Minutes of the meeting of the Council held in Reading Room, Buxted on Tuesday 9 July 2019 at 7.37p.m.
Cllrs. Blandford (Chairman), Bolton, Humphrey, Illingworth (WDC), Johnson, McQuarrie, Marshall, Roberts, Rose and Wells.
Also present: ESCC Cllr. Galley and Clerk Beccy Macklen
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies received and accepted from Cllr Cox, Hoggan and Marshall and clerk Claudine Feltham
DECLARATION OF MEMBERS INTERESTS
All councillors declared a personal interest in any matters relating to the Ionides Trust/Buxted Community Hall by virtue of the parish council being managing agents of the site.
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.
Cllrs. Rose and Illingworth declared a personal interest in matters relating to the new community hall by virtue of being parish council representatives on the BCHT
Cllr. Rose declared a personal interest in any matters relating to Crusader Vehicles by virtue of owning a business adjacent to the site.
Cllrs. Bolton and Illingworth declared an interest in the priority correspondence by virtue of being members of the Buxted Cricket Club.
MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING
The minutes of the meeting held on 11th June 2019 were signed by the Chairman as a correct record of the meeting.
CO-OPTION OF SIMON JOHNSON
Proposed by Cllr. Illingworth and seconded by Cllr. Moss, Simon Johnson, was unanimously co-opted onto the parish council. The chairman welcomed Simon back onto the parish council.
Cllr. Galley reported that ESCC had met that day and he was pleased to report of an underspend last year of 8 million. The majority of this has been via improved money management rather than changes in services. It cannot be denied that some services have been cut, but other ways of providing those services have been put in place e.g. caring for people at home rather than in ‘homes’. Depending on the results of the Government fairer funding review ESCC are looking forward to the next three years.
With regards WDC. Cllr. Galley advised that the new refuse contractors, Biffa started this week, and so far, so good. He is taking a report to the next Cabinet and Full Council which proposes a climate emergency plan that puts the onus on everyone to be counted on to help reducing carbon emissions by 2050. The Green Party wish to reach this target by 2030, which may not be possible, but the report sets out what has been done so far and what we plan to do. The Portfolio holder has agreed to spend some money on climate change.
Finally, Cllr. Galley reported back on some highways issues around High Hurstwood School, but he was pleased to report that the drains near the school have now been cleared.
Mobile phone coverage: Nothing to report other than the Government has reduced the amount of money companies can pay a landowner to put a mast on their land, so this may reduce the amount of new masts being erected.
Update on cut back of verge from FAD to Buxted School – Following the previous meeting, the clerk has requested a breakdowns of quote costs and a further quote to push back and board the verge between Buxted School and The White Hart. No quote received yet.
The chairman advised that she, Cllr. Moss and the clerk attended a Strengthening Local Relationships (SLR) meeting with Highways officers at which the Senior Highway Steward was showed images of overgrown verge between Buxted School and The White Hart. It was agreed that this needs to be cut but it hasn’t been done yet. It is noted that our allocated grass cutting date in Buxted is 16th July, but some verges closer to FAD have been cut. In future we will use our own contractor to cut this part of the verge to avoid the problems at this location in future. We still hope to work with Highways to improve the footpath to make it easier to maintain.
A meeting with the new Highway Steward would be requested.
Toll Farm triangle – Kim Woodley has been asked to clear, make tidy and maintain the land. This work has started and will continue into the autumn.
Trees: A tree on Buxted recreation ground has a broken branch. Clerk to arrange for branches to be cut.
Empty Poles at Coopers Green Traffic Lights: clerk has reported, chased and will chase again.
Update on suggested pedestrian crossing at Coopers Green traffic lights – At the SLR meeting, this matter was discussed with the Traffic Safety Manager who suggested that the parish council request a feasibility study at a cost of £500 to establish exactly what, if any, pedestrian crossing could be installed together with costs. After a long and detailed discussion, it was agreed to go ahead and request a feasibility study. Clerk to contact officers at ESCC and try to ascertain exactly how to word the scope for works.
Wealden Local Development Framework: Noting to report.
Property issues: Suggested Review of Grass Cutting Contracts – The clerk advised that the last grass cutting review was in 2010 and suggested that this was a good time to undertake such task given that the parish council will be taking on extra cutting (Gordon Road, Toll Farm Triangle, verge between Buxted School and The White Hart). This way the review will have taken place prior to budget setting for next year. Agreed.
WW1 Tommy Soldier location – It was agreed that the Tommy Soldier would be situated on the Pound Green Triangle for this year until a planning application at end of Beechbrook park has been determined(where the developer of the site said he would find a place for the outline statue) Clerk to order personalised wreaths for Remembrance Sunday.
Communications Matters: Website: Nothing to report.
Buxted Cricket Club – Request for grant (£8,000) towards an artificial wicket. A long discussion took place with councillors having varying views ranging from wanting to provide a grant for most of the request to others having concern that this might set a precedent to other groups requesting grants of similar amounts. Cllr. Bolton had spoken to the chairman of the cricket club and reported that the reason they had not applied for a lottery grant was because they wished to reserve this funding option for a new pitch at a later date; the club has already had offers of loans; and the club could be used by non-cricket members.
The chairman advised that grants to others have never been as large as £5,000 and therefore, concern was raised that this is an excessive amount for one community group. There was also a suggestion that the Parish Council could provide some of the grant and the cricket club could also request a grant from the Ionides Trust. There was some concern at this suggestion as the Ionides Trust are currently considering a large spend on enlarging the existing car park. Cllr. Roberts also had concerns at providing a grant to any community group which equates to more than 5% of the precept.
Members then voted on two proposals. Proposed by Cllr. Illingworth was a grant of £5,000 with only two voting in favour. Cllr. Rose made a second proposal of £2,000; this was agreed.
A new larger grants policy discussion to be included at next Finance Committee. At the same time clearer guidelines for applying for grants will be set up by the parish council.
Property & Recreations Grounds Committee – Recommendations:
Finance Committee – Recommendations:
Cllr. Roberts also mentioned an issue of HMRC payment where payments have been missed. Cllr. Roberts and clerk to work together to reconcile any differences.
All recommendations were agreed.
i) Payments: On the proposal of Cllr. Rose seconded by Cllr. Roberts, payments totalling £9,752.83 covered by cheque numbers 4338 and 4351 were approved. Payment Analysis
ii) Bank reconciliations: The clerk had circulated completed reconciliations for June which were signed
No other meetings
Cllr. Wells reported that at the end of July the £30,000 grant towards station improvements will need to be decided. Are there any further suggestions as to what the money could be spent on?
Cllr. Illingworth did refer to the parking spaces that are used by spare track. There has apparently been issues with the lease of this land which has meant that Network Rail reclaimed the land and fenced it. One possible option to increase parking could be to widen the access to the track where the allotments are so they could have an enabling area the other side, although this could not be funded through this money.
If the collective idea for the money isn’t workable, it could be an idea to repaint the bridge, provide a new picket fence outside Weald Packaging and a new station sign. This suggestion would be put forward.
|The meeting closed at 8.42p.m.|
Ionides Trust – Car Park Improvements
New improved specification has been sent to Nicholls Bros and Coppard’s to bring it into line with Thorne’s.
No new quotes were received in time for the meeting. As it was now the summer break a decision, as to whom may be appointed for the work, could be done by email as it was hoped to get the work underway during the summer/early autumn.