BEPTON PARISH COUNCIL
Chairman: Mrs Rosalind Hart
Clerk: Mrs. Lorraine Grocott, BEM, BA Hons (Local Policy)
23 West Meade, Milland, Liphook, Hampshire, GU30 7NB
Tel 01428 741393… Email: email@example.com
Website – http://www.bepton.org
Desk top MINUTES of BEPTON PARISH COUNCIL
Thursday 26 March 2020
This was a desk top meeting due to Covid-19.
Reports were provided by councillors and compiled by the Clerk.
Present: Mrs R Hart (Chairperson), Mrs L Sadler, Mr J C Beaumont, Dr J Wilkinson,
Mr J A. Beckett, Mrs C Bower
Reports from Cllr Dr K O’Kelly (County Councillor) and
Cllr J Fowler (District Councillor)
789. Apologies –
790. Declaration of Interests of Members – There were none.
791. Minutes of the Meeting 16 January 2020. To be signed at next meeting.
792. Casual Vacancies –
a) Duncan Hollowood is interested in becoming a Councillor. Minutes will be sent to him after this meeting.
b) Dr. Wilkinson has been offered a place on a MA Course on Ecology of Design Thinking and will be resigning from the Council from the end of August.
793. Report from the District Councillor – Emailed by Cllr J Fowler
1. In their Housing Strategy CDC are targeting homelessness, rough sleeping, reducing bed and breakfast placements and delivering 1000 affordable houses by 2025.
The sum of £230,000 has been received from Rough Sleeping Initiative and is being used, among other things, for the provision of two outreach workers,
2. Consultation on the expansion of controlled parking in Chichester, to include areas of Westhampnett, Donnington and Fishbourne, has recently ended. Results will be announced shortly.
3. Reduction of 33% in business rates for businesses with less than £5l,000 rateable value has helped 450 businesses and this rate will rise to 50% after l April. Pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000 will get £1000 discount for a year only from 1 April.
4. Vacancy rates in Chichester and Midhurst are lower. Chi’s rate is 7.7% (down from 10%) and Midhurst 5.45% (down from 6.36%).
794. Report from the County Councillor – Emailed by Cllr Dr K O’Kelly
She congratulated parishes and community groups who are mobilising volunteers and organising such a fantastic community response.
1. Covid-19 crisis Update from WSCC – The Government has issued advice about disposing of rubbish should you have a confirmed or suspected case of Covid-19 crisis in your household. Used tissues and disposable cleaning cloths should be put into a rubbish bag. The bag should then be put into a second bag and tied securely. You should then wait 72 hours before putting it in your outside bin. You are able to dispose of other household waste as normal.
Please continue to check http://www.westsussex.gov.uk/coronavirus for details of any impact to County Council services. We would also advise you to check any information or updates given by your local district and borough council, as they operate your waste and recycling collections and will be able to advise of any disruption or changes.
Minutes of Bepton Parish Council desk top meeting 26 March 2020
2. Covid-19 crisis – Best place for advice remains Public Health England http://www.gov.uk/coronovirus
The Communities Directorate at WSCC have set up a Volunteer Hub as part of their system-wide community response in conjunction with District & Borough Councils. They have contacted all the parishes to discuss how they can participate in this venture to support our communities.
Any residents who need help or wish to volunteer to support others can now do so via our new online community hub Your help in promoting the hub will be most appreciated.
Alternatively email the hub at firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Message from WSCC on Closure of Household Waste Recycling Sites
All Household Waste Recycling Sites (HWRS) across West Sussex are now closed until further notice due to the current Covid-19 crisis situation. This is to reinforce the need for social distancing, protecting staff and highway safety. With high numbers of visits, the risks of spread are great, and we cannot encourage this risk or guarantee visitor or staff safety at the HWRSs. We will issue guidance on disposal of excess waste, with the focus on vulnerable and elderly residents in the first instance. Thank you for your patience and understanding and please check the West Sussex Recycles website for updates and further information.
