COVID19: Parish Council meetings suspended

In view of the current coronavirus emergency the Parish Council decided at its meeting of Monday 16 March to suspend its scheduled meetings during April, May and June 2020, and that position is now reflected on our Council Meetings page.   Unfortunately this includes our normally popular and sociable Annual Parish Meeting in April.  We will keep this situation under review, on a rolling basis.

In the short term, it has been agreed that the scheduled Neighbourhood Planning Committee meeting to consider the Abingworth Phase 3 revised proposals (DC/19/1707) will go ahead on Monday 23rd March, but in view of the COVID situation this will be a closed meeting for members only without the public present.  The PC has concluded that this is effectively the only option it has to produce properly-agreed parish comments to Horsham District Council on the formally re-consulted revised DC/19/1707 proposals.   At this time HDC are saying they expect their planning decision-making to continue as normal, and there is no decision to cancel upcoming development committee meetings.  Therefore we are continuing to work to the timeline that the PC’s response to the re-consulted proposals needs to be available during w/c 23 March, to inform the HDC Planning officer recommendations to be finalised in April.  It is very important that when HDC decide on these proposals they have available an up-to-date Thakeham PC position to hand (whereas the PC’s original response agreed in September 2019 is now out-of-date relative to the amended proposals).  The decision to exclude the public from this meeting has not been taken lightly; PC members are well aware that a public presence at this meeting would have been normal and desirable, and that many local people would have expected to make contributions.  However, the health risks around hosting a large gathering at this time are considered to be unacceptable, and therefore the situation falls under our Standing Orders clause 1(d), which allows for PC meetings to exclude the public ‘if their presence is prejudicial to the public interest … for other special reasons’.  However, residents are strongly encouraged to continue registering their views on the revised DC/19/1707 proposals via the HDC Planning portal, and the planning meeting will receive a summary of those comments as part of its considerations.

Owen Richards
Parish Clerk