Parish Council Minutes 13 July 2010

BUXTED PARISH COUNCIL

Minutes of the meeting of the Council held in the Reading Room, Church Road, Buxted on Tuesday 13th July 2010 at 7.30 p.m.

Present: Cllrs. Rose (elected Chairman), Blandford, Chalmers, Daniel, Dopson, Downing, Hall, Harding and Sheard.

Also present: ESCC Cllr. Reid and Miss R Macklen – Clerk.

Public : 4 Mr Desmond Gunner; Roslyn Ings; Homer Cox; and Nigel Beesley

Mr Desmond Gunner addressed the Parish Council advising that he has collected over 30 road reflectors and cat’s eyes which have become dislodged over a number of years. He has previously made pleas to ESCC not to replace the reflectors but to reinstated the cats eyes which he considers are far more effective but has been advised that these are not allowed (even though Hadlow Down has a 30mph limit with cats eyes). He would also ask ESCC to consider installed double white lines to the centre of the road to indicate that it is not safe to overtake as it often happens when unsafe to do so.

Cllr. Rose advised that he was of the impression that the cats eyes were removed and lines on the sides of the road painted in order to make the road appear narrower thus slowing down traffic. It was agreed however that the red reflectors should be installed on a much more permanent basis.

On another matter Mr Gunner thanked the Parish Council for its continued support of the International Tree Foundation over the years but advised that the local branch has now been closed with headquarters taking the responsibility of funding. This, however, should not affect grant applications.

Police Report:

PCSO Katie Breeds gave her apologies and the Clerk read out the following information received:

24th June – Report of criminal damage to vehicle in Framfield Road, Buxted
28th June – Strimmer, off road motorbike and girls pedal cycle stolen from insecure shed in Church Road, Buxted.

Just before 11.00 pm, on Monday, July 12th 2010, East Sussex Fire and Rescue received a call to the effect that a car was alight outside a house in St. Marys Mead, Buxted. Sussex Police also attended. The fire unfortunately quickly spread to the nearby house, which, as a result, was extensively damaged. The occupants of the house escaped uninjured.

Fire Investigators, together with Sussex police forensic officers remain at the scene, and are working hard to establish the cause of the blaze. Local residents will be canvassed to see if they witnessed anything suspicious.

Sussex Police will step up patrols in the area as the investigation progresses. The investigation in its early stages and Sussex Police is keeping an open mind regarding the circumstances.

If any resident has any information which they feel might be of use, they are asked to contact Sussex police on 0845 6070999, quoting Operation Hurstfield.

01/07/10 ELECTION OF CHAIRMAN FOR THE MEETING

In the absence of the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Parish Council, it was proposed by Cllr. Chalmers and seconded by Cllr. Dopson that Cllr. Rose be elected as Chairman for the duration of the meeting.

02/07/10 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Apologies received and accepted from Cllrs. Crowe, Seddon, Treacher, Warner & Wilkes and WDC Cllr. Buck

03/07/10 DECLARATION OF MEMBERS INTERESTS.

Cllrs. Chalmers and Daniel declared personal interest in any matters concerning the Basil Ionides Memorial Centre and a prejudicial interest in any matters relating to the proposed hall/surgery development by being members of the Ionides Memorial Trust appointed by the Council.

Cllrs. Rose and Downing declared a prejudicial interest in any matter relating Land west of Church Road by virtue of being either part owner of the site or owner of the property adjoining the land.

04/07/10 MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING

The minutes of the meeting held on 8th June 2010 were signed by the Chairman as a correct record of the meeting.

05/07/10 ESCC REPORT

ESCC Cllr. Reid advised that new advice is being disseminated from Central Government almost on a daily basis, mostly offering more freedom to local government authorities. This is however, accepted with some hesitation based on 1. Do they mean it? and 2. We will then have to accept responsibility.

It is hoped that these changes will give more opportunity to make sensible and pragmatic decision, but will mean that councils will no longer be able to hide behind Government policy. It is hoped that localisation can also help with dealing with bureaucracy with a number of initiatives already being indentified e.g. fear of clearing of footpaths in severe weather due to fear of insurance claims

In respect of further budget information, ESCC has been advised that its share of the local government £1.2bn ‘in year’ reductions is £8.4m which is challenging and will inevitably involve cuts in facilities and services.  A meeting will take place tomorrow at ESCC with regards the allocation of cash to the spending department which will initiate a reduction in spending for this year.  Whilst considering the implications of the budget cuts it gives all councils the opportunity to plan more sensibly for the future which includes, for the first time ever, all seven local councils/unitary authorities in the south east, working together and sharing responsibilities and facilities e.g. special education facilities/highway works/ICT.

