Minutes of the meeting of the Council held in The Reading Room, Church Road, Buxted on Tuesday 12th July 2016 at 7.30p.m.
Cllrs. Blandford (Chairman), Cox, Illingworth, Johnson, Roberts (7.45pm), Rose, Skinner and Warner.
Also present: ESCC Cllr Galley, WDC Cllr Lunn/Illingworth and Clerks Beccy Macklen and Claudine Feltham.
2. Chris Cooke brought to the attention of the parish council that the gun club on the Ionides Trust land had a fire in a container on Saturday evening, which was left unattended and located close to a gas canister, 4 or 5 feet from the gun club (made of wood). As there was no one in attendance, the Fire Brigade was called and the fire was extinguished. Mr Cooke believes that there is an existing bylaw that prohibits bonfires close to play areas in public places. Mr Cooke was surprised that the fire was left unsupervised and would like the parish council to contact the rifle club with concerns. The chairman advised that this matter would be brought to the attention of the Ionides Trust who own the site. Mr Cooke was thanked for bringing this to the attention of the parish council.
Mr Cox highlighted the fact that there were fireworks from 11.15pm in the proximity of the Buxted Inn on Saturday evening which is illegal. It was explained that it was not the owner of the Buxted Inn that set off the fireworks, it was a guest at a wedding at the public house. Cllr. Illingworth did contact WDC Environmental Health who confirmed that no formal complaints had been received.
Mr Cox also raised an issue regarding the new PCSO role following the publication of a police statement on the Buxted Parish Council website. We are promised that every area of Sussex will have a police team which we are able to contact with any issues. However, the neighbourhood watch section of the Sussex Police website encourages contact with PCSO’s but this is no longer an option when looking at the local policing teams. Therefore, it has been established that we can no longer expect any visible PCSO presence in the parish. Cllr. Rose also advised that there has not been a Local Action Team meeting for a number of months.
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies received and accepted from Cllrs Hall, McQuarrie, Milner, Mulvagh, Sheard and ESCC Cllr. Galley
DECLARATION OF MEMBERS INTERESTS
Cllr. Blandford declared personal interests in any matters relating to the community hall by virtue of being members of the Hall or Ionides Trusts appointed by the Council.
Cllr. Skinner declared a personal interest in matters relating to the Ionides land (including the surgery/land/hall) by virtue of being a member of the Ionides Trust.
Cllr. Rose declared a prejudicial interest in any matters relating to the land west of Church Road (Taylor Wimpey site) due to having owned part of the application site and a personal interest in the Ionides Surgery/Hall site due to having a business opposite the land.
Cllr. Cox declared a personal interested in any matters relating to allotments due to being an allotment holder.
Cllr. Illingworth declared a personal interest in matters relating to Gatwick airport.
MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING
The minutes of the meeting held on 14th June 2016 were signed by the Chairman as a correct record of the meeting.
Cllr. Lunn addressed the current political turmoil and how it could have implications on Buxted. Members may be aware that there has been an application in Steel Cross, Crowborough for housing – which was refused by WDC due to the Ashdown Forest policy (the EU Habitats Collective), then appealed against by the developer which resulted in the development being approved. An appeal was launched by WDC against the approval and was upheld by the Secretary of State. WDC have now been advised that the development company are appealing against the decision of the Secretary of State. Despite changes in Government, WDC will continue to make decisions based on existing policy. The outcome of any final decision could have huge implications on Wealden and the Ashdown Forest regulations. National Planning Policy is not expected to change in the near future, however implications on the habitat collective could be questioned in the forthcoming months/years.
Cllr. Illingworth also wished to clarify that the Habitats Regulation was enshrined in UK law and therefore even after Brexit, the UK Government would have to challenge the decision within UK parliament.
WEALDEN DISTRICT COUNCIL DOG AND LITTER BIN CONSULTATION
Prior to the meeting, the clerk circulated a report which gave details of a Wealden District Council consultation outlining changes in costings of the emptying of the dog and litter bins and also requesting if any existing bins could be removed. The full report is available on the parish council website.
