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COUNCIL MEETING MINUTES

MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE SEDLESCOMBE PARISH COUNCIL HELD IN COMMITTEE ROOM 2 OF SEDLESCOMBE VILLAGE HALL ON
TUESDAY 13 SEPTEMBER 2011, 19:00
- 20:30

MEMBERS: Cllr V Wright (Chairman), Cllr J Vine-Hall (Vice-Chairman), Cllrs Roy Chapman, Pauline Glew, Julian Heap, Pat Martin, Jenny Mitchell, John Reynolds

Clerk/RFO - Mrs P J Raymond

There were two members of the public attending and PCSO Demetrius Georghiou at the start of the meeting.

PCSO Demetrius Georghiou reported that the two major crimes at the moment are scrap metal theft and deer poaching. PCSOs have been working in Bexhill recently on combating anti-social behaviour through Operation Blitz and patrolling Battle because of a spate of burglaries.

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C11/12.37 Apologies and reasons for absence. Cllr Rand (working).
C11/12.38

Interests. Cllr Glew, Chapman and Mitchell declared their personal and prejudicial interests in Agenda item C11/12.43.2 (Village Hall Trust) by virtue of their being trustees of Sedlescombe Village Hall.

C11/12.39

Prejudiced members' participation. Cllr Glew gave notice that she wished to ask the Council for approval to remove trees in accordance with a covenant on the land.

C11/12.40

Public participation session. None.

C11/12.41
Minutes. RESOLVED: That the Chairman of the Council is authorised to sign the Minutes of the Meeting of the Council held on 12 July 2011.
C11/12.42 Minutes of Meetings of Committees
  1. Planning Committee. RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the Meetings of the Planning Committee held on 12 July, 2 and 30 August 2011 are received.
  2. Finance Committee. RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the Meeting of the Finance Committee held on 6 September 2011 are received.
C11/12.43 Reports from representatives. Reports were received as follows:
  1. Rother Association of Local Councils. None. Next meeting 05/10/11.
  2. Village Hall Trust. Cllrs Glew, Mitchell and Chapman declared their personal and prejudicial interests by virtue of their being Trustees of the Village Hall. Cllr Glew, Chairman of the Village Hall Management Committee, informed the Council that, following a recent inspection, several trees including dead elms on the front boundary of the Hall need to be removed urgently and that, according to the covenant on the land, the Parish Council must give written permission for this to be done.
    Cllr Glew, Mitchell and Chapman left the room. RESOLVED: That the Clerk is authorised to write to the Chairman of the Village Hall Management Committee approving removal of the dead and dangerous trees on the front boundary of the Village Hall in the interest of public safety.
    Cllrs Glew, Mitchell and Chapman returned to the meeting.
  3. Sports Association. Cllr Martin had been given insufficient notice of a meeting of the Sports Association Committee the previous evening and had not been able to attend. The Clerk was asked to stress to the Association the importance of adequate warning of Committee meetings.
  4. Tree Warden. None.
  5. NHW representative. None.
  6. Transport representative.Cllr Glew attended a meeting of the Rother Transport Action Group on 02/08/11. The following matters affect Sedlescombe residents directly. Following receipt of replies to the recent Community Transport survey, Rother Voluntary Action, will be returning to respondents to validate the findings and test for evidence of gaps in services with a view to taking these forward in a sustainable way. There was a suggestion that consideration should be given to setting up a control register of Voluntary Car Scheme operators in Rother. New bus timetables available.

    Cllr Glew reported that the 349 bus from Sedlescombe on Bank Holiday Saturday at 14:30 had been full with people standing and there were people waiting for the first bus on Bank Holiday Monday (first time a Bank Holiday service has been arranged).
C11/12.44

Clerk's Report.

