SEDLESCOMBE PARISH COUNCIL MINUTES

MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF SEDLESCOMBE PARISH COUNCIL HELD IN COMMITTEE ROOM 2 OF SEDLESCOMBE VILLAGE HALL ON TUESDAY 10 JULY, 19:00 TO 21:50

PRESENT: Cllr V Wright (Chairman of the Council), Cllr A Rand (Vice-Chairman of the Council), Cllrs P Martin, W Cameron, M Irwin, R Dellow, C Wheatley, R Dudman. Clerk/Responsible Financial Officer - Mrs P Raymond

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PUBLIC SESSION. At the beginning of the meeting, there were five members of the public present as well as District Councillor Tony Ganly and County Councillor Peter Jones. Subjects raised were as follows:

1. Management of traffic speed.

  1. Mr Boyd sought the Council's support for a traffic calming scheme in The Street he had devised with officers of East Sussex County Council. County Councillor Jones supported the scheme and explained that he would like the Parish Council to submit a complete scheme for the whole village centre which would be installed fairly quickly. Because of the nature of the roads in Sedlescombe, it will not be complicated to introduce measures. Other residents attending also supported Mr Boyd and another resident had sent a letter.
  2. Customer Service. Cllr Wright thanked everyone concerned but expressed the Council's disapproval of the way this had been handled by the County Council. In May, Bryn Kemp of the County Council Traffic Department had told the Parish Council that traffic calming was not going to be introduced within existing 30mph speed limits and then in June Mr Clarke of the County Council Traffic Department agreed that traffic calming measures can be introduced in Sedlescombe. According to Councillor Jones, a funding decision had been taken by County Councillor Locke in June allowing a change of policy. He apologised for the confusion and said that he had told his officers that they must improve their customer service.

3. SALC/RALC. Richard Farhall, Clerk to Rye Town Council, commented on the SALC/RALC issues raised on the agenda.

4. District Councillor Ganly. Councillor Ganly mentioned the Reprographic services available to parishes at Rother, not only printing but also design. The Clerk commented on the slowness of the service. Other subjects that he raised were - the introduction of Rural Outreach Surgeries, maybe in the Post Office; the meeting he would be attending with Royal Mail and Ofcom; importance of the local Post Office; De La Warr Pavilion (councillors commented that the programme is dull and uninteresting and the food and drink are poor and expensive - Mr Boyd said that wheelchairs are not liked because they are a fire risk); Rother funding for the sports pavilion.

5. Sedlescombe Post Office. Local resident Gordon Crouch asked whether residents were to be encouraged to write to the Post Office requesting that Sedlescombe's Post Office is saved. Mr Crouch agreed to the Chairman's suggestion that he arrange for a notice to be posted at the Post Office with details of where local people could write.

C07/08.23 Apology for absence was received from Cllr Glew (holiday).

C07/08.24 Minutes. The Chairman was authorised to sign the Minutes of the Meeting of the Council held on 15/05/07.

C07/08.25 Code of Conduct

  1. The Council noted that all Sedlescombe Parish Councillors had completed their declarations of interest forms and that the forms had been received and noted by the District Council Monitoring Officer.
  2. The Clerk gave details of the background and informed the Council of the replies from the Rother Monitoring Officer and the Standards Board concerning the Sedlescombe Playing Field & Recreation Ground Trust and members' declarations of interest. RESOLVED: That the Parish Council should seek dispensation from Rother Standards Committee to allow all Sedlescombe Parish Councillors to take part in business regarding the Sedlescombe Playing Field and Recreation Ground Trust, of which the Parish Council is the sole Trustee, otherwise the business of the Council will be impeded because no councillors will be able to participate in that business.
  3. Members were invited to make their personal or personal/prejudicial declarations. The following were made:

