MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON THURSDAY 12th FEBRUARY 2015
at 19:00 IN COMMITTEE ROOM 2 OF SEDLESCOMBE VILLAGE HALL
All Minute Numbers are preceded by C14/15
Cllr. J Vine-Hall (Chairman of the Council, Cllr. P Glew (Vice-Chairman of the Council),
Cllrs. Brister, Chapman, Fraser, Parsons and Winchester
Clerk/RFO: Mrs Carol Hodgson
District Cllr T Ganly (first part); 1 Member of the public
Cllr. Anson and District Cllr. Angharard Davies
166 Interests in accordance with 2012 Code of Conduct
- To note dispensations already granted to parish councillors up to May 2015.
- To receive new written requests for dispensation.
- To receive councillors' updates on their forms of declarations of interests.
- To receive councillors' declarations of interest regarding matters on the agenda.
Cllr. Winchester declared a personal and prejudicial interest in agenda Item 172 Sedlescombe Neighbourhood Plan as owner of Blackbrooks Garden Centre being a proposed site for development.
167 The Chairman invited the following to speak:
District Councillor Tony Ganly reported that Rother DC Cabinet had chosen to freeze Council Tax for the forthcoming year subject to ratification by the Full Council. It was anticipated that ESCC and Sussex police would increase their element of the Council Tax. The Independent Remuneration Panel had reviewed Councillors allowances and recommended a 2% increase. Rother DC had volunteered for a review by the Boundary Commissions as their wards had become out of balance due to the increase in local new housing. The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Draft Charging Schedule (DCS) and Draft Regulation 123 List was about to be published for public consultation. As there were no questions, Cllr. Ganly left to attend another meeting at this point.
Member of the public. Mr. Hall spoke in relation to agenda item 176 - 'Replacement of the footbridge located alongside the road bridge over the River Brede in January 2015 by ESCC Highways'. Mr Hall questioned the necessity to replace the bridge and that a more sensible and cost effective option would have been to repair the bridge when needed. He expressed his disappointed in the design which was not in keeping with a conservation area and felt a timber construction would have been more appropriate to the steel structure used. Parish Council had responded to Mr. Hall's initial letter advising that it had been well liaised with by ESCC. PC had already raised the majority of his concerns and there had been several compromises by ESCC.
RESOLVED: That the Chairman is authorised to sign the Minutes of the meeting held on 06-Jan-2015
169 Casual Vacancies
- To confirm the appointment of two new Councillors
Cllr. Vine-Hall welcomed Michelle Brister and Mark Winchester as newly appointed Councillors to Sedlescombe Parish Council. Both Councillors signed a 'Declaration of Acceptance of Office'.
- To discuss the current Casual Vacancy
Following the resignation of Cllr. Rod Eldridge Councillors discussed filling the vacancy taking into consideration the term of office to the elections in May.
RESOLVED: As the vacancy has occurred within six months before the day on which the councillor whose office is vacant would regularly have retired, an election will not be held. The vacancy will be filled at the next ordinary election of Councillors on 7th May 2015.
170 Police Community Support Officer
- To review the outcome of Sussex Police broadening PCSO Demi Georghiou's area of cover.
Cllr. Glew had received a copy of a letter from a concerned resident regarding the noticeable decrease in PCSO Georghiou's presence in the village since his area of cover had been considerably extended. The original letter had been forwarded to
Anita Turner - Rother Neighbourhood Policing Team Inspector.
171 Planning Applications
- RR/2014/3073/P - Acorn Chalet, Churchland Lane, Sedlescombe
Proposed extension to garage with formation of ancillary accommodation over
RESOLVED: A decision had already been made by Rother DC to refuse planning permission.
- RR/2015/75/TN - Swift Lite Charcoal Company, Marley Lane, Sedlescombe
Proposed equipment upgrade at existing electronic communications site
Cllr. Chapman reported that the equipment would be similar to that already in place.
RESOLVED: Parish Council supports this planning proposal
- RR/2015/106/P - Spilsted Farm, Stream Lane, Sedlescombe/Whatlington
Remodel land to improve visibility on airstrip with construction access via A21
Cllr. Chapman reported on his site visit.
