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PARISH COUNCILLORS PRESENT: Cllr Wright (Chairman), Cllrs Glew, Marland, Martin, Mitchell, Vine-Hall




ALSO PRESENT: District Cllr Tony Ganly and 1 member of the public. PCSO Georghiou attended at the beginning of the meeting.

1 PCSO Demetrius Georghiou. Demi gave reports regarding the Robertsbridge murder, the road accident on the B2244 in Sedlescombe involving a local youth, a car break-in in New England Lane and shed break-in in Chapel Hill, poaching, damage to cars belonging to staff at Budget Cars.

District Councillor Ganly. Cllr Ganly reported that:

  • Rother is leading other district councils in a waste collection contract project o get 4 or 5 district councils under the same contract. Cardboard doorstep collection is due to start in January 2011 and is to be put into the green waste bins.
  • Rother is involved with multi-asset mapping with the eventual aim of sharing resources with other parts of the public sector.
  • Rother DC has served an enforcement notice on Budget Car Company for the removal of the existing storm port. The revised plan for a valeting centre is due to be considered by Rother Planning Committee on 18/11/10 and is recommended for approval. However, Cllr Ganly plans to object in the strongest terms to the application. He attended the Planning Committee inspection of the site today.



Apologies and reasons for absence: Cllr Rand (ill).

C10/11.63 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. The following interests were declared:

C10/11.70.1 Cllr Glew Personal interest by virtue of being one of the Council's representatives on the Rother Association of Local Councils
C10/11.70.2 Cllr Glew Personal interest by virtue of being the Council's Trustee of the Village Hall
C10/11.70.5 Cllr Glew Personal interest by virtue of being a member of Sedlescombe's Neighbourhood Watch Committee
C10/11.70.2 Cllr Mitchell Personal interest by virtue of being a Trustee of the Village Hall
C10/11.79.5 All councillors Personal/prejudicial interests by virtue of the Council being the sole trustee of the Sedlescombe Playing Field & Recreation Ground Trust. Dispensation granted to all councillors.
C10/11.64 Prejudiced Members' Participation. None.
C10/11.65 Public Participation Session. None.
Minutes. RESOLVED: That the Chairman of the Council is authorised to sign the Minutes of the Meeting of the Council held on 14/09/10.
C10/11.67 Minutes of Meetings of Committees
  1. Planning Committee. RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the Meetings of the Planning Committee held on 05/10/10 and 02/11/10 are received.
  2. Finance Committee. RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the Meetings of the Finance Committee held on 19/10/10 are received.

Cllr Mary Irwin

  1. The resignation from the Parish Council of Mary Irwin on account of ill-health was noted. The Chairman reported that she had taken a card and silver frame to Mary as an expression of the Council's and the Village's appreciation of Mary's twenty-year service to the community in the capacity of parish councillor
  2. As it is less than six months before Mary's term of office would have expired, the Parish Council is not required to advertise the vacancy so that a poll can be demanded. The Council considered co-opting someone on to the Parish Council for the last six months' term of office but decided to take no action.
  3. Replacement representative on the Rother Association of Local Councils. Cllr Wright offered to replace Mary on RALC for the remainder of the Council year.
  4. Vacancy on the Finance Committee. Cllr Marland was asked whether he would be willing to join the Finance Committee.