Agenda

Cllr

Reason

Type of interest

27.1

Dellow

Trustee of VHall

Personal

27.1

Wheatley

Trustee of VHall

Personal

27.1

Irwin

Trustee of VHall

Personal

36.1

Dudman

SPC rep on Sports Ass

Personal

27.6

Wright

SPC rep on Youth Forum

Personal

27.6

Rand

SPC rep on Youth Forum

Personal

27.6

Dudman

SPC rep on Youth Forum

Personal

36.3

All

SPC is sole Trustee of the Sedlescombe Playing Field & Recreation Ground Trust

Personal

C07/08.26 Minutes of committees and Reports of working groups

  1. Planning Committee. It was moved by Cllr Martin and RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the Meetings of the Planning Committee held on 29/05/07 and 12/06/07 are received.
  2. Finance Committee. In Cllr Glew's absence, it was moved by Cllr Wright and RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the meeting of the Finance Committee held on 26/06/07 are received.

C07/08.27 To receive Reports from Representatives as follows:

  1. Village Hall Trustee - IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CODE OF CONDUCT, CLLRS DELLOW, WHEATLEY AND IRWIN DECLARED THEIR PERSONAL INTERESTS BY VIRTUE OF THEM BEING TRUSTEES OF THE VILLAGE HALL. In Cllr Glew's absence, the Clerk read her report. At the Village Hall Management Committee Meeting held on 21/06/07, it was reported that the internal door to the stage had been locked because of a broken window, the rails at the front of the stage had been removed by popular demand as the Playgroup do not use the stage anymore, two committee members are considering finding funding for a brick built extension for storage and that dog walkers are allowing their pets to foul the village hall car park.
  2. Rother Association of Local Councils - No report.
  3. Sports Association representative - Cllr Dudman. No report.
  4. Environment Officer - Cllr Dellow reported that the Wildlife Garden leaflet should be printed this week and that work continues at Pestalozzi. After consultation with the Vilage Hall Management Committee, it had been agreed that a garden can be created behind the new fence that is to be erected to the left of the Village Hall entrance. RESOLVED: That the Parish Council has no objections to the creation of a garden at the village hall as proposed by Cllr Dellow. Cllr Dellow commented that it was sad that wildlflowers had been destroyed when the grass verges were cut recently by ESCC. The Clerk commented that she had had residents asking for the grass to be cut. This matter will be considered further if the Council agrees to draw up a Biodiversity Strategy for the parish (C07/08.37.1).
  5. Tree Warden - Cllr Martin reported that he had given each schoolchild a small horse chestnut tree last week which they will bring back to School in January. A woodland will be planted at the School.
  6. Youth Forum - IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CODE OF CONDUCT, CLLRS WRIGHT, RAND AND DUDMAN DECLARED THEIR PERSONAL INTERESTS BY VIRTUE OF THEM BEING THE COUNCIL'S REPRESENTATIVES ON THE YOUTH FORUM. THEY REMAINED IN THE MEETING. Cllrs Wright and Dudman attended a Youth Development Meeting on 19/06/07 to discuss the Scout Hut. At that time ownership of the Hut had not been established but it is now known that Rother Homes hold the land and that the Trustees are Margaret Hudson and Bill Beaney. Cllr Rand agreed to help obtain quotes for repairs that need to be undertaken so that application for funding can be made. A group is now needed to take over the running of the Hut. Tennis racquets are needed.

C07/08.28 The Clerk's Report was noted. It included the list of documents, distributed to members, received during the month and available for inspection. They are also available online. The Clerk reported also:

  1. That she had received a letter from Malcolm Tegg informing the Council that, unless someone could be found to do the Parish News each week, it would no longer be published after the end of the month. It was agreed that there is also the need for a Sedlescombe Village Voice correspondent.
  2. That the Royal British Legion had sent an invitation to a seminar on 19/09/07 11:30 to 15:30 entitled "Legion in the Community", to be held at the East Sussex National Golf Resort and Spa, Little Horsted, Uckfield - the aim is to remind communities what the RBL does.
  3. That the Environment Agency had told Rother District Council that the level of risk each year of Riverbridge Cottages flooding is less than 0.1% (1 in 1000). Further information had been provided that the Brede sluice gates at Rye operate for most tides. They are closed to hold the tide back at high tide and open at low tide, allowing the River Brede to drain out to baseflow level. The Brede sluice will affect ground levels up to around 4m AODM whereas Sedlescombe is at around 11.5 AODN and is, therefore, not affected.

