Parish Council Minutes 13 March 2018

Minutes of the meeting of the Council held in The Reading Room, Church Road, Buxted on Tuesday 13th March 2018 at 7.30p.m.

 

Present:

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

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

 

Public :

2.

 

01/03/18

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Apologies received and accepted from Cllrs Johnson and McQuarrie

 

02/03/18

DECLARATION OF MEMBERS INTERESTS

 

Cllr. Blandford declared personal interests in any matters relating to the community hall by virtue of being a member of the Ionides Trusts appointed by the Council.

 

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 council’s website consultant.

 

03/03/18

MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING

The minutes of the meeting held on 13th February 2018 were signed by the Chairman as a correct record of the meeting.

 

04/03/18

ESCC/WDC REPORT

 

Cllr. Galley reported that the main matter of interest from ESCC is the pending closure of 7 out of 24 libraries across the county. He believes this is appropriate given changing times and circumstances. The next consultation is on waste sites and the proposed closure of Forest Row and Wadhurst which Cllr. Galley is against, as it will not save money and would be counterproductive.

 

He also reported that he had attended a WDC/ESCC visit to businesses in Wealden which have been the focus of receiving or applying for a grant. The tour visited two locations in Buxted – Classic Hero’s (which has had a grant to allow expansion) and Crossthwaite and Gardner which has over 30 employees.

 

Cllr Galley would be meeting with a Highways representative the following day at Buxted Primary school to look at traffic management and road safety as there are some concerns about the safety of the lollipop person and the children.

 

Cllr. Lunn reported on a number of matters:

  1. Local Plan – we are all aware that it has been delayed yet again potentially up to two months. District Councillors are becoming very frustrated and feel that there should be better progress. Discussions are still taking place between WDC and Natural England which include that the forward prediction of nitrogen levels could be mitigated against by the introduction of electric cars, but there is no guarantee of when this will happen. It was also noted that heavy duty lorries are not going to be replaced by electric vehicles. However, frustrating the situation, it must be remembered that without the ironing out of the legal technicalities, the plan may not be considered sound when it is inspected by government.  Mid Sussex local plan has just been approved by the government inspector, which is frustrating as WDC had objected to this plan as it did not take Ashdown Forest into consideration. What impact this has on how Government views the WDC plan remains to be seen. WDC must produce a plan soon otherwise Government could step in and be the deciding factor on how many and where development will take place.
  2. Water Issues – South East Water: Although Buxted was relatively unaffected, it raised significant issues about emergency planning. Hadlow Down, Five Ashes, Mayfield and Cross in Hand all struggled with issues on communication and who was coordinating and leading the issue. Some residents were taking control unaware that there was an emergency plan in place – thus resulting in a certain amount of chaos. The leader of WDC was not directedly contacted by South East Water for 48 hours. It is a lesson learned. Cllr. Rose commented that in the recent severe weather, he could not reach vulnerable customers due to the roads not being gritted and therefore some people could have been left with no heating. It was also noted that there was a serious lack of emergency water supplies allocated to affected villages.
  3. Policing – Cllr. Lunn is very aware of many concerns. Generally, residents are understanding of cutbacks due to budget decreases, but serious concern is raised on the lack of police presence within our communities. He has evidence that there are only two police vehicles in the whole of the district at any one time, with one person in each. This, surely is not acceptable. He has therefore asked the WDC portfolio holder to take this matter forward with the Chief Inspector. The parish council asked what practically can we do? We were advised that the public must continue to record relevant incidents to the police and crime reference numbers obtained. Clerks to draft a suitable question for the SALC/Chief Inspector meeting and ascertain how to obtain information regarding incidents that have been reported to the police,
  4. Waste Collections – there has been a backlog in waste collections due to the snow. Cllr. Lunn would encourage residents to report issues to him or Cllr. Illingworth so it can be addressed.
  5. Litter Picking – The amount of roadside litter along the A272 is noted. It was mentioned that a litter picking event for Buxted has been organised for Saturday 14th April.

 

The clerk raised an issue with Cllr. Galley in relation to drainage all the way along the A272 through Buxted. The problem appears that the drains are cleared of silt by about one metre, but not jetted and therefore they are constantly blocked and at some points are lifting the manhole covers.

