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Minutes – Community Affairs Working Group – 7 June 2021

The minutes of this meeting are presented below.

You can also download a PDF copy of the minutes here: Minutes – Community Affairs Working Group – 7 June 2021

Please note: This meeting included a presentation regarding the Chichester Season of Culture 2022. The slides for the presentation are only available in the PDF download.

NOTES OF THE VIRTUAL MEETING OF THE COMMUNITY AFFAIRS WORKING GROUP HELD ON MONDAY 7 JUNE 2021 AT 3.00PM

PRESENT:

  • Councillor Apel (Chairman)
  • Councillor Gershater
  • Councillor Lishman
  • Councillor Sharp
  • Councillor Quail

EX-OFFICIO:

  • Councillor Plowman (Chairman of Planning and Conservation)  
  • Councillor Scicluna (Chairman of Finance)

ALSO IN ATTENDANCE:

  • Deputy Town Clerk (Responsible Finance Officer)
  • Member Services Support Officer
  • Liz Turner (Chairman – Friends of Ravenna)
  • Graham Pound (Chairman – Friends of Valletta)
  • Michael Bevis (Chairman – Friends of Chartres)
  • Helen Marshall (Vice-Chair, Chichester BID)
  • Gregory Nash and Caroline Sharman (Chichester Season of Culture 2022)
  • Paula Chatfield (Chichester Tree Wardens)
  • Councillor Simon Oakley (West Sussex County Council)

1. APOLOGIES AND RECORD OF ABSENCE

Apologies for absence were received from the Mayor, Councillor John Hughes, the Mayoress, Councillor Cherry Hughes and Councillor Carter.

Councillor Joy was absent from the meeting.

2. ELECTION OF CHAIRMAN FOR 2021-2022

The Deputy Town Clerk took this item to call for nominations for Chairman of the Community Affairs Committee.

It was proposed, seconded, put to the vote and AGREED that Councillor Clare Apel be elected Chairman of the Community Affairs Committee for the remainder of the Council year. There were no other nominations.

3. APPOINTMENT OF VICE-CHAIRMAN FOR 2021-2022

It was proposed, seconded, put to the vote and AGREED that Councillor Cherry Hughes be appointed Vice-Chairman of the Community Affairs Committee for the remainder of the Council year. There were no other nominations.

4. MINUTES OF THE COMMUNITY AFFAIRS COMMITTEE HELD VIRTUALLY ON 29 MARCH 2021 AND THE DISCRETIONARY GRANTS MEETING HELD VIRTUALLY ON 12 APRIL 2021

AGREED that the Minutes of the Meetings held on the 29 March and 12 April 2021, having been circulated; be approved and signed at a future date as a correct record.

5. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST BY MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE IN MATTERS ARISING ON THE AGENDA FOR THIS MEETING

Councillors Apel, Lishman and Plowman declared a personal interest as members of Chichester District Council.

Councillor Apel declared a personal interest as the City Council’s representative on the Friends of Chartres committee.

Councillor Scicluna declared an interest as the City Council representative on all three Friends associations committees.

Councillor Plowman declared a personal interest as Chairman of the organising committee of the Over the Rainbow event.

6. UPDATES FROM THE PREVIOUS MINUTES

(a) Minute 56(a) – City Centre floral display

The Member Services Support Officer advised Members that the City Council’s new contractor, WindowFlowers, had now installed the hanging baskets through the city centre and had also undertaken the replanting of the raised planters in the main streets.

(b) Minute 56(b) – update on the ongoing response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Working Group noted the ongoing restrictions and the possibility of restrictions lifting towards the end of June.

Councillor Plowman expressed his support for the City Council’s decision to temporarily operate a working group structure to allow meetings to continue and minimise the need for in person attendance.

(c) Minute 56(c) – City Council purchase of a Speed Indicator Device (SID)

The Deputy Town Clerk reported that the SID had now arrived at the Council House.

Members were advised that a consent form for the use of the device had been received from West Sussex County Council and that contact was being made with groups who had expressed an interest in making use of the SID.

(d) Minute 56(e) – Footpath between the new Lidl store and Story Road

The Working Group was advised that there were no concrete updates from the Lidl store manager.

Councillor Plowman confirmed this and reported that a wider discussion regarding pedestrian access to the Lidl site in general was also taking place with West Sussex County Council.

7. POLICING AND SECURITY IN THE CITY

(a) Community Wardens

Pam Bushby (Divisional Manager – Communities and Wellbeing, Chichester District Council) presented the reports from the Community Wardens that had been circulated to Members with the agenda.

Members were advised that, due to budget cuts, Chichester District Council were no longer able to sustain the graffiti cleaning contract for assets other than their own and that it would be up to building owners to resolve these issues. Members were further advised that the Wardens were being supplied with small graffiti removing kits for minor occurrences but that these were not intended to deal with larger or more difficult instances.

