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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 10 JANUARY 2012, 1900-20:45

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

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

4 members of the public (not throughout the meeting), District Councillor Ganly, PCSO Demetrius Georghiou (first part),

1

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

  • Rother's officers are recommending a 3.5% Council Tax increase. However, this would mean that Rother would have to decline the Government's offer of funding and, therefore, may not be accepted by Rother members.
  • The Joint Waste Contract had been signed by all four partners the previous day. Eight contractors are still in the running for the contract.
  • He has called in Amicus Horizon's planning application to demolish the garages at East View Terrace and to build nine properties.
2

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

  • A helicopter flying over Sedlescombe recently had been looking for a high risk suicidal missing person who had since been found.
  • He has visited Roselands to ask a resident to clear up dog excrement from their pet following a complaint to the Parish Council.
  • He has been to Pestalozzi at their request regarding trespass and parking on Ladybird Lane.
  • His responsibilities have been extended to include dealing with road issues such as speeding, using mobile phones whilst driving, driving without using a seat belt etc. He may need volunteers to help note down car registration numbers.
  • There have been fewer incidents of poaching in the area.
  • The Police are watching a black truck used in connection with scrap metal. Thieves are taking manhole covers, even from the A21, and also road signs.
3 The Chairman spoke of the sudden death over Christmas of Shaun Wood at the age of 22 who had been doing some of the Council's work through his brother's company, Roger's Gardening Services. The Council send his family sincere condolences and will be sending a donation to the Conquest Critical Care Unit in his memory.
4

The Chairman welcomed Cllr Eldridge to his first Council Meeting since being co-opted to the Parish Council. It was noted that Mr Eldridge has signed his Declaration of Acceptance of Office.

C11/12.91

Apologies and reasons for absence: J Reynolds (other appointment).

C11/12.92

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:

C11/12.97.2 Cllr Glew Personal. Village Hall Trustee Report
C11/12.97.2 Cllr Mitchell Personal. Village Hall Trustee Report
C11/12.97.3 Cllr Martin Personal. Sports Association representative Report
C11/12.97.5 Cllr Glew NHW representative Report of meeting

C11/12.93 Prejudiced members' participation. None.
C11/12.94

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

  1. Bill Cameron. C11/12.97.3.2 - Ladybird Lane.
  2. Bob Harris. C11/12.103.9 - Proposed "Geese crossing" sign. The Chairman agreed to bring this matter forward on the agenda.
C11/12.95
Minutes. RESOLVED: That the Chairman of the Council is authorised to sign the Minutes of the Meeting of the Council held on 03/01/12.
C11/12.96 Minutes of Meetings of Committees
  1. Planning Committee. RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the Meetings of the Planning Committee held on 15/11/11, 13/12/11, 03/01/12 are received.
  2. Finance Committee. RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the Meetings of the Finance Committee held on 13/12/11 are received.
C11/12.97 Reports from representatives. Reports were received as follows:
  1. Rother Association of Local Councils. Meeting to be held tomorrow.

  2. Village Hall Trust. Cllrs Glew and Mitchell 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 that the floor has been recoated at a cost of £350. Fund-raising continues. Lettings are going well. Unfortunately, the Whist Club has closed after meeting for over thirty years in the Hall. There will be a Quiz night on Friday 09/03/12. AGM on 22/03/12.

  3. Sports Association. Cllr Martin had declared his personal interest by virtue of him being the Council's representative on the Sports Association Committee.
    1. Representative's report. Cllr Martin reported that he had been told by a Committee member that the Sports Association is planning to put a "No parking, no insurance" notice on every other post in the Lane in order to address the ongoing parking problem which is causing obstruction of Ladybird Lane at weekends. Someone will take away the portacabin. No meeting seems to have been arranged.

    2. Problems with parking in Ladybird Lane. The Chairman allowed Mr Cameron to speak on this subject. Mr Cameron lives on the Pestalozzi Estate and confirmed that, at times, it is difficult to get along the Lane due to parked cars. He would like to see a fence erected on the edge of the road.

      The Clerk reminded the Council that a written complaint had been received about the parking from Pestalozzi's Chief Executive, Sue Walton, before Christmas. A further e-mail had come today informing the Council of an incident at the weekend where Pestalozzi's Estate Manager (Marc Golby) had asked someone to move off the road into the Sportsfield Car Park and had received verbal abuse in return. Marc had had his family with him in the car and the youngest child had been reduced to tears over the incident. Since receiving the message, the Clerk had not been able to get through to any of the Sports Association officers to ask for their comments but had left a message for the Secretary.

