Parish Council Minutes 13 February 2018

Minutes of the meeting of the Council held in Five Ash Down Village Hall on Tuesday 13th February 2018 at 7.30p.m.

 

Present:

Cllrs. Blandford (Chairman), Cox, Illingworth, McQuarrie, Milner, Roberts and Rose.

Also present: ESCC Cllr Galley, WDC Cllrs Lunn and Illingworth and Clerks Beccy Macklen and Claudine Feltham.

 

Public :

6

 

01/02/18

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Apologies received and accepted from Cllrs Johnson and Milner (Illingworth left the meeting at 8.04pm)

 

02/02/18

DECLARATION OF MEMBERS INTERESTS

 

Cllr. Blandford declared personal interests in any matters relating to the community hall by virtue of being members of the 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.

 

03/02/18

MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING

The minutes of the meeting held on 9th January 2018 were signed by the Chairman as a correct record of the meeting.

 

04/02/18

ESCC/WDC REPORT

 

Cllr. Galley updated that the council tax will be set at the end of the week once East Sussex Fire and Rescue have settled on a precept amount.

 

Cllr. Lunn commented that WDC councillors are waiting very anxiously for the new Local Plan to be published. Councillors have not seen any detail yet. To the best to his knowledge, Cllr Lunn advised that Natural England requested clarification of some data regarding the future methodology for Ashdown Forest. Evidence has been sent to Natural England and WDC are now awaiting final feedback.

 

The new crematorium in Horam is making progress and is due to be completed by the end of the year which will then provide an income for the council.

 

The planning application at Little Potters, Limes Lane was refused by the North Wealden Planning committee following a recommendation for approval. It will now be referred to Planning Enforcement as the development has already taken place without the benefit of planning permission.

 

Cllr Illingworth updated on the ongoing issue about parking in the district. WDC Cabinet voted not to go ahead with ESCC proposals for the introduction of pay and display and CPE. The ESCC plans were simply not viable for a rural area. Obviously, we still need some sort of parking enforcement, but it remains the view of WDC that the Police have a statutory duty to provide parking enforcement and should continue to do that.

 

05/02/18

POTENTIAL MAST LOCATIONS – should the Parish Council be facilitating finding a location for a new mast in High Hurstwood?

 

In the absence of Cllr. Illingworth this matter will be held until the next parish council meeting in March.

 

06/02/18

OUTSTANDING MATTERS

 

Public footpaths: Nothing to report

 

Trees: Nothing to report.

 

Road Safety:

 

Feasibility Study Buxted High Street and other questions – as previously reported, the Parish Council paid £500 for ESCC to carry out a feasibility study to ascertain if there is a safe point at which a crossing could be introduced between the mini roundabout and Swan Lodge on Buxted High Street. Rather disappointingly, we were advised rather dismissively that further studies would need to be undertaken (at more cost) to establish a need or feasibility. The notification below was received from ESCC Highways:

 

“Members of our design team and East Sussex County Council Road Safety Team met this week to discuss your application. It was agreed it would be difficult to introduce a new pedestrian crossing facility on the A272 between the mini-roundabout at Framfield Road and Swan Lodge, due to the various private accesses and on street parking at this location. It is understood that your site meeting with Ian Johnson concluded that on street parking would need to be removed for a crossing to be provided. Additional pedestrian and speed surveys would only be required if it is accepted that parking can be removed to facilitate a crossing facility. This data would be used to confirm if there is a pedestrian demand for a crossing together with confirming position and type of facility that should be provided. If you do not wish to pursue this option any further we would refund the Feasibility Application fee you paid in September.”

 

Prior to discussing this further at this evening’s meeting, the clerk then established the costs of these further surveys and costs of a crossing, which are as follows:

 

•         A speed survey costs £400

•         A pedestrian survey costs in the region of £400

•         A new pelican crossing costs around £1,500.

 

For further information a zebra crossing would be roughly £50,000 and the installation of a traffic island is roughly £20,000, these prices are an estimation and would depend on location and other circumstances.

 

Members therefore needed to discuss if further public money should be spent to establish if a crossing is viable, given that experience would tell us that wherever you put a crossing, people will still cross at the nearest available point – in this case straight across the mini roundabout.

 

Cllr. Illingworth considers that the cost of the speed and pedestrian surveys are over inflated given we have already spent £500 to get a non-existent feasibility study. We could potentially pay £800 to get the same answer. However, it was also recognised that we have duty to explore any available improvement to the current situation.