It was noted that the new charging schedule would mean a drop in charges (for the emptying of dog bins) to the parish council on an annual basis from £1706 (financial year 2015/16) to a proposed £1680 based on seven dog bins. Therefore, it was agreed that the parish council supports the new charging schedule.
With regards litter bins, the parish council are currently not charged for emptying as they all sit on main roads or easy routes for collection. However, the parish council are asked to consider if any are surplus to requirement. It was resolved that all bins should remain however the litter bin on the A272 Hurstwood Road should be reviewed in six months to ascertain if it is being used for litter or general household rubbish. The clerk was also asked to upload an article on to the website asking members of the public to let the parish council know if bins are left unemptied for more than two weeks.
Members also discussed the provision on any new litter bins as has been requested by members of the public:
Top of Beechbrook Park Estate – It was acknowledged that a litter bin used to be situated next to the bench before the estate was built, this was also in conjunction with the old bus stop. Bearing in mind that there are already two bins fairly close by, on the surgery site and in the station car park, together with cost implications and demand for a new bin in an alternative location, it was decided that a bin would not be placed on this site as this time.
Buxted Recreation Ground – Following a consultation carried out by a local resident (thank you for taking the time to do this), there is a proven need to replace the litter bin on the recreation ground. Therefore, it was resolved that a litter bin should be installed on the recreation ground however it was decided to wait until the new play equipment is installed further into the site to better establish where it is needed. It has been advised that the new play equipment should be in use by 1st April 2017.
FUTURE OF THE IONIDES TRUST
The chairman advised members that at a recent Ionides Trust meeting it was agreed to investigate a change in status for the charity with the parish council helping to manage the site, whilst ensuring the Ionides Trust retained a role in overseeing management and development of the site. The land would still be held on Trust honouring the original aims of the charity.
The parish council therefore resolved that the chairman continue to work towards transferring management of the site to the parish council If a suitable way forward was agreed by all parties.
Gatwick – remove from outstanding matters list. Cllr. Lunn commented that once the new Cabinet is in place we might have more of an idea of where the extra runway will be built. A final decision is due in the Autumn.
Public footpaths: Nothing to report.
Trees: The clerk advised that an oak tree bordering the Buxted Recreation Ground and Ionides Trust had been effected by the recent lightening/bad winds and a branch has snapped and was resting in the tree. The clerk arranged for this to be removed together with making safe other loose or broken branches, at a cost of £80.
Verge Cutting/Junction Clearing: The clerk reported that a number of complaints have been received regarding the length of the verges. It was noted that verge cutting in rural areas is only carried out three times per year. Verges in the parish of Buxted were due to be cut at the beginning of July, but we have been advised that the timescale has been delayed, but should be carried out in the near future.
Parking at Littlewood Lane: A complaint has been received regarding the inconsiderate and dangerous parking at the entrance to Littlewood Lane. This issue has been raised previously, however at this time we were able to contact our PCSO to visit the site and issue warnings. This is now not the case, as we have been advised that the PCSO role has been changed and we no longer have dedicated officer for our area and that police will only make a visit if the parking would endanger life.
Parking at top end of Gordon Road: It has come to the attention of the parish council that a local resident has been in correspondence with ESCC regarding the parking opposite the top entrance to Gordon Road and how this has an impact on traffic movements up and down the high street, sometimes resulting in vehicles mounting the pavement. The chairman and clerk have previously had a meeting at this site with a representative from ESCC who advised that this matter would be looked at further, but it was unlikely that any further action would be taken. However, the local resident has received a response from a difference ESCC officer advising that double yellow lines could be installed around the Gordon Road junction to stop vehicles being parking within 10 metres of a marked junction (which is illegal). The clerk has emailed the relevant ESCC officer to try and establish if and when this would be likely to take place. No reply has been received as yet.
