SPC logo

COUNCIL MEETING MINUTES

MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF SEDLESCOMBE PARISH COUNCIL HELD IN COMMITTEE ROOM 2 OF SEDLESCOMBE VILLAGE HALL ON TUESDAY 18 JANUARY 2011, 19:00 to 21:30

 

PARISH COUNCILLORS PRESENT: Cllr Wright (Chairman), Cllrs Marland, Mitchell, Vinehall

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

ALSO PRESENT AT START OF MEETING ONLY: County Councillor Peter Jones, District Cllr Tony Ganly, PCSO Demetrius Georghiou

 

1

The Chairman invited PCSO Demetrius Georghiou to speak. Demi reported that:

  • No crimes have been reported in the past month in Sedlescombe, although horses in Hurst Lane have had their manes plaited.
  • He had just attended a Community Resolution Training Day. He can now use this method to punish perpetrators of small crimes without having to resort to the legal system. The perpetrator must admit their misdemeanour and the victim must be happy with the punishment.
  • He has issued parking tickets at the School.
  • He was first on the scene of a serious accident on the A21 today.
  • He recently stopped a suspicious male in Ticehurst and found that this man had just burgled two old ladies. The criminal was subsequently returned to prison.

The Chairman asked Demi if he would please take action against people who do not conform to Dog Control Orders in Sedlescombe, especially the dogs on leads order at the Sportsfield. Demi agreed he would try but that they were very short staffed and that he was often called off this patch to cover other crimes. For example for the next day or so he would be in Hastings going door to door seeking information about a rape.

2

The Chairman invited County Councillor Jones to speak. Cllr Jones reported that:

  • There will be no County Council Tax increase in 2011/12.
  • ESCC will find £37 million cuts out of a £500 million budget. It is expected that eight children's centres will close but the same number of children will have access to a smaller number of centres. The youth service will be much reduced. However, more money on the capital side will be available allowing new Academies to be funded in East Sussex.
  • The link road is still high on the agenda, although fifteen wind turbines may have to be placed in the valley for Government to release the money for the road.
  • Talks are taking place with Government regarding restructuring of special needs provision and East Sussex may be asked to run a pilot scheme.
  • Joint procurement contracts with other local authorities are being agreed to save money.
  • With the abolition of SEEDA, a Local Enterprise Partnership has been formed which will involve, Kent and Essex as well as East Sussex. The purpose is to stimulate economic development and growth.
  • ESCC is actively trying to take over some of the functions of other bodies, for example flood defences.
  • ESCC is in discussion with BT regarding superfast broadband.
    After thanking Cllr Jones, the Chairman told him that she does not expect the Parish Council to answer any ESCC questionnaires until the questions relating to gender are removed. Cllr Jones agreed to arrange for their removal.
3

The Chairman invited District Councillor Ganly to speak. Cllr Ganly reported that:

  • Rother District Council has to find cuts amounting to £1.7 million, or 29%, over two years. Unfortunately, this was a much worse settlement than the Government had led them to believe.
  • Cardboard composting has started.
  • Over a hundred letters and e-mails have been received congratulating Rother on the satisfactory clearance of waste over Christmas and New Year.
  • Fees and charges are to go up.
  • There is a general agreement with Wealden District Council that there will be joint working, where possible and where it is financially advantageous,.
  • Cllr Ganly is involved in working with three other District Councils in considering a joint procurement for waste collection.
    The Chairman thanked Cllr Ganly. A member added his congratulations on the way and speed fly-tipping is dealt with. Questions were asked about Christmas tree recycling letters, the possible introduction of charges for rural car parks and emptying of green wheelie bins and the possibility of Rother asking parish councils to take over responsibility for car parks and toilets.
C10/11.82

Apologies and reasons for absence:

