FRANT PARISH COUNCIL
THE MINUTES OF A MEETING OF FRANT PARISH COUNCIL HELD AT
FRANT MEMORIAL HALL, FRANT
ON WEDNESDAY 19TH SEPTEMBER 2012 AT 7.30PM
Present: Councillors Mrs Howell (Acting Chair), Argue, Hall, Harris, Mrs Myers, Rockingham, Rowland, Rutherford and Wright.
Also in attendance: County Councillor Tidy, 5 members of the public, Sarah Codling (Clerk).
1. To receive apologies and reason for absence.
Apologies were received from Cllrs Mrs Best and Crookshank. All apologies were accepted.
2. To receive declarations of interests on items on the Agenda.
3. To approve the Minutes of the meeting 19 September 2012 as a true record.
The minutes of the meeting held 19 September 2012 were signed as a true and accurate record.
4. To determine matters arising from the previous Minutes for updating and noting.
At the planning meeting it was mentioned that the grass needs to be cut on Frant football field. The Clerk has contacted the contractor but has not had any response. This will be chased as the field is to be used for fireworks on 3rd November.
Cllr Argue arrived 7.35pm
The fence on the football field is damaged and cattle are straying onto the field. The field is owned by Mr Elliott of Tyburn House. The original fencing was put up by the school when they used the field and no subsequent fencing has been erected to stop animals venturing onto the field. Again, the fireworks are to be held on 3rd November so the area must be made safe for the cattle and public. The Clerk is to contact Mr Elliott.
Cllr Wright arrived 7.37pm
5. Public Forum – time limit 10 minutes.
• Mr Jonathan Lynn introduced himself as a member of the Washingstool Hill Footpath Group, a community group established to reinstate the footpath in Eridge. The group will be seeking funding from a variety of sources but need some ‘seed capital’ to show other contributors that the project is viable and feasibility work has been completed. Cllr Mrs Howell advised that their application for a grant will be considered later in the meeting.
• Mr Ken Gunn introduced himself from the Frant Court Management Committee. The committee look after the Frant Court Estate and are concerned about planning application WD/2012/1662/FR.
The application concerns retrospective consent for a shed and fence for 16 Frant Court. The property occupies a prominent position on the west side of the Green and has a considerable influence on the conservation area. The comments from the Management Committee have been given to the Clerk who has distributed them to Councillors.
The Management object to the new fence and the two lattice sections on top of the fence: it damages the amenity boundary and the character of the listed wall and listed building. If approved, there are 7 other properties facing the Green and may feel a precedent has been set and may further damage the visual amenity of the area if they do the same fencing.
Behind the new fence there is a mature beech hedge (planted by the previous owner) which the committee believes provides good security and privacy to the property. There is no objection to the old fence on the south side and also the shed as there is less visual impact. The committee also have many conditions which were placed on the developer which include a number of covenants. Therefore, the committee feel they must take action as it breaches the covenant. A similar matter is being raised with property number 15 who is breaching a covenant.
• Roger from Frant shop came to raise the issue of parking outside the shop. Historically, there has been no need for help from the Parish Council as any parking problems have been solved peacefully with neighbouring properties and an understanding has been created. However, many properties are changing hands and more cars appear to be parking outside the shop for a great length of time. This is impacting business as many people are not stopping as there is no parking.
It was requested that a waiting limit of one hour be imposed outside the shop. Cllr Mrs Howell stated that Roger has a sympathetic hearing at the Parish Council and the Council would try to help where they can. County Councillor Tidy advised that this has been achieved in Rotherfield and the PCSO enforces the restrictions. County Cllr Tidy will investigate who is responsible for such matters and advise the Clerk. This matter will be discussed at the next meeting.
6. To receive Police Report.
None. Cllr Mrs Howell was concerned that we have not heard from the Police for several meetings.
7. To receive reports of County and District Councillors.
• The County have finally seen off the last legal challenge to the Bexhill-Hastings link road. The Court have awarded large costs to the challengers.
Yesterday there was a demonstration at County Hall from the objectors. Many objectors turned up and disrupted the Council Meeting in session. For the first time in 15 years the meeting was adjourned while protestors were ejected.
• Discussions have taken place about the reduced funding for the County Council for the coming year and how it will affect services. A saving of £20m has to be distributed across services whilst maintaining a standard and legal requirements. There have been many discussions regarding adult social care and the care of elderly people as the budget has been dramatically cut. It is uncertain whether it is a 15% cut of budget or whether the reduction of budget would help 15% fewer people.
• The budget is provisionally set by December and finalised in February. There will be a dramatic reduction in services offered by East Sussex County Council. Conversely, the County Council are being asked for more and more services.
• A report has been published regarding the south East 7, the group of Councils who formed an allegiance to reduce costs. Reduction in costs are beginning to show after several years of getting people to think collaboratively and work together. A saving of £74m can be seen across the area of which East Sussex has a £6m saving. This should grow dramatically over the next 3-4 years which should help ease the cuts in Government funding.
• The way the Government support grant is being changed is that County Councils will no longer receive a fixed sum of money but will receive money through business rates within the County. There is, therefore, a big drive to increase the number of businesses in East Sussex. The link road will also aid more businesses to come into the area.
