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Neighbourhood Plan Committee Minutes


Cllr J Vine-Hall (Chairman of the Council and of the Committee)
Cllr P Glew (Vice-Chairman of the Council)
Cllrs R Chapman, R Eldridge, L Fraser, J Parsons, J Reynolds
Clerk/RFO: Mrs Pauline J Raymond

73 APOLOGY FOR ABSENCE from Cllr Lawrence.



  1. Cllr P Glew - dispensation granted to allow her to participate and vote in discussions involving the allotment site despite her husband being a tenant of an allotment.
  2. Cllr R Eldridge - dispensation granted to him to participate and vote in discussions involving the allotment site despite him being a tenant of an allotment.
  3. Cllr Vine-Hall - dispensation granted to allow him to participate and vote in discussions involving possible development sites in the parish even though he owns land adjacent to one of them.
  4. Cllr Chapman - dispensation granted to allow him to participate and vote in discussions involving possible development sites in the parish even though he is a near neighbour of the Pestalozzi International Village.
  5. Cllr Fraser - dispensation to allow her to participate and vote in discussions involving possible development sites in the parish even though she is a near neighbour of one of them.

76 PUBLIC PARTICIPATION. No public present.

77 MINUTES. RESOLVED: That the Chairman is authorised to sign the Minutes of the Meeting of the Neighbourhood Plan Committee held on 24/09/13.

78 BUSINESS/EMPLOYERS/ESTATE AGENTS SURVEYS. Members were provided with hard copies of Cllr Fraser's report and she guided them through the content. She was thanked for her excellent report which provided a great deal of useful information. The Chairman mentioned a possible Facebook initiative that he planned to detail at the next Council Meeting which may go some way to addressing the problem of local businesses not being able to attract local employees. The Clerk suggested that the business report should include a full list of the sixty Sedlescombe businesses identified this year. Cllr Fraser to include the list.

The businesses, similar to local residents, had highlighted concerns about the weight of traffic through the Village. The Chairman reported some extra analysis he had prepared using data taken from the 2006 and 2013 Sedlescombe traffic surveys in The Street - he had calculated that there has been a 60% increase in traffic in The Street in the seven years since 2006. Members were reminded that, this year, it had been found that on average the slip road by The Green (known as The Green) takes 450 cars per day.

There was some general discussion about questions that, in hindsight, could have been asked in one of the 2013 Parish Council surveys of residents including details of residents' employment of home helps etc and the types of work available in the various larger businesses.

79 ANALYSIS OF EXHIBITION CONSULTATION FORMS TO INCLUDE AN UPDATE ON THE SITES. Members were provided with the analysis carried out by Linda Jones & Partners of the 331 residents' exhibition survey forms. Linda had also provided a list of the comments made by residents on each site. In addition, there had been 11 non-resident comment forms returned and 1 detailed comment from a Planning Consultant on behalf of a prospective developer.

Overwhelming support for redevelopment of the three brownfield sites E01, E03 and E02 was noted (ranked in top 5 by 90%, 89% and 88% respectively of respondents with only 5%, 6% and 4% who definitely would not want them developed). E04 The Parish Church followed with 76% ranking it in their top 5 with 11% against and E06 Luffs Farm with 56% ranking it in their top 5 with 13% against.

Support for the remainder of the sites ie E07, E05, E09, E11, and E10 dropped off to 35% for/22% against, 29% for/41% against, 11% for/43% against, 10% for/44% against and 6% for/61% against.

Translated into people:

Pestalozzi 298 for and 17 against
Blackbrooks 295 for and 20 against
Sawmills 291 for and 13 against
Parish Church 252 for and 36 against
Luffs Farm 185 for and 43 against
Sunningdale/Powdermills 115 for and 73 against
Red Barn Field 96 for and 136 against
Gorselands 36 for and 142 against
Street Farm 33 for and 146 against
Allotments 20 for and 202 against