  • Cllr Pauline Glew (attending funeral), Cllr Pat Martin (indisposed), Cllr Anthony Rand (attending another meeting).
C10/11.83 Interests. Declarations of existence and nature of councillor's interests, whether 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
C10/11.88.2 Cllr Mitchell Personal interest by virtue of being a Trustee of the Village Hall
C10/11.88.1 Cllr Wright Personal interest by virtue of being the Council's representative on the Rother Association of Local Councils
C10/11.95.1 All councillors Personal/prejudicial interests by virtue of the Council being the sole trustee of the Sedlescombe Playing Field & Recreation Ground Trust

C10/11.84 Prejudiced members' participation. None.
C10/11.85 Public Participation Session. No public present.
C10/11.86
Minutes. RESOLVED: That the Chairman of the Council is authorised to sign the Minutes of the Meeting of the Council held on 16/11/10.
C10/11.87 Minutes of Meetings of Committees
  1. Planning Committee. RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the Meetings of the Planning Committee held on 23/11/10, 14/12/10 and 21/12/10 are received.
  2. Finance Committee. RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the Meetings of the Finance Committee held on 14/12/10 are received.
    RESOLVED: That the Parish Council, in accordance with its powers under sections 137 and 139 of the Local Government Act 1972, should make a donation of £50 to the Rural Rother Trust which, in the opinion of the Council, is in the interests of the area or its inhabitants and will benefit them in a manner commensurate with the expenditure.
C10/11.88 Reports from representatives. To receive reports as follows:
  1. Rother Association of Local Councils. Cllrs Glew and Wright attended the meeting on 12/01/11. Cllr Wright declared her personal interest as one of the Council's representatives on RALC and reported that:
    1. Since April 2006, Sedlescombe Council has accessed the SALC website more times than any other Rother parish.
    2. The Localism Bill 2010 was discussed by Ian Davison of Hedleys Solicitors. More information in due course.
    3. Rother District Council is reviewing all its services in the light of a substantial reduction in Central Government funding.
    4. Rother is not willing to explore making a Rother-wide byelaw prohibiting the taking of salt from grit bins owned by the public or quasi-public bodies for use on private land. The taking of grit for own use is a criminal offence.
    5. The date of the Annual Rother Parish Conference has been provisionally set for the last week in June. However, parishes are being asked to report back at the next meeting on 13/04/11 whether the Conference is really wanted and, if it is, what items should be on the agenda.
      RESOLVED: That, as a contribution towards cost savings, Sedlescombe Parish Council supports removal of the 2011 Rother Parish Conference from the RALC programme.

      Following the RALC report, councillors discussed the following: Sedlescombe doing its own gritting of roads next year; should a sign put beside our grit bins to warn people that they should not take it for private use? Sedlescombe's password for the SALC website will be sent to all Sedlescombe councillors.

  2. Village Hall Trust. Cllr Mitchell declared her personal interest as a Village Hall Trustee. Cllr Glew's report was read. The rent of the Hall has been raised and late payment will incur a small charge. Next meeting is the AGM on Thursday 17/03/11.

  3. Sports Association. The Clerk reported recent conversations with Ashley Davey (Vice-Chairman of the Sports Association). Yesterday, the Association accepted a quotation for clearing the land beside the pavilion, preparing the base for the garage and building some additional paths around the pavilion. The Association hopes to go on to moving the garage from the car park onto the base. Ashley is repairing some broken tiles on the roof of the pavilion, which Cllr Rand is providing, and has cleared the gutters. Ashley and Scott Lavocah are meeting to talk about the possibility of improving the drainage of the Sportsfield. Further details will be provided to the Council in due course.

    A councillor questioned whether fencing could be erected on the route of the public footpath in order to keep dog walkers away from the rest of the Sportsfield. However, it was explained that the footpath crosses the playing areas and cannot, therefore, be fenced off.

    The Sports Association has tried to arrange meetings with the Football Club as suggested by the Parish Council but, so far, has been unsuccessful. The next Sports Association Committee/Football Club meeting has been arranged for Monday 07/02/11 regarding the Football Club taking on a more active role in the running of the Association. A meeting between the Sports Association and parish councillors is planned for Tuesday 08/02/11 in the pavilion at 18:00.

