Minutes of the Ordinary Council Meeting Fulking Parish Council held Thursday 13th January 2022 at 7.30pm held at Fulking Village Hall.
Chairman: Cllr Mark Hind
Fulking Parish Council (FPC): Cllrs Linda Dyos, Karen Healy and Lucy Mehta
West Sussex County Council: Cllr Joy Dennis
Mid Sussex District Council: Cllrs Colin Trumble, Alison Bennett, Rodney Jackson and Gary Marsh.
Parish Clerk: Trevor Parsons
There were six members of the public present who raised the following:
(I) Fulking Fair to be held on Sunday 24th July 2022
(ii) Raising awareness of the Alternative Energy conversations being held by villagers
(iii) Contractors acting for WSCC are not removing all the temporary traffic signs once the works have been completed which is causing confusion.
The meeting opened at 7.30pm.
22/001/OM. Apologies for Absence.
Everyone present – no apologies required
22/002/OM. Declaration of Members’ Interests.
No members interests declared prior to the meeting.
22/003/OM. Approve the Minutes of Ordinary Council Meeting of 8th October 2021 and extraordinary meetings 30th November 2021 and 16th December 2021.
The minutes, subject to any amendments, to be approved and signed as a true record of the meeting.
The minutes of the meetings were confirmed as a true record and signed by the Chairman. All Councillors in favour.
22/004/OM. Reports from District and County Councillors.
Councillor Dennis (WSCC) reported that budget planning for 2022/2023 were in progress at County level
Councillor Jackson (MSDC) reported that there was a drop income levels at District level particularly from the leisure centres being closed for a considerable time. Similarly, car parking revenues are also down. District has agreed to use £554k from reserves to reduce the deficit and in addition raise Council Tax by £4.95 per month per household being a 2.8% increase.
Councillor Jackson reminded the meeting that businesses in the leisure and tourism sectors could apply for government grants.
Councillor Bennett (MDSC) reported that the District Plan is still being scrutinised in relation to the potential 7,000 new homes which will be required before 2038. Hurstpierpoint, Sayers Common and Albourne may well take the brunt of the increases.
Councillor Bennett also advised that officers are now qualified to apply fixed penalty notices for fly tipping.
Councillor Trumble (MSDC) spoke regarding the District Plan informing the meeting that 57% of MDSC land was constrained land (AONB or National Park). This means all new housing is built within the remaining 43% of the district.
22/005/OM. 2022 – 2023 Precept
Following the finance review of Parish income and expenditure held in December 2021 where the Clerk laid out a budget of spending for 2022/2023 an increase in precept of 5% would be required to balance revenue against spending.
According Cllr Hind proposed an increase of 5% raising annual precept from £9,600 to £10,080. Seconded by Cllr Healy. Councillors voted unanimously in favour of the increase.
ACTION: Clerk to wite to Mid Sussex District Council to request a precept of £10,080.
22/006/OM. Matters Arising & Outstanding Actions To clarify and report on actions brought forward from the last meeting.
Market Garden – Dogs Barking
Cllr Trumble (MSDC) reported that Environmental Health had visited the site and initially concluded that there was no evidence of breeding at Market Gardens. However, following additional information provided by retired WSCC Councillor David Barling regarding the sale of puppies from adjacent premises, Cllr Trumble advised that he was going to ask the Investigation Office at MSDC to undertake further work. Cllr Marsh advised it was a requirement for premises operating commercial kennels to have the appropriate licences.
22/007/OM. MSDC and SDNP representative – Councillor Gary Marsh
Cllr Marsh is the MSDC representative on the South Downs National Park planning committee.
Concerns were raised with Cllr Marsh that Consultee Comments made by Fulking Parish Council in planning applications were frequently ignored by SDNPA and Councillors were therefore very dissatisfied with the performance of the planning team within SDNPA.
An application from last year where SDNPA totally ignored Council representations regarding the negative impact of on-street parking in The Street was given as an example
In response to a question on G&T sites, Cllr Marsh advised that following the recent assessment of needs undertaken by MSDC (which included Fulking as agreed with SDNPA) there will be no unmet need within the next five years. Post 2028 there may be a need but MSDC will have G&T spaces available to meet any anticipated need identified within Fulking, through the implementation of the District Plan.
