The Parish Council meets at 7:30 pm on the last Monday of each month. Meetings are open to the public and begin with a public question time. The next meeting is on Monday, 24th November 2014 at 7:30pm.
The parish council office is situated in West Hoathly Village Hall and is open on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9a.m. until 12noon.
Contact the Parish Clerk:
The Village Hall, North Lane,
West Hoathly, West Sussex,
Telephone and Fax:
During these times the Parish clerk is available to:
- help with enquiries
- take bookings for the use of West Hoathly Village Hall
- supply details of local planning applications
- arrange allotment rental (large and small plots are available at Finche Field)
- issue concessionary Rail vouchers for those over the pension age
The Council is assisted by the:
- Planning Committee which makes appropriate responses to local planning applications made to Mid Sussex District Council on behalf of the Villages and local residents.
- Rural Management Committee which looks after the land the Parish either owns or manages on behalf of the National Trust at Selsfield Common. The committee also works closely with the Local Conservation Group who seek to maintain our beautiful local environment.
- West Hoathly Village Hall, Finance & Administration Committee which looks after the Parish Council premises, finances and concil adminstration as well as managing West Hoathly Village Hall on behalf of the Parish Council who is the sole Trustee of the Hall Charitable Trust.
- Highways & Transport Committee which seeks ways to improve the Parish's roads and transport, and manages related assets such as the traditional fingerposts and the grit/salt bins.
The Parish Council owns and runs:
- North Lane Recreation Ground
- Finche Field
- The Old Playground at the eastern end of Sharpthorne
- North Lane Public Toilets
Local Winter Management Plan 2013/14
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is a Winter Management Plan?
For the last few years West Hoathly Parish Council has put in place a local winter management plan to guide and inform the parish if extreme weather conditions happen again as they have in the last few years.
The Parish's Plan is agreed with and complements West Sussex County Council's preparations
How do I find any news in the event of extreme winter weather?
In such an event the Parish Council will use the Hoathly Hub www.HoathlyHub.info to provide up to
date information on the situation. Similar information will be available from the Parish Office during normal opening hours (Telephone: 01342 811301 Monday,
Tuesday and Thursday mornings only 9:00am - 12:00pm). If problems arise outside normal PC office hours members of the Council's Highways and Transport Committee
will ensure information is available. (click here for Councillor contact details)
What do West Sussex County Council do for us in extreme winter weather?
West Sussex County Council has advised us that:
a) Their precautionary gritting routes in the event of an inclement forecast include:
- From the Horsted Lane / Sharpthorne Rd junction along Top Road, The Hollow, Chapel Row and the C319 Selsfield Rd south of the junction with Vowels Lane.
- Station Road and Hamsey Road in Sharpthorne
- North Lane and Church Hill in West Hoathly
- B2028 Turners Hill to Ardingly
- Vowels Lane from Selsfield Common to the B2110 at Kingscote.
b) Their snow clearance routes include:
- Major A and B roads and main towns throughout the county
- Top Road through to Selsfield Road and the B2028 to Turners Hill
Note: Station Road and Hamsey Road in Sharpthorne, Church Hill and North Lane in West Hoathly and
Highbrook/Hammingden Lane and Station Approach in Highbrook are not included in any WSCC snow clearance route.
What else can be done locally?
Mr Buckley of Hook Farm has a snow plough and, at the Parish Council's request will do what he can to clear snow from roads not covered by County but the Parish Council would hope that local residents will also volunteer to help keep these roads and pavements clear including using the many grit/salt bins around the parish.
In particular, unless Station Road is treated and cleared many residents and businesses in Sharpthorne will not be able to exit the village by vehicle due to the steepness of Station Road.
The Parish Council has an arrangement to clear snow from the steps to Finche Field from Vinols Cross and the entrance to West Hoathly Village Hall.
A volunteer has offered to clear the pavement from the Vinols Cross to opposite Bulldogs Bank.
Where are the salt/grit bins located and who fills them?
The Parish Council now has 15 grit bins installed around the parish (see the table of their locations here...).
West Sussex County Council undertakes to fill these bins with grit at the beginning of the winter.
Any grit replenishment will be carried out locally so if a grit bin is empty please inform the Parish Clerk who can then arrange for it to be refilled.
How do I use the grit?
