Cllrs Cameron, Glew, Irwin, Martin, Mitchell, Wheatley (from agenda item C08/09.9)
Councillor Wright (Chairman of the Council), Councillor Rand (Vice-Chairman of the Council)
Clerk/Responsible Financial Officer: Mrs P Raymond

C08/09.1 Election of Chairman. RESOLVED: That Cllr Wright be Chairman of the Council for the ensuing year. Cllr Wright signed her declaration of acceptance of office.
C08/09.2 Election of Vice-Chairman. RESOLVED: That Cllr Rand be Vice-Chairman of the Council for the ensuing year.
C08/09.3 Committees. RESOLVED: That two executive committees are constituted for the 2008/09 year, ie Planning and Finance, together with a Crime & Safety Advisory Committee with terms of reference as detailed. Members to be as follows: Planning - Cllrs Cameron, Martin, Mitchell, Wheatley. Finance - Cllrs Dellow, Glew, Irwin, Martin. Crime & Safety Advisory - Cllrs Dellow, Glew, Irwin, Wheatley with Sally Martin, Jean Dellow and Reg Glew as co-opted members. Cllrs Wright and Rand, as Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Council to be ex-officio members of all committees.
C08/08.4 Working Groups. RESOLVED: That further consideration will be given to working groups at the July Council Meeting.
C08/09.5 Representatives. RESOLVED: That the following members are appointed to represent the Council as follows:

Rother Association of Local Councils: Cllrs Glew and Irwin.
Village Hall Trustee: Cllr Glew.
Environment Officer: Cllr Dellow.
Tree Warden: Cllr Martin.
Neighbourhood Watch: Cllr Dellow.

Further consideration to be given to appointment of the Council's representative on the Sports Association Committee at the July Council Meeting



Schedule of dates and work. RESOLVED: That the Schedule of Dates and Work as distributed to members is approved for the forthcoming year.
C08/09.7 Subscriptions. RESOLVED: That the following subscriptions are approved for payment as they fall due:

Sussex Association of Local Councils
Rother Association of Local Councils
Action in rural Sussex
Society of Local Council Clerks
Sussex County Playing Fields Association
Campaign for the Protection of Rural England

C08/09.8 Apologies and reasons for absence. Apology for absence was received from Cllr Dellow (ill).
C08/09.9 Interests. Declarations of existence and nature of councillor's interests, whether personal or personal/prejudicial, with regard to items on the agenda.

C08/09.14.1 Cllr Glew: RALC Personal interest by virtue of her appointment as Council representative on Rother Association of Local Councils.
C08/09.14.2 & C08/09.15 Village Hall. Cllrs Glew, Wheatley & Irwin. Cllr Glew by virtue of her appointment by the Council as a Village Hall Trustee, Cllrs Wheatley and Irwin by virtue of their appointments as Village Hall Trustees by other bodies.
C08/09.15 and 20.1 Sports Association. Cllr Mitchell. Personal & prejudicial interest by virtue of her being the Secretary of the Sports Association and her husband being a trustee of the Sportsfield.

Cllr Mitchell took advantage of the opportunity for her to speak as a member with a personal & prejudicial interest in the Sports Association. She reported that the next meeting would be held on 19/05/08 and that the Association was having to arrange cutting of the sportsfield by an outside contractor because of problems with their old tractor. David Mitchell and Grant Burberry were trying to fix the problem.

C08/09.10 Public participation session. No members of the public were present.
C08/09.11 Minutes. RESOLVED:: That the Chairman of the Council is authorised to sign the Minutes of the Meeting of the Council held on 11/03/08.
C08/09.12 Minutes of Meetings of Committees and Working Groups
Planning Committee. RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the Meetings of the Planning Committee held on 11/03/08 and 15/04/08 are received.
Finance Committee. RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the Meeting of the Finance Committee held on 25/03/08 are received.
C08/09.13 Sedlescombe Playing Field & Recreation Ground Trust. RESOLVED: That the Parish Council is willing to continue to be responsible for management, maintenance and insurance of the Sedlescombe Playing Field & Recreation Ground Trust property in its statutory capacity under the terms of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 section 19 and that this work will be funded entirely from the precept.
C08/09.14 Reports from representatives
14.1 Rother Association of Local Councils. Cllr Glew declared her personal interest by virtue of her being the Council's representative on RALC.
Cllr Glew reported on the meeting held on 24/04/08 as follows:

  1. There was an Ancient Woodland presentation.
  2. Parish clerks find communication with Rother DC satisfactory.
  3. Regulations re the implementation of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 are now expected to come into force on 01/07/08.
  4. SALC needs to know what councils want from it.
  5. SALC needs to be told of councils' training needs. The recent Internal Auditors' Course in Sedlescombe was well attended.
  6. Some Annual Parish Meetings are excellent but some need to be improved. Cllr Glew took Sedlescombe's Annual Report to the meeting and it was well received.
  7. The reasons why clerks are difficult to retain was discussed. The reasons identified included late telephone calls, no appreciation of the good work done, no space to keep records, over-bearing councillors, poor pay.

