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

County Councillor Peter Jones. District Councillor Matthew Wilson. More than 90 members of the public


Councils. The Chairman opened the meeting by welcoming the public and County Councillor Jones and District Councillor Wilson. Cllr Wilson is not standing for election this year. The two District Councillor candidates, Tony Ganly and Stephen Hardy, were present and were introduced to the meeting. The Chairman acknowledged the valuable work of two parish councillors, Jenny Mitchell and Nick Foord, who would be leaving the Council in May and welcomed their replacements, Caitlin Wheatley and Robert Dudman.

Deaths. She spoke of the death of many Village stalwarts during the past year whose contribution to our community life will be sadly missed.

Various subjects mentioned were: The Welcome Pack (public asked to let the Council know if new people move into the Village so a Pack can be delivered); encouragement to use the businesses advertising in The Directory; the forthcoming combined Pestalozzi/Sedlescombe debate on climate change in the Hall on Saturday 5 May at 7.30pm; the need for additional volunteers to help mow the churchyard (1 to 1.5 hours twice a month) - contact John Roberts of New England Lane.

Thanks were extended to - volunteers who deliver the quarterly Bulletin and Annual Report; the Library Ladies who ensure that there is a good supply of interesting books to borrow; the litter-pickers who keep Sedlescombe looking tidy; Sedlescombe Players who give us a good laugh, youngsters are joining and taking part in productions; John & Jenny Mainwood from the shop who have won the Best South East Region Village Store and Post Office Award; hard-working parish councillors who have been involved in practical work and arranging the new Lift Scheme and SID Campaigns; and the tea ladies, Sylvia, Margaret and Rosemary.

Pavilion. The Chairman told the meeting that the Sports Association had recently asked the Parish Council to take over construction of a new pavilion at the Sportsfield funded by way of a loan to be repaid through the Precept. The Sports Association had been trying to obtain funding for ten years without any success to date and a Parish Council loan appeared to be the only way of raising the funds to replace the pavilion urgently. Although the subject had not yet been officially discussed at a meeting of the Parish Council, those present were invited to express their support in raising a loan which would mean an increase of about £15 (subject to alteration) for a Band D Sedlescombe Council Tax for many years. John Noonan of the Football Club explained that it was essential to replace the pavilion to accord with new Football Association guidelines. Sports Association fund-raising would continue and donations would be gratefully accepted.

After further discussions on the cost, funding and the possible incorporation of youth club facilities, there was a show of hands in favour of the Parish Council investigating the idea further.

New Police Inspector. Police Inspector Heather Keating, who had been in post two weeks, introduced herself to the meeting saying that she was very pleased to have moved to rural Rother, a post she had applied for. She would be meeting with parish councillors to progress her priorities of Neighbourhood Policing.

2. MINUTES OF THE ANNUAL ASSEMBLY OF THE PARISH MEETING OF SEDLESCOMBE HELD ON 25 APRIL 2006. The Minutes were included in the Parish Council's Annual Report, a copy of which had been delivered to each Sedlescombe household. It was moved by Sally Martin and seconded by Sally Brown: That the Minutes of the 2006 Annual Assembly of the Parish Meeting are approved. A financial statement was included on the reverse of agendas on seats in the Hall.

3. COUNTY COUNCILLOR PETER JONES. Cllr Jones thanked the Parish Council Chairman, Councillors and the Clerk for their work not only over the past year but also during the four-year term which is about to come to an end. He mentioned the Report placed on chairs in the Hall which listed some of the Parish Council's achievements. He commented that Sedlescombe was one of the best councils in the whole of Sussex.

His subjects were:
The Police (he is Chairman of the Sussex Police Authority) where considerable achievements can be seen with crimes falling across nearly all categories and detection rates rising. He is pleased that the call centre is much improved.

Government underfunding. Although this is causing problems, good and improving services are being provided. There are currently no bed blockers in the hospitals. There has been a big improvement in our schools resulting in a favourable OFSTED report.

Roads. New Government guidelines were published last autumn and the County Council has recently made £2.5-£3 million available over the next couple of years to provide engineering traffic calming in parishes. The County will work with the parishes to achieve what local people want. Cllr Jones had to admit that, unfortunately, they do not always get it right as the new traffic calming work in the North Trade Road shows.

4. DISTRICT COUNCILLOR MATTHEW WILSON. After eight years serving on the Rother District Council Cllr Wilson is standing down in May although he will still be working with Rother on the implementation of the new Waste Contract. He added his thanks to the Parish Council for their hard work for the community and said it had been a privilege to represent the people of Sedlescombe.

