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PARISH COUNCILLORS PRESENT: Cllr Wright (Chairman), Cllr A Rand (Vice-Chairman), Cllrs Dellow, Glew, Irwin, Marland, Martin, Mitchell, Wheatley




ALSO PRESENT FOR THE MEETING: 14 members of the public



Apologies and reasons for absence. None, all councillors present.

C09/10.111 Interests. Declarations of existence and nature of councillor's interests, whether personal/prejudicial, in accordance with the adopted Code of Conduct 2007, with regard to items on the agenda. None.

C09/10.112 Prejudiced members' participation. None.
C09/10.113 Public Participation Session. Regarding agenda item 115. The Chairman agreed that Colin Bates (Masters Cottage) would be allowed to address the Council and Elizabeth Simpson (owner of School House) said that she was willing to answer any questions. Philip Dann (ground contractor) and Neil Jones (Century House) were also allowed to speak/answer/ask questions at the appropriate time.
Minutes. RESOLVED: That the Chairman of the Council is authorised to sign the Minutes of the Meeting of the Council held on 12/01/10.

"Land Drainage of Spring Water from Red Barn Field Nature Reserve and Current Building Works at School House, Balcombe Green, Sedlescombe". Mr Bates had contacted the Clerk asking that this item be placed on a Council agenda urgently on behalf of himself and Mary-Lynne Durrell.


The Chairman allowed Mr Bates to make his representation to the Parish Council (copy herewith and also supplied to parish councillors). Mr Bates confined his representation to matters affecting Masters Cottage.


Mr Bates' key issue at parish level was that he and Ms Durrell allege the builders at School House have disrupted spring lines at Red Barn Field Nature Reserve causing uncontrolled spring water to drain into Masters Cottage grounds, their neighbours' grounds and Balcombe Green. They say that land drainage from School House and Red Barn Field needs to be controlled as a matter of priority. Longer term public issues concern the Red Barn Field Management Plan with particular reference to springs, the control of land drainage and finances.


The following statements were made:

  1. The Parish Council has no responsibility for approving any work at School House.
  2. That, as far as the Parish Council is aware, the situation with land drainage at Red Barn Field Nature Park did not alter between the time builders began work at School House on 16 December 2009 and 28 January 2010 when the Parish Council was first informed of Mr Bates' concerns.
  3. That the Parish Council is in no way responsible for management of drainage in The Street or Balcombe Green (as alleged by Mr Bates in previous correspondence).
  4. That water is inherited by Red Barn Field from higher ground, eg Balcombe Green and other developments, where natural drainage patterns have been changed in recent years by construction of buildings, extensions, hard driveways and surfaced roads.
  5. That the emergency decision to permit the new owner of School House to insert pipes and a French drain on land belonging to the Council was made on 25/01/10 because there were exceptionally wet ground conditions (in November 2009, the heaviest rainfall since 1998 had been recorded in Sedlescombe) and excessive groundwater was hampering underpinning work at School House. It is expected that these new pipes will assist in restricting the natural flow of water downhill. In the letter written by the Clerk to the owner of School House dated 26/01/10, it was made clear that the Council does not accept any responsibility for the current water problems School House is experiencing or any responsibility for any problems that may arise on any surrounding or nearby land following the pipe's installation. The Council also reserves the right to make other drainage arrangements if necessary.
  6. The ground contractor informed the meeting that the work to insert the French drain and drainage pipe from the wells in Red Barn Field was at the expense of the owner of School House but he offered to insert a perforated pipe with Terram sheeting and beach, with the permission of the Parish Council, if houseowners on The Street agree to pay an additional £2,000 within the next two days. He also suggested that the Parish Council might consider making a ditch around the Field.
  7. That the land and path so disturbed will be reinstated. The ground contractor confirmed that the path would be in a safe condition for the commencement of the School Walking Bus on Monday 8 February.
  8. That the insertion of the new pipe should not affect the flow of water into the pond - question put to the Clerk by Mr Colin Boyd who is monitoring the pond. The new pipe will be much deeper and will be placed to the west of the existing perforated pipe, which will remain. The new pipe will be put into the ditch to the west of the pond. The ground contractor was given permission by the Council to clear the ditch now and in the future at the expense of School House.
  9. That the wells in Red Barn Field will be inspected by the Parish Council and repairs and replacement capping carried out as required in order to ensure they are completely safe.

It was RESOLVED unanimously by the Parish Council as follows:

  1. That the decision by by the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Council on 25/01/10 is ratified allowing the new owner of School House to insert pipes and a French drain from wells to the east of School House across Red Barn Field to the ditch situated on the northern boundary of the Field as an emergency measure because of the exceptional groundwater conditions in December 2009/January 2010 during building work at School House.
  2. That the Parish Council refutes any suggestion that it allowed School House builders between 16 December 2009 and 26 January 2010 to disrupt spring lines on Red Barn Field causing uncontrolled spring water to drain into Masters Cottage grounds, neighbouring properties and Balcombe Green.
  3. That the Clerk is authorised, in consultation with the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Parish Council, to answer correspondence and make decisions regarding groundwater drainage (other than financial) affecting Red Barn Field and to provide regular report to Parish Council meetings.
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