OPEN FORUM 13 MARCH 2007

1. Mr Robin Archer of Oaklands Manor raised two issues regarding the proposed development at Pestalozzi. These were the proposed lack of segregation between pedestrians and vehicles and landscaping of the houses nearest Oaklands Lane. Mr Archer had raised these matters with the Pestalozzi Trust and was hopeful a revised plan would be provided. As the Parish Council's comments had already been submitted to Rother DC, Mr Archer was advised to forward his comments to Rother as soon as possible. District Councillor Wilson advised that two of the three planning applications were expected to be deferred at the forthcoming Rother Planning Meeting (15/03/07).
2. District Councillor Wilson mentioned two current matters - waste/recycling and dogs.
3. The Chairman informed the Council that John Mainwood of Sedlescombe Stores had told her about a proposal for a street party to be held on Sedlescombe Village Green as part of the MSYS (My Shop is your Shop) campaign to promote local (village) shops and independent retailers. The date of Saturday 9 June had to be confirmed. The Clerk would correspond with Mr Mainwood about the Parish Council's rules regarding use of the Village Green for events.

SEDLESCOMBE PARISH COUNCIL MINUTES

MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF SEDLESCOMBE PARISH COUNCIL HELD ON TUESDAY 13 MARCH 2007 IN COMMITTEE ROOM 2 OF THE VILLAGE HALL, 19:20 TO 21:15

Members present: Cllr Mrs V Wright (Chairman of the Council), Cllr A Rand (Vice-Chairman of the Council), Cllrs W Cameron, N Foord, Mrs P Glew, R Dellow, P Martin, Mrs M Irwin. Clerk/Responsible Financial Officer - Mrs P Raymond

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C06/07.143 Apology for absence was received from Cllr Mrs Mitchell (indisposed). The Chairman had sent Jenny flowers.

C06/07.144 Minutes. RESOLVED: That the Chairman is authorised to sign the Minutes of the Meeting of the Council held on 09/01/07.

C06/07.145 Interests. Members were reminded to declare their personal interests on matters on the agenda, the nature of any interest and whether the Member regards the interest as prejudicial under the terms of the Code of Conduct.

C06/07.146 Committee Meetings
146.1 Planning. RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the Meetings of the Planning Committee held on 9 & 23 January, 13 February and 5 March 2007 are received.
146.2 Crime & Safety. RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the Meetings of the Crime & Safety Committee held on 16 January and 6 March 2007 are received.

C06/07.146 Representatives
147.1 Village Hall.
Cllr Mrs Glew and Cllr Mrs Irwin declared their personal interests as Trustees of the Sedlescombe Village Hall. In accordance with the Code of Conduct, they remained in the room. Cllr Mrs Glew reported that the AGM is to be held on Thursday 22 March at 19:30.
147.2 Rother Association of Local Councils. Cllr Mrs Glew declared her personal interest as the Parish Council's representative on RALC. In accordance with the Code of Conduct, she remained in the room. Cllr Mrs Glew reported that she had attended an interesting meeting where, amongst other things, Trevor Leggo had spoken of the benefits of membership of SALC and had outlined its structure and staffing. The Chairman of RALC had sent her good wishes to Cllr Mrs Wright, the former RALC Chairman, and thanks from the Association. Cllr Bronsdon had been appointed to fill the SALC vacancy created by Cllr Mrs Wright's resignation. Cllr Mrs Glew had the Minutes if anyone would like to see them.
147.3 Sedlescombe Sports Association. Cllr Martin declared his personal interest as the Parish Council's representative on the Sports Association Committee. In accordance with the Code of Conduct, he remained in the room. Cllr Martin reported that the sportsfield car park gate had been damaged, probably vandalised, and needed replacement. DELEGATED TO THE FINANCE COMMITTEE FOR ITS CONSIDERATION OF PURCHASING A METAL GATE REPLACEMENT. John Cornford (Chairman of the Sports Association) is to ask Rother's help in producing a Business Plan. A donation of £1,000 towards the new pavilion had been received by the Association.
147.4 Tree Warden. Nothing to report from Cllr Martin.
147.5 Emergency Planning Working Group. Cllr Martin had attended a useful meeting of Parish Emergency Plan Co-ordinators in Battle on 06/03/07. Sedlescombe's Emergency Plan had been praised by the officers. A meeting of the Sedlescombe Emergency Working Group would be arranged soon after Easter to discuss matters raised at the Battle meeting. An emergency pack had been allocated to Sedlescombe and Charles Sharrod of Rother would contact Pauline Glew of the Village Hall in the near future.
147.6 Environment Working Group. Cllr Dellow reported that 400metres of fencing had been erected at Pestalozzi. Cllr Martin and Mr Glew were thanked for their assistance. A start would be made at Pestalozzi soon on the production of bird boxes with the involvement of autistic adults.

