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COUNCIL MEETING MINUTES

MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF SEDLESCOMBE PARISH COUNCIL HELD IN COMMITTEE ROOM 2 OF SEDLESCOMBE VILLAGE HALL ON TUESDAY 11 NOVEMBER 2008, 19:00 TO 21:00

 

PARISH COUNCILLORS PRESENT: Cllr Wright (Chairman of the Council), Cllr Rand (Vice-Chairman of the Council), Cllrs Cameron, Dellow, Wheatley, Martin, Irwin, Glew, Mitchell

 

CLERK/RESPONSIBLE FINANCIAL OFFICER, SEDLESCOMBE PARISH COUNCIL: Mrs P Raymond

 

ALSO PRESENT FOR PARTS OF THE MEETING:
County Councillor Peter Jones (Part 1 of Open Forum)

District Councillor Tony Ganly (Open Forum)

6 members of the public

 

OPEN FORUM

1 The Chairman invited County Councillor Jones to speak. Cllr Jones reported that:
  1. Due to his forethought, the County Council's Pension Funds are in a strong position and no increase in council tax will be required for pensions. No Council money has been deposited in Icelandic Banks.
  2. The County Council has teamed up with Business Link Sussex to develop an intensive business assistance programme aimed at supporting businesses through the recession and has provided funding of £100,000.
  3. The County Council is working with the Samaritans to find ways of helping people who are contemplating suicide because of the current financial situation they find themselves in.
  4. Contact is being made with the East Sussex Credit Union to see whether this is something that should be supported by the County Council at this time in order to safeguard people from loan sharks.
The Chairman asked Cllr Jones why the County Council had not made any donation to the Sedlescombe Pavilion Fund. In reply, Cllr Jones explained that the provision of leisure and sporting facilities is not a County Council function but, rather, one for the District Council to take on. Cllr Wright pressed Cllr Jones and asked him to try again to find some funding, even from the £100 million reserves held by the County Council. Cllr Jones agreed to try but explained that the reserve fund will be required for the building of waste incinerators and schools and that the only budget with funds available is for the provision of jobs.

 

Cllr Mitchell and Cllr Martin asked Cllr Jones why so much money had been wasted on a recent Emergency Planning Conference at The East Sussex National Hotel at Uckfield which had not been of any use to them.

 

Cllr Jones left to attend a meeting in Rye.
2 The Chairman invited District Cllr Ganly to speak after thanking him for his help in obtaining an additional £30,000 funding for the new sports pavilion. Cllr Ganly reported that:
  1. Rother District Council has no money in Icelandic banks.
  2. Rother District Council is looking at a mentoring scheme for small businesses which will dovetail in with County Council policy.
  3. Rother District Council has obtained a grant of £1 million towards the Bexhill seafront redevelopment programme.
  4. The Rother Core Strategy Consultation on Strategy Directions has been published. Everyone is urged to look at the draft and to comment.
  5. He is the Chairman of the Village Shops and Post Offices Working Group which is a forum for helping village shops exchange ideas amongst themselves.
3 Debbie Martin introduced herself as the new Pestalozzi Marketing Manager and said she hoped that the Parish Council and Pestalozzi will be able to work together in the future.
4 Cllr Wright read a letter from the late Alan Denny's relatives which thanked the Chairman for her donation in memory of Alan.
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C08/09.65 Apologies and reasons for absence. None, all present.
C08/09.66 Interests. Declarations of existence and nature of councillor's interests, whether personal or personal/prejudicial, in accordance with the adopted Code of Conduct 2007, with regard to items on the agenda. Members were reminded to repeat the declarations when the items were announced by the Chairman. The following interests were declared:
Minute
Name
Interest
C08/09.70.1 Cllr Glew Personal interest - By virtue of her being one of the Council's reps on RALC.
C08/09.70.1 Cllr Dellow Personal interest - By virtue of him being a Village Hall Trustee
C08/09.70.1 Cllr Irwin Personal interest - By virtue of her being a Village Hall Trustee
C08/09.70.1 Cllr Wheatley Personal interest - By virtue of her being a Village Hall Trustee
C08/09.70.2 Cllr Glew Personal interest - By virtue of her being the Council's-appointed Trustee of the Village Hall.
C08/09.77.5 All councillors Personal/Prejudicial interests - By virtue of Sedlescombe Parish Council being the sole trustee of the Sedlescombe Recreation Ground and Playing Field Trust. Dispensation to speak granted to all councillors by Rother Standards Committee.
C08/09.78.4 Cllr Dellow Personal interest - By virtue of him being a member of the Village Pavilion Fund-Raising Group.
 
