SEDLESCOMBE PARISH COUNCIL

OPEN FORUM

1. District Councillor Ganly reported as follows:

Rother had held its last meeting of the Waste Management Group.  A very positive report was received from Verdant regarding waste collection and recycling rates which have risen since doorstep collection was introduced.  Volumes of segregated glass have also risen.  Seventeen properties in Sedlescombe are retaining black sack collection because of access problems.  Cllr Ganly asked to be informed of any homes not receiving waste collection (not green waste which is still to be started in our area) and Cllr Dellow informed him of two properties in Churchland Lane that have not had their waste collected for 3-4 months.

Sedlescombe and surrounding post offices are safe for the time being following today’s announcement of the Post Office Ltd.’s Network Change Programme, Area Plan Proposal for Sussex.

2. Parish Councillor Wright informed the Council that she had spoken to officers at the County Council and Hastings Borough Council and, finally, the Leader of Hastings Borough Council about the heavy lorries that have been coming through the Village in large numbers and which are shaking our listed buildings.  The lorries emanate from the new university site behind Hastings Station.  She had been told that nothing can be done as all East Sussex roads are open to all traffic.  Cllr Martin suggested the lorries could be the ones that have been taking spoil to Hurst House for some time.  It was agreed that, it would not, therefore, be sensible for them to use the A21 to avoid Sedlescombe Village.

3. According to Cllr Martin, the people who were caught on camera fly-tipping in Hurst Lane are to be prosecuted.

MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF SEDLESCOMBE PARISH COUNCIL HELD IN COMMITTEE ROOM 2 OF SEDLESCOMBE VILLAGE HALL ON TUESDAY 13 NOVEMBER 2007, 19:00 TO 21:10 (ALL MINUTES REMAIN DRAFT UNTIL APPROVED BY COUNCIL AT THE NEXT MEETING)

PRESENT:  Cllr V Wright (Chairman of the Council), Cllr A Rand (Vice-Chairman of the Council), Cllrs M Irwin, P Glew, R Dellow, W Cameron, P Martin.  Clerk/Responsible Financial Officer:  Mrs P Raymond.  Also in attendance for Open Forum only – District Councillor Tony Ganly.

C07/08.54 Apology for absence was received from Cllr Wheatley (lack of baby-sitter).

C07/08.55 Declaration of interests in accordance with the Code of Conduct adopted by the Parish Council.

55.1 Sedlescombe Playing Field & Recreation Ground Trust, application for dispensation.  To note that Rother District Council Standards Committee has granted dispensation to all Sedlescombe Parish Councillors to allow them to participate when matters relating to Sedlescombe Playing Field and Recreation Ground Trust are being considered which require a prejudicial interest to be declared.  This dispensation will last until May 2011.  When any matter relating to the Trust or its land is on the agenda, members should declare either their personal interest or, when it relates to or affects the financial situation of the Trust, members must declare their prejudicial interests.  The reason is that Sedlescombe Parish Council is the sole trustee.  Regarding prejudicial interests, members should go on to say that pursuant to the grant of dispensation, they are entitled to remain in the room and to speak and vote on the matter.

55.2 Predisposition, predetermination or bias, and the Code of Conduct.  Members were alerted to the Stands Board’s published paper on this subject and reminded that, although they may have a predisposition to take a certain view on a subject, they should keep an open mind until they have heard all the evidence and should not show any bias.

55.3 Declarations of the existence and nature of councillors’ interests and opportunity for prejudiced members to address the Council:

55.3.1 All councillors declared their personal/prejudicial interests in 58.5 by reason of the Parish Council being the sole Trustee of the Sedlescombe Playing Field & Recreation Ground Trust but, pursuant to the grant of dispensation, all are allowed to stay and vote.

55.3.2 All councillors declared their personal interests in 66.4 by reason of the Parish Council being the sole Trustee of the Sedlescombe Playing Field & Recreation Ground Trust.

55.3.3 Cllr Glew declared her personal interest in 59.1 by virtue of her being the Council’s representative on the Rother Association of Local Councils.

55.3.4 Cllr Glew declared her personal interest in 59.2 by virtue of her being the Council’s representative on the Sedlescombe Village Hall Management Committee.

