OPEN FORUM 9 January 2007

1. Concrete bollards on grass verges. An anonymous letter had been received asking the Parish Council to get the concrete bollards removed from grass verges in Hurst Lane. The Clerk will write to East Sussex County Council.

2. Cllr Mrs Mitchell said that nothing had been heard of the girls who wanted to play Girls Football as reported to the last meeting of the Council. In addition, she had found that these girls are already playing in a Hastings Team.



PRESENT: Cllr Mrs V Wright (Chairman of the Council), Cllr A Rand (Vice-Chairman of the Council).
Cllrs W Cameron, N Foord, Mrs J Mitchell, Mrs M Irwin, P Martin, Mrs P Glew, R Dellow.
Clerk/Responsible Financial Officer: Mrs P Raymond


C06/07.119 Apologies for absence. None, all present.

C06/07.120 Minutes. The Chairman was authorised to sign the Minutes of the Meeting of the Council held on 14/11/06.

C06/07.121 Interests. Members were reminded to declare their personal interests on matters on the agenda, the nature of any interest and whether the Member regarded the interest as prejudicial under the terms of the Code of Conduct.

C06/07.122 Committee Meetings
122.1 Planning, 14 November, 19 December 2006. RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the Meetings of the Planning Committee held on 14 November and 19 December 2006 are received.

122.2 Crime & Safety, 5 December 2006. RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the Meeting of the Crime & Safety Committee held on 5 December 2006 are received.

122.3 Finance, 2 January 2007. RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the Meeting of the Finance Committee held on 2 January 2007, including the 2007/8 budget and precept, are received.

Cllr Mrs Wright was authorised to sign the precept form in the sum of £28,270 (amount held for three years).

C06/07.123 Working Groups
123.1 Parish Council/Sports Association Pavilion Committee.
Members had been provided with a report of the last meeting held on 19 December 2006. A further meeting is to be held on 6 March 2007.
123.2 Environment. No report from the working group.

C06/07.124 Clerk's Report
124.1 Election.
The Parish Elections will be held on Thursday 3 May 2007 with nominations closing on 4 April 2007. The Annual Meeting has been changed from 8 to 15 May 2007 to allow administrative time in case there is an election. It is important that at least 8 people stand for election in order to be eligible for renewal of Quality Council status. The DVD "Become a Councillor - Make a Difference" is to be launched at various venues, including Sedlescombe Village Hall on Monday 5 February, 7pm to 9pm. Councillors were encouraged to attend and to take someone with them who might be interested in becoming a councillor.

124.2 Meetings. There will be a Crime & Safety Meeting at 10am on 16/01/07 and Planning Meetings on 23/01/07 and 27/02/07. A Meeting of the Sports Pavilion Working Group is to be held on 06/03/07. Cllr Martin was informed about the Rother Emergency Seminar at Battle Memorial Hall on Tuesday 06/03/07.

124.3 Open Spaces, Sport and Recreation Facilities. Rother is undertaking a study on this subject and is holding various drop-in consultation sessions. Our closest one is on Saturday 13 January in Battle Memorial Hall 14:30 to 17:00.

124.4 Dog Control Orders. The Clerk provided an update on the Rother proposed Dog Control Orders under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005, as they could apply to Sedlescombe parish if approved at the forthcoming Rother Cabinet Meeting. It was noted that the parishes of Catsfield, Crowhurst, Guestling, Peasmarsh and Whatlington have asked to be excluded.

C06/07.125 Reports from Representatives
125.1 Village Hall Management Committee.
Cllrs Mrs Glew and Mrs Irwin declared personal interests by virtue of their being trustees of the Village Hall. In accordance with the Code of Conduct, they remained in the room. Cllr Mrs Glew reported that a donation had been sent to the Junior Diabetic Society in memory of John F Cook. Mrs Glew is managing the bookings for the Village Hall during Mrs Sylvia Cook's serious illness but is hoping someone else will be willing to take it on. There is now a weekly rota of Janitor duties which are currently shared by seven couples. As soon as the high vis adhesive is completed and the "locks" have arrived, the height barrier will be locked. Cllr Rand was assured that keys will be available to open the barrier when larger vehicles need access. A Fire Risk Assessment had been worked on; it was distributed to the Village Hall Committee for reporting back on 22/03/07.

C06/07.126 Bank Reconciliations. RESOLVED: That bank reconciliation reports at the end of November and December 2007 are received.

C06/07.127 Cheques. RESOLVED: That the cheque list is ratified or paid as appropriate.

