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CLERK'S BRIEFING NOTE 17-12

2012 ANNUAL VILLAGE INSPECTION REPORT

 

 

1. The first part of the 2012 Annual Village Inspection took place on Monday 3 September between 09:00 and 12:30pm. The second part is planned for Friday 28 September starting at East View Kickabout Area at 09:15.

2. It was attended by Cllr Glew (Chairman of the Finance Committee) and two new parish councillors, Cllr Peter Anson and Cllr John Parsons. The inspection was led by the Clerk and Financial Officer, Mrs Pauline Raymond.

3. The sportsfield part of the inspection was also attended by Mr Ashley Davey (pavilion manager) and Mr Derek Wright (Secretary of the Sports Association).

4. The following areas were inspected:

  1. Sportsfield.
    1. Background. The Clerk/RFO provided the background to the purchase of the sportsfield and the covenants on the land together with the lease to the Sports Association.

    2. Pavilion. The proper inspection of the pavilion is due to take place on 01/12/12. Councillors were able to see inside the pavilion. Interior decoration using washable paint will be undertaken as soon as possible. Cleanliness of the pavilion has improved with Ashley's appointment as pavilion manager. Sports picture are to be hung around the walls. Outside, it was noted that damage particularly to the tiles on the roof continues to be caused by footballs or cricket balls but Ashley Davey is continuing to effect repairs.

      This year, a defects log book has been provided and a planned maintenance schedule is to be drawn up by the Sports Association. A new terms and conditions booking form has been introduced.

      The pavilion is available for hire for £6/hour (£12/hr with use of showers) and availability will be advertised locally soon.

