Minutes of the meeting of the Council held in The Reading Room, Church Road, Buxted on Tuesday 14th January 2020 at 7.30p.m.
Cllrs. Blandford (Chairman), Bolton, Cox, Coxon, Illingworth (WDC), Johnson (8.00pm), Marshall, Roberts, Rose and Wells.
Also present: ESCC Cllr. Galley and Clerks Beccy Macklen and Claudine Feltham.
A member of the Buxted Players addressed the parish council with regards the Reading Room now that the BCHT has been disbanded. The Players love the Reading Room and consider it their home. She explained that at the present time and due changes to legislation they cannot have junior members as there are no separate changing facilities for children. This means that no pantomimes can take place and the future generation will be lost. A recruitment drive is currently underway for new members. The Players asked the Parish Council to bear them in mind when looking at future plans, and would be willing to offer practical support.
Another Buxted Players member also said that they are showing an interest and are concerned about plans for the hall.
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies received and accepted from Cllrs Humphrey, McQuarrie and Moss
DECLARATION OF MEMBERS INTERESTS
All councillors declared a personal interest in any matters relating to the Ionides Trust 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 due to having a business opposite the land.
Cllr. Rose declared a personal interest in any matters relating to Crusader Vehicles by virtue of owning a business adjacent to the site.
Cllrs. Cox and Wells declared a personal interest in any matters relating to the allotments by virtue of being allotment holders.
Cllr. Illingworth declared an interest in item 13 on the agenda due to being a director of the Sussex Weald Homes Trust.
MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING
The minutes of the meeting held on 10th December 2019 were signed by the Chairman as a correct record of the meeting.
Cllr. Galley advised that news from an ESCC perspective is that the 2020/21 budget will be agreed in the next few weeks. It looks like ESCC will raise the precept by 2% and Government has allowed an increase of 2% which is purely for adult social care, so a 4% increase overall. The results of this will means that some planned cuts from children’s services and adult social care may not now need to go ahead.
Cllr Galley referred to a long list of Highway issues – the drain opposite Binky’s farm outside Linden House has now been cleared. However, Nan Tucks and Shepherds Hill still needs to be dealt with.
Local Plan – We have received Cllr Galley’s monthly update which refers to the local Plan. The Government inspectors report was damning and did not support such limited development as well as the lack of cooperation with Eastbourne BC
Cllr Coxon referred to the underspend from the last year’s budget and asked why there will be a rise of 4% when ‘significant’ savings were made last year. Cllr Galley explained that 2% would cover inflation whereas the other 2% would cover cuts that would have been made. Cllr Galley would respond with more figures.
Cllr Illingworth also referred to the decision regarding the Local Plan commenting that there is no way the outcome can be looked at favourably. In the short term, WDC do not have a 5-year housing land supply and policies within the new Local Plan cannot be used in decision making. Development across the district, specifically in the north will increase. Longer term, the Inspectors decision on the Ashdown Forest means that any new plan will not have the same level of protection for the forest and therefore a higher level of development around the forest is inevitable which would be concerning for Buxted. He would continue to fight for that development to be closer to Eastbourne where housing targets cannot be met. The plan process was not followed through properly, despite councillors internally making comment on this.
Cllr Rose asked if planning decisions being held in abeyance will now be determined? Cllr Illingworth advised that all ‘locked’ applications will now be considered and decided upon. All responses to exiting applications will still be valid. The reason these applications can now be decided on is because the Inspector has commented that Wealden do not need the level of protection on the forest that the Plan relied upon.
Cllr. Roberts asked how such a plan could be agreed by WDC if councillors did not necessarily agree with it. Cllr Illingworth commented that a review is taking place internally within WDC.
Is there a timescale to correct this? The current plan took 5 years. Some evidence is still there and can be used, but a significant amount of evidence needs to be re-collected and it will still take up to 3 years.