  1. Rother District Council has published its Annual Report and Performance Plan 2011.
  2. Letter from South East Water. Work to water mains network in parts of E Sussex and Kent from this week. They will be flushing on parts of the water mains network to help maintain and improve the quality of drinking water supplies by removing iron and manganese. The water is then put into the drains. This may result in a reduction in water pressure and possible some discolouration. Run water until clear. Cllr Glew to arrange for details to be included in this week's Sedlescombe News.
  3. A writer/photographer has had his idea of an article on Sedlescombe Geese accepted by the Editor of The Countryman.
  4. The Office for National Statistics is looking at ways of obtaining statistics as an alternative to the National Census which is unlikely to take place in 2021. The Programme is being called "Beyond 2011" and a consultation will run from October to December this year.
  5. Have sent various records to the County Record Office and an updated catalogue of PC records has been received.
C11/12.45 Finance
  1. Bank Reconciliations. RESOLVED: That the following are received.
    1. Monthly income and expenditure up to end August 2011.
    2. Summary including monthly bank reconciliations.
  2. Cheques. RESOLVED: That the August cheque list is ratified and the September 2011 cheque list approved. 
  3. Annual Inspection of Parish Council responsibilities, 15/08/11 and 12/09/11. The Village Inspection had taken place on 15/08 and 12/09/11 by Cllrs Glew and Chapman and the Clerk/RFO. The Sportsfield part of the inspection had been attended, in addition, by Ashley Davey and Derek Wright. RESOLVED: That the updated job list is approved and delegated to the Finance Committee for further consideration.

    The Chairman reported her contact with John Parsons of the Sedlescombe Garden Society and with Mark Winchester of Blackbrooks Garden Centre towards provision and maintenance of the new flower troughs for the Green. Cllr Mitchell's husband had offered to plant daffodils at the bottom of the Village sign on the Green.
C11/12.46

Training/Conferences/Seminars

  1. Report on Parish Conference, 20/07/11. Attended by Cllrs Wright,Vine-Hall, Glew, Chapman, Reynolds and Pauline Raymond. Members had found the Conference useful this year particularly because we were able to stay in a side room for the workshops. Other groups complained that it was too difficult to hear with three groups in the main hall.
  2. Report on Code of Conduct Training at Bexhill, 06/09/11. Attended by Cllrs Chapman and Vine-Hall. Members found the training useful.
  3. Training at Leeford Place Hotel, Whatlington in November. The agendas for this training had recently become available. Cllr Vine-Hall wished to withdraw his booking for the Friday afternoon as he has just attended the Rother Code of Conduct training. He will attend the Chairmanship Course on the Saturday.
  4. AGM of Sussex Association of Local Councils, 14:00 on Friday 04/11/11 to be followed by the AGM of Sussex Rural Community Council at 15:30. The SALC annual report is available.
C11/12.47

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

  1. Clerks and Councils Direct.
  2. The Clerk.
C11/12.48

Consultations. To consider the following consultations

  1. Housing Allocations Policy Consultation (Rother DC), 29/07-21/10/11. Draft Housing Allocations Policy. Draft Housing Allocations Policy Summary.
    A group had been set up at Rother to review the Housing Allocation Policy. The draft is now out for consultation. Members had read the proposals. RESOLVED: That the proposed allocation of rural social housing to people with close local connections is supported. However, some members were concerned about the proposal to involve parish councils in confirmation of the local connections. The Clerk was asked to obtain clarification.

  2. Local Transport Plan Implementation (ESCC), 30/08 to 25/10/11.The Plan lists a series of issues that it tries to address with its proposals under the headings Transport infrastructure, Economy, Environment, Safety, health and security, Social. Some members were sceptical about the use of this type of Plan and the excessive cost without much benefit. Transport questions will be included in any future Local Action Plan.
    1. The Clerk warned of harmless-sounding proposals such as "improve information about buses" which this year has resulted in 3,000 bus stops being erected throughout the county based on a desk-top exercise and, consequently, several being inappropriately sited. The money could have been better spent on new bus shelters in rural areas. For the future, this could progress to electronic signs at rural bus stops as has happened in other parts of the country. The Clerk will make this comment.
    2. Another subject which could affect Sedlescombe is the pushing of traffic calming decisions on to parish councils who then have to raise the money to pay for alterations through the Council Tax. For example, Staplecross's gateways at either end of that Village cost more than £4,000. Several Sedlescombe councillors believed this to be a good and effective use of Council Taxpayers' money and suggested that there is support for this type of feature to be introduced in Sedlescombe.
    3. Encouragement of cycling is included in the draft Local Transport Plan. The Clerk had received notice of a proposal by the 1066 Cycling Club to identify a new cycle path between Sedlescombe and Battle. The Club would like to have Sedlescombe Parish Council's approval of the idea. Cllr Glew will raise this at the next Transport meeting. Although the general idea of improving cycling facilities was supported, members raised the following problems regarding the proposed route:
      1. Designation of footpaths for cycling is unlikely to be legal even if the landowner agrees.
      2. Proposed route across the Brooks is very uneven.
      3. Very fast A21 to cross.
      4. No current legal access into Great Wood from footway in Marley Lane.
      5. Muddy bridleway through Great Wood.
C11/12.49