 

The parish council resolved that ESCC Highways should carry out both the speed and pedestrian survey, but the £500 spent so far should be reallocated towards the new survey. To ensure the best possible data collection the surveys should take place at school commute times and at train rush hours.

 

Cllr Rose then commented that surely it makes sense that if a crossing if proven viable, it should be installed back in the original crossing positions where there is already a dropped kerb. ESCC Highways should also be asked to explain why traffic lights are not an option at the crossroads. Parish councillors are willing to attend the surveys.

 

Brash on Triangle in Framfield Road: Branches from a tree down on the junction of Nan Tucks Lane and Framfield Road was cleared and piled up on the corner. Subsequently the brash was spread out presumably to stop people parking which is untidy and a mess. It has been reported to highways. In the same area, the previous evening there has been vandalism to a car parked further along Tanyards, off the road. The car was keyed causing considerable damage. It has been reported to the Police.

 

Ionides Trust: The change of status documents had been circulated to all members of the parish council prior to the meeting. The correct procedures have been carried out by the Ionides Trust, with the correct length of notice of the resolution being discussed at the Ionides AGM on the 15th January, which was agreed. The parish council need to agree to accept the position as sole Trustee and take it forward. However, it should be noted that this is not a land or power grab on the part of the parish council but instead it is a lack of Trustees willing to continue the running of the Ionides Trust. The result of maintaining the status quo would be that the Trust would be wound up and the land sold, which is not in the interests of the community.

 

It was therefore proposed by Cllr. Rose and seconded by Cllr. Cox and unanimously resolved to take on the sole management role of the Ionides Trust. This will now be referred to solicitors and following this a sub-committee will be formed between parish council members, and members of the existing Trust to ensure the continued running of the site for the benefit of the community.

 

New community hall:

 

Outcome of BCHT AGM and way forward – Minutes from the BCHT AGM on 16th January are available on BCHT website and parish council website. Some 45-people attended, and main concerns were over project costs, but the mood changed to a more positive one when it was explained, yet again, that funds raised from the sale of the Reading Room would go towards the new hall. Enquiries made to Taylor Tofts in Uckfield pointed to the sum of around 250K which could be raised from the sale. There were little offers of practical support from the majority attending to take this project forward but an informal vote, by a way of show of hands, showed that no one was against the concept of a new village hall on the Ionides site. Before Christmas, when there was some very vocal opposition to the idea of a new hall, mainly expressed through social media, the parish council considered carrying out some form of survey within the village to ascertain local feeling, for or against a new hall, but decided this would not be discussed further until after the BCHT AGM. Two people who were active in their opposition have probably left the village. The BCHT is an independent body and no survey undertaken by the parish council would have any binding effect and would remain an opinion. At the present time the parish council is at a loss as what question/s could be asked in a survey. We feel, if there is still strong feeling against a new hall it might be discussed in May at the Annual Assembly where various villages groups could participate in an open event.

 

Cllr. Illingworth commented that when the parish council first discussed the concept of a survey, there would need to be a clear show of objection to the new hall at the BCHT AGM – however there was no opposition present at the meeting and therefore do we need to pay thousands of pounds to gain a view when there has been sufficient opportunity to object to the project? If there is an insistence for having a survey, we could strive to reduce the costs as far as possible. Cllr. McQuarrie, commented that maybe we should have a public meeting i.e. the annual assembly to give the parish the opportunity to have show of hands. Cllr. Roberts thought there were three salient points out of the BCHT AGM 1. Those who have been vocal on social media were there and didn’t’ object 2. Concern in the past is mostly based on costs of new hall, which may or may not be warranted 3. The meeting cleared up concerns that the entire funds from the Reading Room would be spent on the new hall.

 

It was therefore agreed that a sub group could be set up to ascertain how the parish council could present this at the annual assembly in a way that it does not impede on the Buxted Community Hall Trust aims and objectives. It was also agreed that the annual assembly would be the best place to gauge public opinion and should be held in Buxted School if available. The parish council remains open to any suggestions and views as it works through this process.

 

Cllr. Roberts wished to thank the BCHT Trustees for the clarification of many points regarding the hall at the AGM.

 

Defibrillators: No further forward with the refurbishment of the Five Ash Down BT box. Two contractors have been approached with one advising that he isn’t available until spring and no response from the other. It was agreed that we can wait until the spring.

 

Wealden Local Development Framework – Local Plan: See minute 04/02/18 above.

