MEETING ON TUESDAY 9 APRIL 2013, 18:30 TO 20:40
PRESENT: Cllr Jonathan Vine-Hall (Chair), Cllr Pauline Glew (Vice-Chair)
Cllr Roy Chapman, Cllr Jenny Mitchell, Cllr John Parsons, Lindsay Fraser
David Marlow (Planning Strategy and Environment Manager, Rother District Council)
Pauline J Raymond - Parish Clerk/Responsible Financial Officer
1 member of the public
5 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE were received from Cllrs Eldridge and Lawrence.
6 MINUTES. RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the Meeting of the last SNPPG Meeting held on 19/03/13 are approved as a correct record
7 KEY VISION STATEMENTS FOR PARISH. A vision statement had been agreed in 2002 as part of the Sedlescombe Parish Plan. It was agreed that the statement should be expanded to read as follows:
To make Sedlescombe a vibrant place that values its past but looks to the future, where people are proud to live and work and to be part of a caring community. To ensure the character of the village is maintained whilst allowing growth and encouraging a sense of community through well-planned housing appropriate to the needs of the community.
8 DETAILED ACTION PLAN FOR THE SNPPG. Members discussed, and added to, the Action Plan. Revised plan here.
9 EVIDENCE SOURCES. David Marlow had marked off appropriate evidence sources on the list produced by Rother District Council. It was agreed that members would study one or two of the reports to inform the process.
10. E-MAIL DATABASE - SOCIETIES. The Clerk is maintaining an e-mail database of people in Sedlescombe who would like to be kept informed of the Neighbourhood Plan process. Each member of the group was allocated one or more village groups or societies to contact to try to get their members to register on the database. E-mail details to be forwarded to the Clerk.
11. STREET CHAMPIONS. Cllr Glew will make a start on finding a street champion for every road in the parish. The job of each champion will be to encourage others in their road to become involved in the Neighbourhood Plan process.
12. LIST OF RESPONSIBILITIES. The Plan documents various work that will need to be undertaken. Cllr Parsons has already spoken to those in Swailes Green to whom he delivered the Annual Report recently. Generally, people living in that part of the parish are not very interested in a Neighbourhood Plan and may feel more allegiance to, say, Staplecross, than Sedlescombe. The need for positive points to encourage people living outside the centre of the Village to become involved was agreed.
Businesses need to be involved also. To date, they have not been part of the Parish Council's quarterly delivery system but, in future, the Clerk will ensure they are.
13. DEVELOPING CRITERIA FOR SITE ASSESSMENT. A leaflet explaining Neighbourhood Planning and asking for sites against a list of criteria had been sent by the Parish Council to all properties in the parish between 26/03/13 and to date. Details are shown on the Parish noticeboard and on the website. Responses have been requested by 20/05/13. The Clerk will ensure that businesses receive a copy also.
It was agreed that the advantages and disadvantages of each site will be considered and graded on a red/green/amber rating system.
Members asked to consider what other criteria should be included.
David Marlow commented on the list of criteria included in the leaflet, particularly on the first which states "should have a maximum of six houses on a site to have the lowest impact on the surrounding houses". He considered this to be difficult to justify and said that it could be argued that a development of 12 properties could have less impact on the community than 3 sites of 4 properties each. He also commented that more should be included in the Sedlescombe criteria about nature conservation and, possibly, flood risk, tree protection and heritage. Sites for less than six properties are not counted other than as "windfall" sites. David and the Chairman discussed the meaning of the Neighbourhood Plan having to be in "general conformity with the strategic policy of the development plan for the area....." It is Sedlescombe's undertstanding that there would be no purpose for the Neighbourhood Plan to be the same as the Core Strategy.
The actual number of properties that will, in the end, be required up to 2028 in Sedlescombe is still not decided because of the recent revocation of the SE Plan which could easily result in sites having to be found for a large number of additional properties in Rother where market-based demand is over twice the number that would have been approved under the SE Plan. All sites will, therefore, need to be looked at carefully to see whether they are suitable for development.
Sedlescombe Parish Council has always objected to having the same proportion as other parishes of new affordable housing because of its current high proportion. The Group will consider ways to address this problem.
David Marlow spoke briefly about sustainable development and steered members to the descriptive pages included in the National Planning Policy Framework. Although there is no requirement for a sustainability appraisal to be carried out, it is just as well for Neighbourhood Plans to assess whether proposed development would be sustainable.
Other matters raised by David Marlow were as follows:
- Rother not only has a scrutiny role, but also will help in providing information as far as they are able. Rother has a great amount of data and can provide map layers.
- Sedlescombe should be very certain of the scope of the project and should inform Rother if employment opportunities are to be included. Larger employment sites, within the parish of Sedlescombe, but close to the boundary with Battle, in Marley Lane, are probably strategic sites of District-wide significance that should be considered by Rother.
- Norman Kwan will be the officer who will assist Sedlescombe.
- Help should be sought from other agencies as well as Rother, for example East Sussex Highways and the Environment Agency.
- The Group should consider what the community needs in the way of infrastructure that could be included in development, for example footways. Development can bring advantages and not just through the proposed Community Infrastructure Levy which will be of limited value to parishes.
- Some nature conservation opportunities could arise.
- Distances from proposed development to a Village Store, a School and a Doctors' Surgery are usually considered by Rother.
- There would need to be very good reasons for approval of development disconnected from the development boundary.
- If an employment-generating site no longer is needed in a community, it might be possible to use it for housing development.
- Important that details of all consultations are documented and the Clerk will be responsible for this aspect.
- The difficulty of keeping to a timetable because of matters which arise. The Chairman had updated the timetable and gave a copy to members.
- "Show stoppers" ie designations of various types which prohibit development in the way that may be chosen locally.
- Copies of the adopted Local Plan 2006 were given to Cllrs Chapman, Glew, Mitchell, Parsons and Lindsay Fraser.
- The Clerk and Cllr Parsons were given copies of the printed Proposed Submission Core Strategy with Focused Amendments. No further copies are being printed at the moment because of the delay in approval caused by the revocation of the SE Plan.
14 RESIDENT SURVEY - SCOPE AND TIMING. The Plan includes a resident survey to fully understand the opinions of residents and resident preference for different types of development. Residents to be encouraged to reply by e-mail and through the use of street champions. Chairman to write brief and survey to be distributed by 10/06/13.
15 MAPPING OF POTENTIAL SITES. David Marlow had provided two large maps, one of the parish and the other of the centre of the Village. Members of the Group gave initial consideration to potential sites which might be suitable for development.
16 FUTURE MEETINGS OF THE SNPPG. Planning Consultant quotations will be sent out to three companies this week for return to the Clerk by 03/05/13. The next meeting of SNPPG will be held on 07/05/13 (DCLG rep to be invited) when the quotes will be opened. The Parish Council's Finance Committee plans to meet after the Council Meeting on 14/05/13 to accept one of the quotes. Monthly meeting dates for the remainder of the year will be sent to members for approval.