Minutes of the meeting of the Council held in Five Ash Down Village Hall on Tuesday 12th September 2017 at 7.30p.m.
Cllrs. Blandford (Chairman), Cox, Hall, Illingworth, Johnson, McQuarrie, Milner, Mulvagh, Roberts, Rose, Sheard and Skinner.
Also present: ESCC Cllr Galley, WDC Cllr Lunn and Clerks Beccy Macklen and Claudine Feltham.
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
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 councils website consultant.
MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING
The minutes of the meeting held on 11th July 2017 were signed by the Chairman as a correct record of the meeting.
ESCC Cllr. Galley reported that proposals have been released to reduce the number of libraries across the county. Some are not well used so services will be concentrated on busier locations. The ceasing of services will also include mobile libraries. Cllr. Galley also advised that he is waiting to hear news regarding GCSE and A Level results for the county.
He also reported that there are several hot topics in Wealden at present. The biggest issue is the Local Plan â€“ which has been postponed again. Further assessments are required following final reports on nitrogen emissions in addition to ecological research, employment research, all to be completed prior to publication. It is likely to be a few more months before the final plan is published. Â The overarching feeling from WDC is that there will be a further reduction in house numbers.
In terms of the 2012/13 plan which agreed several large housing sites, one of the key drivers was to create new open spaces to walk as an alternative to Ashdown Forest. The Crowborough and Uckfield sites are now open.
Waste contract – WDC will be negotiating a new waste contract by 2019 after Kier have pulled out of the existing contract. Four councils were involved in the joint contract, with one pulling out. Any new contract may cost more as the money from recycling has reduced, however the good news is that WDC are in the top quartile for recycling in the country.
Cllr. Blandford commented that the new open walking space in Crowborough is great, but it is difficult to find, and there are very few car parking spaces.
Cllr. Lunn wished to add that there seems to be a number of Class Q applications being considered at the WDC Planning Committee – these are redundant agricultural buildings being converted to dwellings (up to three dwellings, even in an AONB) under permitted development rules. These applications are still subject to Ashdown Forest issues, however given the 5-year land supply for housing, and lack of a current local plan, there are good grounds for approving such applications. There are also rumblings that Govt. may increase the three to five houses under permitted development. One of the issues is if the building in question is redundant and this is knowledge that can be gleaned from the parish council.
Telecommunications mast in High Hurstwood it would be helpful if the parish could work with the community to try and find a suitable location. Cllr. Cox commented that looking specifically at High Hurstwood, residents have a general feeling that no location would be acceptable. Cllr. Illingworth also wanted to point out that the number one issue which people raise with him is a general lack of mobile phone signal.
Cllr. Illingworth also wished to raise the issue of parking. With the Police no longer dealing with parking issues, and WDC currently looking at decriminalise parking, it is worth bearing in mind that decriminalisation would mean that costs would have to be met to fund an alternative scheme which would mean possibly charging via pay and display and residents permits.
Public footpaths: Nothing to report
Trees: Nothing to report.
Road Safety: The verge between Buxted School and The White Hart has been cut on the bank side, but not the verge side. The clerk would chase again.
Ionides Trust: The chairman advised that after an extended period of discussion between the Trust and the solicitors, it has been established that the transfer of the management of the land to the parish council can be achieved under Section 280 of the Charity Commission rules.
New community hall: The chairman read out the following statement on behalf of the Buxted Community Hall Trust:
In order to secure the terms of the existing Planning Permission for the new village hall work must start by 17th December.Â The Trust had planned to do the building in two phases as raising the capital for the whole project in 3 years was not realistic. To this end details are being prepared for work to start on site at the beginning of December. The scale of the work to be undertaken is not yet determined as the Trust and the architect are in dialogue with WDC Planning to make sure that the work undertaken is sufficient to comply with the conditions to secure the Planning Permission indefinitely. Whatever work is undertaken in Phase 1 the site will be returned to its present condition allowing continued access to the Ionides Trust land. It has taken 7 years to get to this stage jumping through many hoops so we are very pleased to actually make a start. We continue to look to where we can make savings on the current estimated cost of Â£1.3 million. Once this Phase 1 work is completed the trustees will make strenuous efforts to fundraise for the balance of the required funds for the Phase 2 works. These efforts will include making applications to suitable charitable trusts and possibly appointing a professional fundraiser.
Defibrillators: The defibrillators have been purchased and are ready to install once the BT boxes have been refurbished. Claudine has also sourced an alternative electrician to install the defibrillator at a cost of £127 + VAT per box. Resolved to award the electrician this contract.
Wealden Local Development Framework Local Plan: See minute 04/09/17 above.
(during to consideration of the following item, Councillors Hall and McQuarrie left the meeting)
Following the previous meeting the clerk received and circulated three quotes for the replacement of the boiler and heating system throughout the Reading Room. Although the long-term aim would be to sell the Reading Room to help fund the new village hall, we are not sure when this would happen and therefore it is important to maintain a working village hall. Following discussion, it was unanimously resolved to award the contract to R J Tanner.
Communications Matters: Nothing to report.
P1 Jean Skinner: Complaint regarding shooting at 5.45am. The clerk advised that the following was taken direct from the Government website: Gov website:
“England, Wales and Scotland
The shooting of game at night is not permitted. Ground game (rabbit and hare â€“ which is subject to a close season in Scotland) may be shot at night by an occupier of land or one other person authorised by the occupier, with the permission of the holder of the shooting rights under Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 Schedule 7, unless the occupier has the exclusive rights.”
Allocation of Members to Planning Committee and Planning Forms: Councillor Hall and Roberts agreed to join the planning committee (Cllr. Hall retrospectively as he has already set on two planning committee meetings).
i) Approval of new grant application: Claudine advised that our current grants system does not include any form of application/justification, which is not in accordance with guidance from the Sussex Association of Local Councils. A new grants policy, application form and covering letter was circulated prior to the meeting which will standardize the grants system. It was also agreed to open up the grant applications to other clubs and societies in the parish. The clerk will upload this information to the website. Resolved that the new grants policy be adopted.
ii) Payments: On the proposal of Cllr. Rose, seconded by Cllr. Roberts, payments totalling £8,611.11 covered by cheque numbers 3985 and 4005 were approved.
iii) Bank reconciliations: The clerk had circulated completed a reconciliation for February which were signed
iv) Internal Audit: Although not on the agenda, Claudine advised that in accordance with advice, internal auditors should be changed every four years. A new internal auditor has been sought who currently carries out the audit at Chiddingly who is also a clerk. Resolved that Keith Roberts should be asked to carry out Buxted Parish Councils internal audit for the fiscal year 2017/18
No other meetings.
Thanks to Debbie Elliot and the Buxted Bonfire Society for a great Buxted Fete
Ian Goldsmith organising a second litter collection day on Saturday 30th September. He will also be planting bulbs a little later in the year. Resolved that bulbs can be purchased. As we already have a volunteer for Buxted for this year, it was also suggested that if volunteers come forward from High Hurstwood and Five Ash Down the parish council would purchase the bulbs in 2018. Maximum spend of Â£200.
Wealden District Council have advised that a Syrian refugee family has been housed in Buxted. The Parish Council welcomes them to the village.
|The meeting closed at 8.30p.m.|