PRESENT: 103 people were present at the meeting including:
Cllr Jonathan Vine-Hall (Chair of Sedlescombe Parish Council) Chairing the meeting
Parish Councillors Peter Anson, Michelle Brister, Roy Chapman, Pauline Glew, John Page, John Parsons and Debra Veitch
Carol Hodgson (Clerk/Responsible Financial Officer of Sedlescombe Parish Council)
District Councillor Tony Ganly
1. Welcome from the Chairman of Sedlescombe Parish Council
The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting.
For Health and Safety purposes the emergency exits were pointed out in the Village Hall.
2. Apologies for absence
Received from County Councillor Angharad Davies, Andy Waters, Jane Blanford (Sedlescombe Church Bell ringers), Jo Mozley (Sedlescombe Guides), Shirley and Mike Davies (Badminton and Sedlescombe Theatre Club), Hope Gosse, Dorothy Tipper, Mary Ferrier and Clive Smith.
3. Approval of Minutes of Annual Parish Meeting held on 29th April 2014 and 28th April 2015
It was proposed by Reg Glew and seconded by Brian Croucher to approve the Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting held on 29th April 2014 and 28th April 2015
4. Reports from the groups and organisations of Sedlescombe
Before moving onto hearing the reports from the groups and organisations of Sedlescombe the Chairman extended thank you’s to the following:
• To all those organisations attending this evening who have done a table display.
• To Rosemary Farley, Sylvia Beaney and Margaret Hudson who, every year, provide us with tea, coffee and biscuits as refreshments.
• To all the local businesses who support the Annual Directory. The Chairman encouraged everyone to try and use these businesses whenever they can.
• To Pump House designs who print the Annual Parish Assembly posters free of charge.
• To all the volunteers who do a wide variety of jobs from delivering bulletins, to supporting Pauline Glew’s lift scheme to Roy Chapman’s band of workers who keep Sedlescombe tidy and well maintained.
• To the Queens Head and the Brickwall Hotel for providing the door prize and the volunteers prize for the 4th year running.
• To our hard working Parish Councillors who have devoted a large amount of time and effort over the year, and last but never least our Parish Clerk Carol Hodgson who, now, after two years has become an invaluable asset to our community.
The Chairman advised at the heart of an Annual Parish Meeting is the right for any resident on the electoral role, or anyone invited, to speak. A number people had already requested to speak. The following were called to speak:-
- Sedlescombe CEP School
Four year 6 children George, Millie, Sam and Angus from Sedlescombe CEP School, told us of their daily life at Sedlescombe School. They work especially hard in Maths, English and Science which are the three main subjects and also have homework in these subjects. The national tests will be taking place soon and Sedlescombe School's results are always above the national average. The introduction of the latest new national curriculum means more is being learnt in primary schools, which would previously have been taught in secondary schools. The children love doing creative projects which link between subjects. The latest Harry Potter Project included a trip to Harry Potter World. Other outings included the Shipwreck Museum in Hastings, a Victorian School in Horton Kirby, Dinosaur Zoo in Tunbridge Wells and a visit by a Viking Warrior to the school. Two classes have been doing space related projects which included following Tim Peake going off to the International Space Station. The children's Project books were available to view on their display table.
The Children love their art and sports. There is a wide variety of sports activities including gymnastics, football, zumba, dance, drama, netball, badminton and tag rugby. They have two PE lessons per week to encourage them all to become aware of the need for exercise in developing a healthy way of life. Earlier in the year the medal winning UK and England decathlete Mark Cryer spent a day at the school. Music and drama lead to annual productions at Christmas and in the Summer. This year there will be a junior version of 'Roots'. There are also plenty of musical opportunities with a large school choir of over 60 children. In 2015 they won the 1066 Choir Competition and their prize was to sing with the '3 Tenors' at the White Rock Theatre Hastings. They have just been short listed for the 1066 choir finals at the White Rock Theatre. The Choir also goes out of school to sing in several places including the Conquest Hospital and Care Homes.
This year they are very sad to be saying goodbye to Mrs. Ham who has been at Sedlescombe School for 25 years.
Two upcoming school events are a Strawberry Fayre in June and the annual Summer Fayre.
Before the Children stepped down The Chairman called for Mrs Ham the Village's school headmistress to come forward. Mrs Ham has been headmistress at Sedlescombe village school for 25 years and has decided to retire in August this year after 38 years of continuous teaching in primary schools. Over this time Mrs Ham has run Sedlescombe school to such a high standard it is the envy of schools across the District. She has guided hundreds of children through their early years of education and as a community, cannot thank her enough. The Parish Council presented a gift of appreciation on behalf of the community.
