Minutes of the Meeting held on
Tuesday 19th January 2016 at 19:00
in Committee Room 2 of Sedlescombe Village Hall
All minute numbers are preceded by C15/16
Cllr. Vine-Hall (Chairman)
Cllrs. Anson, Brister, Chapman, Fraser, Glew (Vice-Chair), Page, Parsons and Veitch
Clerk/RFO: Mrs Carol Hodgson
Cllr. Angharad Davies - County Councillor (in part), Cllr. Tony Ganly - District Councillor, and Mrs. Marian Ham (Headteacher Sedlescombe CEP School)
The Chairman invited the following to speak:
Mrs Susan Walton (Chief Executive of Pestalozzi International Village) was unable to attend but sent the following news:-
The green roof is on the Pestalozzi Centre and we expect the scaffolding to start coming down next week. We understand that Southern Water have had severe problems with the sewage pumping station that sits in the field above the sports pitches. This has resulted in raw sewage flowing into the river. Anyone walking their dogs in this area should be a little wary! We have the first of our Cultural Evenings for the year on Thursday 11th February at 6.30pm. This is going to involve local groups as well as Pestalozzi students and should be great fun! More details should be appearing on the website shortly.
District Councillor Tony Ganly reported organisations have until 31st January 2016 to apply for funding from the RDC Community Grants fund and the 1066 Anniversary Grants Fund (set-up to mark the 950th anniversary of the Norman Conquest). RDC are proposing to increase their part of the Council Tax by just under 2% - which is the lowest in East Sussex. RDC is running a public consultation until 16th February 2016 on the Council Budget 2016/17. ESCC are proposing to increase their part of the Council Tax to just under 4%. Following a public consultation on the 'Statement of Community Involvement' one of the issues which arose was in relation to public speaking at Planning Committee. Cabinet has asked Officers to undertake a research into a regulated petition-based public speaking scheme that would provide public participation in the planning system. The results would be reported back to Cabinet for review. The Independent Remuneration Panel has proposed an increase in District Councillors basic allowance from £4,237 to £4,280 (£43). Cabinet Members basic allowances are proposed to increase from £2,692 to £2,719 (£27). This has to go before the Full Council for a final decision. Parish Council asked if there was funding available under the RDC Community Grants Scheme for celebrating the Queens 90th Birthday. Cllr. Ganly was not aware of any such funding but the main fund was generally available for Community purposes.
Mrs Marian Ham (Head of Sedlescombe Primary School) reported that the current school roll count was 218 pupils which was again oversubscribed. Based on the number of new parents viewing the School for the 2016 intake, it would be oversubscribed for the coming year. The School is creating a link with the Pestalozzi via their School Council . A visit is planned to Pestalozzi next week. An OFSTED inspection is due anytime now. Last September a mock OFSTED Inspection was carried out by an ex-OFSTED officer authorised by ESCC and this had gone very well.
Marian gave Members the news that she has decided to retire at the end of the academic year. (31st August 2016). She has been Head Teacher of Sedlescombe Primary School for 25 years and taught for 38 years in total. She thanked the Parish Council for being incredibly kind and supportive of the school during her time. The School is doing really well, there have been a few staff changes but they are in a good place.
County Councillor Angharad Davies reported ESCC are very pleased that the Bexhill to Hastings link road opened on 17th December. The final cost of £120 million included £56 million from the Department for Transport. The feedback has been very positive. ESCC has signed a new Highways contract with Costain, starting on 1st May 2016. The new 7 year contract, replaces the existing arrangement with 3 separate contractors responsible for highways, street lighting and traffic signals. Costain will be responsible for maintaining the East Sussex highways network, including roads, pavements, drainage, street lights, traffic lights, gritting and grass cutting. Highways Stewards will continue as they are but will have more powers - they will be able to undertake simple safety repairs that would otherwise need to be allocated to a maintenance gang. ESCC is running a public consultation until 3rd April 2016 on proposed changes to Library opening hours. Parish Council commented on the poor state of the local drains and gullies, especially along Harts Green road where it is overflowing across the road. Cllr. Davies advised that the Highways Team has a program for clearing drains and gullies which she will check.
PCSO Demetrius Georghiou. Mr. David Torrance
145 Interests in accordance with 2012 Code of Conduct
- To receive new written requests for dispensation.
- To receive councillors' declarations of interest regarding matters on the agenda.
Cllr. Glew declared a personal interest in agenda item 149.2c as a neighbour to the applicant.