C06/07.128 Playgrounds
128.1 Amalgamated inspection reports.
Without John Cook undertaking various work, problems of litter, sweeping etc. had been noticed. Other arrangements were in hand.
128.2 Arrangements for inspection of playgrounds in 2007 (decision deferred at November Council Meeting). Members discussed the best way to ensure that the playgrounds are being adequately inspected. Quotes had been received for weekly or quarterly professional inspection and training. RESOLVED: That the quote from Glendale Grounds Management for quarterly inspection of the Riverside Playground is accepted with councillors continuing to inspect in between.
128.3 Under 10s playground at East View Terrace.
The Council was waiting to hear about Orbit Housing Association's plans for refurbishment of the under 10s playground.
128.4 East View Kickabout Area. Since the last meeting, complaints have continued to arrive from properties in East View concerning the anti-social behaviour in or near the Kickabout Area. The Police have, recently, refused to attend saying it was "the Council's problem". Comments have been made by the Anti-Social Behaviour Officer, Rother's Chief Executive, the Crime & Safety Officer and PC Jayne Cleverley regarding the signing by some of Acceptable Behaviour Contracts. Cllr Dellow was convinced that the Parish Council should not abandon the residents affected by this bad behaviour. The Police, Anti-Social Behaviour Officer and Orbit Housing Association have suggested that removal of the shelter would help the situation. The Parish Council considered this suggestion but RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That the shelter should remain in its current position as it provides a useful facility and allows the Police to meet the young people and engage with them.
128.5 Riverside Playground.
An application was planned for funding for play equipment and alteration of the tennis courts to a multi-play area.

C06/07.129 Youth Issues
129.1 Proposed Designation Order under the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001, Section 13. RESOLVED: That the Parish Council should ask the District Council to designate the East View Kickabout Area and the Riverside Playground as areas where it would be an offence to continue drinking after being required by a Police Officer not to do so.
129.2 Youth priorities.
The Chairman and Clerk had met a youth worker, Craig Atkins from Orbit and two youngsters to discuss in greater details the priorities for action. Several BUZZ meetings had been held with the youngsters. One was taking place tonight.
129.3 Rural Rother Youth Network. A meeting is to be held on Tuesday 30 January, 19:00 to 21:00 at Westfield Parish Hall entitled "What do you want for next Christmas?" It is designed to support any volunteers working with young people in rural communities.
129.4 Closure of the Scout Hut. Although the Council has not been informed officially, it is understood that the Scout Group lease with Rother Homes is not being renewed because the hut is virtually unused. The shed has been vandalised and equipment stolen. The BUZZ projest officers are actively looking at ways that the Scout Hut could be used to provide a youth club. Some parish councillors were sceptical whether the youngsters would behave properly when they left the Scout Hut. Being so near the garages, they feared that damage could be caused to them. Other councillors hoped that, with paid youth workers, other children, not necessarily troublemakers, could be encouraged to attend.

C06/07.130 Crime & Safety
130.1 Police Community Safety Officer.
The concerns of the Parish Council Crime & Safety Committee that we are not getting the service from our PCSO that should be expected, had been reinforced by the Neighbourhood Watch Group who had decided they have no confidence in the PCSO. It was RESOLVED: That Cllr Dellow be authorised to visit Inspector Franklin to ask for Peter Crotch to be replaced as he is not fulfilling the duties specified on his patrol schedule.

The subject of the PCSO car was also discussed and, again, it had not been seen in the Village.

130.2 East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service. Annual Report 2005/6 & Performance Plan Summary 2006/07 received.

C06/07.131 Highways Issues
131.1 Reply from County Council re road safety issues, weeds and potholes and extension of the footway in front of the Queen's Head.
The following had been received from the County Council:
131.1.1 Speed limit north of Sedlescombe village. This area has been included in the list of areas of residential development for investigation in connection with the forthcoming introduction of a new speed limit policy. The issues raised will be included within this investigative procedure.
131.1.2 Speed limit, Chapel Hill. To be investigated as above.
131.1.3 Double white lines, Church Hill. Will only be introduced if there is a history of crashes involving personal injury. County Council to speak to the Police.
131.1.4 Entrance to Pestalozzi Village. May be possible to fund the junction improvement work through an agreement linked to proposed work at Pestalozzi.
131.1.5 Weeds in edge of carriageway. Sprayed 3 times a year, April/May, July/Aug and Oct/Nov by the County Council. Concerns to be passed on to the contractor.
131.1.6 Some grass verge cutting in Sedlescombe missed this year by County Council contractor. Efforts will be made to ensure that the grass next year will be maintained to the standard that can be achieved with the number of cuts specified.
131.1.7 Basic emergency work is carried out to pot holes and programme of permanent patching or resurfacing introduced where necessary.
131.1.8 Footway in front of Queen's Head. Safety audit taking place. If satisfactory, expected to start in the Spring of 2007. Cllr Cameron would have liked to see the path stretch up to the front of the Sedlescombe Stores. However, the problem of parking for customers of Sedlescombe Stores has to be considered.