C08/09.67 Public Participation Session. The Chairman agreed that members of the Sedlescombe Youth Project could address the Council on agenda item C08/09.78.3, Community/Youth Amenity.

Sue Manwaring, Youth Services Manager, Claverham Community College, explained that those present were representing the Sedlescombe Youth Project, that grant aid had been obtained by the young people for a youth club facility about 18 months ago which was to have been spent on converting the old scout hut at East View Terrace. Unfortunately, the old scout hut had been burnt down a year ago. A new Sedlescombe Youth Project committee had been formed since then and the amenity needs to be provided before the end of March 2009 otherwise the grant is expected to be withdrawn.

Paul Barraclough, Chairman of the Sedlescombe Youth Project, made a proposal to the Council that the Project Committee purchases the portacabin at the rear of the new pavilion from the Parish Council and runs a youth facility on that site after the pavilion is completed in February 2009, rather than transferring it to East View Terrace. This would have the advantage of there being a field where outdoor games could be played and the cost of connecting up the services would be avoided. He asked that, if the Sports Association is unwilling to agree to this proposal, whether the Parish Council knows of any other land where the portacabin could be sited?

Cllr Wright made the suggestion that an alternative site could be Red Barn Field Nature Park at the rear of the Village Hall as, currently, the Council is unable to maintain the land properly as a Nature Park. No services are available although there is car parking which is not available close to the portacabin.

RESOLVED: That agenda item C08/09.78.3 is taken next on the agenda.

C08/09.78.3 Community/Youth Amenity. The Chairman asked each parish councillor to give their views on whether, rather than moving the portacabin to East View Terrace, the Parish Council should support it being left at the Sportsfield or being moved to Red Barn Field Nature Park with the benefit of the Parish Council's permitted development powers. The following points were raised by councillors:

General -

  • Need for those in charge to be qualified youth workers and for there to be more than one person on duty.

Sportsfield -

  • Difficult to keep law and order around the pavilion if the portacabin is left at the sportsfield.
  • If the youth facility was to be at the sportsfield, liaison would have to take place with the Sports Association regarding use of the field.
  • If the youth facility was to be at the sportsfield, the Youth Project could provide useful funding for the Sports Association by way of rent or help with improvements to the field.
  • Is it idealistic to hope that the two bodies could work together?
  • The Council should agree to the sportsfield option on a trial basis if the Sports Association can be persuaded to agree.
  • Fencing of the riverbank at the pavilion end would be required.

Red Barn Field -

  • Red Barn Field should not be used for this purpose as it has been set aside as a wildlife area and the portacabin would be visually intrusive on rising ground.
  • Red Barn Field could be a better possibility than the sportsfield if sited at the village hall end of the field.

Sedlescombe Recreation Ground and Playing Field Trust

  • The Sedlescombe Recreation Ground and Playing Field Trust land in front of the tennis courts might be a suitable site (Clerk said that the Charity would have to make the decision and permitted development rights might not apply).

RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That Sedlescombe Parish Council supports the idea of the portacabin being sold to the Sedlescombe Youth Project for £5,000 and, if the Sports Association agrees, for it to be left where it is on the sportsfield and, when no longer needed for interim sports use, to become a community/youth facility for a 6-month trial period.

