SEDLESCOMBE PARISH COUNCIL

COUNCIL MINUTES (in draft form until adopted at the next meeting)

MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF SEDLESCOMBE PARISH COUNCIL HELD ON TUESDAY 8 JANUARY 2008 IN COMMITTEE ROOM 2 OF SEDLESCOMBE VILLAGE HALL, 19:00 TO 21:00

PRESENT:  Cllr V Wright (Chairman of the Council), Cllr A Rand (Vice-Chairman of the Council) – left after C07/08.82.3, Cllrs W Cameron, R Dellow, P Glew, C Wheatley, J Mitchell, P Martin, M Irwin.  Clerk/Responsible Financial Officer:  Mrs P Raymond

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The OPEN FORUM was attended by District Councillor Ganly, County Councillor Jones and Mr R Archer.

1.       District Councillor Ganly reported that the Rother Planning Committee planned to make a site visit to the Sedlescombe Sportsfield next week in connection with the proposed pavilion.
2.       County Councillor Jones spoke on the following:


a.       Heavy trucks travelling through the Village.  He had asked Graham Furness to get them to use a different route.
b.      The County Council’s financial settlement from Central Government was a little better than expected which should allow lower Council Tax increases over the next two years.
c.       The County Council has been rated a “Three Star authority” by the Audit Commission (full details of the Audit Commission Report are available online). 

3.       Members of the public invited to speak on items not on the agenda.  None.
4.       Cllr Wright welcomed Cllr Jenny Mitchell back to the Parish Council.

C07/08.70 Apologies and reasons for absence.  None, all present.

C07/08.71 Code of Conduct 2007

71.1 Declarations of interest.  Councillors were invited to declare the existence and nature of their interests, whether personal or personal/prejudicial, with regard to items on the agenda.  Members were reminded to repeat the declarations when the item was announced by the Chairman.

C07/08.74.3, 75.3, 82.2

Jenny Mitchell

Personal/prejducial (74.3)

Secretary of Sports Association

C07/08.75.2

Pauline Glew

Personal

SPC Village Hall Trustee

C07/08.75.2

Caitlin Wheatley

Personal

Village Hall Trustee

C07/08.75.2

Ralph Dellow

Personal

Village Hall Trustee

C07/08.75.2

Mary Irwin

Personal

Village Hall Trustee

C07/08.82.3

Valerie Wright

Personal

SPC youth representative

C07/08.82.3

Anthony Rand

Personal

SPC youth representative

C07/08.81.6 All councillors Personal Parish Council is sole Trustee

71.2 Prejudiced members.  Cllr Mitchell responded to the invitation to make representation, answer questions or give evidence to the Committee re the Sports Association Meeting held the previous evening.  She informed the Council that the Sports Association definitely does not want to follow the criteria laid down by the Football Foundation in order to obtain funding for an over-large pavilion but would prefer to return to the smaller pavilion which already has planning permission.  Cllr Rand has informed the Football Foundation that we have withdrawn our application.  Substitution of a much cheaper timber building had been considered but rejected.  Advice had been given by Wayne Glaze, an Architect living in Hurst Lane.  Three Sports Association Committee members (Jenny Mitchell, Grant Burberry and Paul White) will be joining the existing fund-raising committee made up of Ralph Dellow, Judy Torrance and Bob Harris.  The Sports Association will give the Parish Council a cheque for £10,000 in the near future for deposit in the Pavilion Fund.  They will retain the remaining £3,000+.  The Sports Association would like additional work to be carried out at the portacabin involving a new floor and kitchen. 

71.3 Code of Conduct Training DVD.  A DVD was available on loan from SALC.  It was agreed that it should be borrowed and shown to councillors at the Chairman’s house in March.

71.4 Additional Code of Conduct item for information.  A further letter had been received from Rother’s Monitoring Officer reminding members that their interests must include any land in the area in which a councillor has a beneficial interest.  This includes their home.