  4. Tree Warden. No report.

  5. NHW representative. Cllr Glew's report was read. There have not been many reports of incidents from around the village. Problems with scams circulating from various sources have been highlighted in The Sedlescombe News, the local paper and notices in the shop window. It appears that, generally, people in the Village are clear that they should be careful when answering the door and wary about giving information on the telephone. The co-ordinators are aware of elderly people in their patches that may need help. Contact is made by e-mail or telephone with co-ordinators if there are any major problems. Co-ordinators were thanked before Christmas for all they do.

  6. Energy-saving Champion. No report.

  7. Transport representative. Cllr Glew's report was read. She apologised for not attending the Battle Area Community Transport meeting on 08/12/10. She intends to attend the Rother Transport Action Group meeting at Bexhill Town hall on 01/02/11.

  8. Emergency Planning. Cllr Mitchell suggested that an Emergency Planning meeting should be arranged soon.
C10/11.89

Clerk's Report. The followed items were noted:

  1. Registration of Sedlescombe Village Green. Papers were received at the Land Registry on 22/11/10.

  2. January Bulletin and future delivery of Bulletins. On 10/01/11, the January Bulletin, a survey form and a copy of the booklet "Sedlescombe Pump and Pumphouse - a brief history" were distributed to volunteers for delivery to each household in Sedlescombe Parish. The closing date for the return of the survey forms is 07/02/11 and a collection box has been placed in the shop by the kind agreement of Mr and Mrs Mainwood. They have also agreed to sell additional copies of the booklet. As the number of volunteers is likely to drop off, the Clerk was asked to advertise for additional volunteers.

    A resident from Poppinghole Lane contacted the Clerk following receipt of the Bulletin regarding the need to safeguard the hedges in Poppinghole Lane where she alleges the digging out of the ditches causes damage to the hedge roots, that surface water still runs down the lane rather than through the ditches despite frequent digging out and that the spoil from the ditches damages the verges and prohibits growth of wildflowers. The Clerk referred the matter to the County Council Highways Inspector who had agreed to visit the complainant. The Inspector had told the Clerk that there is nowhere else to put the spoil when the ditches are cleared out apart from on the grass verges. Cllr Martin had looked at the ditches and had found that the hedges do not appear to be under threat because of this work which does need doing in order to cope with some of the surface water on the lane.

  3. Car park graffiti. Reported to Rother District Council. The Clerk will also contact Rother again about the blocked drain next to the recycling bins.

  4. Report of Clerks' meeting on 10/01/11. The meeting was mainly taken up with a talk by Derek Stevens, Rother's Chief Executive, concerning the possible effect of swingeing cuts in Central Government funding for 2011-12 and what might be introduced in order to protect front-line services. Rother DC has the lowest staff/resident ratio in the county and only has 275 staff. Staffing levels have dropped by 20 in the last year and a further 20-30 jobs losses are likely to be introduced in the coming year. Voluntary redundancies are being sought. The reduction in staffing levels will have a bad effect on Rother officers' responses to queries from parish councils. It is likely that planning applications will take longer to process and there will be more delays with planning enforcement. Possible savings have been identified by Rother, eg, help and advice given by the three centres in Battle, Bexhill and Rye to be more strictly controlled, more use of the website to be encouraged, flexible workforce, charging for green wheelie bin emptying, continuing to work with other local authorities where savings can be found, reducing staff's hours of work from 37 to 35, more election costs to be passed on to other local authorities, etc. Rural car parks and public conveniences are soon to be reviewed and could be offered to parish councils.

