Minutes of Ordinary Meeting 15th April 2021 (Draft)

Minutes of the Ordinary Council Meeting Fulking Parish Council held Thursday 15th April 2021 at 7.30pm online. 

Present 

Vice Chairman:                                        Cllr Mark Hind
Fulking Parish Council (FPC):                     Cllrs Linda Dyos, Karen Healy, Samantha Leader and Lucy Mehta
Mid Sussex District Council (MSDC):          Cllrs Rodney Jackson & Alison Bennett
West Sussex County Council (WSCC):        Cllr Joy Dennis
Parish Clerk:                                            Trevor Parsons 

There were four members of the public present who were offered an opportunity to speak.  

Prior to opening the meeting, a one-minute silence was held in remembrance of HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.  Our thoughts are with the Queen and her family at this sad time. 

The meeting opened at 7.30pm. 

21/029/OM.            Apologies for Absence. 

Apologies were received from MSDC Councillor, Colin Trumble. 

21/030/OM.            Declaration of Members’ Interests. 

No declarations were received. 

21/031/OM.            Approve the Minutes of Ordinary Council Meeting of 8th January 2021, Planning Meeting 4th February 2021, Co-option Meeting 27th February 2021 and Extraordinary (Planning) Meeting 2nd March 2021 

The minutes, subject to any amendments, were approved and signed as a true record of the meeting. 

21/032/OM.            Reports from District and County Councillors.  

Cllr Dennis provided a written update and statement to the parish, including confirmation that she has written to the cabinet member and director of education regarding the situation in item 21/034/OM being the issue that Fulking children have not been offered places at their local senior school and have been re-directed to Sompting. 

Cllr Jackson advised that additional grant funding was now in place from MSDC for businesses affected by Covid-19. MSDC leisure centres have now re-opened.  Ward boundary changes are being made and consultations are being undertaken. 

21/033/OM.            Matters Arising & Outstanding Actions To clarify and report on actions brought forward from the last meeting.  

1) Ram Pump Noticeboard  

Cllr Hind will be obtaining the final high resolution pictures for the board and then the final draft can be approved. This may include the need to purchase a picture of John Ruskin.  

2) Speed Indicator Device 

Councillors agreed that a SID would be a useful tool to slow down car speeding into the village. It was also agreed that the placement of an additional 20mph sign on leaving the village be discussed at the next Council meeting.  

ACTION – Clerk to investigate whether a SID can be borrowed and add 20 mph signs to agenda of next meeting. 

3) Village Signs 

Cllr Dyos has completed her inspection of the signs and spoken to a local artist who would be prepared to consider creating new pictures. The meeting felt that this should be taken forward. 

ACTION – Clerk to obtain a quote for the safe removal of the ironwork and pictures from the three signs. Cllr Hind to discuss with Cllr Dyos next steps. 

4) Village Gateway 

Plans for the new village gateways have been paused for the time being due to higher priorities. 

21/034/OM.       Fulking Secondary School Allocations 

Two village residents have shared their concerns regarding the lack of places for their children next year at Downlands secondary school in Hassocks and the possible long-term implications of lack of places for the village.  Places were not offered to their children despite being within the catchment area and a school bus stopping in Fulking to take children to and from the school every day. 

Cllr Hind confirmed that the Parish Council will be writing to the Cabinet Member and Director of Education for West Sussex County Council to express our serious concerns over this decision.  It will also seriously impact the likelihood of families with school aged children considering living in Fulking in the future.                                  

21/035/PM.         Planning Inspectorate Decision re Market Gardens    

The Planning Inspectorate has approved the installation of additional caravans despite the concerns raised by the Parish Council. Cllr Hind will be writing to SDNPA and MSDC requesting information regarding the future plans for gypsy and traveller sites. 

Concern was also raised about the constant barking dogs at Market Garden with Enivronmental Health recommending to residents affected by this to keep a record of the disturbance.  

21/036/OM.            Village Hall 

Cllr Hind outlined his discussion with Rev Tim Harford as the PCC are considering selling the village hall. Whilst FPC would prefer a formal lease, if the site was being sold, FPC would lead fund-raising for its purchase. A further discussion with Rev Tim Harford is planned for 20th April 2021. 

