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Minutes – Full Council (Discretionary Grants) – 29 June 2022

The minutes of this meeting are presented below.

You can also download a PDF copy of the minutes here: Minutes – Full Council (Discretionary Grants) – 29 June 2022

MINUTES OF THE PROCEEDINGS OF THE MEETING OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF CHICHESTER HELD IN THE COUNCIL CHAMBER, THE COUNCIL HOUSE, NORTH STREET, CHICHESTER AT 2.00PM ON WEDNESDAY 29 JUNE 2022

PRESENT:

  • The Mayor (Councillor Joy)
  • The Deputy Mayor (Councillor Plowman)
  • Councillor Apel
  • Councillor Barrie
  • Councillor Carter
  • Councillor Corfield
  • Councillor Dignum
  • Councillor Gaskin
  • Councillor Gershater
  • Councillor C Hughes
  • Councillor J Hughes
  • Councillor Quail
  • Councillor Scicluna
  • Councillor Sharp

IN ATTENDANCE:

  • Town Clerk
  • Deputy Town Clerk (Responsible Finance Officer)
  • Member Services Support Officer
  • Committee and Communities Officer
  • Macebearer
  • Mayor’s Chaplain
  • West Sussex County Councillor Simon Oakley

IN ATTENDANCE VIA ZOOM

  • A member of the public

9. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Apologies with a reason were received from Councillors Bell, Harry and Lishman.

Councillor K Hughes was absent from the meeting.

10. MINUTES OF COUNCIL

RESOLVED that the minutes of the Annual Meeting of Council held on 11 May 2022 (pages 1 – 3), having been printed and circulated; be adopted and signed as a correct record.

11. MAYOR’S ANNOUNCEMENTS

The Mayor advised Members that he had felt that the recent City Council Platinum Jubilee celebrations had been a great success and thanked all those involved for their efforts in putting on the event.

The Mayor also mentioned the following notable events that he had been involved with:

  • The memorial that had been held for the former City Councillor and Mayor, Michael Woolley.
  • Platinum Jubilee street parties that had been held across the city.
  • Jubilee tree planting, also attended by the Bishop of Chichester.
  • A community involvement project launched by the Bishop of Chichester aimed at making Cathedral owned facilities available for community groups to use. The Mayor expressed the opinion that the City Council should also lend it’s support to this initiative.
  • The annual Three Cities event held by the three Friends associations in Chichester.
  • A tree planting held by the U3A, a group of volunteers involved with running summer schools at the University of Chichester.
    He also highlighted the upcoming visit from representatives of Speyer in Germany and the possibility of another friendship link being developed.

The Mayor then outlined his involvement with a charity he had helped to found, Business2Schools (B2S), and their work to supply furniture and other equipment no longer needed by businesses to schools. Members were advised that the charity had recently helped benefit Chichester High School, St Josephs, Bishop Luffa and Rumboldswhyke School as well as assisting Lavant primary school after a recent flood, by replacing all damaged furniture and technology in their library.

Members were also advised that the aims of Business2Schools overlapped with the newly established not for profit Second Chance Chichester and that Chichester Planetarium had also recently received furniture from B2S charity in support of its own work.

The Mayor informed Members that he was involved with a new organisation in Chichester aimed at providing support to up and coming and struggling artists in the city and that he and the Mayoress were trying to promote better drama provision in schools.

The Mayor introduced the new Mayor’s Chaplain, Mr Bruno Kondabeka.

Mr Kondabeka thanked the Mayor and gave Councillors some background regarding his work in Chichester.

He advised Members that he was involved with Chichester District Foodbank, which was run by his wife, and that there was an urgent need for donations as demand that had increased during the lockdowns had not receded. He also advised that fuel poverty and refugees from Ukraine were placing further demands on the food bank’s resources.

Members were informed that Chichester Food Bank were currently looking for warehousing space and that a list of the types of donations that were needed was available on the website (https://chichesterdistrict.foodbank.org.uk/give-help/donate-food/).

Mr Kondabeka reported that he was involved with a Chichester diversity group, Transformation, that aimed to bring members of different social groups together to improved understanding and learn from each other. Members were advised that, while the situation in Chichester had been improving, there was still work to do.

