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PLANNING MINUTES

MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE PLANNING COMMITTEE OF SEDLESCOMBE PARISH COUNCIL HELD IN COMMITTEE ROOM 2 OF SEDLESCOMBE VILLAGE HALL ON TUESDAY 27 JANUARY 2009, 19:30 TO 20:48

PRESENT: Cllr Martin (Chairman), Councillors Cameron, Wheatley, Mitchell
Cllr Wright (Chairman of the Council)

Clerk/Responsible Financial Officer: Mrs P Raymond

 

7 members of the public (for part of the meeting)

Line
P08/09.124 Apology for absence was received from Cllr Rand (business commitments).
P08/09.125 Disclosure by Members of personal interests in matters on the agenda. Cllr Wheatley declared her personal/prejudicial interest in agenda item P08/09.129.1 by virtue of her being a near neighbour of the Spilstead Farm application site. She expressed a wish to address the Committee in accordance with the Council's adopted Code of Conduct.
P08/09.126 Public participation session. Members of the public wished to speak on 1) P08/09.127 Cartref and 2) P08/09.129.1 Spilstead Farm. The Chairman proposed that the Cartref representation should be taken next and the Spilstead Farm representations following Cllr Wheatley's representations on agenda item P08/09.129.1.
P08/09.127 Cartref, The Street, Sedlescombe. Shaun Berry, Planning & Design Manager, was representing Westoak Homes, a new company set up to purchase sites where the developer has gone into liquidation. The company's main purpose is to build small low-cost starter homes to buy. This is the part of the market that research has found needs new properties.

 

The Cartref site in The Street, opposite the village hall, has a long planning history. Six houses were allowed on appeal and a plan for five houses had been started when a stop notice was issued because of site problems. These, it appears, have been resolved.

 

The proposed plan that Mr Berry put to the Committee was for a scheme of twelve small (2 bedroom, 1 bathroom 625sq.ft) properties with one car parking space for each property. He said that the concerns expressed by residents of neighbouring Eaton Walk about bins and overlooking had been taken into account in designing the scheme. In order to stop "buy to let", Westoak Homes is happy to add a covenant restricting the properties in some way eg in perpetuity to the people in the parish/district.

 

Although the Committee would have to wait until the planning application was submitted to Rother for full details, members were not opposed to the scheme although they did not favour the terrace block of five properties at the western end of the site. Mr Berry said this part of the design could easily be amended by splitting and staggering the properties. Councillors were of the opinion that starter homes were needed in Sedlescombe although the possibility of additional families creating pressure on the school and doctors was raised by Cllr Wheatley.

 

The Clerk drew attention to the discrepancy in the shape of the western boundary of the site as shown on earlier plans and the plan brought by Mr Berry. Mr Berry believes the new plan to be correct.

P08/09.128Planning Minutes 13/01/09 Minutes. RESOLVED: That the Chairman of the Committee is authorised to sign the Minutes of the Meeting of the Planning Committee held on 13/01/09.
P08/09.129 Planning Applications
P08/09.129.1

RR/2009/17/P Spilstead Farm - land at, Stream Lane, Sedlescombe.
Continued use of land as an airstrip without complying with temporary condition imposed on planning permission.

 

Prejudiced Councillor representation. Cllr Wheatley declared her personal and prejudicial interest in this planning application by virtue of her being a near neighbour of the Spilstead Farm application site. In accordance with the Council's adopted Code of Conduct, she brought the following concerns to the attention of the Committee:

  1. That the Parish Council's Planning Committee meeting had been arranged too soon considering that the closing date for comments on this application is 15/02/09. The public have, therefore, had little chance to prepare to speak at this meeting which would be their only opportunity as public participation at Rother DC is not permitted.
  2. That, although more than a week's notice has been given, the Parish Council has not obtained the last year's flight log for local residents.
  3. Why had Rother found it necessary to attach condition 1 to RR/98/1323/P ie The use of flying aircraft shall be discontinued on or before 10 years from the date of this permission to enable the Local Planning Authority to regulate and control the development of the land. Surely the Local Planning Authority would have control of the development of the land anyway?

Cllr Wheatley was asked whether she objected to renewal of this planning permission. She replied that her fears, and those of her neighbours, were about what the airstrip could develop into rather than existing uses.

Cllr Wheatley left the meeting for the remainder of this item.

