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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 13 MARCH 2012, 19:00 to 21:10

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

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

Two members of the public, County Councillor Jones (first part), PCSO Demetrius Georghiou (first part), Val Smith, Project Officer, Community Friends, Rother Voluntary Action (first part), District Councillor Ganly (whole meeting)

 

 

1 Community Friends. The Chairman invited Val Smith, Project Officer, Community Friends, Rother Voluntary Action to outline the proposed good neighbour scheme. The Chairman thanked Val and explained that Sedlescombe is well-served through its existing Friendship Club and the Sedlescombe Lift Scheme. It was agreed that, rather than a parish councillor joining the steering group committee, Val should speak with Ralph Dellow of the Sedlescombe Friendship Club to see whether a Community Friends scheme should be introduced here.
2 Retirements. Cllr Vine-Hall informed the Council that, after thirty years on the Council in Cllr Martin's case and seventeen years in Cllr Wright's case, they have both decided to retire following the 2012 Annual Assembly of the Parish Meeting on 17 April. They were both thanked for their substantial contribution to community life.
3

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

  • He had had a recent meeting with Justine Greening, Secretary of State for Transport, regarding the importance of the Link Road and is hopeful that there will be a decision around the end of March. The road, if approved, will open up the opportunity for 2,500 homes and up to 3,500 jobs. The proposals are opposed by "green" groups led by Derek Coffey and Cllr Jones had that afternoon been on Radio Sussex arguing the case with Mr Coffey.
  • There will be no increase in County Council Council Tax in the 2012/13 financial year. Savings of £17mn are to be made this year but no reduction in services should be noticed.
  • A £500mn capital expenditure programme will provide a road improvement programme, superfast broadband and new and extended schools.
  • A new grant scheme for regeneration projects is also to be launched.
4

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

  • The joint waste collection contract is expected to produce major savings for all participating councils.
  • Building control is being shared with Hastings Borough Council and legal services with Wealden District Council.
  • Three tourist information points in Rye, Battle and Bexhill have been announced with about ten small information points in Villages.
  • Sidley ward has been awarded a £1mn lottery grant.
5

The Chairman invited PCSO Demetrius Georghiou to speak. Demi made a short report. He is currently involved with investigations into a stabbing in Bexhill.

C11/12.106

Apologies and reasons for absence: None, all present.

C11/12.107 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. The following interests were declared:
C11/12.112.2 Cllr Glew Personal. Village Hall Trustee Report of meeting
C11/12.112.2 Cllr Mitchell Personal. Village Hall Trustee Report of meeting
C11/12.112.1 Cllr Glew Personal. RALC representative Report of meeting
C11/12.112.1 Cllr Wright Personal. RALC representative Report of meeting
C11/12.112.3 Cllr Martin Personal. Sports Association representative Report of meeting
C11/12.112.5 Cllr Glew NHW representative Report of meeting

C11/12.108 Prejudiced members' participation. None.
C11/12.109

Public Participation Session.