The Mayor advised Members that more detailed reports about what had been said would be included with the minutes of the meeting.

Councillor Gershater suggested that the Chichester Community Network be contacted with a view to communicating the needs of the food bank to the resident’s associations across the city.

In response to a question from Councillor Sharp, the Mayor advised that the Bishop of Chichester’s initiative would make a diverse range of facilities available under the community initiative and that this was expected to include the Henry VIII Room in the Bishop’s Palace.

Councillor Sharp also expressed her thanks to the City Council who had made grant funding available to set up a new pop-up pantry in her ward provided by UK Harvest.

12. QUESTIONS

No questions had been received from members of the public being residents of the City pursuant to Appendix 1 of Chichester City Council’s Standing Orders (September 2020).

13. DISCRETIONARY GRANTS

To note that these had already been paid to the organisations.

  • 4Sight Vision Support £1328.40
  • Centurion Way Users Group £500
  • Chichester Forest Schools CIC £2120
  • Chichester Pride £2500
  • Chichester Priory Park Cricket Club £2500
  • Chichester Tree Wardens £488
  • Chichester Youth Adventure Trust £350
  • Festival of Chichester £3000
  • Lifecentre £2430
  • Nightingales Army CIC £352
  • The Royal Sussex Regimental Association £2500
  • St Barnabas Hospices (Sussex) Ltd £487.97
  • Transition Chichester £1500
  • Sussex Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus £500
  • The Crown Community Pub Hub Ltd £500
  • Three Cities £500
  • UKHarvest £2000

14. MINUTES OF COMMITTEES

a) Planning and Conservation Committee

It was moved by Councillor Quail, as Chairman of the Committee, that the minutes of the meetings held on 28 April 2022 (pages 209-214), 26 May 2022 (pages 4-8) and 23 June 2022 (separate document pages 26-32) be approved and adopted with the exception of the Recommendations in minutes 25 and 27 which should be considered separately.

Councillor Sharp advised that a declaration of interest as a West Sussex County Councillor should have been included on page 209 (minute 118).

The Deputy Mayor highlighted minute 25 (pavements in the city centre) and reported that Chichester District Council was currently putting together a bid for money from the Levelling Up Fund (LUF) which would include work on the city centre precinct.

He informed Members that this work would involve partners in the city, including the City Council, being asked to contribute to the matched funding part of the bid.

The Mayor proposed that, due to the complexity of the subject, an Extraordinary Meeting of Council be called to discuss this as a single agenda item.

Councillor Sharp informed Members that it was her understanding that the LUF bid would only include the central bricked areas of the precinct and that the chances of a successful bid were seen as slim.

She expressed the strong opinion that it was still very important that work be undertaken to ensure that the precinct was added to the West Sussex County Council capital funding programme and that significant evidence was needed to make this happen.

The Town Clerk advised Members that the issue of partner funding had only been raised with him the previous morning and that there was an urgent need for a decision by the City Council to enable the bid to proceed.

Members debated the issues being raised, the urgency of the bid timelines and the proposed dates for the Extraordinary Meeting.

It was then RESOLVED that an Extraordinary Meeting of the City Council be called to discuss the city centre pavements and the LUF bid at the earliest opportunity.

Post meeting note: The Extraordinary Meeting of Council was called for 8.45am on Tuesday 5 July 2022, to be held in the Assembly Room, The Council House, North Street Chichester.

Councillor Sharp reminded Members that the Planning and Conservation Committee had agreed that the RAVEN (vehicular noise) group should be standing items on the Committee’s agendas.

Councillor Gaskin reminded Members that she had asked that the Southern Gateway and transport hub should also be a recurring item on the Planning and Conservation Committee agenda.

Councillor Quail reminded Councillors that, as the Chairman of the Committee, she had been asked to write to Chichester District Council highlighting the City Council’s serious concerns about the Southern Gateway and transport hub proposals.