C08/09.68Minutes of Council Meeting, 09/09/08
Minutes. RESOLVED: That the Chairman of the Council is authorised to sign the Minutes of the Meeting of the Council held on 9 September 2008.
C08/09.69 Minutes of Meetings of Committees
  1. Planning Committee. RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the Meetings of the Planning Committee held on 09/09/08, 23/09/08 and 21/10/08 are received.
  2. Crime & Safety Advisory Committee. RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the Crime & Safety Advisory Committee held on 28/10/08 are received, information is noted and recommendations approved.
  3. Finance Committee. RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the Meetings of the Finance Committee held on 21/10/08 are received.
C08/09.70 Reports from representatives. To receive reports as follows:
  1. Rother Association of Local Councils. Cllr Glew declared her personal interest as the Parish Council's representative on RALC and gave a report on the meeting held on 08/10/08. A minute silence was held in memory of Diane Stevens, late Catsfield Clerk. Subjects raised included the forthcoming Parish Conference. Suzanne Grisbrook taken over from Trevor Elliott at Rother DC. Graeme Lake taken over from Graham Furness at County Highways. Free swimming for over 60s. Councillor Training at Catsfield - RALC agreed to foot 50% of the £30 cost per head with Catsfield PC providing the venue and refreshments. Idea of clustering of parishes which did not receive much support - speaker to be arranged for Parish Conference. Speed Watch at Winchelsea where £2,500 has been spent on the meter - forty volunteers man it five days a week doing one hour every two weeks; 120 letters have been sent out but Inspector Bright expressed concern about the extra work for his admin. staff. Money for local action plans will stop next April. Grants through the WARR Partnership might be available for forestry projects. Next meeting 14 January 2009.
  2. Village Hall Trust. Cllr Glew declared her personal interest as the Parish-Council appointed Trustee. Cllrs Wheatley, Dellow and Irwin declared their personal interests as Village Hall Trustees. Cllr Glew gave a village hall report: cost of aluminium steps and half door to kitchen area from committee room 2 in research stage. Village Hall road signs replaced. Easier sound equipment to be installed. Members to note that the Fire Assembly Point is at the Red Barn end of the field - the entrance from the road must be kept clear and cars left in the car park so that clear access is provided for emergency vehicles; users to advise their groups about emergency exits and Fire Assembly Points.
  3. Tree Warden. Cllr Martin reported that he and his wife had planted 35 more horse chestnut trees on the Pestalozzi Estate bringing the total number planted in Sedlescombe this year to about one hundred.
  4. Environment Officer. Cllr Dellow asked about recycling of yellow pages which the Clerk had reported is available locally but the paper recycling bins at the car park state this is not allowed. He also mentioned that the field off Hurst Lane where he had been trying to protect skylarks is being ploughed.
C08/09.71 Clerk's Report. The followed items were noted:
  1. Street Naming. Rother District Council has informed all parish and town clerks that the District Council intends to pass a resolution adopting the provisions of Sections 17, 18 and 19 of the Public Health Act 1925 in relation to the naming of streets throughout the Rother District. When the resolution is effective, the provisions of the Towns Improvement Clauses Act 1847 relating to street naming shall cease to apply to those parts of the District where they still apply (ie outside Bexhill).
  2. Building work at rear of Bulmer House. Complaints have been received about the damage caused to the Village Green, the verge, the road, the footway and obstruction of the access to garages. These have been reported to East Sussex County Council. The Village Green has been returfed at the southern end.
  3. Signs in Tollgate Road. The loss of the "Sedlescombe" sign has been reported and a request made for removal of the "Road Closed" sign.
  4. Damage to signs at junction of Chapel Hill and B2244. A local resident witnessed a very large lorry demolishing several signs at the bottom of Chapel Hill and then driving off. Unfortunately, the registration number was not seen. The cost of the damage is £1,000. The County Council has taken action to replace.
  5. 30mph roundels have been painted on the road as previously agreed.
C08/09.72

