FRANT PARISH COUNCIL
THE MINUTES OF A MEETING OF FRANT PARISH COUNCIL HELD AT
FRANT MEMORIAL HALL, FRANT
ON WEDNESDAY 16 OCTOBER 2013 AT 7.30PM
Present: Councillors Crookshank (Chair), Argue, Mrs Best, Mrs Kinley, Mrs Myers, Rowland and Rutherford.
Also in attendance: County Councillor Standley, Sarah Codling (Clerk), 3 members of public.
Thanks were extended to Barbara Cornell for covering duties whilst the Clerk was on holiday.
1. To receive apologies and reason for absence.
Apologies were received from Cllrs Hall, Mrs Howell, Kinley, Wright and PCSO Roberts. Apologies were accepted.
2. To receive declarations of interests on items on the Agenda.
Cllrs Crookshank and Harris declared an interest in item 11.2 as Trustees to the Bells Yew Green village hall, site of the new playground.
3. To approve the Minutes of the meeting 18 September 2013 as a true record.
After a few amendments, the minutes of the meeting held 18 September 2013 were signed as a true and accurate record.
4. To determine matters arising from the previous Minutes for updating and noting.
County Councillor Standley advised that Japanese Knotweed is the responsibility of the landowner. It is also an offence if the knotweed spreads into the wild. Councillors advised that it is currently on County land. Cllr Standley advised that it should be reported and the County Council are obliged to deal with it.
5. Public Forum – time limit 10 minutes.
Christopher Neville and John Bee attended the meeting to explain the plans for the farm shop in Bunny Lane.
The farm shop was initially built to sell produce from the Eridge Estate. The shop was not successful and the lessons learnt are to have tenants who have experience in retail business to make the venture a success. The current plans are to have a farm shop, as previously, and to use the adjacent area as storage. Cllr Mrs Best expressed concern at the application for change of use as there are implications that the shop could be turned into any retail development. The use for the outside area could also be a cause for concern. The Parish Council supports the continuation of the farm shop but have a fear of what the area could become and the resulting increased traffic movements in a very rural location.
The application has been applied for under the new permitted development rights, introduced by the Government in May 2013. This would enable to change the use of the building to flexible use but the proposal is to continue as before. There are no additional traffic movements foreseen and the storage area is for the shop.
The Chair thanked Christopher Neville and John Bee for attending and providing further information to the Council.
6. To receive Police Report.
PCSO Sarah Roberts provided a report prior to the meeting:
We held our Police Neighbourhood Panel Meeting on 12 September and the priorities remain the same:
Speeding in and around the villages, parking and risk of thefts from sheds and outbuildings.
We are continuing to offer security marking for garden tools, if you have tools such as mowers, strimmers,etc and would like them marked please do not hesitate to contact me.
With the dark evenings now closing in please pay some attention to your house security – if you are coming home after dark, it may be worth leaving a table lamp on a timer or an upstairs landing light on so that the house does not show as being in darkness and empty before you get home.
Over the last couple of years we have seen an increase in heating oil theft. Now that tanks are being filled for the winter and the hedges are losing their leaves and cover, please consider ways of screening your tank from visibility from the highway, defensive evergreen planting is nature’s way of helping to reduce crime, thieves will not wish to force their way through or over a prickly hedge.
Security lights can have a very positive effect and make any property a much harder target for the thief, care should be taken not to cause any nuisance to neighbours and road users.
I am looking to enlist new members to Neighbourhood Watch in Frant, I have a couple of interested residents and will be contacting them in due course. If you would like to be a part of neighbourhood watch please contact me.
I will be at the Withyham Parish Council Offices on Saturday 19 October between 09:00 – 10:00 , to meet residents and discuss any issues they may have.
I will be holding a street meetings at the Memorial Hall, The Green, Frant on Saturday 5 October at 10:00 and at Lambs Larder, Bayham Road, Bells Yew Green on Thursday 17 October at 09:30
Councillors expressed concerns that the street meetings are poorly attended. It was also noted that the Parish Council should be informed of traffic incidents. The traffic island outside the Abergavenny Arms was recently hit but the Parish Council did not receive any information. Councillors would like the police to advise on such matters.
