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14/05/2018 - Newsletter with Chairman's Report and Annual Accounts

June 2018 Newsletter with Chairman's Report and Annual Accounts

CHAIRMAN’S REPORT 2018

This report attempts to highlight the important issues that have impacted on the Parish over the past year.

 

1) The housing situation in the Parish continues to dominate the headlines with the appeal by Wates at Walstead (200 homes plus full school) being approved by the Minister. The development known as Heathwood Park (off Gravelye Lane, Lindfield) continues to grow to the full 200 homes and a second temporary entrance has been created off Scaynes Hill Road. The development opposite Haywards Heath Golf Club is the latest development to be approved in the Parish, this is despite strong evidence concerning the land stability and flooding issues. This approval was despite the District Plan and the Housing Supply figures being approved. We trust, in future, we should be in a position to resist further attacks on our valuable countryside and our infrastructure. In the past few years the Parish has had to accept in excess of 700 new homes and we believe this figure is way above the figure that the Parish should be forced to accept!

 

2) The Parish Council viewed 72 planning applications, most of which were acceptable to the community.

 

3) The construction of the Scaynes Hill allotments is in its final stages and 20 (to date) are working their allotments. There are several vacant plots but we are confident that all will be filled in due course. Many Councillors and staff worked on the development of the allotments but a special thank you must go to Steve Minter and Andy Spooner. I would like to mention that an unusual feature is the supply of water on site. This is pumped from a borehole powered by solar and wind generation – not many of those in the area!

 

4) Other main features of the year were as follows:

a. Burial Ground – The cemetery continues to provide funds for the community and the Chapel and Lodge are also let to provide extra funds. We have electronically mapped the whole cemetery but we are still in the process of attempting to establish vacant areas for burials, particularly where a plot was purchased but there is no written evidence of occupation.

b. Scaynes Hill Common and Anchor Pond (on The Farmers pub site) continue to be maintained as a result from advice from environmental groups. The parking problem at Anchor Pond should be resolved shortly but may have an impact on the parking in Church Road.

c. Gravelye Lane Allotments continue to flourish thanks to the support from a small band of volunteers who maintain the area. Despite some residents deciding to remove to the new Scaynes Hill Allotments we now have a waiting list mainly from the new estates off Gravelye Lane. The Allotment Cup was awarded to Ray Wicks - congratulations to Ray.

d. The Parish Council is in the process of considering several traffic calming measures and to that end we have purchased a vehicle speed indicator to be used mainly in Gravelye Lane, Lindfield and Church Road and A272 in Scaynes Hill. The data from that instrument will assist in developing further traffic calming measures. Additionally, we are discussing with WSCC Highways the proposal for a crossing at the bottom of Westlands Road, Lindfield to facilitate a safe crossing for school children.

 

5) The Parish Council continues to support local charities, the list of which is held by the Clerk.

 

6) Finally, I would like to take this opportunity of thanking all my fellow Councillors, Vera, Sarah, Irene, Lin Stockwell (MSDC representative) and Andrew Lea (WSCC representative) for their substantial support over the past year. We welcome a new Councillor to the Parish Council, Trevor Webster, and report the resignations of Andy and Steve. We now have two vacancies on the Parish Council.

 

John Dumbleton

 

 

The Annual Parish Meeting was held in an alternative and particularly attractive venue this year – the parish church of Saint Augustine of Canterbury, Scaynes Hill - and, as usual there was an excellent attendance. There were two guest speakers, one was a representative from Sussex Police and his report generated a positive debate including in which was an up-to-date on the role of the Police Community Support Officers. He was also able to assist with the lively exchanges concerning parking in residential roads.

 

There was also a positive response to the interesting talk from the MSDC Wellbeing Officer a subject to which has had a great deal of recent publicity.

 

 

Parish Precept and Budget

At its meeting in January the Council agreed its budget and precept for 2018/2019.

 

The precept for the previous financial year 2017/2018 was £52,323 and the Council agreed to increasing the precept for 2018/2019 to £55,205. Although this was a 5.5% increase, slightly above the 3.9% RPI inflation increase (as at November), the actual impact per household based on a Band D property was an increase from £38.09 for the year 2018/2019 to £39.09, which was an increase of 2.61%. In real terms there was a £1.00 per year increase for a Band D property. The difference in the percentages was due to changes in the Council Tax base, which takes into account more households being included in the calculation.

 

The budget was increased to meet known increases in charges/fees and maintenance commitments. It also included an allowance for professional fees relating to new data protection regulation and the necessary upgrading of the Council’s computer systems. During 2017/2018 Council funding was used to provide new allotments at Scaynes Hill including a bore hole and pump for the water supply, a new path to the remembrance garden at Walstead Cemetery; and the refurbishment and replacement of finger posts in the Parish.

 

Parish and Town Councils in Mid Sussex vary widely in terms of size, financial assets and commitments. However, with regard to the precept Lindfield Rural Parish Council compares favourably to other Parishes of a similar size. The Council is committed to ensuring that the budget is sensibly managed and is investigating methods to improve administrative efficiency in 2018/2019.

 

 

Lindfield Rural Parish Council Allotments

The Council are pleased to inform that there has been a positive response from residents to the opening of the Parish Council’s new allotments site in Clearwater Lane, Scaynes Hill. Over 50% of plots have been taken so far and there are still vacancies. Applications are welcome from both within and outside the parish. Please contact Cllr. John Dumbleton (482633) or the Parish Office (831499) if you are interested.

 

 

Bus Strategy Consultation – Have your say

West Sussex County Council is developing a new Bus Strategy which will explore ways in which the County Council can work with bus companies and other partners to help sustain and improve bus services.

The County Council would like your views on the proposals for the new strategy and if there is anything else which should be included.

 

For further information and to take part in the consultation please go to www.westsussex.gov.uk/buses or call 01243 642105 to request an information pack.

The closing date for feedback is 6 June 2018

 

 

Summary of annual accounts for the year 2017/18 click here