55.3.5 Cllr Wright declared her personal interest in 59.5 by virtue of her being the Council’s representative on the Youth Forum.

55.3.6 Cllrs Rand and Cameron declared their personal/prejudicial interests in 61.5 by virtue of them being members of the Sedlescombe Parochial Church Council.

C07/08.56 Public participation session.  No members of the public were present.

C07/08.57 Minutes.  RESOLVED:  That the Council authorised the Chairman to sign the Minutes of the Meeting of the Council held on 23/10/07.

C07/08.58 Committees and Working Groups

58.1 Planning Committee.  RESOLVED:  That the Minutes of the Meetings of the Planning Committee held on 11/09/07, 02/10/07 and 23/10/07 are received.

58.2 Finance Committee.  RESOLVED:  That the Minutes of the Meeting of the Finance Committee held on 16/10/07 are received.

58.3 Crime & Safety Committee.  RESOLVED:  That the Minutes of the Meetings of the Crime & Safety Committee held on 19/10/07 and 06/11/07 are received.

58.4 Status of the Crime & Safety Committee.  Members had been provided with the Clerk’s Briefing Note on the status of the Crime & Safety executive committee which is currently made up of 4 councillors plus the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Council as ex-officio members.  There are also 3 co-opted members who are all members of the Sedlescombe Neighbourhood Watch.  Members considered whether it would be advantageous to change the status of the Committee to an advisory one to allow the Police, Housing Association representatives and Youth development Workers, amongst others, to take a full part in the discussions.  No decisions would be allowed.  Recommendations would be made to the full Council.  Councillors stressed the importance of the meetings being conducted “through the chair”.  RESOLVED:  That, for a trial period, the Council’s Crime & Safety Committee should be renamed the Crime and Safety Advisory Committee and all executive powers should be removed.

58.5 Sedlescombe Public Playing Field and Recreation Ground Trust.  ALL PARISH COUNCILLORS DECLARED THEIR PERSONAL/PREJUDICIAL INTERESTS BY VIRTUE OF THE COUNCIL BEING THE SOLE TRUST OF THE TRUST, BUT STATED THAT, PURSUANT TO THE GRANT OF DISPENSATION, THEY ARE ALLOWED TO REMAIN IN THE ROOM AND SPEAK AND VOTE.  RESOLVED:  That the Minutes of the Meeting of the Trust held on 23/10/07 are noted.

C07/08.59 Reports from Representatives.  Reports were received as follows:

59.1 Rother Association of Local Councils, 10/10/07.  Cllr Glew declared her personal interest in 59.1 by virtue of her being the Council’s representative on the Rother Association of Local Councils.  Cllr Glew reported that the following matters were discussed:  Travellers, communication between Rother and parish councils, village shop/post offices working group, SALC subscriptions, parish conference (subjects for discussion requested), Rye, Battle and Warr Partnerships, Battle & District Community Transport, Planning Seminar, waste collection.

59.2 Village Hall Trust, 20/09/07.  Cllr Glew declared her personal interest in 59.2 by virtue of her being the Council’s representative on the Sedlescombe Village Hall Management Committee.  Cllr Glew reported that the following matters were discussed:  lighting outside committee rooms, dog walkers, de-weeding surface of car park and tidying flower beds and gardens, accounts healthy and lettings good, retrospective planning permission obtained for the height barrier, glassware to replace plastic possibly.

59.3 Sports Association Annual General Meeting, 29/10/07.  Cllr Rand and the Clerk attended the AGM when Grant Burberry from the Queen’s Head was voted in as Chairman, Rosemary Farley as Treasurer with Jenny Mitchell continuing as Secretary.  Cllr Rand and the Clerk had asked those present to discuss the proposals for running costs of the new pavilion.  Later, Cllr Rand was informed that these figures had been adopted.  Appointment of representative to replace Cllr Dudman was deferred.

59.4 Tree Warden.  Cllr Martin reported that he was helping to install a woodland area at the School.  Woodland soil had been put down in the hopes of encouraging wood anemones etc. to flower.  In the near future, he will be helping plant trees to screen the Multi-Use Games Area from the rear of properties in The Green.

