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PRESENT: Cllrs Glew, Irwin, Martin, Mitchell

Councillor Wright (Chairman of the Council), Cllr A Rand (Vice Chairman of the Council)

Clerk/Responsible Financial Officer: Mrs P Raymond


F09/10.48 Apologies and reasons for absence. None, all present.
F09/10.49 Disclosure by Members of personal interests in 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. None declared.
F09/10.50 Representation by prejudiced members. None.
F09/10.51 Public participation session. No public present.
F09/10.52 Minutes. RESOLVED: That the Chairman of the Committee is authorised to sign the Minutes of the Meeting of the Finance Committee held 15/12/2009.

Budget Monitoring. Members had been sent a copy of a draft financial summary for 2009/10 including the budget for 2010/11. The RFO gave some further information about the figures and answered councillors' questions regarding income and expenditure.

  1. Approval of first draft accounts for 2009/10. The RFO explained that further income and expenditure had occurred since the Final Quarter Review was drafted on 23/03/10 and would be reflected in second draft accounts which would be presented to the May Annual Council Meeting. RESOLVED: That the first draft accounts for 2009/10 are approved.
  2. 2010/11 Budget and Council Tax. Members were informed that Rother DC is expected to announce soon the cost to parishes of having dog bins emptied each week. The cost for emptying three bins weekly for Sedlescombe could be about £850 p.a.

    Last year, Sedlescombe Parish's Council Tax was 16th out of 32 parishes. In 2010/11, 16th position has been held.

Grants/prizes received. Members were informed that a total of £10,917 in grants or prize-money was received during 2009/10 as follows:

  1. Pavilion - £6,831 (final payment made to Steed Construction Ltd. £1,070 remains in the Fund for a new fence at the front of the site. The portacabin is still to be sold and has not been taken into account. Money from the sale of the security fencing is expected to be added to the fund also.)

  2. Red Barn Field - £300 was received in two tranches from the Sedlescombe Societies Association towards maintenance of Red Barn Field Nature Park. £35 has been spent on Barley straw for the pond and bracken clearance. The normal strimming and weedkilling work has been met from the Parish Council's own budget. The money remaining from the SSA grant is expected to be put towards one or two well covers although Cllr Dellow has asked for permission to purchase and plant ten buddleia trees near the top gate.

  3. Village of the Year prizemoney. Sedlescombe received two prizes of £800 and £500 for its success in the 2010 competition. A small amount has been spent on refreshments at two events. The remainder of the £1300 prizemoney is expected to be spent on 1) youth encouragement, 2) energy saving [Council resolution C09/10.130.1 That the Parish Council will pay one third of the cost of afternoon tea at the Brickwall for the Energy Conservation and Fuel Poverty Meeting on 18/05/10 from the Village of the Year prizemoney]. Wallets will also be purchased for the energy packs to be available at and after the Assembly. 3) an advertising sign for the A21, 4) a circus workshop for the May Fayre. RESOLVED: That, if there is insufficient money from the Quality Council payover to cover the cost of the new village sign, the balance should be taken from the Village of the Year prizemoney.

  4. Playing Field Trust. The Playing Field trust has made a grant of £2,000 to the Council to cover the cost of maintaining its trust property at the Playing Field.

  5. Pump Project. £455 was received from well wishers of a local resident who wished to mark her 50th birthday by contributing towards the refurbishment of the pump. £30 has so far been received in advance of the May Fayre.

  6. Quality Council payout. A part-grant was expected in 2009/10 but has not been received. The Council has decided to use this money to replace the village sign on the Village Green. See resolution at F09/10.54.3 above also.

Jobs Update

  1. Red Barn Field
    1. Land drainage. It was noted that land drainage work as described in Minute C09/10.127.2 had been undertaken at Red Barn Field in February at no cost to the Parish Council. Cllr Rand had reported that he had met Mr Dann and drawn the snagging problems to his attention.

    2. Wells. The Council had resolved to carry out the emergency replacement of the well tops in Red Barn Field (C09/10.127.2). RESOLVED: That Cllr Rand should arrange replacement of the concrete top situated at the north east corner of School House garden at the cost of £380 and for repairs to the other well top (including brickwork) at a maximum cost of £60.

    3. Water draining from Red Barn Field into Short Hill and into the B2244. The Council had agreed in principle to carry out further drainage work to deal with the water running down Red Barn Field path (C09/10.127.2). Cllr Rand had expected Mr Dann to give the RFO a quotation for some drainage work but no quote had been received.

