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FINANCE MINUTES

MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE FINANCE COMMITTEE OF SEDLESCOMBE PARISH COUNCIL HELD ON TUESDAY 26 JUNE 2012 IN COMMITTEE ROOM 2 OF THE VILLAGE HALL, 19:00-20:30

 

PRESENT: Cllr Glew (Chairman), Cllrs Chapman, Heap, Eldridge

Clerk/Responsible Financial Officer: Mrs P Raymond

1 member of the public

Line
F12/13.1 Election of Chairman. RESOLVED: That Cllr Glew be Chairman of the Finance Committee for the ensuing year.
F12/13.2 Apology for absence was received from Cllr Vine-Hall.
F12/13.3 Disclosure of interests by members. None disclosed.
F12/13.4 Public participation session. Mrs Sue Walton (Chief Executive at Pestalozzi) to give information re F12/13.6.3.1 (posts along edge of Ladybird Lane).
F12/13.5 Minutes. RESOLVED: That the Chairman of the Committee is authorised to sign the Minutes of the Meeting of the Finance Committee held on 27/03/12.
F12/13.6

Jobs Update. The RFO provided members with a short briefing on VAT recovery by the Parish Council including the situation regarding partial exemption.

  1. Red Barn Field
    1. Grass cutting. Annual cut (August) to be arranged with David Blowey.
    2. Fruiting hedgerow. The Chairman reported that this is growing well.
    3. Bracken clearance. The Conservation Volunteers have offered to do the clearance on Sunday 15/07/12. Cleared bracken will be piled up away from School House. The Council usually gives a donation of £25 for this work.
  2. Sportsfield. Members had been provided with the Risk Assessment and RFO's update. RFO to chase Sports Association. Members discussed the need for the the pavilion to have a gas certificate and, possibly, an annual fire certificate. Certificates should be in place prior to the annual inspection of the pavilion at the end of 2012 which the Clerk/RFO will arrange.
    1. Garage. The Sports Association has recently completed work to the garage now situated next to the pavilion. Replacement doors are still being sought. Some equipment has been moved from the pavilion into the garage.
    2. Portacabin. Further attempts will be made to get the Sports Association to clear the portacabin and to remove it from the car park.
    3. Car Park and its extension. Planning permission has been obtained by the Council but the archaeological condition will need to be met prior to any work being undertaken. The Sports Association's application for grant aid from the Sussex Community Foundation has failed and their members are considering other sources of finance. The Council has already agreed to help with the funding including paying for the cost of the archaeological work. The current estimated cost, including plans, planning application, condition, archaeological work and construction of the extension is £4,149 including VAT. Voluntary labour by Sports Association members is expected.

      The Clerk/RFO reported that David Staveley has agreed to take core samples at the site of the proposed car park extension free of charge as an extension to a much larger, non-commercial, geophysics survey on Pestalozzi land to the south of the car park which is due to start very soon. Parish Council to be provided with his results. In his opinion, as the site is within the flood plain, there is likely to be a large amount of alluvium protecting any archaeology. He hopes that his core samples will help get an idea of the depth of the valley in Roman times and work out the feasibility of a port at this location. The RFO is also seeking quotes from archaeologists for work in line with the planning condition.

      It was RECOMMENDED: That the Clerk/RFO is authorised, in consultation with Cllrs Vine-Hall and Glew, to take the Sportsfield Car Park extension project forward as soon as possible.