It was RESOLVED that the minutes of the meetings held on 28 April 2022, 26 May 2022 and 23 June 2022 be approved and adopted excluding the Recommendations in minutes 25 and 27.

i) Pavements in the city centre (minute 25 refers)

It was RECOMMENDED to Full Council on Wednesday 29 June 2022 that the City Council should support a campaign to address the unacceptable condition of the pavements in the city centre and that a Working Group be set up to support this campaign with the aim of bringing forward evidence to West Sussex County Council highlighting the condition of the pavements and the effect this is having on the residents of and visitors to the city and effecting a satisfactory resolution.

In response to a question from Councillor Apel, the Mayor advised that, West Sussex County Council was basing it’s current plans on a positive outcome from the LUF bid. He further advised that there appeared to be no plan B if the bid failed.

The Mayor informed members that he had spoken to West Sussex County Councillor Jeremy Hunt (Cabinet Member for Finance and Property) on the subject of the need for a plan B for work to take place on the city centre precinct.

After a short further discussion, the Deputy Mayor explained the recommendation that had been received from the Planning and Conservation Committee and it was RESOLVED that the City Council should support a campaign to address the unacceptable condition of the pavements in the city centre and that a Working Group be set up to support this campaign with the aim of bringing forward evidence to West Sussex County Council highlighting the condition of the pavements and the effect this is having on the residents of and visitors to the city and effecting a satisfactory resolution.

ii) Chichester City Council Draft Business Plan (minute 27 refers)

It was RECOMMENDED to Full Council on Wednesday 29 June 2022 that a Business Plan Working Group be set up to progress the development of the City Council’s business plan.

The Mayor directed that the Recommendation in minute 11 would be discussed under agenda item 7 (see Council minute 15 below).

In response to a question from Councillor Sharp about a recommendation that had been made by the Planning and Conservation Committee on 28 April 2022 (minute 125 refers) on the subject of the Westgate numberplate recognition scheme; Councillor Quail, as Chairman of the Westgate Resident’s Association, advised that there was no further progress to report at this time due to delays in details of the Whitehouse Farm southern access route being made available.

b) Community Affairs Committee

It was moved by Councillor Apel, as Chairman of the Committee, that the minutes of the meeting held on 6 June 2022 (pages 9-13) be approved and adopted with the exception of the Recommendation in Minute 17 which should be considered separately.

Referring to minute 13, Councillor Apel gave Members a brief update on the arrangements being made for the forthcoming visit by representatives of Speyer in Germany from the 3 to 6 of August 2022.

Councillor Sharp gave Members an update on the Tree Warden activities (minute 16 refers) and advised that she, together with other Councillors, had attended a course at the University run by the Tree Wardens on the subject of tree measuring. Members were also urged to liaise with and support the Tree Wardens in their work.

It was RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 6 June 2022 be approved and adopted with the exception of the Recommendation in Minute 17 which would be considered separately.

i) Draft City Council Business Plan (minute 17 refers)

After a brief discussion, it was agreed by Members to RECOMMEND to Full Council on 29 June 2022 that a small Working Group be formed and the Finance and Planning & Conservation Committees be informed.

The Mayor directed that the Recommendation in minute 11 would be discussed under agenda item 7 (see Council minute 15 below).

c) Finance Committee

It was moved by Councillor Scicluna, as Chairman of the Committee, that the minutes of the meeting held on 14 June 2022 (pages 14-25) be approved and adopted with the exception of the Recommendations in Minutes 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 19, 21, 23 and 26, which should be considered separately.

It was RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 14 June 2022 be approved and adopted with the exception of the Recommendations in Minutes 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 19, 21, 23 and 26, which would be considered separately.

i) Statement of Accounts 2021/2022 (minute 8 refers)

After a short further discussion, it was RECOMMENDED to Full Council on Wednesday 29 June 2022 that the Statement of Accounts 2021/2022 be approved and signed by the Mayor and the RFO.

RESOLVED that the Statement of Accounts 2021/2022 be approved and signed by the Mayor and the RFO.

ii) Annual Governance Statement (Part 1 of the Annual Return) (minute 10 refers)

It was RECOMMENDED to Full Council on Wednesday 29 June 2022 that the Annual Governance Statement (Part 1 of the Annual Return) 2021/2022 be approved and signed by the Mayor and the Town Clerk.