    3. Insurance. The Sports Association carries public liability insurance. The Parish Council's name should be mentioned in the policy document.
    4. Disabled parking. The disabled parking area is generally in good order and will be cleared of weeds.
    5. Signs. Signs showing the disabled area and the access to the car park are with the supplier and will be erected as soon as possible.
    6. Garage. The double garage has been moved by the Sports Association next to the pavilion, refurbished and clad allowing storage of goods rather than in the pavilion.
    7. Front fence. As required by planning approval, the Parish Council has arranged for the field gate at the front to be removed and a ranch fence erected. Cllr Vine-Hall installed a new kissing gate for pedestrians at the entrance to the public footpath.
    8. Tree and fence maintenance. The Sports Association remains responsible for tree and fence maintenance. Derek Wright will contact Pestalozzi about the fence of The Lodge which is propped up on the Sportsfield side.
    9. Grounds maintenance. The Football Club arranges much of the grounds maintenance and has recently taken on Landscape Services (Kent County Council) to do grass cutting and pitch maintenance. Derek Wright will contact the Community Payback team to see whether they will do some strimming around the field.
    10. Litter bin. The large litter bin was full to overflowing but was emptied by Rother DC during the inspection. A small amount of litter was picked up around the field. Separation of plastic bottles and cans for recycling will be attempted if arrangements for collection can be made. It was noted that the special arrangements which have been made for emptying the litter bin will need reinforcement when Rother's new joint Waste Contract is relet.
    11. Dog bin. A new larger 50L Glasdon Fido dog bin was put in by the Parish Council in 2011 to cater for the large number of dogs that are walked across the sportsfield. Emptying is paid for by the Parish Council.
    12. Dog Control Orders. Two Rother DC dog orders ie "No fouling" and "Dogs on Leads" under The Clean Neighbourhood and Environment Act 2005 are in place. Dog Control Order signs have been erected by Rother DC at both ends of the footpath. Although £75 fixed penalty notices can be given by the PCSO, better enforcement is needed because of the numbers of dogs being allowed to roam over the sportsfield.
    13. Public use of the field. The public only have the right to use the public footpath across field as it is not a public field. The safety of users of the footpath is important and Ashley Davey has recently had to turn away archers who were setting up their targets at the field.
    14. Seats. As noted last year
      1. the "David Woodman" recycled plastic seat needs bracing;
      2. the wooden seat at the western end of the field needs wood preservative. The Clerk has a new tin in stock.
    15. River Brede. As riparian owner of the sportsfield, the Parish Council is responsible for ensuring that the river is not obstructed and should clear the bed and banks of any obstruction. Nothing should be disposed of in the river or on the banks including grass cuttings. Culverts etc much be kept clear of rubbish. Alien species of plants must be kept clear. The Parish Council has employed a contractor to remove giant hogweed plants from the riverbank for the last six years. Cllr Vine-Hall and Ashley Davey had found the outlet flap on the Ham-Baker Valve on the riverbank blocked by a large plastic bottle in February 2012. The Valve needs regular inspection to ensure that it is not blocked.
    16. Car Park. The Parish Council has retained ownership of the car park. It has employed a contractor to spray with weedkiller 3 times a year. The doubling of the size of the car park is in progress but has been held up until more free hardcore is obtained. The Parish Council obtained planning approval for the extension and arranged for the archaeology condition to be met (nothing found). The digging out of the whole area and drainage has been completed by Philip Dann Ltd at the request of the Sports Association. The Parish Council has paid for two rolls of Terram sheeting but more is required. The unfinished area of the car park will have a safety barrier fitted around it this week.
    17. Portacabin. Ashley Davey will continue to progress the removal of the 40'x10' portacabin which belongs to the Parish Council. Guestling School have expressed an interest in purchasing it and, now that the summer holidays are coming to an end, further progress may be made. Any funds received will be put towards the car park extension. It is not insured by the Parish Council.
    18. Blue container. The blue container holds football equipment. It has been signed over to the Parish Council and is allowed under permitted development powers to remain on the car park. It is not insured by the Parish Council.
