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PRESENT: Cllr Glew (elected Chairman), Cllrs Chapman, Heap, Martin,

Councillor Wright (Chairman of the Council)

Clerk/Responsible Financial Officer: Mrs P Raymond


F11/12.1 Election of Chairman. RESOLVED: That Cllr Glew be Chairman of the Finance Committee for the ensuing year.
F11/12.2 Apologies and reasons for absence. Cllr Vine-Hall, unexpected commitment.

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. The following interests were declared:

F11/12.6.7 Sedlescombe Playing Field & Recreation Ground Trust - all councillors declared a personal/prejudicial interest by virtue of the Parish Council being the sole trustee of the charity. Rother Standards Committee has granted dispensation to allow all members to participate in business connected with the charity.

F11/12.4 Public participation session. No public present.
F11/12.5 Minutes. RESOLVED: That the Chairman of the Committee is authorised to sign the Minutes of the Meeting of the Finance Committee held on 29/03/11.

Job Update

  1. Red Barn Field
    1. Land drainage. Budget retained from 2010/11. Awaiting report from Cllr Rand.
    2. Wells. Budget retained from 2010/11. Awaiting report from Cllr Rand.
    3. Pond. Holding water despite dry spell. Oxygenating plants growing well and should help reduce blanket weed.
    4. Grass and wildflowers
      1. Yellow rattle seed planted 2 years ago growing well and in time is expected to keep the ranker grasses at bay and encourage wild plants.
      2. Locally-unusual Sneezewort appears absent this year.
      3. Masses of Knapweed have grown on the excavation line for the new drainage pipe, an excellent plant for invertebrates in late summer.
      4. Colin Boyd keeps the Creeping thistle at bay by topping plants as they come into flower.
      5. Members of the Hastings Conservation Group have agreed to cut the bracken on 10/07/11. We paid £25 last year for this work.
      6. Members of the Hastings Botanical Group planned to visit on 25/06/11 to carry out a second botanical survey. Last year's survey took place in August.
      7. Arrangements need to be made for cutting and baling the field. Clerk to write to David Blowey for cutting in the autumn.
      8. Volunteers had used Red Barn Field at the weekend to burn shrubs removed from the village hall car park and had left stone and other material from the car park near the pond. The use of a tractor and trailer to carry out the work had caused damage to a swathe of flowering plants.
    5. Hedges. Fruiting hedge planted by volunteers in February and doing well. Committee noted that the hedge will require some maintenance next winter. Established hedges in RBF were used as a training ground for Sussex Biodiversity Centre course for local people learning hedge surveying in May. The RBF hedges were found to be species-rich.
    6. Wildlife
      1. Birds: blackcap and whitethroat have bred again this year.
      2. A fox is a regular visitor on dry evenings.
      3. The Tree Bumblebee, Bombus hypnorum is a relatively new species for the UK (first reported in 2001). Seen throughout the area including RBF.
    7. Website. A series of new webpages has been added to the www.sedlescombe.org.uk website with up to date species lists and various photos.
  2. Sportsfield
    1. Pavilion running costs. Although the responsibility of the Sports Association, it was agreed that the Council's representative on the Sports Association committee should keep a check on the situation.
    2. Fence replacement. A new fence on the front boundary had been completed recently by D&B Fencing. The cost will be met from the remaining money in the Pavilion Fund. A local volunteer had strimmed under the new fence today.
    3. Hedge planting. After paying for the fence, £596 remains in the fund. It was agreed that no action would be taken for the time being to plant the planned mixed beech hedge in front of the fence. To be considered further next year.
    4. Pedestrian gate replacement. The Sports Association had asked for a disabled pedestrian gate to be installed in place of the existing kissing gate. As it is on a public footpath, this would be responsibility of the County Council. However, because the existing framework for the gate is in good order, the County Council will not fund a replacement but will install a gate of the proper size.
    5. Garage replacement. (Sports Association responsibility) The Sports Association Committee had assured Cllr Martin that the garage would be moved from the car park to the slab next to the pavilion by last weekend. However, this had not been done.
    6. Sportsfield Car Park (Parish Council responsibility)
      1. Manhole. The urgent replacement of the manhole cover by the Council had been completed.
      2. Culvert. No further action.
      3. Ditch clearance. The Sports Association Committee had agreed that members of the Football Club will arrange ditch clearance.
      4. Portacabin. The portacabin remains on the car park and its contents belong to the Sports Association. Although the Societies Association would like to use it for storage of goods for the Fete, there is nowhere for it to go without obtaining planning permission. If the garage and blue container were to be moved, the portacabin could stay under the Parish Council's permitted development rights. There has been no firm interest in its sale. RESOLVED: That the matter of disposal of the portacabin should be considered at the next meeting of the full Council and that a representative of the Sports Association should be invited to attend.
    7. New dog bin. A new larger replacement dog bin had been installed at the entrance to the Sportsfield by the Parish Council. Cllr Vine-Hall's installation of the bin was acknowledged.
  3. Ladybird Lane
    1. Road repairs. Pestalozzi/builder responsibility, SPC to contribute. Base coat repairs to the road to be arranged within 6 months of completion of sale of the land, possibly before Christmas 2011. The final top coat will be laid on completion of building plots. The Sports Association has recently arranged for some of the potholes to be filled temporarily with road planings.
    2. Highway modifications at entrance to Ladybird Lane and junction with B2244 and Chapel Hill. Pestalozzi/builder responsibility - by end 2011. Delay in completion of the County Council agreement to the highway modifications has been holding up the completion of the sale of building land by Pestalozzi.
  4. Village Green
    1. Sir John Keeling seats and ground under - power wash. Cllr Heap to investigate hire of a mobile power washer. Cllr Martin offered to help with this and other power washing.
    2. Noticeboard
      1. Redecoration. To leave for County Council Maintenance Team next year.
      2. Replace lock and handle. Cllr Chapman was thanked for doing this work.
    3. Planters. Mark Winchester has agreed that Blackbrooks will help with the sponsorship of planters for the Village Green. It was suggested that various bodies in the Village should be asked plant up the planters. Cllr Chapman to speak to Garden Society.
    4. Washing cobbles at Pumphouse. See 4.1 above.
    5. Concreting base of pump. Quotes to be obtained.
  5. Kickabout Area. No current problems.
  6. Bus Shelter repair/replacement. Cllr Chapman to report to next Council Meeting.
  7. Playing Field Trust. All members declared their personal and prejudicial interests by virtue of the Parish Council being the sole trustee of the Playing Field Trust. Dispensation allowing them to take part in the business has been granted by Rother DC Standards Committee.
    1. Agreement between Playing Field Trust and Parish Council for maintenance of land. The Clerk/RFO reported that she has asked Hedley's, Solicitors, to quote for drawing up a Parish Council/Playing Field Trust maintenance agreement.
    2. Professional inspection. Awaiting professional playground report for 2011 from ROSPA inspection during June. RESOLVED: That quotes are obtained for the annual playground inspection in 2012.
    3. Spring replacement on gate. Cllr Vine-Hall's replacement of the spring on playground gate was acknowledged.
    4. Repair of playground equipment. Cllr Vine-Hall to do.
    5. Washing playground equipment. See 4.1 above.
    6. Fence repair pending fence replacement. The damaged fence at the playground has been taped off and Roger Wood has been asked to arrange repair. In due course, the whole fence in the playground area will be replaced.
    7. Tennis courts surface and possibility of turning courts into MUGA. The Clerk/RFO reported:
      1. Advice on consultation with the local community has been provided by Angela Alexander.
      2. Advice has been received from Peter Mills, Clerk to Battle Town Council, about the MUGA that Battle has recently installed. The Chairman mentioned that, even before it was opened, the MUGA in Battle had received damage by vandals.
      3. A chart of different surfaces has shown that one surface for tennis, netball and football would require a compromise. Various companies have been approached to give advice.
      4. Ticehurst Parish Council has experienced considerable difficulties regarding its MUGA and the planning condition imposed by Rother whereby the MUGA has to be locked overnight. However, Ticehurst Parish Council's insurers have opposed the locking of the area believing this increases the possibility of injury with youngsters climbing over the fencing. Nearby residents in Ticehurst have been complaining about the noise coming from the area in the evenings particularly bad language.
      5. Battle's half-size MUGA cost £30,000 with Rother DC contributing 50%.
      6. The Parish Council could be eligible for a grant from a lottery-funded scheme called "Protecting Playing Fields". There are five rounds, 2 this year, 2 next year and 1 in 2013/14.
    8. Tennis courts netting - minor damage.
    9. Power wash dog bin. See 4.1 above.
    10. Replace plastic tarpaulin on top of litter bin and decorate. Local resident, John Bartholomew was thanked for completing this work.
  8. Weedkilling. Current contract with Languard Ltd. RESOLVED: That tenders be invited for the 2012 weedkilling contract.