59.5 Youth Forum.  Cllr Wright declared her personal interest in 59.5 as the Council’s representative on the Youth Forum.  She reported that Greg Barker MP had visited East View Terrace on Friday evening and had spoken to some of the children there together with Sue Manwaring, Youth Development Worker.  The Scout Hut, where it had been proposed to have a Youth Club and for which funding had been obtained that needs spending this financial year, had suffered a disastrous fire on 3 November.  The Clerk and Cllr Dellow reported that they had been contacted by an East View resident who said that the idea of using the Scout Hut for a Youth Club was not supported by everyone at East View and some of them believe that their views are not being taken into account.

C07/08.60 Clerk’s Report

60.1 The Clerk reminded members of the following duties:

60.1.1 The Crime & Disorder Act 1998, section 17:  parish councils have a duty to consider the impact of all their functions and decisions on crime and disorder in their local area.

60.1.2 The Climate Change & Sustainable Energy Act 2006:  parish councils must, in exercising any of their functions, have regard to the most recently published energy measures report.

60.1.3 The Natural Environment & Rural Communities Act 2006:  parish councils have a duty to have regard to the conservation of biodiversity in exercising their functions.  A draft strategy and action plan is included later in the agenda.

60.2 October Noticeboard.  Members were invited to comment on the content.  The Clerk reported that, unfortunately, insufficient evidence has been found for the police to prosecute anyone regarding the fly-tipping in the sportsfield gateway, mainly because there were no witnesses, unlike at the Hurst Lane earlier incident.  The details that were found in the rubbish have been passed to Rother District Council to see whether they can take action.  At least one other incident of fly-tipping has been reported to the police recently by a local resident, just outside the parish in Reservoir Lane.  The resident knew that the police attended but would have like to have been told the result.

C07/08.61 Finance

61.1 Bank Reconciliations at the end of September and October 2007.  RESOLVED:  That the council receives the bank reconciliations at the end of September and October 2007.

61.2 Cheque lists.  RESOLVED:  That the Council ratifies the payment of cheques in October 2007 and approves payment of cheques in November 2007.

61.3 Bank of Scotland Account.  RESOLVED:  That, in accordance with the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1988, Sedlescombe Parish Council requests the Bank of Scotland to pay gross interest on its new fixed term account (ie without deduction of tax).

61.4 Barclays Bank Business Bonus Account.  RESOLVED:  That, in accordance with the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1988, Sedlescombe Parish Council requests Barclays Bank to pay gross interest on its new account (ie without deducation of tax).

61.5 Application by Sedlescombe Parochial Church Council for a donation towards the Churchyard Fund.  RESOLVED:  That a grant of £300 is made by the Parish Council to the Sedlescombe Churchyard Fund with a request that management is adopted that respects the importance of maintaining green winged orchids and glow worms in the Churchyard.

61.6 Application by Battle Area Community Transport for a donation towards upgrading vehicles and maintaining community bus services to Battle and surrounding parishes.  RESOLVED:  That a grant of £100 is made to the Battle Area Community Transport.

61.7 Application from Sussex County Playing Fields Association for a donation.  RESOLVED:  That a donation of £25 is given to the Sussex County Playing Fields Association.

C07/08.62 Vacancy on Sedlescombe Parish Council.  RESOLVED:  That Mrs Jenny Mitchell is appointed to fill the casual vacancy on Sedlescombe Parish Council caused by the resignation of Robert Dudman.

C07/08.63 Training.  Since the last meeting, the Clerk has kept members informed about courses that were available locally on child protection and volunteers.  Three councillors attended in-house planning training with the Clerk and five councillors and the Clerk intend attending tomorrow’s Rother Planning Seminar at Brede Village Hall, 18:45 to 21:15.  It was agreed that the proposed in-house financial training and “hands on the website” training should be postponed until after Christmas because of the increased workload caused by the preparation of applications for pavilion funding.  The Chairman acknowledged the additional work being undertaken by councillors and the Clerk regarding the proposed pavilion.  The Clerk reported that she had attended a Rother clerks’ exchange of information meeting where there was an interesting speaker from the Environment Agency re flooding and would be attending a Society of Local Council Clerks’ day conference at Uckfield tomorrow.