Cllr Caitlin Wheatley

  1. The resignation from the Parish Council of Caitlin Wheatley was noted. The Chairman reported taking a bottle of wine and a card to Caitlin as an expression of the Council's and the Village's appreciation of Caitlin's contribution to the work of the Council since she joined in 2007.
  2. As it is less than six months before Caitlin's term of office would have expired, the Parish Council is not required to advertise the vacancy so that a poll can be demanded. The Council considered co-opting someone to the Parish Council for the last six months' term of office but decided to take no action.
  3. To consider filling the vacancy on the Planning Committee. RESOLVED: That Cllr Vine-Hall would fill the vacancy on the Planning Committee for the remainder of the Council year.
C10/11.70 Reports from representatives. To receive reports as follows:
  1. Rother Association of Local Councils. Using the draft Minutes, Cllr Glew reported on the meeting of RALC held on 06/10/10.
  2. Village Hall Trust. Cllr Glew reported that the clock had been replaced in committee room 2 and the floor replaced in the main hall. Full instructions are in hand for the floor's care.
  3. Sports Association. No report.
  4. Tree Warden. No report.
  5. NHW representative. Cllr Glew reported that the recent AGM had been quite well attended. The Committee will publicise that they will pay the installation fee and first month's rental for Lifeline at a cost of approximately £45. Also that they can fit some security items such as door chains. The e-mail system is working well and they are working closely with Demi. There is a new co-ordinator for Orchard Way. Funds stand at £312.44.
  6. Energy-saving Champion. No report.
  7. Transport representative. Cllr Glew attended a meeting of the Rother Transport Action Group on 02/11/10. Presentations were given by:
    1. Kerry Edens (School Travel Plan Co-ordinator for ESCC). Future funding situation is unclear. The focus has moved towards more initiatives around health and Travel Plans, encouraging more children to walk to school. 6,000 ESCC pupils have been identified as not walking to school when they are within the "walking threshold".
    2. Norman Kwan (Rother District Council Strategy & Environment Planning Officer) re the Draft Local Transport Plan 3. This document is currently under consultation. The Community Transport Strategy sets out aims and priorities for improving and supporting community transport in the county. Community transport is a term used to describe a type of transport service which is developed by and within the local community, such as our Lift Scheme.
    3. Rother Transport Action Group. Mostly about road safety and speeding. "Speedwatch" weeks have been held in each community, with Police carrying out speedchecks between 0630 and 1830, Monday to Friday. Members of the community have been invited to join the officer. There are changes to rail/bus timetables. There was a discussion about cycling and a question was put asking for cycle paths to be incorporated into Sedlescombe's footpaths.
  8. Youth Meeting 04/11/10. Cllr Wright and Cllr Glew attended but there were no other members of the public despite widespread advertising of the meeting. Cllr Wright gave the Council a brief history of the Youth Club's search for premises which has now resulted in Pestalozzi letting them use the Trogen Centre. The Club now has a large TV and grant aid from the Sedlescombe Societies Association to buy Wee video games. Funding for the Youth Club is expected to dry up and money will need to be raised by the group themselves. Possibilities for activities are table tennis lessons and first aid training. Cllr Wright had suggested to the Club that they should try to help at next year's Fete.
  9. Any other councillor who has represented the Council since the last meeting. None.

Clerk's Report. The followed items were noted:

  1. Change of date of January 2011 Council Meeting. Now to be held on Tuesday 18 January.
  2. Inserts into Rother Welcome Packs arranged through Rother Voluntary Action. For the last few weeks, once registered, Rother clerks can receive details of houses in the parish which have changed hands in the previous week. In addition, Rother DC has agreed to insert a one page parish council information sheet into the packs that they provide newcomers to each parish.
  3. Consultation by Rother District Council (closing date 13/10/10, received 08/10/10) on Parish Councillors' Allowances. An Independent Remuneration Panel has met to consider the Allowances to be recommended to the District Council for payment to newly elected District Councillors in May 2011. In addition the Panel also acted as the Parish Remuneration Panel. Clerks were given five days to answer a questionnaire regarding the voluntary payment by parish councils of the Parish Basic Allowance and the Parish Travel & Subsistence Allowance. Most of the questions were straightforward and easily answered. However the Clerk and other clerks in Rother chose not to answer the following:
    • The Parish Basic Allowance which the Panel previously recommended to be paid, should Parish/Town Councils so choose, was a maximum of £225 pa.  To what extent do you feel this needs reviewing?  Should the revised Allowance to be recommended by the Panel be the same for all Parish & Town Councils in the District regardless of size and activity?  Should there be a differential Allowance for those Councils which have attained Quality Parish Council status?
  4. Councillors are invited to attend Pestalozzi's mince pie event on Monday 20 December from 1830.
  5. East Sussex Fire Authority Annual Plan 2010/11 is now available online. Click here.
  6. 2011 census, 27/03/2011. It was noted that the Census Area Manager responsible for the Rother District has now been appointed and is asking for parishes' help to build awareness and support for the census in our area. Apart from the usual methods of articles and notices, people are being sought to raise awareness and to encourage local people to complete the questionnaire. Information about jobs connected with the 2011 census can be seen on the Census Jobs Website. (Please also see Councillor Handbook)
  7. "The Greenest Government Ever?" Public meeting to be held on Friday 26/11/10 in St Mary Magdalene Church, Sea Road, Bexhill TN40 1RH. Speakers Greg Barker MP, Liz Hutchins (Friends of the Earth Campaigner, John Holbrow (Federation of Small Businesses).
  8. Brede High Woods. Meeting for locals on Thursday 09/12/10 in Sedlescombe Village Hall committee room 2, 1900 for 1930 start. They suggest you bring a bottle to share and they'll provide mince pies, tea and coffee. They would like to know if you are going - James Luxton 0845 2935734.
  9. Funds for trees. There are still funds available from the Tree Council for the planting of productive trees in hedgerows. A nursery has offered to donate trees and money may be available for promotion of the scheme if there is enough interest. RESOLVED: That a row of damsons is planted on the fence line between the village hall and Red Barn Field Nature Reserve and that the Clerk should register the interest with Mary Parker (ESCC). Cllrs Martin and Vine-Hall agreed to do the planting.
C10/11.72 Finance
  1. Bank Reconciliations. RESOLVED: That the bank reconciliations at the end of September and October 2010 are approved. It was noted that the balance carried forward has been amended so that the 50% precept received at the end of 2009/10 should be shown in 2010/11.
  2. Cheques. RESOLVED: That payment of the October 2010 cheque list is ratified and the November 2010 cheque list approved.
    102768 BEM Builders & Decorators Ltd. Pumphouse repairs/redecoration
    102769 Hastings Conservation Volunteers Bracken clearance, Red Barn Field
    102770 Mrs P J Raymond Demo pump, £50.98
        Delivery of sign bracket £21.95
        Broad £12.50
    102771 HMRC Clerk's Tax and NI, July-Sept 2010
    102772 XMA Limited Copier drum replacement
    102773 RPJ Leadwork Ltd. Pump refurbishment and install
    102774 Sedlescombe Village Hall Sept 2010 hall hire
    102775 Mrs P J Raymond Clerk's Salary, October 2010
    102776 R Wood Mowing, litter, sign paint
        Total October cheques
    102777 Glasdon UK Ltd. Dog bin lid and sticker
    102778 Sedlescombe Village Hall October 2010 hall hire
    102779 Mrs P Raymond Broadband £12.50
        5 reams of paper £10.90
        Laminating pouches £5.40
    102780 Mrs P Raymond Clerk's Salary, November 2010
    102781 Playing Field & Rec.Grd Trust Grant aid
    102782 R Wood Mowing, litter
    102783 Signs of the Times Blue plaque for pumphouse railings
    102784 Languard Ltd. Weedkilling/hogweed monitoring
    102785 Fastprint & Design Ltd. 850 A5 booklets, Pump/Pumphouse
    102786 Land Registry First registration Village Green
    102787 Ironworks UK Limited Railings and gate for Pumphouse
        Total November cheques



  1. Proposed Councillor Update Training in Rye, 29/11/10. Three councillors - Pauline Glew, John Marland and Jonathan Vine-hall have agreed to attend.
  2. Report of Clerks' Networking Day, 20/10/10. The Clerk reported that she had attended a very useful training day arranged by SALC at Leeford Place, Whatlington. However, some of the content was necessarily speculative pending the announcement of the details of various Coalition Government initiatives, particularly the Decentralisation and Localism Bill, which is expected soon. One of the presentations by Hedleys (Solicitors) regarded "Village Greens" and, subsequently, the Clerk has re-visited the subject of registering the Village Green with the Land Registry which was approved by the Council in 2005. The papers are now ready and a cheque for £30 needs to be included.
  3. "Active Ambling" Workshop, Thursday 09/12/10, at St Mary's Community Hall, Church Lane, Udimore. Topics to be covered include not only walking and leading walks but rights of way volunteering and promoting and managing the tourist element, including scripting and recording of downloadable audio guides.