RESOLVED: Parish Council does not support this planning proposal and remains concerned on the changes it will make to the landscape. The development is in a High Weald AONB and there are two public rights of way cross this site, one of which is a bridleway. The proposed imported materials will contaminate an undisturbed landscape which is next to an ancient woodland namely Long Shaw. Long Shaw has a spring fed stream which forms part of the head waters to the River Brede. It was noted from a site visit that there were buildings not appearing on the plans.
- RR/2015/107/P - Highfield Cottage, Church Hill, Sedlescombe
Proposed extension with internal and external alterations
Cllr. Vine-Hall reported on his site visit.
RESOLVED: Parish Council supports this planning proposal
172 Sedlescombe Neighbourhood Plan
- To receive latest updates and discuss the next steps.
Cllr. Vine-Hall reported that the Examiners Report had now been received. Councillors had received a copy for review. The report concluded that subject to modifications the NHP had met the basic conditions and could proceed to referendum. Rother DC had advised that their next step was to consider the recommendations and decide what action to take. Their next Cabinet meeting was on 20th February 2015.
RESOLVED: To write to Rother DC advising that Parish Council does not accept some of the recommendations in the Examiner’s Report. Parish Council would like to arrange a meeting to discuss what modifications might be acceptable to both the District Council and the Parish Council to move the plan forward to referendum.
Cllr. Vine-Hall made the following statement in relation to matters concerning the SNP:-
'The Regulation 16 consultation for the Sedlescombe Neighbourhood Plan ended in early October 2014. The plan was supported by 89% of those who responded. However the examination of the plan was delayed for 2½ months. This was because in the process of analysing the consultation forms the District Council became aware of a small number of residents (all from Gregory Walk) who alleged that the Chairman of the Council had breached the Parish Council’s Code of Conduct. To ensure that the Neighbourhood Plan process would not risk being compromised in any way the District Council’s monitoring officer and the government inspector decided that an enquiry into the claims was appropriate and as a result the District Council appointed an Independent Person to investigate the comments made. On the 8th January 2015 the monitoring officer informed the Parish Council that the investigating officer found that there was not a breech of the code of conduct and that no further action is required and that the matter is now resolved.
The District Council has collated the responses and submitted them to an appointed independent examiner for the document to be examined. All personal comments made in the affected consultation forms have been redacted and should be on the District Council’s website shortly. The Examiner has confirmed that he will not be holding a hearing as part of the examination of the Sedlescombe Neighbourhood Plan'.
173 Current Appeal updates
- No. 2264 - RR/2014/147/P Brede Lane - land at, Sedlescombe.
In light of the Examiners Report on the SNP, the Secretary of State had agreed to MJH Executive Homes request to allow them plus the District and Parish Council’s the opportunity to make further submissions on the significance of the Examiners Report to determine the appeal. Parish Council had received the professional opinions on the Examiners Report from GRF Planning and rCOH Ltd. A draft response to the Secretary of State had been prepared by GRF Planning and circulated to Councillors for review.
RESOLVED: To submit the further representation prepared by GRF Planning to the Secretary of State .
- No. 2279 - RR/2014/1007/P By the Way, Sandrock Hill, Sedlescombe
The appeal had been dismissed on the following main issues:
• The effect of the proposal on the aims of countryside policies.
• The effect of the proposal on the character and appearance of the area.
174 The Village Green
- Annual review of advertising on the Village Green
RESOLVED: That the following Village organisations will be permitted as agreed to advertise on The Green in 2015:
Sedlescombe CEP School, Pestalozzi International Village, Spring Fayre and the British Legion.
The situation will be due for an annual review in January 2016.
- Request for use of the Village Green
on May 16th for Sedlescombe May Fayre
RESOLVED: Parish Council agreed to the request.
175 Traffic Calming
- To receive an update on applying for match funding from the ESCC Community Match Funding Highways Initiative up to £5000 for specific traffic calming measures.
A meeting had been arranged with Sarah Valentine - Project Manager, Infrastructure Design and Delivery at ESCC in Sedlescombe to discuss the proposed traffic calming measure to slow traffic from Brede Lane entering The Green and to safeguard pedestrians walking to the shop from Brede Lane.
