Parish Council Minutes 11 April 2017

Minutes of the meeting of the Council held in Five Ash Down Village Hall on Tuesday 11th April 2017 at 7.30p.m.



Cllrs. Blandford (Chairman), Hall, Illingworth, Johnson (7.50PM), McQuarrie, Milner, Roberts, Rose, Sheard and Skinner.

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


Public :

Mr G. Midmer.


Cllr. Galley and Mr Midmer updated on the outcome of the ESCC meeting to consider the reduction of speed limits on the road between Ringles Cross and Coopers Green traffic lights from a 60 to a 40mph limit. As members are already aware, this matter has been with ESCC for a number of months and originally fell foul of the new ESCC Community Match scheme and criteria which required a second and more detailed application to be submitted. This was duly completed by Mr Midmer and was finally considered at an ESCC Planning Meeting last month at which it was approved. However, the cost for the works (which require the Parish Council to match fund half) has almost doubled due to the administration aspect of the work now being outsourced. We were previously quoted £5,000 of which the in-house admin costs were £500. It is the latter figure which has increased to £3,750, the actual work coming out at £5,500 a total of £9,250. A 50% contribution from the parish council would now be £4,625.


Mr Midmer therefore asked the parish council to fund the half required to complete the project. This matter was discussed in minute 05/04/17 below.




Apologies received and accepted from Cllrs Cox, Mulvagh and WDC Cllr. Lunn.





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. 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 an interest to the item relating to the Wildflower Verge at Five Ash Down has a member of his family owns adjoining land.




The minutes of the meeting held on 14th March 2017 were signed by the Chairman as a correct record of the meeting.





Cllr. Galley advised that due to the county council elections being held on 4th May 2017, work at ESCC has slowed down significantly. Since the last parish council meeting ESCC can advise that a saving of £17 million is required, mainly from adult social care. However, a Government grant of £11 million has eased the current situation slightly.


ESCC have written a very strongly worded consultation response to Government regarding the national formula for school funding. Government has gone quiet on this subject so it is very much hoped the funding is being reconsidered.


Cllr. Galley wished to congratulate High Hurstwood Primary School for achieving an Outstanding report from Ofsted.


Highways – Cllr. Galley is aware of the strength of feeling with regards a safe crossing across the A272 outside the Buxted Inn and is currently in correspondence with Ian Johnson of ESCC. To date, no suitable solution has been found, however a meeting is being arranged with Mr Johnson, Cllr. Galley and the clerk to the parish council to discuss this further. It was reiterated that there is already an increase in the use of the Ionides land with the installation of the new play equipment, which will only increase further once the new village hall is constructed.


Coopers Green – Cllr. Galley hopes the parish council can find the funds to match fund the scheme. It has been a long fight to achieve an approval for the scheme and, yes, it is expensive, but the costs have increased due to the need for a full feasibility study which is where previous projects have fallen short.


Double Yellow Line Proposals in Buxted – Initially it was thought that this matter would be considered at an ESCC Planning Committee in April, but it this has been delayed until 31st May due to the purdah period leading up to the County Council elections. As far as is known, the yellow lines in Queenstock Lane; Littlewood Lane; and at the junction of Gordon Road/A272 and Church Road will go ahead as advertised, however lines outside Cherry Tree Court and Lower Totease Farm will not be going ahead/will be revised.




Cllr Illingworth reported that WDC councillors did not vote on the new Local Plan as presumed at the last full council meeting. This has been delayed until July at which time full sustainability appraisals would have been prepared in relation to the impact of development and increased nitrogen levels on the Ashdown Forest.


Joint Waste Committee Contract – the waste collection project set up between four District Councils and Kier will not continue from 2019 due to it being unaffordable on the part of Kier. A manged exit will be arranged and a new contract will be set up in due course.





Annual Assembly: Just to reiterate that the date of the Annual Assembly is Tuesday 30th May. Notices are being arranged and clubs and societies are being invited.


Public footpaths: It has been noted that the footpath/verge from Buxted School to Lephams Bridge has been cut back and tidied up. Clerk to write to ESCC to ask when the verge from the school to the White Hart Public House will be done.


Pound Green – There is still a pile of mud on the footpath. Clerk to report.


Trees: Noting to report.


Road Safety:


1.     Cooper Green to Ringles Cross Speed Reduction: Following on from the public speaking session members commented that they are astounded at the increase in administration costs for this project from £500 to £3,750.


Chairman suspends standing order for G Midmer to read an email with regards timescales and costs:


Quote from email from ESCC – “” As for timescales, Costain will give you a better idea, all I can currently say is that in order to keep costs down, they propose to deliver several of these types of  schemes as a package rather than individually, to maximise their resources, so timescales may well depend on a number of factors. However, the match funding is earmarked from the 2017/18 financial year so your scheme should be completed by March 2018.”


The parish council therefore resolved to continue to support the scheme however, prior to agreeing the pay the increase costs a strong letter of concern would be written to ESCC which will ask politely for a compromise on the costs given that the scheme had previously been agreed at half of the current charges.


  • Update on potential use of Section 106 monies for traffic calming/highway improvements in and around Five Ash Down: The Chairman reported that she and the clerk have a site meeting with a Highways representative on 26th April after which any discussions will be reported back to the parish council.


