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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 14 JULY 2009, 19:00 TO 20:35

 

PARISH COUNCILLORS PRESENT: Cllr Wright (in the chair), Cllrs Dellow, Wheatley, Martin, Irwin, Glew, Mitchell, Marland

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

 

ALSO PRESENT FOR PARTS OF THE MEETING: 7 members of the public and Demetrius Georghiou (PCSO)

 

COUNTY COUNCILLOR PETER JONES (first part of meeting only), DISTRICT COUNCILLOR TONY GANLY

 

The Chairman was pleased to report that Sedlescombe has won the 2009 Calor East Sussex Village of the Year Competition.

 

She reminded members of the public that they may ask for items to be included on future agendas and, at her discretion, may speak on matters on the agenda.

Line
1

County Councillor Jones. Cllr Jones reported that:

1) The County Council is progressing with changes to the community transport system. Parish councils will be contacted soon and they will be encouraged to work together.

2) That significant cutbacks in public services can be expected in the future. The County Council is taking every action it can to reduce costs by outsourcing and working with its neighbours. It is trying to keep the Council Tax from increasing too much.

2 District Councillor Ganly. Cllr Ganly reported that the recent application by Foxes Den for a Premises Licence for one music festival at the Pestalozzi Estate has been refused by the Rother Licensing Panel.
C09/10.51 Apologies and reasons for absence. Cllr Glew (holiday).
C09/10.52

Interests.

  1. It was noted that Cllr Marland has been granted a dispensation regarding the Sedlescombe Playing Field & Recreation Ground Trust. Although he must declare a personal/prejudicial interest when matters relating to the Trust are being considered, he is entitled to remain in the room, to speak and to vote on the matter. All Sedlescombe Parish Councillors were reminded of the requirement for them to make similar declarations. All declarations will be recorded in the Minutes.
  2. Declarations of existence and nature of councillors' interests in accordance with the Code of Conduct 2007. The following interests were declared:

    Minute
    Name
    Interest
    P09/10.62.3 Pat Martin Personal/prejudicial interest by virtue of his daughter being the Marketing Manager at Pestalozzi International Village.
    P09/10.62.2 All councillors Personal/prejudicial interests with dispensation as the Parish Council is the sole trustee of the Playing Field Trust

  3. Representations etc. by prejudiced member. None.  

C09/10.53

Public Participation Session. The Chairman agreed that members of the public could speak regarding agenda items as follows:

53.1

(C09/10.62.6) Eileen Bullen asked whether there is any news regarding improvements to the A21/B2244 junction. The Clerk read the e-mail she had received today in which the Highways Agency said it is proposing to carry out remedial works to improve visibility at the junction, following the post-construction Stage 3 Audit as follows:

  1. Replace or swap the Give Way signs on the Tollgate Road approach.
  2. Re-align the Give Way triangle.
  3. Increase the chevron markings between the right turn lane.

The Highways Agency hopes that, following completion of the works (for which no date has been set), motorists will have a better understanding of the layout and in turn ensure that the give way system is being used effectively.

53.2

(C09/10.62.5) Eileen Bullen. Parking at the School. Problems are caused by cars which deliver children to Sedlescombe School. Some park inconsiderately in Streetlands making it difficult for residents to access their properties. The moving cars also create dangers for children as there are no footways in Streetlands.

 

Shirley Stevens. Cars parking in Park Shaw cause obstruction. Mrs Stevens suggests it would be helpful to have a lollipop person to guide children across Brede Lane.

 

PCSO Demi informed the Council that parking problems at the School had been raised at the recent Neighbourhood Policing Panel Meeting in Sedlescombe. It had been suggested that a walking bus should be restarted, if enough parents can be found to walk with the children. The landlady at the Queen's Head had offered, with provisos, use of the pub car park in the mornings. Demi will have a meeting with the school headteacher, Mrs Ham to discuss ideas.

 

Cllr Marland suggested that a drop-off spot for children, manned by responsible people, could ease the congestion as parents would not need to stop and park either to take their children into school or to watch them go into school.

