FVRA Annual General Meeting Minutes March 2022

FVRA Logo

Findon Valley Residents’ Association

Protecting the interests of our community
and the countryside around us

www.fvra.org.uk

Thursday 24th March 2022: 7.00pm Remote meeting via zoom

Welcome and Introduction:

The Chair (Lance Allen) welcomed everyone and introduced the guests, Tim Loughton MP, Councillors Elizabeth Sparkes, Louise Murphy and Dan Humphreys and Worthing and Adur Park Ranger Graeme Brooker.
The Chair explained that 23 residents applied for zoom details and 1 with no internet access requested papers and did a proxy vote.
Our AGM was advertised via our recent membership campaign, newsletter, social media, Sussex Local, Parentmail and our notice boards.

Apologies

Tony Anderson (TA).

Minutes of last AGM and Matters Arising

Minutes from 22nd April 2021 were agreed as true records. There were no matters arising.

Chair’s report (Lance Allen)

The Chair reported that we now have twelve committee members, two of whom are co-opted. This is a pleasing rise from a membership of only four two years ago.

Lance highlighted elements of the published Trustees’ report and stated that it was essential that members vote on our annual reports and accounts. As a registered charity we are mindful of the regulatory needs of the Charity Commission, Information Commissioner etc. We have a published Privacy Policy and have developed a Register of Interests as well.

He stated that 2022 is becoming a busy year for the association with flourishing farmers markets, development of a new website, which will also be mobile friendly, along with a traffic survey that has recently been sent to residents. Other ongoing FVRA supported projects are our Valley Volunteers group who carry out monthly conservation projects within the valley mainly at The Gallops and Cissbury Fields. We also are developing a community garden at the library which is being expertly managed by Maggie Winter and her team of volunteers.

Planning is now in progress for the Queens Platinum Jubilee Street Party which FVRA will be organising along with Findon Valley Free Church.

Lance explained that we have a positive working relationship with local Councillors, PCSO and the Park Rangers and he thanked the many people who also support us including many local businesses.
He appealed for new members explaining that before the covid virus almost half the residents of the valley were members whereas now we are far less.

Resolution 1: The Trustees’ Annual Statement for 2021 was approved

Vice Chair (Lorraine Taylor)

Lorraine thanked everyone for giving up their evening to attend. She especially thanked Matthew Ward for successfully setting up the Valley Volunteers’ Group, Maggie Winter for her work with the library garden and Dan Humphreys for getting the store repairs organised. She also expressed gratitude to Lime Tree Surgery for allowing the use of the car park on Farmers Market Sundays along with thanks to Sharon Leppard for organising the markets and to the pharmacy for moving their vans. Gratitude was also given to Elizabeth Sparkes for her support of the market every month.

Treasurer’s Report (Clive Sanders)

The accounts for 2021 were issued with the agenda. As FVRA is a small charity there is no requirement for a formal audit but the accounts have been independently checked by Allan Gee – our thanks to Allan.
Clive also had to fill in an HMRC form for corporation tax this year which has been completed and accepted.
The bank account has been changed from HSBC to CAF (Charities Aid Foundation) and we now have a debit card and a card reader for donations. (Councillor Louise Murphy declared she has an interest in HSBC but had no contact or dealings with the changes)
The bank account is quite healthy at present with the majority of the income coming from the regular farmers markets.

Resolution : The accounts for 2021 were approved.

Membership Secretary (Neil Worsfold)

Details of membership were in the Trustees Report.
Neil asked members if they could keep their details updated and inform friends and neighbours about the residents association.

Events and Media (Hannah Hunte)

Hannah introduced herself as the new social media and events member. She has set up a new Instagram account which runs alongside Facebook and is getting good feedback about it. An event for the Platinum Jubilee is in the early stages of planning.

Environment (Matthew Ward)

Matthew spoke about his team of Valley Volunteers and said he usually has about 8-10 people at each event, the last one being to help with planting new hedges in Cissbury Fields.
He has also carried out a street tree survey and has identified that FV is in need of more tree planting and that trees being lost in the side streets are not being replaced. He is taking his results forward initially to WSCC to make them aware.

Highways (Roger Oakley)

Roger has been Highways Officer for a short while and has already been involved in assisting with a traffic survey. He will collate the results once he gets them, report back to the committee and action if possible.
He also tries to keep up to date with WSCC Highways news and informed us that they are in the process of setting up a Traffic Management Group to include speed limits, road safety and bus enhancement etc.

Election of Committee

We now have a full committee and all members are willing to stand. Brief details of each individual as below were included on the AGM Voting Form

Chair/ TrusteeLance Allen
Vice Chair/ TrusteeLorraine Taylor
Treasurer/ TrusteeClive Sanders
Secretary/ TrusteeTerri Binstead
Membership Secretary / TrusteeNeil Worsfold
Schools LiaisonPaula Barnes
EnvironmentMatthew Ward
Events and MediaHannah Hunte
HighwaysRoger Oakley
Web AdministratorTony Anderson
Co-opted MemberChloe Paddock
Co-opted MemberColin Binstead
Auditor (non-committee role)Allan Gee

Resolution 4: The Committee members were elected en bloc.

AOB

Lance asked if people were aware that we advertise in the Sussex Local magazine and they were. A resident asked if we would consider advertising in the new Cissbury Magazine and we will. It is also possible and very welcoming for residents to speak to any committee members at the monthly markets just to say hello, ask for advice etc.