C07/08.72 Public participation with respect to agenda items.  Mr Robin Archer of Oaklands Manor, speaking on behalf of his 16-year-old son Thomas, gave information about the idea of a summer exhibition of the artwork of Hercules Brabazon Brabazon who had lived at Oaklands in the 19th and early 20th centuries (Agenda item C07/08.80).  Thomas hoped to raise the local public’s awareness of HBB watercolours which are well thought of nationally but not well known locally.  About 25 are currently held at Hastings Museum and the Archers themselves have some.  The Art Dealer, Chris Beetles, who currently has some HBB paintings for sale, would be willing to help.  There was some discussion about the suitability of various venues such as Hastings Museum, Oaklands Manor, the Brickwall Hotel, the Clockhouse, the Parish Church and, even, the De La Warr Pavilion and of the importance of adequate insurance cover.  Mr Archer passed around a book showing some of HBB’s paintings.  He said that Icon Films are considering making a film of HBB’s work.

The Chairman explained that the Parish Council is keen to support young people and would consider the suggestion later but would need a proper project appraisal to be provided by Thomas before any decision could be made.  Mr Archer agreed to ensure that this was provided.  The Chairman suggested that an exhibition outside the parish would not be of so much interest to the Parish Council.

Cllr Ganly said he liked this idea very much and would consider how to push the idea with Rother District Council.

C07/08.73 Minutes of the Meeting of the Council.  RESOLVED:  That the Council authorises the Chairman to sign the Minutes of the Meeting of the Council held on 13/11/07.

C07/08.74 Committees and Working Groups
74.1 Planning Committee.  It was moved by Cllr Martin and RESOLVED:  That the Minutes of the Meetings of the Planning Committee held on 13/11/07 and 04/12/07 are received.
74.2 Finance Committee.  It was moved by Cllr Glew and RESOLVED:  That the Minutes of the Meeting of the Finance Committee held on 11/12/07 are received.
74.3 Sports Pavilion Working Group.  CLLR MITCHELL DECLARED HER PERSONAL/PREJUDICIAL INTEREST AS THE SECRETARY OF THE SPORTS ASSOCIATION.  SHE LEFT THE ROOM DURING THE FOLLOWING DISCUSSIONS.

It was moved by Cllr Rand and RESOLVED:  That the notes of the Meeting of the Sports Pavilion Working Group held on 18/12/07 are received.Cllr Rand elaborated on the information provided by Cllr Mitchell at C07/08.71.2 above.  The Sports Association Meeting, the previous evening, had agreed that a building of about the right size for the needs of the sports clubs could be provided for a total cost of about £150,000 excl.VAT.  RESOLVED:  That the Parish Council supports construction of a modest pavilion that will meet the needs of the users without being a big burden in the future.

Raising more than £150,000 will not be easy and it is hoped that the enlarged fund-raising committee will be successful.  However, disquiet was expressed, although no further action will be taken in this instance, that unnecessary and incorrect personal attacks had been made on a parish councillor both in recent Sports Association Committee Minutes and at Sports Association Committee meetings. 

Confirmation had been obtained from the Charity Commission that, if the fund-raising committee became a charity, it would not be allowed to pass any money it raised to the Parish Council.  It could, of course, if the Parish Council allowed, take over the provision and maintenance of the new pavilion and would be eligible for additional grants.  However, it would have to pay most of the VAT on the building costs. 

The idea of selling the Kickabout Area for building was suggested as a way of raising funds.  However, it would be necessary to have the covenant, that the land must only be used as a play area, set aside before this could happen.  Some parish councillors were not in favour of considering losing the area as there is so little play space on the estate and the smaller children will not walk to the other play areas.

RESOLVED:  That tenders are invited for provision of the pavilion in accordance with RR/2006/1625/P, including piling, to be returned in time for an application to the Big Lottery Fund to be submitted by the due date in February.

RESOLVED:  That arrangements will be made for the disconnection of services to the old pavilion.

RESOLVED:  That Cllr Rand will ask the Health & Safety Executive whether they need to be informed about the demolition of the old pavilion.  If not, as long as there is the necessary insurance cover, arrangements will be made with a local farmer who has offered to take it away and pay the Council £200.

RESOLVED:  That a new floor with lino and a kitchen should be provided in the portacabin in accordance with the wishes of the Sports Association, paid from the Sports Pavilion Fund.