      It was agreed that arrangements should be made to strim the ditch edges at the car park as it belongs to the Council and to remind the Sports Association that the remainder of the ditch should be strimmed 2-3 times a year.
    4. Direction signs. To chase the Sports Association.
    5. Drainage pipe from Chapel Hill to ditch. The County Estates Surveyor has informed the Clerk/RFO in writing that, following re-alignment of the Pestalozzi junction at the bottom of Chapel Hill, the drainage pipe into the Sportsfield ditch is no longer in use. The Clerk/RFO reported that the edge of the Sportsfield adjacent to the ditch was flooded at the weekend following recent heavy rain.
  3. Ladybird Lane
    1. Posts along the Lane. The posts had been provided by the Parish Council and installed by Pestalozzi in 2004 to discourage parking on the grass verge along the Lane. However, most of them have now rotted or been damaged from drainage and mowing work. Mrs Walton reported that some had been salvaged and stored but that they make grass cutting very difficult. How to deal with the parking and verges is being considered.
    2. Surface. The contractor building the houses at Pestalozzi will complete the surfacing of Ladybird Lane when the houses are finished. The Parish Council has agreed in principle to contribute towards the cost of surfacing the bellmouth of the Sportsfield car park .
  4. Bus Shelter. Cllr Chapman reported that the left hand bottom weatherboard is getting loose which he will attend to.
  5. Village Green
    1. Planters. It was agreed that the planters, sponsored by Blackbrooks Garden Centre, have looked very attractive. One has been damaged by an unknown vehicle and will be attended to by the Garden Centre in the winter. The Clerk/RFO explained that it had been decided to leave the planters in their current position. John Cook had advised that, if the planters on the top part of the Green were moved opposite those on the lower part of the Green, they would be more likely to be damaged by the large vehicles with trailers that regularly use this road.
    2. Noticeboard on shop wall. Being varnished by the ESCC Maintenance Team today.
    3. Proposed flagpost. The Parish Council had agreed in principle, at its May meeting, to support the idea of a flagpole on the top of the lower Green. A response was awaited from the British Legion Chairman, Ray Pilbeam, who had been asked to find out whether there is support from the community in finding the funding and drawing up a list of people willing to raise and lower the flag at the appropriate time. Cllr Eldridge warned that he had been told that the flags do not last very long and could need replacing each year.
  6. East View Terrace. During the consultation period for eight new properties at East View Terrace, the idea of provision of one or more laybys for parked vehicles was suggested. The County Council is willing to look at a new layby in East View if the Parish Council is willing to pay for the work. It was agreed by the Committee that the cost would be prohibitive.
  7. Public Playing Field & Recreation Ground Trust.
    1. Lottery application. In April 2012, the charity submitted an application to Round 2 of the Inspired Facilities scheme at SportEngland for £41,214 towards a project expected to total £53,946 under the title Sports Development and Encouragement Initiative. Other funding of £7,500 had been obtained and the Sussex County Playing Fields Association was expected to meet on Friday to consider the Charity's application for a further £2,000.

      The whole project was for a new mini-kickers football pitch and fence, a MUGA at the tennis courts and adult outdoor gym equipment. The Clerk/RFO reported that she had been told that day that the application had not been successful because of insufficient proof of community involvement.. However, the Trust was being invited by SportEngland to try again in the third round (23/07-17/09/12 with the result around Christmas) by resubmitting the project with more documentary evidence of support for the project. It was acceptable to make alterations to the scheme. Since the application had been submitted, further thought had been given to provision of a turning space and a few parking spaces in front of the proposed football pitch. SportEngland had confirmed it would be appropriate to include the cost of this work, maybe in exchange for something being left out.

      The Clerk/RFO reported on the effect on various parts of the project if work is not carried out this summer plus a series of options which the Charity and the Parish Council will need to consider. Further information will be needed from the Football Club which, it is believed, want to have the pitch in use in September 2012. If this is the case, the mini-kickers pitch would have to be removed from a SportEngland application re-submission but the Club might be able to undertake and pay for the work themselves. Work on the MUGA surface could not be undertaken in the winter and, therefore, it would be held up until the Spring of 2013. Members were asked to give careful consideration to the options prior to meetings of the Council and Trust on 10/07/12.
    2. Playground equipment
      1. Klondike. Cllr Chapman to find out the cost of replacing both oak planks which are now rotting.
      2. Nothing has been done about the play equipment where the ropes are on the ground and, other than suggesting that they should be taken up and reset in more concrete, the company could not make any suggestions for remedial work. The work might be able to be done at the same time as the MUGA is being done and the Finance Committee had also suggested finding funding to replace this equipment in 2013/14.
    3. Trees. Nothing to report.
    4. Fences and gates. OK according to councillors.
    5. Litter bins. OK according to councillors.
    6. Seats. Ironwork on seat in play area to be encased in concrete (Cllr Chapman).
  8. Weedkilling contract. The contractor had carried out weedkilling for the second time today and had found two large flowering giant hogweed plants and several small plants by the river which he had treated. He had checked the sportsfield and playground and had not found any plants.
  9. Grounds maintenance contract. Members reported that the grass is currently long and needs cutting. It was agreed that the Council should go out to tender in the autumn for grounds maintenance work in 2012/13.
  10. Litter bins and litter collection. The Clerk/RFO had had to report to Rother DC that some of the litter bins had not been emptied.
  11. Dog bins and dog bin emptying. £343.20 paid to Rother DC for dog bin emptying in 2012/13.
  12. Roadside seats
    1. Wooden seat outside Parish Church. Currently being painted by ESCC Village Maintenance Team. Painter found that one back slat is rotten.
    2. Metal seat outside East View flats. Currently being painted by ESCC Village Maintenance Team.
  13. Brede Lane Car Park
    1. "Welcome to Sedlescombe" board. Installed by Cllr Chapman.
    2. Discussions with School including proposed path from Gammons Way into the car park. Further report expected to Council on 10/07/12. Clerk/RFO reported that Cllr Vine-Hall had offered to ask the Parish Council to submit a planning application for a path between Gammons Way opposite the School entrance and the car park to improve safety for children. The Clerk/RFO had advised the headteacher to have further discussions with Paul Thomas, Rother DC and ESCC Education Department. This would be followed by a survey of the site and production of costings only if agreement can be reached with Paul Thomas. Decisions will need to be made regarding payment for the work including legal costs prior to submission of the planning application.
  14. Highways
    1. Siding footway between Village Hall and Parish Church. Because the verge has not been cut by the County Council, it is not possible for the ESCC Village Maintenance Team to side back the footway. However, they may be able to strim the edge of the path if there is time. The Clerk/RFO has asked ESCC when they plan to carry out the first grass cutting in the Village and a reply is awaited.
    2. Cleaning, strimming and trimming signs throughout parish. Being undertaken by the ESCC Village Maintenance Team.
F12/13.7 Salt bins. Following a request by ESCC, the Clerk had surveyed the 4 salt bins in the parish (Chapel Hill, Brede Lane near East View, Gammons Hill and Brede Lane public car park) and had sent details back to the County Council.
F12/13.8 Wooden fingerposts. It was noted that ESCC is considering what to do about the fingerposts (currently about 500) across the county. Current legislation - Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002 - stipulates that traditional fingerposts may only be placed on or near road junctions not involving A, B or M roads. ESCC is willing to leave any on A or B roads if parish councils take over their maintenance and a draft agreement has been drawn up. ESCC considers that it would be difficult to divert limited highway funds to the maintenance of wooden fingerposts in rural areas when adequate directions to drivers can be provided for a quarter of the cost. Currently, the Clerk to Rotherfield Parish Council is co-ordinating answers to a simple questionnaire regarding current maintenance of fingerposts which appears to differ between areas.