C06/07.148 Bank Reconciliations. Bank Reconciliations at the end of January and February 2007 were received.

C06/07.149 Accounts. RESOLVED: That the payment of February cheques is ratified and the payment of March cheques authorised.

C06/07.150 Revised Code of Conduct. The Government's consultation on the revised Code had just ended. The Government hoped to get the Code approved by the end of March ready for adoption by councils at their Annual Meetings in May. The new code is expected to be be for all local authorities so it will be necessary to cross out some parts. Advice will be received from Rother's Monitoring Officer, Trevor Elliott.

C06/07.151 Parish conference. RESOLVED: That Cllr Mrs Irwin and Cllr Martin should be the Parish Council's representatives at the Parish Conference to be held in Brede Village Hall on Tuesday 20 March 13:45 to 16:45 (a buffet lunch will be available from 12:45).

C06/07.152 Rother's Parish and Town Council Grant Support Scheme. According to Rother District Council's Minutes, changes to the village halls and community grant schemes is proposed so that, in time, only parishes with local action plans will be eligible for grant aid up to £5,000. RESOLVED: That Sedlescombe Parish Council opposes the changes for the following reasons:

C06/07.153 Rother's letter regarding the 2007/8 Budget and Council Tax. Letter distributed to members.

C06/07.154 Documents received. Noted that the Rother Local Strategic Partnership Newsletter, the Local Council Review and The Clerk had been received. The Chairman suggested that the Council should think again about not passing documents around members, as members ought to be aware of current developments. DEFERRED TO MAY MEETING. A member also requested that consideration be given to reverting to monthly Council meetings.

The Chairman informed the Council that the following items on the agenda were being listed under the Aims that make up the Sedlescombe Parish Plan.

C06/07.155 AIM 1 TO ACHIEVE AN INFORMED AND PARTICIPATING SEDLESCOMBE COMMUNITY

1. Calor Village of the Year Competition. Communities are being invited to enter the 2007 Village of the Year East Sussex Competition. A useful "tick" list under the themes of Community Life, Business, Young People, Older People and Quality of Life had been provided and could be used in the new Council year as a focus for Sedlescombe's future plans.

2. Standing for Election. The Chairman had attended a public meeting arranged by SALC in Sedlescombe aimed at encouraging people to stand for election to Rother parish councils. Two people had attended from Sedlescombe and one from Battle. Sussex & Surrey Association of Local Councils had issued an information pack which is available to anyone interested in standing. The Clerk was distributing application forms for election to the Council.

3. Arrangements for Annual Assembly of the Parish Meeting. The Meeting is to be held on 24/04/07. About a dozen display tables have been booked. It was decided that committee chairmen would not give reports at the Assembly this year as had previously been considered.

C06/07.156 AIM 2 T0 ACHIEVE A SAFE AND HEALTHY SEDLESCOMBE COMMUNITY

1. Concrete bollards on grass verges. The Council noted that the Highways Department of ESCC had confirmed that arrangements are in hand to remove the concrete blocks, rocks and logs outside properties in Hurst Lane.

2. Draft speed/traffic calming policy. A policy, based on Sedlescombe Parish Councillors' answers to a recent County Council questionnaire on speed and traffic calming had been drafted. The County Council's new policy on the same subject is to be announced at a Conference at Uckfield on 04/04/07. The Council decided to DEFER its adoption of a Parish Council policy until the May meeting when the County Council's policy will be known.