C07/08.64 Challenging the current working of Sedlescombe Parish Council and comparing it with other councils.  Members were invited to suggest improvements.  None suggested.

C07/08.65 Aim 1 To achieve an Informed and Participating Sedlescombe Community.

65.1 Sedlescombe Parish Plan.  Members had been provided with the Clerk’s updated briefing note following a parish-wide survey in October.  Although there had been a very poor response (44 forms returned out of 675 delivered), some interesting issues had been raised which can be divided into Crime, Environment, Highways, Services, Youth. RESOLVED:  That the returned forms should be used to form the basis of a simple addendum to the Sedlescombe Parish Plan after which small committees of interested residents will be set up to investigate the topics further.

65.2 Annual Assembly of the Sedlescombe Parish Meeting.  The Assembly will be held on 29 April 2008 in Sedlescombe Village Hall.  RESOLVED:  That the Assembly should follow the same format as previous years.  It was agreed that the Clerk should include a letter asking for donations towards the pavilion with the information she sends out to local businesses in January.

65.3 Welcome Packs.  Welcome packs remain available for people moving into the Village.  The Clerk/Financial Officers has still to decide when the copy for the business and organisation adverts in the next Directory will need to be with her but it will probably be around the end of January.

65.4 Appointment of an independent “Lay” Member to the Rother Standards Committee.  Rother’s Standards Committee is seeking a lay person to sit on this Committee.

C07/08.66 Aim 2 To achieve a Safe and Healthy Sedlescombe Community

66.1 Speed and Traffic Calming.  It was note that not everyone is happy with the proposed provision of vehicle activitated signs at either end of Sedlescombe.  Details of one objection have been posted on the website.

66.2 Vehicle Activated Signs.  Members noted the revised positioning and that a letter is being sent by East Sussex County Council to nearby residents.  The speed of traffic travelling past the Parish Church is very worrying.  The Clerk was asked to inform the County Council that, as well as a minor shunt, there were two very-near serious accidents outside the Church at the time of the Armistice Service on 11 November due to the speed of vehicles.

66.3 Logs and posts on the verges in Hurst Lane.  The Clerk had asked East Sussex Highways to arrange for the various posts, logs etc. which residents have been putting on the edges of the highway, to be removed.  Highways had come back and said that they wanted the Clerk to send the letters to each household in the Lane and, if the residents did not remove the objects as asked, the County Council would take it a step further.  Members were not in favour of the Clerk sending the letters as the Parish Council has no powers regarding the highways.  Clerk to return the responsibility to East Sussex County Council.

66.4 Playground Inspection Reports.  All councillors declared their personal interests in Riverside Playground reports by virtue of the Council being the sole Trustee of the Sedlescombe Playing Field and Recreation Ground Trust.  In accordance with the Code of Conduct 2007, all councillors remained in the meeting.

The Clerk reported that the following matters had been reported for the Riverside Playground:  large gate still being repaired (Clerk to chase Bridge Garage);  gap in fence by toddler swings (AR to deal);  more damage to wooden table (unfortunately it had been found that the plastic game tops cannot be added but are only sold complete with the table);  dog running around;  graffiti on motorbike springer (RD to remove – possibly taking photo first in case “tag” can be identified);  ropes need raising on equipment (AR to deal);  bollard needs replacing (Clerk to deal);  grass long and wet with molehills (the contractor hoped to do another cut but it is probably too wet);  damaged litter bin (leave);  new recycled plastic seat and litter bin bought with the remainder of the proceeds from the Landfill Community Grant (R Wood to install);  nappies being placed in litter bin.

The Clerk reported that the following matters had been reported for the Kickabout Area;  fences damaged (RD to make some repairs);  brambles to be strimmed (to be included in next year’s contract);  various household rubbish dumped (PG to arrange clearance);  bonfire residue;  dog waste in bins.