Parish Conference. Cllr Glew reported on the Parish Conference held on 03/04/08 as follows:

  1. Bob Lacey - very good speaker - talked about youth and what is being done.
  2. Martin Kenward - poor speaker - all about Action Plans being excellent.
  3. Affordable houses in rural Rother. Houses going ahead in Ticehurst. Next phase Brightling, Camber, Robertsbridge. Finding sites is difficult. Nominated tenants - some with history, eg family, in village.
  4. County Cllr Peter Jones assured meeting that rural schools will not be closed.
  5. Bexhill Link Road.
  6. Bexhill Library refurbishment and other library facilities.
  7. Recycling: contamination labels (bottle tops not acceptable); recycling letter out of date (Rother doesn't have much control over this, it is the contractors); negotiating with contractors over green wheelie bins; working on the cardboard situation.
  8. Roads: lorries in lanes (SatNavs working on 20-year-old maps).
  9. Reinstatement of speed camera at Johns Cross.
14.2 Village Hall Trust. Cllr Glew declared her personal interest as the Parish Council's appointed trustee. Cllrs Irwin and Wheatley declared their personal interests as trustees appointed by other bodies. They remained in the meeting.

Cllr Glew reported that the AGM held been held on 20/03/08. Mrs Sylvia Cook was elected Chair, David Torrance Treasurer, Jacqui Post Booking Clerk and Reg Glew Secretary. The Committee is thinking about installing a connecting door between committee room 2 and the kitchen; it is pursuing alternative car park lighting; no fund-raising this year; small box in foyer to hold key to height barrier for emergencies. Next meeting 19/06/08.
14.3 Tree Warden. Cllr Martin reported that he would be meeting with Marian Ham, headteacher, on 28/05/08 re the horse-chestnut trees which the children had been given to raise. The press and TV will be invited. Cllr Martin will be looking for places to plant the trees. Cllr Cameron suggested contacting the Pestalozzi International Village.

Cllr Martin thanked the Council for the excellent golf bag presented to him by the Chairman at the Annual Parish Meeting to mark his 25 years on Sedlescombe Parish Council.

14.4 Environment Officer. No report in Cllr Dellow's absence.
Clerk's Report. The Clerk had placed various information on the Council's website under "Noticeboards". Members had been provided with hard copies at the end of each month. The following additional information was provided:

  1. Trevor Elliott, District Secretary of Rother District Council, will be retiring in early June 2008. Best wishes will be sent from the Council.
  2. The litter bin with its concrete base next to the seat in Gammons Hill had been taken out last night and the contents strewn around. Cleared up by Rother DC. Cllr Mitchell reported that a large group of youngsters were tearing around the Village at the time.
  3. The Church Fayre will be held on the Village Green on 19/07/08. Insurance confirmation will be submitted to the Council.
  4. The High Weald AONB is arranging an "Enhancement and Management of Grasslands" course at Ashburnham on 12/06/08. 10:00 to 15:00, £35.
  5. Invite received from AiRS to join them for a ringside seat at the main arena at the South of England Show, Ardingly on Saturday 7 June.
  6. Reminder received from NALC that the Conference is to be held at Eastbourne 20-22 May 2008. Theme "Making Local Connections".
C08/09.15 Replacement Trustees for Village Hall Car Park and Sportsfield. Cllr Mitchell declared her personal and prejudicial interest by virtue of her husband being one of the three named trustees on the Parish Council/Sports Association lease. She left the meeting during discussions.

Cllrs Glew, Irwin and Wheatley declared their personal interests by virtue of their being trustees of Sedlescombe Village Hall. None are named trustees on the Parish Council/Village Hall Trust lease. They remained in the meeting.

The Clerk reported receipt of a reply from the NALC Solicitor today. The advice is that, once any new trustees are appointed by a body, the leases granted by SPC allow for them to be automatically passed to the new trustees. It is, though, the lessees' responsibility to get legal advice from a trust specialist on how to change the trustees and the Parish Council should not be involved in giving the bodies any advice.

C08/09.16 Finance
16.1 Bank Reconciliations. RESOLVED: That the amended bank reconciliation at the end of February 2008 and the bank reconciliations at the end of March 2008 and April 2008 are received.
Cheques. RESOLVED: That the payment of April 2008 cheques is ratified and payment of May 2008 cheques is approved.
16.3 Audit of 2007/08 accounts. Valerie Bennett had attended the SALC Internal Audit training day. Matters arising will be considered by the Finance Committee at its next meeting.