The positive report from the city centre warden was highlighted for noting that visitors to the city were observing distancing rules and that instances of begging and homelessness in the city were lower thanks to the cooperation between the police, the Wardens and the District Council’s specialist teams.

Members were reminded that the current Warden funding arrangement was in its final year and that a paper would be presented to the District Council cabinet in November with proposals for the next three year funding structure. The Working Group was advised that this would include a review of the current structures and funding bodies to see if changes needed to be made due to changes taking place to the city itself. Members were urged to contribute to this review which would be taking place over the summer.

The Vice-Chair of Chichester BID informed Members that the BID very much appreciated the work of the Community Wardens and that they had been working closely with them to respond to issues in the city.

Members were also advised that the BID now had a contractor that they had started using recently for the removal of graffiti in the city. The Vice-Chair informed the Working Group that, while the BID’s resources were not large, they may be able to respond quickly to incidents of graffiti and that it would be good to liaise with Chichester District Council to help tackle this issue.

Councillor Scicluna informed Members that she was very much in favour of the actions being taken on graffiti. She further informed Members that, in her role as a city tour guide, she regularly received comments about how little graffiti there was in the city.

Councillor Lishman responded to the point in the Warden report for Chichester East and South regarding a garage near Swanfield Drive being used by squatters. Members were advised that she was liaising with District Council officers to tackle this issue.

The Chairman asked Ms Bushby about levels of antisocial behaviour during the pandemic. Members were advised that levels had risen during the lockdown, largely due to increased neighbour disputes but that this was now levelling out.

The Chairman asked that the Wardens be thanked for their ongoing work and for their update reports. This sentiment was strongly supported by other members of the Working Group.

(b) Chichester BID Rangers report

The Chairman welcomed Helen Marshall, the new Vice-Chair of Chichester BID.

Members noted the report that had been circulated from Chichester BID.

Ms Marshall supported the previous comments about levels of anti-social behaviour but advised Members that levels of shop lifting were increasing with the value of items taken also rising.

The Working Group was advised that the BID Rangers had been assisting businesses with this issue and in order to help this, the number of days the Rangers were operating had been increased to four per week (weekends, Wednesdays and one other day as required). It was reported that the Rangers had also maintained a presence at the recent protests in the city centre.

Councillor Plowman asked about Ranger presence in the city’s green spaces and it was confirmed that they had been patrolling the parks to check on any crowds as well as making their presence known to business owners around the city centre.

The Chairman thanked Ms Sharman for her report and the work of the BID Rangers.

8. REPORTS FROM REPRESENTATIVES OF FRIENDS OF CHARTRES, RAVENNA AND VALLETTA

(a) Friends of Chartres

The Chairman noted the report from the Friends of Chartres.

Mr Bevis reported that it was hoped that a mini exchange visit with Chartres would happen in the autumn but that no firm plans could be made due to the current restrictions.

He also thanked those involved for enabling recent meetings and events.

(b) Friends of Ravenna

Mrs Turner, as Chairman of the Friends of Ravenna, presented her report outlining the current activities of the Friends.

Members were advised that the Friends of Ravenna had postponed planning any exchange visits and that they were not looking to make any arrangements before 2022 at the earliest.

Mrs Turner informed Members that it was hoped that the monthly Zoom meetings would soon be ending and that in person meetings at the Council House could restart once the restrictions were lifted.

(c) Friends of Valletta

The Chairman of the Friends of Valletta presented his report outlining the current activities of the Friends.

Mr Pound echoed the sentiments of the other Friends associations regarding visits and in person meetings. He also expressed the hope that the Friends would be able to participate in the Chichester Festival in 2022 as they had not been able to support it in 2021.

9. CHICHESTER TREE WARDENS

The Chairman noted the report that had been received from the Chichester Tree Wardens and circulated to Members with the agenda.

The Working Group were advised that the current focuses for the Tree Wardens were identifying areas for new tree planting and fund raising.

In response to a question from Councillor Lishman, Mrs Chatfield confirmed that the community orchards around the city that had been planted by Transition Chichester were there for everyone and that any fruit on the trees could be picked for personal consumption.

10. CHICHESTER SEASON OF CULTURE 2022

The Chairman welcomed Mr Gregory Nash and Ms Caroline Sharman representing Chichester Season of Culture 2022.

Members were advised that the planning period for the Season of Culture would continue until the end of July 2021.

Mr Nash then gave a Powerpoint presentation outlining some of the proposals for the Season of Culture, with particular emphasis on the plans for the city. (A copy of the presentation is included with the minutes)

The Working Group was advised that the season was planned for June to September 2022 and that it was hoped that the season would launch alongside the Festival of Chichester on the 11 June 2022 to avoid a clash with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in early June.