Waste and Recycling. Cllr Wilson reported that, very recently, 4,000 wheelie bins and 10,000 boxes were destroyed in a fire in Bexhill setting back the new waste/recycling programme. However, he was pleased that Verdant had won the contract at a price below budget.

Council Tax. Rother still has the lowest Council Tax in East Sussex and has become a very efficient Council.

Presentation. Cllr Mrs Wright presented the rose "Nostalgia" to Cllr Wilson in appreciation of his work for the community.

5. SEDLESCOMBE PARISH COUNCIL REPORT. The Parish Council Report was included in the booklet delivered to houses.

The Chairman spoke about the displays arranged around the Hall by - Sedlescombe WI - on slavery and other resolutions, designed by Josie Cornish from her hospital bed; Chapel Hill Church - Fair Trade; Neighbourhood Watch; Sedlescombe Societies Association who are planning the forthcoming Fete; the School; Garden Society with tomatoes for sale; Sedlescombe Green WI; Flower Club; Short Mat Bowls (a new and very successful Club which has extended from one afternoon a week to two); Sedlescombe Branch of the British Legion who have been awarded the Jelico Shield for the highest percentage increase in membership in the UK; Sedlescombe Stores with a table of new products just arrived.

6. ANY OTHER BUSINESS. The following subjects were discussed:

Request for Double White Lines at the top of Church Hill. Parish Council requested; still with County Council and Police.

New stiles and gates on public footpaths. Footpath Working Group congratulated.

Planning Application for extension of hours of use of the multi games area at the School. Many objections from people living in Streetlands, Gammons Way and The Green who feared too much disturbance at any time from youngsters playing in the area and increased parking in Streetlands.

The Headteacher, Marian Ham, explained that the funders, SportEngland, wanted the area to be used by the community and she would like Sedlescombe Rangers to be allowed to use it on Saturday mornings for three hours, for it to be used for occasional PTA events and for youths to be able to play football at times when a member of staff is on duty at the School. There should be no additional parking in Streetlands as the playground will be available as well as the public car park. The School is already planning to plant trees to screen the area from the gardens of houses in The Green. The Parish Council had supported the application but had asked that it be temporary for one year to check whether neighbours are being unreasonably disturbed by the extended use.

At the request of a person living in Streetlands, a show of hands was requested resulting in a majority in favour of the extended hours of use.

Grass verge cutting. Residents of Park Shaw were dissatisfied. Cllr Jones to investigate.

Wheelie Bins. Fear that unsightly wheelie bins will be left in front of properties and on pavements throughout the Village. Concern that the elderly will not be able to manage the bins on steep driveways.

Buses. Request that the once an hour bus is returned so that the elderly can go to Eastbourne and Tunbridge Wells. Cllr Jones explained that running buses is expensive, they are not well used and increased services would mean a considerable increase in Council Tax. He said, however, that he is hoping to introduce some new and innovative measures to help people with transport, for example funding community buses or local taxis.

Derek Marshall, Director at Pestalozzi International Village, spoke of an idea he has to establish a social enterprise for the benefit of the community involving use of the Village's minibuses (which will have to increase in number with more students expected) during the day by the community.

Climate Change Debate. This is the first time that Sedlescombe and Pestalozzi have combined to put on a debate in the Village Hall and it is hoped that there will be a good attendance. The MP plans to attend.

Parish News. Valerie Tegg spoke of the difficult situation with the weekly Parish News following Sylvia Cook's illness. Anyone can submit an item for publication free in the news-sheet as long as it is in the shop by midday on Wednesday and the News, which is printed by Mr and Mrs Mainwood, is on sale in the shop on Fridays priced 20p. More copy is needed if it is to continue and, preferably, someone else to edit it as the Teggs, who have taken on the editorship again, were editors for many years prior to Sylvia taking over. Valerie thanked Margaret and Roy Smith for their occasional help.

School Governor. Whilst on her feet, Valerie Tegg spoke of her support for Marian Ham at the School whom she described as an "exceptional headteacher" with a very caring attitude towards the community who would not allow anything to take place in the School or its grounds to upset those living nearby. This was endorsed by the meeting.

The Chairman closed the meeting by thanking the Clerk, her Vice-Chairman and other councillors. Cllr Rand, in turn, thanked the Chairman for her tremendous enthusiasm in leading the Parish Council.

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