Members noted in particular that

  1. The Balcombe Green site (E08) had been withdrawn immediately after the exhibition.
  2. The Powdermills part of E07 had been removed in the last two weeks leaving just part of the Sunningdale site which is outside the flood risk zone. As many of the exhibition comments made about this site focused on the position in the flood risk zone of a large proportion of the Powdermills/Sunningdale site, it is probable that this site as it now stands would have received more support at the exhibition if it had been displayed.
  3. Some detailed comments had been received from neighbours of prospective development sites that had identified themselves, particularly, Luffs Farm, Blackbrooks and Red Barn Field and it was accepted that the Committee should think about the potential effect of development on near neighbours and should attempt to introduce mitigating measures.
  4. The Parish Council's field at Red Barn had not been supported for development by 41% of respondents which was a much higher percentage of people than had admitted to using the facility in the July 2013 Residents' Survey. It was, therefore, concluded that people appreciate the intrinsic value of a nature park. Similarly with the allotment site where 61% of respondents were against housing development despite there only being a dozen or so allotments showing that allotments are still seen as an important element to retain in a village.
  5. Rother's policy to retain large (ie 6 or more) new sites in or adjacent to the development boundary in order that people may walk or cycle to village services is no longer appropriate in Sedlescombe. For example, Blackbrooks is developing into a secondary service centre where many goods can easily be purchased with no parking problems. People living in a development there could easily and safely walk to access the services including a popular restaurant. Today, for various reasons, walking to Village services and amenities is not popular even for people living right in the centre of the Village eg in The Street, Gorselands or East View Terrace who often seem to prefer to go by car.
  6. Before the Garden Centre was built, there was a garage on site at Blackbrooks with two entrance/exits and, maybe, this could be considered in the future. The Highways Agency will have to be involved in consideration of the proposed access to the Blackbrooks proposed development on the A21. The B2244/A21 junction remains unpopular and a roundabout here would be appreciated by some.
  7. Wherever housing development is sited, ESCC works on up to 11 additional vehicular movements per day associated with each dwelling.
  8. The idea of live/work housing at the Sawmills may be supported in the future as there is a growing trend today for people employed by large firms to work from home. Also some small existing businesses could be carried out there causing fewer problems to neighbours.
  9. Residents support the construction of housing over a period and it is expected that each site will come forward at a different time over the 15-year period.
  10. For the majority of sites, the numbers of dwellings shown on the Residents' Survey have not been the subject of a professional building survey. Advice should be sought from builders regarding the viability of numbers and types of property on the various sites. Owners may wish to have plans drawn up.

Discussion took place on whether some sites should be removed from consideration altogether at this stage. However, members were concerned that the number of properties proposed for Sedlescombe in the Core Strategy (currently set at 35) has not yet been approved at Examination and that there is no guarantee that one or more of the preferred sites won't have to drop out for some reason. It was, therefore, decided not to totally exclude any site at the present time.

It was RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That the Parish Council will support inclusion of Sites E01, E02, E03, E04, E06 and E07 in the Draft Pre-Submission Sedlescombe Neighbourhood Development Plan and, for the time being, take no further action on Sites E05, E09, E10, E11.

80 STATE OF THE PARISH REPORT. Members had been able to see the current draft. Several sections eg policies, sites and maps are still to be added. Members were asked to e-mail any comments or amendments to the Clerk. A suggestion was made that the distances should be quoted in miles rather than kilometres.

81 DRAFT POLICIES FOR THE PRE-SUBMISSION PLAN. The Chairman suggested that members should consider the general policies that they might want to put in place to guide development including, for example, green energy policies, rainwater harvesting, a maximum number of houses, a green space between existing properties and new development, timing of development, visibility of solar panels and waste bins. Site-specific policies will also be required.

Further investigation will be made into:

  1. How the Parish Council could get more control over the future design of properties.
  2. The types of affordable housing that may be included in the proposed developments ie social housing, shared ownership and intermediate housing.

82 MEETING WITH NEIL HOMER AT OAST HOUSE, HURST HOUSE ON MONDAY 11 NOVEMBER, 14:00-16:00. Discussion to be centred around the State of the Parish Report and Pre-Submission Report. Members were reminded.

83 MEETING WITH NEIL HOMER AND DAVID MARLOW IN COMMITTEE ROOM 2 OF SEDLESCOMBE VILLAGE HALL ON TUESDAY 19 NOVEMBER, 15:30. Discussion to be centred around the way forward. Members were reminded.