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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 20 NOVEMBER 2012 19:00-21:20

PARISH COUNCILLORS PRESENT: Cllr Jonathan Vine-Hall (Chairman), Cllr Pauline Glew (Vice-Chairman of the Council), Cllrs Anson, Chapman Eldridge, Mitchell, Parsons, Reynolds

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

OTHER ATTENDEES: 4 (for whole or part of the meeting)

 

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1 Mrs Sue Walton, Chief Executive of Pestalozzi International Village updated the Council. The number of students at Pestalozzi has reached fifty after the delayed arrival of several young people. Planned social events open to the public were highlighted including cultural evenings for each nationality represented at Pestalozzi. Volunteers are needed to help plant five hundred trees around the new properties.
2

Graeme Lake, Highways Inspection and Enforcement Manager, ESCC, attended at the Chairman's invitation. Unfortunately, Sedlescombe's Highways Steward did not attend. Graeme invited anyone to e-mail either the Steward or himself with any highway problems. He outlined some of the Steward's work and his vast area of responsibility was noted.

 

It is expected that potholes of at least 100mm depth in rural areas will be attended to within six months of a report. Members generally felt this to be too long to wait for urgent repairs that could cause accidents. In Sedlescombe, at least, it appears that pothole repairs are being very poorly done when the contractor does arrive at last. Graeme noted the need for resurfacing work in Chapel Hill, Gammons Way and outside Brickwall Hotel in Brede Lane, Cottage Lane and Stream Lane and agreed to let the Clerk know when this work might be scheduled.

 

The Clerk complained that problems reported on the ESCC Report a Fault webpage are automatically acknowledged and nothing further is heard. The follow up system is also of little use as a stock phrase is used for every complaint. Graeme acknowledged that communication with the public had been poor in the last six months and said that four new staff had recently been appointed in order to carry out this important part of their work.

 

An increased budget had recently been made available by ESCC but it seemed that this would be used on main roads in other parts of the county which Sedlescombe residents never use. The Chairman remarked that it appeared that this area had been ignored when it came to road repairs and that he hoped that, in future, Graeme's Department would take more interest in Sedlescombe.

3 In PCSO Demi's absence (taking an exhibit to Oxford), PCSO Chris Dewitt attended to update the Council. The Council agreed that Police priorities for Sedlescombe should remain speeding and parking. Instances of stone-throwing anti-social behaviour at East View Terrace are being dealt with by the PCSO and the Housing Department. A spate of shed burglaries had occurred throughout the area and the public are asked to report any suspicious trucks or lorries to the Police. Demi's work on the parking problems around the School seems to be quite successful. Cllrs Eldridge and Parsons reported that the first batch of volunteers will be working with Demi on Thursday re training to use the Speed Indicator Device in The Street.
C12/13.87

Apologies for absence. All parish councillors were present. However, County Councillor Jones was away attending a conference and District Councillor Ganly was giving a presentation to Bexhill Town Forum on the new joint waste contract. Cllr Ganly had provided a written report (see HERE).

C12/13.88 Interests. Declarations of existence and nature of councillor's interests in accordance with the adopted Code of Conduct. None declared but see Minute 89 below.
C12/13.89

Requests for Dispensation

  1. Village Hall Trustees. Three councillors - Pauline Glew, Jenny Mitchell and John Parsons had written to the Council seeking dispensation to allow them to take a full part in discussions on the subject of the Brede Lane development proposals despite, in this particular instance, their disclosable pecuniary interests as Trustees of the Village Hall. RESOLVED: That, in the interests of the inhabitants of Sedlescombe and despite their declared interests as Village Hall Trustees, the Parish Council grants dispensation to Cllrs Glew, Mitchell and Parsons to allow them to take a full part in discussions and vote on the subject of the Brede Lane development proposal until May 2015.