Current account

  1. Proposed change of bank from Barclays Bank plc to Unity Trust Bank. At the last Council Meeting, the Clerk/RFO had been asked to provide further proof of the Unity Trust Bank's financial worth. It had been found that the Bank has been registered with the Financial Services Authority since 2001, is a member of the British Bankers Association and has won a multitude of awards for customer service. Individual trades unions and trade union federations own 73.23% of the total equity capital, the Co-operative Bank owns 26.66% and individuals 0.11%. The Clerk/RFO had contacted a current user, Silchester Parish Council, who has experienced no disadvantages, only advantages using the Bank and all Clerks to Rother Councils. None of these use the Bank but would be interested in doing so if we found it successful. The Bank offers everything that SPC needs its current account to do with free banking either online or by cheque book with dual or triple authorisation. However, it has now been found that the Bank reported a loss before tax of £1.2 million at the end of 2010. The Committee agreed to defer further consideration of changing the Council's bank account to the Unity Trust Bank for the time being.
  2. Approval of signatories. RESOLVED: That, as approved by Finance Committee F10/11.38, Cllrs Wright, Glew and Vine-Hall are appointed as signatories of the Barclays Bank Current Account.

Savings accounts

  1. Review of savings accounts. RESOLVED: That the Parish Council should retain its accounts with the West Bromwich Building Society and Barclays Business Saver Account.
  2. Approval of signatories. RESOLVED: That, as approved by Finance Committee F10/11.38, Cllrs Wright, Glew and Vine-Hall are appointed as signatories of the West Bromwich Building Society and Barclays Bank Saver Accounts.
F11/12.14 Time of stand-alone meetings of Finance Committee meetings. RESOLVED: That stand-alone meetings of the Finance Committee will start at 19:00.
  Due to lack of time, consideration of all other items on the agenda was deferred until a specially-arranged meeting on 06/09/11.
  Chairman............................................ Date.............................................