    19. Ladybird Lane. In 2010, in accordance with the covenant on the land purchase and on the previous Pestalozzi Chief Executive's suggestion, the Parish Council agreed in principle to contribute £3,700 to Pestalozzi towards resurfacing the entrance to the Sportsfield Car Park. The Parish Council has retained funds for this purpose in its budget since 2010. Further questions re the area to be covered are still to be answered as are the amount of contributions towards road maintenance from owners of Oaklands Manor and The Stables as well as the six new properties. The road is currently in a better condition than it has been for many years even though only a base coat has been applied so far. The developer will add a top coat on completion of the new houses. The posts that were put up along the edge of the verge in Ladybird Lane to discourage parking in 2004 are now mostly gone. The difficulty of ensuring that cars are not parked in Ladybird Lane is acknowledged by councillors who hope that the enlarged car park, once completed, will solve the problem.
    20. Ditch. It is now almost a year since the ditch was cleared by the Parish Council from the western end to the river although it remains the responsibility of the Sports Association. Contributions towards the cost were received from Pestalozzi and the Football Club. The edges should be strimmed two or three times a year. Ashley Davey complained that the southern edge of the ditch is much wetter this year and a part of the field cannot be used. He believes this is due to the ditch contractor putting spoil he removed on the sportsfield side of the ditch because of wet ground conditions at the time the work was done. It may also have something to do with this summer's high rainfall. The situation will be monitored during the coming months. In the last few months, the Chapel Hill/Ladybird Lane junction has been redesigned and the water from Chapel Hill is no longer being piped into the sportsfield ditch.
    21. Summary of expenditure to be included in the Council's budget:
      1. Emptying of dog bin
      2. Monitoring giant hogweed on banks of the River Brede
      3. Herbicide application on sportsfield car park x 2.
      4. Contribution towards maintenance of Ladybird Lane
  2. Playing Field.
    1. Land. The Clerk/RFO provided a run-through of the background to this land including Trust purposes re using the land for recreational uses for residents of Sedlescombe and neighbourhood.
    2. Management Agreement. A Management Agreement was signed in January 2012 by SPC and the Trust whereby the Council undertakes the entire care, management and control of the Playing Field pursuant to s9(b) of the Open Spaces Act 1906.
    3. Insurance. The Trust has public liability insurance cover through AON. SPC has public liability insurance also.
    4. Access driveway. The deeds allow vehicular or pedestrian access to the playing field via the driveway leading to Powdermills and Mill Cottage. SPC is responsible for paying 50% of the cost of maintaining, but nor improving, the drive. The other half has to be paid by the owners of Mill Cottage. On inspection, the drive appears to be in very good condition and no expenditure is expected to be necessary in the 2012-13 financial year.
    5. Grassed area between tennis courts and ex-car lot. In 2012, the Sedlescombe Rangers Football Club asked if they could provide a mini kickers' football pitch for 6-year-olds on this land because of shortage of space on the sportsfield opposite. The Trust agreed and the estimated cost of the work was included in an unsuccessful application to SportEngland for funding as part of the Olympic legacy. Funding expected to amount to about £5,000 is still required for this work from parties other than SPC and the Trust. If the pitch is provided in the future, Mr Hall would like it to be fenced off from his driveway.
    6. Parking adjacent to the Powdermills driveway. Particularly requested by the Netball Club, consideration was given in 2012 by the Trust to looking for funding to provide about seven parking places plus a turning space adjacent to the proposed football pitch. Planning permission would be required. After consideration and discussion with the owner of the driveway, the Trust decided not to pursue the idea because of the difficulty in restricting parking to users of the playing field only.
    7. Multi-Use Games Area (MUGA). The Trust and Council wish to change the two hard tennis courts into a MUGA.. Following the Trust's failure to obtain Lottery funding, the Council has applied for £13,500 to Rother District Council (after the inspection, Rother Cabinet agreed a total of £13,500 towards this project). Other funding has been received and the Council is expected to obtain a loan to cover the shortfall. A Sports Development Plan proposes various uses of the MUGA.
    8. Future maintenance costs of the MUGA. In order to ensure there are sufficient funds in the future for maintenance and the next resurfacing, a total of £1,900 should be set aside aside each year:
      1. Moss or weedkiller application once or twice p.a. and colour washing in year 6 £400.
      2. Resurfacing in twelve years time
        £1,500.
    9. Children's playground. Upgraded in 2006 using a grant from Biffa Waste Services because we live within 10 miles of a Biffa Landfill. The ropes on two pieces of equipment are on the ground and useless. The problem appears to have occurred because of ground conditions whereby the side posts have moved inwards. In the past, attempts have been made to shorten the cables and it may now be necessary to re-set one or both posts. Cllr Chapman has made the ironwork on the sides of the seat safe by adding concrete and plans to replace the planks on the two Klondikes. The play equipment needs washing.