Cllr. Reid also made reference to the resurfacing works due to take place through Buxted village for five weeks starting on 26th July stating that although disruptive it is better that this work takes place sooner rather than later. A good opportunity to discuss works such as these and the winter maintenance policy will be at the annual Transport and Environment conference at Uckfield Civic Centre next week at which two members of the Parish Council and one member of the Youth Council will be in attendance.

Cllr. Rose wished to reiterate how disappointed he is, on behalf of all business owners affected by the resurfacing works, that these works will cause an enormous amount of disruption and there is a genuine fear that whilst resurfacing takes place, customers will find alternative suppliers and will not return.

Finally Cllr. Reid made reference to the ongoing issue with regards provision of a safe footpath to Buxted Primary School from the village explaining that, at present, there are simply no funds to make this improvement.  Cllr. Rose also wished to reiterate disappointment that the recently issued Section 106 Planning Agreement for the development on the land west of Church Road does not include the promised contributions towards footpath improvement due to ESCC’s request being considered not legal in accordance with regulations. It does however, rub salt in the wounds when it is noted that contributions were considered legal and have been successfully sought with regards to Uckfield transport improvements.

06/07/10 PARISH COUNCIL NEWLSETTER

Cllr. Daniel advised that the next Parish Council newsletter will be published at the beginning of October and all ideas or written articles would be greatly accepted.

Reference was also made to the recently issued Community Voice update regarding the launch of the new Buxted Parish website which has now gone live. Thanks were given to Homer Cox for looking at and providing feedback on the new site.

07/07/10 OUTSTANDING MATTERS

Item 1 Parish Plan Objectives:

PP/ Action 1.  Youth Council: No update in the absence of Cllr. Warner

PP/ Action 3. Public Footpaths: Nothing to update

Item 2 Trees: Nothing to update

Item 3 Road Safety:

The Clerk advised that the current Speed Watch coordinator, Rob Storey, has had to step down due to work commitments, however other members of the Speed Watch team are continuing to arrange rotas. Thanks were given to Rob for all of his hard work.

It was noted that Hadlow Down now has a Speed Watch team which is out regularly.

The Clerk updated that a report will be prepared for the next Parish Council meeting in September in connection with speed signs at either end of Buxted village.

Item 4 Grampian site FAD: Nothing to report

Item 5 Land west of Church Road: Nothing to report.

Item 6 New Parish Hall & health centre: Reported in minute 11/07/10 below.

Item 7 Wealden LDF:

The Clerk highlighted feedback circulated to all Members of the Parish Council following attendance at the WDC Local Development Framework Committee the previous week. It was advised that following the election of the new Government Mr Pickles MP issued a letter to all local authorities that stated he intends to abolish Regional Spatial Strategies as soon as possible. The impact that this would have on Wealden is that it’s whole Core Strategy (which is the first document to be produced in the Local Development Framework) is based on the Regional Spatial Strategy for this area being the ESCC produced South East Plan which specifies most of the Core Strategy criteria including the need to provide space for 11,000 new homes up to 2026.  Following further advice received from central Government the previous day, the WDC committee resolved to recommend to Cabinet that Officers continue to work towards a Core Strategy for the December Council meeting (draft to Cabinet in September) after fully reviewing the document received from Government the previous evening and then deciding on what is considered to be a reasonable amount of housing and economic growth for Wealden based on need, and the ability for infrastructure providers to be able to support. It was hoped that two months would be enough for Officers to be able to achieve this.

Item 8 Property Issues: Nothing to report.

Item 10 Parish Council Website: See minute 06/07/10 above.

08/07/10 CORRESPONDENCE

P1 Relate: Request for grant towards Relateen project at Uckfield Technology College – Resolved to award a grant of £50 from Section 137 funds.

P2 Five Ash Down Village Hall Management Committee: Request for grant to cover hall insurance costs for forthcoming year totalling £698.32 – Resolved to award grant of £698.32 under Local Government Act 1972, s133.

P3 Sam Pearson: Invoice for works to create to Parish website – Resolved to pay invoice and thanked Sam for all of his hard work which is considered very good value for money.

P4 Freedom Leisure – Active Play: Request to use Buxted and High Hurstwood Recreation Grounds for four, two hour free play sessions in July and August – Confirmation that following receipt of adequate insurance cover, hire has been agreed and advised.

P5 Brunswick Land Partnership: Approach to WDC and PC regarding site in FAD considered suitable for development in SHLAA – Clerk circulated draft response to all Councillors which was considered acceptable.