3. Letter from local resident, Mr C Boyd regarding traffic calming. The Council noted receipt of the letter: Pedestrian crossing - (in summary) Mr Boyd disagrees with the Parish Council's decision not to support his request for a crossing particularly because there are 13 residents of Roselands who find it difficult to cross the B2244 owing to the speed of the traffic; he cannot understand how the Parish Council can be willing to spend 74.6% of its precept on administration but not give a high priority to the safety of pedestrians in The Street; he comments that the Parish Council has failed to respond to the very real concerns of residents; he believes that the Parish Council is making pre-judgments that funding will be impossible or that street lighting will be inherent and unacceptable - or both. Mr Boyd has said that our correspondence is at an end.

4. Letter from local resident, Mr R Pilbeam regarding road safety. The Council noted receipt of the letter which had been prompted by the January Bulletin. Mr Pilbeam agrees with the Parish Council's other two requests to ESCC, but he strongly disagrees with the request for double white lines at the top of Church Hill. He suggests that consideration be given 1) to imposing a 40mph speed limit from a point somewhere near the Sedlescombe Village sign and the Sawmills; 2) to installing an electronic reminder drawing attention to the 40mph speed limit; 3) to providing a footpath northwards from the end of the existing footpath, and on the same side of the road, to at least Hurst Lane, if not to the top of the hill opposite Beech Farm. The Clerk has replied. Cllr Dellow reported that a resident, who runs along the Hawkhurst Road, is trying to obtain funding from Sport England for a path at Sandrocks.

5. Forthcoming SID Campaign, 26-28 March 2007. Cllr Mrs Glew has almost filled the schedule for the forthcoming SID campaign which will take place 14:00-18:00 on Monday 26 March, 08:00-18:00 on Tuesday 27 March and 08:00-14:00 on Wednesday 28 March. Graham Beattie of ESCC had completed a safety audit on the proposed site in Brede Lane and the Clerk had drafted a schedule for volunteers to record the speed of vehicles when the SID first lights up and again when they pass the unit. The Clerk will ask PC Jayne Cleverley if a PCSO can attend during the Campaign.

6. Proposed Designation Order under the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001, Section 13. Rother's Chief Executive, Derek Stevens, had referred Sedlescombe's request to the JAC. A further reply was awaited from him.

7. Meeting with Police and PCSO. Cllr Dellow reported on his meeting with PC Jayne Cleverley and PCSO Peter Crotch when he said that the Parish Council, Neighbourhood Watch and local residents are dissatisfied with the PCSO service being provided in Sedlescombe. A series of actions had been agreed, including all communication going through PC Cleverley. Cllr Dellow suggested that communications with the Police seem to have improved since then.

8. Village Security. The Chairman informed the Council that an offer of finance to employ additional village security personnel had been made by a local resident. The Clerk would acknowledge this generous offer. The Council would, in consultation with the new Police Inspector for the District, continue to consider how this funding could be used to the best advantage. There are concerns that any additional PCSO cover that was obtained would still be in the control of the Police. A warden, whom the Parish Council could employ although this would put extra work on the Clerk, would not have the same powers as a PCSO or Special.

9. Road Safety and Freight Management Conference, 04/04/07, Uckfield Civic Centre. RESOLVED: That Cllr Mrs Wright would represent the Council. One agenda item is Village Maintenance Teams and the Clerk had just received a letter in which parishes are invited to submit work for the coming programme. The Clerk will draw up a schedule of work and councillors can submit any items to her.

10. Draft Dog Control Order. The Council noted receipt of a Rother frequently-asked question sheet on dogs.

C06/07.157 AIM 3 TO HELP PROVIDE AMENITIES AND SERVICES IN SEDLESCOMBE

1. Sedlescombe Playing Field & Recreation Ground Trust.
1.1 Proposed installation of seat(s). The Sedlescombe Riverside Playground Regeneration Group have some money left over from last year's playground equipment installation and would like to install one or two recycled plastic seats at the playground. RESOLVED: That the Group should be thanked for their proposal and asked to provide one recycled seat and to pay for its installation.
1.2 The Trust. Hedley's had provided legal advice that matters regarding the Trust or its property must be considered at meetings separate from Council Meetings. From May 2007, separate meetings of The Trust will be held. The Clerk had suggested that the Trust could ask the Council to undertake maintenance of the playing field and recreation ground on its behalf. Hedleys had agreed suggesting that a lease or maintenance agreement should be drawn up for this purpose. RESOLVED: That the Council agrees to undertake maintenance of the Sedlescombe Playing Field and Recreation Ground.