RESOLVED: Not to take forward the second scheme of installing entrance gates at both entrances to the Village as the cost outweighed the effectiveness.
- To receive an update on purchasing a Speed Gun
Cllr. Parsons had received confirmation of the Speed Gun model and would now place the order.
- To review the current Speed Watch arrangements.
Cllr. Parsons reported that it would be good to arrange Speedwatch Sessions through the Community Speedwatch website as this is where all the information has to be recorded. He would organise the signs left by PCSO Georghiou to be placed around the Village.
176 Replacement of the footbridge located alongside the road bridge over the River Brede in January 2015 by ESCC Highways
- To receive any updates.
The new bridge was now in place. Richard Hammond - Structures Project Manager at ESCC had advised that a bricklayer and carpenter would be returning to site shortly to complete the corners of the bridge.
- To reappoint Alison Hillman as Internal Auditor for the year end accounts 2014/15
RESOLVED: To reappoint Alison Hillman as Internal Auditor for 2014/15
- To approve the following cheques:-
a Sedlescombe Village Hall December 2014 Hall Hire £30.00 b HMRC PAYE Oct-Dec14 £819.94 c Sedlescombe Village Hall January 2015 Hall Hire £10.00 d Arbor Tree Surgery Section fell dead tree in Riverside Play Area £200.00 e James Kemp Digger Hire for clearance of path to Church £150.00 f Carol Hodgson Salary January 2015
SLCC Annual Fees 50%
8 x Archive Boxes
RESOLVED: Excepting item 'e', all payments were approved for payment
- To discuss bank signatories.
Following the recent Councillor resignations there were now only two signatories.
RESOLVED: To continue with two signatories and determine new bank signatories after the elections in May.
- To consider a request for financial support.
Cllr. Vine-Hall had received a letter from a Sedlescombe Girl Guide who had gained a place on the Girl guiding LaSER trip to Vietnam in the Summer of 2015. The total cost of the trip was £2818 per person which each Guide had to raise herself.
RESOLVED: Parish Council's are unable to give individual financial support unless it is to improve the 'well-being or welfare' of an individual, group or the community as a whole. In lieu of financial support Parish Council would offer free advertising space via Sedlescombe Jobs Network on Facebook to help promote the Guide's cause and fund raising events. Cllr. Brister will make contact after a letter of response had been sent.
- To receive any updates
Cllr. Vine-Hall reported that following the appeal for Volunteers there had been several interests in helping with Public Footpath maintenance. Mr. John Williams - an ex-Rambler Association Member, had agreed to oversee the management of the Sedlescombe Public Footpaths.
179 Annual Assembly and Directory
- To receive any updates
The Annual Directory was progressing well. Response had been good from local business' and organisations. More photographs of Village life were needed. Cllr. Brister would be putting out an appeal on the 'Sedlescombe Jobs Network' facebook page for photographs and would forward these to Parish Council.
180 Surface water problem in Brede Lane
- To discuss the issue of black ice caused by the water from springs running across the pavement along Brede Lane (above Springfield Cottage).
Cllr. Fraser advised that Highways had attended and placed cones around the area of concern. Further concerns had been raised about the drainage in Brede Lane between the Brickwall Hotel entrance down to the shop, where there was constant running water. Parish Council had notified Highways of this problem in the past and been advised that it was an issue with underground springs in this area.
- To receive feedback on the appeal for further volunteers
A good response had been received to help with general village maintenance, footpaths, Speedwatch and bulletin deliveries. Cllr. Brister had also included the appeal on the 'Sedlescombe Jobs Network' Facebook page.
182 Update on the Business Facebook Page
Cllrs. Brister and Vine-Hall are the 'Fb' administrators. Cllr. Brister reported that the 'Sedlescombe Jobs Network' Facebook page had been running for a year. 57 jobs had been advertised and there were 326 listed followers. There had been been an increase in connecting with the 18-33 age range during the year. All posts are reviewed prior to display. Further enhancements to the page will include a link into Parish Council's website.
183 Information for Councillors - for noting or inclusion on future agenda
The Clerk requested to attend the Clerks Networking Day on Wednesday 4th March 2015 in East Grinstead.