    10. Dog Orders. There is a dog bin on the approaches to the playground with emptying paid for by the Parish Council. The outside of the dog bin needs washing.
      1. Exclusion of Dogs (Rother District Council) Order 2008 - playground only
      2. Fouling of Land by Dogs (Rother District Council) Order 2007 applies to whole area making it an offence not to clear up any faeces after dogs.
    11. Fence on edge of river in play area.The Council provided a new fence in 2011.
    12. River Line. As riparian owner of the playing field, the Trust is responsible for ensuring that the river is not obstructed and should clear the bed and banks of any obstruction. Nothing should be disposed of in the river or on the banks including grass cuttings. Alien species of plants should be cleared. SPC has employed a contractor to remove giant hogweed plants from the riverbank for the last six years.
    13. Litter collection. Since 01/04/12, litter has been collected weekly with the improvement noticed. It was noted that the contractor had complained that dog faeces and soiled nappies were regularly being placed in the litter bins. See also 1(10) above.
    14. Trees. The trunk of the oak tree beside the access driveway requires clearing. Minor clearance of other trees adjacent to the courts.
    15. Summary of expenditure to be included in the Council's budget:
      1. Multi-Use Games Area Project.
      2. Funds towards maintenance of MUGA and saving for resurfacing in twelve years time.
      3. Playground equipment repairs.
      4. Washing play equipment and dog bin.
      5. Dog bin weekly emptying.
      6. Weekly litter collection.
      7. Annual sweeping of courts.
      8. Grass cutting/strimming/clearance of nettles. Proposed to reduce number of grass cuts as follows: Playing Field reduce to 4 cuts in 2013 (previously up to 16 cuts). Playground reduce to 16 cuts without removing arisings (previously up to 20 cuts and arisings removed). Strimming around trees, furniture, equipment in playground.
      9. Tree maintenance.
      10. Annual hedge cut along public footpath.
      11. Annual professional playground inspection.
      12. Herbicide application around outside edges of tennis courts x 2.
      13. Monitoring of giant hogweed plants along riverbank.
      14. Moss treatment of courts x 2.
      15. Saving for next refurbishment of the courts.
      16. Saving for power washing and re-colour-spraying of the courts in year 6.
  3. Bus Shelter. The bus shelter and the freehold land it stands on are owned by the Parish Council (Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1953 s.4). The bus shelter was extensively refurbished in 2011 including a new roof. The bus timetables are managed by Stagecoach and are in good order. The bin is provided by the Parish Council and emptied by Rother DC binmen. Two "No smoking" signs have been installed this year in the shelter by Cllr Chapman. The first sign was removed but the second one remains in place.
    1. Summary of expenditure to be included in the Council's budget:
      Two-weekly sweep and litter collection.
  4. Village Green. The Clerk/RFO provided the background of this land including registration of the Council's ownership with the Land Registry and registration as a registered Village Green with ESCC.
    1. Pumphouse. The Pumphouse is a Grade II Listed building and was built in 1900. The pump mechanism has been removed from the well which remains in existence. The lead casing and wooden liner of the original pump were refurbished in 2010 and ground to ceiling iron railings added. The Pumphouse was repaired and refurbished at the same time. This included the two oak benches. On this inspection, the southern bench was noted to have damage to the arm and front slat and needs repair. The blue 400mm plaque provided in 2010 on the railings is in good order. Herbicide application has been applied to the paths surrounding the Pumphouse.
    2. Village sign. Cast solid rigid polyurethane sign with letters and detail in relief was provided in 2010 and the bracket was sand blasted and repainted. Post on which the sign is hung was painted in 2010. It was noted that, once again, Mrs Hudson had provided and maintained a basket of flowers on the post (red, white and blue for diamond year and the Olympics). Village of the Year plaque on post. All in good order.
    3. Noticeboard. In good order following varnishing by ESCC Parish Maintenance Team in 2012. Other maintenance by Cllr Chapman.
    4. Planters. Six tubs were installed and planted on the edges of the Village Green in 2012 sponsored by Blackbrooks Garden Centre. The plaques were provided by the Parish Council. The Garden Centre agreed to provide plants for future planting (within reason). (NB The tubs were readied for replanting by the Parish Council's past Chairman, Valerie Wright, in preparation for planting of pansies by Blackbrooks on 06/09/12.) One of the tubs has been damaged by a vehicle.
    5. "Geese Crossing" sign. A "Geese Crossing" sign on an oak plank has been prepared by Mike Constable and Bob Harris but its siting has not yet been agreed. Various suggestions have been made, the latest is to place it in the planter next to the Brickwall Hotel entrance.
    6. Trees.
      1. Oak on top Green - no work required.
      2. Horse Chestnut on top Green - no work required
      3. Mountain Ash on bottom Green - looking in poor condition
