Policy, Resources & Communications

Agenda

HASSOCKS PARISH COUNCIL

To:      All Members of the Policy Resources & Communications Committee: (Kate Bailey, Don McBeth, Paul Shepherd and Lesley Cruickshank-Robb) with copies to all other Councillors for information.

A meeting of the POLICY RESOURCES & COMMUNICATIONS COMMITTEE will be held on Tuesday 16 July 2024 at 7.30pm in the Parish Centre, Adastra Park, Hassocks.

Parish Clerk 9 July 2024

1. TO ACCEPT APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

2. TO ACCEPT DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

3. ELECTION OF CHAIR

4. MINUTES to accept the Minutes of the Policy Resources & Communications Committee held on 28 May 2024. (Previously Circulated).

5. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

6. Remembrance Day/Parade – (verbal update) to provide members with an update of ongoing discussions regarding future arrangements.

7. Communications – (Update).

8. Policy Resources & Communications Committee Terms of Reference – Members are requested to consider its current terms of reference which are set out as Appendix 1. Member’s views are sought.

9. Training – The attached paper set out in Appendix 2 details the Member training programme currently available for the year, Members are requested to note the contents and to consider whether representatives of this Committee wish to attend any of these sessions prior to the wider circulation to Members for consideration.

10. Business Plan – A recent operational meeting was held to review the proposed Business Plan for 2024 – 2029 which has been amended to reflect member’s comments who were present at the meeting. (Appendix 3).

Members are invited to review the latest version of the proposed plan and suggest any further revisions prior to the document being considered at full Council.

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

12. DATE OF NEXT MEETING 3 September 2024.

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.

Confidential

13. Minutes to accept the confidential minutes of the Policy Resources & Communications Committee held on the 28 May 2024 (previously circulated).

14. Staffing Matters (Appendix 4)

Please Note
All members of the public are welcome 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.

Appendix 1

HASSOCKS PARISH COUNCIL TERMS OF REFERENCE


POLICY RESOURCES & COMMUNICATIONS COMMITTEE

Membership of the Policy Resources & Communications Committee

1.    The Policy Resources & Communications Committee comprises of nine Council members and is subject to a quorum of a minimum of three members.

2.    Membership of the Committee will be decided at the Annual Parish Council meeting each year, subject to the proviso that the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Parish Council shall, in any event, be ex officio members

Chairperson

3.    The Chair of the committee will be elected by the committee at its first meeting after the Annual Parish Council meeting.

4.    The Vice-Chair of the committee will be elected by the committee at its first meeting after the Annual parish meeting.

Conduct of Meetings

5.    All meetings of the Policy Resources & Communications Committee will be convened in accordance with the Parish Council’s standing orders.

6.    Meetings will be minuted by the Clerk/Deputy Clerk to the Council, another member of staff or a member of the committee.

Responsibilities

7.    To make recommendations to Full Council in respect of Standing Orders/Financial Regulations and the functions of Committees and Sub-Committees.

8.    To make recommendations to Full Council in respect of overseeing all issues relating to Council employees including making recommendations to full Council in respect of the appointment and dismissal of the Parish Clerk

9.    To make recommendations to Full Council in respect of dealing with matters relating to the general day to day administration of the Council.

10.  To make recommendations to Full Council in respect of dealing with matters   specifically referred by the Council or any committee and with all matters not specifically referred to or delegated to any other committees

11.  To make recommendations to Full Council in respect of dealing with the terms and conditions of service of the Council’s staff and making appropriate recommendations relying on the National Association of Local Councils where appropriate

12.  To make recommendations to Full Council in respect of any legal agreement that the Council might enter into.

13.  To receive the budget recommendations of committees and recommend to the Council the precept for the next financial year.

14.  To monitor the availability of Section 106 Funds and to respond on behalf of Council to non-Council applications for Section 106 funding

15.   To oversee the provision of training for Councillors and staff development.

16.   Responsibility for the overall management and content of the Parish Website.

17.   Audit /Governance and the report of the Auditor

18.  To review the Councils policies to ensure they remain compliant with current regulations and reviewed in the context of local needs

Financial Responsibilities

19.  Policy Resources & Communications Committee shall be empowered to:

Authorise expenditure provided such expenditure is:-

Consistent with the responsibilities and areas of operation of the Policy Resources & Communications Committee

and

Within the budget set for Policy Resources & Communications as part of the Council’s overall budget or within any additional budget for Policy Resources & Communications authorised by Full Council during the course of the financial year.

