Minutes of the meeting of the Council held in The Reading Room, Church Road, Buxted on Tuesday 10th January 2017 at 7.30p.m.
Cllrs. Blandford (Chairman), Cox, Hall, Illingworth, Johnson, McQuarrie, Roberts, Rose, Sheard and Skinner.
Also present: WDC Cllr. Illingworth and Clerks Beccy Macklen and Claudine Feltham.
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies received and accepted from Cllrs. Milner and Mulvagh and WDC Cllr. Lunn 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.
Cllrs. McQuarrie 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.
MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING
The minutes of the meeting held on 13th December 2016 were signed by the Chairman as a correct record of the meeting.
Nothing to report.
Public footpaths: Nothing to report.
Trees: Nothing to report.
Road Safety: As part of the Ashdown Place contributions, East Sussex County Council currently holds £50,000 of developer contributions allocated for ‘traffic calming’ in the village of Five Ash Down. The parish council, following a request from residents of the village, undertook a village wide consultation in 2015 to ask if one of the traffic light crossings should have a pedestrian (green man) crossing added. The response was varied and generally did not unanimously support such as scheme. Unfortunately, the funds of £50,000 would only stretch to providing one pedestrian crossing and not all four sets of traffic lights. Therefore, the parish council have investigated a second option which was raised in the consultation responses which is to install two island as can be seen outside the primary school in Maresfield. We have been advised that £50,000 would cover the costs of design, engineering and installation of two island.
The parish council were therefore asked to consider if it wished to pursue this second option and ask ESCC to provide some drawing of where they would suggest traffic islands be positioned. However, members questioned whether there is actually enough desire in the village to provide such islands as there has been no communication with the parish on this subject for a very long time.
Members then discussed the wording of the planning agreement which states that the funds should be used “towards the cost of transport improvements and traffic calming measures and/or highway and transport works in or around the village of Five Ash Down”.
Members therefore considered if this money could be used in other ways, and the clerk was asked to:
1. Ascertain geographically what ‘in or around’ means
2. Could the money be used to make resurfacing and footpath improvements to Cobdown Lane?
3. Could the money be used to make improvements to the pavement outside Vulcan Farm?
The chairman also wished to comment that contrary to a report on social media, the parish council has not sold its speed camera and still looking for volunteers to cover speed watch.
Ionides New Play Equipment: Nothing to report.
New community hall: update on meeting with WDC regarding the Reading Room – The Chairman reported that she had attended a positive meeting with WDC who have suggested the parish council submit an outline planning application on the Reading Room site.
A possible use for the site could be a sensitively designed residential unit of perhaps two small houses or four flats with suitable parking. It would be a small development of perhaps two and a half stories possibly with under croft parking. He suggested that the parish council put in, as soon as possible, an outline planning permission for the Reading Room site, this would be valid for three years and could be renewed if the new hall had not yet reached the building stage after these three years.
The parish council might wish to develop the site themselves, using a sympathetic local builder so they that could have control of the development. At the very least they should try to retain some rights of design over the development.
There was also a suggestion from WDC that the parish council look again at the Nevill Road, Uckfield site which we were always advised was unsuitable for development due to its element of ancient woodland, which has now been agreed is not the case. Further discussions with WDC are required with regards this site before any parish council decisions can be made.
It was therefore unanimously agreed to work towards submitting an outline planning application for the redevelopment of the Reading Room, firstly by approaching three architects to suggest what type of scheme would be suitable for the site and to decide who would best work with the parish council. On the request of the chairman, Cllrs. Illingworth, Johnson, Milner, Roberts and Rose would form a working party as this item progresses.
Defibrillators : The clerk had a very productive conversation with a resident of High Hurstwood who has advised that there are a team of volunteers ready to help refurbish the BT box in High Hurstwood once transfer of ownership to the parish council is confirmed.
Wealden Local Development Framework – Local Plan: Nothing to report.
Property issues: Proposed dog bin at Buxted Park – In response to comments on social media, the parish council approached Buxted Park with regards the installation of a dog poo bin at the entrance to the park (where most of the cars park). It has been agreed that Buxted Park would fund the costs for the bin and the parish council would then pay for the continued cost of emptying the bin. WDC need to approve the site and contact has been made by Buxted Park with St Margaret’s Church to advise of the proposal.
On the day of the meeting photographs were received from Buxted Park as to the suggested location of the bin which is outside of the church wall between the church sign and bench. However, it was considered culturally and socially unacceptable to have the bin in such close proximity to a listed building. As mentioned above, the parish council has been advised that a churchwarden for St Margaret’s Church has been advised of the proposed location, but a response has not yet been received. The parish council were very much in favour of relocating the proposed bin somewhere more appropriate, such as at the entrance to the park.
Weller Hedleys Solicitors: The Chairman wished to advise the parish council of the current situation regarding the solicitors firm that is currently acting on behalf of the parish council with regards registering parish council owned land which historically has not been registered. Two solicitors who have been working directly with both the parish council and Ionides Trust have left the company. However, we were not advised of this matter by Wellers Hedley until we queried why the individual’s emails were bouncing back. The subsequent dialogue from Wellers has been extremely poor.
Following an email conversation with SALC, we were advised to continue to use Wellers Hedley as we had already instructed them. Councillors fully disagreed with this statement and it was agreed that the parish council should find a new solicitor.
Communications Matters: Website: Nothing to report.
No priority correspondence items to discuss
i) Auto Enrolment – Options To Be Discussed – during this discussion, both clerks left the meeting room. Following discussion, Cllr. Roberts was asked to carry out further investigations and provide more information on the options.
ii) Payments: On the proposal of Cllr. Roberts, seconded by Cllr. Rose, payments totalling £3,816.43 covered by cheque numbers 862 and 871 were approved. Eleven payments this month. It was noted that one of the cheques is a re-issue from the December meeting (Mott McDonald) as it went missing in the Christmas post.
iii) Bank reconciliations: The clerk circulated completed reconciliations for three accounts for December which were signed.
iv) Signing of the precept form – Following the resolution to set the precept at the December meeting, the chairman completed and signed the precept form to be returned to WDC.
v) Councillors Expenses – recommended councillor’s expenses amounts from WDC – no councillors wished to claim expenses.
No other meetings.
Annual Assembly – on the request of the chairman, Claudine explained that at Chiddingly parish council representatives from various local organisations are invited and the chairman gives a short introduction to all in attendance followed by a general open meeting and discussion with councillors. It was suggested and agreed that a change of venue to the Reading Room to make it less formal together with drinks and nibbles and an opportunity to generally talk to councillors and other residents of the parish. Annual Assembly meeting date changed to 17th May.
Following a question by Cllr. Cox, it was confirmed that the new mast on the Toll Farm triangle does have planning permission (under permitted development). The clerk commented that in a supporting statement, the applicant advised that any redundant equipment would be removed, but this has not yet been done. Clerk chasing. The clerk was also asked to chase Highways regarding the state of the verge and surrounding pavements. The parish council has previously been advised that the verge does not need any further work, but the parish council is not satisfied with this answer and will question highways again.
Parish council funding towards verge cutting and pavement uncovering to go on next meeting agenda and clerk to ascertain what forms are required to be completed.
|The meeting closed at 8.55p.m.|