[End of formal Committee business]

Presentation by Graeme Brooker, Adur and Worthing Park Ranger

Graeme introduced himself as one of 5 rangers employed by Adur and Worthing council and as the local Ranger managing The Gallops and Cissbury Fields. He also gave us a detailed and informative presentation of the work going on in Cissbury Fields and The Gallops.
The council took control of Cissbury Fields last year and along with The Gallops are beginning to re-naturalise the areas whilst being sympathetic towards the needs of the people who visit them. He explained the plans for encouraging wild flowers, birds and other wildlife and in answer to questions explained that at certain times dogs may need to be controlled in order to protect nesting birds at Cissbury Fields. Dog waste in the grass is a problem as it contains parasites rendering the cut grass as useless for farmers to use. The council are investigating the possibility of selling it elsewhere for use as a bio fuel.
Of the many trees that were planted in the woods at Cissbury and The Gallops there has been an amazing 90% success rate which is far above average. Ongoing plans include sowing eight different varieties of wild flower (which Vale School children will help with) coppicing of hazel trees in Shipdens Holt, possible community orchard in the first Cissbury field and removal of the barbed wire lying around.
Finally Graeme gave a warning that the adders are now beginning to wake up so care should be taken by dog walkers.

Lance thanked Graeme for his very informative presentation.

Councillor Elizabeth Sparkes

Elizabeth said that Findon Valley is really important to her and went on to detail some of the input she has had in the Valley over the past year including the improvements to Kings Parade with the new benches and planters, the problems with flooding at Bost Hill, which is now almost resolved with drains and ditches being cleared and her efforts in trying to sort the ongoing traffic problems.
She has met with Adam Bazley, the new Highways Officer for the County Council and walked around the area with him pointing out the traffic issues. Elizabeth suggested arranging a meeting with the two of them and our Highways Officer once the traffic survey has been collated.
Elizabeth had many meetings and discussions with highways officers and engineers, as well as residents and our chairman in her fight to get the preferred cycle route for the residents of the valley and one which is not shared with pedestrians. This has now been agreed using Lime Tree Avenue and Maytree Avenue.
As part of her ongoing incentive to get more trees in the area Elizabeth asked Matthew to forward his tree survey results to her.
She apologised for problems with the council website and explained that she is not always receiving her emails which is disappointing as she likes to reply to any she receives.

Councillor Dan Humphreys

Dan explained that he is no longer the Leader of Worthing Borough Council and has handed over to Kevin Jenkins who is also the Chairman of Vale School.
He was pleased with the work put into updating Kings Parade and hopes that more will be done in the future.
Storrington Rise car park is now closed off at night because of unsociable activity there. Coombe Rise car park is monitored but all seems well there at present.
Dan communicates with PCSO Ed Mitchell and stated that there is very little crime in the area. He also supports and works well with Lime Tree Surgery.
A new Health Hub is under construction in Worthing town centre which will house several surgeries and hopefully reduce waiting times to see a Doctor.
Environment Officers have visited the town and it is hoped to get more investment for environmental issues. One idea is for a “Heat Network” which would involve extracting heat from sewers to heat homes.
Dustbin strike. This is the first strike Worthing has ever experienced with these workers and has been caused by two different trade unions each representing part of the workforce.

Councillor Louise Murphy

Louise is stepping down as a councillor at the next elections in May and stated that she felt privileged to have represented residents of Offington and Findon Valley over the past eight years. She also thanked her colleagues.
There are now new Highway Code rules and everybody was advised to look at them.
Working for a bank Louise is aware of the huge amount of banking fraud that is going on both online and via telephone. She said it is very rife and warned people to be very aware and never give out details or numbers to anybody who contacts claiming to be from the bank.

Lance stated that the concern for the FVRA with regard to fraud is that vulnerable and older people do not always understand and that as a resident association we should publicise more about these scams in an attempt to make everyone aware.
Lance thanked the councillors for their input.

Tim Loughton MP

Tim thanked Louise for her work as a councillor and apologised for not having visited Cissbury Fields during the hedge planting as too busy. He was pleased that there is now a park Ranger managing green areas in Findon Valley.
18,500 Ukrainians have now been given visas to enter the UK although none are coming to our area yet. Facebook contact has been set up for them to try and liaise with each other and Tim has County Council details on his website for help with schools etc.
Having had a meeting with National Highways, plans regarding the A27 should be publicised soon although there is more consultation in East Sussex at present.
IKEA who have pulled out from Lancing have put their site on the market. Tim is negotiating hard to get best use of the land such as for a business park.
There are good environmental projects going on including acquiring a grant for setting up a kelp farm off the Worthing coast. A small area of sea will be sown with kelp seeds as a new initiative and monitored closely to see how it grows. The farm will have to be properly managed and the kelp harvested. This is a first in the country for Worthing and the kelp can be used for fertiliser, cattle feed, fish food and sea defence etc.
Tim has regular meetings with the CCGs and is aware of how the hospitals and GPs are coping. Worthing Hospital is doing well at present.
Dame Marion Griffiths, Chief Executive of Worthing Hospital is retiring this year.
Tim closed his address by answering a few questions including a ban on trawlers dredging near the coast, an explanation of the triple lock system with regards to pensions, heating bill increases and the war in Ukraine.

The Chair closed the meeting by saying he was grateful for the number of people who
attended and explained how it is important for FVRA to demonstrate what they are doing in the Valley. He thanked everyone.