Minutes of the meeting of the Council held in The Reading Room, Church Road, Buxted on Tuesday 11th July 2017 at 7.30p.m.
Cllrs. Blandford (Chairman), Hall, McQuarrie, Roberts, Rose, and Skinner.
Also present: ESCC Cllr Galley, WDC Cllr Lunn and Clerks Beccy Macklen and Claudine Feltham.
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies received and accepted from Cllrs Cox, Illingworth, Johnson and Milner
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. Hall declared a personal interest in matters relating to the replacement boiler in the Reading Room being a heating consultant and having provided a quote for the works
MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING
The minutes of the meeting held on 13th June 2017 were signed by the Chairman as a correct record of the meeting.
Cllr. Galley attended a meeting at ESCC Highways with the chairman and clerk – report in ‘Other Meetings’ below.
Cllr. Lunn commented that WDC members are still awaiting publication of the Local Plan.
Public footpaths: Nothing to report
Trees – Nevill Road Woodland: Following a request from a resident in Nevill Road that backs onto the woodland, the chairman, clerk and contractor Kim Woodley met with a neighbour to look at the present state of the woodland and discuss the trees which were reported to be shading a neighbouring garden.
The site is clearly covered in mature trees but with a significant number of ash saplings growing in and around the edge of the site. It was considered that some clearing of the saplings around the edge of the site could take place but it would be necessary to wait until winter to assess the site fully. Kim was asked to provide a quote to cut back the bracken along the frontage of the site and to remove some saplings to the rear of the back gardens which would allow some more light into the gardens, however it was made clear that the large trees would not be removed.
A quote for two days work at a cost of £280 was considered and agreed by the parish council.
Update on potential use of Section 106 monies for traffic calming/highway improvements – Since the previous meeting, the clerk has contacted ESCC and has been advised that the officer, Mark Weston has chased the team here who organise the transfer of funds from WDC, but to date he has not heard back from them confirming they are happy with the proposal and have got the funds moved across. However, it was also advised that the contractor is fully booked for a few months and has been for quite some time, so even though there has been a delay with WDC releasing the funds, it wouldn’t actually delay the works. It is hoped that this will have been resolved by the next PC meeting in September.
Request for Parish Council to fund a scoping report for crossing on A272 – A meeting took place on Buxted High Street with Cllr Galley, Ian Johnson – Senior Highways Officer, the clerk and local resident Kevin Moss, to discuss the potential for a safe crossing point on the A272 west of the mini roundabout.
The history to this site is that when Beechbrook Park was developed, a dropped kerb was installed outside of the Buxted Inn with an island created in the centre of the road. However, it very soon became apparent that the island was an obstacle to large vehicles entering/existing The Buxted Inn and George Rose – thus it was removed.
Since then no further ideas have come forward as to how this crossing place can be made safer. With the increased use of the Ionides Site and Recreation Ground pedestrians will be increasingly at risk crossing the road in this position without some sort of safe crossing point.
Ian Johnson, senior officer at Highways, advised that for Highways to initiate changes to the road layout a set of criteria via an assessment method needs to be satisfied. Buxted High Street does not meet the criteria and thus Highways have provided all the support and assessment of this site that they are able to.
To take this matter further would require the parish council undertaking a feasibility report via Costain at a cost of £500. We would have to provide a specific brief and Costain would look at this area in much more detail than Highways have been able to do.
Costain would then provide the parish council with any options which would then need to be agreed by Highways.
Any agreed works could be submitted to Highways under the Community Match scheme which might result in up to 50% of costs being covered by ESCC, however there is no guarantee of this.
In the case of Buxted High Street, it is suggested (following the site visit) that a briefing would consist of the following:
· A crossing to be provided on Buxted High Street between the mini roundabout and Swan Lodge
· Existing kerbs that are not required to be dropped could be raised if required
· Existing dropped kerbs indicating a crossing point could be removed if required
· We are also open to any innovative ideas that Highways professionals may suggest to improve road safety in this area.
Members agreed to fund the feasibility report at a cost of £500 to investigate a possible crossing point on the High Street in this location.
Ionides Trust – Transfer of Management to Parish Council: No further forward than last month, however the Scouts Group have appointed a solicitor who has provided costs.
New community hall: Nothing new to report.
Defibrillators: Clerk Claudine advised that the defibrillator at the Buxted Inn currently has a temporary unit whilst the original is being fixed – however this shows the system works and is dealt with expediently. The two new defibrillators for the remaining villages have been received and the BT boxes in High Hurstwood and Five Ash Down have been adopted by the parish council. We have willing volunteers to refurbish the box in High Hurstwood and are sourcing someone to refurbish the FAD box once the telephone equipment has been removed. In the interim period the parish council agreed that the defibrillator equipment should be placed in the two public houses (with agreement) until the BT boxes are ready.
Claudine was also pleased to advise that the sign displaying the donation information for the Buxted defibrillator is being provided free of charge by The Sign Shed. The parish council agreed to formally write to thank them for their kind offer.
Wealden Local Development Framework – Local Plan: The clerk advised that she had attended the Planning Parish Panel and had circulated a report to members which is summarised below:
The Local Development Framework document is almost complete, but the full evidence base regarding the impact of nitrogen on the forest is still not ready to publish.
As it stands, the Local Plan will recommend 11,456 new dwellings between 2013 and 2028, approx. 7,000 of those have already been given planning permission or built. The original number of dwellings was nearer 20,000 so there is a lot riding on this evidence base being right and supportable in order to prove to the Government Inspector that 11,456 is an acceptable level.