Bank Reconciliation September 2008Bank Reconciliation October 2008




Cheque List October 2008Cheque list November 2008

Finance
  1. Bank Reconciliations. RESOLVED: That the bank reconciliations at the end of September and October 2008 are approved.
  2. Clerk's Salary. RESOLVED: That a 2.45% increase in the Clerk's salary back-dated to 1 April 2008 in accordance with the National Joint Council for Local Government Services agreement, pending arbitration is agreed. The Clerk's salary total for the 2008/9 financial year will be amended to £13,592.43, spinal column point 30, 20 hours/week.
  3. Cheques. RESOLVED: That payment of the October 2008 cheque list is ratified and the November 2008 cheque list approved.
C08/09.73 Training
  1. Councillors' Course, 20-21/09/08. Cllr Irwin had attended a weekend SALC course at Sedlescombe Golf Course and reported that it was excellent.
  2. Funding Workshop, 04/10/08. Cllr Wright had attended a Workshop arranged by AiRS in Beckley and reported that it was a very useful session helpful in guiding applicants through the difficulties of raising funds.
  3. Emergency Planning Conference, 25/10/08. Cllrs Mitchell and Martin had attended this Conference and reported that they had been very disappointed with the content of the Conference. It was agreed that they would let the Clerk have details of their complaints which would be forwarded to the organisers.
  4. Clerks' Networking Day, 04/11/08. The Clerk had attended one of the regular Clerks' Networking Days at Leeford Place which had been packed with useful information. She highlighted the following:
    1. Freedom of Information. A new scheme has been published and must be adopted by all councils by 01/01/09. A request for information from anyone, anywhere in the world, has to be responded to quickly. Only photocopying and postage costs can be recovered, not staff time.
    2. NALC. There is currently a great deal of disquiet about the poor performance of the National Association of Local Councils especially regarding monitoring of draft legislation in parish councils' interests. Consultants have been appointed to look at fourteen recommendations for change proposed by county associations.
    3. SALC. The Sussex Association of Local Councils has been steadily improving the number of services it offers. More training is provided in Sussex than in any other county but still only about 23% of councillors are taking part in training each year. New support is introduced every year.
    4. Subscriptions to SALC/NALC. There was a discussion at the Day on finding the best way to work out the amount of subscription each council should pay. There will be winners and losers in every method.
    5. Online banking. The Government recognises that the law has not kept up with modern methods of banking. New legislation is expected in the early part of next year when electronic banking is expected to be included.
    6. Allotments. Parish councils have a duty to take reasonable steps to provide allotments if requested by enough parishioners and, currently, there has been an increase in requests for allotments across the country. Parish councils have the power to ask district councils to compulsorily purchase land on their behalf for allotments but there seems to be a general reluctance on the part of district councils to do this. If the cost of purchase is prohibitive, land can be leased.
    7. Clerks' workloads. The suggestion was made that many councillors do not recognise the spiralling workload of clerks. There are problems with holidays and the need to prioritise tasks. This is a matter that could be raised at clerks' annual appraisals - if they have them.
    8. Participatory budgeting. The Government, in its Community Empowerment White Paper, has consulted on participatory budgeting. This is a process that the Government is supposed to have lifted from Brazil where it is considered successful. It is not certain whether this will apply to parish councils but, at budget time, residents should be invited to comment on what is being proposed, especially if the council tax is likely to be raised.
    9. Power of well-being. The regulations on this power should have been announced last July but the latest date given now is 28/11/08.
  5. Future councillor training.
    1. Catsfield Parish Council is offering councillors the opportunity to join its members in a weekday evening new and refresher training session, arranged by SALC. The time would be 18:30 to 21:30 with refreshments provided. The cost would be £15 each. All councillors welcomed the idea of attending this local training and the Clerk was authorised to inform Catsfield.
    2. To receive councillors' suggestions regarding training in the forthcoming year. During the last year, Sedlescombe parish councillors have been able to take advantage of varying amounts of training on Chairmanship, Planning x 2, Code of Conduct, Information Commission, Finance, Funding, General Refresher, Emergency Planning. The Council will continue to offer training to councillors as it becomes available but the need for the following was highlighted: Full Council Training; Planning Training; Internal Audit Training. On Internal Audit, it was agreed that, from time to time, councillors will be invited to join the Chairman of the Finance Committee when she carries out the monthly check of Sedlescombe's accounts. A neighbouring Clerk/RFO has also asked to be present to see what is undertaken.
