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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 8 NOVEMBER 2011, 19:00 TO 20:55

PARISH COUNCILLORS PRESENT: Cllr V Wright (Chairman), Cllr Jonathan Vine-Hall (Vice-Chairman), Cllrs Chapman, Glew, Martin, Mitchell, Reynolds

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

Nine members of the public, County Councillor Jones (first part), District Councillor Ganly, PCSO Demetrius Georghiou (first part), Richard Parker-Harding (Chief Environmental Health Officer, Rother District Council)

1

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

  • He expects there to be no increase in Council Tax in the 2012/13 financial year.
  • Cost savings are being implemented.
  • Money is being used from reserves to stimulate the East Sussex economy by installing Fast Broadband ahead of other counties and the Bexhill to Hastings Link Road.
2

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

  • Spending is being cut substantially and staff reduced.
  • The offices in Beeching Road, Bexhill have been let on a long term lease.
  • Although there are some delays in enforcement and benefit claims, Cllr Ganly hopes that, in due course, things will settle down. The Clerk expressed her concerns about not being able to contact Rother officers because they are always out of the office.
  • £20,000 in community grants has been set aside for Diamond Jubilee projects (not fireworks). Up to £500 each will be offered.
3

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

  • Cold callers have been in the area.
  • A vehicle in Gregory Walk had its number plates stolen.
  • Suspicious vehicle in Cottage Lane on Sunday 6 November.
  • Blue vehicle suspected in connection with drug dealing visits the Village.
  • Parking on the corner of Brede Lane. Vehicles to receive warning letters.
  • Poaching incidents everywhere.
  • Involvement in investigating attack on young man in Bexhill.
  • Shortage of PCSOs in Bexhill. Our rural PCSOs will take it in turns to cover.
C11/12.53

Apologies and reasons for absence: J.Heap (away)

C11/12.54 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:
C11/12.59.1 Cllr Mitchell Personal. Has garage at East View Terrace East View Terrace proposed development involving removal of garages
C11/12.59.2 Cllr Glew Personal. Village Hall Trustee Brede Lane proposed development involving pre-school who currently use the Village Hall
C11/12.59.2 Cllr Chapman Personal. Village Hall Trustee Brede Lane proposed development involving pre-school who currently use the Village Hall
C11/12.59.2 Cllr Mitchell Personal. Village Hall Trustee Brede Lane proposed development involving pre-school who currently use the Village Hall
C11/12.61.1 Cllr Glew Personal. RALC representative Report of meeting
C11/12.61.1 Cllr Wright Personal. RALC representative Report of meeting
C11/12.61.2 Cllr Glew Personal. Village Hall Trustee Report of meeting
C11/12.61.2 Cllr Chapman Personal. Village Hall Trustee Report of meeting
C11/12.61.2 Cllr Mitchell Personal. Village Hall Trustee Report of meeting
C11/12.61.3 Cllr Martin Personal. Sports Association representative Report of meeting
C11/12.61.5 Cllr Glew NHW representative Report of meeting

C11/12.55 Prejudiced members' participation. None.
C11/12.56

Public Participation Session. The following gave notice that they would like to address the meeting at the appropriate time:

  1. John Hooker re C11/12.59.1, Potential housing development at East View Terrace
  2. Amanda Newport re C11/12.59.1. Potential housing development at East View Terrace
  3. Rosemary Addy re C11/12.59.1. Potential housing development at East View Terrace
  4. Susan Walton re C11/12.70. Pestalozzi International Village
C11/12.57
Minutes. RESOLVED: That the Chairman of the Council is authorised to sign the Minutes of the Meeting of the Council held on 13/09/11.
C11/12.58 Minutes of Meetings of Committees
  1. Planning Committee. RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the Meetings of the Planning Committee held on 20/09/11, 11/10/11 are received.
  2. Finance Committee. RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the Meetings of the Finance Committee held on 18/10/11 on are received.
    1. Arising from the Finance Committee Meeting. RESOLVED: That a survey form regarding the future of the Tennis Courts would be sent out to every household in the parish this month. The opportunity to be entered into a prize draw of £50 will be offered. The January 2012 Bulletin will not be sent out. The results of the tennis courts survey will inform the Finance Committee meeting of 13/12/11 where the 2012/13 precept request will be drafted.
  3. Emergency Planning Committee. RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the Meeting of the Emergency Planning Committee held on 01/11/11 are received.
C11/12.59