2. Under 10s playground at East View Terrace. The Council noted Craig Atkins' (Orbit HA) report as follows: "We are now looking at the playpark with regards to other issues of anti-social behaviour and how the playpark may have an impact on this. The money is still available though and will be carried forward to the next financial year." The Council would continue to stress that a playground is needed at East View.

3. East View Terrace Kickabout Area. Cllr Mrs Wright and Cllr Dellow had attended two meetings aimed at solving the problems at the Kickabout Area which are again involving the older young people. The latest meeting was attended by ten paid officers and the two parish councillors. Cllr Mrs Wright reported that the only solution that the meetings have been able to come up with is for the shelter to be removed. Orbit HA would undertake the work at its own expense. Members could not discuss this matter as they had resolved unanimously at the January meeting to retain the shelter and the subject could not be re-opened within six months, unless three members are willing to sign a proposal to revoke the resolution, when the subject can be reconsidered.

4. Youth Issues. Cllr Mrs Wright reported that the Youth Development Service appears to be working very effectively with the younger group, meeting them each week.

5. Older People
5.1 New group.
Cllr Dellow reported that he and the Chairman are in the process of forming a new group to make some provision for older people in Sedlescombe. Some funds have been promised and more is expected to be raised.
5.2 Creative Opportunities for Rother Seniors. Rother Seniors, working with AiRS, are conducting a survey in Rother to find out what opportunities currently exist for older people living in Rother to be involved in creative work. In Sedlescombe, most creative opportunities are available through the two Women's Institutes.
5.3 SEERA's Housing Strategy. The Council noted that the South East England Regional Assembly's draft Housing Strategy Review highlights that older people's housing needs and aspirations have emerged strongly as a common theme in their research. There is a particular concern about older people occupying larger homes which they may find difficult to maintain where there are no attractive alternatives available to them. Further evidence is to be gathered.

6. Gypsies & Travellers in East Sussex. A briefing note for parish councils had been received from ESCC. SALC will be arranging an awareness raising session on traveller issues for parish and town councils in the Spring. There now is a national requirement, through the Housing Act 2004 and the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, for local authorities to both assess the need for and to make appropriate site provision for travellers commensurate with the identified need. It has been estimated that, in East Sussex, Brighton & Hove, eighty new residential pitches (ie a space for one family with, say, a caravan and two vehicles, or two caravans) will be needed over the next five years.

7. SEERA's Housing Strategy re affordable housing. The Council noted receipt of the South East England Regional Authority Housing Strategy Review 2007 and questionnaire. SEERA's research has revealed that there is no evidence that providing affordable housing in small villages will guarantee the sustainability (ie local employment, transport and other infrastructure) of these communities or that housing need must of necessity be met where it occurs. It is stated "In this context the nature of the relationship between the small villages and their market towns is more critical and supporting the role of these larger rural communities offers a more sustainable solution to housing need." There is also an emphasis on the need to use empty homes and improve private sector conditions. [Paragraph 4.10 refers]

8. East Sussex County Council Rights of Way Improvement Plan 2007-1017. The County Council had issued a consultation draft rights of way improvement plan which had been studied by the Clerk and Cllr Dellow. RESOLVED: That the Parish Council submits the following comments:
Re Draft Action 3bi and 3bii regarding provision of dog waste bins on public footpaths: If Rother's proposed Dog Control Orders are introduced, all dogs using Sedlescombe footpaths will have to be kept on leads and all dog faeces collected. The introduction of dog waste bins needs to be carefully considered 1) because their siting is very difficult as they need to be accessed from a road (for emptying) and cannot be outside anyone's house; 2) the emptying of the bins falls on the parish councils which is costly. In the past, landowners have complained about the amount of dog fouling on their land, and, also, that dog walkers throw bags of collected faeces in the hedges - it would be much better if it was allowed to rot down naturally.