Members were informed that launch events were planned for March 2022 and that the season hoped to encompass a number of anniversaries, including Chichester Festival Theatre (60th), the Novium museum (10th), Chichester Film Festival (30th), Pallant House Gallery (40th) and the Festival of Chichester (10th in its present form).

Mr Nash also highlighted that 2022 represented the 200th anniversary of the Chichester canal and it was hoped that the canal would play a large role in the Season of Culture.

He emphasised that the season would all be supported by partnership working and that the aim was to create something that would last beyond the end of the season itself. Mr Nash further emphasised that the season would aim to be as inclusive as possible and cover activities and people across the whole District.

Members were advised that some of the plans currently being looked at included a launch event/parade culminating at the canal basin, a photographic project highlighting the work of volunteers across the District, literary events involving Kate Mosse and other authors and poets, events for children and young families in Priory Park, a sport based dance event and a choir of 1000 children’s voices.

Mr Nash informed Members that the intention would be to approach the City Council for support both through the Discretionary Grant mechanism as well as making its venues (the Assembly Room and the Old Court Room) available for activities and events.

The representatives of the Friends associations asked to be kept informed about the progress of the plans and to join in with the upcoming partners meeting being held on 21 June 2021. It was agreed that the details of this meeting would be sent to the Member Services Support Officer for forwarding on to the Friends.

Members were informed that part of the planning that had already been undertaken involved looking at an international element for the season so the involvement of the Friends would be welcomed.

Councillor Gershater expressed his support for the plans and in particular for the desire that the season should create a legacy that lasted beyond September 2022.

He also suggested that links could be made with existing groups such as a regular book club and the city tour guides to extend the reach of the season.

The Chairman thanked Mr Nash and Ms Sharman for the presentation and expressed enthusiasm for the plans as highlighted.

11. EVENTS

(a) HRH Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee event in Priory Park – 4 June 2022

The Deputy Town Clerk advised Members that initial plans for an event had been made. She also advised Members that the event would be likely to include activities in Priory Park as well as some kind of gala parade similar to the event run by the City Council in 2012 for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Members were reminded that, for the Diamond Jubilee events, Officers had undertaken the majority of the planning and organising with periodic reports to Councillors giving progress updates.

Councillor Plowman expressed his support for the initial plans as outlined and informed the Working Group that we would be happy to participate in making the arrangements.

The Deputy Town Clerk informed Members that as the events budget was currently set at £1000, a special budget for the event would need to be discussed.

The Chairman suggested that all Councillors be asked whether they wished to participate in any working group set up to help manage the event. It was noted that the Mayor and Mayoress were not in attendance at the meeting so it was agreed that volunteers would be sought at a later date.

(b) Over the Rainbow – September 2021

Councillor Plowman gave Members an update on the progress of the arrangements for the Over the Rainbow event being held in Priory Park on 30 September 2021 from 5pm to 8pm.

The Working Group was reminded that, while the City Council was supportive of the event, a separate organising committee had been set up to oversee the arrangements for Over the Rainbow.

Members were advised that a special events organiser from Goodwood had become involved to help bring the plans together.

Councillor Plowman informed the Working Group that the organising committee for the event had put together a budget, with costs estimated at £4000, and were now seeking funding.

12. DISCRETIONARY GRANTS – 2021-22

The Deputy Town Clerk reminded the Working Group that the first round of Discretionary Grants given out in April 2021 had only totalled £12950, leaving a balance of £22,050 in undistributed Grant money. Members were also reminded that the hope for the new process of Grant distribution had been that only one round of applications would take place each year.

The Working Group discussed the issue and it was agreed that, because of the size of the remaining balance, a second round of Grant applications would be necessary.

Some dates were suggested and after further discussion, the Working Group asked Officers to arrange a second round of Discretionary Grants with a closing date for applications in late September and a Special Meeting in early October to consider those submissions.

The Deputy Town Clerk advised Members that the proposed dates for the Special Meeting would be too late for the Over the Rainbow event funding but that it could be possible to bring an item to the Finance Committee to make Discretionary Grant funding available earlier to support the event.

Councillor Scicluna, as Chairman of the Finance Working Group, informed the Community Affairs Working Group that she would be supportive of this happening on condition that it was allowable within the City Council’s financial regulations and that Members were supportive of their Grant budget being used in this way.

Following a proposal to support the Over the Rainbow event in the order of £2000, the Community Affairs Working Group voted to support the use of the Discretionary Grant budget further to a full Grant application from the Over the Rainbow organisers.

Post meeting note: Further to agreement from the Chairman of the Community Affairs Working Group, it was agreed to open applications for Discretionary Grants A closing date of midday on Friday 24 September 2021 has been agreed with a Special Meeting being held on Monday 4 October 2021 to assess the applications.