Potential housing development in Sedlescombe

  1. East View Terrace. Demolition of 35 garages and replacement with 4 flats, 4x2-bed houses and 1x2-bed bungalow. Proposal by AmicusHorizon, social housing provider. Initial meeting attended by the Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Clerk.
    Public participation
    1. John Hooker. Objecting to the proposal on account of existing parking problems and poor access through the Estate and on to the site. General disruption to be caused by development. Not enough room for refuse vehicles to access properties and turn round.
    2. Amanda Newport. Objecting to the proposal on account of existing parking problems and difficult access for emergency vehicles. Roads through Estate too narrow. Garages have been downgraded in readiness for this proposal. Devaluation of existing properties. Can't other land be used in the Village if development is needed?
    3. Rosemary Addy. Commented on proposals in the past to provide parking down the sewer road so that houses on that side of the estate could be accessed via steps through their back gardens. However, it had been found that the land belongs to a local farmer who does not want to sell.

    AmicusHorizon had held a public exhibition in the Village Hall and had provided an update following the exhibition. The Chairman reported receipt of a 61-signature petition (from 49 East View households) as well as a letter against the proposals. Following discussions, it was RESOLVED: That the Parish Council objects unanimously to AmicusHorizon's proposal to demolish the garages at East View Terrace and to use the site and that of the old scout hut site to build nine properties. The grounds for objection are narrow roads on the Estate and insufficient parking provision to make up for the loss of garage space, loss of storage space for tenants, no recreational amenity or meeting place provision, and the main concern, worry of further increasing traffic in Brede Lane that already suffers major problems of manoeuvring vehicles in the narrow road while pedestrians, including children, are also moving about.

    The Clerk had been speaking to Rother District Council's Affordable Housing Officer, Martin Bolton, about the accuracy of AmicusHorizon's suggestion that there is a need for 133 additional social houses in Sedlescombe. This number records those households that are on the Housing Register and have said that they would be willing to accept a property in Sedlescombe. The same people could be on lists for other parishes as well. The stage after the household is included on the Housing Register is when they bid for a property that is available and enquiries are made into whether the household has genuine local connections. If the Parish Council would like to know, Rother will analyse the 133 households on the Housing Register to see how many have genuine local connections. However, it was decided that this is not currently necessary.

  2. Brede Lane, adjacent to Street Farm. New development of housing (40-45 properties) new pre-school building, office suites, parking and extension of school playing fields. Councillors met with Geoff Armstrong and Nicky Parsons of DPP (planning consultants), Marian Ham (headteacher of Sedlescombe CE School), Richard Maidment (Chair of Governors), John Keeling (landowner) on 01/11/11 to receive a presentation from DPP and the School regarding the proposed development. Mrs Ham spoke also on behalf of the pre-school's needs as well as in support of the playing fields and parking area. Following discussions, it was RESOLVED: That the Parish Council objects unanimously to DPP's development proposal to provide new school playing fields, additional school staff parking, new pre-school building for 24 children subsidised by office suites and 40-45 houses on land adjacent to Street Farm, Brede Lane, Sedlescombe. The grounds for objection are based on current traffic and parking problems in Brede Lane which would be greatly increased by the proposed development, the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment which has not been to public consultation, the proposed housing numbers in the Core Strategy for Sedlescombe which would be far exceeded by this proposal and the importance of the "strategic gap" between Blacklands and Street Farm as identified in a recent Rother landscape assessment.