RESOLVED that the Annual Governance Statement (Part 1 of the Annual Return) 2021/2022 be approved and signed by the Mayor and the Town Clerk.

iii) Annual Governance Statement (Part 2 of the Annual Return) (minute 11 refers)

Councillors should note that this recommendation has changed further to information received from accountants DCK Accounting Solutions after the Finance Committee meeting held on 14 June 2022.

This item was considered under agenda item 8. See Council minute 16 below.

iv) Internal Control Policy (minute 12 refers)

It was RECOMMENDED to Full Council on Wednesday 29 June 2022 that the Internal Control Policy be adopted and signed by the Mayor and RFO.

RESOLVED that the Internal Control Policy be adopted and signed by the Mayor and RFO.

v) Internal Audit (minute 13 refers)

It was RECOMMENDED to Full Council on Wednesday 29 June 2022 that the appointment of the Internal Auditor be agreed for the financial year 2022/2023.

It was then RECOMMENDED to Full Council on Wednesday 29 June 2022 that the Draft Internal Audit Report for 2021/2022 be noted and approved.

RESOLVED that the appointment of the Internal Auditor be agreed for the financial year 2022/2023. It was further RESOLVED that the Draft Internal Audit Report for 2021/2022 be noted and approved.

vi) Draft Business Plan (minute 19 refers)

After a further debate, it was RECOMMENDED to Full Council on Wednesday 29 June 2022 that a Business Plan Working Group be set up to progress the development of the City Council’s business plan, with membership of the group to be decided at that meeting.

The Mayor directed that the Recommendation in minute 19 would be discussed under agenda item 7 (see Council minute 15 below).

vii) Events budget increase to accommodate regular large event (minute 21 refers)

It was then RECOMMENDED to Full Council on Wednesday 29 June 2022 that a new event budget of £10,000 be created for the purpose of funding a regular large event.

RESOLVED that a new event budget of £10,000 be created for the purpose of funding a regular large event.

The Mayor confirmed that the proposed budget was a maximum amount and that not all funds in the budget would necessarily be spent.

viii) Extension to Sea Cadets New Homes Bonus Project (ref. 10/19) to December 2023 (minute 23 refers)

The Committee RECOMMENDED to Full Council on 29 June 2022 that the request from the Sea Cadets for the extension of the New Homes Bonus deadline for project ref. 10/19 to December 2023 be noted and approved and Chichester District Council notified.

The Mayor declared a personal interest due to his professional working relationship with the Sea Cadets and (unpaid) architectural work he had been undertaking.

RESOLVED that the request from the Sea Cadets for the extension of the New Homes Bonus deadline for project ref. 10/19 to December 2023 be noted and approved and Chichester District Council notified.

The Mayor abstained from the vote.

Councillor Gershater left the meeting.

ix) Market House (minute 26 refers)

After a short discussion it was RECOMMENDED to Full Council on 29 June 2022 that the amendments to the Memorandum of Heads of Terms (Relocation and lease extension), as outlined, be accepted by the City Council.

RESOLVED that the amendments to the Memorandum of Heads of Terms (Relocation and lease extension), as outlined, be accepted by the City Council.

– Property Sub-Committee 23 May 2022

Members noted the contents of the minutes of the Property Sub-Committee meeting held on 23 May 2022.

15. BUSINESS PLAN WORKING GROUP

The Mayor explained that the recommendations from the standing committees proposed that a Business Plan Working Group be set up for the purpose of drafting a revised business plan for the City Council.

He proposed that the Working Group should involve City Council Officers, potentially supported by an external consultant, to build a framework for the business plan, with the members of the Working Group formulating policies as appropriate.

A call for volunteers to join the working group was then made and the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Councillors Sharp, Corfield and Barrie submitted their names.

Members were advised that Councillor K Hughes had also expressed an interest, as had Councillor Gershater, so it was suggested that their wishes were confirmed after the meeting.

Councillor Barrie left the meeting.

