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