Grit bins are provided for residents to use on public roads and pavements and not for use on private driveways.
When using grit from the bins, there is a tendency to apply too much. It needs to be distributed as sparingly as possible.
Anyone using the grit should also take care not to over-exert themselves.
What do I do if I see grit being stolen from a bin?
If you believe grit is being stolen from a bin please take a note of the registration and description of the vehicle and let the local police know on their non emergency number 101.
Advice to Volunteers Clearing Snow
If I clear snow am I liable if someone slips on the cleared area?
In a letter sent by the Ministry of Justice it stated that "The prospects of a person who volunteers to clear snow from a
pavement being successfully sued for damages by a person who subsequently slips on the cleared area and is injured are very small".
A snow-clearer does though have a duty to clear with reasonable care so as not to create a new and worse risk.
- Follow the Local Parish Winter Management Plan
- Move snow to a porous surface such as a grass verge or garden
- Spread salt/grit evenly and at an appropriate spread rate
- Clear any excess salt or grit once the snow/ ice has melted.
- Use water to melt snow and ice, if there is a risk it will refreeze
- Move snow to a location where it will create another risk e.g. another part of the pavement, road or where people are likely to walk
- Use excessive salt, grit or other materials so as to create a new or worse risk once the snow / ice has melted
- Park or abandon cars on pavements so pedestrians are forced to walk in the road.
What else can I do or should I consider in extreme winter weather?
- If you own a 4x4 and would be available and willing to help in an emergency please let the Parish Council know
- If you have elderly or disabled neighbours discuss emergency help arrangements with them before the onset of bad weather
- Make sure you have reasonable stocks of food in the house
- If you are worried about getting milk remember that Plaw Hatch farm produces its own milk
- Arrangements for school closures are decided by the relevant head teacher. The best place to get the most up to date information on school, and school bus, emergency planning arrangements is on the relevant school's website.
Handling of Petitions sent to the Parish Council
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How can I communicate with the Parish Council?
West Hoathly Parish Council welcomes feedback from its parishioners. The preferred method is through direct contact either
- Face to face with the Parish Clerk at the Parish Office
- Through contact with Councillors (click here for Councillor contact details or see the noticeboard beside the Village Hall)
- By phone on 01342 811301
- By e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
- Or by letter to the Parish Clerk, Parish Office, Village Hall, North Lane, West Hoathly, RH19 4QG
This allows the Council to answer your questions quickly and if a policy decision needs to be made it will be placed on the appropriate Full Council or Committee agenda. (See also the FAQ on attending and asking questions at Parish Council Meetings.)
If a parishioner feels that their concerns have not been satisfactorily met there is a complaints procedure which is covered in a separate policy.
What is the Parish Council's policy on Petitions?
The Parish Council recognises that petitions are one way in which people can let them know their concerns.
All petitions sent or presented to the Council will receive an acknowledgement within 10 working days. This acknowledgement will set out what the council plans to do with the petition.
The council will treat something as a petition if it is identified as such, or if it seems to the council that it is intended to be a petition. To qualify as a petition there should be a minimum number of 20 signatures of parish residents or people employed in the parish.
To whom should a Petition be sent?
Paper petitions can be sent to:
The Parish Clerk
West Hoathly Parish Council
West Hoathly Village Hall
What should a petition include?
Petitions submitted to the Council must include:
- A clear and concise statement covering the subject of the petition. It should state what action the petitioners wish the Council to take.
- The name and address and signature of any person supporting the petition.
The Council will take into account identifiable signatures of people who provide valid addresses, where they live, work or study in the area and may also take into account other signatures.
- Petitions should be accompanied by contact details, including an address, for the petition organiser. This is the person the council will contact to explain how it will respond to the petition.
Petitions which are considered to be vexatious, abusive or otherwise inappropriate will not be accepted.
Petitions that relate to the subject of an ongoing, imminent or recent (within 6 months) formal consultation will not be accepted.
What will the Council do when it receives any petition?
- An acknowledgement will be sent to the petition organiser within 10 working days of receiving the petition. It will let them know what the council plans to do with the petition and when they can expect to hear from it again.
- Details of the petition will also be published on the Hoathly Hub website, although the contact details of the petition organiser will not be included.
- The petition will be placed on the Full Council agenda, and the petition organiser will be advised of the details
How will a Petition be handled at a Parish Council meeting?