 

05/03/18

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

 

Cllr. Illingworth commented that the largest issue brought to his attention is the lack of mobile phone signal for both businesses and private use. However, when a new mast is proposed there is virement objection. Therefore, it would seem sensible to work with local land owners and telecommunication companies to find suitable locations to sort out this problem once and for all.

 

The clerks were asked to make initial contact with the largest telephone equipment providers in the area to come and talk to us about the type of location they require and then use that information to go to the local community to try to establish viable agreeable sites.

 

06/03/18

Change in ESCC Highways Verge Grass Cutting in the Parish

 

The parish council has been advised by East Sussex County Council that as part of a cost saving exercise, urban grass cuttings will be reduced from six to two cuts per year. Areas in the parish that would be affected by this reduction are the main road through Buxted, Gordon Road, Park View, Higglers Close, St Mary’s Garth, verges towards Pound Green Triangle, A272 between Buxted School/The White Hart, and Maypole Cottages in High Hurstwood.

 

There are two options, either for ESCC to subsidise the parish council by £433, or for the six cuts to be maintained by ESCC at a cost to the parish of £868.

 

Councillors commented that they question whether anywhere in the parish gets six cuts per year at present. It is also unclear of when the existing two cuts would take place for the parish council to decide when additional cuts should be. It was resolved that the parish council would request the £433 contribution from ESCC and allow them to remain cutting the grass twice per year and we can provide additional cuts where necessary. The clerk would also request the timings for cutting and if there are any criteria for contractors hired by the parish council.

 

 

07/03/18

OUTSTANDING MATTERS

 

Public footpaths: Noting to report.

 

Trees: Nothing to report.

 

Road Safety:

 

·     Feasibility Study Buxted High Street – update

The clerk advised that following the previous parish council meeting ESCC Highways were asked for a quote to carry out the requested pedestrian and speed survey east of the mini roundabout. The times and location of the site has been agreed and a quote was received today. The speed survey will be £400 and the pedestrian survey £225. The clerk also asked how much a second speed survey further up the High Street would be – it was advised the both speed surveys would be a total of £700. It was resolved that both speed surveys and pedestrian survey would be funded.

 

It was noted that there has been some correspondence on BPEC regarding speed cameras which have been installed by Oakley Parish Council but after some investigation by the clerk it has been established that the cost was £120,000 and was a joint project between the borough council, police and parish council. This sort of project would be unaffordable for Buxted Parish Council given that budgets at ESCC and the Police have been significantly reduced. However, we do still have a speed watch gun which is available to use.

 

·         Parking in Gordon Road – Cllr. Illingworth wished to mention that the failure to empty the bins in Gordon Road following the snow was not due to a lack of trying on the part of WDC, but because parking in the road would not allow the bin lorry access.

·         Parking at The Reading Room – He also wished to mention the parking outside of the Reading Room by people who are neither users of the hall or people popping to the village shop. Some are using the spaces as an extension to their driveway and this is not acceptable. Cllr Illingworth has researched the costs for telescoping bollards (approx. £60 each) and asked whether we should look at installing bollards at the larger end of the car park and leaving the spaces outside the front of the Reading Room for casual users of the shop. Clerk to add to the next agenda an obtain purchase and installation costs.

·         Parking on Private Land – It was noted that there has been increased commuter parking at the Buxted Inn and George Rose, and the layby opposite.

·         Parking on Ionides Land – there remains issues regarding local business employees parking in the Ionides car park. Once the parish council has taken over the management of this land, this matter can be addressed.

 

 

Ionides Trust:

 

  • Change of Status – update the chairman reported that finally satisfactory progress has been made after excellent advice from AiRS on updating Charity Scheme Document. The land will be held by ‘The Official Custodian of Trustees, a govt body and parish council will become sole Managing Trustee with separate committee. Once this has been completed we can then be proactive about various issues on the land. Hopefully this will be completed within the next couple of months.

 

New community hall: BCHT will be present at the Annual Assembly to provide an update. They are currently working to split the costs of the ground and building works.