      The RFO reported that she had received e-mails from a local resident which referred to the known spring in the garden of Bramlea, Balcombe Green. The RFO also reported that she was waiting to hear from East Sussex Highways about her request for a meeting to discuss whether the County Council should put a new drain in Short Hill, Balcombe Green to gather the water before it reaches the B2244 where ice has been forming this winter.

    4. Maintenance. Although a grass cut in Red Barn Field had been approved for February, the bad winter weather conditions had discouraged growth and there was insufficient to cut, when it was dry enough, even in March. Mr Colin Boyd had offered to rake up any cut grass. The idea of getting someone to cut and bale the grass in late summer had been agreed previously and Cllr Rand said he would ask Mr Blowey if he would be willing to do this in exchange for the hay.

      Mr Boyd had placed barley straw in the pond in March in an effort to combat green algae.

      No decision was made on Cllr Dellow's idea of planting up to ten buddleias in Red Barn Field although members were of the opinion that one would be sufficient and other cuttings could easily be taken for the following year.

  2. Sportsfield
    1. Pavilion. The final payment on the pavilion build had been made by the Council after confirmation had been received from Steed Construction Limited that problems with tiling would be rectified under guarantee if they recurred.

    2. Portacabin(s). The weather has still not been suitable for the portacabins to be moved. The large one remains the Council's but the smaller Football Club one needs to be removed as soon as possible. Cllr Rand believes that John Steed will help with the disconnection.

    3. Replacement of garage by Sports Association and replacement of fence by Parish Council. The Parish Council is waiting for the concrete slab to be put in for the new Sports Association garage before getting quotes for the fencing to be paid for out of the remaining Sports Pavilion Fund. It is expected that a hedge will be planted in front. The field gate is to be removed also, in accordance with planning approval.

    4. Tree work. Tree work has been completed and paid for out of the Sports Pavilion Fund.

    5. Sportsfield Car Park. As reported in October 2009, the Sports Association would like to extend the car park.  Draft plans are awaited from the Association for SPC approval before the plans are submitted for planning approval. SPC has approved replacement of the pipe under the sportsfield car park entrance which could be done at the same time as the extension of the car park.

  3. Village Green
    1. Pictorial sign.The purchase of a new sign has been approved (F09/10.38.3). Funding is awaited.

    2. Sir John Keeling teak seats. Still to be done.

    3. Pumphouse and Pump Restoration. The RFO reported that two quotes for the railings (three invited), three quotes for the building work (seven invited) and one quote for the lead work (two invited) had been received. Listed building consent is expected this week. Application had been made to Battle Partnership for funding of £1,932.18 and an offer of £1,000 had been received and would be accepted by 11 April. It has to be used within six months. Members discussed the Warr Partnership application for funding which had been drafted. RESOLVED: That application would be made to the Warr Partnership for 80% funding of the cost of the railings, wooden and lead pump casings and pumphouse repairs; the balance being provided by the Parish Council on a pro tem basis until the necessary funding from local fund-raising is complete. As a second project, work to bring the pump back into working condition and provision of educational resources would be undertaken using Battle Partnership and Parish Council grant aid.

  4. Tree work. Complete.

  5. Riverside
    1. Litter bin obtained. For fitting by Roger Wood.
    2. Main gate adjustment. Members had found the gate had been adjusted and can now be closed.
    3. Cat springer. For cleaning by Roger Wood.
    4. Motorbike springer. No repair.
    5. Fence repair. Spiles to be replaced by Roger Wood.
    6. Recycled plastic seat damage. Back to be removed by Roger Wood.
    7. Use of tennis courts. The courts will be used by the Netball Clubs on Monday evenings and the hire charges paid to the Playing Field Trust which is not registered for VAT. Although the tennis nets are in a poor condition, members are not willing, currently, to replace them as the public are using the courts free of charge.
    8. Moles. Cllr Wright reported increased problems with moles at the playground.

  6. East View Terrace Kickabout Area. The RFO would ask Rother DC to remove two wheelie bins from the Kickabout Area. RESOLVED: That arrangements should be made for the letting of a mowing contract for the Kickabout Area on the same basis as last year pending any correspondence from the Youth Development Service about them taking it over.

  7. Business advertising in Directory and on website. The RFO reported the sale of 33 advertising spaces (30 last year) in the 2010 Directory which raised £601.68 plus VAT (last year £609.54). This follows a rise in VAT on 01/01/10 but a decision by the Committee not to increase the amount charged for advertising. Therefore, despite an increase in the number of adverts over last year, income was slightly down. Fastprint & Design charged £535 for printing 800 copies (last year £554). The sale of advertising has, therefore, covered the cost of the Directory's printing and postage. A Staplecross business had asked to be included too late and now wished to pay for inclusion on the business page of the Parish Council's website. RESOLVED: That Chalk Down Lime is allowed to advertise on the SPC business page of the website for the next year at the cost of £20 including VAT.