21/037/OM.             Yellow Lines 

Cllr Hind reported that WSCC has agreed that FPC can apply for yellow lines in the village but the cost would need to be met by FPC. Cllr Hind will consult with those properties immediately adjacent to the proposed yellow lines, before submitting final plans to WSCC Highways dept. 

21/038/OM.             Asset Inventory and Maintenance 

Other than the playground, there is no maintenance schedule in place for the other village assets. Cllr Leader recommended that an email be send out to the villagers seeking residents with the appropriate skills and time to assist with the maintenance of the village assets on a voluntary basis. An example of this would be to varnish the parish noticeboard. 

ACTION – Clerk to send an email to the villagers via MailChimp seeking villagers prepared to help. 

21/039/OM.              Reports from Outside Bodies. 

Cllr Hind reported that the changes in leadership at West Sussex Association of Local Councils (WSALC) have now taken place. The proposed transfer of services to Hampshire ALC has been overturned. Instead, West Sussex Councils will continue to receive advice and services from East and West Sussex ALC as before incorporating training given by Mulberry Services. Cllr Mehta has already signed up for new councillor training offered by Mulberry. 

21/040/OM.             Information Items.  To receive information and items for the agenda at future meetings. 

A member of the public attending the online meeting offered their services in relation to the issue of Ladybrook spring and agreed to liaise separately with Cllr Hind and other Councillors on the matter. 

He also advised that the farmer was happy to take the spoil from the Operation Watershed works on Edburton Road if the proposal with WSCC is agreed. 

21/041/OM.              Correspondence.  To discuss correspondence and respond to correspondence received. 

None. 

21/042/OM.              Financial Matters. To receive the report on the Council’s income and to approve future expenditure. 

The clerk advised that the 2020/2021 annual accounts have been submitted to the internal auditor for review. These year-end accounts will be signed off at the Annual Meeting of the Council. 

21/043/OM.            To set a date of Annual General Meeting of the Council and Annual Parish Meeting: 

The annual meeting will be held on Wednesday 5th May 2021 at 7.30pm via Microsoft Teams. 

Date of the next Ordinary Meeting: Thursday 22nd July 2021 

The meeting closed at 9.00pm 

Co-option Meeting 23rd February 2021 (Draft)

Extraordinary meeting of Fulking Parish Council (FPC) held on Tuesday 23rd February 2021 at 7pm via Microsoft Teams. 

PresentCouncillors Mark Hind, (Acting Chairman), Linda Dyos, Karen Healy, Samantha Leader, Lucy Mehta and Trevor Parsons (Clerk) 

There was one member of the public in attendance. 

The meeting opened at 19:03 

AGENDA 

21/020/PM.          Apologies for Absence. 

There were no absentees 

21/021/PM.          Declaration of Members’ Interests. 

There were no declarations of interest. 

21/022/OM.       Co-option of new Councillor. 

Lucy Mehta offered her services to Fulking Parish Council as co-opted Councillor. Her offer was unanimously accepted by the council with thanks. 

21/023/PM.          Planning matters 

Location:  SDNP/20/05150/FUL Hillside Poynings Road Fulking BN5 9NB  

Proposal: Proposed ancillary storage building, with associated access area, together with biodiversity and landscape enhancements, public footpath and related structures. 

The SDNPA Planning Portal was not available today and councillors had no opportunity to properly consider the documents and application presented. The meeting to consider this application has been rescheduled for Tuesday 2nd March 2021 at 7pm.  

21/024/OM.      WSALC Update 

Cllr Hind presented a report about the WSALC situation which outlined very poor management of the “Value For Money” Project by the current Chair and Vice Chair of WSALC. Cllr Hind sought approval from Fulking PC councillors to leave WSALC should this be necessary following the WSALC AGM on 25th February. Councillors voted unanimous support to Cllr Hind. 