Members had been provided with a set of accounts for 2007/08 and these were approved. RESOLVED: That the Chairman is authorised to sign the Statement of Accounts (page 2 of the Audit Form) and Annual Governance Statement (page 3 of the Audit Form).
16.4 Cost of By-Elections. It was noted that new legislation was brought in last year requiring electors with a postal vote to complete a personal identifier within the postal vote "mailer" which, when returned, is scanned and checked against their original application. This has increased the cost of dealing with postal votes, which are more popular than ever. Extended polling hours and new postal rates have increased costs further. Rother has informed the Council that, in future, a stand alone by-election for a parish council will cost between £1,600 and £2,000.
16.5 Proposed Parish and Town Rother District Council Grant Support Scheme. Rother DC intended to amalgamate both its community capital project and village hall grant schemes into one scheme with the following arrangements:

Year 1: RDC to match the local Parish/Town Council contribution to annual running costs. Maximum grant £25,000.
Years 2 & 3: RDC to match the local Parish/Town Council contribution to annual running costs. Maximum grants of £5,000 for each year.
It will not be essential for schemes to be included in Local Action Plans, although, if they are, local support will have been demonstrated.
There is a list of grant criteria to be met.
Schemes to be assessed by panel of RDC officers with support and advice from AiRS. Final decision to be made by Rother's Cabinet.
Maximum total Rother grants in any year of £75,000.
Comments on scheme to Rother by 06/06/08.

RESOLVED: That Sedlescombe Parish Council approves and supports the proposed Grant Support Scheme.

C08/09.17 Training. Members had been provided with the current Three Counties Training Schedule.

RESOLVED: That the following attendance is authorised by the Parish Council -

  • Chairman's Training, 10/06/08, Leeford Place, Whatlington. Fee £60 each. Cllrs Mitchell, Wright, Wheatley and Rand to attend.
  • Councillors' Course, 20/21/09/08, Sedlescombe Golf Course. Fee. Fee £120. Cllr Irwin to attend.
C08/09.18 Aim 1 To achieve an Informed and Participating Sedlescombe Community
18.1 Welcome Packs. Members were reminded to tell the Clerk about new residents so that welcome packs can be delivered.

Arising from 2008 Annual Assembly of Parish Meeting. Members agreed it was a very successful meeting with 125 people attending. The Clerk was asked to write to Tesco Stores Limited asking for a donation towards the pavilion to compensate for the disturbance caused to local people by heavy lorries in the Village.
18.3 Proposed Art Exhibition. It was noted that, because of problems of insurance, the proposed Art Exhibition is not expected to be held in Sedlescombe but might be held at Hastings Museum.
18.4 Celebration of Sussex Day on 16 June. The Council agreed to post "The Sussex Charter" on the noticeboard for Sussex Day, 16 June.
18.5 Big Sussex Week, 16-22 June. The Council noted that Big Sussex Week will be held 16-22 June 2008. Special offers will be available to Sussex residents during the week.
C08/09.19 Aim 2 To achieve a Safe and Healthy Sedlescombe Community
19.1 Proposed footway, Sandrock Hill. Deferred again to next meeting.
19.2 Parish Maintenance Team. Noted that the team was in Sedlescombe from 1-7 April (excluding weekend) and that two seats were painted, signs cleaned, drains cleared, footways sided back, brambles removed from top Church Hill and litter bin re-installed outside Old Hall House.
19.3 Dog Control Order. RESOLVED: That the Parish Council has no objections to the introduction of the Dog Exclusion Control Order. Minutes 07/ refers.
19.4 Amalgamated Playground Inspection Reports. Councillors had inspected the playgrounds. Although Cllr Rand had replaced the fencing spiles at the Riverside, more had been removed. Some graffiti had been seen on one of the springers. Cllr Rand will raise the ropes at the Riverside. Wire, rope and a hoop have been seen from time to time in the tree at the kickabout area.
19.5 Double White Line System, B2244, Church Hill. Noted that the County Council has discussed the idea of a double white line system on Church Hill adjacent to the parish church with the Sussex Police Traffic Management Officer, but the criteria requirements are not met and there is no crash history relating to overtaking that would support a departure from these criteria requirements. (In addition, at the site meeting in January, it was pointed out that parking would not be allowed opposite the double white lines.)
19.6 Vehicle-Activated Signs. Noted that the County Council is waiting for EDF to install the power supply so that the signs can be switched on at the same time as erected. It is expected that the existing "road narrows" sign at the southern end will be relocated to the same post as the vehicle-activated sign. At the north end, the post for the sign is currently restricting the footway width causing problems for people using mobility scooters and zimmer frames. The County Council is arranging for the post to be relocated.
C08/09.20 Aim 3 To help provide Amenities and Services in Sedlescombe
20.1 Sports Pavilion. Cllr Mitchell declared her personal and prejudicial interest by virtue of her being the Secretary of the Sports Association. She left the meeting during discussions.

