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FVRA Committee Minutes September 2020

Findon Valley Residents' Association

Protecting the interests of our community and the countryside around us


Monday 14th September: Remote meeting via Zoom


In Attendance:

Lance Allen (LA), Paula Barns (PB), Clive Sanders (CS), Kayla Shepherd (KS), Lorraine Taylor (LT). The meeting commenced at 7.30 pm.


Apologies

N/A, All present.


Minutes of last meeting and Matters Arising

Minutes from 10 August were agreed as a true record, and will now be published on website and noticeboards. Matters arising are covered below.


Chair

Vacancies, No further expressions of interest had been received despite clear publicity on website, eNewsletter, noticeboards and Sussex Local. We still require a secretary, membership secretary, highways officer, communications officer and auditor. PB advised that her father would act as interim auditor for 2020 if no other suitable person came forward. LT has contacted a number of potential new committee members but no response to date.


New Noticeboard, it was agreed that our Library noticeboard could include important information for Lime Tree Surgery Patient Participation Group. LA to liaise with PPG chair Ken Yeates. As regards our use of the library, WSCC’s Justin Burns has advised that the library cannot be used for meetings whilst the Covid-19 situation persists.


Winter Salt Bins, WSCC has responded to LA to confirm that FVRA are not legally liable, but WSCC does not provide training for the public on correct gritting, although various advice was suggested including the Government’s 9-point “Snow Code”. The siting of grit bins at the top of Coombe Rise and Downside Close seemed odd in that other areas with higher footfall had none. It was suggested that locks be fitted and signs added to those grit bins, and that they be locked outside of the winter months.


PB had spoken with Vale School regarding the grit bins on Vale Drive. The school is willing to help on school days but cannot cover weekends or holidays periods, so not giving full cover (particularly Christmas and New Year).


Bus Shelters, LA has contacted WSCC to discuss FVRA’s legal obligations. Response awaited.

AGM, Still on hold. It is felt that the age demographic of FVRA members could make a Zoom alternative difficult for some, and we would be unlikely to reach the quoracy threshold of 30 members in attendance.


Trustees, LA has issued a follow-up letter to the dormant trustees to confirm they are no longer trustees and are freed from liability for current and future FVRA actions. They are still welcome as Friends of FVRA.


Vice Chair

Farmers’ Market, LT had responded promptly to WSCC letter in August but with no further WSCC response, LT has contacted Cllr. Elizabeth Sparkes, to ensure FVRA interest is maintained for when Covid-19 restrictions eventually ease. KS will take an active role in this initiative in her new role as Events Officer.


Treasurer

The monthly accounts for August were circulated by CS prior to the meeting. Total funds at end of August = £4,454. Main items were membership fee income £154 and insurance renewal expenditure £336.CS stated that the Charities Aid Foundation offers a Direct Debit service that might be suitable for FVRA annual membership fees, reducing the need for doorstep collections and improving renewal rates. CS will circulate further details.It was agreed in principle to increase the membership fee for 2021 to £5 per household (single occupant £3).


Registered Address, Response awaited from Justin Burns at WSCC to establish if the library can become our registered address. Later: Justin advised that FVRA could not use the Library address unless a contractual arrangement with WSCC is in place.

HSBC, The intended new bank mandate adding LA and LT is been arranged by CS.


Membership

Position Vacant, A backlog of renewals had been collected from the Post Office, est. 50 members giving a total over 300 now. Still very much lower than 2019.


It was agreed that the intended new membership form for 2021 should include the increased membership fee and a Direct Debit mandate (if set up via CAF in time). A volunteer with good form design skills is needed.


LA still intends to contact the road collectors to maintain the relationship for next year. It is clear that the majority of renewals have previously been dependent upon ‘knocking on doors’.


Schools Liaison

PB had discussed the Gallops wild flower project with WBC Ranger Adam Scott. A Vale year-group ‘bubble’ should be able to help with October half-term clearing of the Gallops wild flower patch.


