clerk indicated that if funding was approved it should be conditional on two points prior to release of any funds.
Condition 1 The bank account is successfully set-up post the scheduled meeting with the bank &
Condition 2 That the draft constitution provided is formally adopted and the appropriate persons are appointed to the group.
| Members RESOLVED subject to above conditions being satisfied to award £300
||HKD Transition – Floods & Suds Group.
The group sought funding to contribute towards the acquisition and installation of gauge boards including on land owned by the Council (Parklands Copse).
The Clerk advised members that this appeared to overlap with the work of the Flood working Group of which HKD are representatives of and in light of some of the proposals directly relating to the Councils land it would appear to be more appropriate to fund this from the Councils (22/23) budget for flooding initiatives and not this year’s community grant budget.
| Members RESOLVED to fund this initiative via its 2022/23 flooding initiative budget rather than this year’s grant allocation
Member resolved to allocate £1,650 from the remaining 2021/22 grants budget in relation to the phase 2 grant applications.
105.2 Interim Internal Audit Report
The Clerk advised members that he had sought costs from the Councils insurer to increase its level of Fidelity Insurance cover as requested from the previous Council meeting. Costs were obtained to increase the coverage from £200,000 to £300,000 and £400,000.
Members were therefore requested to consider the following three options taking into consideration the risk mitigation measures in place and the increased cost.
- Retain the current level of cover noting the mitigation measures in place.
- Increase the overall coverage immediately and attract a higher premium
- Review the level of coverage when the insurance policy is reviewed in May 2022.
Members discussed the options and agreed that in light of the Insurance contract coming up for renewal in the near future members RESOLVED to review the level of coverage at the time of renewal.
The consensus was that this should look to provide sufficient coverage to limit the Councils potential financial exposure.
The Clerk advised members that insurance proposals would be brought back to Council as part of the market testing process.
PC21/106 QUEENS JUBILEE Members were invited to consider whether the Parish Council wished to mark the occasion.
Members felt that the Parish should mark the occasion and discussed a number of potential options including the planting of additional trees around the village or provision of some additional planters in the high street.
The Clerk advised members that efforts are being made to resolve issues with one of the existing planters in the high street which will hopefully be resolved to allow the proposed plant scheme to be delivered
It was acknowledged that the colour scheme for this year’s village hanging baskets will be red/white and blue in recognition of the occasion. Members were tasked with exploring potential sites for additional planters and to liaise with WSCC if necessary. It was agreed that a report will be brought back to committee at a later point setting out potential options.
PC21/107 URGENT MATTERS AT THE DISCRETION OF THE CHAIRMAN – none
PC21/108 DATE OF NEXT MEETING
To note that the date of the next Parish Council meeting is Tuesday 8th March 2022 at 7.30pm