 

Representations from the Public. Representations were made as follows:

  1. From Carol Brownsdon, Stream Lane. A week ago, Mrs Brownsdon had asked for a copy of the flight log since March 2008 to date so that she can see whether all the flights she has noted have been logged and the exact number of flights that have taken place. Cllr Wright reminded the meeting that condition 10 of the RR/98/1323/P states An aircraft movement record of all take-offs, landings, and purpose or destination of flights, together with the aircraft registration number, shall be maintained and made available for inspection on 24 hours notice by the Local Planning Authority and by Sedlescombe Parish Council. There is no requirement for the operator to provide copies or allow copies to be taken which can be given to the public. However, Mr Cole had agreed to provide a copy of the log sheets. The Parish Council had not received any complaints about the airstrip's operation. Mrs Brownsdon stated that the noise from the aircraft does not, generally, affect Spilstead Farmhouse.
  2. From Jeff Sidgwick, Stream Lane. Mr Sidgwick spoke of the major change that is being proposed with this application, from temporary to permanent approval and that neighbours are aware that less than 15 flights a day have taken place. He asked whether the Parish Council is allowed to nominate a member of the public to look at the flight log. When he was told that it had to be a councillor or the Clerk, he suggested that Cllr Wheatley should be nominated by the Council to inspect the log regularly.
  3. From John Brownsdon, Stream Lane. Mr Brownsdon also focused on the flight log saying that he was suspicious that the record might not have been maintained accurately and, rather than allowing the same number of flights in the future, Mr Brownsdon would like a reduction to the number currently taking place. He said that Mr Cole should employ someone to be on site and to maintain accurate records. If these records are not being maintained properly, the planning conditions are being broken and something should be done. Cllr Wright suggested that Mr Brownsdon gave the Parish Council the information he has regarding what he describes as breaches and this could be checked on inspection by the Parish Council. Mr Brownsdon could also ask Rother to inspect the log. Mr Brownsdon admitted that the protocol appears to have been working in the last ten years. The number of flights reduced eight or nine years ago and Mr Brownsdon is anxious that Mr Cole or another operator might increase flights and associated nuisance to what they were ten years ago.
  4. From Sedlescombe resident. The resident referred to the letter from CLM Planning attached to the current application which states "that testing of the conditions has shown that generally they are working" and asked how the conditions have been tested. Cllr Wright suggested that this testing had been done by the low number of complaints, a total of about 25 over the last ten years to the Rother Enforcement Department. The resident would like to see future testing of compliance to be based on more than the level of complaints.

Sedlescombe Parish Council Planning Committee considerations. It was noted that the Government is loathe to keep putting on temporary planning permissions but this is a very special case with an airstrip close to houses. The possibility of making the permission personal to Mr W Cole was discussed. The importance was stressed of the neighbours keeping a watching brief to ensure that the planning conditions are not breached.

 

RESOLVED: That Sedlescombe Parish Council supports renewal of the planning approval with the same conditions, including the same number of flights and the temporary condition (because of the special case of an airstrip close to houses), as in RR/98/1323/P. If, however, Rother grants permanent planning approval, the Council requests that the permission should be personal to Mr W Cole during his lifetime only and that the amenities of the neighbours should be protected by finding some way of closing the airstrip down if more than a few breaches of the conditions are found to have occurred.

 

Cllr Wheatley returned to the meeting.

P08/09.129.2 RR/2009/54/P Sunset Cottage, Sandrock Hill, Sedlescombe - proposed bay window to front elevation to match existing bay. Cllr Wheatley reported on her inspection. RESOLVED: That the Parish Council supports approval. At Cllr Wheatley's request, the Clerk had reported to East Sussex Highways the damage being done to the grass verges opposite by the builders working on the neighbouring property The Haven.
P0809.130 Appeals. None
P08/09.131 Results. None
P09/09.132Letter from Planning re Park View 19/01/09

Park View, The Street, Sedlescombe. Untidy building site. The Clerk had informed Rother Enforcement that a local resident had reported that this abandoned building site is untidy and being used for dumping. The Enforcement Officer had replied that he had investigated and found that the developer ConstantGreen had gone into administration. He had agreed to make enquiries of the administrator in an effort to tidy the site.

 

Part of the approval for development at Park View was a requirement for the Parish Council's bus shelter to be replaced by the developer. The Parish Council would need to consider what should be done if the development is substantially delayed. The Clerk reported that more damage had been done to the bus shelter last weekend and she had had to remove two lengths of wood which had been broken off the front of the roof. REFERRED TO FINANCE COMMITTEE.