S8 WDC: Implementation of new recycling scheme – Members noted that new bins had been received but that some people had received up to three bins.  It was also reported that a suggestion had been made to the contractors that it probably wasn’t necessary to deliver a bin to every stable and paddock in the vicinity.

09/07/10 COMMITTEE MEETINGS

None since previous meeting

10/07/10 FINANCE

In the absence of the Chairman of the Finance Committee, Cllr. Wilkes, the Clerk ran through the finances for June and proposed payments for July noting receipt in June of a tax rebate for the year 2009/10 of £4108.46. Payments for July included an invoice for the website construction (discussed above) and payments for tree works carried out at the Buxted Recreation Ground (agreed at previous meeting). A receipt was also noted from Southern Water to cover the previous month’s invoice from Moody Sewage Ltd for works to the Ionides Trust land in connection with the sewage leak.

The Clerk was pleased to advised Council Members that she has passed her qualification in the Certification for Local Council Administration (CiLCA). The Clerk was congratulated by Members present (with a round of applause). The acting Chairman reminded Members that under the terms of the Clerks contract Beccy was entitled to a 1 point increase on the pay scale. This increase in the pay scale was endorsed by every member present

It was resolved that cheques 821 to 826 be drawn on the current account totalling £5,294.11 including voucher charges be authorised for payment. The month’s bank statements were verified against the bank reconciliations.

11/07/10 OTHER MEETINGS

Cllr. Daniel reported that she had attended a Conflict Resolution in the Community conference run by WDC which consisted of presentations from a number of agencies including the Police, Housing and Youth Offending.  The day was interesting but not as practical as expected.

Cllr. Chalmers advised that an Ionides Trust meeting had taken place at which the latest surgery plans were tabled and discussed. Following the meeting it was expected that the plans would be formally submitted to WDC for consideration.

Cllr Sheard reported on a meeting regarding the proposed surgery development on the Ionides Trust Site at WDC. In attendance were representatives from WDC, Parish Council, Ryhurst Ltd, PCT, Doctors surgery, Ionides Trust, HOBI group, ESCC and WDC Cllr. Buck. As reported at the Planning Committee he left the meeting feeling optimistic that the development could still go ahead, however it is hoped that the change in Government and potential dissolution of PCTs does not affect any funding for the project.

Cllr. Dopson reported on a meeting attended the previous week by herself and Cllrs. Sheard and Harding with the development company Hadley and associated architects Lewandowski Willcox in connection with land to the rear of 71/72 Coopers Row, Five Ash Down. As reported at the previous Planning Committee, the architects have clearly taken a lot of trouble to design the scheme in order that it not only maintains the landscape views from the existing properties, but would also provide a much required village green for Five Ash Down. In response to previous Parish Council comments, the dwellings within the scheme are a mix of both entry level and elderly care accommodation and have been designed to not only satisfy the mandatory sustainability requirements but also go on to meet further credits to achieve a level four assessment.

It was clearly reiterated however that as part of the WDC Core Strategy consultation response, the Parish Council has stated that Buxted Parish has already been allocated suitable numbers of housing to fulfil its criteria up to 2026, with Five Ash Down taking the most via the Grampian Site development. However, as part of WDC preferred consultation methods, developers are encouraged to initiate discussions and consultations with parish/town councils and local residents before engaging in the formal planning process, thus the need for the meeting. It is also imperative that the Parish Council, and indeed communities, engage at this early stage in order to ensure any development is community, not developer led and one which we all consider to be of benefit to the community to contribute to growing a vibrant and sustainable local community sited appropriately for the community and delivering what will work for the community.

Further to this meeting, the developers will now carry out a consultation with local residents which is expected to take place in September (avoiding the August holiday period). Councillors explained that following the disappointment of the Grampian site, local residents are most likely to be sceptical with regards the provision of a village green and will no doubt be concerned at the amount of traffic that will be generated from the development.

12/07/10 MEMBERS QUESTIONS

Cllr. Sheard reported that the High Hurstwood recycling paper bins have been reduced to one which has now been full for a week – Clerk to report to WDC.

Cllr. Hall wished to draw attention to a tree near Eight Bells Close which has been the subject of trimming by Brockwells on behalf of EDF. Although the branches close to the electricity line have been cut away, this has led to surrounding branches now dropping. The Clerk was asked to investigate and request that Brockwells be asked to make safe the trees.

Cllr. Downing asked if there is any update on the relocation of the main Buxted village post box which is due to be repositioned outside of the Buxted Inn.  Cllr. Hall advised that he would investigate when visiting the Buxted Inn.

13/07/10 ANNOUNCEMENTS

None at this meeting.

The meeting closed at 8.26p.m.
Signed:                                                    Chairman
Date:
Posted in Parish Council Minutes