Mrs. Ham thanked Parish Council and the Community for her gift. She told of how lucky she had been to be head of such a great school - which included the Governors, School Staff, Parish Council and the Sedlescombe Community. She has loved what she has done and thanked the Community for their support. Mrs. Ham is not moving away from her hometown of Rye and will be back to visit the Village and attend the many events she has become a part of across the years. The new headmistress Mrs Harvey will be taking over in September. Sedlescombe has been Mrs. Ham's life for 25 years. She will be sad to say goodbye but will be back and remain involved with the children via her passion for music.
- Pestalozzi International Village
Two Pestalozzi students from Bhutan and India shared there stories. The Bhutanese student began by thanking the Community for donating to help those who suffered in the Nepalese earthquakes in 2015.
When he first heard news of being awarded a Pestalozzi scholarship he was very happy even though he would have to move along way from his family. This was his very first flight and 10 hours later arrived in a chilly UK. He now has a new family at the Pestalozzi. Aside from his studies there are lots of curricular activities including football. Living in Bhutan he would never have had the opportunity to apply to places like Harvard etc. which he will be able to do now, like many others before him. His view of life has been changed through learning different politics and social sciences. He is planning to take a career in science but also wishes to socially help his community and give them a better chance in life. He thanked the Pestalozzi for giving him this chance.
The Indian student told of how happy he was when he first heard that he had been granted a Pestalozzi scholarship to go to England and study his A levels. England was a place in Europe that his parents had no idea where it was. Pestalozzi is a new life for him and has opened up great opportunities. He has recently been to the Sedlescombe School Assembly and told how Pestalozzi provides a scholarship to disadvantaged children like him from around the world. Pestalozzi is helping to realise these students potential and achieve their goals, but more importantly, helping to transform the world into a better place.
- Sedlescombe Summer Fayre - Brian Croucher
Brian Croucher reported that last year a small team of volunteers had come together to run the Summer Fayre together with the Sedlescombe and District Garden Society. He thanked all those that were involved last year from John Brownsdon with his Goose Poop to the running of the Jazz night later in the evening. This year's Fayre is planned to be even bigger and better than last year. The date for the diary is Saturday 16th July and will once again be held on the Sports Field - so cancel your holiday and come along! For those involved in a village society or club having a stall (free of charge) at the Fayre is a good way of attracting new members as raising funds which you get to keep. Stalls can be booked through either Brian or Debby Veitch. This is a village event and needs village support. The Committee would welcome any donation of prizes for the raffle. John Brownsdon has also started selling his 'Goose Poop squares'.
- Sedlescombe and District Garden Society - John Parsons
John Parsons explained how the Gardening society started over 70 years ago and has been a thriving society since the beginning. Following their AGM the committee unfortunately lost 3 members and could be losing a further 2. There is plenty of room for new members. The Society has a varied programme which recently included a talk from Tom Hart-Dyke. Events for this year take in a visit to Lullingstone Castle - a few tickets are still available for anyone interest, 2 local garden visits, BBQ and the very popular plant market on 7th May. Details of the Society and events for the forthcoming can be found on the website at:- www.sedlescombegardensociety.org.uk. If you are interested in becoming a Member, the Society will also be at the Spring Fayre in May or in the big marquee at the Summer Fayre on the Sports Field in July.
- Speedwatch - Cllr. John Parsons
Cllr. John Parsons showed the assembly Parish Council's new Speed Gun. A Speedwatch session had taken place last week but not many people had been caught speeding, which is a good result. If anyone would like to join the Speedwatch team to run a number of Community Speed Watch sessions at varying times 2-3 times a week, please contact John Parsons or John Page. Forms to express interest were also available that evening. The sessions include taking all the details of the offending motorists. The Police will then send letters to offenders and action maybe taken against repeated offenders receiving 3 letters. Last year 90 offenders were caught doing over 38 mph.
- Sedlescombe Rangers Football Club - Nick Gardener
Chairman Nick Gardner shared the following. The Football Club has been based at Oaklands Park since the 1980's and is growing year by year.