 

Defibrillators: Claudine reported that Steve Holmes has been asked to quote to refurbish the FAD box.

 

Wealden Local Development Framework – Local Plan: See minute 04/03/18 above.

 

Property issues:

 

·     New Planning Agreement for Reading Room site – planning application WD/2017/1401/O – Following the provisional planning permission for the redevelopment of the Reading Room, WDC have drafted a Planning Agreement which releases the restriction of developing the Reading Room site from the original planning permission for the new hall. Members were asked to review the draft for any required changes. It was noted that the agreement mentions that the parish council owns the Ionides land, which is incorrect and needs amending. No other changes are required, but it is worth noting that on commencement of development, the parish council will have to pay the SANGS/SAMS contribution to WDC of £12,300 (index linked) which will be paid for out of the funds from the Reading Room site and not from the general parish council reserves. Members resolved to approve the Planning Agreement.

 

Communications Matters: Website: Nothing to report.

 

08/03/18

CORRESPONDENCE

 

P1 Local Resident: Request to install bollards on corner Framfield Road/Nan Tucks Lane to stop parking (where the branches were) – Cllr Illingworth reported that he is aware of at least three if not four cars which have been vandalised while parking in Framfield Road or on the corner of Framfield Road and Nan Tucks Lane. It was made very clear that these cars are not parked illegally. It is disgraceful that cars are being vandalised at this site, especially given that the cars are not parked outside any house. He would rather spend the money on a CCTV camera rather than funding bollards. As part of further discussions, it was commented that any bollards would not only require a licence from ESCC but would also require the land to then be managed and maintained by those who have applied for the licence. The parish council do not wish to take on the responsibility of this verge and it is very unlikely that Highways would agree to bollards in such a rural area. The clerk was tasked with asking Highways if it owns this verge. The parish council also need to ask for a Police presence and continue to collect information from those who have had cars damaged.

 

Whilst on the subject of vandalism, on 21st February and last Wednesday. the newly turfed area on the new hall site has been driven over by someone in a 4 x 4 vehicle, resulting in the wooden boards separating the hard areas from that to be grassed over being broken and the carefully raked area to be grassed, compacted. Whoever did the damage reversed at such force that the ground wire for the electric line was bent. It will be necessary to erect a temporary fence to protect the vulnerable areas of turf and seed whilst the scheme is finished. Notices will be erected to make all users of the area that it is one, still under construction and care in using the site will be appreciated.

 

P2 ESCC: Traffic Sensitive Streets consultation – no comments

 

P3 Local Residents: Request for grit bins in Buxted High Street and main road through FAD – Members commented that the A272 was well cleared and Highways maintained a good job.

 

With regards a new bin in Five Ash Down, it was considered appropriate to place a bin at the top end of the village as the junction of where the old A26 used to be. The clerk was asked to double check if the main road through the village is part of the gritting route as it should be as part of a main bus route.

 

P4 Local Resident: Notification of further vandalism to car in Framfield Road: See P1 above.

 

P5 Local Resident: What are WDC/Police options for parking in the district and is there a strategy? Cllr Illingworth advised that at the current time there is no Police strategy for parking, therefore WDC is hoping to work to establish a new way of working that ensures the responsibility and implementation remains with the Police. The Police and Crime commissioner is being invited to WDC for what is sure to be a lively discussion.

 

Further to a question posed by the chairman, it was agreed that comments made on social media should not be directly responded to by the parish council via the minutes. Any questions and comments should be made directly to the council.

 

09/03/18

COMMITTEE MEETINGS

None

 

10/03/18

FINANCE

i)    Payments: On the proposal of Cllr. Cox, seconded by Cllr. Roberts, payments totalling £6,498.36 covered by cheque numbers 4093 and 4101 were approved.

Payment Analysis for 13th March 2018

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

 

11/03/18

OTHER MEETINGS

None

 

12/03/18

MEMBERS QUESTIONS

 

The clerk advised that a new clock would be purchased for the Reading Room and apologies that this has not been done before.

 

13/03/18

ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

Annual Assembly: Date has been set for Wednesday 9th May 2018

 

The meeting closed at 9.05p.m.

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