Minutes of the meeting of the Council held in Five Ash Down Village Hall on Tuesday 14th February 2017 at 7.30p.m.
Cllrs. Blandford (Chairman), Cox, Hall, Illingworth, Johnson, McQuarrie, Mulvagh, Roberts, Rose, Sheard and Skinner.
Also present: WDC Cllr Lunn and Clerks Beccy Macklen and Claudine Feltham.
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies received and accepted from Cllrs Milner, Skinner and ESCC 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.
Cllr. Rose declared a personal interest in any matters relating to new lighting to the Reading Room due to a contractor using equipment in his professional capacity.
MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING
The minutes of the meeting held on 10th January 2017 were signed by the Chairman as a correct record of the meeting.
Cllr. Illingworth reported that work on the Wealden Local Plan has been postponed while the council consider the latest Government planning white paper which will have implications on the existing plan. As part of the white paper is a requirement for the District Council to have a local plan in place by the end of this year. WDC do have an existing Local Plan (albeit out of date), and therefore it is hoped to have a new one in place by the deadline. The White Paper is also stating that there should be one formula for calculating housing need that covers the whole country rather than individual councils/areas setting their own formulas.
The Judicial Review for development at Steel Cross, Crowborough was won by the Council. However, a key point made by the judge is that of mitigation. Although this application was refused, there is nothing to stop the applicant reapplying with differing mitigation methods. It was also reported that the Judicial Review between Wealden and Lewes District Council’s is still ongoing.
Cllr. Lunn wished to report on the Reading Room – at a Wealden planning committee the previous week, Kelvin Williams (Head of Planning) made quite a lengthy statement on the subject of the Reading Room which he would encourage members to view. Subsequent to the meeting and on investigation by the clerk, it would appear that this part of the meeting has been cut from the final recording.
Public footpaths: Cllr Sheard wished to update on the current situation regarding the Vanguard Way and specifically the area which has been blocked for some time. ESCC have advised that a private insurance issue regarding the landslide continues, but officers will carry out vegetation clearance works on the path and around the landslip. This will also allow access for a full assessment of the current situation to be undertaken. They will also be installing improved signage on site to make the public aware of the nearby alternative route. In the meantime, ESCC will regrettably need to keep the section of path around the landslip closed to the public, and until such a time as the path has been made safe. Clerk to upload this information to the website.
Trees: Nothing to report.
(i) Potential use of Section 106 monies for traffic calming/highway improvements in and around Five Ash Down – At the previous parish council meeting, the clerk was asked to invetigate the possibility of the section 106 monies being use for pavement improvements in Cobdown land and outside of Vulcan Farm and resurfacing of the highway in Cobdown Lane. The clerk advised that a response has been received from WDC Planning that advises that pavement improvements could be considered but resurfacing works should be covered by existing ESCC budgets. It was also advised that Cobdown Lane actually sits outside of the parish of Buxted.
Cllr. Illingworth suggested he approach WDC Planning to investigate using the section 106 moneys to make pathway improvements on the pathway outside Vulcan Farm and further down towards the primary school. It would also be helpful to be given examples of where moneys have been spent by others when the words ‘in and around’ have been used in the Section 106 agreement in order to assist the parish council with the definition.
(ii) Update on the Traffic Regulation Order for Buxted: The clerk advised that following the public consultation, objections were received in relation to new double yellows lines in Gordon Road/A272, Gordon Road outside of Cherry Tree Court and Framfield Road outside of Totease Farm. As these objections remain unresolved, they will have to be considered by the ESCC Highways Planning Committee. Date to be advised. There were no objections to the double yellow lines in Queenstock Lane or Littlewood Lane, so these will go ahead once the Traffic Regulation Order has been finalised.
Ionides Trust: Sourcing of Solicitors – The chairman reported that The Ionides Trust have now instructed a new set of solicitors to act for them to bring about the change of status whereby the Parish Council becomes the sole trustee. The previous solicitors, Wellers Hedley, have done nothing for over four months, something they only admitted in late January and had confused work they were doing for the parish council for work they should have been doing for the Ionides Trust.