C07/08.29 Bank Reconciliation. RESOLVED: That the bank reconciliations at the end of May and June 2007 are approved.

C07/08.30 Cheques. RESOLVED: That the cheque lists for June and July 2007 are ratified or approved.

C07/08.31 Audit of 2006/7 Accounts. The Internal Audit has been completed by Mrs Fisher. Cllr Wright read her letter and it was RESOLVED: That the accounts report is forwarded to Mazars, the external auditor.

C07/08.32 Sussex Association of Local Councils/Rother Association of Local Councils.

  1. Result of protest against the 29% increase in subscription for 2007. SALC had agreed to reduce Sedlescombe Parish Council's subscription by £40 for this year only.
  2. Proposal that Quality Councils are given a discounted subscription rate for SALC. RESOLVED: That a proposal should be made to the Sussex Association AGM on 09/11/07 that Quality Councils are given a discount on the subscription rate.
  3. Proposals are to be made at the RALC AGM that the Constitution should be amended so that 1) membership of SALC should be optional although strongly recommended. RESOLVED: That Cllr Wheatley is instructed to vote in favour of amending the Constitution to allow membership of RALC without being members of SALC. The SALC Director has advised that although RALC might agree this change at its AGM, it can only be a motion to the SALC AGM on 09/11/07.
  4. Proposal at RALC AGM that RALC subscription levels are frozen for 2008-9. Evidently omitted from the RALC AGM agenda and, therefore, this was not considered by the Parish Council
  5. Review of RALC Conference. Points to consider - poor attendance from parish councils; poor acoustics in Brede Village Hall (NB it was stated in RALC Minutes that the acoustics in Brede Village Hall are better than in Sedlescombe and Cllr Wheatley was asked to make it clear that the acoustics are fine if the public address system is used); pre-submitted questions not acted on by ESCC officers; Madelaine Gorman's presentation on kerbside recycling had been excellent; poor seating arrangements; £400 cost of 2007 Conference - nearly all lunch; on balance Parish Conference is a worthwhile event.
  6. Nominations to RALC AGM for Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Treasurer, Executive officer, Other Executive Committee Members. None proposed by Sedlescombe.

C07/08.33 Training

33.1 Reports from councillors and Clerk

  1. Cllr Dudman - new councillor training SALC, 22/05/07. Cllr Dudman reported that the course was informed and concise but not essential as there was nothing additional from that provided by the Clerk. Although there was the opportunity to ask questions, he felt the course could have been more interactive.
  2. Cllr Wheatley - new councillor training SALC, 05/06/07. Cllr Wheatley found the course interesting but would have liked different examples from those given which were the same as those that had been quoted at the "so you want to be a parish councillor" session earlier in the year.
  3. Cllr Wright - "Chairing scary meetings", 01/06/07. Cllr Wright had tried out one of the free courses being offered in Hastings but it was not local authority-orientated and therefore could not be recommended.
  4. Clerk's SALC day course, 03/07/07 at East Grinstead. The Clerk reported an excellent course full of useful information which would be used as appropriate in the future.

33.2 Future training.

  1. RALC and Rother have organised an "Introduction to planning" course for new councillors to be held in Brede Village Hall on Monday 23 July, 14:15 to 16:30. Other councillors are welcome to attend. Cllr Glew would like to attend. Both Cllrs Wheatley and Dudman would like to attend an evening Planning course. Clerk to ask Rother whether an evening Planning course could be arranged outside the summer holiday period for the benefit of younger councillors who have work and/or home commitments.
  2. Brede Parish Council Chairman has experessed an interest in having joint training sessions with Sedlescombe. The Chairman suggested asking Whatlington and Ewhurst Parish Councils whether they would like to be included. Finance and Legal topics were possible subjects.