  1. Re C11/12.120.5 Rural bus stops. Mrs Bullen explained that, although she doubted whether a bus stop would be provided in the centre of the Village, she would like clarification regarding whether bus drivers can be expected to "stop on request" as they used to do without complaint.
C11/12.110
Minutes. RESOLVED: That the Chairman of the Council is authorised to sign the Minutes of the Meeting of the Council held on 10/01/12.
C11/12.111 Minutes of Meetings of Committees
  1. Planning Committee. RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the Meeting of the Planning Committee held on 21/02/12 are received.
  2. Emergency Planning Committee. RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the Meeting of the Emergency Committee held on 17/01/12 are received.
C11/12.112 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. The Rother Police Commander is now CI Kathy Woolford, formerly a Neighbourhood Policing Inspector in the Lewes District.
    2. Anti social driving is being made a priority for the Community Safety Partnership.
    3. Two scrapyards in Rother have been visited and were able to show records that the metal they accept comes from legitimate sources.
    4. Crime and Anti-social behaviour meetings are likely to be revived.
    5. Presentation given by Etchingham Community Interest Company (CIC). A CIC is halfway between a company and a charity. Accounting requirements are less onerous and CICs can access funds not available to local councils. This has resulted in The Bistro at Etchingham Station being opened. Cllr Glew has more information.
    6. Presentation given by Hurst Green Community Shop and Cafe. Cllr Glew has more information.
    7. Rural broadband was mentioned.
    8. Introduction of twelve highway stewards who have been allocated clusters of parishes. Clerks have been provided with information. Highway problems can be reported on 0345 60 80 193 or through the County Council faults webpage. At the time of the meeting, gritters had been out on just six occasions.
    9. All staff at Rother who had accepted redundancy had left (10% of the workforce).
    10. With Rother agreeing not to raise Council Tax in 2012/13, this could raise difficulties after 2013. Council tax increases of 3.5% will trigger a local referendum. For the time being, parish/town councils are excluded and there are no restrictions on the amount they can precept.
    11. Diamond Jubilee insurance cover by Rother DC. (Since heard Rother cannot help.)
    12. Sedlescombe expressed concern about the introduction of elected Crime Commissioners and that Sussex could end up with someone elected principally on the strength of having a high media profile. The Secretary would try to arrange a presentation on the subject for the next meeting.
    13. Next meeting 11/04/12.
  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. Next meeting is the AGM on 22/03/12. A very successful quiz night last week raised £460 for Village Hall funds.
  3. Sports Association. Cllr Martin had declared his personal interest by virtue of him being the Council's representative on the Sports Association Committee. Cllr Martin had not attended the last meeting but had received the Minutes. In the Minutes, it was reported that Pestalozzi should put up notices to stop parking in Ladybird Lane. The suggestion that the culvert under the Sportsfield Car Park is blocked was made again. Subsequently, Cllr Vine-Hall had been to the site with Ashley Davey and had re-confirmed that there was no problem with the pipe but that plastic bottles were obstructing the inflow end. There was also a large plastic bottle of line marker blocking the outflow.
  4. Tree Warden. Cllr Martin reported that he had cleared back the trees from the river side of the Playing Field. The Clerk was asked to contact Brockwells Forestry Ltd who had recently cut back tree growth from the overhead power cables across the playground. Cllr Martin had asked them to chip the resulting tree waste but this has not been done.
  5. NHW representative. Cllr Glew had declared her interest as the Council's representative on the Neighbourhood Watch Committee. Cllr Glew reported that they had signed up one more person for Lifeline. NHW pays for the installation of Lifeline and the first month's rent. There is currently £134.59 in the bank.
  6. Transport representative. The next meeting will be held on 15/05/12.
C11/12.113

Clerk's Report. The followed items were noted:

  1. Village Green used for Leap Year proposal by Melody Puxty. Cllr Wright had happened to be present
  2. Inclusion of Fred Hyland (born in Sedlescombe in 1893) in a book about cricketers who played just one first-class match. The book is called "Brief Candles" published by The Association of Cricket Statisticians & Historians.
  3. Inclusion of Sedlescombe geese in an article in "The Countryman". Cllr Wright explained that one of the ganders has been temporarily removed.
  4. Letter in Battle Observer of 24/02/12 re a cup held in Australia by Dave Dengate engraved "2nd Prize Sedlescombe Marathon Race 1921" and awarded to his grandfather Albert George Edward Dengate. Neil Farrow (who used to be a Sedlescombe parish councillor) was living in Sedlescombe in 1921 and phoned to say he remembered the race taking place
  5. New Code of Conduct in accordance with the provisions of the Localism Act 2011 (see Briefing Note 6 Code of Conduct).
  6. Localism Act. Rother DC has put up a new Localism Page on its website and members were urged to have a look at it and, especially, the report of the workshops held at the end of January.
  7. Cllr Chapman was asked to fix a "No smoking" plastic notice in the bus shelter.
  8. Three meetings will be held on Tuesday 27/03/12 ie Finance, Planning and Playing Field & Recreation Ground Trust.
C11/12.114 Finance
  1. Bank Reconciliations. RESOLVED: That the bank reconciliations at the end of January and February 2012 are approved.
  2. Cheques. RESOLVED: That payment of the February cheque list is ratified and the March cheque list (updated) is approved.
C11/12.115