Re draft Action 6bi regarding adding links around towns and villages: The Parish Council agrees - that public rights of way which are enclosed between high garden fences are unattractive for the public to use. They also can become very muddy because sunlight cannot filter onto the surface (para 3.1.3); that publicity for paths is important if their use is to be encouraged (para 3.7.3); that the creation of short circular routes can encourage use by older and/or disabled people especially if stiles are replaced with gaps or gates; that the use of volunteer groups to maintain public rights of way is the only way that the extensive network of paths can be covered.

9. "Easy" walking footpaths. Cllr Dellow reported that, in order to upgrade footpaths 20, 21b and 28a for "easy" walking, nine Stratford pedestrian gates and one small kissing gate need to be installed. The first three gates are due to be delivered this week and stored by kind permission of Elizabeth Cole and Holford Pitcher. Permission is required from a couple of other landowners before the remaining six stiles can be changed and assistance is needed to transport the cement and other materials to the sites. More volunteers to do some of this work would be helpful.

10. Other footpaths. Cllr Dellow reported that there were fallen trees on Sedlescombe footpath 10 at the Reservoir. On the Bluebell Walk - the field gate next to Little Castlemans is in poor condition; a large tree is down but not creating problems; a 5-bar gate at the junction of 15c/b is being left open which is satisfactory; fences by each stile have been cut, presumably to allow dog access.

11. Water Supply Interruption. The Clerk had received a reply from South East Water stating that there are no plans to renew the water pipes opposite the sportsfield. They also said that, because so many people are involved when there is a burst main, SE Water relies on customers contacting them for information.

12. East Sussex Association for the Blind. RESOLVED; That, the Council, in accordance with its powers under Section 137 and 139 of the Local Government Act 1972, should incur the following expenditure which, in the opinion of the Council, is in the interests of some of Sedlescombe's inhabitants, and will benefit them in a manner commensurate with the expenditure: £25 to the East Sussex Association for the Blind.

13. Consultation on transporting pupils to denominational schools. Changes are proposed in ESCC's policy for paying the transport charges of pupils attending denominational schools. Members decided not to comment because of their lack of knowledge on this subject.

14. Devolvement to parishes of Rother grounds maintenance contracts from March 2009. Sedlescombe already has a grounds maintenance agreement with Rother who are considering whether other parishes should be offered devolvement.

C06/07.158 AIM 4 TO SUPPORT BUSINESS AND RURAL EMPLOYMENT IN SEDLESCOMBE
158.1 Village Shops and Post Office Survey.
Action in rural Sussex is asking parish councils about their support of their local shop. RESOLVED: That AiRS should be informed that 1) the Parish Council has close links with Sedlescombe Stores and supports the current owners wholeheartedly; 2) the current owners enjoy support not only from the Parish Council but from the whole community - this shop has recently been awarded the title of Best Rural Retailer in the South East Region; in the unlikely event that this shop is threatened with closure, the community would be eager to do what it could to keep retail and post office facilities in the Village.

C06/07.159 AIM 5 TO PROTECT AND ENHANCE SEDLESCOMBE'S BUILT AND NATURAL ENVIRONMENT

1. £50 annual charge for parish tree warden support. RESOLVED: That Sedlescombe Parish Council is willing to pay the proposed £50 annual charge.

2. Pet sheep in Red Barn Field. A resident had written asking for permission to keep a maximum of three pet sheep in Red Barn Field. Mrs Cole, working with the Parish Council as to timing, keeps a small flock of her sheep on the land. In order to manage properly the land, the sheep need to be removed from the land at certain times and this might be a problem with an additional flock. RESOLVED: That the current request be refused.

3. Wildlife gardening leaflet. Cllr Dellow reported that the Environment Working Group in association with the Sedlescombe Garden Society, had produced a draft wildlife gardening leaflet for circulation in the parish. The design cost of £250 had been incurred, of which £100 had been provided by the Sedlescombe Societies Association from Fete proceeds. Printing costs were estimated at £350. RESOLVED: That applications are made for grant aid, the balance being made up by the Parish Council and Fleetmark Ltd.

4. Campaign to Protect Rural England, Sussex Review, Countryside Voice and Fieldwork. Noted that these documents have been received.

5. Recycling Discovery Meeting. The Clerk reported on the meeting she had attended at the De La Warr on 07/03/07 when presentations were made to inform parish councils about the forthcoming changes to the waste collection service.

Chairman.................................................. Date.....................................................