      The Chairman suggested that the registration number of any car parked in the Lane should be noted and letters sent to the owners by the Parish Council and the Sports Association. She suggested that clamping of cars would soon stop the habit. Cllr Chapman suggested that the number of activities at the Sportsfield should be reduced. A letter had already been sent to the Sports Association asking that someone is deputed to stand in the Lane and send cars away if the car park is full and that the Council is threatening to consider closing the Sportsfield if this problem cannot be solved because of contravention of para 2(vii) of the Parish Council/Sports Association Lease.

    3. Garage move. The garage was moved next to the pavilion from the car park over the Christmas holiday. It has still to be reroofed and cladding added as on the pavilion in order to meet the conditions of the planning approval.

    4. Pavilion inspection. The pavilion had been inspected by Cllrs Heap and Chapman on 18/12/11. Cllr Chapman reported that one roof tile is broken on the roadside and five tiles broken on the back; the decking at the back handrail has two spindles missing, one each on the right and left causing a potential head trap. The kitchen door is not shutting properly. Cllr Heap reported that he considered the pavilion looked "tired and not well looked after and older than its age of less than three years". There was a mess caused by football boots on the floors and the showers were not clean, a tea towel had been left on the electric hob which could have caused a fire if the hob had been switched on and there were thirty unwashed cups. He would have checked the boiler but had not been given access. The alarm should also be the subject of regular inspections.

      The Clerk will write to the Sports Association Secretary suggesting that a meeting is arranged to allow Cllr Martin the Council's representative to attend, as soon as possible to fully discuss the parking problems and to decide how the pavilion issues will be dealt with.


  4. Tree Warden. Cllr Martin reported that the Parish Council work party is expected to take place in February.

  5. NHW representative. Cllr Glew had declared her interest as the Council's representative on the Neighbourhood Watch Committee. The AGM had been held on 11/11/11. The same officers were re-elected. Quite a few elderly people had taken up the offer of Lifeline where the Sedlescombe NHW pays for the installation and the first month's rent.

  6. Transport representative. Cllr Glew had been unable to attend the last meeting but has a copy of the Minutes. The next meeting is due on 07/02/12 at Bexhill Town Hall.

Item C11/12.103.9 was taken next but has been included in its normal order on the agenda.

C11/12.98

Clerk's Report. The followed items were noted:

  1. Attempt to develop land in Hawkhurst Road as "a private gypsy site". The site has since been purchased by a local resident.

  2. Highway matters, fly-tipping on Pestalozzi land in Cottage Lane and dead fox in bag in Chapel Hill reported to County/District Councils. Matters have either been dealt with or are in the process. The County Council is proposing to move the "Oncoming vehicles in middle of road sign", currently on fence of West Lodge, Pestalozzi, to the other side of the road. The Council does not object.

  3. Annual Assembly of Parish Meeting of Sedlescombe. Change of date to Tuesday 17 April 2012.

  4. Archival material. Additional material has recently been provided by Hope Gosse. It includes reference to munitions factories which used to be on the site of Tilly House and then Eaton Walk. Further information needed.

  5. Deregulation of Schedule 1 of the Licensing Act 2003. A reply had been received from Greg Barker MP. He will be discussing the matter with councillors and officers of Rother DC at a forthcoming meeting and will inform the Parish Council of the outcome. The Clerk drew members' attention to Rother's Cabinet report of 07/11/11 by Richard Parker-Harding.
C11/12.99

Sedlescombe Parish Council and the Sedlescombe Playing Field & Recreation Ground Trust

  1. Future general maintenance of the tennis courts. Draft Memorandum of Agreement. RESOLVED: That following a request from the Sedlescombe Playing Field and Recreation Ground Rust and, as the Playing Field is for the benefit of the parish of Sedlescombe, the Council is willing to undertake the entire care, management and control of the Playing Field pursuant to s9(b) of the Open Spaces Act 1906 because the Trust has limited funds.