53.3 (C09/10.63.6) Eileen Bullen. Timekeeping of Bus Service 349. The bus is frequently late because of problems on the road. If the bus is missed for some reason at Hastings or Hawkhurst, there is a two-hour wait which is too long for the elderly, especially at the end of the day.
53.4 (C09/10.62.3) Julie ? asked whether another application could be made for a Premises Licence at Pestalozzi following the recent refusal. The Chairman said anyone is free to make a further application.
C09/10.54
Minutes. RESOLVED: That the Chairman of the Council is authorised to sign the Minutes of the Meeting of the Council held on 23/06/09.
C09/10.55 Minutes of Meetings of Committees
  1. Planning Committee. RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the Meetings of the Planning Committee held on 12 May, 9 June & 23 June are received.
  2. Finance Committee. RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the Meetings of the Finance Committee held on 30/06/09 are received.
C09/10.56 Reports from representatives. Reports were received as follows:
  1. Rother Association of Local Councils. The meeting on 08/07/09 had been attended by Cllr Glew. In her absence, the Clerk gave the Council Cllr Glew's report:
    1. Malcolm Johnston of Rother had answered a question about what should be done if a substantial development takes place outside normal office hours without planning approval. Rother would only act if the land belonged to that Council. Otherwise inform the Police.
    2. Parish & Town Councils will soon be informed about benefits.
    3. Parish & Town Councils will soon receive a consultation document on community transport.
    4. Flood maps and insurance quotes. Watch areas.
    5. A worker is to be funded by SALC to encourage young people between 11 and 16 to become more engaged in parish councils in Rother and Lower Wealden. Ninfield (in Wealden, not Rother) Parish Council has carried out impressive work with young people.
    6. "Shared spaces" and Winchelsea's request, which was turned down, for £300 funding towards the £800 cost of the leading expert on shared spaces speaking to them.
    7. Battle Area Transport has bought another vehicle and may need to renew another vehicle in the future. Very short of volunteer drivers.
    8. Small amount of money available from Battle Partnership. Bids invited.
    9. Chief Constable to meet with SALC committee soon. Questions invited.
    10. Money available for parish projects from the WARR Partnership new scheme. (Clerk has further details)
    11. Forthcoming RALC meetings on 07/10, 13/01/10, 21/04/10 and 07/07/10.
  2. Village Hall Trust. None.
  3. Sports Association. None.
  4. Environment Officer. Cllr Dellow reported that swifts are in decline mainly due to loss of nesting sites because of eaves being blocked. Colin Boyd has  been able to obtain some free nest boxes from the Ornithological Society. As there is more chance of the boxes being used if placed near an existing nesting site ie the church, it was agreed that Cllr Dellow should ask the people who live around there if they would like nest boxes. They must, however, be prepared to erect them themselves.
  5. Tree Officer. None.
  6. NHW representative. John Hooker has taken over as NHW representative at East View Terrace from Jennie and Kelvin Wood. Five flats have been added.
C09/10.57 Clerk's Report. None.
C09/10.58 Finance
  1. Bank Reconciliations. RESOLVED: That the bank reconciliations at the end of May and June 2009 are approved.
  2. Cheques. RESOLVED: That the June cheque list is ratified and the July cheque list is approved.
  3. Kent & Sussex Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group. FWAG are seeking funding for initial wildlife and environmental advisory visits to farms. No action.
  4. Crimestoppers. Crimestoppers are seeking funding for their work. RESOLVED: That the Council will send £50 to Crimestoppers.
C09/10.59

Training

  1. Councillors' course, 11/12 September, Cllr Marland to attend.
  2. Training Survey Form. Members helped with completion of the form.
  3. SALC/AirS workshop session, Wednesday 16 September 2009 1000-1500, Brede Village Hall. For details see agenda. Councillors will tell the Clerk if they wish to attend.
C09/10.60

Magazines/newsletters. Receipt of the following magazines/newsletters was noted:

  • Clerks & Councils Direct
  • Focus on East Sussex including area parish profile.
  • The Clerk
  • Wybone Catalogue
  • Solon Security Catalogue
  • Bourne Amenity Newsletter
  • Safe in East Sussex - Communities Partners Newsletter
C09/10.61

