Parish Council Minutes 13 December 2016

Minutes of the meeting of the Council held in The Reading Room, Church Road, Buxted on Tuesday 13th December 2016 at 7.30p.m.

 

Present:

Cllrs. Blandford (Chairman), Cox, Hall, Illingworth, Johnson, McQuarrie, Milner (7.55pm), Mulvagh, Roberts, Rose and Skinner.

Also present: ESCC Cllr Galley and Clerk Beccy Macklen and Claudine Feltham.

 

Public :

5.

Colin Woolgrove – Deputy Churchwarden at St Mary’s Church, Buxted addressed members in relation to item P2 on the correspondence list – Request for funding towards repair and renovation of the war memorial. He advised that the memorial forms part of a calvary from 1919. In the past the figures were made of softwood and covered in plaster. About 15 years ago they were vandalised and although repaired, time has taken its toll. The church is now looking to replace them with fibreglass figures at a cost of £2,400 for the figures  inc of VAT with an additional cost of removal of existing and fitting new figures at a cost of approx. £600. The figures currently have a metal rod through them which fixes them to the stone plinth. The plan is for completion by the end of next year in time for the centenary of the end of the first world war in 2017.

 

Following members questions it was confirmed that the Crucifix is fixed to a plinth and is in good order and that the figures would be like for like but made from fibreglass.

 

£400 has already been raised through fundraising with another £100 promised. Fund raising will continue. It is hoped that funding raising will reach 50% of funds required and it would be ideal if the parish council would be able to meet them half way. Although the works are required to be completed by the end of next year, most of the work needs to be completed when the weather is good i.e. the summer.

 

Graham Midmer wished to update the parish council with regards the campaign to reduce speed limits at Coopers green. He reported that he had met with Sarah Valentine of ESCC Highways who was very helpful. The business plan was submitted and worked through and the relevant forms completed. There have been three parish councils caught out by the new community match scheme and we are the only parish thus far that has completed the new forms.

 

The next stage would be for the parish council to sign a form which ensures the parish council will pay the 50% match funding ‘up front’ once the works are hopefully approved. A copy of the completed application form will be forwarded to the parish council. This will then be considered by the lead highways councillor at ESCC Highways in February and if successful will be put forward to the lead member meeting and hopefully agreed and signed off.

 

Mr Midmer also wished to advise that Seimens needs to check the traffic lights at Coopers Green as the timing seems to have gone wrong. Mr Midmer will take this up with the relevant authorities but wanted to make the PC aware. Clerk to also report.

 

George Claydon from the BHCT addressed members in connection with item P1 on the correspondence list below: “I regret having to approach the Parish Council again for more money but BCHT is a limited company and as such are not allowed to trade from an insolvent position.

 

We have Building Regulations consent which is conditional on us having in place a whole series of soil tests, design plans and input from the Architect and a Quantity Surveyor which will cost in the region of about £34,000 to complete before we can do any actual building work using the Section 106 moneys of about £110,000 that we need to start by December of 2017 to secure the WDC Planning consent.    This C£34,000 is in addition to the money spent previously by the Parish Council on the Architect and planning application fees.  The Parish Council agreed at its last meeting to pay the M & E design bill of £4,050 and BCHT has paid to Building Regulations fee of £300 so the £34,000 sum is reduced to £30,000.    BCHT does not have the benefit of any regular income and is not able to make applications to grant making foundations or charities until we have completed negotiations with Ionides Trust for a lease for the site and are in a position to start putting in the foundations.

 

The trust has funds of £27,000 in the bank so is short of about £3,000 to meet its essential contract commitments at this stage. If the Council agrees to pay the Structural Engineers bill of £5,508 or the Architect’s stage fee of £10,728 when presented, we can cover the requisite contracts and move on towards putting in the footings early in 2017, thereby securing the planning consent”

 

The chairman thanked Mr Claydon for providing this information and that the matter would be discussed at part of the correspondence list.

 

01/12/16

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Apologies received and accepted from Cllr Sheard and clerk Claudine Feltham

 

02/12/16

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 and 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. Milner declared a personal interest in any matters relating to the parish council website due to being a personal friend of the parish council’s website consultant.

 

Cllr. Illingworth declared a personal interest in any items relating to the Reading Room due to a family member using the premises on a regular basis.