66.5 The Clean Neighbourhoods & Environment Act 2005, The Dog Control Orders (Procedures) Regulations 2006 – Removal of Dog Faeces.  Rother District Council intends to introduce an Order to require removal of dog faeces.  The order, if approved, will replace existing Byelaws and Orders which already require removal of faeces from many areas within the District.  Although members were keen to see the dog waste cleared up in the centre of the Village, some were concerned about it being double wrapped and maybe thrown in the hedge where it is preserved instead of it decomposing.  There is also a problem with the lack of dog waste bins because people have so many dogs and a large amount of waste is produced.  However, if more dog bins are provided, the cost would increase.  The Clerk will inform Rother that the Council supports picking up dog waste in the centre of the Village but that it is concerned about the preservation of dog waste in plastic bags generally.  Rother will also need to be responsible for provision of dog bins and emptying and PCSOs should be asked by Rother to police this dog control order.

66.6 The Fire Authority’s Integrated Risk Management Annual Action Plan 2008/09.  The Plan had been received and was available for members.

C07/08.67 Aim 3 To help provide Amenities and Services in Sedlescombe

67.1 Sports pavilion.  Cllr Rand, Cllr Wright and the Clerk attended a Football Foundation Workshop at Lancing last Thursday which was a positive meeting.  The Parish Council, as well as the Sports Association, has had some of the requirements “ticked off” but there are still a large number left to do.  The FF wants the Council to submit its Reaching Communities Lottery Bid for £50,000 and a Landfill Community Fund Bid for another £50,000.  The FF members were impressed with the amount of fund-raising and requests for funding that had been done.  Cllr Rand reported that revised plans are in hand and will be e-mailed to Craig Low at the FF for approval.  Discussion took place about providing a site plan showing the existing pavilion’s footprint and the position of car parking and all pitches as well as the position of the proposed pavilion.  It was noted that planning approval does not necessarily have to be obtained before the application to the FF is submitted but has to be granted prior to them making an offer of grant.  The old pavilion will be surveyed and, with FF approval, demolished prior to the offer of grant.  The Clerk will write to the service suppliers asking them to cut off their supplies.  The FF needs 3-4 months for a decision, the Lottery 3 months and the Landfill Fund 2 months.  The Chairman congratulated everyone involved in getting the portacabin up and running including various volunteers who are not directly involved with sport in the Village.  RESOLVED:  That approval is given to expenditure on providing all the plans and other documents needed by prospective funders.

67.2 Scout Hut.  See C07/08.59.5 above.

67.3 Affordable housing.  Cllr Cameron reported on his attendance at the affordable housing day in Battle.  Members noted that the definition of “affordable housing” is housing for shared ownership or to rent.  Houses can be built much cheaper if an owner can be persuaded to release land for 2 or 3 times the normal agricultural value and houses are built for local people.  A housing needs study is required before work beings on a project.  However, properties may be built outside the Village envelope.  As Sedlescombe already has a large number of houses to rent and Orbit Housing Association has a local lettings policy, it should not be necessary to undertake such a project.

67.4 Bus Waiting facilities on both sides of the road north of the Bridge Garage.  A local resident in The Street is keen to see a bus stop designated on the west side of The Street.  A reply to the Clerk’s e-mail on this subject was awaited.

C07/08.68 aim 4 To help support business and rural employment in Sedlescombe

Post Office closures.  The long-awaited list of Sussex post office closures had just been announced.  Sedlescombe is listed as remaining open along with all surrounding post offices.  In Rother, four are proposed for closure – in Crowhurst, Tilling Green and two in Bexhill.

C07/08.69 Aim to protect and enhance Sedlescombe’s Built and Natural Environment

69.1 Brede High Woods purchased.  Contracts have been exchanged and the Woodland Trust is expected to complete the purchase of Brede High Woods in due course.  Total public access will be provided.

69.2 Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plans.  RESOLVED:  That the Parish Council adopts the Sedlescombe Biodiversity Strategy and agrees the action plan in principle.

69.3 Proposed diversion of public footpath 2c(part) at Brede Lane, Sedlescombe.  RESOLVED:  That the Parish Council agrees to the proposed diversion as detailed.

69.4 East Sussex County Council Parish Paths Event.  The event will be held on Tuesday 04/12/07 at Heathfield Community Centre, 0930-1230.

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