Aim 1 To achieve an Informed and Participating Sedlescombe Community

  1. Pestalozzi International Village. A meeting had been held at Pestalozzi attended by Sue Walton (Pestalozzi Chief Executive), Julie Walker (Pestalozzi Finance Officer), Valerie Wright (Chairman, Sedlescombe Parish Council), Jonathan Vine-Hall (Vice-Chairman, Sedlescombe Parish Council), Pauline Raymond (Clerk/Finance Office, Sedlescombe Parish Council), Graham Fifield (Chief Planning Enforcement Officer, Rother District Council) and Mike Searle (Planning Enforcement Officer, Rother District Council). The meeting confirmed that the 28-day permitted development allowance for temporary events had been exceeded this calendar year at the Pestalozzi Estate. Next year's programme of events consisting of Rural Pastimes, Tribal Earth and two weddings has been arranged. A planning application would need to be submitted if the 28-day temporary permitted development allowance is going to be exceeded. The Chief Executive had informed that meeting that Pestalozzi will be focusing more on using the buildings and land for educational purposes. Pestalozzi would like to invite the Chairman of the Parish Council to consider becoming a non-voting member of the Pestalozzi Council.

    Parish councillors had been sent a copy of the Clerk's notes made at the meeting. Some expressed surprise that set up and take down days had to be included in the 28-day temporary events total.

  2. Sedlescombe Action Plans. Instead of undertaking a limited survey at the Fete regarding the future of the tennis courts, Cllrs Vinehall and Reynolds had been considering the production of a revised Parish/Action Plan so that the Parish Council's decisions on future expenditure across the board can be fully-representative of the wishes of the majority. They have, so far, contacted all Sedlescombe's organisations looking for issues they wish to have raised in the survey. Costs are yet to be confirmed.

    Cllr Vine-Hall suggested that the survey could be an excellent opportunity for businesses to set questions specific to them. This could possibly be charged for.

    Cllr Reynolds put forward a strong case for each house in the parish to be visited in connection with the survey preferably by a parish councillor. This would not only ensure an improved reply rate but would also make residents more aware of the Council and its councillors. The idea met with a mixed response from councillors. Some feared that it would be too time-consuming a task for nine councillors to visit 650 homes. The visits would have to be limited to daylight hours. Other ideas put forward were to offer the chance of a £50 or £100 prize as an incentive to return the forms or to carry out surveys outside the shop, doctors' surgery or school.

    The Clerk informed the Council about a best practice suggestion from Chelmsford BC who had found that they could substantially increase their reply rate to a survey by promoting the campaign as the Five Faces of Chelmsford which centred around ordinary residents representing the five key strands of the consultation ie housing, community, environment, local economy and transportation. Posters and flyers were produced including photos of the local people. The Clerk suggested this might be a way of encouraging pre-launch interest in the survey in Sedlescombe either linking to the key issues or to different age groups. This idea will be given some further thought and advertised in the October Bulletin.

    A timetable will be drawn up and a further report presented at the November Council Meeting.

  3. Statement of Community Involvement. RESOLVED: That the Statement of Community Involvement is adopted by Sedlescombe Parish Council.

  4. Hedges. For several years, the Parish Council has sent out letters on behalf of the County Council to local people asking them to cut back their hedges which are overgrowing the footways and roads. Although some people appear to react favourably, most find this contact from the Parish Council objectionable. For example, out of two requests that residents of Park Shaw cut their hedges sent this summer, one was very upset by the contact which even resulted in a family member writing a letter of complaint to the Council. RESOLVED: That, because of the Council's experience over several years relating to its requests to local residents to cut back their hedges from the highway, the County Council will be asked to take back this function.

  5. Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee
    1. Commemorative merchandise. In the past, the Council has given out mugs to local schoolchildren to commemorate royal events. However, because of the current economic situation, the Council decided to take no action in purchasing commemorative merchandise in celebration of the forthcoming Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.
    2. Big Lunch. Marion Shepherd, Deputy Lieutenant for East Sussex, had written suggesting that parishes across the county could embrace the idea of "The Big Lunch" on Sunday 3 June 2012. The Council agreed that Judy Torrance and Ralph Dellow might be willing to consider this idea.