In 2015 they received accreditation for FA Charter Standard Development Club status. This accreditation is only awarded to those clubs that are well-run, sustainable, prioritise child protection, have quality coaching and have the Respect Programme implemented. Development Club status is awarded to clubs that pro actively maintain both youth and adult football, providing a long term path for football and social development. Sedlescombe Ranger FC has qualified coaches across the teams from the under 16's to seniors / veterans teams. The Football Club is a good way of getting children together and for them to meet new children from across the community. They also provide a coach to the Pestalozzi students. The Football Club promotes a family atmosphere and will never turn anyone away. The Club is properly constituted and the Committee is made up of a Chairman, Secretary, Vice-Chair, 2 Welfare Officers, Certified Officers and a Charter Standards Coordinator.
A 2 day tournament is held every year in July at Oaklands Park and has evolved into a large event. The tournament dates this year are 2nd & 3rd July 2016. This is a busy period and the Football Club will leaflet drop to notify everyone of the arrangements. Pestalozzi very kindly provides an area for parking and there is a good parking plan in place. All are welcome to come down and watch the games. There are Team Managers for each of the 20 teams and they have become the largest club in the area with 16 teams in the youth section and 4 adult teams - totalling 300 players. They are also proposing to set-up a Veteran team - walking football for the over 50's.
Sedlescombe Rangers had a very successful season this year with the Under 15's winning the U15 League Knockout Cup, the Under 17's winning the U18 League Knockout Cup as well as being league champions of the Sussex Sunday Youth league. Full reports were in the local paper. A great day for Sedlescombe. The Football club is the primary user of Oaklands Park but they also use other facilities outside of Sedlescombe during the winter. The Committee meets every 6 weeks, usually in the Pub and meetings are very well attended. With a budget upwards of £50,000 the club’s Treasurer along with support from across the committee ensure that all income and expenditure are closely managed. Over the last 2 years they have extended the car park and ensure the ground is well maintained. The Club is always looking for new sponsors to support their running costs.
- Rother Seniors Forum - Ron Sunderland
Ron Sunderland spoke of how the Rother Seniors Forum was launched in March of 2006 and they now have 700 members across Rother. The Forum provides a voice to the over 50's to be heard by the service providers including the NHS, Rother DC and East Sussex Adult social care, which the Forum meets with regularly. Many of the Forum committee members are on other committees such as ESSA (East Sussex Seniors Association) which has 6500 - 7000 members across Sussex, Hastings and Rother Clinical Commissioning Group, Bexhill Dementia Action Alliance, Rother DC's Equality Steering Group and Diabetes Support Group (Bexhill).
For Forum members there is a logo, constitution and a bank account. Communication is through regular Newsletters. Quite a few grants have been achieved to date which has gone towards running several successful events. Many of the arranged outings are a sell out in 3-4 days. Membership to the Forum is free and is open to all over 50's who live or work in the Rother District. (Membership forms were available on the evening). The Rother Senior Forum’s 10th Anniversary is on 20th June at St Peters Community Centre in Bexhill, with a musical concert by Mike Hatchard and Herbie flowers and finishing with a cream team all for £6 a head including coach travel there and back.
Ron Sunderland is also involved with the Sedlescombe Friendship Club along with Pauline Glew, Ralph Dellow, Shirley Coleman and Valerie Wright. The club currently has 38 members who enjoy outings, walks and lunches etc.
- Sedlescombe Village Store and Post Office - Nicholas Johnson and family
Nicholas introduced Jo and his children to the assembly and thanked everyone for supporting the shop. There has recently been some visual changes to the Post Office but the biggest change has been in the way the Shop will earn income from the Post Office services. This has been cut in half and potentially threatens the whole business. The Shop will receive funding from the Post Office over the next 2 years to help with the transition but Nicholas will need to assess the viability of the Shop and Post Office over this period. Nicholas and Jo are talking with the Community and Parish Council about this problem. They ask for the continued commitment of the Village and encouraged everyone to to use the Shop. Nicholas and his family thoroughly enjoy being in Sedlescombe and thanked everyone for how well they had been accepted by the Village. To secure the future of the Shop it needs help to be used more.
- History Cup - Mrs. Pauline Raymond
Pauline Raymond reported there were just two entries to this year's competition, but they were both good and will provide interesting additions to the Archives. The History Cup table in the Hall displayed the entries for this year and a couple from last year's competition. There were also copies of the competition rules and Pauline encouraged more people to do a bit of research and to put down what they could remember about Sedlescombe's past. There was also on show some other recent additions to the Sedlescombe Archives for which Pauline is always pleased to receive contributions.
In the runners up spot for this year's competition was last years's winner Charlotte Williams who, with the help of her family, had put together a sensitive obituary of the late Derek Wilton, whose family was connected with Sedlescombe for many years up until his death in 2014.