It was also worth commenting that Sevenoaks also had their Local Plan rejected.
Cllr Illingworth also wished to comment that a number of applications were refused on the basis of the Ashdown Forest, so some of these may be resubmitted.
Finally, Cllr. Illingworth commented that there will still need to be SANGS, as the forest does still need a level of protection.
Consideration and Adoption of:
Amended Code of Conduct (now including references to bullying/harassment)
Revised Financial Regulations as recommended by NALC
Following the receipt of the above from Wealden District Council and the National Association of Local Councils, the clerk circulated the revised documents for members to consider.
It was unanimously resolved to adopt both documents as circulated.
Public footpaths: Nothing to report
Trees: Nothing to report.
Road Safety: Nothing to report.
Wealden Local Development Framework: see minute 04/01/20 above
Reading Room: Consideration of quote to repair flat roof above kitchen: Following the last meeting Cllr. Rose sought a quote at the cost of £950 to Strip off existing gutter drips, clean back existing gritting from front edge of roof ( approx 12in ), supply and fix new drip batten where required, supply and fix new Green mineral welted drips, including making good to new drips and exiting flat roof.
Members considered the quote and resolved to go ahead and have the works completed. Although three quotes were not sought, this cost was considered good value and the work needs to be carried out especially given the recent weather.
Reading Room: Sharing of ideas of future of Reading Room
It was agreed that a working party should meet on Thursday 5th February to discuss all options with regards the Reading Room/new hall.
In the meantime, the clerks and chairman will look at tidying the back room which has a lot of old furniture, paperwork and cabinet that could be cleared to make the space far more usable. New chairs would be arriving this week.
Communications Matters: Cllr. Bolton will look at the existing website to ascertain if he is able to rebuild a new updated one for the parish council. The clerk is contacting clubs and societies to ensure that information on the site is up to date.
No priority correspondence
ESCC have advised that the SLR (Strengthening Local Initiatives) have been restructured and are no longer ‘ad-hoc’, but twice a year. This suits the parish council has we tend to have one or two per year.
The situation with regards potholes and how they are fixed was commented on. Apparently, they are fixed in sequence rather than number of holes in each location which seems a very odd and not cost effective way to carry out repairs.
i) Payments: On the proposal of Cllr. Marshall seconded by Cllr. Rose, payments totalling £6,708.45 covered by cheque numbers 4433 and 4449 were approved.
ii) Bank reconciliations: The clerk had circulated completed reconciliations for December which were signed
Cllr Wells attended the URLPC meeting and will forward the response to the TfSE consultation response. He also advised that there is a finite date when diesel trains will cease to be used on the Uckfield line in a relatively short space of time of a couple of years. That is when a hybrid/electric battery powered trains will come into use. This will coincide with the franchise for the line ending.
He also advised that discussions are still taking place with regards how to spend the Passenger Benefit fund of £30,000.
|13/01/20||Exempt Session under Schedule 12 of the Local Gov Act 1972|
|The meeting closed at 8.20p.m.|
Ionides Trust Update:
Consideration of a quote for new metalwork for the children’s climbing frames. Agreed to go ahead with the quote and ask Mant Leisure to fit the new metalwork.
Cllr. Blandford commented that the Christmas tree is still on site, but it was confirmed that it will be removed the following Saturday.
A number of observations were noted with regards the Scouts use of the land. Cllr. Bolton would contact the Scouts representative regards:
- Notices attached to the sleepers advising of a trip hazard which look untidy.
- Mesh/poles around the bonfire site should be removed
- The gate to the back of the hut has fallen and gas bottles and other paraphernalia are now visible.
Jo Cooper from Touchwood, the firm who erected the zip wire and giant swing was on site that day carrying out free maintenance on the wood frames. He was thanked for suggesting and carrying out the work for free and offered to send on details about the safe preservative to be used in regular maintenance. Research carried out by the firm indicates better preservation of the wooden structures.