C11/12.60 Budget Car Company update. The Chairman thanked Mr Parker-Harding, Head of Environmental Health at Rother District Council for updating the Council on the events at Budget Car Company to the situation now reached where the Company has been summoned to attend a hearing at the Magistrates' Court on Monday 28 November 2011.
C11/12.61 Reports from representatives. Reports were received as follows:
  1. Rother Association of Local Councils. Cllrs Glew and Wright had declared their personal interests by virtue of their being the Council's representatives on Rother Association of Local Councils. Cllr Glew reported on the meeting held on 05/10/11 as follows:
    1. Crime down in Sussex.
    2. Lack of Police cars particularly in the Battle area with eight PCSOs sharing two cars. Two additional vehicles have been requested and consideration was being given to investing in electric bicycles with a range of 50 miles.
    3. Rother DC working group looking at all aspects of car parking in Rother.
    4. Rother DC looking to enter into a joint waste collection contract from 2014. RALC had requested introduction of kerbside glass collection but its introduction would depend on the price..
    5. Local Government funding is to be changed so that authorities retain the rates collected in their own areas. However, because some areas have much less business activity than others, there is likely to be some redistribution.
    6. Staff will be leaving over the next couple of months so this will affect service delivery. Parishes experiencing difficulty in getting a response to a query/issue should contact Malcolm Johnston.
    7. Revised format of Annual Parish Conference had been successful although it would have worked better if sufficient separate rooms had been available.
    8. Planning training at Brede Village Hall, 23/11/11, 19:00 to 21:00. £10 each.
    9. Richard Jessop of Battle would help parishes on an informal basis to respond to contentious planning applications. No fee involved.
    10. There is still around £450,000 remaining in the WARR funding. Applications are welcome to early 2012.
  2. Village Hall Trust. Cllrs Glew, Mitchell and Chapman had declared their personal interests by virtue of them being trustees of the Village Hall. Cllr Glew is also the Parish Council's representative. Cllr Glew reported on the meeting of 15/09/11. There have been lots of expenses this year and fund-raising will be needed. The new sewerage tank is working fine, there is a new radio microphone and tree work has been undertaken. Cllr Martin was thanked for his assistance regarding getting the tree work done. Next meeting 01/12/11.
  3. Sports Association. Cllr Martin had declared his personal interest by virtue of him being the Council's representative on the Sports Association Committee. Mrs Raymond reported on the AGM of the Association held on 10/10/11 which she had attended as well as Cllr Martin. The following relevant items were reported:
    1. Committee complained that the Parish Council puts pressure on them to meet the terms of the Sportsfield lease.
    2. Pleas were made for the sports clubs to be more involved with running the sportsfield.
    3. More of the work to maintain the field is being undertaken by the Football Club. Discussions are to be held between the committee and the Football Club regarding responsibilities relevant to their rents. The Football Club finances are under pressure this year and the Club wants to use the Sportsfield more including for fund-raising activities eg summer fun days. The Club would like to have their pitches closer to the pavilion. The spoke of "moving up a level" when they would have to have a roped-off walkway from the pitches to the changing rooms.
    4. Further consideration to be given to extending the car park again as parking is a major problem at the field. Relations with Pestalozzi are good although they can become strained when people insist on parking in Ladybird Lane. (The Chairman reported that today posts and hazard tape had been inserted on both sides of Ladybird Lane.)
    5. Discussions to be held with the Cricket Club regarding their contribution and land. They haven't paid their rent.
    6. The Association will progress the garage move and Rod Cornelius of the Football Club will help with the risk assessment.
    7. The Football Club and Pestalozzi have made contributions towards the ditch clearance which is due to start tomorrow.
    8. A budget has been drawn up by the Treasurer of the Association but nothing has been put aside specifically for future ditch clearance. Cllr Martin asked to keep a close eye on this.
  4. Tree Warden. No report.
  5. NHW representative. Cllr Glew had declared her interest as the Council's representative on the Neighbourhood Watch Committee. The AGM will be held on 11/11/11.
  6. Transport representative. Cllr Glew had attended the Transport funding meeting today and would report on it in due course.
C11/12.62