4. WSCC – Full Council – Budget debate Friday, 14th Feb. Significant challenges with increasing children’s and adult’s services overspends. New budget agreed which includes a 3.99% rise in Council tax related to WSCC activities – approx. £50 for band D house. They have allocated an extra £1million for the roads, the debate was dominated by Highways issues. I spoke to the LD amendment which included cancelling the cut to the Local Assistance Network that helps families in crisis, also cancelling cuts to support for children who are over 16 and not in education or training. Our amendment included extra money for sustainable transport initiatives and climate change work.
5. Rother Valley Way – Petersfield to Nyewood cycle path – Recent meeting with RVW steering group. Hoping for more progress on this route over next few months. SDNPA cycling officer has more time to prioritise the development of the scheme.
6. Kate O’Kelly Drop-ins – She available on email@example.com – M: 07979522299
795. Chairman’s Items
1) Parish Plan review – Unfortunately there has been no action since the last meeting.
2) Melanie Kite has informed her that her hours as being Clerk to Midhurst Town Council have increased drastically and therefore, she feels she is not going to be able to be Clerk for Bepton and has resigned (before even starting properly). This is disappointing. In the meantime, Lorraine has very generously decided that it would be easier for her to stay on as Clerk to Bepton until the worst of the coronavirus is over. She asked that it to be noted in the minutes how grateful the Council is that Lorraine is continuing in her position at this difficult time. Mrs Hart will follow up about finding a possible replacement for Lorraine in due course.
3) Resolution to adopt a Scheme of Delegation as suggested by SALC – Councillors to email their support. (Councillors subsequently emailed their support) (See attached for the Scheme of Delegation)
4) Annual Statutory Meeting (ASM) / Annual Parish Assembly (APA) meetings 14 May 2020 –
The ASM meeting is a statutory meeting and, thus, will go ahead either in the same format as this meeting, or as a ‘virtual meeting’ should the law be changed by then. The APA meeting is not a statutory meeting and will be postponed to a time when it will be safe to do so. Park House Hotel and Penny Plant, Cabinet Portfolio holder for the Environment, who was due to give us a talk, have been informed.
Minutes of Milland Parish Council desk top meeting 26 March 2020
5) ASM to be held in May is a statutory meeting – will need to be rescheduled
6) ‘Virtual meetings’ – Trevor Leggo, the CEO of SSALC, advised that “the law assumes that councillors are ‘present and voting’ when a PC takes decisions, we do not have any change to legislation yet but I am confident it will be announced shortly to allow PCs to arrange ‘virtual meetings’.”
On 24 March 2020 Chichester District Council advised that a new clause which the LGA submitted relating to council meetings was added to the Coronavirus Bill. This enables regulations to remove existing requirements for –
1) local authorities to hold annual meetings; and
2) allow meetings to be held remotely using video or telephone conferencing.
This Bill was subsequently approved.
7) Newsletter – Councillors agreed that no further newsletter was necessary. It was suggested that a resident’s email list should be compiled as it would be useful in times of emergencies.
796. Finance report – Mrs Grocott, RFO
a) Statement of Accounts – Payments for approval
These payments were approved.
b) HMRC VAT Refund 2019-2020 of £681.62 has been received.
c) Percentage precept increase – The Council was led to believe the % increase in Council tax was 6.9%. This figure was mathematically incorrect. The precept for 2018-19 was £4975. The precept for 2019-20 was £6299 which gives an increase of 26.6%.
d) Appointment of Internal Auditor – Richard Buckler – agreed.
e) Year-end accounts 2019-2020 will be prepared for internal audit.
f) A Thank You letter was received from Bepton Parochial Church Council for the grant of £975. It will be used primarily for maintaining the churchyard.
g) The CIL receipts has been reduced from £1101 to £395 due to payment for the Village gates,
795. Planning Report – Mr. John Beckett
SDNP Planning response to applications: –
Mr Howard Ewing of 3 Bepton Grange, Bepton Road requests permission to fell 2 no. ash trees in a conservation area. Application approved
Metis Homes request pre-planning to develop the Council Depot and Former Brickworks in Bepton Road.
Development proposed would erect 72 dwellings with associated access, parking and landscaping.
Online docs updated 12 Feb 2020. Application in progress.