  8. Bus shelter replacement. A further planning application for Park View, The Street (RR/2009/3066/P), had elicited a comment from the County Council that a replacement bus shelter should be provided after consulting the Parish Council regarding what is acceptable.

  9. Winter maintenance. Members had had the opportunity to see a recent County Council report on winter maintenance relating to a Scrutiny Committee meeting at which it was suggested that parish councils should be helped to help themselves during any future bad weather.
F09/10.56 Allowances and expenses 2009/10. The Chairman has claimed £96.28 (updated figure) out of her £200 allowance for Citizenship Awards and a Poppy Wreath. She also claimed £24 for travel to Scaynes Hill for the VOY prize giving. Cllr Dellow claimed £26.40 for two journeys on Council business to Bexhill and Uckfield. The Clerk claimed £7.10 for two journeys to clerks' meetings at Battle and Uckfield. No other councillor has made any claim during the year.

Contracts awarded 2009/10. The following contracts were awarded in 2009/10:

  1. Fortnightly sweeping and clearance of rubbish at bus shelter and pump from 01/01/10 - £150
  2. Hedge cut at Riverside and Kickabout, winter 2009 - £130 (completed)
  3. Mowing 2010 season, Brede Lane car park 20 cuts Feb to Nov; village Green 20 cuts Feb to Nov removing arisings; Riverside Playground 20 cuts Feb to Nov removing arisings; Red Barn Field path 10 strims; Riverside Playing Field excluding fenced-off area 16 cuts Mar to Oct £1630
  4. Litter collection and bin emptying at East View Kickabout Area and Riverside Playground £750
  5. Internal audit of 2009/10 accounts £85. Members had been provided with copies of the audit plan provided by the Internal Auditor, Valerie Bennett. RESOLVED: That the Audit Plan for audit of the 2009/10 accounts is approved. The RFO reported that the 2009/10 accounts would be presented to the Parish Council on 11/05/10 and be subjected to internal audit from 17/05/10.
  6. Application of herbicide (Diuron) in Feb and two further treatments using Glyphosate in July and October in the following areas:
    1. Tennis courts
    2. Public car park at Brede Lane and access path adjacent to surgery
    3. Pumphouse on village green
    4. Red Barn Field Nature Park footpath
    5. Sedlescombe Sportsfield car park
  7. Monitoring and treatment of giant hogweed as required along riverbanks throughout 2010 £350
  8. Tree work in Sedlescombe £680 (completed)

Grants given 2009/10. Grants totalling £1950 were made in 2009/10 as follows:

  • Crimestoppers - £50
  • Battle Area Community Bus £100
  • Sedlescombe Playing Field Trust and Recreation Ground £1800

A request for a grant for the maintenance of the churchyard was approved in principle by the Council but held pending a decision on a Societies Association grant. The SSA grant was made.

F09/10.59 Grants for the 2010/11 financial year. A total of £3500 has been included in the budget, of which £3,000 is for the Sedlescombe Playing Field Trust and Recreation Ground. The remaining £500 has not yet been allocated. The Council will consider applications as they are received.
F09/10.60 RFO's financial reports to the Annual Assembly of the Parish Meeting. The 2009/10 Annual Report/Directory contained a short report and the RFO would give an up to date report at the Parish Assembly on 27/04/10.
F09/10.61 Asset Summary List 2010. Members had been sent a hard copy and discussed various items. RESOLVED: That the amended Asset Summary List 2010 as attached is approved.
F09/10.62 2010/11 Risk Management Report. Members had been sent a hard copy and discussed various items. RESOLVED: That the amended Risk Management Report for 2010/11 as attached is approved.

Insurances. The Committee noted the following information from Came & Company:

  1. That volunteers working for the benefit of the Parish Council will be covered using their own tools but these must be in good working order.
  2. That, should the Parish Council appoint a contractor to carry out work on public open spaces, Came and Company would expect the contractor to have public liability insurance in place for £10,000,000. If this is not the case, they ask that the Parish Council provides the necessary details regarding the limit of indemnity that the contractor holds in respect of public liability cover. Roger Wood has already increased his public liability cover to £10,000,000 for the coming year. A copy of his insurance document is held by the Council.

2010/11 Insurances. RESOLVED: That the Parish Council should renew its insurances through Came & Company for the second of a three-year agreement.

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