16. ACCOUNTING STATEMENTS (Part 2 of the Annual Return) – CORRECTED

To note, accept and approve a revised Accounting Statement (Part 2 of the Annual Return) showing corrected staff cost figures (Box 4 and box 6) provided by accountants DCK Accounting Solutions after the Finance Committee held on 14 June 2022.
(Originally approved and updated statements attached)

RESOLVED that the Annual Governance Statement (Part 2 of the Annual Return) 2021/2022 be approved and signed by the Mayor and the Responsible Finance Officer.

17. OVING LIGHTS CHANGES

(Planning and Conservation Committee meeting – 26 May 2022 – minute 6 refers)

RESOLVED that the Mayor, on behalf of the City Council, would write to National Highways to express concerns about multiple issues created by the recent changes to the Oving Road and A27 junction including dangerous slip roads and the safety of vulnerable individuals using the new crossings.

18. REPORTS OF REPRESENTATIVES ON OUTSIDE BODIES

Councillor Sharp updated Members on recent developments regarding the Information Shop for Young People. She advised that she had met the new leadership and that the service now catered for 11 to 25 year olds with mental health and other issues from their new location on South Street.

Members were informed that the Shop was open during the afternoon for drop-ins and counselling and that there were lots of events planned.

Councillor Sharp expressed concerns about worsening mental health among younger people and encouraged other Members to refer people on to the Information Shop – both clients and potential volunteers.

She also advised that the Information Shop was also trying to revive the Talking Café initiative, that had been trialled by Councillors Sharp, Gaskin and Carter after the 2020 lockdown; to improve community communication opportunities.

Councillor Apel reported that Chichester Welfare Trust had recently donated £10,000 to support work aiding Afghan refugees. She informed Members that the Trust’s assistance had now extended to supporting Ukrainian refugees.

She informed Members that Hyde Housing and other local housing associations had been allocating social housing to families that had no floor or window coverings and that she had been trying to apply pressure to Hyde Housing and Chichester District Council to try rectify this situation.

The Deputy Mayor advised Members that Second Chance Chichester had now achieved non-profit organisation status and that its work followed the same principles as food banks in that it accepted donations of items such as furniture, white goods and floor coverings for distribution to those in need. He also advised that Second Chance Chichester was working with Business2Schools to distribute domestic items deemed inappropriate for school use.

After a short discussion, it was AGREED that the Mayor would write to Hyde Housing expressing concerns about the situation that was being reported.

Councillor Sharp reminded Members that the West Sussex County Council Community Hub was also available for people in need of food, household supplies and financial support. She also urged Members to continue to register the needs of their residents to ensure that support organisations were aware their work was still necessary.

Councillor Scicluna reported that the Friends Associations had recently held their well received Three Cities Event and that the Friends of Valletta also held a successful garden party on the previous weekend.

The Mayor advised that Business2Schools charity was in the process of trying to build connections with local charities to work together on supporting those in need.

19. WARD REPORTS FROM CHICHESTER CITY COUNCILLORS

The Deputy Mayor informed Members that he had recently attended a meeting of East Broyle Resident’s Association and that the main concerns expressed were regarding the junction of Norwich Road, St Pauls Road and Sherborne Road which had become increasingly unsafe due to higher traffic volumes travelling to and from the White House Farm development. He also informed Members that he would be writing to West Sussex County Council as well as the developers of Whitehouse Farm urging action be taken by them to monitor the situation and provide remedies for the problems being experienced.

Councillor Apel reported that she had discussed her concerns with West Sussex County Council Highways Officers a number of years ago, with particular reference to the number of schools in the area; but that no assistance had been offered.

In response to a question from Councillor Apel about how to progress the issue, the Mayor, as a West Sussex County Councillor, agreed to talk to the County Highways department to push for action to be taken.

Councillor Quail informed Members that the southern access route from the Whitehouse Farm development was still of major concern. She reported that the recently submitted planning application from the Whitehouse Farm developers had been rejected as invalid by Chichester District Council and that it would be resubmitted once the District Council’s concerns had been addressed.