The Friends of The Vale are looking to establish a Christmas event including Santa trailer and a Christmas market at Kings Parade. A road closure and music licence would be required. Can FVRA be joint promoters? The event would be dependent upon the weather and Covid restrictions at that time. Funds would be raised for the school. It was felt FVRA could contribute eg by sponsorship of a Christmas tree, but due to our current lack of resources, we need to be careful not to over-commit. PB will discuss further with FoV after their committee meeting. KS will have a role also.


Highways

Position Vacant, There had been a recent Traveller incident where an overnight illegal encampment was set up on the Findon Road verge south of the Maytree Avenue junction. The travellers moved on early the next day. It was felt that the Coombe Rise car park was susceptible to encampment due to the lack of a height barrier to deter caravans etc. CS had raised this with WBC a few years back. LT will re-address with councillors, as an Environment matter.


Environment

Cissbury Fields, LT expressed disappointment that the intended joint FVRA/ SDNPA event in Storrington Rise car park on 30 August was cancelled due to an SDNPA error. This will now be on the afternoon of 23 September. The SDNPA focus will be on ‘Take the Lead’, a campaign to improve dog owners’ awareness of countryside issues.The next Cissbury Fields zoom meeting is 11am on Monday 28 Sept. It was felt that the new information boards could cause controversy in highlighting that the fields are not for public access. A ‘united message’ would be beneficial. FVRA could not be expected to patrol the fields – do we look to encouraging Open Access status in future? It was believed that the tenant farmer had retired and his daughter was now managing the farm. LA to invite to the 28 Sept meeting.

Gallops Encroachment, LT will contact Cllr. Dan Humphreys regarding whether WBC can formally take ownership of the strip of land in question.


Community Garden, Maggie Winter has advised that the garden centre recently approached regarding sponsorship, had not responded, so will not be chased further. It was agreed that future expenditure on the garden and planters, should be approved in advance by the committee. For 2021, asking keen-gardener residents to provide suitable plants, could be a good idea. MW will review further. It was noted that Lime Tree Surgery is considering setting up a community vegetable garden, promoting healthy diets.

Litter, LT noted that litter was increasing along Kings Parade, including the new hazard of used face masks. Separately, one visitor to the Valley had given positive feedback on the cleanliness of the public toilets. LT has relayed this to WBC.


Mobile Vending, The proprietor of the coffee van in Storrington Rise car park will not now apply to WBC for a licence, as the licence cost is believed to be prohibitive for a part-time independent trader.


Communication

Position Vacant, LA has issued text for Sussex Local October edition.

Later, the Worthing Herald has now published a photo of the unveiling of the new noticeboard, as submitted by LT. Ideas for our October eNewsletter are welcome!


Events

KS had circulated a list of potential events and initiatives, and this will be the focus of the October committee meeting.FVRA could promote a ‘Scarecrow Trail’ for October half-term, with as many residents as possible putting scarecrows in their front gardens. This would need promotion mid-October, including a poster with a QR code, and Vale School ‘ParentMail’. Photos could be sent in to FVRA Facebook page, and a ‘Trail’ could be set up. Modest prizes could be sought from one or more Kings Parade retailers.


AOB

KS noted that Beth, the Free Church pre-school manager, was keen to be an active Friend of FVRA.


KS has viewed the FVRA website and will circulate suggestions. It could be enhanced to attract younger families. The new noticeboard could also be made more eye-catching, eg with bright background colour.


CS suggested a possible future event involving a speaker from ‘Sports State of Mind’, a charity for mental health awareness. This was acknowledged as useful but more appropriate for Lime Tree’s PPG. A specific mental health issue is social isolation, made worse during Covid. The All Saints ARK project has a telephone befriending service that was proving to be useful.


LA has been contacted by a Parham Road resident regarding a development on Mill Lane that, due to the steep hillside, would be very intrusive to privacy. FVRA have lodged an objection as part of the due planning process. Planning issues are a case where FVRA can offer ‘signposting’ but not take responsibility for pursuing issues in FVRA’s name. Not only would we be uninsured for this, but the committee has no direct expertise in planning regulations.


Library Drop-in, Still suspended due to Coronavirus.

Next meeting – 7.30pm Monday 12th October 2020 (via zoom).

Meeting closed 21.45hrs.

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