The Clerk reminded members that Sedlescombe was entering the final year of its Quality Council accreditation and that a new requirement of re-accreditation is likely to be the need for a training strategy. She would produce a draft for the Council's consideration in September.

C07/08.34 Aim 1 To achieve an Informed and Participating Sedlescombe Community.

  1. Welcome Packs available.
  2. Sedlescombe Parish Plan 2002-2007. New Local Action Plan or update of previous parish plan. It was agreed that a form should be included with the September Bulletin asking residents if there are any matters to bring to the Council's attention. The Plan would then be updated.

C07/0.8.35 Aim 2 To achieve a Safe and Healthy Sedlescombe Community.

  1. Speed & Traffic Calming
    1. Letter from East Sussex County Council re Speed/Traffic Calming re draft policy dated 14/05/07. This letter set out the draft County Council policy which concentrated on the criteria for introducing 30mph speed limits in Villages. The Clerk had asked a series of questions regarding traffic calming measures that could be introduced within 30mph speed limits and had been told that there was no intention of introducing measures unless there was a history of accidents.
    2. Letter from resident Mr C Boyd re traffic calming measures in The Street. Mr Boyd reported to the Council that, in the middle of June, he and another resident had met Mr Clarke of the Traffic and Safety Department of the County Council and Brian Banks of East Sussex Highways at Sidley. At the meeting, Mr Clarke and Mr Banks had agreed a traffic calming scheme could be introduced in Sedlescombe involving vehicle activated signs, roundels and 30mph repeater signs at no cost to the Parish Council. Mr Boyd urged the Parish Council to agree this scheme.
    3. Letter from Brian Banks offering roundels on the road and 30mph repeater signs.received.
    4. VAS. The Chairman reported receiving a phone call from Colin Clarke offering traffic calming within the Sedlescombe 30mph speed limit. It was RESOLVED:
      1. That the Parish Council welcomes East Sussex County Council's Quick Win Initiative offering free installation and future maintenance of traffic calming measures in the Village of Sedlescombe.
      2. That the Clerk is instructed to seek the installation of the following, provided there will be no cost to Sedlescombe Parish Council for the installation or future maintenance: a vehicle activated sign southbound on the B2244 by the village hall and another northbound as near the bridge as possible; roundels on the B2244 beside the 30mph speed limit signs at the Village Hall and Paygate Road; roundel outside Roselands.
      3. That, in order to make the VAS work when entering the Village from the north, a 40mph buffer speed limit should be introduced from Sedlescombe Vineyard to the 30mph limit sign.
      4. That a lower speed limit should be introduced in Stream Lane.
      5. That a buffer speed limit should be introduced in Chapel Hill.
      6. That a 20mph speed limit should be introduced in Brede Lane to protect the School and Doctors' Surgery from halfway down Gammons Hill to the Brickwall Hotel.
    5. Result of request for speed traps in Sedlescombe. Speed check requested between 1700 and 1800 but Police attended Sedlescombe on 27 June between 1130 and 1215 and only stopped 3 drivers. Local people suggested to the Police that they should have come at rush hour!!
  2. Village Security
    1. PCSO funding. Cllr Dellow reported that he had spoken to the benefactor and discussed the idea of the PCSO being funded for at least two years with the Parish Council contributing 25% of the cost from the Village Security Fund. It was agreed that before any decisions are made, a meeting with Inspector Keating should be arranged and Cllr Dellow was authorised to make the arrangements.
  3. No Smoking in Public Places. In accordance with the new legal requirement, the Clerk had placed a "No Smoking" sign in the bus shelter on Sunday 1 July but it had been removed very quickly. The Clerk had seen a woman smoking in the shelter but did not know how this law is to be enforced by Rother District Council.
  4. Playground Inspection Reports - report made to Finance Committee. Cllr Cameron had inspected the playground on 2 July and his report was discussed.
  5. Criminal Records Bureau checks. The Parish Council adopted a Child/Young Person Protection Policy on 09/05/06 in which a statement is made that "the Council will be adopting Criminal Record Bureau (CRB) checks on those whose roles within the Council engage with children or young people". Members were asked to consider what action should be taken now particularly because parish councillors are involved with inspecting the children's playgrounds. It was agreed that, as the risk is minimal, no action should be taken. The Council will consider whether the Policy should be amended at the next meeting.

