Now that the Hollycroft Field has village green status and the handover to East Chiltington Parish Council is underway, the next step is to set up a group/committee to manage it.
The results of the consultation in 2018 told us that residents were in favour of devolution and that the majority of those who responded said the costs should be paid for by the precept (Council Tax) or a combination of precept and fundraising.
We are looking for volunteers to work with the Parish Council in the setting up and the running of the devolved Hollycroft area. This will entail attending meetings, deciding how best to manage the land within financial constraints and reporting back to the Parish Council.
If you would like to get involved, we would very much like to hear from you.
There will be a meeting on Thursday 5th Sept, 7.30pm in East Chiltington Church for you to express your views and become involved.
As of June 2019, there are 3 vacancies for residents who may wish to serve on the parish council for East Chiltington.
As the elected body in the first tier of local government parish councils have legal power to take action, but they have greater freedom to choose what action to take than the next tier of Government (the District Council). Parish Councillors attend approximately 6 meetings per year, together with additional site meetings, and occasional planning meetings if required. There are other voluntary meetings to attend if councillors wish which are in connection with partnership organisations such as the SDNP, SSALC etc.
All parish councillors are encouraged to undergo half day training sessions run by the Sussex & Surrey Local Councils Association (SSALC). The cost of this is borne by the Parish Council.
So if you feel you have the time and commitment to serve the community in this role please contact email@example.com for details.
At a recent meeting, The Parish Council agreed to pursue devolution of the Hollycroft Field and associated areas from LDC to the PC. This follows a Parish-wide consultation in which residents voted overwhelmingly in favour of this course of action.
What happens now? The PC has notified LDC of its intention, and the offer of devolution will be formalised at an LDC Council meeting in January. The PC will then instruct a conveyancing solicitor to carry out the formalities. As this may take some time, we have suggested that, for 2019, current maintenance arrangements continue. In due course, the PC, working with TECT and in consultation with residents, will devise a maintenance and use plan for the whole area.
Devolution of the Hollycroft Field – survey results
In September, the Parish Council carried out a consultation regarding future ownership of land at Hollycroft. As residents know, Village Green Status was gained for the majority of the Hollycroft Field and this was followed by an offer from LDC to devolve this land, along with the current football pitch, the playground, and all other public areas at Hollycroft, to the ownership of the Parish Council. Although there would be zero purchase cost, there would be financial implications for maintenance and management of the land. Therefore, all residents were sent a leaflet that set out the costs and benefits of the proposal, along with a survey to find out their views. We were interested in finding out whether or not there was broad support for the proposal, along with ideas on the best way to fund it and for future use of the field. In addition, a well-attended meeting was held in the Jolly Sportsman at which these issues were discussed.
We received a response from 25% of all households. This is not especially high but quite typical (if not slightly higher) for a community survey of this type. Response rates were somewhat higher for the centre of the village than for other parts of the parish, but not markedly so. 98%of respondents felt that devolution was a good idea, with just one household feeling that the Parish Council should not accept LDC’s offer.
In terms of how the costs should be funded, of those that agreed it was a good idea, 50% felt that they should be wholly funded through an increase in the precept, 36% felt that there should be a combination of an increase in the precept and community fundraising and 14% felt that the costs should all be paid for solely through community fundraising. There were numerous ideas for future use of the field, among which an area set aside for wildflowers, a community meeting room and a BBQ area were among the more popular.
The results of the survey and next steps will be discussed by councillors at the next Parish Council meeting on November 7th.
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