• There is concern regarding the reduction in benefits. Many people are going to be asked to pay Council Tax who have never paid before. It is going to be difficult to collect the amount of Council Tax those people will be asked to pay. However, it is encouraging that districts have increased their collection by £2m across East Sussex. This is owing to part new build and part better collection. Wealden have a very good collection rate.
• The Wealden Community Grant Scheme 2013/14 is open for applications until 30th November 2012. Grants awarded are between £500-3,000. There are also some capital schemes awarded for between £1,000-10,000. Match funding can now be done by work in kind (ie. Volunteering). Parish Councils are not eligible but community groups are. Interested parties can arrange a pre meeting with Wealden in the first week of November.
• The rural exception affordable housing policy has been reviewed. Wealden now has a policy whereby planning may be permitted for small affordable housing in rural areas to satisfy local housing needs. Affordable housing used to be assessed at parish level but now, at a local level, can cross boundaries. The full implications are not yet known. This may impact Frant Parish as it sits outside the 7 mile exclusion zone of the Ashdown Forest so it may become a prime area.
8. Chairman’s Announcements & Correspondence for noting.
9. To adopt Code of Conduct
This item was on the agenda in error.
10. Highways, Transport & Lighting Matters.
10.1 To discuss outstanding highways matters
The Parish Council need advice from the legal team at WDC regarding becoming the responsible body for the Washingstool Footpath Group.
An email has been received from Michael Higgs regarding Little Bayham. He has now proposed a 50mph limit from Bells Yew Green to the other side of Little Bayham, then 500m at 60mph before back to 50mph. This contradicts with the report from the SLR meeting. Further discussions need to take place. This information has been put to the residents of Little Bayham for their comments. It may be necessary to issue a formal request for a 40mph limit. This is to be put on the agenda for the next meeting.
There is some confusion regarding village gateways. The Clerk is to resend the communication confirming the Parish Council will pay for the gates and the design.
There is concern regarding overtaking on the road at Little Bayham as certain stretches are undulating causing poor visibility.
The Frant School sign has been moved. Highways are now looking at the stretch of road where the zebra crossing is to be situated as a whole project as the layout needs reviewing.
Cllr Wright informed the Council that the lamp has been taken away from light number 26. The Clerk is to ask ESCC what has happened with the swan neck as we do not wish to have a ‘modern’ top. Also, it should be replaced without cost owing to its removal by ESCC. The Clerk is to report at the next meeting.
10.2 To receive feedback from the SLR meeting, 4 October 2012
Minutes from the meeting were distributed.
11. Planning Matters
11.1 To approve the Minutes of the meeting 4 October as a true record.
The minutes of the meeting held 4 October 2012 were signed as a true and accurate record.
11.2 To make recommendations about Planning Applications received.
• WD/2012/1802/FR – Henley House, Wadhurst Road, Frant TN3 9EJ – Retrospective application for the installation of solar panel array
• WD/2012/1662/FR – 16 Frant Court, Frant, TN3 9DW – Retrospective application for shed and fence
The Council objects to this application. We feel that this is not in keeping with an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It also sets a precedent to other properties in the area.
• WD/2012/1997/F – Holbrook, Ely Grange – Demolish existing timber shed. Replace with new timber shed.
• WD/2012/2078/MFE – Land north east of Benhall Mill Road – Renewal (extension of time limits) of approved application WD/2009/2105/FE for B1 business uses (1770sqm) and associated parking and services.
12.1 To approve accounts payable.
The play equipment has been vandalised again. The Clerk is to obtain the necessary parts for repairs.
12.2 To review 6 month budget
The Clerk presented the 6 month budget review to Councillors.
Councillors queried how much is paid for grass cutting. The Clerk is to research contracts and advise Councillors.
12.3 To agree grant for Washingstool Hill Footpath Group (Eridge footpath)
The Parish Council are in support of this project. However, Trevor Scott, Legal Advisor, WDC, is to be approached by the Clerk to see what the role of responsible body entails. Would there be a conflict of interest if money is given by the Parish Council.
In principle funding is approved. However, the Council do not feel a sum can be committed to without more concrete information regarding costs. Security is to be given by landowners that any permissive paths will be upheld and money used accordingly. Legalities need to be worked out.
The Washingstool Hill Footpath Group advised that the project may cost up to £20,000, an estimate given by contractors at the Eridge Estate.
The Parish Council advised they would like a formal proposal but, in principle, would pay for the feasibility study.
13. To consider the following questions from Wealden District Council:
1a. ‘What does Wealden District Council do well in the ways it communicates with the Town/Parish Council about significant issues or decisions from across our services?’
1b. ‘How could we do this better?’
The Parish Council feel that a lot of information is received from Wealden in the form of parish bulletins, councillor bulletins and from district councillors. However, the information may not currently be used in the best possible way by the Parish Council.
2a. ‘What does Wealden District Council do well in the ways it gathers feedback from the Town/Parish Council on those issues or decisions?’.
2b. ‘How could we do this better?’
At present, all the correspondence for Frant Parish Council is received by the Clerk. The Clerk compiles a correspondence list for councillors to review. This list is to be completed more frequently. Frant Parish also do not respond to many consultations. This is to be reviewed.
14. Correspondence for noting.
Cllr Mrs Howell wishes to attend the next JAG meeting.
Councillors requested a weekly correspondence list for more timely information.
15. Urgent issues at the discretion of the Chairman for noting or inclusion on future agenda.
There being no further business the meeting closed at 9:20pm.