Training

  1. Training credit note. It was noted that Sedlescombe Parish Council has a training credit note with Sussex Association of Local Councils for £150 excl. VAT.
  2. Fuel Poverty Training. It was noted that free "fuel poverty training" is available from Action in rural Sussex. Applications to zoe.ganderton@ruralsussex.org.uk or on 07786 980 715 by end March.
C11/12.116

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

  1. Clerks and Councils Direct.
  2. The Clerk March 2012.
C11/12.117

Consultations

  1. Review of rural library services. The County Council is currently reviewing services to rural areas and mobile libraries. There are two online surveys - one for individuals (the survey form can also be printed) and the other for local groups, parish councils and small businesses. Parish councils, groups and small businesses are being asked whether the current level of provision fits into the needs of the local community and whether these groups are willing to help improve the situation eg funding, a site, technology, volunteers etc. Comments can be submitted up to 21/05/12. RESOLVED: That the County Council should be informed that Sedlescombe is satisfied with the current library provision ie 1) One-hour weekly village library in committee room 2 of village hall run by Sedlescombe volunteers and 2) Two-weekly mobile library visiting Brede Lane. The mobile library is needed because many readers cannot get to the village hall to visit the library there.

  2. East Sussex, South Downs and Brighton & Hove Waste and Minerals Plan. It was noted that a shortened version of the Proposed Submission Plan dated February 2012 had been received. Comments on the soundness of the Plan can be submitted up to 10/04/2012.
C11/12.118 Aim 1 To achieve an Informed and Participating Sedlescombe Community
118.1 Community Friends Project. The subject had been considered at the start of the meeting when Val Smith had been present. It had been suggested that she contact Ralph Dellow of the Sedlescombe Friendship Club to progress the matter.
118.2

Superfast Broadband. Since the last meeting, Colin Raymond had been working on Sedlescombe's case for superfast broadband. He had produced a report for forwarding to East Sussex County Council and Rother District Council, copies of which had been delivered to councillors. RESOLVED: That the "Superfast for Sedlescombe" Report 04/03/12 is approved for distribution.

The County Council is particularly keen to show the importance for local businesses.

As well as Colin Raymond, Cllrs Vine-Hall, Mitchell and Wright had been encouraging people to register on the Rural Broadband Partnership website and other members were asked to do what they can. The back page of the 2012 Annual Report and Directory has been devoted to a flyer encouraging registration and a slip of paper has also been added to the booklets. The current registration figure is approaching 150 in the two months since 14/01/12.

118.3 Parking on grass verges. A local resident had requested that a letter is sent to every household asking them not to park, or allow their visitors to park, on grass verges in the parish. Although this may be a problem in a few areas of the Village, the majority of homes do not have grass verges outside and, therefore, it was thought to be more appropriate to ask Demi to put a note on the windscreen of any vehicle seen parked on a verge.
118.4 Dog excrement. The person who currently empties the litter bins has complained that people are depositing dog excrement in them even when they are next to a dog bin. Cllr Martin also reported that he found 20-30 plastic bags of dog excrement on the river bank when he was cutting back the trees.
118.5 Celebrating Community Transport. It was noted that AiRS has been commissioned by ESCC to facilitate an event to celebrate Community Transport in East Sussex. The aim of the events is to promote the services to new users, attract volunteers and recognise the achievements of those currently involved. The week commencing 16 July has been pencilled in but not confirmed.
118.6

Flag. It was noted that a new Sussex Flag has been sent to all 261 Sussex local councils (including Sedlescombe) together with a request from the donors, Rampion of Sussex and The Association of British Counties, for the flag to be displayed in the parish in celebration of Sussex and its traditions. Sussex Day on Saturday 16 June 2012 is particularly mentioned.