Aim 1 To achieve an Informed and Participating Sedlescombe Community

  1. Welcome Packs. Available from the Clerk.
  2. Village of the Year 2009. Cllrs Wright, Glew and Mitchell, together with the Clerk, had attended the ceremony at Scaynes Hill on 10 July when it was announced that Sedlescombe was the Calor 2009 East Sussex Village of the Year. A cheque for £800, a certificate and a plaque were received. Sedlescombe will now be nominated by AiRS for the National Village of the Year Competition. It was noted that, for the next stage of the competition, if possible, work should be considered on introducing, or working towards, energy-saving methods in some form.
C09/10.62

Aim 2 To achieve a Safe and Healthy Sedlescombe Community

  1. Dog Control Orders. In 2008, Rother District Council introduced dog control orders regarding fouling and exclusion from land. At the time, Rother's Solicitor suggested that further dog control orders re dogs on leads and the number of dogs taken onto land at a time would be considered by Rother in due course. Sedlescombe still has a Dogs on Leads byelaw at the sportsfield and members reported that people with several dogs on paths can be intimidating. Rother has informed the Council that it has no plans to introduce additional dog control orders in the foreseeable future. Cllr Ganly was asked to press Rother to continue with the introduction of dog control orders in the District for the number of dogs that can be taken onto land and dogs on leads.

  2. Playground inspections. All members had reported personal/prejducial interests because the Council is the sole Trustee of the Playing Field Trust. All have been granted dispensation to speak and vote. It was noted that members had reported as follows since the last meeting:
    1. Riverside
      1. Fences damaged (R Wood to repair)
      2. Tree on fence - removed
      3. Swing seats grubby
      4. Ropes too low on equipment (Cllrs Martin and Rand to raise)
      5. Long grass at times
      6. Litter
      7. Springers moving in ground
      8. Weeds around tennis courts (weedkiller applied by Languard Ltd.)
    2. Kickabout Area, EVT
      1. Rope over tree (removed)
      2. Litter eg beer cans, cardboard boxes, cigarette packets, sweet papers
      3. Long grass at times

  3. Premises Licence, Pestalozzi International Village. Cllr Martin declared his personal/prejudicial interest by virtue of his daughter being the Marketing Manager at Pestalozzi and left the meeting for this item.
    1. Implications of the result of the Licensing Panel Meeting of 08/07/09. All councillors were aware that the application for a single premises licence for an outdoor music festival at Pestalozzi, 21-23 August, had recently been refused by Rother's Licensing Panel. It was noted that tickets appear to be on sale still, according to the One Love website. The Chairman asked Demi to report back to the Council regarding plans for policing Sedlescombe on 21-23 August in case Festival-goers still arrive. It was suggested that Pestalozzi should take some responsibility for manning the situation. It was noted that the Tribal Earth private festival is not affected and is expected to go ahead.
    2. It was noted that a petition signed by local residents had been sent to the Chief Executive of Rother District Council complaining about insufficient advertising of the licence application. Further details in the Clerk's Briefing Note.

  4. Selling cars on the highway opposite Budget Cars. Environmental Health, Rother DC, has visited the site and reminded the operator that selling cars on the highways is not allowed. However, cars are still be placed on the road displaying "for sale" signs. Members were informed that Budget Cars' neighbours Karen & Martin Hall of Powdermills have written to Budget Cars asking them not to obstruct their access/public footpath (also access to Riverside Playing Field).

  5. Parking problems. It was noted that PCSO Demi has agreed to keep a closer eye on parking issues at Balcombe Green, the Pumphouse and between Kester House and Riverbridge Cottages.

