Minutes of the meeting of the Council held in Five Ash Down Village Hall on Tuesday 11th February 2020 at 7.30p.m.
Cllrs. Blandford (Chairman), Bolton (7.40pm), Coxon, Humphrey, Johnson, McQuarrie, Moss, Roberts, Rose and Wells.
Also, present: ESCC Cllr. Galley and Clerks Beccy Macklen and Claudine Feltham.
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies received and accepted from Cllrs Cox, Illingworth and Marshall
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 (Beechbrook Park) due to having owned part of the application site
Cllr Wells declared a personal interest in any matters relating to the allotments by virtue of being an allotment holder.
MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING
The minutes of the meeting held on 14th January 2020 were signed by the Chairman as a correct record of the meeting.
Cllr. Galley reported that ESCC Cabinet had met that morning and agreed the council tax, as will WDC and PCC, which should equate to approximately 3% across the board.
Potholes – Cllr. Blandford was pleased to report that after reporting two potholes on the ESCC Highways website, they were filled very quickly.
Cllr. Humphrey wished to thank ESCC for finally replacing the Coopers Green village sign.
Mobile Phone Coverage: Nothing to report.
Public footpaths: Nothing to report.
Trees: Nothing to report.
Road Safety: Nothing to report.
Wealden Local Development Framework: Nothing to report.
Reading Room/New Hall Options – feedback from working part. The various options previously circulated were discussed (separate minutes taken)
Most residents of Buxted will be aware that, sadly, the independent charity promoting a new village hall is in the process of being wound up and that , in the absence of any group coming forward to revive the project, the vision to build a new Community Hall for Buxted is unlikely to be realised in the near future.
Your parish council is, however, still keen to do what it can to ensure that the parish has a Buxted venue that meets the needs and aspirations both of local groups and societies and of individual parishioners and their families.
Consequently, the initial view of the council is that some form of extensive refurbishment to the Reading Room be put in place to enable it to more properly be Buxted village hall, at least for some years.
The parish council will therefore be consulting with the community for ideas for achievable improvements to the Reading Room. A leaflet drop is planned along with an online questionnaire. Disabled access and improved toilet facilities along with a refurbished kitchen are almost certain to be part of the improvements. Any works will be subject to raising enough money to carry out all or part of any planned alterations, albeit the council is prepared to contribute all it can sensibly make available without raising its modest element of the domestic rate bills.
We sincerely hope that the Buxted community will help the parish council to achieve this aim. Once the improvements have taken place the parish council intends to more actively promote the Reading Room (perhaps more suitably named for the current age) as a desirable venue for a multitude of activities.
None of this means the new hall project need be regarded as dead. Planning permission was obtained to build a new hall on the Ionides site. Planning permission exists still. If any group comes forward, in the future, with the desire for an entirely new building on the Ionides site, it remains possible that with the right mix of fundraising and other relevant skills, a successful project could be achieved. The proposal above simply recognises that is uncertain and would certainly take some time to achieve.
It was reiterated that there was appetite and desire back in 2002 for a new hall when a questionnaire was sent out as part of the Parish Plan, but there doesn’t seem to be any new will or desire to provide a hall now.
Questions would be collated to be included within a questionnaire which would be circulated and decided subsequent to the meeting. The questionnaire would be circulated as soon as practicably possible, in order for all responses to be received and considered in time for the Annual Parish Assembly in May. In addition to the questionnaire, the current users of the hall would be contacted to be asked what improvements they would ideally like to have. The consultation is to obtain the views of the residents in order to shape the future of the Reading Room.
Consideration of quotes to parish council owned trees
Prior to the meeting the clerk circulated two quotes for works to council owned trees which includes the Tree Preservation Order works application where necessary. The clerk had requested more than two quotes, but only two contractors provided costs, which turned out to be within £1 of each other.
Members resolved to award the contract for works to Simon Young.
High Hurstwood Play Area – consideration of feedback
For some time, the parish council has discussed replacing the play equipment at the High Hurstwood Recreation Ground. A post was put on the Facebook page High Hurstwood Talk, which generated nine responses, and an article was supposed to be in this quarter’s High Hurstwood Review, but unfortunately it was missed from the latest edition. On this basis the parish council decided to wait until the article had been seen in the High Hurstwood Review.
It was reported that the homepage of the website appears to have disappeared. Thankfully Cllr. Bolton has added a temporary homepage and will advise the clerk on how to change. In the meantime, he will also work on a new website.
P1 Buxted Football Club – Request for funding towards three new showers
Members agreed to award the Football Club the total costs for the showers but would request that the Football Club consider all future funding requests at the annual grant’s application stage rather than ad hoc during the year.
i) Payments: On the proposal of Cllr. McQuarrie and seconded by Cllr Rose, payments totalling £6,459.71 covered by cheque numbers 4451 and 4465 were approved.
ii) Bank reconciliations: The clerk had circulated completed reconciliations for January 2020 which were signed
iii) The Parish Council considered and agreed the appointment of Keith Richardson as the parish council’s internal auditor for the financial year 2020/21
No other meetings
It was agreed that this year’s Annual Parish Assembly should take place on 12th May 2020.
|The meeting closed at 8.45p.m.|
Ionides Trust Update
As everyone is aware, there was some damage to the fencing around the children’s play area the previous weekend. We do not know how the fencing originally fell but we know it was then helped along by a small number of young teenage boys who have been seen hanging around the play area at the weekends a number of times. Concern has been raised by residents and those visiting the park that the boys are intimidating for those wishing to use the park with young children by way of swearing, fighting. In addition, they have been heard playing music loudly up until 3am and allegedly using drugs. A photograph of the boys on site has been obtained and will be passed to the Police on request.
The anti-social behaviour has been acknowledged by the Police and the Operation Blitz number has been circulated on the Buxted Talk Facebook page.
However, this now leaves the Ionides Trust in the position of replacing the fencing. The wooden posts appear to be rotten at the base. The fallen fence has been removed and safety tape put across the gap which is located next to the entrance road to the surgery
Members discussed the various forms of fencing and decided that the recommended metal fencing is the preferred option and satisfies RoSPA requirements. The clerk would source quotes for new fencing and would circulate to all members for consideration and decision. Costs for this fence could be taken, in part, from the section 106 funds (Play Equipment). This decision can be made, by email, when we know the full costs of replacement As we wish to replace the fence as soon as possible as safety is paramount.
The metal frames for the climbing equipment have now been made and are being galvanised. Once this work has been completed, Mant Leisure would return to install the new frames at an approximate cost of £2,000 (costs to be confirmed).
We also need a deterrent on the site so the Trust will consider CCTV on site and it will contact the surgery asking if it has experienced any issues.
We have had notice from the BCHT solicitor that £22.534.96 will be transferred to the safekeeping of the Ionides Trust once the chair has signed a letter of intent written by George Claydon detailing the conditions for use of the funds. The funds will be deposited in a high interest charity account. The letter was read out.