The chairman then updated members on the current situation with regards the leasing of the hall site to the BCHT by the Ionides Trust. On Wednesday, the 1st February, there was an Ionides Trust meeting at which the scout representative was present. One of the items on the agenda was that the lease had about to be finally signed with the Buxted Community Hall Trust. It was at this meeting that the scout representative said that the Scout Exec Group would not be happy with the lease. Some of their concerns include access to their hut for general use and during any building works. It was pointed out that a letter had been sent to Scott on the 31st October, 2016, in response to an email of his on the 28th October in which he expressed concerns over access and future use of the hall, conflicting with Scout activities.
When he appeared unhappy about the reassurances given about future co-existing use of the Ionides Land he was asked to respond, in writing, to the letter, sent by the Ionides Trust, suggesting any alternative way forward. This was not done in the intervening 3 months. Therefore, the Ionides Trust requested that the Scouts responded to the letter of the 28th October by the 10th February. In addition, the leased lines of the Scout lease and the Village hall lease overlap at the south-east corner. The Ionides Trust are currently trying to source a definitively correct plan of this overlap. On the original hall design the overlap was considerably larger and historic discussions had been around this. The newer and later design had a smaller footprint.
Following that meeting, after having looked through historic emails and minutes an email was sent to Scott saying it had always been the intention of the Ionides Trust to allocate another piece of land to the Scouts in place of what they might lose and perhaps some arrangement could come to the siting of their bonfire which had always been sited off their leased land. It was also suggested that before legal advice was sought, Rick Mudie and Vivienne Blandford would meet up with the ‘Scout Exec Group’, as the Ionides Trust were unware of whom they were, and hear their concerns in person. This suggestion was turned down as was a second one later that week. The Scouts have always been informed, through minutes, and various meeting at which representatives of the Hall Group, the Scouts and the Ionides Trust were present of the progress, or lack of progress of the building of the new village hall. The Scouts have been told that the access to the Scout Hut would remain open and that the Ionides Trust would maintain the track. However, there might be times when this was not possible if an outdoor event was being held at the hall. This would only happen with prior notice and that a diary would be kept by the Village Hall Trust. The parking area near the Scout hut would be for drop off and pick up of equipment and most parking would be via the new and present car park below. This is the same for the users of the village hall, with only two disabled bays for parking outside the hall. However, the landscaping details for areas affected and related to the village hall, scout hut and remaining land are not yet drawn up which further complicate matters. It is sincerely hoped that a useful dialogue can be held between all parties affected to resolve the situation and progress with the development of the village hall.
It was also agreed that the Ionides Trust would pay for a drain survey to find out where the scouts drain ran, and whether they linked up with those of the Rifle Club. The Ionides Trust were informed that the Scouts had recently located their manhole which had been covered up by fill from the Surgery site. It was unfortunate that no-one had been aware of the location of the manhole when the ground had been levelled during the building of the surgery site.
The Ionides Trust should possibly have sorted out the lease problems with Scouts before this point in time. However, one problem in the past was a reluctance, on the part of the Trust, to spend any money on legal fees until they were sure that the hall would be built. It has cost the Ionides Trust £2500.00 in legal fees for the Hall lease. Another problem is a turnover of representatives from all groups since the start of the project. It is only in the last month that any detailed information on the landscaping layout is being carried out. This will impact on the Scout leased land in front of their hut (to the north) but any changes here will bring about an improvement to the landscaping. In recent years, it is the Ionides Trust who have carried out, and paid for, improvements to the land which form part of the Scouts leased land as well as throughout the entire site. To which all have access.
Written into to the hall lease is the clause at 5.15:
1.1 not to park nor permit any parking on the Access Road;
1.2 to ensure a clear access for vehicles is maintained on the south side of the building at all times except for specific occasions or events agreed in advance with the Trustees of the Basil Ionides Memorial Centre;
Subsequently the Ionides Trust are now seeking their own legal advice.