CLLR MITCHELL RETURNED TO THE MEETING

C07/08.75 REPORTS FROM REPRESENTATIVES
75.1 Rother Association of Local Councils.  No report.  Meeting next week.  RESOLVED:  That Cllr Glew should be one of the three representatives at the Annual Parish Conference to be held in Northiam Village Hall on Thursday 3 April 2008, 13:45 to 16:45.
75.2 Sedlescombe Village Hall.  COUNCILLOR GLEW DECLARED HER PERSONAL INTEREST AS THE PARISH COUNCIL’S TRUSTEE.  COUNCILLORS IRWIN, WHEATLEY AND DELLOW DECLARED THEIR PERSONAL INTERESTS AS VILLAGE HALL TRUSTEES. Cllr Glew reported that  - Reg Glew and Ralph Dellow are clearing up the car park and will plant plants that do not need too much attention; a disclaimer notice is in place at the entrance to the car park;  finances and bookings are fine;  decorating the main hall is still being investigated and may be done by an Unpaid Work Team (formerly community service);  the indoor village hall sports club is disbanding but short mat bowls and badminton will still continue;  the next meeting is the AGM on 20/03/08.
75.3 Sports Association Committee.  Previously reported.
75.4 Tree Warden.  No report.
75.6 Youth Forum.  No report – Clerk attended the youth meeting regarding the Scout Hut’s future (see C07/08.82.3 below).

C07/08.76 CLERK’S REPORT
76.1 Local Government & Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 Provisions expected to take effect on 01/04/08.  Key elements of interest to Sedlescombe:  eligible councils will be entitled to seek the ‘Power of Wellbeing’; an opportunity to rename a council will be introduced; Councils will be allowed to appoint persons from the community to serve as additional councillors; it will be much simpler to create parishes; the system of making byelaws will be simpler; something is being introduced about councillors under the age of 18 but details have not been released.  Secondary legislation should make new powers clear.
76.2 SALC offers a service to find a replacement clerk, if the Council should find itself without one!
76.3 Councils are consulting on the Government’s proposed amendments to the Quality Council scheme planned to come into effect in April 2008 (SPC to renew accreditation in July 2008).

76.4 Several councillors agreed to visit the Sedlescombe Golf Course on Wednesday 16 January at 10:00 to view the new conference facilities.
76.5 Letter received today about damage to the green and grass verges, asking if we could highlight this problem in the next Bulletin.  Next Bulletin will not be until July but the Chairman agreed to mention at the Assembly.
76.6 Councillors agreed they would not object to changing the date of the November Council Meeting if necessary.

C07/08.77 FINANCE
77.1 RESOLVED: That the Council receives the bank reconciliation at the end of November and December 2007.
77.2 RESOLVED: That the Council ratifies the payment of cheques in December 2007 and approves payment of cheques in January 2008.
77.3 2008/9 Budget.  The Council had been provided with copies of the 2008/9 Budget.  A precept figure of £29,000 (2.58% increase after three years of standing still) was included.  RESOLVED:  That the Council adopts the 2008/9 budget including the precept on the District Council as recommended by the Finance Committee, and authorises the Chairman to sign the Precept Application Forum.

C07/08.78 APPOINTMENT TO THE PLANNING COMMITTEE.  The Council had proposed that Cllr Mitchell is appointed to the Planning Committee.  However, in accordance with her wishes, the appointment was deferred for the time being.

C07/08.79 TRAINING & APPOINTMENT OF INTERNAL AUDITOR
79.1 NOTED: That SALC training sessions were planned at Dunford House, Midhurst, for chairmen, new councillors and experienced councillors on 8-10 February and 4-6 April.
79.2 NOTED: That the Clerks’ Networking Day is expected to take place in February.
79.3 Normally, the internal auditor would be appointed at the March Finance Meeting but, because a new auditor had to be found, it had been brought forward.  (See also training at 79.4 below).  RESOLVED: That Mrs Valerie Bennett, Clerk to Whatlington Parish Council, is appointed to carry out the internal audit of Sedlescombe Parish Council’s 2007/8 accounts.  Valerie is a long-standing qualified clerk who is not connected in any way with Sedlescombe Parish Council.  She is, therefore, considered to be an appropriate internal auditor.
79.4 NOTED: That Finance Days are to be arranged by SALC to include an Internal Auditors’ Briefing and Discussion Session.
79.5 NOTED: That details of British Trust for Nature Conservation Courses short and longer National Vocational Training, Levels 1 and 2 have been posted on the website and on the notice-board.
79.6 NOTED:  That a brief Finance training session by the Clerk/RFO will be held at the start of the March Finance Meeting (25th).  The meeting will, therefore, commence at 18:45.  All councillors will be invited to attend.