7. To receive reports of County and District Councillors.
County – A report was distributed prior to the meeting:
Highways – Preparations are , as you would expect, well advanced for the coming winter and whilst we all hope for a mild winter this would be particularly welcomed by the County Council given the additional financial pressure of additional resources being allocated to repairing winter damaged highways.
Over the last 4 years £42m (£10.50m per year) has been allocated to highways repair (previously £8m a year). This has allowed 280 miles of road to be repaired which is 14% of the network. The “additional” funding of £2.5m a year is planned to continue for the next 2 years.
A267 Highways Scheme – I am meeting with highways on Tuesday this week to discuss the scheme and I will report back to Wednesday’s meeting.
Broadband – Unfortunately Frant is not in the opening round of delivery but the project is beginning to be rolled out with the first areas being Burwash, Etchingham, Hadlow Down, Heathfield, Horam, Mayfield, Robertsbridge, Rotherfield, Rushlake Green.
The project will deliver Superfast broadband to 96% of households with an additional 3% getting a connection to fibre with an improved service but not superfast and a final 1% getting the minimum 2mbp. This minimum service will apply to individual or small clusters of households. Unlike other authorities ESCC are upgrading all cabinets.
To give some guide a current speed of 6mps will download a music album in 2mins 13secs and superfast broadband will reduce this to 30 seconds.
The complete programme should be complete by the end of 2015/early 16.
Troubled Families Programme – 163 families were part of the programme at Quarter 1. The Government has announced an extension to the programme for a further five years from 2015/16. The Government sees this programme as a key vehicle for funding future support of vulnerable families.
• Waste collection is continuing to improve but is still not at the level previously. It is recommended that any residents still having missed collections should report them promptly to Wealden. Kia are being charged penalties for every missed collection. Last week was down to 97.5% collections, rising to 98.5% this week.
• Wealden District Council have granted a High Court injunction against the owners of Birchets Wood, Groombridge for non compliance with planning regulations. The owners did not comply with enforcement and now have 4 months to comply or Wealden will clear the site. This illustrates that enforcement action is being taken.
• A Hailsham resident was taken to Court by Wealden and fined almost £5,000 for carrying waste without a licence.
• A resident of Uckfield has been sentenced to 200 hours community service for defrauding the public purse by £3,500.
8. Chairman’s Announcements & Correspondence for noting.
The Chair has met with Rev James Packman to discuss the distribution list for the Henry Smith Charity. This has also been reviewed by the two village shops. All parties are happy with the list and it is recommended to be used for the next distribution.
9. Highways, Transport & Lighting Matters.
9.1 To discuss outstanding Highways issues.
County Councillor Bob Standley had a meeting yesterday regarding the pedestrian crossing in Frant. The zebra crossing is the most expensive at £97,000. Cllr Standley distributed maps which showed the design for the zebra crossing and also the puffin crossing, which would cost £70,000. It would be possible to implement a design much quicker which would extend the 30mph limit, relocating the speed signs. This would cost £6,500. The vehicle activated sign could be replaced to read ‘slow down, school’ which would be an additional £2,200. Highways have indicated that they would put in the restricted parking at the shop at the same time as implementing the scheme, at their cost.
Councillors noted that there is nothing to alert traffic coming from the south end of the village. The vehicle activated sign has still not been replaced following an incident earlier this year.
Councillors requested that Cllr Standley ask about costings for a speed camera. It was also requested that red tarmac be laid both sides of Church Lane, with an additional siting where the island is outside the Abergavenny Arms.
The Parish Council would then be happy with the ‘light’ scheme. The Council have already paid £12,000 to Highways and would be prepared to fund the scheme on a 50:50 basis. Councillors thanked Cllr Standley for his work on this matter. It was noted that the puffin crossing could still be built when funds are available but the ‘light’ scheme will provide additional safety and will be implemented within the financial year.
Cllr Mrs Myers advised that the hedge by the bus stop, before Church Lane, now protrudes onto the pavement. It is the landowner’s responsibility to cut. Cllr Crookshank advised he would visit the owner. Action: SC
9.2 To discuss slowing down traffic around Frant Green
This item is to be left on the agenda for the next meeting. Frant Nursery School would welcome slowing down traffic around Frant Green. It has been questioned at SLR meetings whether the area would be a good candidate for 20mph limit but Highways have not shown much support. This would also need police support to enforce. Cllr Standley is to ask Highways what would need to be done to implement a 20mph zone.