2011 Parish Council Elections, due to be held on 05/05/11. At the Clerks' Training, Trevor Leggo (SALC) had expressed the concern of many that councils throughout the country will not be able to fill their seats. He suggested that all councils should consider whether they are holding their meetings at convenient times for all sections of the community - some councils are experimenting with holding meetings on Saturday mornings. Questions such as "do we inspire people or make them despondent?" and "is a small parish council viable?" need to be addressed.

The Council considered whether action should be taken in Sedlescombe to encourage people to stand next year and the Clerk was authorised to advertise as widely as possible. The eleven additional people who had been interested in filling the last three vacancies will be asked to apply. Although Trevor had said that candidates between the ages of 25 and 55 need to be encouraged to stand, Sedlescombe councillors believe that the age of a candidate is not important but his/her willingness and ability to take a full part in the work of the Council is.


Business Plan for the Parish Council. The idea of parish councils drawing up business plans is very popular at the moment, partly encouraged because of the lack of achievement by many of them.

  1. Visioning exercise. The Council decided that it is not necessary to invite Trevor Leggo to run a visioning exercise in Sedlescombe.
  2. Consultation with residents. It is now eight years since the Sedlescombe Parish Plan was published and three years since the last update was issued. RESOLVED: That residents should be asked again in January to complete a questionnaire with three things that concern them in Sedlescombe. The results will be considered at the March Council Meeting and the drawing up of a Plan considered subsequently. The name "Business Plan" was considered inappropriate.

Magazines/newsletters. Receipt of the following magazines/newsletters was noted.

  1. Rother Views. For the last two years, Rother DC has published a magazine called "Rother Views" to inform the general public of what Rother is doing. The Clerk has questioned District Cllr Ganly whether this publication gives value for money. The cost is 18p/copy currently and there are 45,000 produced each quarter. Presumably, this does not include delivery costs. Rother Communications Department is keeping this publication under review. RESOLVED: That Sedlescombe Parish Council does not consider that the distribution of printed copies of "Rother Views" quarterly to all residents represents value for money and should be dropped if advertising cannot be found to pay for it. Alternatively, a joint County/Rother magazine should be considered.
  2. The Clerk. Received.
  3. Clerks & Councils Direct. Received.
  4. Your County. Received.

Policies. Members had reviewed the following drafts:

  1. Standing Orders. A new set of Standing Orders had been drafted by the Clerk based on the model produced by NALC. Various changes were highlighted by the Clerk. RESOLVED: That the Council adopts the new set of Standing Orders as drafted with amendments.
  2. Financial regulations. The financial regulations need amendment to bring them into line with the Standing Orders. RESOLVED: That the Council adopts the new set of Financial Regulations as drafted.
  3. Publicity & Press Policy. (New) The Clerk had drafted a new policy regarding publicity. Members were made aware of the intense press interest created in Robertsbridge at the time of the recent murder and that the Clerk had recently been asked by the BBC to provide photographs of two local priests. RESOLVED: That the Council adopts the new Public & Press Policy as amended.
  4. Health and Safety Policy. The policy had been amended mainly to take account of changes in the use of tools by volunteers as required by the Insurance Company. RESOLVED: That the Council adopts the amended Health and Safety Policy.

Aim 1 To achieve an Informed and Participating Sedlescombe Community

  1. Litter collection.The Council agreed that Ralph Dellow should continue contacting people on the list who have said they will collect litter around the Village. He will then advertise for help in roads not covered. It may be necessary to purchase a few high visibility tabards.
  2. Report of Youth Meeting - reported above.
  3. Non-delivery of October Bulletin. A complaint had been received from a member of the public that "few people received the Bulletin in October". The Clerk confirmed that she had printed 670 copies of the Bulletin for distribution throughout the Village by a team of 18 volunteers, several of them parish councillors. This was the first complaint that had been received about non-delivery, although sometimes, because someone is away or has other commitments, delivery may be delayed.

