Minutes of the meeting of the Council held in The Reading Room, Church Road, Buxted on Tuesday 14th March 2017 at 7.30p.m.
Cllrs. Blandford (Chairman), Cox, Hall, Illingworth, McQuarrie, Milner, Roberts, Rose, Sheard and Skinner.
Also present: ESCC Cllr Galley, WDC Cllrs Lunn/Illingworth and Clerks Beccy Macklen and Claudine Feltham.
1. Homer Cox wished to thank Ian Goldsmith for organising, and the parish council for supporting the litter picking event which took place at the weekend. The chairman reported that it was a fascinating exercise clearing Nan Tucks Lane – which is a natural run from the station – where there seemed to be a large amount of empty alcohol bottles. There will be a further litter picking event in September and it will be interesting to see how much litter has accumulated in the interim. The clerk was asked to send a personal thanks to Ian Goldsmith from the parish council.
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies received and accepted from Cllrs Johnson and Mulvagh
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. 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.
MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING
The minutes of the meeting held on 14th February 2017 were signed by the Chairman as a correct record of the meeting.
Cllr. Galley reported that the county project this year will be within budget. There is a £365m budget for next year (increase of 5%) which does not include schools which are funded directly. The current big issue is school funding and ESCC have written to the Dept of Education with its concerns. Although there is an increase in the grant of 2.7%, the formula used to calculate funding (which forms part of the detailed consultation) would mean schools will lose money. There are a number of factors to it, but there is a ‘per school’ block grant which has been reduced, then ‘per pupil’ alongside other elements. Therefore, our schools will lose out, however ESCC are raising strong concerns.
The campaign to reduce the speed limit from Ringles cross to the Coopers Green traffic lights will be heard next week at the ESCC Planning Committee and it is presumed that this will be approved and hopefully implemented soon after.
Cllr. Illingworth gave an overview of the recently published Wealden Local Plan – There is no housing allocation for Buxted parish with the exception of conversion of commercial/barn premises and where traffic movement credits are available.
The Local Plan document is due to be considered by Full Council following the approval by the Joint Planning Committee. Full council is 22nd March at which point it is published and a public consultation takes place in May/June. Representations are considered and a final version produced which is submitted to the planning inspector. The document should then be approved following examination and formally adopted by the council. Within the document is a target of 14,000 new dwellings by 2028. However, further studies on nitrogen deposition across Ashdown Forest have proven that nitrogen emissions are worse than originally predicted and therefore WDC consider that 11,456 new dwellings by 2028 should be acceptable. There will be modelling for both examples to ascertain which one of these will be possible. Because of the high nitrogen levels there is now a requirement to have ‘complete mitigation’ which effectively means that until a permanent solution is found to nitrogen deposition, there will be no approval of new dwellings unless traffic movement credits are in existence or full mitigation against any impact on the Ashdown Forest is proven – this is district wide, not just restricted to the north.
Cllr. Lunn advised that the village development boundary for Buxted remains which is tightly drawn around existing development, so anything within this or brownfield sites could still be developed upon as long as traffic movement credits are available. A further key issue is that the impact on Ashdown Forest is district wide and beyond and therefore the Local Plan has to take into account any development from surrounding authority areas and whether it could have an impact on Ashdown Forest. Whether the Secretary of State agrees with the plan remains to be seen, however extensive studies would support the current plan.
Both Cllrs Illingworth and Lunn are aware that the description of Buxted is inaccurate and Cllr. Illingworth has advised WDC, and the parish council will also confirm the current businesses within the development boundary. WDC committee clerks are keen to receive as many comments as early as possible, prior to publication following full council. It was also noted that there is a section in the back of the plan for community halls, so worth looking at this policy.
Other issues referred to by Cllr Lunn – the phone mast application in High Hurstwood has been formally withdrawn. It would have been difficult to oppose this application as legislation is weighed in the favour of the telecommunications provider. However, councillors would always encourage and recommend to telecommunications providers to work with the parish and community prior to submitting any application.
Annual Assembly 2017: Due to the chairman being unavailable on the set date, the Annual Assembly date has been moved to Tuesday 30th May 2017 at 7.30pm. As previously reported, the format would be an informal meet and greet with councillors and representatives of clubs and societies in the parish.
Public footpaths: As mentioned above, the chairman was very pleased to report on a successful litter picking event which took place on Saturday 11th March in and around Buxted. Thanks, were given to the organiser, Ian Goldsmith and to the many volunteers who managed to collect approx. 50 bags of rubbish. A second litter picking event will be organised for September which may also include the planting of bulbs which would be supplied by the parish council.