10. Planning Matters
10.1 To make recommendations about Planning Applications received.
• WD/2013/1649/F – Brook Farm, Bayham Road, Tunbridge Wells TN3 9BP
Two storey extension to existing dwelling.
• WD/2013/2020/F – Foxdale, 2 Sellbourne Park, Frant TN3 9DG
Two storey rear extension and internal alterations to provide larger living and dining rooms, en-suite bathrooms, access to attic storage and introduction of 2 new obscure glazed windows on the side elevation (south).
• WD/2013/1900/F – Yew Tree Cottage, South Farm Lane, Langton Green, Tunbridge Wells TN3 9JN
Internal Alterations, demolition of existing single storey western elevation and erection of 2 storey extension to western flank of dwelling.
• WD/2013/1975/FA – 19 Broomfield, Bells Yew Green, Frant TN3 9AF
Change of use from live/work property to residential property.
The Parish Council supports this application.
To note applications granted, refused and withdrawn by District Council:
• WD/2013/1710/F – San Marco, The Green, Frant TN3 9DS – Demolition of existing garage, formation of two new parking bays, single-storey side extension and new open porch – Approved.
• WD/2013/1548/FA – Stubby Grove Works, Bells Yew Green, Frant TN3 9BT – Removal of condition 3 of WD/2009/2029/F (new garage building for storage of racing cars) to allow the building to be used for B1 (business) – Approved.
• Sunninglye Oast, Dundale Road, Tunbridge Wells TN3 9AG – Equestrian sand school approx. 20m x 40m in field alongside farm buildings housing two loose boxes and storage for hay – Approved.
• Reflex House, Bells Yew Green Road, Frant TN3 9BQ – Revocation of planning obligation dated 11/05/2001 attached to WD/2000/2103/F and supplemental agreement dated 24/01/2008 attached to WD/2006/3480/PO – Discharged.
11.1 To approve accounts payable.
The accounts were approved.
Payee Name Transaction Detail Chq Ref Amount
EDF Energy Lighting, July – September 2013 DD 1,076.69
ISS Facility Services Landscaping Grass cutting September 649 432.00
Viking Office supplies 650 42.92
Z McGregor-Gould Salary, October 651 86.66
S Codling Salary + mileage, October 652 670.11
HMRC TAX/NI, September 653 4.62
B Cornell Salary, cover Clerk 654 168.10
HMRC Cover Clerk, Tax/NI 655 34.80
Frant Memorial Hall Hire, October 2013 656 24.00
11.2 To discuss and approve grant to Bells Yew Green Playground Project
Following there being more families in the area since the building of Broomfield, it has been proposed to build a play area by the village hall. The land is currently not used and would be safe for children. £13,500 has been raised through local projects.
The Parish Council approved a grant of £4,000 on the same basis as the grant from Wealden, that the project is completed by March 2014. All voted in favour.
11.3 To discuss and approve any expenditure to repair the bus shelter, Bells Yew Green
The roof of the bus shelter has developed a leak. A quote is to be sought from Graham Thorpe and emailed to Councillors. Action: Clerk.
12. To discuss review Play Area Inspection.
The inspection report was reviewed. No action needs to be taken.
13. To review grass cutting contract.
This is to be deferred to the next meeting.
Cllr Mrs Myers advised that the school Parents Association organised for a farmer to cut the football field as ESCC had not cut it. It was noted that ESCC need to be held accountable for their work.
14. To discuss land by the Police House, Frant, which has been fenced in.
The Clerk is still awaiting details from Land Registry. Councillors requested that the Clerk review historic minutes for information.
This is to be put on the next agenda.
15. Correspondence for noting.
16. Urgent issues at the discretion of the Chairman for noting or inclusion on future agenda.
• Cllr Mrs Myers has handed in her resignation. Her last meeting is to be the December meeting.
• The Clerk is to obtain quotes for a fixed electricity contract.
• Cllr Argue is to contact Tates regarding fitting the posts around Frant Green.
There being no further business the meeting closed at 9:01pm.