Subsequent to the meeting, the clerk received correspondence which advised the following:
“Parking round and opposite a junction is advised against in the Highway Code. It can make turning manoeuvres difficult and restrict visibility for drivers, therefore, we have added a length of double yellow lines around the mouth of the junction and on the opposite side of the road. This should keep the junction free of parked cars. Unfortunately, a parking review of Buxted is currently not a high priority when compared to other Towns and Villages across the County, however, it will remain on our list until we are able to consult on the proposal fully.”
Illegal Parking in Layby: A different resident has been in contact with ESCC and the Police regarding the signage in the layby on the A272 opposite George Rose. ESCC have advised that the signage (which is unclear at present) will be replaced, however it still remains the case that this will not be enforced by the police. There is a possibility that this may be partially addressed by the production of a letter from Sussex Police which could be placed on the cars which are illegally parked in the junction. This is an ongoing matter.
Church Road: Cllr. Skinner highlighted that the ongoing success of the preschool at St Mary’s has resulted in more parents walking along Church Road around the outside of the cars which is dangerous. It was highlighted that there is no room for a pavement along Church Road and although this situation is acknowledged, there is no resolution to this problem.
The Hurstwood: Cllr. Cox advised that after a number of years of requests, a blackboard has now been erected on the side wall of the public house to ask patrons to park considerately.
Ionides New Play Equipment: The chairman advised that the provision of the equipment is currently on hold. It is hoped to have the new equipment in place by the 1st April – table tennis table, double zip wire, large swing and exercise stations. All of which will be sited on parish council land.
New community hall: It was resolved that Parish Council is authorised to source legal planning advice regarding the legalities of the Section 106 Planning Agreement on the Reading Room.
Defibrillators: On behalf of Claudine, Beccy advised that a meeting had taken place at The Buxted Inn with the owner and an electrician with a view to obtaining a quote for the installation of the defibrillator. This quote has been received but is now obsolete as we have been advised that a new socket is required aside from the one that currently exists.
It was also reported that Weald Business Services have made a donation of £100 towards the defibrillators.
Wealden Local Development Framework – Local Plan: Nothing to report.
Property issues: See minute 07/09/16 below.
Communications Matters: Website: Nothing to report.
P1 Buxted School – request for parish council representative – Due to the timing of the meetings, it was considered that the clerk Claudine would be the liaison between the parish council and Buxted Primary School
PCSO’s – super enhanced power and skills – The clerk was asked to upload the information on the pc website to say that we no longer have our own PCSO as officers have been moved to more focused jobs in problem areas.
Property Committee 28th June 2016 – Recommendations to Parish Council:
i) Payments: On the proposal of Cllr. Rose, seconded by Cllr. Illingworth, payments totalling £3,777.13 covered by cheque numbers 790 and 798 were approved.
ii) Bank reconciliations: The clerk had circulated completed a reconciliation for June which were signed
iii) Financial Review 2015/16: Claudine was thanked for producing the report circulated to all members of the parish council prior to the meeting (see the parish council website for the full report).
The chairman advised that she had attended both a meeting with the Ionides Trust and BCHT – see minute 06/07/16 above
Cllrs Warner and Skinner attended the Five Ash Down Village Hall Committee – It was reported that Francis Harding has stepped down as chairman of the committee. Buxted Parish Council were thanked for its contribution which pays for the hall insurance for the year. Members were also advised that the hall committee will be applying for a grant via the Tesco bag grant scheme, in order to carry out an electrical survey of the hall (amongst other things) which should be carried out on a 5 yearly basis.
Cllr. Warner raised the issue of a lack of sufficient parking at the surgery. It was advised that any complaints should be submitted to the surgery. Cllr. Blandford also commented that the Ionides Trust have given three permits to surgery staff to park on the small Ionides Trust car park, but these spaces are not always used. Unfortunately, the parish council have no jurisdiction over this site as it is a business.
The clerk was asked to circulate the parish council’s social media policy to all members.
|The meeting closed at 8.40p.m.|