The petition organiser will be given 5 minutes to present the petition at the meeting and the petition will then be discussed by Councillors for a maximum of 15 minutes. The Council will decide how to respond to the petition at this meeting. They may decide:
- to take the action the petition requests
- not to take the action requested for reasons put forward in the debate
- to commission further investigation into the matter, for example by a relevant committee.
The petition organiser will receive written confirmation of the decision.
If a petition is about something over which the Council has no direct control (for example the local railway or hospital) it will consider making representations on behalf of the community to the relevant body.
Attending and Speaking at Council Meetings
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
West Hoathly Parish Council hopes that this short guide will encourage members of the public to attend its meetings and will be particularly helpful for those unfamiliar with their meetings procedure.
Why are meetings held?
Aside from the fact that there is a statutory obligation for the Council to meet at least four times a year, meetings are the Council's principal means by which to discuss issues, formulate policies and make decisions on matters affecting the parish.
Who can attend?
Anyone can attend to observe. However, if the Council needs to consider certain matters in confidence (e.g. employee issues, negotiating contracts or pursuing/defending a legal action) Councillors may vote to exclude the public and press.
When are meetings held?
What is discussed at each meeting?
Agendas for meetings (published the Tuesday before a meeting) appear on the Hoathly Hub and the noticeboards beside the West Hoathly Village Hall and Sharpthorne Café.
What meetings are held?
Full Council - scheduled meetings are held every month (except August) usually on the last Monday of the month and all Councillors are required to attend.
The council operates 4 committees whose Terms of Reference are available under Councillor Reference at: www.hoathlyhub.info/ParishCouncil/archive.php
The Planning Committee meets on the first Monday of the month. Planning meetings generally take place at 12:00pm. It reviews and submits comments on planning applications within the parish to the Local Planning Authority (Mid Sussex District Council).
The Village Hall, Finance & Admin Committee meets 5 times a year. The first part of the meeting considers issues related to West Hoathly Village Hall for which the Parish Council is sole trustee. The second part of the meeting considers financial issues, policy issues and the running of the public conveniences and pavilion.
The Rural Management Committee meets 5 times a year and considers the green spaces that the parish council has responsibility for: Finche Field and the allotments, North Lane Recreation Ground, Sharpthorne Old Playground and Selsfield Common
The Highways & Transport Committee meets 5 times a year and considers highways & transport issues within the parish and lobbies West Sussex County Council who is the Highways authority.
Why should I attend?
- To raise an issue or concern
- To become better informed about topical issues and matters impacting on the wellbeing of the parish and its inhabitants
- To observe Councillors' participation in decision-making
When can I speak?
Members of the public have no automatic right to speak during a meeting unless they believe a Councillor has made a prejudicial interest statement (a councillor has a prejudicial interest if they cannot fairly and objectively consider a topic due to such interests).
However, at the beginning of a Council or Committee meeting the chairman allows up to 15 minutes for the public to ask questions or express concerns. The Councillors and clerk present will endeavour to address the issue you have raised but please be aware that the Council may make decisions only if the matter has been included on the published agenda. You may be advised that the Council requires more time in order to investigate your concern before you receive a full response.
It is the chairman who determines who shall speak, in which order and for how long.
If the chairman of a meeting considers that a member of the public present may have information which would help councillors or committee members make an informed decision, s/he may - with the permission of the meeting - invite that member of the public to speak during the actual meeting.
Note: Other opportunities exist to raise concerns with the Council - including: contacting councillors directly or contacting the Parish Office.
What happens at meetings?
Meetings are relatively informal: Councillors will often address each other by their first name and usually continue to sit whilst speaking.
The order of business at every meeting will be as set out on that meeting's agenda and the Council asks that everyone attending respects the office of the chairman who is responsible for the conduct of the meeting and for ensuring that the business specified on the agenda is carried out.
The Parish Clerk will normally be present and is responsible for preparing agendas, taking minutes and helping Councillors make decisions that are informed, procedurally correct and lawful.
How do I find out more?
The Council appreciates that some people may find the prospect of attending a meeting for the first time a little intimidating. If you have any concerns at all about attending a meeting please do contact Helen Schofield at the Parish Office for help and guidance.
How do I contact the Parish Council?