Minutes of the Annual Meeting of the Council and Annual Parish Meeting of the Council held Thursday 18th May 2023 at 7.30 pm at Fulking Village Hall.
Chairman: Cllr Mark Hind
Fulking Parish Council (FPC): Cllrs Karen Healy, Tom Kardos and Lucy Mehta
Mid Sussex District Council: Cllrs Geoff Zeidler
West Sussex County Council: Cllr Joy Dennis
Parish Clerk: Trevor Parsons
There were three members of the public present who were offered an opportunity to speak.
The meeting opened at 7.30pm.
Agenda: Annual Meeting of Council
23/038/AMC Chairman’s Welcome followed by Election of Chairman
The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting.
Cllr Healy proposed that Cllr Mark Hind be elected as Chairman for a further 12 months, seconded by Cllr Mehta. Councillors unanimously in favour.
Meeting closed at 7.35pm
Agenda: Annual Parish Meeting
23/039/APM Apologies for Absence
None received as all councillors were present.
23/040/APM Approval of previous years’ minutes Annual Parish Meeting 12th May 2022
The minutes of the 12th May 2022 Annual Parish Meeting were proposed by Cllr Kardos, seconded by Cllr Healy and unanimously accepted as a true record of the meeting. The Chairman signed the minutes accordingly.
23/041/APM Chairman’s report
I would like to start by thanking Karen, Lucy and Tom for putting themselves forward to stand again as Parish Councillors for the next 4 years. I would also like to congratulate Geoff Zeidler on his election as District Councillor for our new Downland Villages ward.
Finally, I would like to thank Linda Dyos, who has just stood down as a Parish Councillor after 8 years, for her hard work and dedication. I would like to present her with this gift as a small token of our appreciation for her commitment to support our community. I wish her all the best for the future and continued progress in her recovery from her accident.
I will now provide a brief summary of activity undertaken by the Council over the last 12 months:
Full Fibre Broadband Scheme
Installation started in January and several properties now have access to Superfast Broadband. It is anticipated installation will be complete across the whole of the village by the end of the summer.
Fulking Village Hall
As part of the plan to eventually buy the village hall from the Church, the Council provided support to enable a registered charity, The Fulking Village Hall Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) to be set up. This CIO was set up following advice from the Sussex branch of “Action with Communities in Rural England” (ACRE) who suggested this would be the best structure to run the hall and secure it as an asset for the community. Discussions remain ongoing with the Church regarding the purchase of the hall.
Drainage works Operation Watershed
The Parish Council received funding from West Sussex County Council (WSCC) under “operation watershed” to undertake drainage repairs near Perching Drove on Edburton Road, to stop run off of chalk from the Downs and on Clappers Lane to reduce run off from the fields.
Ladybrook Spring and Edburton Road
Following requests by the Parish Council works were undertaken by WSCC to stop the flow of water across the road. Unfortunately, the extremely high levels of rainfall over the winter created numerous potholes and new springs across the road. The Council has requested WSCC to undertake more permanent repairs.
Clappers Lane – new signs
Following a suggestion from a resident in Clappers Lane the Parish Council bought and installed two new “Single Track Road” signs in an attempt to reduce the number of vehicles using the road. We remain in discussions with West Sussex County Council (WSCC) to extend the 20 mph limit up Clappers Lane to its northern entrance. We hope to have further information on this later this year.
All planning applications for our village are decided by the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA). The Parish Council however is a consultee on any planning applications received and has commented on 5 applications during the past year. One application was referred to the SDNPA Planning Committee and is currently subject of an appeal to the Planning Inspector. The Council employed a planning consultant to assist with this appeal.
The Parish Council owns the playground equipment in the North Town Field and as part of the insurance arrangements Councillors undertake a 2 weekly safety check. Unfortunately, as the equipment is aging an increasing number of repairs are being required
23/042/APM Reports from District & County Councillors
Cllr Ziedler reported for MSDC
A new Council was elected on 4th May 2023. The balance of the Council is Liberal Democrats 20; Conservative 18; Independent 5; Green 4; Labour 1. The first Council meeting is on 24th May at which time a Chairman and Leader will be elected and future roles appointed. At present there have been one of two days of induction meetings and so I am not yet fully briefed.