    The Clerk reported that a reply had been received from Mark Mulberry concerning the VAT implications. RESOLVED: That the Council approves the draft memorandum of Agreement with the Sedlescombe Playing Field & Recreation Ground Trust as drafted apart from para 2.6 which should be amended to read "All expenses incurred by the Council in the care, management and control of the Field will be paid by the Council" with the remainder of the sentence as drafted by the Solicitor deleted.

  2. Capital work at the courts. Members had seen the Clerk's Report "MUGAs". The Council noted that the Trust had requested that the Parish Council should allow for the cost of providing a multi-use games area at the tennis courts with new fencing but including a dividing fence down the centre so that a football Kickabout area and tennis/netball use can be separated.

    The Clerk reported that advice had been received from Mark Mulberry (Accountant for SALC), Adrian Gaylon (Rother's Sports Development Officer), Richard Watson (NHS Health Improvement Manager) as well as several contractors. Quotes were still being obtained.

    RESOLVED: That the Parish Council supports the Charity's proposal to upgrade the tennis courts to a multi-use games area for low to medium use of tennis, netball and football and the Council will, if required, obtain a loan to cover the Charity's shortfall in funding of this project. It should be noted that the cost of the upgrade should be kept to a reasonable level and, if possible, existing materials such as fence posts, reused.

  3. Parish Council as trustee or Parish Council as local authority to fund the project? After consideration, it was agreed that the easiest way of dealing with the proposed MUGA Project would be for the Charity to apply for the necessary funding to include the cost of VAT and to undertake the project. This would then allow a project of whatever size to be undertaken without any problems the VAT partial exemption limit being exceeded as there could be if the Parish Council managed the project as a local authority. The Charity will be able to charge for hiring the court other than for general public use eg a club such as Sedlescombe Netball Club, Staplecross School netball, Youth Club and people doing training on a commercial basis. No VAT will need to be added.

    As long as funding can be obtained from the Rother Community Grant and the Lottery Inspired Facilities Grant, the Parish Council should not be required to obtain a loan. If grants cannot be obtained, the Council will be able to apply for a loan to just do the surfacing.
C11/12.100 Finance
  1. Devolution of Services from Rother District Council. A letter had been received from Rother District Council. A Devolution Working Group at Rother is considering whether services or assets should be devolved to parish councils; parish council representatives are being invited to a meeting of the Working Group on 24/02/12. Sedlescombe has been asked to consider accepting a lease of the Brede Lane public car park and the public toilets on the same site. Members had seen the Clerk's Report. After discussion, it was RESOLVED: That, because of the unacceptable additional burden that the devolvement of maintaining the car park and public conveniences in Brede Lane would bring to the Parish Council, Sedlescombe Parish Council should write to Rother DC refusing its offer of devolving these facilities to the Parish Council.

  2. Bank Reconciliations. RESOLVED: That the bank reconciliations at the end of November and December 2011 are approved.

  3. Cheques. RESOLVED: That the December 2011 cheque list is ratified and the January 2012 cheque list approved.

  4. 2012/13 Precept
    1. Capping. It was noted that the Government has announced that no "capping" provisions will be imposed on parish and town councils for 2012/13 "although they may in future years".
    2. 2012/13 Budget. Members had been provided with several examples of budgets. The cost of the MUGA project had been removed but the cost of one repayment for a £14,000 loan over ten years had been included in the 2012/13 expenditure. £500 had been removed from the draft budget for the covers at Red Barn Field following an inspection by Cllr Martin and the Clerk. The only difference between the budgets was a change in the amount to be held in reserves . RESOLVED: That the following budget and precept for 2012/13 are approved:

      The Budget is based on a 6.35% increase in precept. Income will be more than expenditure. General funds will equal at least a third of the precept before savings are taken into account.

      Approximate cost for a Band D Council Tax payer is £49.92 p.a. or 96p/week.

      Income
      £
      Precept
      £33,500
      Loan
      14,000
      Agency income from Rother
      300
      Interest
      40
      Sale of booklets
      20
      Sale of advertising
      600
      Total income
      £48,460
      Expenditure
      Administration
      5,982
      Employment of Clerk
      15,000
      Loan repayments (£4643 and £782)
      5,425
      General maintenance of amenities
      6,335
      Grants to others
      14,200
      Tree work
      800
      Total expenditure
      £47,742
      Balances brought forward
      £42,371
      Plus annual precept
      33,500
      Plus other receipts
      14,960
      Less staff costs
      -15,000
      Less loan repayments
      -5,425
      Less total other costs
      -£27,317
      Balances
      £43,089
         
      General funds (33.27% of precept)
      £11,146
      Sportsfield fund
      597
      Pumphouse fund
      8
      Clerk's retirement gratuity fund
      £31,338
       
      £43,089

RESOLVED: That the Chairman is authorised to sign the Precept application form in the sum of £33,500.

