Minutes of the meeting of the Council held in The Reading Room, Buxted on Tuesday 9th January 2018 at 8.00p.m.
Cllrs. Blandford (Chairman), Illingworth, McQuarrie, Milner, Roberts and Rose.
Also present: WDC Cllr Illingworth and Clerks Beccy Macklen and Claudine Feltham.
One member of the public spoke in connection with the previous meetings minutes, and queried the word ‘commencement’ where discussing the new hall (under the property section).
The parish council agreed that this could be amended to ‘nearing Practical Completion’, as there are no intentions of selling the Reading Room until the new hall is nearly ready.
Another member of public also asked if the window on the stage area of the Reading Room would be replaced. She was advised that this would be done, but because of the height of the window, special safety glass was required.
Ten members of the public were present.
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies received and accepted from Cllrs Cox and Johnson, and WDC Cllr Lunn and ESCC Cllr 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. 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 12th December 2017 were considered, as above the parish council agreed for the word ‘commencement’ to be changed to ‘nearing Practical Completion’.
Cllr Illingworth. Local Plan is ongoing. Nothing else to report.
BREAKING NEWS – Damage to Reading Room
Unfortunately, on Friday 5th January, there was an accident at the Reading Room resulting in a car driving into the front of the building, leaving a significant amount of damage to the wall. Thankfully, Cllr Rose and Steve Holmes very effectively worked to make the building safe on the advice of a structural engineer. The building is considered safe to use in the interim period whilst the council’s insurance company carry out the necessary administration.
The Parish Council would like to thank both Cllr Rose and Steve Holmes for their very quick work, even during the weekend.
Public footpaths: Nothing to report.
Trees: Nothing to report.
Road Safety: Clerk has chased ESCC for an update on the improvements to the pavement between the school and Five Ash Down, but no response has been received.
Ionides Trust: Nothing to report.
New community hall: Phase one of the ground works started in December as planned, and shall be finished at the end of February 2018. That has secured the planning permission with WDC. The Buxted Community Hall AGM is taking place on Tuesday 16th January at 7.30 p.m. in The Reading Room, Buxted.
Defibrillators: Clerk (Claudine Feltham) to obtain quotes for the refurbishment of the telephone kiosk at Five Ash Down.
Wealden Local Development Framework – Local Plan: Nothing to report.
Property issues: Nothing other than mentioned in 05/01/18 above
Communications Matters: Website: Nothing to report.
No priority correspondence this month
Cllr. Roberts reported on the Finance Committee which took place prior to the Full Council meeting:
In terms of the budget and setting of the precept for 2017-2018 we have some known increases of expenditure. Firstly, the council has committed to a consultation/questionnaire/survey across the parish on matters relating to the Reading Room and the new community hall. Consultations will take place after we know the outcome from the BCHT AGM. The cost of a consultation could be anywhere between £2000 and £5,500. We know we will also have expenditure within office costs as the Clerks computers have faults. Furthermore, ESCC are increasingly requesting assistance with costs for highways works, for example the Coopers Green/ Ringles Cross Speed Limit change which will be costing the parish council £2500 in the next financial year. Grants for local churches have increased and a new grant to Ashdown Forest has been agreed.
This results in an increase in somewhere in the region of £9,500, which would require a 10% increase in precept. However, the finance committee agreed that a 10% increase would not be appropriate.
It was therefore proposed by Cllr. McQuarrie and seconded by Cllr. Illingworth an increase of 9% to the precept and to look to make up shortfall in the increase in booking fees for Reading Room and making savings where possible. A 9% increase equates to 39 pence per month per household. It was therefore unanimously resolved:
i) Payments: On the proposal of Cllr. Rose, seconded by Cllr. Milner, payments totalling £14,340.80 covered by cheque numbers 4057 and 4069 were approved.
ii) Bank reconciliations: The clerk had circulated completed a reconciliation for December which were signed
No other meetings attended.
Cllr Milner asked if the person who requested and received a Freedom of Information request response had acknowledged receipt of the parish council’s response. It was confirmed that although acknowledgement wasn’t specifically asked for, none had been received.
Standing Orders were suspended to allow the member of the public to advise councillors that he had received the Freedom of Information response but that by asking for this information his view was that he appears to have ‘annoyed’ the parish council. It was stated that whilst he had every right to submit a freedom of information request, the councillors gave no indication of being annoyed but felt strongly that the increased costs of the clerks’ time to reply to the request must be acknowledged and made public.
The chairman reinstated Standing Orders.
|The meeting closed at 2021 p.m.|