By Stephen Hand
As many will have seen, the new Village Gateways have been installed at the entry to the two villages of Hurstpierpoint and Sayers Common and in general have been positively received. Most people have commented that they do give a stronger sense of place, which was our intention in putting them in place.
Although New Year’s Day will be some weeks past when this page is published, I would like to thank everyone who made the effort to join the ‘Hurst Meadows Guided Walkabouts’ on that day. Some eighty people in total took part in the two walks and, from the lively discussions that took place, thoroughly enjoyed the guided tours of the three meadows which make up the fifty acres that now belong in perpetuity to the community. My thanks to Cllr. Claire Majsai and Advisory Board member Helen Brangwyn for organising the event, which will be repeated at Easter when the new orchard has been planted.
At its recent January meeting the Parish Council approved its budget for the year 2019-2020. In looking to next year we have taken account of our proposed management of the new Court Bushes Community Hub which will open in the spring. The new community building will be a flexible space that can be used in different ways by local community groups. A large hall area will be available for social functions or as a venue for activities like exercise classes and it is hoped that a nursery provider will use the space to provide local childcare. While MSDC has made most of the investment in refurbishing the building, it is proposed that the Parish Council will be responsible for the day to day financial operation of the Hub. MSDC will consider our management proposal in March, but meanwhile we believe that it is right for us to make provision to fund the early days of this hugely worthwhile project. In order to make sure we can do this while continuing to balance our budget, we have increased our Band D council tax by 5% which equates to an additional £3.42 per household per year. This budget and the financial results for the year 2018-2019 will be presented as usual at the Annual Parish Meeting in May.
Finally, in May there are local elections, including the chance to elect a new Parish Council. Anyone wishing to stand for election should contact the MSDC election office for further details. The deadline for candidates to submit nomination forms is 3rd April 2019.