The Village does not own a flagpole and, therefore, it was passed to Sue Walton for display at the Pestalozzi Village.

C11/12.119 Aim 2 To achieve a Safe and Healthy Sedlescombe Community
119.1 Core Strategy. Allocation of places at Sedlescombe School (please see the Clerk's briefing note). Correspondence between the Clerk and Cllr Jones and the Head of Children's Services at ESCC.
119.2 Parking in Brede Lane. On Monday 05/03/12, several parish councillors (VW, JV, JM, PG, RE and PM) and the Clerk had met Sarah Shepherd (Senior Planning Officer) and Chris Stanyard (ESCC) in the Brede Lane car park to highlight the traffic problems currently occurring in Brede Lane, particularly at school arrival and leaving times. The problems are likely to increase considerably if further development takes places in Brede Lane as is being proposed.
119.3

Brede Lane car park

  1. Snow and ice. During the snowfalls in February, the headteacher and a resident who accesses his garage from the car park had contacted the Parish Council asking for it to arrange clearance. Neither the County nor District Councils have statutory responsibility for clearance of snow and ice from car parks. RESOLVED: That users should be encouraged to clear the car park themselves using the the grit provided in the car park. Cllr Martin reported that he had helped clear the school playground but only two parents had helped.
  2. Proposed devolution according to Battle Observer. A report in the Battle Observer had suggested that Rother would expect Sedlescombe (along with several other councils) to take on responsibility for the future maintenance of the car park. The Clerk had received the Minutes of a Rother Devolution Working Group held on 24/02/12. In summary, of the 32 parishes, half of them have said no to devolution. Just a few of the larger parishes are willing to take on the freehold of car parks and toilets (but only the leasehold is being offered) and a couple of parishes want land in connection with allotments. The remaining councils haven't replied to Rother. It had been noted by the working group that before any devolution can take place, refurbishment of the toilets is essential. It was also recorded that town and parish councils are able to increase their precepts to cover the costs of providing services more easily than Rother District Council and this provided local taxation to fund local services used by local residents. NB Some parishes disagreed as their toilets and car parks are primarily used by visitors rather than residents.
  3. Proposed extension of the car park.
    1. Mrs Ham had expressed her disappointment in her letter dated 17/01/12 that the Parish Council cannot assist in purchasing the land so that the car park can be extended not only for the School but also for the benefit of other local events.
    2. The new School Travel Group had met for the first time on 09/02/12. At the meeting, the Parish Council representative (Cllr Glew) was asked if the Parish Council would contact Paul Thomas regarding the cost of purchasing or leasing land adjacent to the car park. Mrs Ham had already been informed that the Council had decided not to become involved in this project.

      Cllr Glew reported that, in addition, the meeting had agreed the need for a walking bus from the southern part of the Village and for a crossing person in Brede Lane, although the cost was probably prohibitive. A Road Safety Awareness Week is to be held at the end of April and there will be a "walk to school" day on 19 April.
  4. Proposed alterations to the car park. A suggestion had been made at the School Travel Group meeting that the car park should be made one way but this was not supported by the Parish Council. Neither were other ideas ie provision of a new exit/entrance through the grass area or creation of a layby for parking by removal of the grass verge adjacent to Brede Lane between the Doctors' Surgery and Gammons Way.
119.4

Possible re-opening of rear entrance of School. The Parish Council had suggested that, if the rear entrance to the School were to be re-opened, schoolchildren from East View Terrace and the southern part of the Village would be able to avoid the use of Brede Lane, maybe even reducing traffic in the Lane. The headteacher and others had walked the path from East View and, if the muddy areas could be sorted out, the School could support the idea. However, quite a lot of work would need to be undertaken and Mrs Ham suggests a surface on the path similar to that through Red Barn Field.

 

An allotment holder had recently written to the Council suggesting that the path should not be a back entrance to the School but should be a public path following the western boundary to provide access from the field east of the allotments into Gammons Way. Access to the School would remain through the front gate.