131.2 New proposals for setting speed limits. A report had been received from the County Council regarding the issues to be addressed in formulating a new policy for setting local speed limits. Members noted the proposed revised definition of a village in terms of the revised guidance for setting speed limits as "20 or more properties served by private accesses which adjoin the main road (on one or both sides of the road), located over a length of not less than 600 metres, and clearly visible to drivers." No new areas in Sedlescombe appear to meet this criteria.

According to the County Council, the underlying aim of speed management policies should be to achieve a "safe" distribution of traffic speeds that reflects the function of the road and the impacts on the local community. This should imply achieving a mean speed appropriate to the prevailing conditions, and all vehicles moving at speeds as close to the posted speed limit as possible. It is known from experience that if a speed limit is set too far below the existing mean speed of traffic on that road, the limit will be ineffectual and poorly observed, and there is a danger that this will bring similar limits elsewhere into disrepute. It is therefore proposed that before a speed limit alteration is advertised mean speeds must be achieved (mean speed in brackets) - 20 (22); 30 (32); 40 (41); 50 (51); 60 (61)

The process for prioritising traffic calming requested has been designed to assess sites in the urban environment rather than in rural villages. However, a new assessment procedure is being considered which takes account of certain quality of life issues.

The speed limits of all "A" and "B" roads are to be reviewed by 2011.

Councillors had completed a questionnaire and details would be forwarded to the County Council.

131.3 Letters from Colin Boyd re traffic calming within the 30mph speed limit. Three letters had been received from Colin Boyd since the November Council meeting, the last suggesting that the Parish Council ask East Sussex County Council for an Interactive Slow Down Sign and a Zebra Crossing in The Street. The Clerk was authorised to reply.

131.4 Drainage problems in Balcombe Green/Long Lane. Paul Haffenden of the County Council had written to inform the Council that legal advice is being sought concerning who should undertake/fund work such as the installation of a drainage system in Long Lane connected to the highway drain at the junction of Long Lane and The Street.

131.5 Second SID Campaign. The NHW Group provided a report regarding arrangements for a second SID Campaign. RESOLVED: That the Council should arrange a second SID Campaign between Monday 26 March and Wednesday 28 March as follows:

131.6 Public Footpath 2c. Cllr Martin reported that Mr John Marland is planning to apply for a diversion of the part of footpath 2c to the west of Lower Jacobs Farm away from the wet and muddy area and through Horns Wood instead. This was supported by the Council.

131.7 Voluntary Public Footpath Maintenance Work. Cllr Dellow and Mr Glew were thanked for their voluntary work on footpaths 5b, 15a, 16a and 13 which has involved installation of dog latches and finger posts, removal of a tree and a gate repair. A new volunteer has helped at times.

131.8 East Sussex County Council Rights of Way Improvement Plan 2007-2017. The County Council was inviting comments.

131.9 Parked cars obstructing the entrance to Pumphouse Yard. The Council had been informed that, with the increased usage being made of Sedlescombe Stores, problems with double parking had increased. Some drivers were even parking across the entrance to Pumphouse Yard. The PCSO had been asked to attend.

C06/07.132 Water Supply Interruption. The Clerk was authorised to write to South East Water regarding the second prolonged interruption in water supply in six months. On 12 December, residents in the southern part of the parish had their water supply cut off for 13 hours. Previously, in July 2006, an interruption of 22 hours had been experienced. Both had followed a water main burst at roughly the same place in The Street.

C06/07.133 Format of the 2007 Annual Assembly. It was agreed that a similar format of tables around the hall, with the meeting followed by tea/coffee should be arranged. The Chairman suggested that Committee Chairman might like to give a two-minute report each.

C06/07.134 Older people. Cllr Dellow reported that he had had a meeting with Lesley Wilkins of Age Concern regarding what the Parish Council might be able to do to help older people in the parish. She had agreed to come back to him with some suggestions, possibly for a "Sedlescombe Seniors" group. The Chairman suggested that Cllr Dellow should liaise with Ron Sunderland, Chairman of Rother Seniors.