Councillor Quail expressed the opinion that she felt that the very many concerns and protests about the access route were being ignored by the developers and she also highlighted her grave concerns about the effects this route would have on the west of the city.

The Mayor informed Members that a representative of West Sussex County Council would be meeting with residents once the revised plans had been submitted to discuss the County Council’s viewpoint on the access route.

Councillor Cherry Hughes, as Vice-Chair of SPRING (Swanfield Park Residents Neighbourhood Group) reported that the organisation’s community garden had been suffering regular vandalism by a group of young people. She informed them that plants were being regularly ripped up, even after volunteers had replanted them.

She also reported that, while there was a new Community Police Officer in the area, they were relatively new and still finding their feet.

Members agreed with the Mayor that the subject should be raised at the next Community Affairs Committee meeting.

Councillor John Hughes informed Members that residents in East Ward were very fed up with the vandalism and anti-social behaviour being experienced in the area and it appeared nothing was being done to tackle it.

Councillor Apel informed the meeting that a new Police Chief Inspector, Nick Bowman, had recently been appointed in the area who was keen to get involved in community work.

Councillor Cherry Hughes reported that, while the Police had been called via the 999 number while the vandalism was taking place, they had declined to attend due to insufficient Police cars being available.

Members further agreed that the Chief Inspector should be invited to the next Community Affairs Committee meeting to discuss the issues being raised.

In response to a suggestion from Councillor Gaskin, Councillor Cherry Hughes advised that, while CCTV footage was available, the SPRING members were unable to access it easily.

20. REPORTS FROM CHICHESTER DISTRICT AND WEST SUSSEX COUNTY COUNCIL’S WARD MEMBERS

Councillor Sharp reported that anti-social behaviour and graffiti were also an increasing problem in the Whyke area and that she was coordinating work with the Chichester District Council Community Wardens, the Police and West Sussex County Council to produce a leaflet to hand out to residents to improve community engagement and attempt to tackle these issues.

She informed Members that the deadline for submitting Community Highways Scheme proposals to West Sussex County Council was 31 July 2022 and urged Members to submit projects for consideration under this scheme.

Post meeting note: Councillor Sharp advised that the deadline for the subsidised plant-a-tree scheme was approaching. The current District Council scheme runs from 11 July 2022 to 9 September 2022 – http://www.chichester.gov.uk/treescheme
On the topic of Lines and Signs, Councillor Sharp advised that, if individuals reported faded or damaged road markings and signs via the LoveWestSussex app or website, then repair work would be undertaken as appropriate.

Councillor Sharp raised the issue of the routing of the new City Fibre cabling currently being installed around the city. She reported that, if the cables were installed under verges, it would limit the possibility of additional trees being planted there. She asked Members to raise this with the installation teams, if they saw this happening, and ask them to leave as much of the verge free as possible. She also asked Members to let their residents know about this issue.

West Sussex County Councillor Simon Oakley emphasised the importance of formal reporting of issues and concerns as it provided an evidence base when works and projects were being decided and resources allocated.

Referring to Chichester District Council, Councillor Oakley informed Members about the availability of a series of support leaflets offering support in various subject areas for those residents that needed that advice.

Councillor Oakley also summarised the upcoming pressures on the County Council and NHS in the area of social care, especially in view of the cost of care cap that would be coming in shortly.

He further informed Members that increasing pressure was expected on County Council budgets due to the high level of inflation and increasing requirement for special needs education provision.

The Mayor reminded all Members and Councillors that they had previously been asked to produce succinct written reports in advance of the meetings, preferably for distribution with the agenda a week ahead of Council meetings.

He expressed the opinion that this would then allow all attending to be aware of the subjects being reported and ready to ask questions rather than trying to follow long verbal reports presented without supporting information.

The Deputy Mayor informed Members that the proposed closing of Brandy Hole Lane at its junction with Lavant/Broyle Road had now been withdrawn.

21. QUESTIONS

There were no questions received from Members of the Council pursuant to Standing Order 8.

22. COMMON SEAL

RESOLVED that the Common Seal be affixed to any documents necessary to give effect to the resolutions passed at this meeting.

The meeting closed at 3.33pm

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