Cllr. Brister declared a personal interest in agenda item 149.1a as a neighbour to the the applicant.
Cllr. Anson declared a personal interest in agenda item 153 as a resident in Stream Lane.
Cllr. Vine-Hall declared a personal interest in agenda item 153 as a resident in Hurst Lane.
146 Public participation session re matters on the Agenda at the Chairman's discretion.
There were no members of the public present.
147 To approve the minutes of the following meetings:-
RESOLVED: That the Chairman is authorised to sign the Minutes of the meeting held on 10th November 2015 and 15th December 2015
148 To receive Minutes of the following Finance Committee meeting:-
RESOLVED: That the minutes of 15th December 2015 were received.
- To consider response to planning applications.
a. RR/2015/2961/P - Constant Spring, Hawkhurst Road, Sedlescombe
Proposed new entrance porch and 2 No. velux windows to front elevation. Proposed two storey rear extension to enlarge dining room and form new bedroom. Proposed 2 No. rear dormers. Proposed single storey side extension to form utility room & WC
Cllr Page reported.
RESOLVED: Parish Council has no objections to this planning proposal and supports approval.
b. RR/2015/3040/P - Neatenden Farm, New England Lane, Sedlescombe
Conversion of barn to dwelling plus detached timber framed and clad garage.
Cllr. Chapman reported.
RESOLVED: Parish Council supports approval of the planning proposal with the following comments:-
1) 2 car parking spaces is considered insufficient parking for a 5 bedroom dwelling
2) The development will be seen from a public footpath
3) There are concerns that trees in the ancient woodland would need to come down
4) That Highways England recommendation in relation to the previous application RR/2004/1652/P 'for the permanent closure of New England Lane' is reviewed.
c. RR/2015/3053/T - 11 Orchard Way, Sedlescombe
Works to one oak tree.
Cllr. Glew reported.
RESOLVED: Parish Council has no objections to the work proposed on the oak tree.
- To receive advice of decisions on previous applications
a. RR/2015/2492/P - Homestall, The Street, Sedlescombe
Demolition of existing double garage and replacement with new double garage/ workshop and log store.
APPROVED CONDITIONAL : As per decision notice 17-Dec-15
b. RR/2015/2633/P - 1 Coach House Cottages, Hurst Lane, Sedlescombe
Proposed two storey side extension- partially to replace conservatory type entrance porch.
APPROVED CONDITIONAL : As per decision notice 17-Dec-15
c. RR/2015/2704/P - 34 Park Shaw, Sedlescombe
Proposed single storey side extension to form additional living area.
APPROVED CONDITIONAL : As per decision notice 13-Jan-16
d. RR/2015/2803/MA - Cartref, The Street, Sedlescombe
Non material minor amendment to RR/2004/3635/P to change the first floor wall finishes Marley-Eternit Cedral Weatherboard throughout, colour to be agreed with the Planning Authority together with the facing brick on the ground floor and the roof tiles. Add a window to the ground floor WC in each unit.
MA APPROVED : As per decision notice 07-Jan-16
150 Sedlescombe Sports Association
- To discuss the annual Pavilion Inspection conducted in October 2015 (to include action to be taken)
Members of the Sports Association had received a copy of the recent Pavilion Inspection and had been invited to attend this meeting to discuss several areas which had been highlighted as needing repair and attention. Apologies had been received from the Treasurer but no further Members were in attendance.
RESOLVED: To send the Trustees of the Sports Association (copy to their Chairman) a prioritised schedule of works required to the Pavilion and request that an appropriate action plan is drawn-up to undertake the work and submitted to Parish Council within 28 days of issue of the notification.
- To receive any items from the Sports Association
Only Parish Council's representative on the Sports Association was present.
151 Sedlescombe Neighbourhood Plan
- To revise the Terms of Reference passed by Parish Council on 18-Feb-13
RESOLVED: To keep the current Terms of Reference for the Sedlescombe Neighbourhood Plan Committee.
- To receive new written requests for dispensation.
Expired dispensations to 2014 for current Members of the group were as follows:-
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.
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.
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.
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.
RESOLVED: Cllrs. Glew, Chapman and Fraser are required to renew their expired dispensations. Cllr. Fraser in addition will submit a new request in relation to a newly proposed site at Scotch Down as a near neighbour. Cllr. Vine-Hall's expired dispensation is no longer relevant and will not need renewing.