Wealden are also challenging the local plans of Rother, Lewes (and SDNPA) and Mid Sussex with regards their lack of recognition of the Ashdown Forest within their plans – wish some success.
The final Local Plan document with the evidence base should be ready for Full Council adoption in either September, October or November this year. This will then go out to public consultation in the form of representations on the soundness of the document (not if you agree or disagree with where the development is going to go)
More pressing in the interim period though is the new emphasis on ‘compensation’ rather than ‘mitigation’.
Thus far, as part of granting planning permission for new development has been the requirement to make a monetary contribution towards the SANGS (creation of Suitable Alternative Natural Green Spaces – i.e. ‘mitigation’) and SAMMS (the management of the forest to minimise visitor impact). In the future, if a development’s trips are neutral (i.e. the existing site trips are more or the same as the proposed) then it can proceed but may then have to pay for SANGS and/or SAMMS depending on where it is in the District (within 10km of forest).
However, development that falls outside of this is different. It has been proven through the evidence base that the effect of nitrogen levels on areas of the Ashdown Forest is critical. So, it has been decided that replacement heathland needs to be found – thus being called ‘compensation’ land. Therefore, any new development would require a contribution towards creating the ‘compensation’ land. This land has not yet been found, so until this is found, planning applications on greenfield land will not be granted planning permission.
However, it is worth highlighting that the effect that increased nitrogen levels has on the soil. Monitoring of the nitrogen levels on the Forest has taken place and, in some instances, the nitrogen levels have been enhancing the soils of the Forest, thus potentially improving the historically poor soils of the Forest with the inevitable consequence of loss of habitats.
So, effectively, the new mitigation measure means Wealden are endeavouring to find land where the soil which is ‘superior quality’ and stripping it to be more like heathland inferior quality soil.
Reading Room – Quote to refurbish floor and men’s urinals: The clerk circulated a quote received from Steve Holmes to refurbish the Reading Room floor and re-grout the men’s urinals. Since receiving the quote, it has been noted that the works to the urinals is a necessity and has therefore been approved at a cost of £250. Members discussed the sanding and re-staining the floor at a cost of £860 and decided that the floor should be refurbished, but only after works to renew the boiler are completed.
Reading Room – Update on condemned boiler: In the process of an annual Reading Room boiler check the parish council was advised that the boiler had been condemned. The clerk has received a quote to replace the boiler by the existing contractor in addition to asking Cllr. Hall to also provide a quote.
Cllr. Hall, a heating engineer, also looked at the boiler and advised the parish council of the current heating system in place. He provided two options. To either take out the old system and re-pipe as a twin pipe system, new controls, new radiators (which would provide a more efficient heating system); or option 2, change the boiler and controls and drain the heating system and re-run as it is.
It was agreed that quotes for two options should be sought from three contractors. It was also agreed that due to the urgency of the work and trying to get any works complete before the weather turns – this matter should be dealt with via email consultation As the parish council have no full meeting again until September.
Planning Application for Redevelopment of the Reading Room: Having submitted the planning application for the redevelopment of the site, we have been advised that we require a Heritage Statement. Cllr. Lunn agreed to chase officers to ascertain if this is necessary.
Communications Matters: Website – Nothing to report.
P1 Ashdown Place Management Committee – Request for financial help towards improving older children’s play area in Ashdown Place: Following an initial request from the Ashdown Place Management Committee to ascertain if the parish council would be willing to contribute to new playground equipment on the estate. Members first wish to know how much the parish council would be asked to provide and whether other residents of the village do actually use the site at the present time.
P2 Buxted Bonfire Society – Request to use Buxted Recreation Ground on Saturday 12th August 2017 for summer fete: Following an email consultation the parish council together with the football club would support this event and provide permission for the recreation ground to be used, as long as the both the football club and parish council are kept informed at every stage of the organisation process.
P3 Five Ash Down Village Hall Committee – Request for grant for new electricity coin slot meter: A grant for the coin slot meter was approved and a cheque raised.
i) Payments: On the proposal of Cllr. Rose, seconded by Cllr. Roberts, payments totalling £10,974.91 covered by cheque numbers 3956 and 3972 were approved. Large payments include the building and bat survey for the application for the Reading Room.
ii) Bank reconciliations: The clerk had circulated completed a reconciliation for June which were signed
The clerk attended the Parish Planning Panel – see notes in Wealden Local Plan above.
The chairman and clerk attended a meeting at the ESCC Ringmer office with Karl Taylor, Dale Porter and Liam Reilly the previous day at which a number of concerns regarding highway matters were raised. Issues regarding the recent road closure of the A272, the cutting of highway verges and the length of time it takes highways to respond to queries were fully discussed.
The chairman attended an Ashdown Forest Liaison meeting at which it was advised that they are changing their status and that they are looking at a shortfall of money in the future. They may well be approaching local parish councils for extra funding. The Conservators have offered to come out and present to the parish council in the Autumn at which time they could provide accurate finances. A representative from the Ashdown Forest will be invited to the October meeting.
The chairman reported back on a local parish cluster group meeting attended that morning with Fletching, Maresfield and Danehill, but nothing of significance to report.
Cllr. Skinner attended a FAD Hall Management Committee at which thanks were expressed to the Parish Council for agreeing to provide a grant to pay for the new coin slot meter.
|The meeting closed at 8.45p.m.|