  • Parking – Network Rail Land (if reply received from Network Rail): To date, no response has been received, clerk will chase.


Ionides Trust:


  • Suggested car park signage: It was reported at the previous parish council meeting that there is some unauthorised parking in the Ionides Trust car park. Clerk, Claudine has been researching some suitable, legal signage and an example of what could be used has been circulated to members. It is important to note that the Ionides Trust would be required to approve and install the signage as owners of the site, but the Chairman was keen to gauge members’ views.


It was noted that Crusader Vehicle employees are still parking in the Ionides Trust car park, so a letter would be written to the owner of the business. Cllr. Rose did advise that he has provided four parking spaces for the staff, for which the parish council thanked him.

  • Chairman reported on a successful open day for the new play equipment on 1st April. The site looks great and is well used.


New community hall: Nothing to report.




  • Request to purchase defibrillators for High Hurstwood and Five Ash Down: Previous experience has proven that the length of time between ordering and receiving a new defibrillator is quite lengthy, therefore the clerk made a request that defibrillators for High Hurstwood and Five Ash Down are ordered with a view that the BT box adoption is progressing. The parish council would need to fund a further £700 for the High Hurstwood defibrillator and almost the entire costs for Five Ash Down – £1950 (inc VAT). Cllr Rose proposed that the parish council go ahead and purchase the two remaining defibrillators – unanimously agreed.


Wealden Local Development Framework – Local Plan: See minute 04/04/17 above.


Property issues:


  • Improvements to the Reading Room: The Chairman and clerk had met with Steve Holmes and his associate at the Reading Room the previous week to discuss various required repairs and a wish list of decoration/cleaning. As soon at a quote is received it will be referred to the parish council for consideration.


  1. Outline Planning Application for the Reading Room: At the previous parish council meeting members agreed to appoint architect Iain Miller to submit an outline application on behalf of the parish council for redevelopment of the Reading Room. Advice from Mr Miller and confirmed by WDC is the requirement for some professional input in association with Traffic Generation, Bat Inspection and a Building Survey. It was originally hoped that the appointment of these professionals would not be necessary, but in the light of the recent changes to the Local Plan it can only be assumed that criteria for submitting any planning application for new development has been strengthened. After a very detailed discussion the members resolved that the parish council would chose the design option that would provide the best return and value for money as advised by the estate agents and the above-mentioned consultants would be appointed to carry out the necessary extra works as soon as possible.


Communications Matters: Website: Nothing to report.





P1 ESCC – Proposed designated wildlife verge at Coopers Green: The chairman has visited the suggested wildlife verge and has noted that there appears to be, at this point in time, no significant wildflowers, however, a better selection of wildflowers might appear later in the season. It was therefore suggested that it is only cut once this year, the grass removed (by ESCC) for this year only and the site monitored to see what grows. The chairman will advise and ask ESCC again if a community group or individual requested that it be designated as wildflower site. Agreed.


P2 & P3 Local Residents – Concern at a lack of crossing outside The Buxted Inn across the A272: It was reiterated that there was originally an island to assist crossing outside the Buxted Inn, however this was removed when it became obvious that lorries could not enter and exit from George Rose. As per minute 04/04/17 above, this matter will be reported back to the parish council once a meeting has taken place with Ian Johnson of ESCC, Cllr. Galley and clerk to parish council.








i)      Payments: On the proposal of Cllr. Roberts, seconded by Cllr. Rose, payments totalling £59,049.60 covered by cheque numbers 3903 and 3919 were approved. The largest payment being £53,034.10 for new play equipment at the recreation ground funded by developer contributions. It was also noted that the payment to Buxted Football club is a grant from Section 137 funds towards a large BT bill to repair the line along the entrance track to the recreation ground.

ii)     Bank reconciliations: The clerk had circulated a completed reconciliation for March which were signed for all accounts as it is year end.




The chairman attended a meeting on behalf of the Ionides Trust with representatives from the Buxted Scouts, to try and resolve remaining issues regarding the lease for the new hall. It was a constructive meeting with the Scouts agreeing to consult their Executive Committee and solicitors. The lease being offered is similar to that being offered to the Buxted Community Hall Trust, who have agreed to the lease, with the appropriate revisions. It is noted that the Scouts and The Buxted Community Hall Trust are using the same solicitors who have already seen, and approved of the Community Hall lease. Both are being offered a term of 125 years to make fund raising more viable.




Cllr. McQuarrie commented that her new neighbours had commented on the fingerposts and how much they liked them.


The vicar also commented that the reason he chose Buxted was the appeal of the piggy group.


The clerk was asked to arrange the provision of new Buxted Parish Council signs – “brought to you by Buxted Parish Council”.


Cllr. Rose wanted to draw the parish council’s attention to an article in the local newspaper regarding “Wealden Works” who place young people into employment. It was costing £150,000 per year to run the scheme, but all funding has been cut. New running costs are approx. £80,000 with local parish and town councils helping fund. Funding for this fiscal year has been covered. It is a worthwhile project that he hopes the parish council would consider supporting when funding is required next year.






The meeting closed at 8.50p.m.

Posted in Parish Council Minutes