C07/08.80 AIM 1 TO ACHIEVE AN INFORMED AND PARTICIPATING SEDLESCOMBE COMMUNITY
80.1 Proposed Exhibition.  The Council had heard from Mr R Archer that his 16-year-old son, Thomas, wishes to arrange an exhibition locally of the artwork of Hercules Hercules Brabazon (HBB) (1821-1906) who had lived at Oaklands, Sedlescombe and hoped that the Parish Council would support the project, preferably financially.  RESOLVED:  That the idea of a local HBB art exhibition is supported by the Council especially if it can be linked to fund-raising for the new pavilion and be for about three days at Oaklands.  Cllr Cameron will be seeing Mr Archer and will give him this information.  The Council would like Thomas Archer to come back with a detailed project outline.

C07/08.81 AIM 2 TO ACHIEVE A SAFE AND HEALTHY SEDLESCOMBE COMMUNITY
81.1 The following items were noted from the Rother Transport Action Group Minutes of 13/11/07:
81.1.1 (3.3) A full report on School Travel Plans and Walking Buses will be given at the next meeting on 15/01/08.  One of Sedlescombe’s walking buses from the village hall is struggling despite Marion Ham’s efforts to encourage use.
81.1.2 (4) Brian Banks will help parishes address issues with the Highways Authority regarding traffic calming.  Sedlescombe parish councillors had met Brian Banks this afternoon outside the Church (reported at 81.3 below).
81.1.3 (6.1) A Community Speed Watch scheme is starting in Winchelsea and they will be using their own speed gun.  The Clerk informed the Council that she had been in correspondence with Richard Comotto of Winchelsea who plans to set up a group of SID users through RALC. 
81.1.4 (6.5) Battle Area Community Transport is struggling.  Some of the local respondents to the Council’s recent survey are dependent on buses to get around.  It was suggested that, if the BACT buses are well used by Sedlescombe people, Sedlescombe should consider giving a larger donation and should encourage other parishes to do so as well.  Cllr Glew offered to carry out some research prior to consideration at the March Finance Committee Meeting.
81.2 Traffic.  Cllr Wright had contacted the County Council and Hastings Borough Council about the lorries using the B2244 through Sedlescombe when travelling to and from the new university site in Hastings.  Inspectors checked the speed of the lorries and gave warnings to the drivers to keep their speeds down.    Unfortunately, it is not possible to stop the lorries using the most direct route to their destinations.
81.3 Road Safety.  Following concerns expressed by the Parish Council about the danger to pedestrians crossing from the Church to their vehicles, a meeting with Brian Banks and Helen Paine of ESCC had been held this afternoon.  Without an accident record, ESCC will not be able to provide any funding.  The ideal solution would be for a suitable parking area to be built on the same side as the Church but a layby would be difficult to provide and too small and a car park to the north of the churchyard would mean a long difficult walk along potentially slippery churchyard paths for people going to the Church and would be too expensive also.  Reducing the speed limit on the B2244 is not expected to have much effect on the drivers who, if they are taking the corner at about 45 mph, are probably local and know there is a church there.  Double white lines would not be supported by the Police as there is good visibility and no reason why overtaking should not take place.  If double white lines were to be provided, parking would not be allowed on the roadside making the parking problem outside the Church impossible.  A single chicane would not be sufficient but would be needed all the way down the hill.  This and accompanying street lighting would be horrendously expensive for the Parish Council to provide and would have an urbanising effect on the area.  Other areas might even have a higher priority.
81.4 New footways.  Cllr Dellow had proposed that the Parish Council agrees to use some of the funds in hand provided through the Safer Sedlescombe Project to contribute towards provision of a footway in Sandrock Hill, Sedlescombe (276 metres).  ).  Currently, the Parish Council is limited in the amount it can contribute, not only by the total in hand but also by the constraints of Section 137 of the Local Government Act 1972, which restricts the amount that a Parish Council can contribute towards expenditure that is not authorised by statute to £5.64 an elector for the 2007/8 financial year.  This means that Sedlescombe’s total for all Section 137 expenditure in the 2007/8 year cannot exceed £6,271.68. This year, so far, we have committed to £3,463 Section 137 expenditure. It was agreed that the matter be deferred until the current cost of providing the footway is known.  The residents will be asked to contribute to any shortfall once the figures have been worked out.
81.5 Dogs.  Rother had sent a reply to the queries raised by the Parish Council about the proposed implementation of the Dog Control Order on Dog Fouling.  The main points are:

The new order will require dog owners to clear up after their dogs and take the waste home with them.
If a person throws a plastic bag containing dog faeces on the ground, they would be committing the offence of dropping litter.
Rother should not provide bio-degradable bags (which still take some time to degrade) as this would encourage littering.
It would be difficult to justify the cost of providing dog owners with free plastic bags.
No plans for Rother to provide additional dog waste bins (no budget and no legal requirement).
Although Rother are currently emptying dog bins for parishes where they were previously emptied by SERCO, it is expected that parishes will be invoiced for the cost.
It is suggested that the Parish Council puts signs on the litter bins that have to be emptied by hand asking that “no dog waste” is put in them.  If this does not work, remove the bins. 
Rother will erect warning signs, if found necessary to do so.
The Order will be enforced by Rother DC officers.  The Chief Constable has not yet decided whether to allow his PCSOs to enforce such Orders. 

RESOLVED:  That “no dog waste, no soiled nappies” laminated notices should be placed on the litter bins that are emptied by hand.
RESOLVED:  That a letter is sent to the Chief Constable asking that PCSOs are empowered to enforce the Dog Fouling Control Order.

81.6 Playground Inspection Reports.  ALL COUNCILLORS DECLARED PERSONAL INTERESTS BY VIRTUE OF THE PARISH COUNCIL BEING THE SOLE TRUSTEE OF THE SEDLESCOMBE PLAYING FIELD & RECREATION GROUND TRUST. The Clerk reported that a new seat and litter bin had been provided at the Riverside from money left from the 2006 Landfill Tax Grant.  There are still some repairs to carry out at the Riverside – ropes to be lifted, fence to be repaired and stepping stone to be installed.

C07/08.82 AIM 3 TO HELP PROVIDE AMENITIES AND SERVICES IN SEDLESCOMBE
82.1 Footpaths.  The Chairman informed the Council that a great deal of maintenance work had taken place in recent months on our footpaths, especially replacing stiles with gates, by Ralph Dellow, Reg Glew and Jonathan Vine-Hall.  She expressed the Council’s sincere thanks.
82.2 Pavilion.   The fund-raising group had drawn up a list of fund-raising activities.  RESOLVED:  That the Parish Council will organise a May Day Fayre on 03/05/08 on the Village Green, 14:00 to 16:30.  The primary school will take part in maypole dancing.  Funds raised will be deposited in the Pavilion Fund.
82.3 Scout Hut/Youth Club.  The Clerk reported that she had attended a meeting in Battle on 11/12/07.  Also in attendance were the Youth Services Manager and a Buzz Project AiRS representative, Craig Atkins from Orbit Housing Association, Angela Sharman from Rother Homes, two 15-year-old EVT residents, a Police Sergeant and a Police Constable.  The fire at the Scout Hut on 03/11/07 will mean the building will have to be demolished.  Rother Homes owns the land on which the hut stands but it has been let on an unending lease to two people who are probably no longer alive.  Rother Homes’ Solicitors are searching for these people’s descendants.  This means that it will not be possible to provide an alternative form of community accommodation on this site before the end of the financial year on 31 March.  A petition from East View residents against a youth club being held at East View Terrace had been presented to Greg Barker MP and copied to the Parish Council.  All residents of East View Terrace had been sent a letter before Christmas signed by the various agencies explaining about the work that had taken place with the young people of Sedlescombe for over a year which has resulted in a greater understanding of the issues affecting them and has provided an opportunity to talk to them about any negative behaviour.  As well as summer activities and outreach sessions from the Youth Development Service, the young people put together a successful funding bid to the Youth Opportunities Fund. The £18,000 grant they obtained will, now have to be re-allocated.  On 18/01/08, agency officers will go to every house in EVT with a survey regarding the provision of youth and community activities at the scout hut site.  Later a public meeting will be held for everyone in the village to have the chance to voice their views on the project and to discuss any concerns.  A management committee of the new facility will be needed but, so far, only four people have come forward.  A suggestion had been made that the Management Committee of Sedlescombe Village Hall could help.
82.4 Bus stops in Sedlescombe.  Deferred awaiting further information from ESCC.
82.5 Transport Accessibility Group.  An invitation had been received to join a group from Hawkhurst and Bodiam to form a group to link between users of public transport, the providers and local authorities.  Subs for individuals are £5 each and for organisations £12.  Information about this group has been included in the January Bulletin and on the notice-baord.
82.6 Roselands.  The Council noted that, since April 2007, there had been a change of style of management at Roselands.  There is now no scheme manager who used to be known as a warden but residents are supported by a floating model of ten support workers.
The difficult parking situation outside Roselands was brought up by a respondent to the Autumn PC survey.  The parking area belongs to Rother District Council and not Rother Homes which owns Roselands.  In order to provide additional parking, the garden is to be removed.