  6. Sedlescombe Youth Club. An update had been received from Ralph Dellow. He reported that a social evening had been held on 31 August which had proved quite positive. It was decided that with cuts in financial grants looming, attempts would be made to reduce the cost of the meetings and transport to them limiting meetings to once a week. A 3-month trial would be started of two youth workers from "Positive Resolution" being engaged for 2.5 hours a week at the cost of £62.50/week. This organisation hopes to encourage more members. The youngsters attending will be asked for a small contribution of 50p/week. A programme of visits will be arranged. Orbit Housing Association agreed to pay for the hire of the room and some outings. Ralph agreed to raise money for the cost of the youth workers. Public Liability insurance has been obtained by the Youth Group.

  7. October Bulletin - to consider subjects for inclusion. The Clerk will be drafting the October Bulletin later this month. Subjects for inclusion should be sent to her. The Chairman asked that the Winter Maintenance Policy is publicised including theft of salt from grit bins. See also C11/12.50.4 below.
C11/12.50

Aim 2 To achieve a Safe and Healthy Sedlescombe Community

  1. Police/PCSO update. At start of meeting.

  2. Sussex Safer Roads Partnership. The Partnership is proposing to try to educate target audiences such as young people who are often involved in serious road accidents.
    1. There has been an increase in the level of fatalities on Sussex roads. The A21 is particularly dangerous with a high number of deaths recorded in Sedlescombe parish.
    2. Increasing number of 40-44 year olds being injured on small motorbikes and scooters.

  3. A21. The Clerk had been contacted by a TV company which wishes to do a report on the A21 because of it being a "red" road in terms of fatalities. She had referred the company to Greg Barker MP's A21 campaign and Hurst Green's involvement.

  4. Winter Maintenance Policy. The Council considered the Sedlescombe Winter Maintenance Policy adopted in November 2010. It was noted that, although grit bins had been filled this summer by the County Council, grit had been stolen from several of them so that they are nearly empty now. RESOLVED: That the Clerk should include an item in the next Bulletin informing residents that anyone seen stealing grit from these bins will be reported to the Police. Theft of grit will be added to the Sedlescombe Winter Maintenance Policy. The Chairman will contact Blackbrooks Garden Centre suggesting a salt discount week in preparation for the winter. If available, details will be included in the Bulletin.

  5. Playground weekly inspections. Councillors are carrying out their weekly inspections. Various work is planned at the Riverside playground including replacement of the riverside fencing. Currently, there are a couple of broken palings which the Clerk has asked to be repaired.
C11/12.51

Aim 3 To help provide Amenities and Services in Sedlescombe

  1. Bus stops in Sedlescombe. The bus stop has been removed from outside the Queen's Head although the sign has not been replaced on the bus shelter as agreed. The bus stop that was blocking the 30mph reactive sign in The Street has been moved outside Century House which has resulted in a complaint from the house owners. The two signs remain at East View Terrace because the Community Bus stops there.
  2. Footpaths

    1. Footpath 10, overgrown and missing waymarks. JV to arrange clearance.
    2. Footpath 5d, overgrown.
    3. Footpath 2c, overgrown.
    4. Footpath 2b, overgrown (adjacent to East View Kickabout Area)
    5. Footpaths 22 and 24, overgrown. ESCC to do with tractor.
    6. Footpaths 23 and 37 have been cleared.
    7. Footpath 34, overgrown. Mr Hunt (landowner) has agreed to reinstate path in August (for inspection). ESCC to re-sign when it has been cleared.
    8. Bridleway 14. Route and signage. Awaiting ESCC.
    9. Possible use of Community Payback to clear footpaths. If the Parish Council wants to ask Community Payback to undertake clearance of some footpaths, this should be approved by Matthew Harper at the County Council first.

      Rother's Sense of Place team has written asking parishes to submit any significant jobs which improve the environment for consideration by them in co-operation with the Community Payback team.
C11/12.52

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

  1. Highways Act 1980 s31(6). It was noted that confirmation had been received from East Sussex County Council that the deposits and accompanying statutory declarations regarding public rights of way in Red Barn Field, the Village Hall Car Park, East View Terrace Kickabout Area and Sedlescombe Sportsfield are now held on file in the County Council's legal department.
  2. High Weald AONB Unit. It was noted that the Annual Review 2010/11 is available online at www.highweald.org/annual-reviews.

 

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