  2. General dispensation. The Clerk/RFO reported that she had been informed that, unless Sedlescombe parish councillors are granted a general dispensation, they will not be able to set the precept or agree the payment of councillors' travelling allowances. RESOLVED: That, because otherwise, the number of members prohibited from taking part in the meeting would impede the transaction of the business, Sedlescombe Parish Council grants a general dispensation to all Sedlescombe parish councillors, up to May 2015, despite their declared pecuniary interests, to allow them to set the precept for the parish of Sedlescombe and to pay travelling allowances to councillors.
C12/13.90

Public Participation Session. Ray Pilbeam, Chairman of the Sedlescombe Branch of the British Legion and another member attended to give further information regarding the application to install a flagpole on Sedlescombe Village Green. The Chairman agreed that agenda item 100.1 Sedlescombe Village Green, Flagpole and Flag Flying, should be brought forward.

 

Unfortunately, it had been expected that Pumphouse Designs would have forwarded the draft planning application to the Council in time for the meeting, but it had not arrived. Pumphouse Designs was not charging for drawing up the plans. The Council agreed to defer consideration of the plans to the next meeting of the Planning Committee on 11/12/12. However, the Council RESOLVED: That the following satisfactory arrangements are noted:

  • The Sedlescombe British Legion has sufficient funds to purchase and install a 6m, 1 piece, fibreglass flagpole with internal halyard in the centre of the area just north of the Pumphouse. It will have the recommended foundations, a hinged plate and lockable door.
  • High quality sewn flags (and future replacements) will be provided by the Sedlescombe British Legion.
  • The Union Flag will be flown every day without raising or lowering it, apart from days when the flag needs to fly at half-mast when the Sedlescombe British Legion will arrange for the raising and lowering.
  • On occasions, the flag of St George will be flown.
  • Sedlescombe British Legion will also raise and lower any parish flag if required.

It was RESOLVED: That Sedlescombe Parish Council will, if the design and siting of the flagpole are approved by the Sedlescombe Planning Committee, submit and pay for the planning application.

 

It was noted that confirmation had been received from Came & Company that, with the Parish Council's agreement to installation of the flagpole, the Council's public liability insurance will automatically cover the pole within the existing premium. The insurance will not, of course, cover damage to the flagpole or the flag.

 

It was also noted that the only underground services that the Council is aware of on the part of the Village Green where the installation is proposed, are BT and Gas but they appear from plans to be close to and parallel with the B2244. However, the installer must make further checks before commencing digging.

C12/13.91
Minutes. RESOLVED: That the Chairman of the Council is authorised to sign the Minutes of the Meeting of the Council held on 18/09/12.
C12/13.92 Committees
  1. Planning Executive Committee. RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the Meetings of the Planning Committee held on 18/09/12 and 30/10/12 are received.
  2. Finance Executive Committee. RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the Meetings of the Finance Committee held on 16/10/12 are received..
  3. Parking &Traffic Advisory Committee. RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the meeting of the Parking & Traffic Advisory Committee held on 06/11/12 are approved. This includes the following:
    1. Provision of £56-worth of WH Smith tokens to cover one prize for each of the seven classes for a Road Safety Competition organised by Cllr Eldridge.
    2. Postponement of the Parking & Traffic Advisory Committee's presentation to the Council from January 2013 to March 2013.
C12/13.93

Casual Vacancy

  1. Current Vacancy. It was noted that, at the close of the allotted time for applications to fill the current vacancy on the Council, no-one had come forward or even made an inquiry about the work of the Council, despite it being advertised more than usual. RESOLVED: That the casual vacancy on the Parish Council should be re-advertised. NB The rules are that the vacancy should be filled "as soon as practicable".
  2. Vacancies on the Planning and Finance Committee. RESOLVED: That Cllr Parsons should fill the vacancy on the Parish Council's Planning Committee with immediate effect.
  3. Advertisement inviting people qualified by residency or employment "to apply to be added to a list of people who will be considered for co-option to the Council in the event of a vacancy occurring on the Council and no election being demanded in the due time". RESOLVED: That an ongoing advert should be produced for the board and website inviting electors to apply to fill vacancies on the Council as and when they arise.
C12/13.94