Minutes of Bepton Parish Council desk top meeting 26 March 2020
Ms Wendy Sugden requests permission to fell 1 no. Norway Maple tree, Grangefield Bepton Road Bepton GU29 0JB. Application approved
Cowdray Estate request pre-application advice for the construction of a new agricultural access track at Rectory Farm Dairy Church Lane Bepton West Sussex GU29 0HY. Application in progress.
Note: JAB and RH had a meeting in February with Jonathan Russell, CEO of Cowdray Estate. The Parish Council’s view is that any reduction in agricultural vehicle movements on Bepton’s roads are welcome although this proposal only has potential to reduce movements at the southern end of Bepton Road and will not make any difference to the number of agricultural vehicles through the rest of Bepton.
Mrs Silva Huss requests permission for extension and conversion of roof space into habitable accommodation to include dormer windows with other associated ground floor alterations at Marwood Severals Road Bepton GU29 0LR. Application in progress.
OTHER PLANNING MATTERS
Minerals Plan, Soft Sand Review
Draft Soft Sand Review Plan has been published on WSCC website. Representations on the plan can be made up until 2nd March 2020 after which it will go to the Secretary of State for approval. Severals East and West are not included in the plan.
The Country Inn
Bepton Parish Council have applied to CDC to have a TPO applied to the Beech tree situated in the garden of The Country Inn. Awaiting feedback
Note: No update available as Henry Whitby, CDC TPO Planning Officer is on leave until the beginning of April.
A resident of Bepton has written to SDNP Planning raising concerns over the condition of Half Timbers, a Grade II listed property in Bepton which has been empty for over a year.
797. Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) & Village Gates
Having submitted a ‘Do I need Planning Permission’ for the proposed village gates, the Council was told by CDC Planning that it did require permission for the gates as they were planned to be over one metre. As this would have incurred a substantial cost, it was decided to reduce the height of the gates from 1.2m to 1m. In addition, the Council consulted the parishioners in the Winter 2019/20 Newsletter. The response has been minimal and thus the Council decided to proceed. The gates have been ordered and will be installed in due course.
798. Neighbourhood Watch
There used to be a group in Bepton which was nothing to do with the Parish Council and the liaison person circulated emails as well as attended Neighbourhood Watch meetings, but this has been taken over by electronic communications sent to the Clerk. If there is something of interest it is forwarded and put up onto the notice board, onto the website or through the newsletters. Looking at their website, anyone can join up to Neighbourhood Watch.
799. VE Day Celebrations 8 May Unfortunately, these have been cancelled due to the Covid-19 crisis.
Minutes of Bepton Parish Council desk top meeting 26 March 2020
800. Traffic Regulation Order (TRO)
An online request was submitted to WSCC on 12 March 2020 for a TRO to reduce the speed limits from 40mph to 30mph along the Bepton Road and (from Frogmore to Meadow View) and Severals Road (from the Country Inn towards the A272). Support was received from 39 households principally from the Severals Road and northern end of Severals Road. Cllr Kate O’Kelly has advised that WSCC will probably be looking at TROs again in November 2020 as they make decisions about them annually after the Highways team has ‘scored’ them. In the meantime, WSCC Highways have informed Mrs Hart that this speed limit application will need to be assessed against a Policy document with regards to the route characteristics and if deemed to be compliant potentially against speed data. (This latter part may well be delayed with the continued coronavirus crisis.)
801. PCSO –the new PCSO for this area is Scott Wrein – email ScottWrein@Sussex.pnn.police.uk
802. Environment matters / Highways matters / Rights of Way
a) Midhurst Area Cycling – Midhurst Greenway has been selected as the new name to be adopted by WSCC for Jubilee path north & south Midhurst/Easebourne and to Rother College. Funding: SDNPA confirmed S106 split £25k towards design work Jubilee Path North; £50k towards construction of Riverside Path; £72,671 towards construction of Cowdray to Easebourne and Causeway, also possible CIL funding.
b) South Down Way to Cocking Link – East side of A286: SDNPA was applying for funding for a project including this path Restricted Byway 943) (Hill Barn down to Cocking). The application would include signage to/from SDW and Cocking, with interpretation board and cycle parking in Cocking; construction of an off-road path on the west side of the A286 from the north end of Centurion Way at Hoefield Lane northwards to the SDW car park. The project would have to be completed by September 2021.
