Minutes of the Ordinary Council Meeting of Fulking Parish Council held Thursday 12th October 2023 at 7.30pm at Fulking Village Hall.
Chairman: Cllr Mark Hind
Fulking Parish Council (FPC) Cllrs Karen Healy, Cllr Linda Comber, Cllr Lucy Metha & Cllr Tom Kardos
Mid Sussex District Council (MSDC) : Cllr Geoff Zeidler
West Sussex County Council (WSCC) : Cllr Joy Dennis
There were two members of the public present and the meeting started at 7.30pm.
23/65/OM. – Apologies for Absence.
All councillors were present therefore no apologies for absence
23/066/OM. – Declaration of Members’ Interests.
There were no interests declared
23/067/OM. – Approve the Minutes* of the Ordinary Meeting of 6th July 2023 and Planning meeting 26th July 2023 The minutes, subject to any amendments, to be approved and signed as a true record of the meeting.
The minutes of the Ordinary Meeting and Planning Meeting were approved unanimously by Councillors and duly signed by the Chairman.
23/068/OM. – Matters Arising & Outstanding Actions – To clarify and report on actions brought forward from the last meeting.
Village sign – Cllr Hind advised the meeting that he had approached Jen Green to see if she would be able to refurbish the village sign but sadly she was not able to do so. After further discussion it was agreed that Cllr Comber approach James Lightfoot to see if we would be able to help.
Clappers Lane TRO – The Clapper Lane TRO to reduce the speed from 60mph to 30mph has been approved by WSCC and appropriate signage will be installed soonest.
23/069/OM – Small Acres Appeal.
Cllr Hind informed the meeting that a date for the appeal against the enforcement action at Small Acres been set for 27th / 28th February 2024 with a venue still to be arranged.
23/070/OM. – Reports from District and County Councillors.
Cllr Zeidler provided a written update from MSDC –
MSDC was briefed on steps being taken to ensure a development plan for the Martlets in Burgess Hill was brought forward by July 2024; and the Gatwick DCO which anticipated departures increasing from a current level of 32.8m to 75.6m by 2038. 10 Local Authorities are co-ordinating their opposition. Councillors will be attending Remembrance Services on 12th November. The next full Council meeting is on 13th December.
MSDC has met with the Parishes most affected including a combined meeting with Hurstpierpoint & Sayers Common; Albourne and Twineham. At that meeting the context and evidence relating to the plan was discussed and as a result a further meeting to focus on Master Planning and Traffic is being scheduled. There was also the opportunity for Parishes to prioritise the Local Infrastructure that they would like to be included in relation to the “Sustainable Community” sites. The Reg 19 plan is expected to go to an extraordinary Scrutiny meeting on 22nd November. The revised NPPF has not been launched and Michael Gove has written to Councils on Planning in a letter which is attached.
A new contract has been let for maintenance of Open Spaces (including playing fields) which starts on 1st October. Recent performance of the departing provider has been substandard, leading to a number of complaints, and it is hoped that the new “output specification” service will improve.
The Open Spaces strategy, which may provide clarification on how playgrounds will be supported, will come to Cabinet for review in October. I will keep the Parishes informed of any impact or changes that are envisaged to ensure that parish views are represented.
Parish Issues for DC Support
An informal meeting of Chairs & Clerks from all Downland Village Parishes was held on 14th September at which most Parishes were represented. Joy Dennis also attended from WSCC. It is hoped that this will assist collaboration on common issues such a traffic and managing engagement with the Council to resolve issues.
Fulking (12th October)
The date for appeal in relation to un-approved development at the Small Acres site is not yet set. The PC is also seeking funding to renew playground equipment.
Newtimber (24th October tbc)
Common issues on speeding with Pyecombe, Poynings and Albourne.
Poynings (8th November)
Awaiting feedback from WSCC on issues including speeding and road re-surfacing.
Cllr Joy Dennis (WSCC) reported –
The contractor who successfully tendered for the new school in Burgess Hill and withdrawn from the agreement resulting in WSCC having to restart the tender process which is likely to delay completion of the school by at least 12 months.
RAAC concrete in schools. Central government has instructed all local education authorities to inspect their premises. So far, no major issues have seen reported in West Sussex, issues appear to be linked to additional buildings / extensions rather than the original structure.
The Gatwick Airport Consultation remains ongoing.
The Burgess Hill Green Circle – a green pathway for horses, cyclist and walkers was nominated for a national award.
WSCC are making progress with the ash die-back project to remove diseased trees.
Riparian – Householders duty to keep their ditches clear. WSCC continue to send letters to householders who are neglecting the duty to keep the ditches they are responsible for clear of debris.
Electric Vehicle Charging Points – WSCC continue to look for and install suitable EV charging points across the County and are open to suggested sites.
Pot Holes – WSCC are continuing to focus on repairing pot holes across the County.
23/071/OM – Village hall and its running costs
The long-term future of the village hall was discussed by Councillors and concerns were raised on how the future running costs of the facility would be managed and paid for.
ACTION: Further investigation of discussion with all groups is needed and Cllr Hind agreed to take this forward.
23/072/OM – RoSPA Playground Report and Maintenance
The RoSPA Report was circulated to all councillors prior to the meeting. CLLR Hind advised that the urgent items raised in the report had been dealt with as we await the repairs to be undertaken by Heartwood Creative Limited.
23/073/OM. – Fulking Parish Council Budget 2024/2025.
The Clerk reported that budget planning for 2024/2025 was in progress and that costs continue to rise. An increase in precept from £10,680 will be sought to cover the Council’s commitments.
23/074/OM. – Speed Limits in Edburton Road
Following the successful application for a speed reduction in Clappers Lane, Councillors agreed that a similar restriction for Edburton Road, should be requested. Cllr Dennis (WSCC) recommended that one TRO Application should be presented to WSCC by the parishes of Poynings, Fulking and Edburton to cover the whole stretch of road, outside the 20mph village speed limits.
ACTION: Clerk to liaise clerks of Poynings and Upper Beeding to make a joint application.
23/075/OM. – Planning application – Conifer House SDNP/23/03790/TCA
Proposal: Reduce to just below previous pruning points and thin canopy on 1 no. Maple tree in rear (eastern side) garden (T1)
Councillors reviewed the application and were unanimous in their support.
23/076/OM. – Reports from Outside Bodies, Information Items & Correspondence
An email was received from Action in rural Sussex (AirS) regarding support with community plans including Parish Plans, Neighbourhood Development Plans and Parish / Neighbourhood Priority Statements.
ACTION: Clerk to email AirS to request an initial consultation.
23/077/OM. – Financial Matters: To receive the report on the Council’s income and to approve future expenditure.
The Clerk reported that the current account balance in Barclays Bank was £8,944.84 with £13,612.38 held in the deposit account.
Date of the next Ordinary Meeting: Thursday 11th January 2024
Meeting closed at 9.05pm.