Encouragement of various section of this community to be more involved. The subject of encouraging more young people to become involved in community activities has been a subject for discussion at both the District and County Conferences held recently and attended by Sedlescombe councillors. The following was noted:

  1. Youth groups and schoolchildren to be invited to the Sedlescombe Annual Parish Meeting.
  2. Some people would like to be involved in a one-off project but are not willing to take ongoing commitments.
  3. It would be useful for councillors to have a list of jobs volunteers could be asked to do.
  4. Councillors could ask members of other societies they are involved with whether they would be willing to become a volunteer for a particular purpose.
  5. Cllr Chapman was congratulated on the work he is currently doing getting together a list of volunteers who will undertake grounds maintenance work. If this is accepted at the next Finance Committee meeting, it is expected that substantial savings will be made in the Council's grounds maintenance contracts costs. Cllr Chapman expects to be guided by ex-Cllr Pat Martin who is still involved with some voluntary work in the Village.
C12/13.95

Use of Volunteers.

  1. Clerk's Briefing 22-12 - Volunteers - was noted. The "Contracts to Let" and "Voluntary Work" will be considered at the next Finance Committee meeting on 04/12/12. The following voluntary work was discussed:
    1. Litter collection along roads and lanes. The band of 30 litter pickers organised by John Roberts and then Ralph Dellow has dwindled and a co-ordinator needs to be identified who will ensure that places are filled so that most lanes and roads in Sedlescombe can be covered by a regular litter pick. Councillors to try to find someone to fill this voluntary position.
    2. Public rights of way. Cllr Vine-Hall, Rights of Way Lead Councillor, is maintaining a list of volunteers willing to walk our paths and report problems to the Council. A small group of volunteers can then undertake maintenance work. Cllr Vine-Hall will contact ESCC to agree to be part of the "Path Warden" scheme.
    3. Sedlescombe Lift Scheme. Cllr Glew, Lift Scheme lead councillor, had checked with the Home Office and reported that the introduction of the need for CRB checks (disclosure and barring) for drivers transporting people to health care, personal care or social care had been delayed until December 2013. Currently, only new drivers will need checks.
    4. SID Volunteers. Cllr Parsons, SID lead councillor, is arranging for volunteers to meet with PCSO Demi on Thursday 22/11/12 re SID training. It was agreed that Hi-Viz jackets, already owned by councillors, could be shared when volunteers are doing SID work.
  2. Tools. The Council has a range of tools suitable for gardening and building work which are held by the Clerk.
  3. RESOLVED:
    1. That the Parish Council supports extending the use of volunteers in Sedlescombe
      1. To increase the sense of community and pride in the Village
      2. To provide services that would otherwise not be provided
      3. To help reduce the cost of maintaining Village amenities to the benefit of Council Taxpayers

    2. That the Parish Council should introduce a Volunteer Registration Scheme Agreement to ensure that volunteers are working under the auspices of the Parish Council and are covered by the Parish Council's public liability and personal accident insurance.

    3. That a Job Sheet is introduced for each type of voluntary work approved by the Council listing the site location(s), hazards that need to be brought to the attention of the volunteers for their protection and the tools and equipment needed for the job.

    4. Lead Councillors. That parish councillors are appointed to oversee the volunteers as follows:
      1. Cllr Glew - Sedlescombe Lift Scheme drivers (retrospective)
      2. Cllr Chapman - minor maintenance volunteers
      3. Cllr Parsons - Speed Indicator Device volunteers
      4. Cllr Vine-Hall - Rights of Way (in conjunction with ESCC)

    5. That the purchase of hi-viz tabards, gloves, litter pickers, first aid kits, hand washing material and other tools and equipment considered necessary for the volunteer to undertake the work safely is approved up to £100.