C11/12.101

Training

  1. Clerks' Networking Day. The Clerk attended a Networking Day on 05/12/11. Presentations were made on the following subject.:
    1. The Police Reform & Social Responsibility Act 2011. Changes to Local Police Governance in Sussex. Presentation by Sussex Police Authority. The Council noted the importance of informing the parish about the changes which will abolish the Sussex Police Authority and, instead, give an individual elected to the post of Police and Crime Commission (PCC) responsibility for delivery of police and crime and safety issues in the county for the next four years. Anyone who has £5,000 and 100 supporters will be able to put their names forward for election. The first elections across England and Wales are to be held on 15/11/12. It is expected that people in public life such as singers and DJs will stand and that social networking sites will be used to encourage support for them. Peter Jones is also expected to stand.
    2. The Localism Act. Presentation by Hedleys.
    3. The Diamond Jubilee Celebrations. Presentation by Marian Shepherd.
      1. East Sussex Big Lunch. The suggestion is for groups of friends and acquaintances across the UK to meet together for lunch on one particular day.
      2. Diamond Jubilee Beacons. No action in Sedlescombe.
      3. Diamond Jubilee Woods - Cllr Chapman asked whether the Council would consider planting an oak tree in Sedlescombe to mark the Diamond Jubilee of the Queen. The Clerk was asked to try to find someone or a family who will agree to look after a tree for a couple of years and then the Council will plant it, probably in Red Barn Field.
      4. Thames Pageant. A Hastings fishing boat is to represent East Sussex and a ceremony will take place in Hastings..
      5. Street parties. Rother DC is waiving the fee of £100 for applications for street parties held 2-5 June 2012. Applications must be received by Rother before 06/04/12.
    4. Dealing with difficult people. Presentation by Hedleys.
    5. Financial matters update. Presentation by Mark Mulberry.

  2. Councillor Briefing and Update. The next course locally is to be held at Leeford Place Hotel, Whatlington on 21 and 22 September 2012. Nearer the time, once the agenda has been published, Cllrs Chapman, Eldridge and Heap will consider attending.

  3. Localism Conference. 20/04/12 at East Grinstead.

  4. Clerks' Networking Days. 21/05/12 at Reigate Manor Hotel, Surrey and 09/11/12 at Lodge Hill, West Sussex.

  5. Legal & Finance Day on 11/09/12 at Leeford Place Hotel, Whatlington.
C11/12.102

Aim 1 To achieve an Informed and Participating Sedlescombe Community

  1. Superfast Broadband. A short public meeting had been held just before the Council Meeting at which Colin Raymond encouraged those present to spread the word about the importance of registering for Superfast Broadband in Sedlescombe. A link to the County Council's questionnaire on Broadband has been added to the www.sedlescombe.org.uk website. Once a project is in place for Sedlescombe on the Rural Broadband Partnership website, there will be the opportunity to add names of supporters. Keith Newman, Practice Manager at Sedlescombe Surgery, had reported at the public meeting the problems experienced at the local Doctors' Surgery because of poor download speeds and that he has been referring the problems to local MPs for some time. Other health bodies recognise the problems and the Government has ensured that up to date equipment is available but users are hampered because of the speeds experienced. The Federation of Small Businesses is also supporting the upgrade locally. The Clerk asked for details of the problems with Broadband to be e-mailed to her so that she can collate them and use them in Sedlescombe's campaign to bring Superfast Broadband to Sedlescombe sooner rather than later..

  2. Public footpaths and bridleways. The Clerk reported that the job of clearance of Fp2 adjacent to the Kickabout Area had been partially done by the County Council although the cuttings need to be shredded and used to fill the holes in the ground by Community Payback.

  3. High Weald Bridleways Group. The Group were looking for a representative to be appointed to attend their meetings. No action.

  4. Community Friends Project. RVA is looking to run projects to help needy people in parishes and the Clerk has been contacted. No action.