  6. Junction A21/B2244. See 53.1 above.

  7. Crime and Anti-social Behaviour meeting for parish councils. Chief Inspector Keating is keen to re-introduce these meetings in Rother. The next meeting is planned for Thursday 23/07/09, 1900-2100, at Brede Village Hall. It will be attended by Chief Inspector Keating, Inspector James Scott, the Rother Neighbourhood Policing Team Inspector, Sergeant John Berry from Rye and Sergeant Sarah Porter from Battle, along with the Community Safety Co-ordinator from the Safer Rother Partnership and the Rother Anti Social Behaviour Officer. Cllrs Dellow, Mitchell and Glew hope to attend.
C09/10.63

Aim 3 To help provide Amenities and Services in Sedlescombe

  1. Official opening of pavilion. The Sports Association had arranged an event on 11/07/09 to celebrate the new sports pavilion. David Mitchell, Trustee of the Sports Association, founder of the Sedlescombe Rangers Junior Football Team and long-time groundsman, had cut the tape at the opening ceremony. Unfortunately, some of the invitations appear to have gone astray so that some people who had contributed towards the building, either financially or physically, had not received an invitation. It was agreed that the Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Judy Torrance should make the necessary arrangements for an additional event, possibly on Saturday 1 August, if the pavilion is available. Funding for the event to come from the Village of the Year prizemoney.

  2. CCTV for pavilion. Cllr Dellow had met John Noonan (Secretary, Sports Association) with the Crime Prevention Officer at the pavilion to discuss CCTV. The Sports Association is making arrangements for installation of the equipment.Cllr Dellow had applied to various parts of Sussex Police and Safer Rother for funding and some funding will be available from the money remaining in the Council's pavilion fund and, possibly the Village of the Year prizemoney. Cllr Dellow has offered to fit locks to the windows of the pavilion and is waiting to hear from John Noonan.

  3. Status of the sportsfield. See Clerk's Briefing Note dated 30/06/09. The Sports Association had queried whether the field is "private" or "public" following murmurings in the Village that the land is public because villagers contributed towards its purchase. However, by granting a lease to the Sports Association, renewed in 2005, the Parish Council passed "ownership" to the Sports Association and the Association can ban whomever they like from the sportsfield (other than the public footpath). Information from SALC Legal Topic Note.

  4. Sedlescombe Youth Project. The Council was reminded that it had resolved to continue to actively support the idea of a youth centre at the sportsfield and to also support the Sports Association in any decisions that it makes regarding the sub-letting agreement (Minute C09/10.37.6, 12/05/09).

    Since then, on 09/06/09, the Council resolved that it would approve either selling the portacabin to the Youth Group for £3,500 as long as it is moved from the Sportsfield or allowing the Sports Association to sub-let the two portacabins to the Youth Group. Various conditions were to be imposed including: 1) an initial term of 6 months, renewable for further 6-monthly periods, for a total of 5 years; 2) qualified youth worker to always be in charge; 3) two evenings use a week.

    Craig Atkins of Orbit Housing Association had suggested that a qualified leader might not always be involved and the Group might like to use the portacabin more than twice a week if things work out well.

    Hedleys Solicitors had recently provided a draft lease of the land on which the portacabins sit. A copy had been e-mailed to councillors (excluding Cllr Irwin). By it, the Council would be a party to the Lease as well as the Sports Association, there would be a term of 5 years and termination of the Lease would be controlled by the clause that the tenant must not "allow or permit any activities which are or may become a nuisance or annoyance to the Landlord, the Council or to the owner or occupier of the neighbouring premises or the community of Sedlescombe". Councillors expressed concern that, in the event of problems occurring, it would be very difficult to prove that the trustees had "allowed" these activities to take place and it could end up with a court having to make the decision which would cause further aggravation and expense. The Clerk had identified other problem clauses. Cllr Dellow spoke of the need to provide a definition of a "qualified youth worker" and that the rental charge should be subject to inflationary increases over the 5 years (type of inflation to be specified).

    It was suggested that the youth club should use the village hall as happens in other villages but there are not two free evenings a week available. The Council discussed the disadvantages of a youth centre at the Sportsfield and the advantages of it being on the ex-Scout Hut site at East View Terrace in close proximity to 120 properties where the majority of those who have expressed an interest in joining the Youth Club live. It was noted that Orbit and Youth Development Service now believe this project should go ahead at the sportsfield in order to integrate different parts of Sedlescombe but they have not provided any evidence that this is needed apart from youngsters expressing concern that East View Terrace does not appear on the aerial photograph hanging on the wall of committee room 2 of the village hall.