    6. That approval of the details of the Volunteer Scheme is delegated to the Finance Committee and that an extra Finance Committee Meeting will be held on Tuesday 04/12/12.
C12/13.96

Clerk's Report

  1. Holiday schedules. Councillors were reminded to let the Clerk/RFO know when they will be away.
  2. E-mail problems. Councillors are reminded to make the Clerk/RFO aware when they are experiencing e-mail problems so that alternative arrangements can be made for dissemination of information.
  3. Street naming. Chased Rother but no information received. The new development at Pestalozzi is being advertised as "Oaklands Park".
  4. March 2013 meeting. The date of the March 2013 Sedlescombe Parish Council meeting has been changed to 19/03/13.
C12/13.97 Finance
  1. Bank reconciliation at the end of October 2012. See HERE. RESOLVED: That the bank reconciliation at the end of October 2012 is approved. It was checked this month by Cllrs Glew and Vine-Hall.

  2. RESOLVED: That upgrading the Council's computer software by the installation of Windows 8 and the MoneyManager accounts program at the total cost of £70.83 is approved.

  3. Council Computer Equipment. The Chairman reported that Colin Raymond had reviewed the Council's computer equipment following another recent disk failure. His report had been forwarded to the Chairman and Vice-Chairman. Colin had recommended that the Council should consider replacing the computer box @ current price of £789.57 (old screen and keyboard to be retained), software for the website @ current price of £181.56, Adobe Elements upgrade @ current price of £81.80, annual cloud-based storage at £4.80. These prices may vary at the time of purchase. Colin is willing to use the updated Dreamweaver software to construct a replacement website for free to incorporate up-to-date facilities. The content will remain the same but will be presented differently. The Clerk/RFO outlined current offsite back-up methods for the Council's data and suggested that uploading to Skydrive will allow anyone, allowed by password, to access the files including many Sedlescombe photographs. It was agreed that Cllr Glew should hold the password.
    RESOLVED: That the Council agrees to replace its 6.5 year-old computer equipment as recommended in Colin Raymond's Computer Review Report of November 2012 following failure of computer hard disks and increasing unreliability and difficulty to maintain.

  4. Ratification of payment of accounts in October and November 2012. RESOLVED: That payment of the following cheques is ratified by the Council.

    Code
    Cheque
    Payee
    Purpose
    £
    £
    Oct 12          
    1001E 102957 P J Raymond Clerk's Salary, October 2012  
    £1028.58
    1004E 102958 P J Raymond 50% broadband  
    12.76
      102959   Petty Cash  
    14.44
    1005E 102960 Digley Associated Ltd    
    1006E 102961 Sedlescombe Village Hall Hall hire, September 2012  
    31.50
    1007E 102962 Roger's Gardening Services Litter, sweeping and mowing  
    255.00
      102963 Sedlescombe Parish Council Transfer funds to West Bromwich Building Society  
    11,000.00
             
    £12396.28
    Direct Debit to Public Works Loan Board - approval of direct debit for MUGA approved by Council 18/09/12)
    Nov 12        
    1008E

    102965*

    cancelled

    Post Office Ltd Automatic 7-day traffic count in Brede Lane  
    396.00
    1009E 102966 R Chapman 2 oak planks for klondike  
    50.00
    1010E 102967 P J Raymond Windows 8 Pro upgrade
    24.99
    1106E     MoneyManager upgrade
    60.00
    1101E     50% broadband
    12.76
             
    97.75
    1102E 102968 P J Raymond Clerk's Salary, November 2012  
    1028.58
      102969 P J Raymond Petty Cash  
    22.10
    1105E 102970 Sedlescombe Village Hall Hall hire, October 2012  
    17.50
      102971 Sedlescombe Parish Council Transfer funds to West Bromwich Building Society  
    10000.00
    1107E 102972 P J Raymond 2 toner  
    153.46
    1108E 102973 Bibby Factors Manchester Limited Hogweed control  
    420.00
             