The Pauline Raymond History Cup had this year been awarded to John Brownsdon for his extract from a much longer piece of work on this home, Spilstead Farmhouse in Stream Lane. It described the building's occupation stretching back to 1490.
5. Report of Parish Council Chairman
Cllr. Jonathan Vine-Hall reported:-
- Neighbourhood Plan.
As many will know through involvement in surveys and consultations, the village, through the Parish Council, has been preparing a Neighbourhood Plan over the past 2 years. The plan was well formed and was supported by over 90% of the community but met significant negative response from the District Council who sadly took a ‘not invented here attitude’ to a more creative way of delivering housing. This was unfortunate and whilst the plan passed its examination by a Government Inspector his recommended modifications would have made the plan completely inconsistent with the clearly articulated desires of the community. As a result Parish Council has had to go back one step to find some new sites which satisfy the District Council who are in effect the gate keepers in this process. Luckily, new sites, not available when the original plan was being produced, have now come forward and those sites are consistent with the desires of the community. In addition, and as a direct result of Sedlescombe once again leading the way for Parishes and Towns in Rother, 20% of Rother’s housing supply is now being managed through Neighbourhood Plans. This has meant that our smallish plan is now considerably more important to Rother and thankfully they are now taking a more pragmatic approach to Sedlescombe's plan which they now desperately need to be able to convince the government that they can in fact deliver housing through Neighbourhood Plans. The net result is that Parish Council hopes to have a consultation on the revised plan in or around June for the community and to be able to deliver that plan to Rother by September. The benefits for Sedlescombe with a Neighbourhood Plan will be significant, firstly, giving the Village some protection against unwanted aggressive developers and secondly it will give the community a much larger share of the Community Infrastructure Levy on new housing going directly to Sedlescombe, rather, than that money raised from new housing in the Village, being taken by the District Council to fund projects largely in Bexhill. The additional costs of the revised plan are being entirely funded by a new grant. Parish Council asks for residents continued support and that they stay connected with the project and fill in the consultation forms when they come around.
The Parish Council and the Highways Authority are conducting traffic surveys on all the main lanes leading into and through the village. Parish Council has for some time been trying to get the County Council to reduce speed limits through the village and the small lanes. They have not responded positively taking what can only be seen as ‘a problem too hard to solve’ attitude as opposed to recognising that country villages and country lanes are getting worse each year in both traffic numbers and speed. Parish Council will report on the progress of this in the next Bulletin. Parish Council has now purchased its own Speed gun to more easily run Speedwatch in the village. This programme has been hampered in the past by a lack of an easily available speed gun. Those involved in the past will, no doubt, be receiving a call or email from Councillor John Parsons who runs the scheme and is planning to have regular Speedwatch days throughout the year. Anyone interested in helping on this programme should contact John Parsons or John Page during refreshments or by contacting The Clerk - Carol.
- Red Barn Field
Red Barn field is the small field which sits just behind the Village Hall. Some years ago it was established as a Nature Park for use by the Community. One of the main projects this year was to develop a programme so the field was well maintained and made more accessible for the Community. To this end Councillor Pauline Glew has been instrumental with other members of the Parish Council and Colin Boyd and supported by Keith Datchler in obtaining grants to achieve this objective. Parish Council encourages everyone who has never walked through Red Barn Field to do so in the summer to enjoy the new mown paths through the rich variety of wildflowers that make this field a rare and special part of not only Sedlescombe but our District
- Other items
The Sports Association runs the Sports Ground and Sports Pavilion. They desperately need some new and enthusiastic volunteers to join their Committee and help run the association. Parish Council asks if anyone who would like to contribute and is prepared to give some time and energy to help promote Sport / raise funds or help manage the Association to contact either John Mainwood, Ashley Davey, any member of the Parish Council or The Clerk.
- Sedlescombe News
The Sedlescombe News is an important weekly news sheet prepared as always by volunteers and available in the village shop. It is only 20p. Parish Council asks that everyone purchases this as its an important way to find out what’s happening on a weekly basis. Alternatively Pauline Glew is offering the Sedlescombe News to be delivered every week directly to your computer for an annual subscription of just £10. (Pauline was available at the meeting to sign anyone up). Pauline was also looking for anyone who would like to volunteer to help out on the lift scheme. A mileage allowance is paid for those involved.
6. Prize Draw for Sedlescombe Volunteers by Cllr. Roy Chapman
The winner of the Volunteers Prize Draw is Rosemary Farley as drawn by Cllr. Chapman. Cllr. Vine-Hall thanked Rosemary for all her hard work and the contribution she has made to the Village over many years. Cllr. Vine-Hall also thanked the Brickwall Hotel for donating this prize.