P08/09.133

Local Development Framework. Members had been provided with information. The consultation period ends on Friday 30 January.

 

RESOLVED: That the following comments on the Rural Settlements Study - Sedlescombe Village Appraisal are made -

 

Introduction
Second sentence - rewrite bold words -The village, with its many timbered houses with origins in the 15th century and its 19th century picturesque pumphouse on the large village green has, in the past, been voted 'The Best Kept Village in All Sussex'.

 

Function
First sentence - add an "s" to the end of "recreation ground".

 

Accessibility
Second paragraph. Amend as school buses are only once a day each way during school times. The public 349 bus service runs only every two hours between Hastings and Hawkhurst and the community bus runs on two days a week, two journeys each way to Battle. There is no public bus service to Bexhill. No bus services to or from Sedlescombe can be described as "frequent".

 

Community Needs for other Services

In the paragraph "In their response to the Parish Council Planning Seminar", rewrite as follows "In its response to the Parish council Planning Seminar, Sedlescombe Parish Council does not feel affordable housing is an issue in the village. According to a recent Parish Council survey, the three things of most concern to residents are speeding traffic, parking and anti-social behaviour". Although there is some concern about the bus service, it was nowhere near the top of the list in the survey.

 

Rewrite the next sentence to read: "There are two Parish Council run play areas, at East View Terrace and at the Sedlescombe Recreation Ground and another run by Orbit Housing Association at East View Terrace." Add"Sedlescombe has an eight acre sportsfield and pavilion (new 2009)".

 

Amend next sentence to read "Sedlescombe Parish Council was also asked its views as part of the process of producing......." and then later in the same paragraph amend to read " All outdoor open spaces in Sedlescombe have high usage levels except the private allotments which are fairly derelict due to lack of publicity".

 

Amend last word in this paragraph to "cited".

 

RESOLVED: That the following comments on the Core Strategy are made -

 

Section 5 Box 3.

Overall Spatial Development Strategy

e) promote, in concert with Hastings Borough Council, opportunities for sustainable urban extensions on the edge of Hastings in line with a share vision for it and Bexhill;

 

This statement is too vague and should specify the area(s) referred to. Sedlescombe Parish Council would not support any extension of the urban fringes of Hastings outwards from the Hastings boundary with Rother District to the south of Baldslow. Large-scale development has already taken place on the Hastings side of the boundary and the area between Baldslow and the parish of Sedlescombe along the A21 should be safeguarded as an important area of countryside. This is especially important now that the Sussex Coast Sub-Region has been identified which touches the boundary of Sedlescombe parish (fig.5, page 15).

 

In Section 5 Box 11.

Preferred strategy for the Hastings fringes in Rother District.

Although there is more detail about the management of the Hastings urban fringes and in (iii) long-term countryside gaps between Hastings and Bexhill, Crowhurst, Battle and Fairlight are specified, the Hastings to Sedlescombe gap is not mentioned and some protection needs to be afforded to this gap.

 

Section 9, Box 18.

c) Development in the countryside. The Parish Council does not support use of rural exception sites outside the development boundary for the building of affordable social housing. Sedlescombe has 12% social housing which it considers to be sufficient, particularly with the lack of employment in the area and lack of public transport.

 

Section 10, Box 20

Preferred Strategy for Housing. Sedlescombe Parish Council does not support the proposals in this section for the increase of affordable social housing in the countryside or villages. Sedlescombe currently has sufficient social housing (see box 18 above) but insufficient cheaper housing to buy.

 

Section 10, Box 22.

Preferred Strategy for Gypsies and Travellers. Because of previous problems experienced by local residents in this area, the Parish Council would not support the identification of land in Sedlescombe for a permanent or transit site.

 

Section 10, Box 23.

Preferred Strategy for Older People. Sedlescombe Parish Council supports an innovative approach to looking after older people which will allow people as they grow older to remain, and if need be nursed, within in their own communities.

 

Section 11, Box 26.

Preferred Strategy for the Economy - Tourism. Sedlescombe Parish Council supports the conversion of farm buildings for tourism.

 

Section 12, Box 33

Preferred Strategy for Flood Risk. Every effort should be made not to all development in the flood plain.

 

Section 13, Box 35

Preferred Strategy for Transport and Accessibility. Sedlescombe Parish Council would like to see encouragement of local lift schemes whereby volunteers help those in the community without, or unable to use, transport to access healthcare serves.

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