  5. Postponement of new Parish Plan consultation. No further action to be taken for the time being.

  6. Core Strategy. Members had seen the Clerk's Reports I and II containing comments relating to Sedlescombe from DPP on behalf of John Keeling and Sue Walton on behalf of Pestalozzi.
    1. DPP are seeking to have Sedlescombe housing numbers increased and the need for additional educational facilities to be given increased prominence so that their Street Farm scheme will fit in to the adopted Strategy. They also wish to see changes made to the policy of bringing existing allocations forward sooner than new ones so that their scheme can be implemented as soon as possible. They have sought to be allowed to address the public inquiry in due course.

      Cllr Ganly was asked to check whether it will be possible for Sedlescombe to speak at the Inquiry to refute some of the misleading statements made in DPP's comments or whether representation needs to be made before the matter goes to Rother Cabinet.

    2. Sue Walton had suggested that maybe the Sedlescombe parish boundary should be adjusted so that industry, business and individuals on the west side of the A21 become part of the Battle parish. The Chairman commented that she was not happy with this suggestion as this area is closer to Sedlescombe and that people living and working in that part of the parish consider themselves part of Sedlescombe and not Battle. S

      Sue had suggested that the current footprint of unused buildings at the Pestalozzi Village could perhaps offer opportunities for small businesses focused on crafts related to the High Weald's agricultural heritage to provide accessible employment opportunities for young people.

      She had also made a comment about the need for a real commitment to improve public transport provision in rural areas.
C11/12.103

Aim 2 To achieve a Safe and Healthy Sedlescombe Community

  1. Parking
    1. Brede Lane. Vehicles parking in Brede Lane day and night. Complaint from resident.
    2. On B2244 close to junction with Short Lane, Balcombe Green. Problems with visibility caused by parked vehicles. Complaint received from resident.

  2. Use of Long Lane, Balcombe Green by vehicles. Complaint received from resident. No action - private lane.

  3. Emptying of reycling bins in Brede Lane Car Park at time children are arriving for School. Reported to Rother.

  4. Reversing school buses. Reported to bus company. E-mail received today from ESCC stating that in order to solve this problem, Rambler school buses would in future avoid Marley Lane although this would add a further 12 miles/day to the journey times. The Council was confused how this would help.

  5. Possible re-opening of rear entrance of School. Discussing with headteacher.

  6. Staggering of leaving times of pupils. Being considered by School/Governors.

  7. Playground inspections by councillors. All councillors now have enough forms for the remainder of the year.

  8. Complaint about dog fouling in Sedlescombe. PCSO Georghiou has visited the person with the dog.

  9. Request for permission to put up a "Geese crossing" sign on Village Green. This item was taken at the end of Agenda item C11/12.97 to allow Bob Harris to speak to the Council and then leave the meeting. Bob asked whether the Council had any objection to a notice being erected to warn of geese crossing Brede Lane now that the flock had been increased to seven by the purchase of an additional four birds by the Societies Association. No objections were raised and Bob said he was considering using planters on Brickwall land with permission which had been obtained from Mr Pollio. No cost to the Council.
C11/12.104

Aim 4 To support business and rural employment

  1. Invitation to businesses to advertise in the 2012 Sedlescombe Directory. Local businesses have been invited to advertise in the 2012 Directory for at least £21 including VAT. Closing date 5pm on Sunday 22/01/12.

  2. Invitation to businesses to take a display table at the Annual Parish Assembly. Local businesses have been invited to take a display table at the Annual Parish Assembly on 17/04/12.
C11/12.105

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

  1. Hedgerow survey report. The Clerk reported that, following Sussex Wildlife Trust Hedgerow Surveying Training held in Red Barn Field in May, some surveys undertaken in 2011 had been forwarded to the Trust. These were Park Field and Half Field at Jacobs Farm undertaken by Dave Monk and Martyn Parslow and Battle Barn Farm hedges undertaken by Fiona Devon.

  2. Red Barn Field tree removal and hedge replacement. Cllr Martin and the Clerk had visited the owner of School House at her request on Monday and had noted that she will be removing the untidy hedge/trees on her boundaries which mark the edge of her driveway. No problems are foreseen as long as a fence is erected as soon as the hedge/trees have been removed so that access cannot easily be gained to Red Barn Field. Cllr Martin suggested asking her to keep the holly tree.
  Chairman.......................................... Date.................................................................