c) Severals Green – As there had been no response from Carl Lewis regarding his intention to continue to mow the area, plans are in hand to appoint a new contractor.
d) Road Sign Cleaning and Litter Picking. There have been No.2 sessions where volunteers cleaned road signs, post boxes and cut back vegetation. This has resulted in better visibility of the signs and enhanced appearance. Any Parishioners interested in future sessions please contact Mrs Sadler on 01730 815535. In addition WSCC Highways Dept have replaced 5 signs in Bepton.
e) St Marys Church has been temporarily locked from 24 March in accordance with Government and Church of England recommendations for Covid-19 crises restrictions. The Churchyard remains open.
803. Other meetings
a) CDC All Parishes Meeting 10th February. Mr Beaumont and Mr Beckett attended. Topics covered were: Small Schools Consultation, Rough Sleepers, Police Update on PCSOs, Update on Climate Change Plans and Communication with Parishes. Presentations have been distributed to councillors.
b) WSCC CLC Meeting 17th March. Meeting cancelled due to Covid-19 crises prevention measures.
c) Eco Rother Action (ERA) Group Meeting 24th February. Meeting attended by Mrs Sadler, Dr Wilkinson and Mr Beckett. Group covers volunteers from the parishes between Petersfield and Midhurst. Their aim is to drive local initiatives to minimise climate change. Organisers welcomed interest from Bepton residents. Subsequent meeting was cancelled due to Covid-19 crises virus risks.
804. Date of next meeting 7pm, 14 May 2020 –
Chairman: …………………………………. Date: ……………………
These Minutes are unconfirmed until signed by the Chairman
Attached – Agreed Scheme of Delegation
BEPTON PARISH COUNCIL
SCHEME OF DELEGATION
The Parish Clerk
• The Clerk shall be the proper officer and carry out the functions of the Proper Officer as provided by the Local Government Act 1972.
• The Clerk should monitor and be responsible for all incoming and outgoing council correspondence.
• The Clerk shall arrange and call meetings of the council in consultation with the relevant Chair.
• The Clerk shall carry out and implement any council decision.
• The Clerk shall, in the first instance, handle all requests for information under Freedom of Information Act 2000.
• The Clerk may research topics of concern to the council and provide unbiased information to help the council to make appropriate choices.
• The Clerk will advise the council on and produce policies to be agreed by the council and to be followed in respect of the Council’s activities.
• The Clerk will apply for planning consent for the carrying out of development by the council.
• If a planning application is received that isn’t able to be discussed at a council meeting due to high sickness or Councillors having to self-isolate, then the Clerk or Councillor for Planning will email details of the applications to Councillors and they will be advertised on the Parish Council website with dates by when responses are required from members of the public and from Councillors. She will ensure that Councillors are made aware of the responses received from members of the public and will collate a response to the planning authority. This will need to be proposed to Councillors by email for agreement to be received by a set date.
• The Clerk will decide whether a dispensation can be given to a Councillor who has a disclosable pecuniary interest in an item on the agenda.
• The Clerk may incur expenditure on the Parish Council credit card between £100 to £1000 with the agreement of the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Council, any amounts under £100 she would inform the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Council of the expenditure.
• The Clerk may incur expenditure on behalf of the Council which is necessary to carry out any purchase, repair, replacement or other work which is of such urgency that, in the opinion of the Clerk, if must be done at once, whether or not there is any budgetary provision of the expenditure, subject to a financial limit of £1500. Any amount exceeding £500 must have prior permission from 2 members of the council.
• If meetings cannot be held due to Councillor sickness or needing to self-isolate the Clerk will be able to move items between budgets to cover essential expenditure and will manage the accounts to ensure that invoices and salaries can be paid. She will also, with the permission of the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Council, be able to agree if future events and meetings need to be cancelled and take required actions to ensure that the Council can run effectively and that coverage on the Parish Council’s website is increased in order to keep the public informed.
• If the Clerk is incapacitated, then the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Council will take on the roles listed in the Scheme of Delegation.
• Where this Scheme is quoting approval from the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Council and one of these is incapacitated then the Clerk may obtain approval from another Councillor.
Lorraine Grocott BEM BA(Hons)
Clerk March 2020