 

Cllr Eldridge reported that parents of the schoolchildren had been asked their views about re-opening the rear entrance of the School.

 

Further enquiries will be made with Mrs Ham.

119.5 Staggering leaving times of pupils. Mrs Ham has written that this idea cannot be supported by the School.
119.6 School position in the Village. A suggestion at a Council Meeting that the Primary School might need to consider moving onto another site in the future because it has outgrown its present site received no support from the headteacher.
119.7 The Green (highway). At the School Travel meeting on 09/02/12, it was suggested that The Green should be made a one-way road. This subject has been investigated thoroughly by he Parish and County Councils several times over the past twenty years. The need to be able to leave the commercial site at Pumphouse Yard in either a northerly or southerly direction depending on parked traffic means that a one way system would be unworkable.
119.8 Playground inspections by councillors. Members had carried out regular inspections of the Riverside Playing Field and the East View Kickabout Area. The main problems identified are moles (investigated by a molecatcher who has confirmed that any action to control the moles would be very temporary as other moles will simply move in to fill the space vacated), litter (to be monitored closely by councillors in the next few weeks) and three useless pieces of equipment at the Riverside where the bottom ropes are touching the ground.
119.9 Proposed merger between East and West Sussex Fire & Rescue Services. It was noted that although merger remains the desired way forward, government funding and financial issues must first be resolved. DCLG has, so far, been unable to provide sufficient clarity on a solution to the financial issues and, therefore, no commitment will currently be made to any merger process or timetable.
119.10 Junction improvements Ladybird Lane and Chapel Hill
  1. The proposed extension of the 30mph speed limit in Paygate Road in connection with the alterations at the junction of Ladybird Lane and Chapel Hill was noted.
  2. It was noted that junction improvements of Ladybird Lane and Chapel Hill are expected to be finished by the end of April 2012 (information from CEO). The Sports Association Secretary has been warned. Chapel Hill will be closed at the junction during the work.
119.11 Environmental Protection Act 2003
  1. A copy letter from the Minister for Tourism and Heritage to Greg Barker MP regarding the Government's proposal to allow public entertainment that is currently regularised through licences under Schedule One of the Licensing Act 2003 had been received. Greg Barker had met Andy Eaton, Litigation and Licensing Lawyer at Rother District Council. The Minister has said he will be paying close attention to issues such as venue safety and public disturbance when assessing the final policy.
  2. It was noted that R Winchester & Son are applying for a Premises Licence at Blackbrooks Garden Centre for "Retail sale of alcohol (on & off sales), 08:00-21:00 Monday-Saturday and Sunday 10:00 to 16:00". The Chairman confirmed her conversation with Mark Winchester who wishes to sell local beer in the Garden Centre's new food hall as well as alcohol with food in the cafe. No action to be taken by the Parish Council.
119.12 Refurbishment works on the Hammer Ditch Bridge. Details of a temporary road closure 60 metres either side of the Hammer Ditch Bridge on the B2244 has been announced by East Sussex County Council from 09/04/12 to 18/04/12.
C11/12.120 Aim 3 To help provide Amenities and Services in Sedlescombe
120.1

Ex-Budget Car Company site. Members had been provided with confidential briefing note. The Budget Car Company left the Car Lot at the end of January 2012 and, subsequently, the site was tidied up and a fence erected around the approved car sales area by the owners. The land is, or is expected to be, for sale but information from the owners is that they are investigating leasing the site for car sales to a potential client from April on a 5-year lease.

Although the land could be useful as a public car park serving the children's playground, tennis courts etc and the sportsfield and pavilion, its small size limits its usefulness. Further enquiries will be made.

120.2

Sportsfield

  1. Parking for the Sportsfield (please see Clerk's briefing note). Members had been provided with the briefing note. The note explains the Sports Association's actions to try to stop visitors from using Ladybird Lane for parking eg signs, asking managers to tell visiting teams and inclusion in a new Terms and Conditions form. As well as in Ladybird Lane, cars are regularly being parked on the B2244 at the rear of the pavilion on a Sunday blocking off the footway. A local resident has added his objections and the Clerk will ask the Police to stop this illegal parking.