 

03/12/16

MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING

The minutes of the meeting held on 8th November 2016 were signed by the Chairman as a correct record of the meeting.

 

04/12/16

ESCC/WDC REPORT

Cllr Galley advised that he had been at a number of meetings at County Hall regarding budgets. He also wished to report back on Children’s Services (looked after children), which used to be called Children in Care. ESCC are regarded as the ‘corporate parent’ of 540 children who are in the process of adoption/fostering/in some sort of care. Of the seven homes, four have recently had an Ofsted inspection, with two deemed Good, one Outstanding, and one secure centre Requires Improvement.

 

On a Wealden matter – the proposal for the Wealden council tax rise is £5 per head (which equates to 2.8%) which equates to £1.50 per household per annum. Cllr. Galley does not believe that Wealden needs to raise the tax as it is so financially well run. County will probably raise the precept by 4% mostly to cover adult social care with the police raising up to the £5 per head. If anyone feels strongly about the precept raise, they should raise concerns with WDC – clerk to upload this information to the website.

 

05/12/16

OUTSTANDING MATTERS

 

Public footpaths: Nothing to report.

 

Trees: Tree report on parish council owned land in Nevill Road, Uckfield and Littlewood Lane, Buxted has been received, no immediate works required.

 

Road Safety: The chairman wished to make a complaint to Cllr. Galley regarding Highways who, under the new scheme do not seem to have an improved service. We have three examples:

 

  • Road between Buxted School and White Hart – we have brought it to Highways attention that up to 50cm of footpath has been lost due to the bank gradually falling and covering the footway. We have asked if works could take place through Highways to uncover this footpath if either match funded by Highways or paid for by the parish council. No response has been received to date
  • Fallen tree at the Toll Triangle – it was reported to Highways and removed from the road, then left on the triangle. It was not considered that this needed any further clearing. A local resident has cleared the debris but tree trunk still there.
  • Highway owned triangle at Shepherds Hill – growing trees reported to Highways, but not considered they need any remedial work even though triangle looks overgrown and will continue to grow on a very small piece of land.
  • Grass cutting – trying to ascertain costs for extra grass cutting but cannot get any answers or form which was promised months ago. (after the meeting, an email was received from Highways)

 

Clerk will forward emails to Cllr. Galley.

 

Cllr. Illingworth wanted to give Highways credit where credit is due as within 20 minutes of reporting, Highways were out gritting an ice patch in Buxted High Street where there was a southern water leak.

 

Ionides New Play Equipment: The parish council have signed a cheque that evening for £22,728 for the wooden Touchwood equipment which will hopefully be in place by April. The adult exercise equipment has been ordered and installation will commence in the New Year.

 

New community hall: As per the priority correspondence list below –

 

P2 BCHT – Request for Parish Council to pay invoice for Structural Engineer Works of £5,508 from new hall reserved funds.

 

Previously, we have been advised that the Section 106 monies (£109,000) were to be used for construction costs only, however having spoken to Chris Bending of WDC planning, we have been advised that the money can be used towards surveying and other consultant fees. In simple terms the parish council could authorise payment of invoices generated by BCHT on the terms that anything over £60,000 has to have three tenders, anything between £500 and 3,000 requires three quotes and under £500 required three estimates

Therefore, it was advised that the outstanding invoice would have to be paid using BCHT funds,as correct tendering processes had not taken place, but any further costs could be paid using the Section 106 Planning Agreement money as long as this is in accordance with the above financial regulations

 

The chairman asked for confirmation from the BCHT as to whether, when applying for grants, if they are able to match fund (if required) using both the funds in the BCHT account and that set aside by the parish council? As this would equate to almost twice as much if both accounts can be used.

 

It was therefore Agreed that the current invoice would be paid for via the BCHT funds, but in future, so as long as the appropriate tenders/quotes are received further costs could be paid from the Section 106 contributions.  . A letter laying out these terms and payments terms will be sent to the BCHT Trustees.

 

 

Cllr. Blandford updated that she has meeting on 22nd December with Wealden Planning on the matter of the Reading Room.

 

It was also reported that there was a very successful Carols on the Footings last weekend which was very well organised and well supported.

