Minutes of the Ordinary Meeting of Fulking Parish Council held on Thursday 13th October 2022 at Fulking Village Hall.
Chairman: Cllr Mark Hind
Fulking Parish Council: Cllrs Linda Dyos, Karen Healy, Lucy Mehta & Tom Kardos
Mid Sussex District Council: Cllr Alison Bennett
Parish Clerk: Trevor Parsons
There were eight members of the public present.
The meeting started at 7.30pm where the Chairman invited members of the public to speak. The main concern raised was the increase in power cuts.
Action: Cllr Healy offered to contact UKPN to understand why there are a greater number of power cuts.
22/062/OM. – Apologies for Absence.
Apologies were received from Cllr Joy Dennis (WSCC) and Cllrs Colin Trumble & Rodney Jackson (MSDC) all busy with County & District matters.
22/063/OM. – Declaration of Members’ Interests.
No declarations received.
22/064/OM. – Approve the Minutes* of the Ordinary Meeting of 7thth July 2022
The minutes were unanimously approved and signed by the Chairman as a true record of the meeting.
22/065/OM. – Matters Arising & Outstanding Actions: To clarify and report on actions brought forward from the last meeting.
- Operation Watershed works have started in Clappers Lane which will improve drainage of rainwaters significantly. Work on ditch clearance in Edburton Road will start Monday 17th October. The works should be completed by Friday 21st October.
- New signage has now been installed both ends of Clappers Lane to alert drivers of a narrow road in an attempt to reduce vehicle speeds along the road.
22/066/OM. – Reports from District and County Councillors.
Cllr Alison Bennett (MSDC) reported:
- A new Winter Support Guide has been published as an aid to residents of where to obtain assistance.
Action: Cllr Bennett to send the guide to the Clerk in PDF format.
2. MSDC has submitted a “levelling Up” grant bid for £18.5m to assist in the regeneration of Burgess Hill town centre.
3. There is a County & District Investment Zone bid to stimulate growth for Burgess Hill town centre and the Science Tech Park.
4. The latest District Plan Review has been submitted for scrutiny which includes 2000 homes in Albourne / Sayers Common Parish.
22/067/OM. – Market Garden, Conifers & Small Acres Update
Councillors reported mobile homes and caravans have been installed without permission in Small Acres. Other than a Temporary Stop Notice issues by SDNPA, no other proactive action appears to have been taken by the Authority.
The owners of Small Acres have submitted a retrospective planning application and the Parish Council have already submitted Consultee Comments opposing the application from the Planning meeting of 5th October 2022.
22/068/OM. – Antisocial behaviour MSDC & Police support
The Chairman reported that two meetings had been held with MSDC and the Police but matters are slow at moving forward. Regrettably the Police have offered little community support so far. FPC is looking to set up a meeting with ASB Team and victims as soon as possible.
Action: Cllr Alison Bennett offered to contact Mandy and the ASB Team at MSDC to move actions forwards.
22/069/OM. – Ladybrook Spring & drainage clearance
The Chairman reported that WSCC have committed to a more permanent repair to the road however WSCC have yet to provide a timescale as to when the works will be completed.
22/070/OM. – Pop Up Camping
Annie Brown of BD Harris Farm approached Cllr Kardos and the Parish Council to create an agenda item for the farm to share an update on their strategy and business direction following an issue in the summer where a small number of neighbours had raised concern that the location of a pop-up camp site was too close to their homes and intruded on their privacy.
The Chairman clarified the legal position that under the so-called 28-day rule, anyone with sufficient space and facilities in a suitable location can open up a campsite for 28 days without requiring planning permission. The facilities required are water and toilets, though these can be temporary and / or mobile.
Annie Brown spoke on behalf of the farm and immediately apologised to the residents for not communicating their plans for this temporary on farm diversification venture, and for any distress caused. She said the idea for the pop-up campsite was conceived after the Open Farm Day to provide more people with an opportunity to visit the countryside and visit the National Park. Annie told the meeting that after costs there was little profit to be gained from the venture. Following some complaints from neighbours, the pop-up camping venture was shut down.
The Chairman congratulated Annie and David on the success of the Open Farm Day and confirmed that the Parish Council was supportive of initiatives to encourage people to enjoy Fulking and The South Downs National Park. A number of residents expressed their opinions regarding the pop-up campsite including the suggestion that it be moved to the field containing the Shepherds Huts.
David Ellin (the farm manager) then told the meeting of the raft of anti-social activity the farm faces every day including regular co-ordinated vandalism of the fences at Truleigh Hill where vandals acting in the name of “right to roam” were cutting through wire fencing to walk wherever they liked. David advised that this action creates a serious health risk to livestock and creating unnecessary additional work for the farmworkers.
It was agreed to continue to build on the good relations that the Parish and the local farmer have cultivated over the years, and to keep an open dialogue for the benefit of all residents and businesses in the Parish.
22/071/OM. – ROSPA report & Playground Maintenance
FPC maintain the playground in North Town Field. Councillors inspect the equipment twice monthly. A recent inspection has identified the need for repairs to the steel frame and other items raised by the RoSPA audit. An initial quote for £6,000 plus VAT was received and Councillors asked the Clerk to request additional quotes to ensure best value can be obtained.
ACTION: Clerk & Cllr Kardos to obtain additional quotes
22/072/OM. – Village Hall Update
The Chairman informed the meeting that discussions between the Council, the Fulking Village Hall CIO and the Church were ongoing and slow progress was being made.
22/073/OM. – Waste Water Treatment building works
The existing Treatment works were built in the 1950s. Southern Water are about to embark on a 17-month project to update the wastewater and sewage processing facility for the village. Cllr Dyos advised that she and many villagers are unhappy with the lack of communication and that no-one appears to have been notified of the plans for the upgrade.
ACTION: Clerk to make contact with the works manager to provide a line of communication between Southern Water and the Parish.
22/074/OM. – Fulking Parish Council Budget 2023/2024.
The current precept stands at £10,080 from MDSC. Budget plans for 2023-2024 are being compiled and it is clear that with rising inflation our maintenance costs will be higher next year. Consensus of councillors was that a rise in precept nearer 10% should be requested to ensure the Council continues to balance its commitments with income received.
22/075/OM. – Reports from Outside Bodies.
22/076/OM. – Information Items. To receive information and items for the agenda at future meetings.
22/077/OM. – Correspondence. To discuss correspondence and respond to correspondence received.
The Clerk reported that an email had been received from Barclays Bank for information regarding the Council bank account. This is a national review from all banks to all non-personal bank account holders.
ACTION: Clerk to complete and return the review to Barclays Bank.
22/078/OM. – Financial Matters: To receive the report on the Council’s income and to approve future expenditure.
The Clerk provided information to Councillors confirming the current account balance at Barclays was £10,970.13 at the end of September 2022 and that £38,122.39 was held in deposit account of which £25,957.80 is set aside for Operation Watershed.
Date of the next Ordinary Meeting: Thursday 12th January 2023