Given the focus of the Ward I have requested to participate in the District Plan Committee; the Scrutiny Committee for Executive Leader, Deputy Leader, Planning, Economic Growth and Net Zero; and the MSDC representative on the Board of the South Downs National Park.
The Council is currently progressing the District Plan under the current NPPF although changes to this are expected. I have written to our MPs to request their assistance in having any revision published as soon as possible. The Policy approach to the District Plan may change with Leadership of the Council. The present District Plan is open to challenge as it is over 5 years old and the first speculative SoS appeal has been launched.
The budget for the Council was adopted unanimously before the election and so the services plans outlined in the budget are expected to be progressed.
There was a meeting with Southern Water organised by residents of Sayers Common with the support of Bob Sampson and Andrew Griffith MP. This reflected flooding issues in the area, particularly related to new developments. I am aware that there are similar issues in Albourne and I will be ensuring I am engaged in the follow-up.
Parish Issues for DC Support
Almost all the Parishes are seeking TROs or other approaches to mitigate speeding on dangerous roads; flytipping remains a regular issue, as is management of dog waste disposal facilities. Flooding also remains evident in a number of areas.
An appeal to the SoS has been launched by Croudace relating to 120 houses South of Henfield Road adjacent to Albourne School.
There is an appeal scheduled in relation to un-approved development at the Small Acres site. This arises under SDNP Planning.
Hurstpierpoint & Sayers Common
The actions arising from the meeting with Southern Water include resolving the level of service from the Capita call centre and four actions to be completed by the end of May.
None at present. There is local pressure for an extensive re-surfacing of the road through Poynings.
Response required by 30th May to the Rampion 2 extension socket consultation and there are 3 planning applications for Battery Energy Storage System facilities. DM/23/1184 – Lightrock Power; DM/21/2276 – Envirotech and DM/23/0769 – One Planet. Planning consent exists for a 42 acre solar array.
The major concern about BESS is Fire and Environmental risk as these are relatively new technologies. Stuart Malcolm is the MSDC Officer with responsibility for electrical applications.
ACTION : Cllr Zeidler to arrange a joint meeting for the seven parishes under his control.
Cllr Dennis reported for WSCC that
- Adam Denby has now replaced Richard Speller at West Sussex CC and any new Operation Watershed applications should be directed to him.
- Superfast Broadband in the area is making progress
- Off-site Electric Vehicle Chargers. Town and Parishes are being asked top put forward sites for new EV Chargers. Difficult for Fulking as the Council does not own any land but other Councils are making proposals.
- School Places – Brooksmead senior school in Burgess Hill is under construction and is expected to take around 18 months to build.
- “Ditch The Problem” challenge has been set to remind landowners of the ramparion responsibilities to keep roadside ditches under their ownership clear.
23/043/APM Questions to Matthew Thompson Communities Lead – Fulking Water Treatment Works
Matthew kindly attended the meeting to provide a brief overview of the current works to substantially improve the present treatment works for those properties linked to the mains sewage outlet. The work involves installing new equipment which will help with the removal or Phosphates (typically found in cleaning products) and iron. Due to the size of the site the project team has to work from the rear of the site out towards the gate. This has resulted in the project taking longer than it ordinarily would do on a larger site
23/044/APM. To consider and agree the Internal Audit Report Letter dated 20/04/2022.
The Internal Auditor Report was reviewed by Councillors. Acceptance proposed by Cllr Hind, seconded by Cllr Mehta and approved unanimously
23/045/APM. To consider and agree the Annual Governance and Accountability Return (AGAR) for the year ending 31 March 2023 ensuring it accurately presents the financial management of the Council as required by the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015.
The Annual Governance and Accountability Return (AGAR) for the year ending 31 March 2023 was reviewed by Councillors. Acceptance proposed by Cllr Kardos, seconded by Cllr Healy and unanimously approved as a true record of the accounts.
23/046/APM. Date of next Ordinary Meeting Thursday 6th July 2023.