The meeting closed at 19:45pm 

Date of the next Ordinary Meeting: Thursday 15th April 2021 

 

Planning Meeting 2nd March 2021 (Draft)

Extraordinary meeting of Fulking Parish Council (FPC) held on Tuesday 2nd March 2021 at 7pm via Microsoft Teams. 

Present: Councillors Mark Hind, (Acting Chairman), Linda Dyos, Karen Healy, Samantha Leader, Lucy Mehta and Trevor Parsons (Clerk) 

There were no members of the public in attendance. 

The meeting opened at 19:06 

AGENDA 

21/025/PM.          Apologies for Absence. 

There were no apologies for absence 

21/026/PM.         Declaration of Members’ Interests. 

Acting Chairman, Mark Hind declared an interest in agenda item 21/028/PM as he is a close neighbour in Stammers Hill. Therefore, Cllr Hind left the Video Meeting after item 21/07 and took no part in the discussion or decision. 

21/027/PM. Planning matters 

Location: SDNP/20/05150/FUL Hillside Poynings Road Fulking BN5 9NB 

Proposal: Proposed ancillary storage building, with associated access area, together with biodiversity and landscape enhancements, public footpath and related structures. 

Background 

As you walk up the Bridleway from Poynings Road towards Hillside you are met with several large yellow CCTV warning signs belonging to the property. Just before you arrive, the 3m high (often chained) wooden gates and fence come into view revealing a secure residential compound, which is not in keeping with the rural landscape around it. Footpath 5-1F is bounded on its southern side by the high fence denying the public views of Fulking escarpment. This a significant contrast to the previous wooden house which sat unobtrusively within the landscape. The intrusive fencing, CCTV signs and oversized gate suggest a lack of sensitivity towards the surrounding natural environment of the South Downs. 

The site photo section 1.2 page 4 of Molloy Report shows part of the intrusive security fencing. 

Proposal 

The proposed development site is located in a plot of land that was excavated (apparently without the correct permissions) to create a compound to store building materials for construction of the approved residential property. The proposal is to add significant permanent storage avoiding the need to return this land to its previous condition. 

We do not agree with the Molloy Architects conclusion that these proposals are a material change and/or improvement following the pre application advice given under SDNP/19/02453/PRE. 

In addition, our concern is that approval of this proposal will extend the scale of the existing compound with the applicants using permitted development rights to significantly expand their unsympathetic security fencing to encompass their land. We believe this development will create visual harm to the landscape in this protected area. 

In relation to the new storage building, it was noted that: 

  • The house is already 45% larger than the original building outlined in SDNP/15/02392.
  • There is real concern that the storage will be turned into a separate dwelling.
  • Although the proposal states that the landscape will be returned to its former condition, no previous attempt has been made to reconstitute the land to what it was.

In relation to the moving of the PROW it was noted that the proposed new path will: 

  • Create a health and safety hazard for the public – it will be steeper than the current path and being constructed from board walk planks, will very likely become slippery when there is a lot of rain. There will also be a question of who will maintain the path.
  • Deny public access to a historic right of way for no good reason
  • Damage the biodiversity of the escarpment to build a new footpath
  • Enable the applicants to enclose a significant area of currently open land

Additional Note – SDNP Dark Skies 

As stated above the fencing and gate of the existing property is very intrusive viewed from close up but during daylight hours from a distance the property is much less visible. Unfortunately, in the dark, the light spilling from the panoramic floor to ceiling windows on the eastern side of the property is very conspicuous. It is visible from several miles away and creates the impression that an alien space craft has landed at the base of Fulking escarpment. We find it difficult to believe that this was the intended outcome of the dark sky restrictions imposed on the original planning approval and would ask the SDNP to investigate further. 

Councillors voted UNANIMOUSLY AGAINST the application. 

21/028/PM. Planning matters 

Location: SDNP/21/00722/HOUS 8 Stammers Hill Fulking BN5 9NA 

Proposal: Conversion of car port to additional accommodation including external alterations 

It was noted that: 

the loss of the on-site parking appears to contravene section 3.2 of the SDNP Local Plan and that there is no off-street parking available in Stammers Hill and thus creating yet further pressure on lack of parking provision on the High Street and in the village generally which is already problematic. 