C08/09.74 Magazines/newsletters. Receipt of the following magazines/newsletters was noted. Several were taken by councillors to read:
  1. Campaign to Protect Rural England Sussex Review, Autumn 2008.
  2. Rother District Council e-Bulletin, October 2008.
  3. Rother Views Issue 01.
  4. Safer Rother Partnership Newsletter.
  5. Health Scrutiny in East Sussex Newsletter, September 2008.
  6. Pestalozzi News Autumn/Winter 2008/9.
  7. LCR (formerly Local Council Review).
  8. Countryside Voice Autumn 2008 (CPRE)
C08/09.74/A Consultations
  1. From Communities & Local Government. Proposed amendments to the Code of conduct for local authority members and proposed new Code of conduct for employees. RESOLVED: That the Parish Council should support the introduction of a Code of Conduct for Employees and any attempts at clarification of the Code of Conduct for Members.
  2. From Rother District Council. Local Development Framework. Core Strategy. Consultation on Strategy Directions - closing date 30/01/08. Several copies received and passed to members. Clerk highlighted various exhibitions. Sedlescombe Planning Committee to consider in January.
C08/09.75 Conferences. RESOLVED: That the Clerk's attendance at the Society of Local Council Clerks Regional Conference. Wednesday 12 November 2008, 10:00 to 15:45 at The East Sussex National Hotel, Uckfield, price £45 plus travel costs is approved.
C08/09.76 Aim 1 To achieve an Informed and Participating Sedlescombe Community
  1. Welcome Packs are available from the Clerk.
  2. Charlton Athletic Football Club is offering all parish councils in Kent, Sussex and the rest of the South East a package to allow residents to travel by coach to The Valley and see a football match for about £10 per stadium seat (£6 for coach travel). Parish councils are asked to agree a game and publicise the offer locally. Stadium tours can be arranged before kick-off. Cllr Mitchell informed the Council that this offer has been taken up by the Rangers Junior Football Club for some time.
  3. Model Publication Scheme
    1. To adopt the Model Publication Scheme prepared by the Information Commissioner under the Freedom of Information Act. Details were included on the agenda. RESOLVED: That Sedlescombe Parish Council agrees to make public all the information listed in the 2009 Model Publication Scheme Template, apart from confidential matters. Wherever possible, information will be available through the Sedlescombe Parish Council website. Hard copies will be available on application to the Council.
    2. To approve the scale of charges. Charges can be made for printing, copying or postage but not staff time (unless more than 18 hour). The Council considered what charges to set and heard that Rother District Council charges £5 for a full agenda (not Planning which is £15) including all reports but provides 4 or 5 pages free of charge. Previously, the Parish Council charged 10p a copy. RESOLVED: That Sedlescombe Parish Council adopts a scale of charges as follows: Copying - 15p/copy plus Postage charges depending on weight and size.
    3. To approve the policy document "Making Decisions". RESOLVED: That the Council approves and adopts the new policy document "Making Decisions".
    4. To approve the policy document "Complaints Procedure". RESOLVED: That the Council approves and adopts the updated "Complaints Procedure".
  4. Quality Council Re-accreditation. RESOLVED: That, as quality council status demonstrates that Sedlescombe Parish Council is an efficient Council working for the benefit of its residents, application should be made before 31/12/08 for Quality Council Re-accreditation.
C08/09.77 Aim 2 To achieve a Safe and Healthy Sedlescombe Community
  1. Pharmacy White Paper. To agree a reply to the consultation paper. The Clerk was authorised to send the Parish Council's comments on the White Paper in support of retaining the status quo which villagers are very happy with.
  2. The East Sussex Fire Authority 3-year Integrated Risk Management Annual Action Plan 2009/10 and 2011/12 Consultation Draft. The Chairman had read the document and had decided that no comments should be made.
  3. Drainage problems, Long Lane. It was noted that East Sussex Highway has recently built a tarmac berm at the top of Long Lane to alleviate the drainage problem.
  4. A21/B2244 Junction Improvement. The Highways Agency has issued details of improvement works that they propose to carry out at the junction.
  5. Playground Inspection Reports. All parish councillors declared their personal and prejudicial interests by virtue of the Parish Council being the sole trustee of the Sedlescombe Recreation Ground and Playing Field Trust. However, dispensation having been granted by the Rother Standards Committee, they are all allowed to speak and vote. Members reported on their inspections. Cllrs Rand and Martin were thanked for raising the ropes. The presence of several molehills was mentioned. Although some fence repairs have been completed, members reported that there is still a gap on the footpath side of the playground.