Cllr Rand reported that the old pavilion is to be demolished on Monday 19 May. The First Team of the Sedlescombe Football Club has gained promotion to Division 1 of the East Sussex Football League. On inspection, the portacabin has been found to be excellent apart from its lack of showers. This lack of showers means that the Football Club will not be able to play at the sportsfield until showers can be provided. Cllr Rand was thanked for all the work he is undertaking for the users of the field.

RESOLVED: That the Council should apply to Rother District Council for £25,000 towards the pavilion project as soon as the new grant is available. The Clerk/RFO has already written to the Chief Executive, Derek Stevens, and he has confirmed his support for the project.

The Clerk provided updated details of the Pavilion Funding Budget & Cost Plan in round figures for members as attached.

RESOLVED: That, with the agreement of the preferred contractor, Steed Construction Limited, the work will be divided into two stages with the quote for foundation work by Abbey Pynford of £32,314 being accepted. The money for this work is in hand.

An extraordinary meeting of the full Parish Council will be held on Wednesday 11 June for further discussions on obtaining borrowing approval etc. By this time, it is expected that the results of the £50,000 Big Lottery application will be available.

20.2 Youth Club Project. A recent public meeting had been well-attended. Several people had offered to form a committee and David had agreed to co-ordinate. Cllr Glew spoke of the generosity of Pestalozzi's offers to become involved with the project. Cllr Mitchell spoke of her annoyance at the super-gluing of garage door locks at East View.
20.3 Tennis courts. Languard had treated the moss at the courts at no extra cost.
20.4 Footpaths. It was noted that there are three wooden kissing gates and one wooden gate to be erected to complete the easy-access work on Sedlescombe's public footpaths. East Sussex County Council maintenance team will do this outstanding work with the help of Jonathan Vine-Hall and possibly other local help.
20.5 Brede Lane Car Park. It was noted that alterations have been made to the Brede Lane Car Park layout to improve the flow of traffic and increase parking spaces.
20.6 Replacement Bus Shelter. It was noted that the land on which the shelter stands has been transferred by Paul Thomas to the Parish Council at no cost, apart from legal fees.
20.7 Removal of three payphones from Sedlescombe. BT is consulting about its proposal to removal all three of Sedlescombe's payphones because of lack of use (other payphones across the area are also expected to be removed). RESOLVED: That the Clerk should write to BT objecting to the removal of two of the three phones ie at Blackbrooks and East View Terrace. The Blackbrooks phone is important because of the number of accidents occurring at the junction and the one at East View appears very well used by people without mobile phones.
C08/09.21 Aim 5 To Protect and Enhance Sedlescombe's Built and Natural Environment
21.1 Damage to Village Green and grass verges. (See Minute C07/08.97.4). No further ideas forthcoming. The driving across the Green by a Range Rover during the Clerk's walk on Sunday was discussed.
21.2 Pestalozzi's replacement garden and work to the boundaries in Cottage Lane. The Clerk reported that a temporary stop had been placed on the work to the boundaries of the garden by Rother Planning. The strawbale classroom is currently not going ahead because of funding problems but the timber-framed barn is being constructed. The trees bordering Cottage Lane have been removed. A triple row shelter belt of trees of mixed species 12 metres deep will be planted including holly, oak and alder. This will also screen the deer/rabbit-proof fencing which has been erected around the garden. The Estates Manager is to be asked to change the cutting regime of the hedge bordering Cottage Lane to allow it to grow taller. Inside the fences under the existing oaks will be diverse pocket forest gardens and in the remainder of the garden will be multi-functional edible areas.
21.3 Boundaries to Red Barn Field Nature Park and private gardens. The Clerk will write to the residents on the eastern side of Red Barn Field Nature Park informing them that, unless they can prove otherwise, the Council considers they do not have any right of access to the Field from their gardens.
21.4 Management of Red Barn Field meadow. Although it would be best if sheep were not in the meadow during the summer months, it was agreed that Mrs Cole's old sheep should be allowed to stay. Mrs Cole will be thanked for her contribution to the management of the field.
21.5 School Competition. Cllr Dellow is arranging a competition for the schoolchildren to design a poster for display on the Red Barn noticeboards.
21.6 Protection of wildflower areas. See Minute C07/08.97.6. Deferred to the next meeting.
21.7 Proposed composting event. The composting event has been cancelled and the Compost Doctor will now attend the June Fayre on 7th at the sportsfield.