    £12185.39
    Re * Cheque No.102965 cancellation - because a fee of £2.75 was to be charged through the Post Office, the cheque was cancelled and the traffic survey paid for with Cheque No.102974 and sent by post to East Sussex County Council.
C12/13.98 Training. Three new councillors would like to have basic councillor training. RESOLVED: That the Clerk/RFO should sound out other parish councils in Rother to see whether it would be feasible to run a course in Sedlescombe. Cllr Parsons, who has just been appointed to the Planning Committee, would like training on planning. The Clerk reminded members that she can provide some Powerpoint in-house training.
C12/13.99 Parish Meeting to be held on Friday 30 November 2012 in the Village Hall 19:30 to 21:00. Meeting called by the Chairman of the Council to inform the parish of the Parish Council's objections to the proposed housing/education/employment development in Brede Lane.
  1. Council's position on the development proposals as exhibited in Sedlescombe Village Hall in September on behalf of the developers. Sedlescombe Parish Council had resolved to oppose the development as proposed in the autumn of 2011. The current proposals are now different and therefore members were asked for their current views. RESOLVED: That Sedlescombe Parish Council remains opposed to the development of the Street Farm site in Brede Lane despite various changes being made since the last Council resolution in 2011.

  2. Arrangements for the forthcoming public meeting and parish councillor involvement. Cllr Reynolds was thanked for producing large posters advertising the meeting. They will be displayed as "A" boards at various locations around the Village from Wednesday 21/11/12. RESOLVED: That larger boards can be displayed on the Village Green for longer than specified in the relevant Council policy.

    At the meeting, Cllrs Glew, Mitchell, Chapman and Parsons will check attendees' names off against the current alphabetical Electors' List. Sedlescombe Electors will be given a card and will be directed by Cllrs Eldridge, Reynolds and Anson to sit at the front of the meeting. Non-Electors will be directed to the rear two rows. Only Electors will be allowed to vote, if this should be necessary. Speakers who know they will want to take part should contact the Clerk/RFO beforehand.

    A series of pleasant views of Sedlescombe will be run before and after the meeting.

  3. Headteacher. It was noted that the head teacher has asked for various points to be raised on her behalf and in her absence.

  4. Pre-School Chairman. It was noted that comments which the Chairman of the Sedlescombe Pre-School had sent to the Parish Council in support of the proposals will be used by the Chairman at the meeting.
C12/13.100 Flags. This item had been moved to agenda item 90.
C12/13.101

Sportsfield

  1. Shortfall in funding the Sportsfield Car Park extension and request for help from the Sports Association. The car park extension is virtually finished. However, the costs have risen dramatically and, although accounts have not been provided by either the Sports Association or the Football Club, probably amount to more than £8,000 against the original quote which suggested spending of about £2,500. The Parish Council has not been involved with giving the order for or monitoring the work. It has paid for drawing up the plans, applying for planning permission and purchasing two rolls of Terram Sheeting.

    The Council was informed that, without any reference to either the Pestalozzi International Village or the Parish Council, the contractor has recently tipped spoil from the Sportsfield side over the ditch into heaps along the verge which belongs to Pestalozzi and has left a large grassless scar along the edge of the Sportsfield ditch. Pestalozzi is in contact with the Sports Association and has requested that, at the very least, the spoil is spread and flattened. Cllrs Anson and Chapman to look into the situation.

    Ashley Davey of the Football Club had reported a pile of fly-tipped material at the car park.

  2. Consideration of who should be responsible for maintaining the enlarged Sportsfield Car Park. Currently, the existing Car Park area is not included in the lease of the Sportsfield to the Sports Association. RESOLVED: That, if possible, the whole car park should be leased to the Sports Association.