C07/08.36 Aim 3 To help provide Amenities and Services in Sedlescombe

  1. Sports Pavilion. IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CODE OF CONDUCT, CLLR DUDMAN DECLARED HIS PERSONAL INTEREST BY VIRTUE OF HIM BEING THE COUNCIL'S REPRESENTATIVE ON THE SPORTS ASSOCIATION COMMITTEE. HE REMAINED IN THE MEETING. All parish councillors had attended an informal meeting the previous week at which the project was explained. Cllr Rand had travelled to Lancing today with John Noonan of the Football Club to meet one officer from the Sussex Football Association and two from the Football Foundation. Whilst the Football Foundation requirements could be met in due course, the FA is not prepared to accept the current plans. The FA is also insisting on a ground survey and a survey of the old pavilion. Cllr Cameron had received Chris Campbell's agreement to erecting a fund-raising thermometer at the Sportsfield - to date the total to be raised is not known. It was agreed that the design of the thermometer must be approved by the Parish Council. RESOLVED:
    1. Aims and Objectives. That the aim of the project is to build a replacment pavilion at Sedlescombe Sportsfield to encourage participation in sport by people of all ages and abilities and which will also be suitable for occasional public/village use.
    2. Scope of the Project.
      1. That the Parish Council will undertake the alternative portakabin accommodation project, if agreed by the Sports Association and Football League. It is expected to start as soon as possible with the aim of being completed by the end of August 2007 and should be suitable for use for two football seasons. It is expected to be paid for from existing funds held by the Sports Association and/or the Parish Council. Proceeds from the sale of the portakabin on completion of the building project will be used to reimburse the Parish Council.
      2. That, subject to funding, the Parish Council will undertake the building project to include demolition of the existing buildings, piling, construction of a new pavilion, completion of the new entrance and closure of the entrance by the bridge. The project is expected to start in April 2008, or when funding has been obtained. Completion will be achieved as soon as possible but, realistically, this may not be until the middle of June 2009. Applications for funding will be made to cover the cost. (Up to 7 months required from submission for the result of a Football Foundation application.) The Council noted that it may also be necessary to include ground and pavilion surveys in the scope of the project, depending on whether Football Foundation grant aid is sought.
    3. Financing the project.
      1. That the cost to the Sedlescombe Council Taxpayers will be kept as low as possible by the Council applying for grant aid and obtaining funds from any available sources.
      2. That all financial commitments shall be approved by the Parish Council/Finance Committee.
      3. That, subject to discussions with the Sports Association, match funding will be expected from the Sports Association towards the cost of the project.
      4. That the £1,300 for unspecified youth work in the Parish Council balances is allocated to the Pavilion Fund together with this year's budget making a total of £19,465 in the Parish Council Sportsfield Fund.
      5. That applications for funding are prepared and approved by the Parish Council/Finance Committee before submission to the relevant body.
      6. That a pavilion deposit account within the Parish Council's accounts is opened and the Clerk and Chairman of Finance are authorised to choose the account and make the necessary arrangements. Signatories to be Cllrs Irwin, Wright and Glew.
      7. That Cllr Dellow is authorised to arrange one or more local events to raise money for the project.
    4. Future of the new pavilion.
      1. That, with the Sports Association's agreement, on completion of the pavilion and associated work, the new pavilion will be handed over to the Sports Association for its running and maintenance in accordance with the Parish Council/Sports Association Lease dated 01/08/2005. No rent will be charged by the Parish Council and this will enable the Council to reclaim VAT on the building project.
    5. Personnel