 

Defibrillators: No new update. It is still the intention of the parish council to adopt the BT boxes outside both the Pig and Butcher and The Hurstwood for housing the village defibrillators.

 

Wealden Local Development Framework – Local Plan: Nothing to report.

 

Property issues: Nothing to report

 

Communications Matters: Website: nothing to report.

 

06/12/16

CORRESPONDENCE

P1 St Mary’s Parish Church – Request for contribution towards War Memorial renovation

 

Firstly, Cllr. Milner mentioned that he had noticed that St Mary’s Church had recently received an award of £10,000 from Tesco bags scheme. Colin Woolgrove advised that this is for the far end of the garden to make good the dangerous area and create a path and works to the hedges/trees/boundary fence. To obtain the award, it was first necessary to detail exactly where the money would be spent and therefore none of this could then be diverted to the memorial.

 

Members were very supportive of the scheme and considered it to be a small amount of money for such an important community asset given the other amounts of work to maintain the church. It was therefore proposed by Cllr. Illingworth and seconded by Cllr. Milner that the parish council cover the remainder of the costs over and above that raised so far. Unanimously agreed. Mr Woolgrove thanked the parish council.

 

P2 BCHT – Request for Parish Council to pay invoice for Structural Engineer Works of £5,508 from new hall reserved funds – see minute 05/12/16 above

 

07/12/16

COMMITTEE MEETINGS

 

Cllr. Roberts reported on the Finance Committee which took place the previous evening at which the following proposals are put to the Parish Council:

 

  1. Reading Room hire charges are increased due to no increase since 2009 and a large shortfall between income and expenditure
  2. Remuneration of the Clerks to the Council and the Caretaker for 2017/18 is agreed
  3. Cllr Robert to circulate further information with regards Auto Enrolment
  4. Propose a precept increase of 9% a figure of £92,671 which equates to £4.66 per household per year/or 39 pence per household per month. Cllr. Roberts advised that due to gradual increasing responsibilities from principal authorities, we should be looking at regular increases of this amount.

 

It was considered important to note that the parish council has not raised the precept significantly for several years but it is becoming clear that the onus will be on the parish council to pay for services previously carried out by ESCC such as grass cutting and highways issues. In addition to  finding the funds to pay for auto enrolment for parish council employees next April.

 

Proposed by Cllr. Rose and seconded by Cllr. Skinner all the above proposals were unanimously approved. The parish council agreed that it will be proactive reporting to the wider parish and an article would be uploaded to the website.

 

08/12/16

FINANCE

i)    Payments: On the proposal of Cllr. Illingworth, seconded by Cllr. Rose, payments totalling £35,295.30 covered by cheque numbers 845 and 861 were approved.

Payment List

ii)     Bank reconciliations: The clerk had circulated completed a reconciliation for November which was signed

 

09/12/16

OTHER MEETINGS

 

Cllr. Skinner attended The Five Ash Down Village Hall meeting on 21 November: “They were grateful that I explained John Rose’ comments regarding a structural survey, they agreed with the sense of the explanation.

 

They are worried about the findings when the boiler has its next service.   More groups using the Hall and often not following a previous letting when the room has got warm, means that more usage is being made of the boiler.   The Five Ashdown Village Hall Committee wonder if the BPC would please consider helping the Hall purchase a new meter, as each letting pays for extra heating via a pay as you go meter.

 

FADVH’s original Agreement (it’s a Charity) says that there should be 2 members of their Committee from the BPC.   I feel that even if we have the nominal 2, only one need attend the actual meetings and I am very happy doing this.”

 

Cllr. Skinner would reply to the FADVHC advising they need to write to the parish council with costs of a new meter. A copy of the accounts would also be helpful.

 

10/12/16

MEMBERS QUESTIONS

Cllr. Rose mentioned the wasteland/woodland owned by Buxted Parish Council in Nevill Road, Uckfield which sits between two houses. We spend a lot of money on fencing, tree survey, tree works and maybe we should try again to gain planning permission on the land in the current light of planning policy changes.

 

Supported by the parish council, the clerk was asked to contact planning consultant Lindsay Frost with a view to approaching WDC with regards future development of the land. Agreed.

 

11/12/16

ANNOUNCEMENTS

None

 

The meeting closed at 8.45p.m.

 

Posted in Parish Council Minutes