13. EUROCITIES

The Chairman explained that this item had now been withdrawn from the agenda.

In response to questions from Councillors who were supportive of the City Council developing links with other cities, the Member Services Support Officer explained that the Eurocities organisation had previously admitted cities with populations the size of Chichester’s but that this was now not the case.

Councillor Scicluna suggested an alternative organisation, the European Association of Historic Towns and Regions.

After a short discussion, it was agreed that Councillor Scicluna would contact the alternative organisation with the outcomes being reported to the next meeting of the Community Affairs Working Group.

14. COVID19 AWARDS

The Deputy Town Clerk reminded Members that the Covid19 Awards process had been postponed at the Finance Committee meeting held in January 2021 as it was felt that it would be inappropriate to make the awards given that potential recipients could still become evident while the pandemic situation continued.

Members were informed that it would be necessary to rescind the decision of the Finance Committee if it was felt that it would be appropriate to reopen the nomination process.

Further to a question from the Chairman, Councillor Plowman confirmed that the Covid19 Awards being discussed were intended for distribution by the Mayor at the Over the Rainbow event.

Councillor Plowman advised Members that he felt that it would be appropriate for the awards to go ahead to help recognise the efforts and sacrifices made by people in Chichester during the pandemic to date. He also advised Members that he felt that the awards should recognise those who had gone above and beyond in areas they would not normally be involved with.

Members were informed that a list of approximately 40 potential recipients of the awards had previously been compiled.

In response to a question from the Deputy Town Clerk, Councillor Plowman confirmed that the awards would be assessed and decided by the Members of the Council with the awards being given out by the Mayor at a simple ceremony at the Over the Rainbow event. He also confirmed that no formal procession of Councillors would be taking place.

15. CHICHESTER CITY COUNCIL MEMBERSHIP OF THE CHICHESTER VISION STEERING GROUP

The Deputy Town Clerk advised the Working Group that this item concerned representation by City Council Officers at Chichester Vision as the previous representative had withdrawn from the meetings.

Members were advised that the Deputy Town Clerk would become the principal City Council representative on the Chichester Vision Steering Group with the Town Clerk attending in a reserve capacity as and when necessary.

16. APPOINTMENTS TO OUTSIDE BODIES

The Chairman referred Members to the list of representatives on outside bodies for comment, particularly those appointments that had been noted as vacant or in need of renewal.

Councillor Plowman informed the Working Group that the Dears Charity had been dissolved and so no further representation was required.

Councillor Quail agreed to become the City Council representative on the Chichester BID board of directors. She also agreed to fill the vacancy on the Friends of Ravenna executive committee.

The Working Group then discussed the representation on the Chichester Vision Steering Group as some confusion had arisen about the difference between this group and the High Street Recovery Group that had been attended by Councillor Scicluna.

Councillor Plowman advised Members that it was his understanding that the Chichester Vision Steering Group was in the process of being merged with the High Street Recovery Group and it would therefore only involve a single set of meetings and therefore only one City Council Member representative.

Councillor Scicluna reported that she felt that the High Street Recovery Group did not seem to have fulfilled its potential and she suggested that maybe another City Council representative may have a more positive experience.

After some further discussion, it was decided, subject to clarification from Chichester District Council; that Councillors Plowman and Quail would be the principal and reserve members of the Chichester Vision Steering Group.

Councillor Lishman informed Members that, as she had been unable to attend meetings of the Oxmarket board due to work commitments, she would be willing to relinquish this appointment in favour of someone who could attend. The Chairman, Councillor Apel, agreed to replace Councillor Lishman in this capacity.

Councillor Scicluna then highlighted that Mr Clive Goodyear’s tenure as a City Council representative on the St Wilfrid’s Parish Hall Trust had now ended. The Member Services Support Officer agreed to contact Mr Goodyear to confirm whether he would be willing to continue in this role.

Post meeting note: Chichester District Council have confirmed that the Chichester Vision Steering Group and High Street Recovery Group would only be holding one set of meetings in the future. This means that Chichester City Council will be represented as follows:

  • Members
    • Councillor Plowman (principal representative)
    • Councillor Quail (reserve representative)
  • Officers
    • Deputy Town Clerk (principal representative)
    • Town Clerk (reserve representative)

17. ITEMS FOR INCLUSION ON THE NEXT AGENDA

  • Royal Mail – discuss the issuing of a City Council statement in support of the Sub-Postmasters who had been affected by the controversy and court cases.
  • Over the Rainbow update
  • City Council website – possibilities for promoting tourism and city attractions
  • Chichester Community Network – coordination with City Council web presence
  • European Association of Historic Towns and Regions

DATE OF NEXT ORDINARY MEETING: MONDAY 6 SEPTEMBER 2021

The meeting closed at 4.28pm

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