Minutes of Annual Parish Meeting held 10th May 2018


Minutes of Annual Meeting of Fulking Parish Council and Annual Parish Meeting
Meeting held in Fulking Village Hall on Thursday 10th May 2018 at 7.30pm

Chairman                                                  Cllr Firth
Fulking Parish Council (FPC)                       Cllr Hind, Cllr Dyos and Cllr Trist
Mid Sussex District Council (MSDC)             Cllr Trumble
West Sussex County Council (WSCC)          Cllr Dennis
Clerk                                                        Trevor Parsons
Members of the Public                                9 members of the public present

Apologies      Cllrs Watts-Williams and Wilkinson and Cllr Healy

Annual Meeting of Council

Meeting opened at 19:30

Chairman’s Welcome.
Nominations for Chairman and Vice Chairman were received.
Cllr Firth was nominated for election as Chairman, proposed by Cllr Hind and seconded by Cllr Dyos
Cllr Hind was nominated for election as Vice Chairman, proposed by Cllr Dyos and seconded by Cllr Trist
The Chairman and Vice Chairman signed the Declaration of Acceptances

Meeting closed at 19:35

Annual Parish Meeting
Meeting Opened at 19:36

Apologies for Absence  Cllrs Watts-Williams and Wilkinson and Cllr Healy

Minutes of Annual Meeting of Fulking Parish Council on 11th May 2017 having been previously circulated were agreed and signed. The Minutes of the Ordinary Meeting of Fulking Parish Council held on Thursday 12th April 2018 were signed by the Chairman, Cllr Firth.
Cllr Trist thanked the Chairman for all his extra work caused by the vacant Clerk position.
Cllr Dyos welcomed the former Chairman and resident Tony Brooks, to the meeting.

Chairman’s Report
Thank you all for attending and I’d like to extend a special welcome to our new clerk, Trevor Parsons. This is officially his first meeting where he’s steering us away from the rocks!
We’ve had a very eventful year, mainly behind the scenes…
Derek, our previous clerk left us in January, having done good work for us since 2015, and was strong on procedure and accounting. As they say, there always a silver lining to clouds and learning about how to recruit a clerk, meeting candidates, working with locum clerks, and filling in for Derek has been a useful and interesting experience. But clearly one which without SSALC’s help we probably wouldn’t have got through – Trevor Leggo seems to single-handedly keep Surrey and Sussex councils afloat.
It was not only Clerks that changed, as in October Kate left us having served as a councillor for at least 6 years and chair for 4 years – a huge loss particularly for relatively unexperienced chairmen, who relied on her experience. However, by December we were back to a full strength as Karen joined us. A big thanks to her for volunteering.
We seemed preoccupied by behind-the-scenes activity as we negotiated Data Protection regulations by reorganising our IT systems and now run our electronic communications like a large company. Luckily, we had John Hazard to guide us through the e-pitfalls of this. The main thing is that resident’s personal data is now much safer and accessible than it used to be.

Now, what about the real work of your council?
On the planning front:
We met to consider 13 applications last year – there were more applications where we didn’t meet. Probably the most significant issue was Market Gardens, which was called in by the South Downs planning committee. This was the first time where the mettle of the authority would be tested in our view…
We presented our case at the meeting and were supported by Colin Trumble from Mid-Sussex. Although the outcome (approval) was expected – the superficial manner of the consideration was a shock to us. Our subsequent appeal to the Secretary of State was rejected as no new principle was in dispute. We will continue to put the case for residents, but the unelected nature of the authority is a concern. I understand MSDC are looking at this for us.

Regarding finances
Our precept for 2018/19 has increased by 2% to £8,696 – lower than the average council increase but sufficient for us to support local demands and our increasing admin costs. Our internal audit of the annual accounts has just been completed – a big thank you to Nick Hughes for continuing to do this audit for us without charge – and we will be approving the accounts later in the meeting.