Councillors voted UNANIMOUSLY AGAINST the application. 

The meeting closed at 19:45pm 

Date of the next Ordinary Meeting: Thursday 15th April 2021. 

 

   

Planning Meeting

The meeting to discuss the planning application for Hillside was postponed yesterday evening as the SDNPA portal as unavailable. Therefore you are cordially invited to an online Extraordinary Meeting of Fulking Parish Council, on Tuesday 2nd March 2021 at 7.00pm via Microsoft Teams, the meeting will consider the items set out below. 

If you would like to join the online meeting, please email the Clerk at parishclerk@fulking.net and he will email you the link needed to attend.

Mark Hind – Acting Chairman  

 AGENDA 

Public Participation: There will be a period of 15 minutes set aside at the beginning of the meeting for the public to ask questions or make comments on items on the Agenda. Comments on items not appearing on the agenda can be made at the chairman’s discretion.  

21/025/PM.          Apologies for Absence. 

21/026/PM.          Declaration of Members’ Interests. 

21/027/PM.          Planning matters 

Location:  SDNP/20/05150/FUL Hillside Poynings Road Fulking BN5 9NB  

Proposal: Proposed ancillary storage building, with associated access area, together with biodiversity and landscape enhancements, public footpath and related structures. 

21/028/PM.        Planning matters 

Location:  SDNP/21/00722/HOUS 8 Stammers Hill Fulking BN5 9NA  

Proposal: Conversion of car port to additional accommodation including external alterations 

Date of the next Ordinary Meeting: Thursday 15th April 2021 

 

Bobservation No. 77: Council-ling and Attitudes

Red image of Capitol with Fulking sign and pound signs Miles Firth
Having experienced the demands of being Chair of the Parish Council I can appreciate why Miles has decided to resign. In my opinion he has been the best and most industrious Chair in all the time I have been in Fulking. He will be hard to replace. Please join me in thanking him for the wise and dedicated way in which he has served us.
It is worth considering how the incredible and shocking display of mob force in the Capital building in Washington, inspired by the outgoing president, gives us reason to value and protect our democratic way of life in Britain. Democracy is always under pressure from both extremes right and left. It is up to the ordinary citizen to be aware of what is happening and take legally acceptable steps to guard against these self-interested factions.
At the very start of the democratic process the four-yearly process of Parish elections will enable us to vote in a new Parish Council in May (unless Covid delays it). This will require volunteers coming forward to fill the places vacated by the present council and if there are more than 5 candidates then  voting will take place. I urge you to seriously consider how you might consider it to be your duty to stand for election.

Changing Attitudes
I was reflecting on how much attitudes have changed since I was a teenager, !!years ago. We had been brought up to be intolerant of anyone who was not a white, British, Anglo-Saxon, heterosexual protestant. Women were acceptable so long as they knew their place! Indeed, life at school could be very uncomfortable for anyone ‘who was not one of us’. Bullying not unusual and as far as I remember ignored by teachers, probably to ‘toughen’ us up. I suppose this all stemmed from the imperial attitudes of the time when we were expected to go abroad to quell the ‘natives’ and administer the diminishing empire. Fortunately, so far as I am aware, we live in a greatly more accepting world. Changes in the law have been widespread to create a greater understanding of colour, sexuality and infirmity. I believe I have been lucky to have lived in these changing times and seen what great strides have and are being made. It is up to us to ensure it continues. However, would it not be marvellous if the increasing gulf between rich and poor in Britain was limited by some form of wealth taxation on personal assets of the seriously rich. Food for thought!  Oxfam has just reported that the 26 richest people in the world own as much as the poorest 50%. Does that make sense?

Planning Meeting – Thursday 4th February 2021

You are cordially invited to an online Extraordinary Meeting of Fulking Parish Council, on Thursday 4th February 2021 at 6.00pm via Microsoft Teams, the meeting will consider the items set out below. 

If you would like to join the meeting please email parishclerk@fulking.net and the link to access the meeting will be emailed to you. 