 

Reviewed SEPT 17

Appendix 2

COUNCILLOR TRAINING


Councillors: Roles, Responsibilities & Working Relationships

This 2 hour Zoom training session covers the fundamental aspects of the role of a councillor and is recommended as an excellent starting point for new councillors as well as being a useful refresher for existing councillors.

The session will include understanding what a parish council is, the council structure, observing the requirements of the Member Code of Conduct, the responsibilities of different roles within the council and exploring good practices for managing key relationships within the council and with the wider community

.Dates & Times

  • Thursday 12th September 2024: 6.30pm – 2 hours
  • Thursday 24th October 2024: 6.30pm – 2 hours
  • Wednesday 20th November 2024: 6.30pm – 2 hours
Councillors: Chairs Training

A 90-minute Zoom training session exploring the role of the Chair. This covers the Chair of the council, and the Chair of a committee, and includes guidance on the skills required to be an effective Chair.

The session is suitable for existing or aspiring Chairs of council and/or committees, and will include advice and guidance on managing meetings, conflicts within the council and the council’s role as an employer.

Date -Tuesday 8th October 2024: 6.30pm – 1.5 hours

Councillors: Policies, Powers & Duties

This 2 hour Zoom training session provides an understanding of the regulatory framework councils operate within, and how policies and procedures underpin the core work of the council.

The session will explain the range of powers and duties which parish councils have available, including the General Power of Competence (GPC), and how these can be used for the benefit of the community. The session is suitable for new councillors as well as being a useful refresher for existing councillors.

Date – Thursday 3rd October 2024: 6.30pm – 2 hours

Councillors: Meetings, Agendas & Minutes

In this 90-minute Zoom training session, we discover the importance of council meetings. The module includes understanding the statutory need for agendas and minutes, including publication requirements, and how decision making is conducted.

The session also discusses the role of the Clerk at meetings, declarations of interest, how to deal with confidential items and how to manage public attendance. The session is aimed at new and experienced councillors to help make your council meetings more effective.

Date: Thursday 26th September 2024: 6.30pm – 1.5 hours

Finance for Councillors

This 90-minute Zoom training session provides councillors with a greater understanding of the financial aspects of the council.

The session includes understanding how council finances differ from other businesses, the need for sound financial planning and budget management, how the precept is calculated and guidance on the regulatory framework in relation to council finances. The session is suitable for all councillors, but particularly those serving on the council’s Finance Committee.

Dates

  • Tuesday 17th September 2024: 6.30pm – 1.5 hours
  • Thursday 7th November 2024: 6.30pm – 1.5 hours

 PLANNING

Making Effective Planning Representations

This session is aimed at parish clerks and councillors with planning responsibilities who want to understand the way in which representations on planning applications can be drafted efficiently and professionally.  It will give you an understanding of the way in which planning officers use consultee comments to determine an application and the terminology that will help to get your points across.  We also look at where to gather information about an application and which issues you should consider (and which to avoid) when your council is discussing a response.  Rather than planning policy, this session focuses on the practicalities of your involvement in the planning process and putting the right points across as effectively as possible.

The training session lasts for 2.5 hours and is delivered by the Zoom platform.

Date: Monday 9th September 2024 @ 9.30am until midday.

Introduction to Planning

This course is designed for councillors or officers participating in discussions about planning for the first time, or those with some practical experience who want to consolidate their knowledge and ensure that it is up to date.   It deals with the principles of how the planning system operates, how decisions are made and the role of town and parish councils in the process.

The course covers a lot of ground but our trainer ensures that it contains relevant and recent examples and plenty of scope for questions and answers.

The training session lasts for 2.5 hours and is delivered by the Zoom platform.

Dates

  • Tuesday 10th September 2024 @ 6.30 until 9.00pm
  • Monday 21st October 2024 @ 6.30 until 9.00pm
  • Thursday 21st November 2024 @ 6.30 until 9.00pm
The Future Shape of the Planning System – what’s changing and what you need to be ready for!

All local councils need to be aware of the changes being made to the planning system by the new Levelling Up and Regeneration Act and updates to the National Planning Policy Framework.  These will have an impact on the way local plans are made, planning decisions are taken and on the role of neighbourhood plans.  Although it will be some time before they all take effect, understanding what the differences are and why they matter will help you to represent your community more effectively in discussions at every level.   The session will cover all of the major issues, including plan-making, housing numbers, biodiversity, enforcement and infrastructure funding and help you to prepare for what’s to come.