Invitations to meetings

  1. Invitation to Muddy Boots meeting, 10/11/11 at The Watch Oak, Battle, 14:00.
  2. Invitation to AGM of Rother Voluntary Action, Thursday 17/11/11, 14:30 to 16:00 at Victoria Hall, London Road, Bexhill. This year's theme is "Maximising community potential" and the impact of local action plans, localism and coming trends.
  3. Invitation to a workshop on "Ageing Well in Rother", Tuesday 22 November, 09:45 to 16:00 to include a light lunch and teas and coffees. Book a place through Becky Jukes at East Sussex County Council on 01273 336209 or e-mail becky.jukes@eastsussex.gov.uk no later than 11/11/11.
  4. Invitation to AGM of Brede High Woods - a meeting for local people to discuss works and plans for the woods - on Wednesday 30 November 2011, 19:30-21:00, Brede Village Hall. All welcome. Mince pies and tea and coffee will be provided. Please let James Luxton on 0845 2935734 or jamesluxton@woodlandtrust.org.uk know if you will be attending.
C11/12.63

Training

  1. RVA Funding workshop. 08/11/11. Attended by Cllr Glew.
  2. Planning training. Wednesday 23/11/11, Brede Village Hall. Cllr Glew to attend. £10/head.
  3. Council/Chairmanship training Friday 25 and Saturday 26 November at Leeford Place. Clerk to try to get a credit note.
C11/12.64 Power of well-being. RESOLVED: That, in accordance with Sections 2 and 4 of the Local Government Act 2000 extended by the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007, Sedlescombe Parish Council confirms that it has met all the conditions relating to the power of well-being as follows:
  1. It has a qualified Clerk.
  2. All vacancies were filled in the last election.
  3. 80% of Sedlescombe parish councillors have been trained in the use of the well-being power.
  4. A statement of intent as to community engagement has been published.
It was noted that eligibility will last until the day before the annual meeting in the next year of ordinary elections. The power will allow the Council to promote the economic, social or environmental well-being of the area and can be used for the benefit of the whole or part of the Council's area and/or all or any persons resident or present in the Council's area.
C11/12.65

Casual Vacancy. The Chairman announced receipt of a resignation letter from Anthony Rand. In the letter, Anthony said he had come to this decision due to pressure of work stopping him from giving the proper commitment to the Council. The Council noted Anthony's resignation with regret. He joined the Council in 1995, sixteen years ago, and has made a major contribution to the work of the parish, often undertaking jobs at his own expense. His part as Project Manager in building the sportsfield pavilion in 2009 was particularly important.The Chairman had arranged a card and gift.

 

The Council was pleased to hear of the Sports Association's decision to confer Life Vice Presidency on Anthony Rand.

 

The Clerk will advertise the casual vacancy as required by law, allowing fourteen days for an election to be requested by ten electors. Following expiry of the fourteen days, applicants will be invited and the vacancy filled by the Council in accordance with the Sedlescombe Parish Council policy on casual vacancies. This may include inviting candidates to an interview.

C11/12.66

Clerk's Report. The followed items were noted:

  1. At the meeting of Rother Clerks' held on 10/10/11, Clerks were concerned about the practicalities of the plan to involve parish councils more in checks on local connections of applicants for social housing.
  2. To note that a copy of the Village Green Byelaws has been displayed on the Parish Council noticeboard on the wall of the shop.
  3. To note that the Clerk had been asked how to go about getting a pedestrian crossing in The Street.
  4. To note that an allotment holder has suggested that, possibly as part of planning gain, the Parish Council should take over the allotments (currently privately-owned) and lay on water.
  5. To note that, possibly as part of planning gain, a footpath should be constructed from the rear of the School to the public footpath between East View Terrace and the Village. Such a footpath had been provided when the School was first opened on the Gammons Way site in 1980.
  6. To note that an additional four geese have been purchased by Sedlescombe Societies Association using part of the proceeds of the 2011 Village Fete. They have settled in well and are mixing with the existing elderly geese. The landlord of the Queen's Head is looking after them.
  7. To note that Ralph Dellow is considering replacing the interpretation panel in the Churchyard and the Clerk has obtained a quotation for him from Angel Design.
  8. To note that residents of Park Shaw are considering paying for a grit bin to be installed on the Estate.
C11/12.67 Finance
  1. Bank Reconciliations. RESOLVED: That the bank reconciliations at the end September and October 2011 are approved. See here
  2. Cheques. RESOLVED: That payment of the October 2011 cheque list is ratified and and the November 2011 cheque list is approved. See here
C11/12.68 Magazines/newsletters. Receipt of the following magazines was noted:
  1. Clerks and Councils Direct.
  2. The Clerk.
C11/12.69

Consultations

  1. Proposed Parliamentary Constituency Boundaries. The Battle & Bexhill Constituency is expected to be abolished. Two new constituencies, Bexhill and The Weald are planned with the Ewhurst & Sedlescombe Ward being included in The Weald. See copy of draft submission to the Commission by John Barnes. RESOLVED: That Sedlescombe Parish Council objects to the proposed changes which would see Sedlescombe included in The Weald parliamentary constituency. It suggests that, as our District Council main offices are in Bexhill, Sedlescombe should be included in the Bexhill constituency.

  2. East Sussex, South Downs and Brighton & Hove Waste and Minerals Plan, 27/10/11 to 08/12/11. See report here. No comments.
C11/12.70

Aim 1 To achieve an Informed and Participating Sedlescombe Community

  1. Pestalozzi International Village
    1. Invitation from Pestalozzi International Village for the Chairman to join the Pestalozzi Council.
      Public participation. Sue Walton explained that there is one official Pestalozzi Council meeting each year - arranged at the Baltic Exchange in January 2012. Following that every Council member is entitled to attend Trustee meetings.

      Cllr Wright commented that she had intended to retire from the Parish Council soon but was willing to join the Pestalozzi Council for a year. RESOLVED: That Cllr Wright should be the Sedlescombe Parish Council's representative on the Pestalozzi Council for the time being.
    2. Parking in Ladybird Lane in connection with football at the Sportsfield. See Sports Association report at 61.3 above.
    3. Ladybird Lane surface. A new basecoat had recently been installed in Ladybird Lane.
    4. Junction Chapel Hill, Ladybird Lane and B2244. No news of the proposed works.
    5. Additional 8am bus to take College students directly to SCCH easing pressure on space on the bus. Noted.
    6. Pestalozzi Open Afternoon, Saturday 03/12/11, 14:00 to 17:00. The afternoon will include guided tours of the facilities, the chance to meet staff and students and the opportunity to view their archive display. There will be mince pies and mulled wine and a special performance by students at 16:00. All welcome. Members were encouraged to visit Pestalozzi on 3 December, despite the School Christmas Market being on the same day.

  2. Diamond Jubilee events 2012. The Chairman had suggested to the Societies Association that the May Fayre or the Village Fete could have a Diamond Jubilee theme.

  3. Celebration of The Queen's Diamond Jubilee by reprinting the "Welcome to Sedlescombe" panel for the Brede Lane Car Park.

    The Clerk had located the previous artist who has moved from Lydd to St Leonards. Although ten years ago, they still have the artwork. Amendments will be needed but they can do these and print on A1 size alupanel (light resistant inks printed on vinyl laminated aluminium). Cost £260. RESOLVED: That the Clerk should seek approval from the Cabinet Office, Constitutional Policy Branch, to use the title of "The Queen's Diamond Jubilee 2012" on the updated Welcome to Sedlescombe panel for installation at the Brede Lane Car Park.