C08/09.78 Aim 3 To help provide Amenities and Services in Sedlescombe
  1. Village Shops. Cllr Ganly had given a report at the start of the meeting.
  2. BT Payphones.
    1. It was noted that Rother DC has received confirmation from BT that the removal of payphones that has been objected to will not go ahead for the time being but BT may appeal.
    2. Purchase of a Sedlescombe telephone kiosk. The Chairman report that this was a misunderstanding and had not happened.
  3. Community/youth amenity. This item had been moved forward in the agenda.
  4. Pavilion.
    1. Current situation. Cllr Rand informed the Council of the current situation based on the notes of meeting of members of the Parish Council and the Sports Association Committee on 31/10/08. It was noted that the Stoolball Club mentioned is not the Sedlescombe Stoolball Club but a group of women who live in Sedlescombe who have started to play stoolball at Claverham and would like to use the sportsfield. Cllr Rand informed the Council that Steed Construction has been asked to make some minor internal changes to the layout of the pavilion to give a bigger kitchen. Ducting for the oven has to be included.
    2. Loan to make up the shortfall in funds. The Clerk/RFO reported that she had made an application for borrowing approval to be extended until 31/03/09. There are sufficient funds to pay the November invoice but a loan will be needed (unless further funds are obtained) to be agreed at the January 2009 Council Meeting to be held on the 13th of that month.
  5. Footpaths.
    1. Gate installation and the change in rules for use of a CAT scanner both before and during work involving digging on footpaths such as installation of any posts. Cllr Dellow reported that he is keen to get the last three gates installed to complete the easy-access route but the need to be qualified to use a CAT scanner and to use it throughout the installation means that, until there is some training nearer than a hundred mile round trip, the Rangers will have to be on hand to assist in all installations. Unfortunately, it seems that we are not getting such good co-operation from the Footpaths Department as previously. Cllr Dellow commented that Jonathan Vine-Hall had been a huge help and that the volunteer work could not have been done without his assistance.
    2. Footpath 5d, overflow installation. The overflow from the pond at Brambles is causing this path to be impassable especially with the very wet weather that we have been having. Matthew Harper of ESCC is negotiating a solution with the owner of Brambles.
    3. The County Council has arranged a buffet Christmas lunch for volunteers but no-one will be going from Sedlescombe.
C08/09.79 Aim 5 To protect and enhance Sedlescombe's built and natural environment
  1. Applications for permission to trap American Signal Crayfish in the River Brede. Following the inclusion of an item in the last Bulletin about a sighting of American Signal Crayfish in the River Brede, two people had contacted the Council asking for permission to set traps for the Crayfish. The Clerk had carried out a lot of research including speaking to the Environment Agency (Fisheries) Officer at Rye who gives out the Environment Agency Licences. The situation is as follows: Anyone wishing to trap American Signal Crayfish must get a Licence from the Environment Agency using form FR2 (application to use fishing instruments other than rod and line). This requires details of the area of river to be covered, the number of traps, the dates of the Licence and contact details of the landowner. The Licence contains conditions including the size of the holes in the trap, the fitting of otter/water vole guards and the use of plastic tags to identify the licensee etc. Trapping may not commence until the riparian landowner has given consent. The Clerk had drafted a policy document and it was RESOLVED: That the Parish Council adopts the policy document "Fishing for American Signal Crayfish between Sedlescombe Bridge and the end of Sedlescombe Sportsfield, November 2008". One resident has obtained a licence from the Environment Agency and been given permission to set four traps between 08/10/08 and 08/04/09. It was agreed that a waiting list should be kept so that, when one licence expires, the next resident on the list is given the opportunity of setting four traps.
  2. Butterfly Conservation's Rother Woods Project. 4 work parties have been arranged at Beckley Woods starting on the last Sunday of each month from November (30th) at 10am. The Rother Woods Project Officer is inviting local residents to meet him at the Queen's Head, Sedlescombe on Wednesday 10 December at 7.30pm to see some of the fascinating results of this year's butterfly and moth survey.
  3. Offer of an oak tree for planting in the Village. Nothing further heard but will be accepted when it is.
  4. Campaign to Protect Rural England's Stop the Drop Campaign. Cllr Dellow was given the Parish Council Toolkit to read and report on how Sedlescombe can get involved..
   
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