    The Sports Association is keen to extend the existing Sportsfield car park (maximum size 900m2). The Chairmen of Council and Finance had approved the production of a survey of the area and preparation of drawings and a planning application for a car park extension by Pumphouse Designs of Sedlescombe. The order had been placed by the Council - total cost £235. The Association believes the area could be dug out, the topsoil removed, the land filled with hardcore plus a suitable topping before rolling with the cricket roller for a few thousand pounds. There could be funding opportunities for the Sports Association. The Association had investigated, as an alternative, installation of grass reinforcement matting but the cost was too high. The Association is looking to the Parish Council to pay for the work with some fund-raising taking place. Further details of costs are required before the Council can consider this matter.

  2. Portacabin at Sportsfield Car Park. Members emphasised that the portacabin must be removed from the car park in the near future in order to provide additional parking. This is despite the Sports Association now wishing to retain the portacabin.

  3. Garage at Sportsfield. The Sports Association members are expecting to put a roof on the garage in the near future. Members emphasised that this work must be completed soon so that the Sports Association's goods can be moved out of the portacabin into the garage.

  4. Pavilion. The Clerk had confirmed to the Secretary of the Sports Association that, in future, the timing of the internal inspection of the pavilion will be arranged through him.

    Sedlescombe Players have asked the Parish Council for permission to use the fence at the rear of the pavilion to display a banner for a short time prior to their performances. RESOLVED: That the Parish Council does not object to Sedlescombe Players' request for permission to display a banner on the fence at the rear of the pavilion leading up to performance days and that the request will now be passed to the Sports Association for confirmation.

  5. New Terms and Conditions for hirers of the Sportsfield. Drawn up by the Sports Association Secretary and approved by the Committee.

  6. Updated constitution of the Sports Association. Approved by the Committee of the Sports Association. The Clerk has a copy.
120.3

Tennis courts (see Clerk's briefing note). The Clerk reported that, contrary to her statement in the Briefing Note, public tennis courts' refurbishment can be the subject of a Inspired Facilities Lottery bid. She will, therefore, continue to prepare the application on behalf of the Charity, with the centre fence excluded. The closing date is 02/04/12.

Rod Cornelius of Sedlescombe Football Club had written today asking for permission to use the grass area between the ex-car lot and the tennis courts as a mini-kickers pitch. This is needed because Sedlescombe Rangers Football Club junior section has grown significantly over the past two or three years and there are now 7 teams from under 6s to under 10s with the possibility of one or two more teams from September 2012. The matter will be passed to the next meeting of the Playing Field & Recreation Ground Trust on 27/03/12. The Charity will be asked to consider inclusion of finance for provision of this pitch in the Lottery bid.

 

In association with the provision of a mini-kickers pitch, adult gym equipment could also be included in the bid to encourage exercise amongst those bringing the youngsters to play football. The Lottery helpline has also suggested that training should be provided on the use of the equipment.

 

No further action was proposed regarding the suggestion by a resident that the Lottery bid should be postponed to allow time for an Active Communities scheme to be drawn up in Sedlescombe with more consultation to ensure that the exercise needs of all sections of the community have been considered and provided for.

120.4 Rural bus stops. A bus user had recently asked a driver to stop in the centre of the Village but he had refused which resulted in a longish walk home for her. She had asked the Parish Council whether drivers should stop on request as in the past. The Clerk had submitted the question to Stagecoach with a request for consideration to be given to provision of another bus stop in the centre of the Village. Stagecoach's reply is awaited.
C11/12.121 Aim 4 To support business and rural employment in Sedlescombe
121.1 Sedlescombe Directory. Advertising by business will just cover the cost of printing the Annual Report and Directory this year. Two businesses have still not paid for their adverts. The printed copies had been delivered to the Clerk today.
121.2 Tables for local businesses at Annual Parish Assembly on 17/04/12. Some local businesses are proposing to stage a display table at the Assembly along with various organisations.
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