 

Sedlescombe appears to have three fingerposts - 1) Junction of Chapel Hill and B2244; 2) Junction of New England Lane and Wheel Lane; 3) Junction of Reservoir Lane and roads to Sedlescombe and Brede. A fourth wooden fingerpost was recorded in 2010 at the junction of Stream Lane and the B2244 but this has since been removed.

 

The Committee unanimously agreed that the wooden fingerposts should be retained if at all possible.

 

It was RESOLVED: That the RFO/Clerk should return the completed questionnaire about current maintenance of the wooden fingerposts and reconsider whether to take over the maintenance of the fingerposts when further details of any funding from the County Council is available.

 

It was noted that the County Council stipulates if the Parish Council takes over the maintenance, it should obtain documentary evidence from contractors:

  1. That they have £10 million public liability insurance.
  2. That one of the contractor's employees holds a current Supervisors New Roads and Street Works Act Certificate.
  3. That at least one operative on site holds an Operator's Certificate.

Road space would need to be booked under the Traffic Management Act 2004 (0345 60 80 193) at least 21 days before commencement of works.

 

ESCC needs to be informed 21 days before commencement of works in order that utility service checks can be completed. Three months is required for major schemes.

F12/13.9 2012/13 Budget Monitoring. Because the link from the agenda was wrong, members had been unable to consider the accounts. The figures are monitored by the Chairman of the Finance Committee each month. Accounts to the end of June 2012 against the budget will be placed before the next Council Meeting on 10/07/12.
F12/13.10

Audit of Accounts

  1. RESOLVED: That the Internal Audit of the 2011/12 accounts carried out by Mrs A Alexander was satisfactory, that she was independent and competent in carrying out the audit and that her report to the Council was clear and effective in giving the Council confidence in its financial procedures.
  2. RESOLVED: That Mrs Alexander is asked if she will carry out the internal audit of the 2012/13 accounts.
  3. External audit of accounts by Mazars. Currently being done.
F12/13.11 Proposed changes to signatories of accounts. The Council had agreed that the new signatories on the Parish Council accounts should be Cllrs Vine-Hall, Glew and Eldridge.
F12/13.12 Savings accounts. The Council maintains savings accounts with The Co-operative Bank and West Bromwich Building Society.
F12/13.13 Power of well-being and Power of General Competence. The Council's Power of Well-Being will continue until May 2015 (next annual meeting in an election year) unless overtaken by the Council gaining the Power of General Competence. The Clerk will undertake the necessary training as soon as she can.
F12/13.14 Maintenance of offices. RESOLVED: That £200 is paid to the Clerk for maintenance of offices in accordance with the 2012/13 Budget.
F12/13.15

Chairman's Allowance. RESOLVED: That £200 is paid to the Chairman as an allowance to meet the costs associated with the position of chairman in accordance with s15(5) of the Local Government Act 1972 in accordance with the 2012/13 Budget.

Cllr Glew reminded members that they could still claim travel expenses although not other expenses.

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