Trees: Nothing to report.
i) Crusader Vehicles: It has been brought to the attention of the parish council that customers of the vehicle hire business are parking and blocking the pavement along the A272. It has also been noted that an employee of Crusader Vehicles has been parking in the Ionides Trust car park. The chairman did speak directly to the owner of the car. This has not happened since this occasion, but it will be monitored, especially given that part of the planning permission was enough provison for on site car parking spaces for employees and customers.
ii) On the road at Lephams bridge: works signage is still on the roadside and should be removed as it is looking unsightly. Clerk to request to highways that works signage is removed. It is also noted that the reflector bollards have been destroyed and should be replaced.
iii) Manhole Cover: near the Crow and Gate PH by the layby, Crowborough. Clerk to report to Highways.
iv) Royal Oak Lane: There are two large pot holes at the entrance to Royal Oak Lane. Clerk to report.
v) Maypole Cottages: Subsidence on both sides of the roads at the bottom of the cul de sac. Clerk to report.
vi) Potential use of Section 106 monies for traffic calming/highway improvements in and around Five Ash Down – Following the previous parish council meeting, Cllr. Illingworth confirmed with WDC planning that the developer contributions cannot be used in conjunction with refurbishing the BT Box and installing a defibrillator in FAD, but it may be possible to use the money to make pathway improvements between Coopers Green traffic lights and Buxted School. To this end, the clerk together with the help from the chairman of the residents association consulted with 100 residents of Ashdown Place to ascertain if anyone currently uses the footway. Initial responses have been positive with residents welcoming any improvements that could make the footpath safer to walk.
It was therefore resolved to pursue this matter further to ascertain what footpath improvements can be made with the £50,000 together with how much it would cost for the parish council to make improvements and scrape back the debris on the footpath between Buxted School and the village, in addition to the pavement from Pound Green to Toll Farm.
vii) Update on Traffic Regulation Order for Buxted: No further update has been received as to when the Planning Committee to consider the order will take place. Subsequent to the meeting, it was advised that the TRO would be considered by the ESCC Planning Committee on 19th April. Objectors and supporters of the TRO would be advised.
viii) Parking – Network Rail Land – In response to a query made to the parish council, the clerk was asked to contact Network Rail and ask what is the intention for the empty land to the rear of the car park if there is no intention to extend the car park given that the emergency access is now on the opposite site of the track?
Ionides New Play Equipment: The chairman updated that the second phase of play equipment is being installed this week which includes two zip wires and a cantilever swing. An opening event will take place on 1st April which will include craft making and a bouncy castle. As part of the construction of the play equipment is the moving of 50 cubic metres of soil. It is hoped to make this into a small wildflower meadow on the sloping land to the rear of the recreation ground.
A date has now been set for the scouts to meet with representatives of the Ionides Trust to discuss the issues regarding the proposed leased land for the hall.
New community hall: A landscaping masterplan has been designed which can be submitted to WDC as part of the planning process.
Defibrillators: No new update
Wealden Local Development Framework – Local Plan: See above.
(i) Appointment of Architect for redevelopment of Reading Room – A working party meeting had taken place the previous Tuesday at which three shortlisted architects together with examples of their work were discussed. Following this meeting the working party recommend that Iain Miller be appointed to submit the outline planning application for the redevelopment of the Reading Room at a cost of £3500 plus any unforeseen expenses. The application should also include the amendment of the Section 106 agreement to remove the paragraph that restricts any further use of the Reading Room by the development of the new hall. Members unanimously resolved to appoint Iain Miller on the terms agreed. From the outset of the New Village Hall project it was always the intention that the Reading Room would be developed as part of the hall application. The parish council have now been successful in removing that condition, hence the need to appoint an architect to draw up plans for an outline planning application. In addition to, and because of the Ashdown Forest ruling, Cllr. Lunn also suggested that we might want to suggest that the new properties will be marketed at local residents to reduce the risk of further increases to nitrogen levels.
(ii) Request from Allotment Management Committee to waive water costs for one year – The clerk had previously circulated the above request which would cover extra water which will be required for the planting of a new orchard, extra tree planting along the perimeter of the site and the digging of a pond. It was agreed that all extra costs could not be covered by the parish council and therefore a maximum sum of £300 was agreed. It was also suggested that the AMC consider the possibility of the water being held for fire prevention as then the water would be free of charge.
(iii) Repair of BT line to Football Club on Recreation Ground – As previously agreed, the parish council would pay more towards running cost of the recreation ground and pavilion, when necessary. The Buxted Football Club has recently had to pay a BT bill of £266 For the repair or the line along the entrance driveway. It was suggested that this be reimbursed by the parish council as it is not a day to day running cost for the club. Members agreed to pay the costs.
Communications Matters: Website: Nothing to report.
No priority correspondence
i) Payments: On the proposal of Cllr. Cox, seconded by Cllr. Roberts, payments totalling £14,419.40 covered by cheque numbers 889 and 902 were approved, noting specific payments for soil investigations and a table tennis table from Section 106 money at the Ionides land; two new dog bins; gas bill for Reading Room and new lighting for the Reading Room.
ii) Bank reconciliations: The clerk had circulated completed a reconciliation for February which were signed
Nothing to report.
The clerk announced that sadly Eileen Holmes who worked as the caretaker for the Reading Room for over 20 years has passed away. The funeral will be held on Wednesday 22nd March at 12.30pm at St Margaret’s Church, Buxted. Sympathies to the family and thanks to Eileen for her many years of work for the parish council.
|The meeting closed at 20.30 p.m.|