      1. Project Manager. That Cllr Anthony Rand is appointed as Project Manager responsible for delivering the project within defined constraints under the guidance of the Parish Council.
      2. Project Team. That appointment of the Project Team shall be delegated to the Project Manager and the Chairman of the Parish Council.
      3. CDM Co-ordinator. That appointment of a CDM Co-ordinator shall be delegated to the Project Manager and Chairman of the Parish Council.
      4. Principal Contractor. That appointment of a Principal Contractor shall be delegated to the Project Manager and Chairman of the Parish Council.
      5. Sports Association. That a meeting shall be arranged with the Sports Association Committee as soon as possible to inform them of the Parish Council's proposals and to discuss the future funding of the running/maintenance of the new pavilion and match funding towards the project.
  2. Scout Hut including report of meeting attended by Cllrs Wright and Dudman. Reported earlier.
  3. Riverside Playground. IN ACCORDANCE WITHTHE 2007 CODE OF CONDUCT, ALL COUNCILLORS DECLARED THEIR PERSONAL INTERESTS IN THIS MATTER BY VIRTUE OF THEM BEING INVOLVED BOTH IN THE PARISH COUNCIL AND THE SEDLESCOMBE PLAYING FIELD & RECREATION GROUND TRUST. THEY REMAINED IN THE MEETING. Letter received from Rebecca Owen, Rother DC Parks Development Officer with the information that the Parish Council's application to be included in a Big Lottery funding application for play improvement at and around the tennis courts has been turned down. DELEGATED TO THE FINANCE COMMITTEE TO CONSIDER A REPORT ON PLAY FACILITES IN SEDLESCOMBE AT ITS NEXT MEETING IN OCTBER.
  4. Footpaths. Footpath update provided by Cllr Dellow. There had been a problem with the group installing some metal gates to provide easy access which the landowner had, subsequently, refused to approve. Some gates had had to be removed and others had not been installed. There are, therefore, five gates in hand.
  5. Housing
      1. Rother District Council Draft Housing Strategy. No comment.
  6. Local Transport
    1. Accessibility to local services by public transport. ESCC has produced a draft action plan for improving accessibility. Consultation period ends 11/07/07. Clerk's summary is available here. Rother LSP members are objecting to the draft action plan. It was agreed that the Clerk should forward the comments made by bus users last autumn regarding accessibility.
    2. Open public bus meeting to take place at Hawkhurst Primary School on Saturday 14/07/07 at 14:00 to debate the transport facilities available in the local area, and the lack of co-ordination of movements and timing between local authority areas. ESCC and KCC have been asked to address the meeting, Geoffrey Goodsell will chair the meeting and a representative from Sedlescombe is invited.
  7. Review of Polling Districts and Polling Places. Rother District Council is required to complete a full review of all polling districts and polling places in the District by 31/12/2007. This review is limited to the provision and adequacy of polling stations. RESOLVED: That the Parish Council is satisfied with the use of Sedlescombe Village Hall as the polling station for the parish of Sedlescombe.

C07/08.37 Aim 5 To protect and enhance Sedlescombe's Built and Natural Environment

  1. Biodiversity Duty. Council to note a new duty to have regard to the conservation of biodivesity in exercising its functions. It was mposed as part of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act which came into force on 01/10/2006. Guidance for public authorities has been issued by DEFRA (182 pages). RESOLVED: That the Clerk and Cllr Dellow should draw up a Biodiversity Strategy and Policy Document for Sedlescombe Parish Council to consider at the next meeting in September.
  2. East Sussex County Council grass verges. The grass verges are now being cut five times during the season instead of six. The first cut was made on 11/05/07.
  3. Rother District Council litter bin emptying. Verdant should be emptying Sedlescombe's twelve litter bins twice weekly but this has not been done. The Clerk had spoken to Alan Dodge at Rother District Council who had agreed to chase this up and to add the Sportsfield bin to the round. For the time being, the three dog bins should be emptied by Verdant for Rother as well.

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