HASSOCKS PARISH COUNCIL
To: All Members of the Neighbourhood Plan Committee (Bill Hatton, Ian Weir, Carolyn Barton, Kristian Berggreen and Don McBeth) with copies to all other Councillors for information.
A meeting of the NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN COMMITEE will be held at the Parish Centre, Adastra Park, Hassocks on Thursday 13th July 7.30pm.
Parish Clerk 4th July 2023
1. TO ACCEPT APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
2. TO ACCEPT DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
3. ELECTION OF CHAIR & VICE CHAIR
4. MINUTES to accept the minutes of the Neighbourhood Plan Committee held on 20th April 2023 (previously circulated).
5. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
6. Hassocks Priorities Statement
Full Council considered the Hassocks Priorities Statement on 13th June 2023 and agreed to adopt the proposed document as drafted. (Appendix 1). To view Appendix 1 please click here.
Members were therefore firstly requested to consider adopting the statement as drafted and secondly determine how they wish to progress this initiative in light of the lead councillor on this initiative no longer sitting on the council. Although the priorities statement has no formal standing at present it should supplement the Neighbourhood plan and this approach is currently being promoted via the emerging Levelling up bill. The priorities statement covers a wider remit than planning and could be used to inform the Councils business plan and future developer contributions (section 106 or CIL).
Members acknowledged that the Priorities Statement process was evolving with Hassocks being one of the early authorities embarking on this approach, therefore members expressed the view that further consideration needed to be given as to how the next phase of the initiative is delivered.
At present the priorities remain high level therefore consideration will also need to be given as to whether further work is required on these prior to further consultation.
Members felt that this piece of work should be referred back to the Neighbourhood Plan committee to progress, and specifically, to explore the practicalities and potential resources needed.
Therefore, members were firstly invited to consider the Priorities Statement as drafted and the recommendation from the Neighbourhood Plan Committee for formal adoption.(PC23/44.2)
Members RESOLVED to APPROVE the draft Priorities statement as drafted.
Members where then requested to consider how they wished to progress this statement.
Members RESOLVED to refer the approved Priorities Statement back to the Neighbourhood Plan Committee to determine how the next phases of the project should progress.
The SDNP are actively encouraging parishes to develop priorities statements and previously provided a presentation as to why authorities should consider doing so. The attached link sets out the contents of this presentation which provides further background in relation to Priority Statements.
7. Any other business
8. URGENT MATTERS at the discretion of the Chairman for noting and/or inclusion on a future agenda.
9. DATE OF NEXT MEETING. 28th September 2023.
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.
All members of the public are welcome to attend to attend meetings of the Parish Council and its Committees. Item 5 – 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.
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.
Minutes of the NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN COMMITTEE meeting held on Thursday 13th July 2023 at 19.30 pm
Attendees: Parish Councillors: Carolyn Barton, Ian Weir, Bill Hatton and Kristian Berggreen
Clerk: Ian Cumberworth
Absent without apologies: Don McBeth
NP23/02 DISCLOSURE OF INTERESTS: None
NP23/03 ELECTION OF CHAIR & VICE CHAIR
The Clerk introduced the first item on the agenda which was to elect a Chair and Vice Chair for this committee for the forthcoming year.
The Clerk indicated that he had not received any expressions of interest outside of this meeting, therefore was seeking nominations for both positions.
Cllr Barton was proposed as the Chair for the Committee which was seconded therefore members RESOLVED to APPOINT Cllr Barton as the Chair of this Committee.
The Clerk indicated that as not all Committee members were present at this evenings meeting members may wish to consider holding over the decision to elect a vice chair until the next meeting therefore providing the opportunity for all members to have the opportunity to be considered for this role.
Members were in agreement with this approach and agreed to consider the appointment of the Vice Chair at the next Neighbourhood Plan meeting.
Minutes of the Neighbourhood Plan Committee held on the 20th April 2023 were agreed and accepted as a true record.