The course is aimed at councillors and council staff who have some familiarity with the current planning system and want to keep up to date with the way that it is going to change as a result of new legislation and government policy.

The training session lasts for 2.5 hours and is delivered by the Zoom platform.

Dates : Monday 16th September 2024 @ 6.30 until 9.00pm

 

Appendix 3

HASSOCKS PARISH COUNCIL BUSINESS PLAN 2024-2029

FUNDING THE PARISH COUNCIL

The work of the Parish Council is funded by the Precept via the Council Tax, plus other revenues generated through the hiring out of sport facilities in Adastra Park, Burial Ground fees and Allotment rental. Also through Section 106 contributions from developers towards the costs of providing community and social infrastructure, as a result of a new development taking place.

THE PURPOSE OF THE BUSINESS PLAN

The 5 Year Business Plan sets out the areas additional to day to day operations, on which the Council proposes to focus. It will be subject to regular review and monitoring.

The plan focusses on six key areas:

Our Neighbourhood Plan and Priorities Statement

Engaging with the Community

A Great Environment

A Parish for all

Connecting our Village

Our Staff and Councillors

OUR NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN AND PRIORITIES STATEMENT

AIM: To ensure we can sustain a vibrant Parish within a countryside setting and to keep the Neighbourhood Plan up to date in line with statutory requirements, now that it has been adopted by Mid Sussex District Council.

Objectives:

  • Continue to engage with the residents to keep the plan relevant.
  • Preserve and enhance the rural character and biodiversity of the Parish and its historic buildings, maintaining gaps to neighbouring towns and villages with emphasis on the proximity of the Parish to the South Downs National Park and its    biodiversity.
  • Stress with developers the need for appropriately sized, affordable and sustainable housing, developed in sympathy with the village and its surroundings, built to very high standards of design, construction, energy, and water efficiency and flood resilience.
  • Strengthen awareness and knowledge of flood risk and mitigation amongst councillors and community.
  • Seek opportunities to develop the centre of the village to form a distinctive social hub.
  • Strive to maintain the visual gaps between Hassocks, Burgess Hill, Ditchling and Hurstpierpoint and improve recreational and wild spaces within the village.
  • Continue to oppose any development from encroaching within the South Downs National Park other than in connection with agriculture or tourism in line with SDNP policies.
  • Obtain funding from Community Infrastructure Levies and press for appropriate Section 106* agreements with developers.
  • Seek major road upgrades in the wider Parish as part of any large development.
  •  Explore opportunities for acquisition of community assets and land for recreational spaces or allotments if demand exists for the latter.

ENGAGING WITH THE COMMUNITY

AIM: To develop a culture of delivering services in partnership with community groups and volunteers and to engage with all sections of the community through a variety of appropriate and effective channels of communication.

Objectives:

  • Become more active and supportive of local initiatives and projects.
  • Ensure Hassocks, Keymer and Clayton residents and businesses are kept informed and updated on a regular basis about initiatives being undertaken by the Parish Council and its partners.
  • Explore a broader range of communication options with all sections of the community.
  • Review our branding and website and maximise its use as a communications tool.
  • Research the needs of the community and encourage feed-back and participation.
  • Improve accessibility of Parish Councillors through engagement with the community.
  • Seek grant funding to provide seed money for new projects to assist wellbeing organisations to provide services directly to Hassocks residents.

A GREAT ENVIRONMENT

AIM:  To invest in maintaining, improving and developing facilities and assets to ensure that Hassocks continues to be a great place to live, work and enjoy

Objectives:

  • Continue developing and funding an improvement plan for Adastra Park and ensure that current and future needs of all residents are met.
  • Ensure the efficient maintenance of Adastra Park and Adastra Pavilion and maximise their appropriate use.
  • Continue to work with outside organisations to develop greener solutions for the assets that the council manages and to collaborate with organisations that promote environmental initiatives within the community.
  • We will continue to invest in our tree planting scheme, floral and plant displays throughout the village.
  • Lobby West Sussex County Council and Mid Sussex District Council to maintain local infrastructure.
  • Improve all weather access to the countryside.

A PARISH FOR ALL

AIM: To ensure the needs of all sections of the community are considered when the Parish Council allocates financial resources.