    RESOLVED: That the Committee of Cllrs Wright, Rand and Glew, together with the Clerk, should meet representatives of the Sports Association to discuss the draft lease and, subsequently, inform the Youth Group/Orbit Housing Association.

  5. Sedlescombe sportsfield ditch. Cllr Rand to meet Ernie Rogers of ESCC this week.

  6. Bus Service 349 timekeeping. A resident who uses the bus service to link with the train service to London has found that he frequently misses the bus connection at Hawkhurst because of the lateness of the buses arriving in Sedlescombe. The matter has been referred to East Sussex County Council.

  7. Jempsons Shopper Bus. Jempsons Ltd. would like to advertise their bus service to Peasmarsh in the Village. It was agreed that this could disadvantage the local shop and, therefore, the Council should not be involved.

  8. Public Footpaths
    1. Footpath 31, Pestalozzi International Village, replacement of stile with gate.
    2. Footpath 25c, broken stile at A21 end.
    3. Footpath 37, broken stile at A21 end and resolution of problems on joining footpath Battle 52. Cllr Dellow said that he had received a further complaint about another stile on this path. He would investigate in due course.
    4. Footpath 4b, replacement of stile with gate.
    5. Footpath 33, Neatenden Farm, New England Lane - complaint regarding broken stile and overgrown path.

  9. Long Lane, use by delivery vehicles. It was noted that the County Council Rights of Way Officer, who is investigating whether a sign to restrict use of Long Lane should be installed, has been informed that the complainant should report in more detail in six months' time together with the views of others living in the Lane.

  10. "Bringing Empty Homes back into use". Pilot assistance project. In 2008 the Council agreed to fund a research project which considered the reasons why homes in the District are left empty. Using this information, Rother will provide options for a final strategy document which will focus action on working with owners, landlords and local communities in an attempt to return empty homes back to use. It was noted that, as part of Rother's on-going research into identifying the worst offending properties, they would like to hear from all parish councils with details of any empty properties in their areas which they would like to see brought back into use.  In particular they would be interested to find out which empty properties are creating an eyesore in the parish or have reduced property values or increased vandalism in the area.

  11. May Fayre 2010. Proposal made by the Finance Committee regarding the 2009 May Fayre and the need for an Events Committee (see F09/10.9). Cllr Dellow reported that there are three of the original May Fayre Committee together with Cllr Wheatley who are willing to form the committee for 2010. The Clerk reminded members that the Council must be involved with decisions and all monies must be through the Council's accounts in order for the Council's insurance to cover the event. It has been suggested that the 2010 May Fayre should be run in aid of work to the Pump and Pumphouse.

  12. Services that the Parish Council provides and how to promote them and whether it should try to extend the services it provides either by itself or in collaboration with others eg parish clustering. (Annual consideration) No new initiatives suggested.

  13. 2009 Village Survey. Members considered whether a survey document should be sent out this autumn. The last one was done two years ago. As there was only a 6% reply, it was decided that it is not worth carrying out a further survey this year. Regarding support for work to the Pumphouse, the Clerk was asked to request written support from residents in the next Bulletin.
C09/10.64

Aim 5 To protect and enhance Sedlescombe's built and natural environment

  1. American Signal Crayfish Policy. Reply awaited from Environment Agency.
  2. Request for certain grass verges to be designated for wildflowers - referred to County Ecologist, Dr Kate Cole. Cllr Dellow reported that the ox-eye daisy bank in Brede Lane and the bank in Tollgate Road have not been cut this year by the County Council.
  3. Recycling information. Cllr Dellow reported that he had obtained some CPRE Stop the Drop campaign posters for display at the July and September (on 26/09/09 in Queen's Head grounds) Fayres, on the village noticeboard and in Red Barn Field.
  4. Red Barn Field maintenance arrangements. The Chairman reported a few problems regarding the Field's maintenance. Cllr Marland will meet the Clerk at the Field on 27/07/09 for cutting.
  5. The High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Management Plan 2004, 2nd edition, adopted March 2009. Cllr Dellow and Cllr Marland to see.

 

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