NP23/05 PUBLIC PARTICIPATION.
There was one member of the public present who had been involved in the formulation of the priorities statement and indicated they would be happy to clarify any elements on the process members may have.
NP23/06 Hassocks Priorities Statement
The Clerk informed members that Priorities statement (Appendix 1) was considered and formerly accepted without amendment at its full council meeting in June where it was agreed to refer the item back, to this committee and to consider further as to how this initiative could be taken forward.
As way of additional information the Clerk had incorporated a link to a presentation previously provided by the South Downs National Park (SDNP) encouraging parishes to consider developing priority statements and the context behind this.
It remains that few authorities seem to have progressed this process (from published searches) at the present time, therefore Hassocks Parish Council appears to be one of the first to embark on this route therefore limited detailed information is available.
It is understood that the SDNP are shortly to publish further guidance for parishes in respect of priorities statements.
In drafting the statement a consultation was undertaken earlier this year the outcome of which is currently displayed on the information boards in the Council chamber and on the councils website.
The Clerk advised that it is believed the next consultation phase would follow a similar route to that of a Regulation 14 Neighbourhood Plan consultation. It would then follow that a further drop-in event would likely be organised to provide opportunities to comment on the finalised document.
Concerns had been raised at full council by some members with regards to the resources/commitment/impacts and further understanding of what would be involved to progress the statement.
The initial rationale for the introduction of the Council embarking on this approach, was that it would be a light touch approach in comparison to reviewing the current neighbourhood plan, and was being promoted as part of the levelling up legislation which at the current time is continuing to progress through the House of Commons.
It should be acknowledged that at the current time this process would not have the same standing as a neighbourhood plan but this may become clearer once the legislation is enacted.
Member’s views were sought as to how they wished to take this forward at this stage and the resource implications it may have.
Cllr Barton invited member views.
Cllr Weir indicated he felt that currently the document was at a too high level and more tangible detail needed to be incorporated on the identified priorities to make the consultation process more meaningful, and to encourage wider engagement. It was also felt that some of the aspirations identified, the Parish Council are not directly responsible for delivery therefore the council’s role would be to focus on lobbying the respective agencies to deliver the aspirations of the community.
Cllr Weir expressed the view that with more detail incorporated into the document this should enable consultees to make more informed views on the priorities statement. Cllr Hatton and Cllr Barton echoed these views. It was suggested that one approach might be to form a working group to work up further detail on the current document and this could involve other members/individuals if required similar to that in place for the Neighbourhood Plan Working group.
Members were informed that the Levelling up Bill is currently working its way through parliament but currently the element within the Bill covering priorities statements and Neighbourhood Plans had not been challenged and remains the same as originally drafted. The expectation would be that the implementation of the levelling up element would be a practical and implementable process.
The SDNP are due to publish more information for parishes and produce some suggested templates for Priorities statements shortly. In respect of the SDNP their expectation is that parishes within the Park will be able to provide a draft priorities statement sometime later this year to feed into the SDNP Plan review.
Members had discussed previously how they thought some of the actions could be incorporated into the Council’s business plan but felt further thought was needed as to how this would work in practice and how it could be presented.
Members discussed specific elements in more detail within the current document and the challenges in addressing some of these and how these could be better represented/supported.
Members discussed the next phase and felt that a focus group comprising of members of this committee should be tasked with reviewing the current document and expanding/clarifying the existing priorities, with a view to breaking them down to more meaningful (less high level) aspirations to encourage wider engagement at the next stage of consultation. Members would also need to have regard to the weighting of some of the issues that were identified through the initial consultation process.
It was proposed that the refreshed document would then be considered by this committee at its September meeting who would then determine how to take the project forward.
NP23/07 Any Other Business. None
NP23/08 Urgent Matters. None
NP23/09 DATE OF NEXT MEETING. 28th September 2023.