- To receive any updates
A Neighbourhood Plan Committee meeting was due to take place after the Full Council with the primary purpose to appoint a Chairman to the Committee. A preliminary meeting prior to relaunching the Neighbourhood plan-making process was due to take place in February between representatives of the Parish Council and the District Council.
152 Police Community Support Officers
- To discuss the proposed changes under the Local Policing model to the PCSO's role
Sussex Police is currently running a 3 month Staff Consultation process which will result in a major restructure to the PCSO's role. Parish Council is concerned that the PCSO's will have a less visible role in the Community and is closely monitoring the consultation.
Cllr. Davies reported that Robertsbridge and Salehurst Parish Council is proposing to employ a Village Steward - Rye Town Council has a similar arrangement. The Steward is employed by the Town/Parish Council and is tasked with helping to maintain and improve the 'public realm'.
- To discuss PCSO Demi Georghiou
Under the proposed Local Policing model PCSO's will be made redundant and have to reapply for the newly created PCSO role.
RESOLVED: Parish Council to write a reference for PCSO Demi Georghiou.
153 To discuss concerns with current speed limits on Sedlescombe's country lanes (Stream, Hurst and Crazy Lane)
Parish Council is receiving an increased number of concerns from residents in regard to the speeding vehicles travelling though the lanes of Sedlescombe.
RESOLVED: Parish Council to request a quote from Highways to perform a '7 day temporary speed survey' on the following lanes/roads: 'Chapel Hill - Cottage Lane - Harts Green', Stream Lane, Hurst Lane, Brede Lane and The Street.
To also enquire if ESCC will Match Fund the cost of the Speed Surveys under the Community Self-Serve scheme as part of a larger project. (If applicable, the larger project will evolve from the results of the Speed Survey).
154 Traffic Calming Project:
To receive an update on the restricted parking zone opposite the shop with extended path from the pub to the shop.
No further updates had been received but a design engineer from ESCC had been seen measuring-up the area. Parish Council is hoping the design layout will be available to send out with the Annual Report and Directory's in March / April.
To receive any updates
Cllr. Parsons reported that the new Speed Gun could only operate whilst plugged into a 12v power supply, which was very restrictive.
RESOLVED: To purchase a rechargeable battery pack at a cost of £35.
156 Red Barn Field
- To receive an update on the grant application from the 'Brede Valley Farm Habitat Fund' for stock fencing at Red Barn Field.
The grant application had been approved by 'Brede Valley Farm Habitat Fund and a letter of offer received. Acceptance of the offer was required within 14 days.
RESOLVED: Subject to a satisfactory review of the terms and conditions of the grant by Cllr. Glew and the RFO, Parish Council accepts the grant offered by the Brede Valley Farm Habitat Fund.
- To receive any reports.
Cllr. Glew reported that the Red Barn Field Working Group would be meeting shortly. Members of the working group had arranged a tidy-up around the fruiting hedge later next week. Cllr. Glew requested that £1,000 was allocated to the 2016/17 Red Barn Field budget as agreed at the Finance meeting.
RESOLVED: To adjust the 2016/17 budget for Red Barn Field from £600 to £1,000.
- To agree the proposed Budget and Sedlescombe Parish Precept for 2016/17 financial year.
Members had received a copy of the budget preparation documents prior to the meeting for review. Cllr. Vine-Hall gave overview of the budget proposed by the Finance Committee. Provisions had been included for the future replacement of assets. Due to increases in suppliers costs to Parish Council, the Finance Committee recommended increasing the precept by 1.94% (in line with the proposed increase by Rother DC) from £42,479 to £45,054. This would result in an increase of Band D from £67.67 to £68.98 per annum.
RESOLVED: To increase the 2016/17 budget for Red Barn Field from £600 to £1,000 and reduce the Maintenance of Assets 2016/17 budget from £5,700 to £5,300. The precept to be set at £45,054 for 2016/17.
- To receive the statement of accounts to December '15 + transactions
RESOLVED: That the statement of accounts for December '15 + transactions are received.
- To receive the bank reconciliation for December 2015
RESOLVED: That the bank reconciliation for December 2015 is received.
- To receive an update on the future of external audit procurement and the new 'Sector Led Body' from 2017/18. (Audit Fact Sheet and SLB Letter and NALC Update)
Enquiries had been made with local accountants to perform Parish Council's external audit. No response had been received to date. Further information had be received from NALC regarding the new 'sector led body' Smaller Authorities’ Audit Appointments Ltd. 'Following the inaugural board meeting on 16 December 2015 the board had made some decisions on fee structures. For authorities requiring an annual assurance review (those with an annual turnover over £25,000) the intention is that fee rates will not exceed those applicable to reviews of accounts for the 2014/15 financial year'. This would mean Parish Council's fee would remain at £300.