C06/07.135 Environment
135.1 Waste & Recycling
. The Council had circulated its new booklet "Waste Not" with the January Bulletin.
135.2 Yellow pages collection. Fergus Cameron, Recycling Officer of Rother District Council, had agreed to provide a suitable container at the car park for collection of old Yellow Pages in May. These would then be taken by Cllr Dellow and Mr Glew to Eastbourne for recycling.
135.3 Campaign to Protect Rural England. "Fieldwork" newsletter received.
135.4 Volunteer environment work at Pestalozzi. Cllr Dellow and Mr Glew had agreed to fence the river to allow grazing and to make 25 bird boxes in the workshop, helped by autistic volunteers.
135.5 Nest boxes in Red Barn Field. Alan Birtwistle has checked the bird boxes. Of the six tree sparrow boxes in Red Barn, three had been used (one was complete with mouse). Of the six in the Churchyard, three boxes had been used, one of which had blue tit eggs still remaining. Two mice left another box. The two open boxes had not been used.
135.6 Wildlife garding booklet. Cllr Dellow had drafted a booklet on wildlife gardening and had obtained some comments on the draft. He has £100 towards its printing. Advice will be obtained from Nigel Dawson, a graphic designer.

C06/07.136 Changes to bus services serving Sedlescombe. As agreed by the Council, the Clerk had collected details of problems caused by the reduction in bus service to one bus to Hastings every two hours and sent them to the County Council. These were:

  1. Need to change buses at Hawkhurst when travelling to Tunbridge Wells. Especially on the return journey, if a bus is late, it might mean an elderly person having to wait a long time at Hawkhurst for a connection.

  2. The paying of full fares between Hawkhurst and Tunbridge Wells. According to the County Council, as an exception, East Sussex County Cards can be used on the 304 and 305 services from Hawkhurst to Tunbridge Wells.

  3. Buses not calling in at the Sainsbury car park. According to the County Council, it is expected that buses will go back onto the site when improvements have been made as part of a recent planning consent.

  4. Buses not fitting in with Sainsbury shift pattern.

  5. Insufficient buses to provide a service for people wanting to work in Hastings Charity Shops or Citizens Advice Bureau.

  6. Problem with catching the train from Warrior Square to Brighton.

  7. Two hours is too long to be in Hastings when going to the bank, shopping, dentist or hairdresser.

  8. Need to return from Hastings on the 1435 bus in order to get back to the Village in the light.

  9. People most miss the old 1540 bus back from Hastings.

  10. Buses used by 33 Pestalozzi students. They find it difficult to reach Hastings College in time for classes and some classes do not end until 1800 when the last bus to Sedlescombe has already gone. According to the County Council, it may be possible to provide a journey at 1815 within the available budget.

C06/07.137 Lack of volunteers. Kathryn Field is now Chairman of AiRS and is keen to focus on finding volunteers in rural areas.

C06/07.138 Rother Local Action Planning. A networking meeting is to be held on Saturday 27 January in Beckley Village Hall, 0930 to 1300 "How to bridge the gap between Statutory Agencies and Local Action Plans".

C06/07.139 Revised Code of Conduct.
139.1 RESOLVED: That the Clerk, in consultation with the Chairman, or the Chairman and the Vice-Chairman, are authorised to forward appropriate comments on the revised draft code when it is published.
It is expected that the consultation time will be short.
139.2 It was noted that the new Code of Conduct will need to be adopted prior to the elections and, that unless the new Code is received prior to the March Council Meeting, a special Parish Council meeting will need to be held to allow the Council to adopt it.

C06/07.140 Affordable housing. A letter had been received from Kelly Jaggard, Rural Housing Development Officer at AiRS whose role is to work alongside parish councils, the District Council and Housing Associations as an independent party to help identify the housing needs in a parish. She will also assist in seeking ways to improve the provision of affordable housing to meet the needs that may be identified. Members did not wish to take up her offer of meeting to discuss the issue further.

C06/07.141 "Creating an NHS Fit for the Future". East Sussex Downs and Weald Primary Care Trust is holding a series of meetings in January to inform residents on plans for improving health services in East Sussex. The meetings are to be held on Tuesday 23/01/07, 18:00-21:00 at The Gold Room, Winter Gardens, Eastbourne; Thursday 25/01/07, 12:00-15:00 at the Royal Victoria Hotel, Marina, St Leonards on Sea; Tuesday 30/01/07, 14:00-17:00 at The Weald Hall, Uckfield Civic Centre. Numbers are limited and therefore places need to be booked.

C06/07.142 Welcome Packs. Welcome Packs will not be available until the new Report/Directory has been printed.

Chairman........................................... Date...............................................