      4. Oak on bottom Green - growing vigorously with overhead telephone cable
    7. Dog Control Order. Fouling of Land by Dogs (Rother District Council) Order 2007.
    8. Proposed flagpole. At the request of the Royal British Legion Sedlescombe branch, the installation of a flagpole to fly the Union Flag has been agreed in principle for the top of Sedlescombe Village Green. Insufficient funds and flag raisers have currently been found.
    9. Summary of expenditure to be included in the Council's budget:
      1. Weekly sweeping of the Pumphouse.
      2. Grass cutting up to 20 times season with removal of arisings. Suggest consideration be given to increasing the cutting to weekly during the season using a mulching mower which removes the need for the arisings to be collected and disposed of. NB from 01/01/14, contractors removing grass will require a Waste Transfer Licence and will have to dispose of the clippings at a properly recognised site.
      3. Repair of south bench in Pumphouse (arm and front slat).
      4. Tree work may be required.
      5. Herbicide application to the paths around the Pumphouse x 2.
  5. Brede Lane Public Car Park and Public Conveniences. Rother District Council owns the car park and public conveniences. They were provided in 1986. The verge adjacent to the pavement belongs to ESCC. The retention of the recycling bins in the car park is supported because it is a central place accessible by many residents either by car or on foot.
    1. Management Agreement. A new 5-year maintenance agreement with Rother District Council for grass cutting and care of three young trees outside public conveniences expires on 31/03/2016.  1 of the 3 trees has died. Rother DC to be informed.
    2. Proposed Lease of the Car Park and Public Conveniences to the Parish Council. Rother DC has agreed that, in principle, local residents and local taxation should be used to finance the provision of public conveniences and car parks that do not provide an income for the District Council. Previous attempts to devolve Sedlescombe's to the Parish Council have failed, the latest in February 2012 when the Parish Council agreed unanimously against taking over the lease of these amenities. This followed attendance by the Chairman and Clerk at a meeting of the Rother Devolution Committee. This Committee, as of September 2012, is considering contacting the Parish Council again re the public conveniences. Taking on this responsibility would necessitate a considerable rise in precept possibly triggering a referendum in the Village with its associated costs.
    3. The Welcome Board is attached to the wall of the conveniences and is in good order having been refurbished in August 2012 in commemoration of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.
    4. Dog Bin. Provision and emptying by Parish Council.
    5. Car park markings. School would like them to be changed. It appears strange that the arrows direct traffic in a counter-clockwise direction.
    6. Direction sign to Car Park. It is suggested that an additional sign is provided in Brede Lane to direct drivers to the car park.
    7. Path from car park to school gate. Abandoned for the time being as the headteacher has not reached agreement with the landowner. The Parish Council does not expect to contribute towards the cost of the path.
    8. Salt bin. Presumably belonging to Rother District Council as not on the County Council's list of salt bins in the parish.
    9. Snow and Ice. The Council's Winter Maintenance Policy does not include any snow or ice clearance. The car park may even have to be closed by Rother DC in the event of dangerous conditions.
    10. Summary of expenditure to be included in the Council's budget:
      1. Grass cutting 13 times (reduced from 20).
      2. Herbicide application around edges x 2.
      3. Possible replacement of small tree.
      4. Dog bin emptying.
  6. Brede Lane street furniture.
    1. Litter bin at end of Gammons Way - provided by Rother DC.
    2. Seat and litter bin on Gammons Hill - litter bin liner missing and needs replacement.
    3. Summary of expenditure to be included in the Council's budget:
      1. Replacement litter bin liner.
  7. East View Terrace Kickabout Area (for inspection 28/09/12)
    1. Summary of expected expenditure to be included in the Council's budget:
      1. Grass cutting 8 times (reduced from 16).
      2. Weekly litter collection.
      3. Annual hedge cut.
  8. East View street furniture (for inspection 28/09/12)
    1. Metal seat painted by ESCC Parish Maintenance Team in 2012.
    2. Litter bin provided by the Parish Council. No further expenditure expected.
  9. Red Barn Field Nature Park (for inspection 28/09/12).
    1. Summary of expected expenditure to be included in the Council's budget:
      1. Herbicide application on path x 2.
      2. Strimming edges of path x 8 (reduced from 10 times).
      3. Refurbishment of notice boards x 2.
      4. Maintenance of fruiting hedgerow in boundary with village hall.
  10. Village Hall Car Park (for inspection 28/09/12). Leased to the Village Hall Charity. No expenditure by the Parish Council expected.
  11. Seats at Church Hill (for inspection 28/09/12)..
    1. Seat halfway up Church Hill - plastic - needs washing.
    2. Seat top of Church Hill - repainted by ESCC Parish Maintenance Team in 2012.

Clerk/RFO,
Sedlescombe Parish Council

10 September 2012