ANNUAL ASSEMBLY OF THE PARISH MEETING OF SEDLESCOMBE, TUESDAY 28 APRIL 2009, 19:30 TO 20:30

PRESENT: Councillor V Wright (Chairman of the Parish Council) in the chair, Cllr A Rand (Vice-Chairman of the Parish Council). Parish Councillors R Dellow, P Glew, M Irwin, P Martin, C Wheatley
Mrs P Raymond (Clerk/Responsible Financial Officer, Sedlescombe Parish Council) - Minute Taker
County Councillor Peter Jones. District Councillor Tony Ganly. About 85 members of the public

1 Chairman's Opening Remarks. The Chairman opened the meeting by thanking all the volunteers in the Village for their valuable contribution towards the life of the community. She mentioned the importance of supporting local businesses who pay for the Directory through their payments for advertising. Appeals were made for additional help in mowing the Churchyard and for about five people who would help Cllr Martin tidy up the school garden during the holidays. The Queen's Head has recently re-opened with a new landlady Mel who was present at the meeting. PCSO Demetrius Georghiou was congratulated on his work for the community with special mention being made of his recent successes in finding fly-tippers and getting them to return to collect their goods which they had dumped in the Village.

Cllr Wright reported the completion by Ralph Dellow, Jonathan Vine-Hall and Reg Glew of an easy access mile long footpath where eleven stiles have been replaced with gates. This work, together with other footpath work by Jean and Howard Dellow is much appreciated. The easiest way to tackle the easy-access path is to start at Church Hill Farm opposite the Village Hall.

Regarding the raising of funds for the new pavilion, Cllr Wright said that the Pauline Raymond would report later but confirmed that the correct name of the Mrs A Lacy-Tate Trust should be substituted for the incorrect name on the back of the 2009 Annual Report/Directory.

Fourteen tables were set up around the hall by: Short Mat Bowls; Sedlescombe & District Garden Society (tomatoes and geraniums for sale); Sedlescombe WI; Pumphouse Designs (with before and after photographs); Pestalozzi International Village and Friends of the Pestalozzi Estate; Sedlescombe C E Primary School (trying to raise money for a minibus); Dominic Fieldus Osteopathy (with a spine); LWA Bodyshop (with a car bonnet); Junior Diabetes; Neighbourhood Watch (with news of the need for more NHW co-ordinators); Royal British Legion; Bridge Garage (with a huge shock absorber); Parish Council with photographs of the sportsfield and collecting water.

The Chairman then announced that the Council would be making Citizenship Awards to John Kemp and Bob Harris for their outstanding contribution to the lives of people in Sedlescombe. An engraved gardening trowel and certificate was presented to Bob Harris and a similar award would be made to John Kemp later.

A further presentation of a Certificate was made by David Young, Chairman of the East Sussex Association of Local Councils, this time to the Parish Clerk for obtaining Quality Council Re-accreditation.

2 Minutes of the Annual Assembly of the Parish Meeting of Sedlescombe held on 29/04/08. The Minutes had been delivered to every house in the parish. It was moved by Sally Martin and seconded by Sally Brown and RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the 2008 Annual Parish Assembly are approved.

3 County Councillor Peter Jones. Papers summarising the main achievements of ESCC for 2008/09 and a 2009/10 Budget Briefing had been left on chairs in the hall. Cllr Jones began by leading a round of applause from the floor for the Parish Council's achievement in obtaining Quality Council re-accreditation. He reported that it has been a good year for the County Council with the achievement of several objectives that have been worked on for years. The independent council watchdog, the Audit Commission, has awarded the Council a 'four-star' rating - the best available for its overall performance in 2008/09. There had been other successes with Ofsted rating ESCC as the best county in England for children's services. Cllr Jones could also report that 'bed-blocking' has virtually been eliminated. High priority has been given to tackling the impact of the recession.

Cllr Jones informed the Assembly that he is planning to look at a different approach to meeting the lack of transport in rural areas and will expect towns and parishes to identify where transport is needed. Mini-buses and taxis could be used.

Cllr Jones answered a question from the floor regarding the introduction of speed control measures on the County's roads. The County Council is introducing lower speed limits supported by speed reactive signs. This area will be looked at this year and next.

4 District Councillor Tony Ganly. Cllr Ganly added his congratulations to the Parish Council to those of Cllr Jones. Rother has no funds with Icelandic banks. He is pleased that Rother decided to set up an interest equalisation fund, setting apart funds to help if interest rates were ever to drop. This will help offset this year's drop in income because of lower interest rates.

Cllr Ganly reported that he had proposed, and Cabinet had agreed, to extend the over 60s free swimming in Rother to members of the armed forces as a small acknowledgement of the debt owed to them. He is delighted that Rother agreed to make a £35,000 donation to the pavilion fund. He is now the Rural Businesses Champion after leading an initiative to help rural shops and businesses. £1,000,000 has been allocated towards disabled services. The Rother Chief Executive has been delegated to approve the plans for redesigning the A21/Marley Lane junction. This will form a gateway to the Blackfriars development in Battle. Rother recycling services have been declared the best in East Sussex.

Because of the current grim economic situation, all District Council services are to be looked at to see whether economies can be found. Cllr Ganly asked the public to contact him with ideas for savings, either cuts or innovative ideas. Although Cllr Ganly favours reductions in Council Tax, it might be necessary for some increases in order to meet legal requirements.

5 Sedlescombe Parish Council Report. The Chairman's Report had been circulated to every home in the parish. The Clerk/Financial Officer updated the meeting on the current situation with the pavilion rebuild reporting that the build had been finished on time and within budget. Those making donations or raising funds for the project were thanked and details were given of the Public Works Loan Board loan obtained to make up the surplus. A questioner from the floor asked for details of who will be running the field and pavilion in the future and how income will be generated in order to maintain the facility. This was answered by Cllr Rand (Pavilion Project Manager) and John Noonan (Secretary of the Sports Association). John explained that club rents had been increased and income was already coming in from new sources. He was confident that enough would be raised either from hirings or by fund-raising to cover expenses. Time would, of course, need to elapse before the true cost of running the new pavilion will be known.

The Clerk asked for help to find photos or memories of the Sedlescombe Horse Show that ran in the Village in the 1950s and 1960s. A couple of Horse Show silver cups were on display and those attending were asked what they would like to be done with them. The Clerk also is looking for photos and memories of collecting water in Sedlescombe either from the Village Pump on the Green or from other pumps and wells. The Council would like to know what people think should be done with the old pump beneath the shelter on the Green. The Council has made an initial application for a Heritage Lottery Grant for its refurbishment.

6 Any other business. The Council was asked to write to the Highways Agency again expressing the concerns of local residents about the new layout at the junction of the A21 and B2244. The Chairman suggested that all who are worried about the danger of the junction should write to the Highways Agency themselves also.

Anthony Rand's work as Pavilion Project Manager was acknowledged from the floor.

The Chairman closed the meeting with thanks to Mary Irwin and Jean Dann who were supplying the refreshments, the caretaker of the hall for his help in setting up the meeting, the Clerk, the Councillors and the Village itself where those living here are willing to support the Assembly in such good numbers. She reminded the meeting about the May Fayre on Saturday on the Green and in the pub garden and that there is currently a vacancy on the Council caused by the resignation of Bill Cameron. The closing date for applications to be with the Clerk is 5pm on Thursday 30 April.

Finally, Cllr Rand, Vice-Chairman of the Council, thanked the Chairman for all her work. The meeting closed at 20:30 followed by refreshments and further time to visit the table displays around the hall.

   
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