Cllr. Vine-Hall advised that Parish Council's Financial Report had been printed in the Annual Directory and asked for those who had any questions to ask these during the Q and A session or to email The clerk.
Sedlescombe's Got Talent will be on 20th May this year with proceeds going to the Friends of Sedlescombe Church Heritage Trust. Jean Dann has tickets available or they can also be purchased from the Village Shop
7. Question and Answer session
District Cllr. Tony Ganly joined Cllr. Vine-Hall on the stage for a Q and A session.
Q: Why is there not disabled access to the Sports Field? The gates are locked and barred on the main road and at Ladybird Lane.
A: Cllr. Vine-Hall responded that the Sports Field is locked during the week as it is a private field leased to the Sedlescombe Sports Association. Cllr. Anson advised that there is disabled access next to Pavilion but it has to be locked during the week as people park there when walking their dogs.
Q: In the Annual Report and Directory it mentioned that final figures would be available at the Annual Parish Assembly, but they are not. We would like to see a breakdown of the reserves as they have increased significantly.
A: Cllr. Vine-Hall advised this information was not ready for the meeting and agreed for The Clerk to email the information and to include it in the next bulletin. Cllr. Vine-Hall explained that Parish Council was building up reserves for replacing assets in the future.
Q: There is not a lot of interest income shown.
A: Cllr. Vine-Hall advised this would be looked into and advised in the next Bulletin.
Q: Why won't the County Council reduce the speed limits?
A: Cllr. Vine-Hall explained that ESCC do not have the funds for such schemes. They will 'Match Fund' with Town and Parish Council's. This is the reason why Parish Council is building-up reserves.
Q: To Cllr. Ganly. What is the situation with Highways as they have a new contractor from 1st May, with regard to potholes?
A: Cllr. Ganly answered that this was a question for the County Councillor. As District Councillor he did not have as much information on the situation and would pass this question onto Cllr. Angharad Davies.
Q: The road through the Village is bad with potholes.
A: Cllr. Vine-Hall responded that together with Parish Council, everyone needs to continue to report potholes to Highways so they will be attended to.
Q: What are the new sites proposed for the Neighbourhood Plan that were referred to north of village.
A: Cllr. Vine-Hall responded that the sites referred to are next to and adjacent to the Village Hall. The District Council has not yet reviewed these sites so more information will be available later.
Q: Who is responsible for footpath at Orchard Way? The bridge needs replacing, it is dilapidated and the land is falling away at the sides.
A: Cllr. Vine-Hall responded that ultimately ESCC is responsible, but Parish Council will ask Andy Waters who oversees the local footpaths for Parish Council, to take a look and report it to Highways.
Q: In April Spilstead Airstrip started an appeal against Rother DC's decision to refuse permission for their land raising scheme. Why does the owner need to improve the visibility, it is OK? In Stream Lane where the airstrip is based planes are not generally seen but others in the Village are effected. However Stream Lane will be effected by the 4400 lorry loads of soil to be moved and in an AONB. We need to write to the Inspectorate to dismiss this appeal.
A: Cllr. Vine-Hall responded that Spilstead has applied twice to remodel the airstrip to flatten it out. These are important local issues. Parish Council has objected previously to the planning applications as it is in AONB. There has never been any safety issues.
Comment: There has been an airstrip at Spilatead for at least 40 years but not in the exact position.
A: Cllr. Ganly noted that the subject had been raised recently at Rother DC in relation to Helicopters landing at this site.
Q: How do people know about these planning applications and appeals?
A: Cllr. Vine-Hall responded the information can be found via Parish Council's agenda and on Rother DC's website. Also to look out for 'Pink Planning' notices. Cllr. Ganly advised the information could also be obtained via 'Rother Alerts' if you subscribe.
Q: Does Parish Council know what really goes on in the Village organisations? If they did they would be providing financial help.
A: Cllr. Vine-Hall responded that Pauline Glew being involved with many organisations is very good at keeping Parish Council abreast of all the key groups. The organisations are always able to come and talk to Parish Council.
8. Prize draw for those in attendance
The winner of the Door Prize Draw is number 83 - Pat Evans as drawn by Mrs. Marian Ham. Cllr. Vine-Hall thanked the Queens Head Pub for donating this prize.
9. End of meeting
Cllr. Vine-Hall invited those attending to stay for refreshments and see the display tables.