22/008/OM Ladybrook Spring
Cllr Hind expressed his thanks to WSCC Highways for recently filling holes by the roadside caused by water runoff and parking cars on Edburton Road and for placing the “ICE” warning signs adjacent to Ladybrook Spring. A capital request for remediation works to Ladybrook Spring has been put forward by Richard Speller Area Highways Manager who visited the site with colleagues. Cllr Hind asked for and received confirmation from Cllr Dennis that she would be supporting this proposal.
22/009/OM Clappers Lane Speed Limit request
Following a concern raised by a member of the public at the October 2021 meeting who noted that the national speed limit of 60 mph applies to this narrow road, the Clerk wrote to all villagers to gauge opinion on the matter. In excess of 40 villagers replied to the Clerk supporting the proposal to reduce the speed limit for the whole of Clappers Lane to be 30 mph.
Cllr Dennis advised that a proposal to allow lower speed limits, such as 20 mph on rural lanes, is currently being discussed within WSCC. Councillors debated the issue and unanimously agreed in the meantime to apply to WSCC for a TRO to apply a 30mph restriction to the whole of Clappers Lane.
ACTION: Clerk to apply to WSCC for TRO in line with Councillors decision
22/010/OM. Ultrafast Broadband
Fulking Parish Council, in conjunction with Poynings, has recently been successful in its application for government grants to enable OpenReach to provide Ultrafast Full Fibre Broadband to houses in the centre of the village. This amounts to 95 homes in Fulking. The process begins with eligible houses within the scheme applying for vouchers to the value of £4,000 each. Providing enough residents apply for vouchers to cover the cost of delivering Ultrafast, this will be done. Residents applying for vouchers will be required to upgrade their existing broadband to an ultrafast package with a provider of their choice for at least 12 months.
The Clerk and Chairman have hand-delivered invitations to apply for vouchers to all 95 houses in the scheme and will follow up further communication as the closing date of 25th February approaches.
22/011/OM. Village Hall
A public meeting was held at the village hall on Saturday 4th December 2021 where Cllr Hind presented a proposal to form a Village Hall Trust to purchase the land and village hall, on behalf of the community, from the Church of England at a cost of £75,000. Reverend Tim Harford represented the Church at the meeting.
Cllr Hind was aware that some residents have challenged the legitimacy of the Church’s ownership but informed the meeting that Fulking Parish Council had taken legal advice. The advice was received that the Church’s ownership, as recorded at Land Registry, was undoubted and “beyond challenge”.
At the public meeting following a lengthy question and answer session with Cllr Hind and Rev Harford attendees voted 20 in favour of the proposal and 5 against.
An online TEAMS meeting to discuss the terms of reference for the fundraising team will be held on Tuesday 18th January 2022 to move matters forward.
22/012/OM. Queens Platinum Jubilee – Green Canopy
Cllr Hind informed the meeting of the green canopy initiative with all councils across the UK being encouraged to plant trees in celebration of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Fulking Parish Council does not own any land therefore it was agreed to approach North Town Field Trust to see if a tree could be planted on this land.
ACTION: Clerk to write to NTF to see if this can be done.
22/013/OM. To discuss a suitable memory to Tony Brooks.
Tony Brooks was a former Councillor and Chairman at Fulking Parish Council who sadly passed away in December 2021. He made an outstanding contribution to the community whilst he lived in the village. A discussion was held over whether to and how to record his contribution. A number of options including a memorial plaque at the Ladybrook spring were discussed although Councillors were undecided on the best way forward. and decided to consider the matter further later into 2022.This item to be re-considered at the next meeting
ACTION: Cllr Dyos to investigate production and cost of a memorial plaque.
22/014/OM. Reports from Outside Bodies.
22/015/OM. Information Items. To receive information and items for the agenda at future meetings.
Alternative renewable energy options to be added to the April 2022 agenda.
22/016/OM. Correspondence. To discuss correspondence and respond to correspondence received.
The Clerk received an email from Andrew Griffith MP office advising that the Community Grant Scheme will re-open to May 2022. A grant will be applied for in respect of the purchase of the village hall.
22/017/OM. Financial Matters. To receive the report on the Council’s income and to approve future expenditure.
The current cashbook of income and expenditure was sent to Councillors prior to the meeting confirming a balance of £4,619.42 was held in the current account and £40,000 held on instant access deposit due to the receipt of the Operation Watershed grant. These works will be carried out in the next three months.
22/018/OM. To set a date of Annual General Meeting of the Council and Annual Parish Meeting:
Date of the next Ordinary Meeting: Thursday 7th April 2022
Date of the AGM to be Thursday 12th May 2022.
ACTION: Clerk to set up meetings and invite Councillors via “Office”