On our perennial headache; Parking, it feels as if we might be making some glacial progress – at least in clarifying what we want and can and cannot have.
Mark has worked hard on laying out options to residents in parking controls around the Shepherd and Dog area. Early indications are that most favour yellow lines of some type. Its clear that South Downs won’t support any off-road parking schemes, but we hope that WSCC will help us with this. Meanwhile we remain vulnerable to gridlock on those busy days at the Shepherd & Dog – despite their best efforts
Linda organised a residents meeting for Clappers Lane parking last July, which again clarified what options were available and which weren’t – this has some way to go.
Still on the Highways…
There was the curious case of the vanishing HGV sign – less said about that the better – a replacement is due shortly. We hope this will make inconsiderate lorry drivers think twice about this short cut. Potholes remain, please keep reporting them – as our roads are low on WSCC priorities. Diligent reporting is the only way to get us ahead in the list.
Flooding, particularly in Clappers Lane remains a big concern. We have improved the ditches with the last tranche of money from “Operation Watershed” and we aim to further improve this by working on the drainage from the ‘Lower Kents’ corner right down to the brook by the sewage plant in the next Watershed application. WSCC are supporting us in that. Furthermore, Preston Nomads have agreed to fix the area in front of their entrance – which is good news.

Of course, there’s the Village Hall, which we had been doing a fair bit of investigation and contingency planning for during the year… but it looks as if there’s a meeting of minds with the PCC which is great news – especially compared other nearby parishes have run huge problems in very similar circumstances
Finally, a few thank you’s – to all my fellow councillors Mark, Linda, Michael & Karen who continue to devote their time working on behalf of the community. Also, thanks to our regional councillors, Joy Dennis (WSCC), Colin Trumble, Anthony Watts Williams and John Wilkinson (MSDC) for their support and interest in our village. Thank you as well to John Hazard and Gerald Gazdar for their contribution to the ever improving and excellent website. Not to mention the Gerald and Nick for providing the Village Hall with the internet –which must be a good thing, right?
Thank you to all of you for attending this evening and being interested in our community.

Report by WSCC
Cllr Dennis provided the meeting with an update on the following matters:
The financial health of the County Council remains strong although maintaining services will be increasingly difficult due to an aging population in the County. A budget is in place to improve the homelessness situation.
Potholes – Over 8,500 potholes have been repaired this winter, the most severe potholes are repaired within 24 hours. In April, two gangs of pothole fixers were in place and this increased to four gangs in May.
Parking – Cllr Dennis has spoken to the SDNPA executive regarding the provision of car parks and agreed with the meeting that a compromise needs to be found with both District and SDNPA.
Rural Broadband – Cllr Dennis is well aware of the poor broadband provision in the rural communities and a Gigabite Broadband Voucher Scheme is being considered.
Northern Arc Steering Group – relating to the 5,000 new homes planned for northern Burgess Hill. Cllr Dennis assured the meeting that she would engage with the Group to minimise the impact of the scheme on rural communities.

Report By MSDC
Cllr Trumble provided the meeting with an update.
The District Plan is now in place which does not include the proposed Mayfield development. This means that all planning applications will be judged against the District Plan. FPC is under SDNPA Plan which was submitted in early May 2018. Cllr Trumble confirmed that consultations between MSDC and SDNPA should be sharpened up and a review will take place in June 2018. It was suggested that Rob Ainsley from SDNPA be invited to a future FPC meeting.
Fulking Parish Council rates increased by 2% in 2018
Cllr Trumble concerred that broadband was very poor in Fulking. MSDC is talking to Broadband for Rural North (B4RN) which is a not for profit organisation working to improve broadband services in rural communities.

The Clerk presented the Annual Governance and Accountability Return 2017/2018 which was approved and signed by the Chairman.
Guest Speak – Liz Leggo on Dementia Friends provided the meeting with an excellent inter-active presentation on dementia awareness and its effects on families and friends and invited the Council and members of the meeting to become Dementia Friends.
Date of next ordinary set for Thursday 12th July 2018.
Meeting closed at 20:52.

Everybody was invited to join the PC for refreshments