  3. Parish Council/Sports Association Lease of the Sportsfield. Cllr Anson provided details of the defects in the Lease. He agreed to draft a Lease based on the Law Society Template together with addendums to cover unusual items and to meet with the Secretary of the Sports Association to run through his suggestions before coming back to the January meeting of the Council.
C12/13.102 Footpaths. Dealt with under agenda item 95.2
C12/13.103

School

  1. It was noted that Sedlescombe School has been shortlisted in the Courier Newspaper's Heart of the Community competition to improve the School swimming pool facilities to include new communal changing rooms and 6 individual changing cubicles for adults as well as toilet and shower facilities. The cost is expected to be about £30,000 and the facilities to be available for use by 2013. The competition is based on votes.

  2. The headteacher had asked for comments regarding ways to improve the safety of the Brede Lane Car Park. She had written to Rother and, in reply to Mrs Ham's e-mail, Kim Ross, Head of Amenities states:
    1. That it would be helpful to understand how many near misses or accidents have occurred at the Car Park.
    2. That, if improvement work is vital, Rother will pursue collective funding from ESCC, the Parish Council and the School. [The Clerk/RFO had asked Mrs Ham what alterations to the arrows at the car park she is proposing and her reply is awaited.]
    3. That Rother is "in discussions currently with Sedlescombe Parish Council" re devolvement.
      [Rother and the Parish Council are not in current discussions although, of course, the Parish Council is aware that devolvement to the Parish Council is currently Rother's preferred option for the future of the car park and public conveniences. The Parish Council has informed Rother that it does not wish to take over responsibility for these amenities but this appears to have been ignored.]
C12/13.104 Red barn Field. Improvement of the walking bus route. A local resident has suggested that, because the path through Red Barn Field is rough and stony and the part of public footpath 6 on Pine View land is often wet and muddy, they should be covered with tarmac to encourage more use by children walking to School. Also that hedges etc along the footpath should be cut back more vigorously. It was agreed that the Council should take no action re Red Barn Field because members consider the path to be satisfactory and an upgrade would be very expensive.
C12/13.105 East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service. Comments by 1712/12. Fire & Rescue Service's medium-term plan.
  1. A downgrade to a retained fire station of the Hastings Fire and Rescue service station at the Ridge is being proposed in the plan. The Clerk/RFO had checked on where the response to a fire in Sedlescombe would come from and had been told that the first appliance would normally come from Battle. If required, normally the second appliance would also come from Battle. If the second Battle appliance is unavailable, attendance would then be mobilised from The Ridge during the daytime or from Broad Oak at night time. The Clerk was asked to find out why we do not receive cover from the Hastings Fire Station.
  2. Comments on the Plan (questionnaire can be seen at the back of the plan). Although no-one wants to get a worse service, it is obvious that money has to be saved and, therefore, the Council will not be commenting on the plan.
C12/13.106 East Sussex Cultural Survey. Closing date 08/02/13. Details can be seen at: http://www.eastsussex.gov.uk/yourcouncil/consultation/2012/culturalstrategy/default.htm. No comment.
C12/13.107

Superfast Broadband - report from East Sussex County Council.

The Clerk/RFO was able to report that the UK's rural broadband project had just received EU approval. Such approval was needed because the project is partially state-aided.

C12/13.108

Annual Sedlescombe Parish Meeting 2013. Various details of the meeting to be held on 30/04/13 were discussed so that information can be included in the 2013 Annual Report & Directory.

  1. Meeting to start at 19:00.
  2. Children from the Primary School/Brownies/Guides to be invited to take part.
  3. Students from Pestalozzi to be invited to take part but they may not be able to arrive until 19:30.
  4. County Councillor and District Council to be invited to provide a one A5 page for inclusion in the Report rather than giving a verbal report.
  5. Free raffle to be included (Queen's Head has agreed to give a dinner for two).
  6. Display tables to be invited as usual.
  7. Question and Answer panel to be included.
  8. Photos to be projected before and after meeting.
  9. Councillors (including County and District) to hold "clinics" focusing on their main areas of interest during serving of refreshments at end of meeting.
  Chairman.......................................... Date.................................................................