Aim 2 To achieve a Safe and Healthy Sedlescombe Community

  1. A letter of support for our PCSO has been sent to Sussex Police Chief Constable and reply received. Also reply from Chief Inspector Heather Keating.
  2. Members had been asked to consider any matters of a strategic nature for inclusion on the agenda of the next half-yearly meeting of SALC with the Chief Constable. At the meeting, SALC will be seeking clarification as to possible changes with regard to neighbourhood policing including the possible impact on PCSO numbers.
  3. Police/PCSO Reports. Regular Police/PCSO reports have been received. Links have been attached to the website.
  4. Police Panel Meetings. The panel meeting planned for last month had been postponed because of the murder in Robertsbridge. It was note that some of the meetings in all areas are poorly attended and Police are experimenting with associating these with Council meetings, for example holding them immediately before. Lack of publicity is thought by some to be a key factor. District Cllr Ganly has suggested Panel meetings could be combined with District Councillor surgeries. RESOLVED: That the Clerk is authorised to write to the Chief Constable to say that there is no need for regular "panel meetings" and that they should be held only when problems occur and that all persons involved should be invited.
  5. Playground reports. Cllr Martin reported that dead wood needs to be removed from a small oak and ash at the Kickabout Area. RESOLVED: That the removal of dead wood from the oak and ash at the Kickabout Area is authorised. Cllr Martin and Marland had fixed the Riverside playground gate. Cllr Marland reported that the bottom right hand hinge of the gate is cracked and will eventually fail. It was suggested that maybe Mark Fisher could repair it using his portable welding equipment.
  6. Dogs and Dog Control Orders. The Clerk reported hearing from Rother's Senior Environmental Health Officer on 03/11/10 that delivery of the new signs is awaited after which an officer will visit and assess the suggested sites. It was agreed that the proposal for councillors to give out dog leaflets to dog walkers in the early mornings should be delayed until the better weather. The habit of leaving plastic bags of dog faeces in fences and hedles still continues and it was noted that a dog walker had been seen at the Sportsfield taking a dog for a walk attached to a washing line.
  7. County Council Winter Services Policy. RESOLVED: That the Parish Council adopts a Winter Maintenance Policy for Sedlescombe as drafted and amended.

Aim 3 To help provide Amenities and Services in Sedlescombe

  1. Pump and Pumphouse Project. Project 1 is now complete with the railings in place. The Chairman congratulated the Heritage Committee and the Clerk. Various minor work is still be be done. The first claim has been made to the Warr Partnership and the second claim will follow shortly.
    Regarding Project 2, the Clerk's booklet "Sedlescombe's Pump and Pumphouse - a brief history" has been printed and will be delivered to every house in the parish with the January bulletins. Its printing will be paid for by the Battle Partnership.
  2. Ladybird Lane. Road in bad state of repair.
  3. Budget Car Company. Mr Hall of Powdermills had informed Rother DC regarding the lack of an adequate system of drainage from the Valeting Centre which is causing problems on his driveway over which the public also have the right to access the tennis courts and playground. The Parish Council is partly responsible for the cost of maintaining this driveway. Rother Planning Officers propose that a surface water drainage condition is attached to the planning approval of the Valeting Centre whereby within three months, a surface water drainage plan must be submitted and within six months the drainage should be installed. RESOLVED: That Rother is informed of the Parish Council's concern about the surface water drainage which is affecting the Powdermill driveway and could be affecting the river and suggesting that a plan should be approved prior to the granting of permission.
  4. Sportsfield and the Sportsfield Car Park. Three parish councillors and the Clerk had met with the Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Treasurer of the Sports Association Committee on 25/10/10.