 

Property issues:

 

Water Pipe and Entrance to Allotment Site – At the start of the new year, a lorry servicing the rail track managed to break the water pipe at the entrance to the allotments. Fortunately, the pipe was fixed very quickly but it remains on the side of the bank at the entrance to the site, which leaves it vulnerable to the same thing happening again.

 

The clerk has contacted the owner of the land (three times) who has confirmed that a service agreement for the track is in place but is yet to forward this on to the parish council.

 

The contractor who carried out the repair works has recommended that the pipe be lifted and positioned behind the trees and ideally bury it to protect it from the weather, but it may be difficult to dig it into the ground due to the tree roots. The clerk would discuss options with the contractor and the allotment management committee.

 

Include playground equipment in checks with RoSPA: The parish council has contacted RoSPA to ask that all annual checks on the play equipment in HH and Buxted are all under one parish council umbrella

 

Reading Room: the safety glass in the window on the stage has now been fitted, and a loss adjuster has been allocated to the parish council regarding the car damage to the front wall of the Reading Room.

 

Communications Matters: Website Nothing to report.

 

07/02/18

CORRESPONDENCE

 

P1 Local Resident – Various questions regarding road safety in Buxted High Street: Unfortunately, the person who submitted this correspondence was unable to attend the meeting this evening at which the feasibility and road safety in the high Street was to be discussed. The clerk would advise of the decision in minute 06/02/18 above. In answer to his specific questions, the parish council would respond as follows:

 

  1. With regards the pathway between Buxted village and Buxted School the parish council recognise it is a narrow path and we are doing all we can to widen the path and have extra grass cutting, but we are restricted by costs given the widening of the pathway between Five Ash Down at Buxted School (which is as far as we can use the Section 106 money for) is costing £50,000.
  2. Has anything been done to extensively survey the population of Buxted to establish their view? The Annual Assembly is the perfect opportunity for members of the public to advise of their views on this or any subject.
  3. What does the Parish Council feel is the minimum acceptable measure to protect villagers, and why? We talk to concerned residents frequently and it was resolved this evening to undertake the further speed and pedestrian surveys to try and make improvements to pedestrian safety in the village.
  4. How does the highways response (regarding the original feasibility study) sit with the Parish Council?  It is as frustrating for parish council members as it is for him.
  5. Why is Maresfield so well protected and Buxted left so exposed? Cllr Galley advised that the Maresfield project was supported by residents of Maresfield and was funded via Section 106 money so villagers were able to decide how they wanted to use the money (£160,000) on i.e. raised tables and 20mph zones. We have done our best to spend our 106 monies (50,000) the best way we can to help pedestrian safety on the pavement between Buxted School and Five Ash Down. We had originally asked if we could use it to provide a crossing at the school but were advised that this is too far from the development in Five Ash Down from which the section 106 money was sought.

 

A question on BPEC asked what has happened to Speed Watch in Buxted village – the clerk was asked to respond explaining there are no volunteers. This can also be raised at the Annual Assembly.

 

08/02/18

COMMITTEE MEETINGS

None

 

09/02/18

FINANCE

i)    Payments: On the proposal of Cllr. Cox, seconded by Cllr. Rose, payments totalling £41,471.03 covered by cheque numbers 4057 and 4092 were approved. Significantly, £32,087.39 is for the footings of the new hall in Buxted which is allocated from the Section 106 funds.

Payment Analysis February 2018

ii)     Bank reconciliations: The clerk had circulated completed a reconciliation for January which were signed

 

10/02/18

OTHER MEETINGS

 

Cllrs. Blandford, McQuarrie, Roberts and Rose attended the BCHT AGM

 

Clerks attended Data Protection training – The clerk advised that the new Data Protection Law has not yet been passed by parliament and will not come into force until May 2018. The parish council will require a designated Data Protection Officer who cannot be either of the clerks or a councillor. We will need to adopt further policies regarding data retention and add information to the website. We are also advised to purchase a shredder, which was agreed. The clerks are currently investigating potential companies which can provide tailor made policies and would be our data protection officer. Further information to be provided to councillors as matters progress.

 

11/02/18

MEMBERS QUESTIONS

None

 

12/02/18

ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

The chairman advised that we have had a response to look after Buxted Station planting. Thank you to person who responded.

 

The clerk was asked to find out if Southern could clear the other side of the platform? And why the car park cannot be extended now that access to the track is available on the other side of the line.

 

The clerk confirmed councillor gov.uk email addresses are forthcoming.

 

The meeting closed at 20.38p.m.

 

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