Objectives:

  • Continue to review the provision of services for younger residents.
  • Research the needs of older residents ensuring we include their needs within our services.
  • Ensure all residents with any disability are able to access our services and facilities.
  • Support projects which promote the local economy and tourism.
  • Work with Mid Sussex District Council to support the growth of the wider economy.

CONNECTING OUR VILLAGE

AIM: To promote sustainable transport links by advocacy/lobbying the responsible authorities ensuring the village is accessible for all residents and visitors.

Objectives:

  • Support improvements to transport links between villages by requesting updates and contributing to the West Sussex Transport Plan.
  • Engage with bus companies and community providers for improved services both inter-village and to Brighton, Haywards Heath and the hospitals.
  • Work with partners to lobby for improvements to Hassocks Station and for the provision of appropriate train services.
  • Lobby WSCC and the police for appropriate traffic calming measures, and to consider contributing to the costs of improvements.
  • Promote an increase in walking and cycling, through improvements in the environments for these modes of transport, in partnership with WSCC.
  • Work with partners to create safe cycling routes between Hassocks, Clayton and Hurstpierpoint.
  • Support provision of a safe cycle way to the east of the railway between Hassocks and Burgess Hill.
  • Seek to develop an interchange Hub at Hassocks Station with partners through the provision of off-street parking and an improved east west bus service linking nearby villages.

OUR STAFF AND COUNCILLORS

AIM:  The Council will support and enable staff to work effectively as a team together with Councillors, to maximise the service to the Community.

Objectives:

  • Budget to provide the financial resources to enable us to implement the Business Plan.
  • Where appropriate, deliver larger projects through external support to enable staff to maintain existing operations.
  • Ensure that staffing levels reflect the operational demands of the Council.
  • Invest in continuous professional development for the Clerk and the staff. (Incl. CILCA for Clerk and/or Deputy Clerk)
  • Encourage development for Councillors and committees in line with the “Good Councillor’s Guide”.
  • Invest in up to date facilities, equipment and premises used for Council business.

BUSINESS PLAN 2024 – 2029

2024/25 2025/26 2026/27 2027/28 2028/29
Explore opportunities to develop/improve centre of village incl. property purchase/rental.
Review Neighbour-hood Plan in line with District Plan review once District Plan formally adopted.
Ensure S106 monies are allocated to local projects Ensure S106 monies are allocated to local projects Ensure S106 monies are allocated to local projects Ensure S106 monies are allocated to local projects Ensure S106 monies are allocated to local projects.
Deliver Drainage Improvements within Adastra Park

(Amber)

Review effectiveness of any  Drainage Improvements within Adastra Park
Review the need for additional Play equipment Deliver improved path network in Adastra Park
Replace /restore centre piece memorial and transfer roll of honour from Royal British Legion to new memorial (Amber) Increase funding for street trees to meet extra demand
Review PROWS to allow upgraded surfaces for winter use Work with Ditchling  PC to improve the surface quality of footpaths and bridleways linking the two villages
Begin Traffic Calming Project – Incl. 20mph limit

 

(Green)

1.Create Working Group to progress Sustainable Transport Links

2. Consider/explore design options of part of the Keymer Road pavement /road to remove the current pinch point for vehicles in partnership with WSCC.

Ensure delivery of safe cycle route between burgess Hill and Ockley Park Extend Cycle Route Network from Friars Oak to Belmont Lane. Work with Hurst PC to extend Cycle Route Network to College Lane
Increase allotments / growing spaces, purchasing new sites if necessary where opportunities arise Acquire open space to encourage wildlife where opportunities arise.

 

Business Plan 2024-2029

2024/25 2025/26 2026/27 2027/28 2028/29
Begin project on needs of older residents Engagement Support businesses in Hassocks
Insulate Council Chamber & update windows to reduce heating cost and increase comfort. Undertake Review Maintenance programme of Councils property assets. Overhaul the PC website
Lobby WSCC and MSDC for delivery of Hassocks Surface Water Management Plan Elicit support from Mid Sussex DC to create a country park on previous golf course land
Liaise with BT and MSDC to ensure the sale of Telephone Exchange site

Provides Community facilities.

Review siting of Noticeboards within the village & village signage
Lobby County to improve footpaths along Lodge Lane

 

Appendix A    

HASSOCKS PARISH COUNCIL BUSINESS PLAN 2024-2029

Business Plan – Delivery Outcomes 2018 – 2023

To view the Business Plan – Delivery Outcomes 2018 – 2023 please click here