RESOLVED: Parish Council to remain opted in with 'Smaller Authorities’ Audit Appointments Ltd' who will appoint the external auditors for 5 years commencing 2017.
- To approve the following cheques for payment in January 2016:-
Sedlescombe Village Hall
December Room Hire
Salary - December 2015
Salary - January 2016
The following changes were required to the above cheques:-
a Sedlescombe Village Hall: payment adjusted to £10.00
b Carol Hodgson: payment adjusted to £1694.89
c Carol Hodgson: payment adjusted to £939.93
The RFO apologised for all the errors made.
RESOLVED: The amended cheques are approved for payment.
158 Jobs Network Facebook page - to receive an update
Cllr. Brister reported there were now 639 people following the Facebook page. Further features for this year would include encouraging people to post when they are looking for local trades people, decorators, plumbers, electrician, gardeners etc. and also a focus on small local businesses. 'Sedlescombe Ladies........' is a new friendship group which has been set-up and details can be found on their Facebook page.
159 Public Playing Field and Recreation Ground
To receive the Playground Reports
Weekly routine checks had been carried out by Members. No major problems had been highlighted. Items for note:
Riverside Playground: the safety surfacing is rising and sinking in some areas around the equipment. There is a green mossy type substance on some of the equipment. Moles are very active. The seat is getting very old and may need replacing. The red seat could do with painting. Lots of leaves and acorns. The MUGA needs a general sweep.
RESOLVED: Parish Council to arrange a pressure wash of the Riverside Playground equipment and include as a twice yearly occurrence.
160 To consider a request to plant a tree in the area of the Village Green.
Parish Council had received an offer to replace the 'allegedly' dead Mountain Ash tree located on The Green. Cllr. Chapman advised that he had cutback the existing tree to see if it will grow back. Members suggested the offered Mountain Ash could replace one of the trees by the toilets in Brede Lane which had been destroyed. This land is owned by Highways.
RESOLVED: To contact Highways and ask permission to replace the destroyed tree with a new Mountain Ash.
161 Emergency Plan
To discuss updating the Emergency Plan
Following a recent RALC meeting Parish and Town Council's were being encouraged to update / revisit their Emergency Plans. Cllr. Chapman and Mr. Pat Martin form the current Committee.
RESOLVED: Cllrs. Chapman, Page and Vine-Hall are confirmed as the Emergency Committee and will begin to review the existing Emergency Plan.
162 Parish Council Publications
- To discuss the date of the next bulletin and contents
RESOLVED: To next bulletin will be published after the Annual Report and Directory - due for release in April.
- Annual Report and Directory 2016
a. To agree costs for business advertising (2015 = £21 inc VAT for Directory £25 inc VAT for Directory and website)
For the first time in 4 years there had been a slight increase for printing the Annual Report and Directory.
RESOLVED: To increase the cost of business advertising by £1 to £22 inc VAT for an advert in the Directory and £26 inc VAT for and advert in the Directory and on the website.
b. Items for inclusion
RESOLVED: To retain the same format as for the 2015 Annual Report and Directory. Local business' to be invited to place an advert and also Village societies offered space to promote their activities. Members will prepare write-ups for their relevant areas of responsibility.
163 The Village Green
- Annual review of advertising on the Village Green (2015 permission granted to
Sedlescombe CEP School, Pestalozzi International Village, Spring Fayre and the British Legion).
RESOLVED: That the following Village organisations will be permitted as agreed to advertise on The Green in 2016:
Sedlescombe CEP School
Pestalozzi International Village
Spring Fayre / Summer Fayre
Parish Church - St. John the Baptist
The next review will be in January 2017.
164 Reports & Questions
To receive reports and questions from Members in brief, including items for next agenda.
- Cllr. Glew thanked Cllr. Chapman for sorting out the recent drain issue and also for repairing the damaged incurred to the Village Green where a vehicle had run over the edge.
Future Agenda Items:-
- Cllr. Vine-Hall had revised the Planning Application Checklist and asked that a comprehensive map of Sedlescombe was made available to Members. Members will trial the new checklist for feedback at the next meeting.
- Cllr. Anson asked for a full review of all Parish Council's current leases and assets.
- Cllr. Glew was keen to see the 'Litter picking' scheme across the parish going again.