Mark Hind – Acting Chairman  

AGENDA 

Public Participation: There will be a period of 15 minutes set aside at the beginning of the meeting for the public to ask questions or make comments on items on the Agenda. Comments on items not appearing on the agenda can be made at the chairman’s discretion.  

21/017/PM.          Apologies for Absence. 

21/018/PM.          Declaration of Members’ Interests. 

21/019/PM.          Planning matters 

Ref SDNP/20/05420/HOUS Location: Customary Cottage The Street Fulking BN5 9LU Proposal: Replacement Garage (demolish existing) 

Date of the next Ordinary Meeting: Thursday 15th April 2021 

Minutes of Ordinary Meeting 7th January 2021

Minutes of the Ordinary Council Meeting Fulking Parish Council held Thursday 7th January 2021 at 7.30pm online. 

Present 

Vice Chairman:                                 Cllr Mark Hind
Fulking Parish Council (FPC):              Cllrs Linda Dyos, Karen Healy and Samantha Leader
Mid Sussex District Council (MSDC):   Cllrs Colin Trumble, Rodney Jackson & Alison Bennett
West Sussex County Council (WSCC): Cllr Joy Dennis
Parish Clerk:                                     Trevor Parsons 

There were two members of the public present who were offered an opportunity to speak but both declined. The meeting opened at 7.30pm. 

21/001/OM.            Apologies for Absence. 

We are sad and disappointed that our Chairman Miles Firth resigned with immediate effect on Monday this week. We have encouraged him to stay on but he is determined to go. 

We understand the role of Chairman of a Parish Council is a challenging position. The holder has to lead a team of Councillor’s, often with outspoken and conflicting views whilst at the same time managing sometimes difficult interactions with residents, local and district Councillor’s as well as other bodies. Whilst it is an honour to serve the local community, it is not a surprise that many Chairman eventually decide they can do without the hassle of this voluntary and unpaid role. 

We would like to thank Miles for his excellent leadership and contribution over the last five years. Of particular note is the electronic communication platform he set up for the Council, online banking as well as the effort given to manage the village website. This infrastructure has been invaluable during the current Covid-19 pandemic and has allowed Council and village business to continue with the minimum of disruption. 

Cllr Trumble, on behalf of MSDC, added his thanks to Miles Firth for all his hard work on behalf of Fulking Parish Council.   

21/002/OM.            Declaration of Members’ Interests. None declared 

21/003/OM.            Approve the Minutes of Ordinary Council Meeting of 8th October 2020 

Councillors approved the minutes as a true record of the meeting and Cllr Hind will sign them at the earliest opportunity. 

21/004/OM.            Reports from District and County Councillors.   

Cllr Colin Trumble (MSDC) reported: 

  • The main issue has been Covid-19 and in the first two lockdowns £30m of grants were made by MSDC 
  • Central Govt has gone back to its original method of housing allocations 
  • MSDC District Plan Review set for 2022 
  • New Urban Uplift rules mean that more housing will need to be built on brownfield sites within the large town boundaries. 
  • MSDC has 54 councillors. The Boundary Review is in progress which may likely result in fewer district councillors. 
  • Cllr Trumble will be attending the virtual Downland Villages meeting with SDNPA on 8th January. Cllrs Hind and Healy will represent FPC. 
  • Cllr Bennett advised that Christmas trees can be disposed in Green Bins. 

Cllr Joy Dennis (WSCC) reported: 

  • Cllr Dennis provided a full written report to councillors which was been circulated prior to the meeting and noted. 
  • There is severe pressure on West Sussex hospitals 
  • Vaccinations will commence from Henfield and Hurst from 11th January 2021. 
  • WSCC are looking to work even closer with SDNPA especially in the areas of highways and parking. 

21/005/OM.             2020 – 2021 Precept 

The Clerk presented his proposed budget for 2021/2022 recommending the precept increase from £9,450 to £9,600. Councillors approved the new budget and precept unanimously. 