  5. Report of Review of the allowance scheme for Members of Town & Parish Councils within the area of Rother District Council (as proposed by the Parish Remuneration Panel). The Parish Remuneration Panel has recommended no change at £225 for parish councillor allowances (Sedlescombe Parish Council does not pay allowances to its members). The policy to fix travelling allowances in line with HM Revenue & Customs "Approved Mileage Allowance Payment" has been re-affirmed by the Remuneration Panel for 2011.
C10/11.90

Finance

  1. Bank Reconciliations at the end of November and December 2010. RESOLVED: That the Bank Reconciliations at the end of November and December 2010 are approved.
  2. Cheques. December 2010 and January 2011 cheque lists. RESOLVED: That the December 2010 cheque list is ratified and the January 2011 cheque list approved.
  3. Precept for 2011/12. RESOLVED: That the Chairman is authorised to sign the 2011/12 precept form for £31,500 which represents nil percent increase over the previous year. The 2011/12 Parish Council budget had been drafted by the Finance Committee. RESOLVED: That the 2011/12 budget is adjusted to more accurately reflect the total staff costs expected in the 2010/11 and the 2011/12 financial years following publication of the national insurance tables which show a reduction in the employers' national insurance rate for 2011/12. The possibility of a recommendation of a £250 payment to all parish clerks will also be taken into account.

    Members were provided with a draft of the financial report and statement that is intended to be included in the 2011 Parish Council Annual Report. Members were asked to forward any proposals for amendments to the Clerk by 07/02/11.
C10/11.91 Training. Cllrs Glew, Marland and Vine-Hall attended a training evening at Rye on 29/11/10. Cllrs Marland and Vine-Hall reported that it was a useful training session which gave information about the Localism Bill and the likelihood of further responsibilities being devolved to parish councils. Cllr Marland warned of the need for adequate insurance cover for councillors who take on new responsibilities. The importance of councils having adequate training was stressed by the Chairman. The Clerk hoped that all parish councils will consider the extra administration burden which will fall on parish clerks if extra work is taken on.
C10/11.92

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

  1. The Clerk
  2. Clerks & Councils Direct.
  3. Rother Views. (See Minute C10/11.76) The Clerk reported that Mr Peach of Staplecross had had a letter published in last week's Battle Observer suggesting that the publication of this magazine at a cost of £48,600 for six issues is not the best use of resources or a sensible use of council tax. This was in line with the Parish Council's expressed view. An e-mail from Cllr Ganly to the Council explained that he was in favour of retaining Rother Views but that he would ask for a review to be carried out. The Parish Council suggested that, if it is not to be scrapped altogether, it could be reduced to one copy a year to allow Rother to inform its residents about things such as waste collection.
  4. Rother Members. E-Bulletin.
  5. Rother Voluntary Action E-Bulletin.
  6. Trading Standards monthly newsletter.
  7. SALC Bulletin December 2010.
  8. East Sussex Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee Newsletter.
  9. Warr Partnership News.
C10/11.93

Consultations

  1. Draft Environment Strategy for East Sussex. Members had studied this document prior to the meeting and decided to make no comment at this time.
  2. Concessionary Bus Fares Scheme. Information had been received that:
    1. The St Leonards & Hastings Rail Improvement Programme has requested that the concessionary bus fares remain active from 0900 rather than the proposed 0930. Where bus services run on an hourly or less frequent basis, then a later bus-pass eligibility would impose notable restrictions on the activities that include use of rail services.
    2. The Campaign for Better Transport East Sussex has requested that the current arrangements are retained. Details are available from the Clerk.
  3. Local Transport Plan. A copy of the comments on the draft plan from the Campaign for Better Transport East Sussex has been received and is available from the Clerk.

Members were reminded that local consultations can be viewed through the Parish Council's website.