C07/08.83 AIM 5 TO PROTECT AND ENHANCE SEDLESCOMBE’S BUILT AND NATURAL ENVIRONMENT
83.1 RESOLVED:  That the draft Climate Change Mitigation and Fuel Poverty Alleviation Strategy drawn up by the Clerk is adopted by the Parish Council.
83.2 Rother Waste and Recycling update.  Although a newspaper style communication was delivered to every house in the District by Rother DC prior to Christmas, it did not reach at least some of Sedlescombe residents until it was too late.  Unfortunately, the information it contains is not the same as is currently on the Love Rother Love Recycling website nor at the “bring” centre in Sedlescombe which is causing confusion to residents about what can and cannot be recycled.  Parish Councillors mentioned that they would like to see information about recycling of water filters and batteries.  The Clerk will write to Rother DC.
83.3 Proposed Composting Event on Village Green.  It was agreed that a composting event should be arranged on the Village Green in the Spring.
83.4 High Weald Management Plan Review.  Cllr Dellow (Environment Officer) had completed a questionnaire.
83.5 Butterfly Conservation’s Rother Woods Project Funding had been obtained by Butterfly Conservation to restore the richly-wooded landscape between Rye and Robertsbridge and the River Rother and the River Brede.  The Project aims to reinvigorate long-term sustainable woodland management and halt the decline of some of our rarest species of butterflies and moths.  The Clerk had been in correspondence with the Butterfly Conservation’s officer who had agreed to have a table at the Parish Assembly.  The officer will be contact Ralph Dellow (Environment Officer) and Pat Martin (Tree Warden).
83.6 One Planet Living.  Pestalozzi International Village is working in partnership with BioRegional and WWF International through its redevelopment to become internationally recognised as a “One Planet Living” development. Ten Tips for a more sustainable lifestyle have been drawn up by One Planet Living.  These are Zero Carbon, Zero Waste, Sustainable Transport, Sustainable Materials, Local and Sustainable Food, Sustainable Water, Habitats & Wildlife, Culture & Heritage, Equity & Fair Trade, Health & Happiness.  Details may be displayed at the Parish Assembly.
83.7 Bird Survey at Pestalozzi.  It was noted that the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds carried out a Volunteer and Farm Alliance Bird Survey on 64.7 ha of the Pestalozzi Estate in the Spring of 2007. A report has been sent to Cllr Dellow that 43 species of birds were identified, six of which are in the Red Category of Conservation Concern, as their populations have generally more than halved in the UK over the last 25 years.  These are the bullfinch, the house sparrow, the linnet, the song thrush, the spotted flycatcher and the starling.

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