21/006/OM.            Matters Arising & Outstanding Actions 

1) Ram Pump Noticeboard 

The grant application has been successful and WSCC approval has been received for siting the board on WSCC land, the Clerk will arrange for its production and installation. 

2) Welcome Pack for New Villagers 

Cllr Leader advised the meeting that the Pack is now prepared and the first Pack, welcome and introduction has taken place. 

3) Speed Indicator Device 

Following consultation with Poynings and Pyecombe there is little appetite to jointly purchase a S.I.D. Cllr Leader advised that there are volunteers in the village willing to help if a SID can be borrowed.  

ACTION: Clerk to contact HPP Council to see if we can borrow their SID. 

4) Village Signs 

The council had approached James Lightfoot to repaint the signs. The Council also agreed to contact Jen Green.  

ACTION: Clerk to contact James to see if he is still able to do this. 

21/007/PM.             Market Gardens 

The Clerk reported that FPC had submitted a written representation to the Planning Inspectorate via email receipt of which was acknowledged. Cllr Hind thanked everyone for their input into the submission. 

21/008/OM.          Village Gateway 

A quote of £5,829 plus VAT and installation for six gates for the three entrances to the village has been received however Cllr Hind advised the meeting that a decision over yellow lines will need to be resolved in the first instance.  

21/009/OM.            Village Hall 

The Clerk reported that the council’s application to nominate the Village Hall as an Asset of Community Value had been approved by MSDC. This means that if the current owners wish to sell the site, the Council will have a six-month window to before open market offers can be made. 

Discussions between the Council and Rev Tim Harford are ongoing in relation to a new lease. A new Downlands PCC is being formed and discussions will continue in 2021. 

21/010/OM.             Winter Plan 

Cllr Hind advised the grit bins were still full from 2019 and the village is well placed.  

21/011/OM.             Yellow Lines 

The Clerk reported that he had met with Mr DSousa of WSCC Highways on 4th December 2020 for a socially distanced site visit in December prior to Lockdown 3.  

The historical TRO and CHS scheme applications being unsuccessful due to both attempts not meeting the criteria required, our meeting was to explore the possibilities of a Parish funded scheme. 

Mr De Sousa advised the Clerk that the cost of yellow lines would be in the region of £10,000 due to the high cost of application, reporting and notices. He raised concerns over displacement of cars into the village and suggested a potential solution for the council to build grasscrete parking on the south side of the road at a cost of circa £30,000 as a possible solution to the meeting of laid down criteria. 

Cllr Joy Dennis offered her support on the yellow lines matter and agreed to speak to Mr De Sousa to see if there is a better way forward. 

Ladybrook Spring 

The Clerk took the opportunity of raising the issue of the flooding at Ladybrook Spring caused by a blocked drain with Mr De Sousa having previously registered the blockage on the WSCC website under reference 3153960 and the matter is on their radar to put right. 

21/012/OM.              Reports from Outside Bodies. 

WSALC are considering forming their own independent ALC away from SSALC. Alongside many West Sussex councils, FPC can see no logical reason for doing this and will support the status quo remaining with SSALC. 

21/013/OM.             Information Items.  To receive information and items for the agenda at future meetings. 

High Speed Broadband is to be added to the agenda for the next meeting. 

21/014/OM.              Correspondence.  To discuss correspondence and respond to correspondence received. 

PROW – Don’t Lose Your Way – (Chris Smith). The Clerk advised that a project to protect pathways in the UK underway and information is being sought from parishes to ensure no pathways are lost. Cllr Leader has offered her services with the project in Fulking. 

21/015/OM.              Financial Matters. To receive the report on the Council’s income and to approve future expenditure. 

The Clerk presented the accounts and confirmed a current account balance of £9,297.97 and deposit account balance of £12,147.74 as expected. 

21/016/OM.               To set a date of Annual General Meeting of the Council and Annual Parish Meeting:  

The Clerk informed the meeting that no guidance has yet been received regarding annual meeting of the Council (2020 meeting was cancelled throughout the UK). 

Date of the next Ordinary Meeting: Thursday 15th April 2021 

Meeting closed at 9.00pm