C10/11.94

Aim 1 To achieve an Informed and Participating Sedlescombe Community

  1. "A Festival of Sport and Culture celebrating London 2012: Battle's Big Event". A letter from Battle & District Partnership invites parish councils to join in the 2012 community celebrations. Events start with primary and secondary school competitions and taster events on the weekend of 14 and 15/07/12 with a community picnic and games for adults and children. The programme will continue every weekend through to 09/09/12 but sporting events will take place outside the key Olympic weekends. Battle Partnership would like to encourage inter-parish events such as stoolball, tug of war, cricket, football, most particularly for young adults. A cultural programme covering music, writing and photography is also envisaged. Parishes may of course champion their own activities. Seed funding for a website and provision of co-ordination of the events will be provided through The Battle & District Partnership. RESOLVED: That information about Battle's Big Event should be included in the Village Voice and mentioned to the Sedlescombe Sports Association.
  2. 2011 Annual Report and Directory.The closing date for adverts for the Report is scheduled for 1700 on 07/02/11. The adverts are being sold at £21 each including £3.50 VAT.
  3. Arrangements for the 2011 Annual Assembly of the Parish Meeting of Sedlescombe Tuesday 26 April 2011. The following arrangements were agreed:
    1. Free business and organisation display tables around the Hall. To be available between 1900 and 2130.
    2. Councillors Jones and Ganly to be the main speakers.
    3. Light refreshments to be served by Sedlescombe Green WI (if available).
    4. Citizenship Award discussed. RESOLVED: That a Sedlescombe Citizenship Award framed certificate should be presented at the 2011 Annual Assembly as approved at the meeting.
  4. 2011 Sedlescombe survey form. Replies to be returned by 1700 on 07/02/11. Results to be considered at the next Council Meeting in March.
C10/11.95

Aim 2 To achieve a Safe and Healthy Sedlescombe Community

  1. Playground Reports. All councillors declared their personal/prejudicial interests by virtue of the Council being the sole Trustee of the Riverside playground. Rother had granted dispensation. The Clerk to provide 2011 inspection forms for councillors. Cllr Martin had sent his inspection report. He mentioned the gate which is difficult to close (Cllr Vine-Hall trying to arrange for a new spring through Ironworks) and mud ramps at the Kickabout Area which are putting mud onto the tarmac surface.

  2. Police Reports. Published on website.

  3. Walking to School. Cllr Glew attended a Transport Meeting on 02/11/10 where she was given details of a School Travel Health Check which has been distributed to each LEA school in East Sussex. The aim is to show how pupils currently travel to school and from where; the impact this has on pupils and the environment; how the school compares to all other schools in the authority area; and questions to encourage debate within the school community around healthy and sustainable travel to school. The pack shows that Sedlescombe has the second highest percentage in this area of children who are within the accepted walking distance to Sedlescombe C E School but who travel to school by car. The number according to ESCC is 22 and the percentage of children living within walking distance of the School but who do not walk is 35.5%. As this is more than 10% above the local authority average, it puts Sedlescombe School into the "RED" long term indicator for School Travel emissions. It was noted that any unnecessary car journeys to the School increase the problems of parking in the vicinity of the School. RESOLVED: That the Council would write to Sedlescombe School Governors asking them to carefully consider Sedlescombe's School Travel Health Check results and to come back to the Parish Council by 01/09/10 with reasons for the poor results for our School and whether anything can/will be done about it.

  4. Parking problems in Sedlescombe. The number of cars parked on Sedlescombe's streets has increased dramatically in the last year or so. Particular problem areas have been identified: The Street on east side between Riverbridge Cottages and the bottom of The Green; The Green; The Street on the west side between Manor Cottages and Meadowside; The Street on the east side between Myrtle Cottage and West Winds; Brede Lane in front of The Paddock, The Surgery and the car park.

    Some cars are for sale, some belong to staff working in the various village businesses such as Budget Cars, LWA Bodyshop, Bridge Garage, Sedlescombe Stores and Clockhouse Beauty Salon, some are customers of the businesses, some belong to residents who do not have sufficient parking on their own properties, some cars belong to drivers who leave their own cars in the Village and travel onwards with someone else. Some villages are considering suggesting that residents purchase Residents' Parking Permits for the car parks leaving the roadsides to be used by visitors for parking.

    In Brede Lane, residents, patients for the surgery, parents dropping off at the School and people attending events at The Brickwall all leave their vehicles by the roadside from time to time. If Rother decides to charge for parking in rural car parks, which has been mooted, the situation in and around Brede Lane could become considerably worse. Cllr Mitchell reported that there is a particular problem with parking in Brede Lane on the corner opposite the Brickwall driveway, even at night-time. (Demi will be informed.)