New community hall: At a meeting, last week on the 7th February with the Buxted Hall Trust they were informed on the Scout intent to seek legal action, understandably they were not best pleased with the situation and obviously concerned as they hope to commence ground works this autumn. Work will continue as some preparatory consultant work must take place before any ground works commence. Work is currently underway to get some idea of final landscaping which includes the removal and distribution of any spoil from groundworks and the preparation works for an additional future car park which necessitate the lowering of the bund put in place during the Surgery build. A clear idea of costs is needed on all separate elements is need before any work can commence. The Ionides Trust only have limited funds to pay for the landscaping works.
On a much more positive note the 1st phase of play equipment has been installed by the Ionides Trust were payed for by 106 developer contributions. These consist of six static pieces of exercise equipment and the foundations for the table tennis table. The zip wires and giant swing will be installed next month.
Confirmation that Buxted Parish Council is acting as agents for the BCHT with regards the Section 106 funds – On the advice of the council’s internal auditor, the parish council confirmed that the Parish Council is acting as agent on behalf of the Buxted Community Hall Trust in relation to payments being made towards the new hall project from the Section 106 developer contributions, being held in a separate parish council account.
Defibrillators: Claudine updated that the following funds have been raised in connection with the High Hurstwood and Five Ash Down defibrillators (£1775 + VAT in total each):
High Hurstwood – £1,280
Five Ash Down – £230
Claudine has also chased WDC for an update on the progress of the adoption of the BT boxes in High Hurstwood and Five Ash Down that will house the defibrillators and has been advised that all requests to adopt box have been passed to BT. She has been given a contact at BT to find out when they will be adopted.
However, having had experience with ordering defibrillators and knowing they take up to two and half months to arrive, it was agreed that as soon as we are informed when adoption will take place, we should order the equipment
Wealden Local Development Framework – Local Plan: See WDC report above.
(i) Appointment of Architect for redevelopment of Reading Room Site – Prior to the meeting, the clerk circulated four quotes received from architects in connection with submitting an outline planning application for the Reading Room site. Three were of fairly similar costings, estimating one week’s work, with the fourth estimating 1.5 days work. However, this architect knows the site very well. Member considered all four quotes and it was concluded that the working party (Cllrs. Roberts, Milner, Rose, Johnson and Illingworth) to look carefully at the quotes and make recommendations to the council.
(ii) Litter Bin on A272 opposite Hurstwood Road – it is still being used to dump general waste? Cllr. Johnson advised that the litter bin is still being used for purposes other than general litter. Members therefore resolved to request with WDC to remove the litter bin.
(iii) Buxted Allotment – Flytipping/Abandoned Vehicle: Claudine updated that there has been a vehicle damaged that has historically parked at the site (owned by a commuter) together with fly tipping of concrete/bollards and conifer trees. The owner of the site has been informed and a sign to deter fly tipping has been sourced from WDC which will be erected at the site once permission has been sought from the landowner.
Communications Matters: Website: nothing to report.
No priority correspondence.
i) Auto Enrolment Pension Scheme: (during this item, the clerks left the meeting room). A lengthy, and in depth discussion both at previous meetings and by email had taken place over which scheme the parish council were prepared to join. Cllr. Roberts summed up the differing opinions and reported what the take up of this local government scheme was in the local area. He said all ten local councils had joined the scheme as had a good number of local parish councils. It was resolved, on a majority vote to join the local government scheme. Clerk to inform ESCC and Simon Goacher payroll clerk.
ii) Engagement of Internal Auditor: Members resolved to appoint Mark Mulbery at the parish council’s internal auditor for financial year ending March 2016 as per his terms and conditions.
iii) Payments: On the proposal of Cllr. Roberts, seconded by Cllr. Cox, payments totalling £27,965.26 covered by cheque numbers 873 and 885 were approved. The payment of £22,404 to Mant Leisure was noted and confirmed that this amount has been paid from the Section 106 Off Site Play Space contributions.
iv) Bank reconciliations: The clerk had circulated completed a reconciliation for January which were signed
Cllr. Rose advised that new hall lighting quotes have been received with varying quotes between £1,140 (Richard Hudson) and £575 (Paul Gould) on a labour only cost with the parish council purchasing the light fittings and using a tower borrowed from Cllr. Rose. It was therefore resolved two appoint Paul Gould to carry out the work.
|The meeting closed at 8.48p.m.|