    The Council noted that the Committee had reached a crisis point with only four people (including Cllr Glew) attending the recent Sports Association AGM and the current officers being very despondent about their roles. They do not currently have a Secretary. The Football Club has been asked to become more involved and discussions were expected to have taken place. Unfortunately, no information has been received from the Sports Association since the meeting. With concern, the Council noted that some members of the Committee appeared not to fully appreciate the Association's obligations of maintenance including the ditch.

    The Clerk reported that the small portacabin and the yellow container had been removed from the car park leaving the blue container, the old garage and the portacabin. The Sports Association wants to move the garage next to the pavilion but this is not supported by the Council. It appears that whether works of a capital nature should be the responsibility of the Sports Association is a matter of dispute. The Council had made it clear at the meeting that it is fully committed in the next financial year not only with repaying the loan on the pavilion but also with contributing about £4,000 towards maintenance of Ladybird Lane. The Council's suggestion that, if all the other structures could be removed, the large portacabin could be retained and its use shared by the Societies Association and the Football Club, was not opposed by the Committee. RESOLVED: That the Parish Council should seek a meeting with the Sports Association Committee to include Fred Ham from the Football Club in order to discuss the way forward for the Association and the tidying up of the area near the pavilion and removal of the two additional structures at the car park. Currently, the running of the sportsfield and pavilion by a committee of the Parish Council is not an option without repaying £30,000 VAT.
  5. Public footpaths and bridleways
    1. Request for a gate to replace the broken stile on Fp17c. The stile has been inspected and found to be in good order. There is no current need for a gate to replace the stile.
    2. Request for a pedestrian gate to replace the kissing gate when the gate/fence work is undertaken at the Sportsfield (Fp 31). Approved and already referred to the Finance Committee.
    3. Complaint about Fp 34, New England Lane to A21, which is becoming difficult to find. For referral to East Sussex County Council.
    4. Repair required of gate installed by volunteers. According to the Footpaths Officer of ESCC, repairs of gates installed by volunteers remain with the landowner. For referral to East Sussex County Council.
  6. Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge.The Challenge is a programme to mark Her Majesty The Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the London 2012 Olympics. It is being led by Prince William. The aim is to identify about 1,512 additional fields which are dedicated as playing fields in perpetuity and have been chosen by local residents. No action.
  7. Consultation by East Sussex County Council (closing date 04/01/11) on the following available online:
    1. Draft Local Transport Plan 3 - 2011-2026.
    2. Draft Community Transport Strategy.
    3. Draft Freight Strategy.
  8. Consultation by East Sussex County Council (closing date 12/11/10) on the Review of Supported Local Bus Services and Closed Door School and College Contracts - Lewes, Hastings, Rother and Wealden Areas. Cllr Glew had sent her comments as a bus user.
  9. Representative to the Battle Area Community Transport AGM to be held in Mountfield Village Hall at 16:00 on Wednesday 08/12/10. Cllrs Glew and Wright to try to attend.

Aim 5 To protect and enhance Sedlescombe's built and natural environment

  1. Red Barn Field. Cllr Rand had said some progress had been made.
  2. Rother Ancient Woodland Survey. It was noted that a revised survey had been completed recently by the Weald and Downs Ancient Woodland Survey and that a printed report had been received which would be passed around the Council.
  3. Sussex Hedgerow Inventory Project. The Sussex Biodiversity Record Centre in Henfield has data on almost 3,000 Sussex hedgerows. More information is needed and individuals or groups are being invited to survey either a 1/4 km square or, even, the whole parish. Assistance will be provided. RESOLVED: That the Parish Council should register its interest in doing a hedge survey of Sedlescombe Parish. Cllrs Martin and Mitchell are interested in taking part.
  4. Flooding. RESOLVED: That the Parish Council should register with the Environment Agency for further information in connection with planning for a flood in this parish.
  5. Beech Oasts, Hawkhurst Road. Information from Dr Roper was noted that the Forestry Commission has agreed Mr W Trelawney-Vernon's plan to restore the meadow in Beech Wood just west of Beech Oasts. Dr Roper comments that this is a valuable gain for biodiversity in the parish. He is grateful for the Parish Council's support.
  Chairman.......................................... Date.................................................................