    After discussion, it was agreed that there is no easy answer and, to some extent, cars parked around the Village show that it is an active place. It would be ideal if the Parish Council could purchase land for a car park but the owner of the ideal piece of land is unwilling to sell. Businesses could be approached to ask that their staff park in the car park but in the mornings they would probably be arriving at the time the car park is full with people dropping off children and attending the surgery.

    The implementation of parking restrictions requires the backing of a formal Traffic Regulation Order which is a time consuming and expensive process. Investigation of parking restrictions are not therefore undertaken in isolation but rather as part of a parking review by ESCC for a whole town/village as any restriction could move the problem on to another area. A year ago, before the current difficult financial situation, ESCC was only able to do one or two surveys a year and they had 28 on the waiting list. These are prioritised on safety grounds.

  5. Rural Review East Sussex Fire & Rescue - final outcomes to consultation were approved by the Fire Authority on 21/10/10. Details available.

  6. Winter Maintenance Policy. Query about inclusion of Poppinghole Lane as a secondary gritting route. ESCC has replied "Poppinghole Lane has been included on the secondary salting roads as the road contains steep hills. It is also one of the longest lanes in the County without an alternative means of access. There are no interconnecting roads to provide an alternative means of access to the main road network for the residents living in the lane." A councillor suggested that it did not appear that Poppinghole Lane had been gritted at all during the recent snowy weather.

  7. Dogs. Rother has just received the signs and will be putting them up in the Village soon. Cllr Vine-Hall has obtained two boxes of easi-scoop bags free of charge from Pedigree. The Clerk will update the Council's Dogs leaflet. She will draw up a schedule of councillors (two at a time) to give out the leaflets and bags for a week during April.
C10/11.96

Aim 3 To help provide Amenities and Services in Sedlescombe

  1. Sedlescombe Sportsfield. Reported above.
  2. Ladybird Lane. The Parish Council has not heard anymore from Pestalozzi regarding resurfacing the road. It is expected that the work will be carried out this spring and the Parish Council will contribute about £4,000 to cover the cost of resurfacing the area in front of the Sportsfield Car Park gate.
  3. Public rights of way in Sedlescombe. There are currently several outstanding matters which are in the hands of ESCC.
  4. Village signs. The new polyurethane resin village sign has been received. The Council is waiting for the post to be cleaned and painted by Roger Wood who is currently recovering from an operation. Cllr Vine-Hall offered to put up the sign.
  5. Litter. One of the residents returning his survey form, complained of the bad state of the area around East View Terrace. He offered to help clear it up. Cllr Mitchell suggested this might have been the result of people leaving out their waste in open bins before collection day.
C10/11.97

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

  1. "Hedgerow Harvest". Cllr Martin had received notice that the Parish Council's application for the supply of fruiting trees to be planted between Red Barn Field Nature Park and the Village Hall has been successful. RESOLVED: That, if the planting at Red Barn Field can be arranged on a Monday, Wednesday or Friday mornings, the pre-school children can be invited to watch the planting. Otherwise anyone else who is using the hall at the time can attend.
  2. Parish Hedge Survey. It is suggested by the organiser that a hedge survey should start in the second week of May. Training needs to take place before. The Bulletin included a request for helpers. Two people have come forward so far but far more are needed.
  3. "Exercise Watermark". In March 2011, government departments, agencies, emergency responders and communities will be involved in one of the biggest emergency exercises to take place in England and Wales. It will test the country's response to groundwater, surface water, reservoir, river and coastal flooding.The Parish Council has received a Pack from "Exercise Watermark" explaining how to prepare a flood plan. No action currently.
  4. ESCC - flooding survey. Due to recent legislation, county councils have new responsibilities for tackling local flooding. ESCC is carrying out a Preliminary Flood Risk Assessment for East Sussex for submission to The Environment Agency by June 2011. A Local Flood Risk Strategy will be produced by ESCC in 2012. No funding has been given to ESCC nor have the necessary powers and duties taken effect and, therefore, the specific problems cannot be addressed at present. Members were asked to let the Clerk have details of areas in Sedlescombe that they know are prone to flooding from groundwater or other sources.
   
  Chairman.......................................... Date.................................................................