  4. Proposed forthcoming Parish Plan. It was agreed that the results from the Tennis Courts Survey would be awaited before deciding what to do next. Cllr Reynolds took away details of the services offered by Action in Rural Sussex and Rother Voluntary Action regarding updating parish plans.

  5. Arrangements for the 2012 Annual Assembly of the Parish Meeting of Sedlescombe. RESOLVED: That the 2012 Assembly should take the same format as in previous years with business/society tables around the hall, refreshments provided but no additional speaker(s) apart from the County and District Councillors.
C11/12.71

Aim 2 To achieve a Safe and Healthy Sedlescombe Community

  1. Playground inspections. The playground installation company which has taken over from the company that installed the play equipment six years ago, has replied regarding the problem of the cables being on the ground on three pieces of equipment. Picture 1) - Picture 2) - Picture 3). It is suggested by the Company that the posts are leaning inwards because of a lot of mole activity in the area which has caused the foundations to become loose. They have suggested two options: 1) to manufacture shorter ropes which, in the long term, would not solve the issue or 2) to break out the posts and re-set them but the problem could recur in the future if the mole problem is not dealt with. The Council had obtained advice concerning the moles but had been told that no matter how often the moles are removed, they will return. Several councillors agreed to look at resetting the poles but the Clerk emphasised that nothing should be done to cause the equipment to be altered because of the need to keep to approved British Standards.
C11/12.72

Aim 3 To help provide Amenities and Services in Sedlescombe

  1. Village Maintenance Team. Members were asked to let the Clerk know about items of maintenance that should be added to the 2012 East Sussex County Council Sedlescombe Village Maintenance Team list. This could include work to footways, signs, guide posts, drain clearance, replacing missing kerbs, removal of redundant street furniture, repair of verges, hand trimming of hedges on the highway, minor pothole repairs.
  2. Rural broadband. Graham Burgess, Head of Regeneration and Estates at Rother DC had written regarding the £10.64 mn allocated to East Sussex by the Government to support the roll-out of high-speed broadband in the rural areas of the county. East Sussex County Council had sent an invitation for two people nominated by the Parish Council to attend the East Sussex Parish and Town Council Broadband Conference to be held on Thursday 01/12/11 at Uckfield Civic Centre, Uckfield. RESOLVED: That Colin Raymond should represent Sedlescombe at the Conference and report back to the Parish Council.
  3. Brede Lane Car Park Management Agreement. It was noted that a new five-year agreement had been signed by the Chairman and Vice-Chairman.
  4. Public footpaths and bridleways
    1. Footpath 6. This was referred to East Sussex County Council a couple of years ago. Matthew Harper has re-inspected the path where flooding problems had previously been reported by the School PTA. Currently the path is problem-free and, unfortunately, if the flooding is spring-related, the solution is probably limited to the excavation of under-path drainage and/or a hard top surface. This is an expensive piece of work for the location and likely level of use and will not be done for the time being. However, it will be maintained on the County Council list for consideration for improvements.
    2. Footpath 34. There has been no clearance of the overgrown orchard which obstructs the path as was agreed by the landowner at the start of the year. It is probable, that anyone accessing the path is enjoying general access around the fringes of the orchard and, therefore, East Sussex County Council will simply ensure that both ends of the path ie in New England Lane and the A21 are clear and usable.
    3. Bridleway 14. Matthew Harper has met with the landowner to remind him that the path is still a bridleway. The stub stone is well buried in the hedge and there is no room for another, or a post, outside of the hedge. With the signage on the opposite side of the road, the issue seems to Mr Harper to be one of reassuring users that they are entitled to walk up the drive. A waymarker disc has been put on the gate and has remained there for a few weeks.
    4. Footpath 10. Some clearance has been undertaken by Cllr Vine-Hall and Reg Glew who were thanked for their efforts.
    5. Footpath 2b. ESCC will cut vegetation right back and Community Payback will use the cuttings to fill in holes at the Kickabout Area.
  Chairman.......................................... Date.................................................................