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 Crookshank (Chair), Argue, Best, Harris, Mrs Howell, Rockingham, Rowland, Rutherford and Wright.
Also in attendance: County Councillor Tidy, Sarah Codling (Clerk).
1. To receive apologies and reason for absence.
Apologies were received from Cllrs Hall and Mrs Myers. All apologies were accepted.
2. To receive declarations of interests on items on the Agenda.
Cllr Harris declared a personal interest as a neighbour to Bush House.
3. To approve the Minutes of the meeting 18 July 2012 as a true record.
The minutes of the meeting held 18 July 2012 were signed as a true and accurate record.
4. To determine matters arising from the previous Minutes for updating and noting.
Item 13 mentions the purchase of playground equipment for repairs. Cllr Wright asked whether this could be purchased under our insurance. The theft of the chains has not been reported to the police and the excess for claiming is unknown. This will be reviewed by the Clerk.
5. Public Forum – time limit 10 minutes.
6. To receive Police Report.
7. To receive reports of County and District Councillors.
• ESCC are searching for ways to reduce spending on adult social care as it is rising at an unsustainable rate. The Council is working with MIND to try and find ways and means for people with dementia to stay longer in their own homes. At present, many people go straight into a care home when things become difficult. This costs over £1,000 per week for a person with dementia who may need extra support.
One initiative is to develop ‘dementia friendly’ communities where local people are made aware of the difficult circumstances surrounding families with a person suffering from dementia. The Council are entering into this scheme, along with MIND, to show how communities can help.
• The budget is being prepared for next year. A saving of £72m has to be made over the next three years. The Council are working closely with the ‘South East 7’ which is a group of Councils combined to reduce the cost of purchasing services. It is anticipated that over the next 3-4 years savings should be met.
• A reminder that the Police and Crime Commissioner election is to take place on 15 November 2012. The Clerk was asked to put information on the Frant Parish website and noticeboards.
• The steering group of Safer Communities have advised that they have a new budget regarding Speedwatch. Frant Parish Council were urged to approach residents to gauge interest in pursuing this initiative. Volunteers are given speed cameras to review the speed of traffic within the parish. The number plates of offending cars are given to the police who, in turn, send a letter to the owner of the car. Further action is taken if the same car is noticed more than 3 times. Training and cameras are given to volunteers. The Clerk is to put information on the parish noticeboards and website.
• Heathfield have submitted a bid for one of the Olympic swimming pools. It is anticipated that this bid may be successful. Negotiations are currently taking place with Heathfield and LOCOG how to bring the pool to Heathfield. It will be located by the Community College.
• The Wealden Parish Conference is taking place 24th October 2012 at Hailsham Civic Community Centre. Cllrs Rockingham and Wright are to attend.
• The East Sussex Annual Business Survey has surveyed businesses regarding issues they believe to be important. Issues that have been mentioned include mobile phone coverage, broadband, reliable public transport and walking/cycle access to work. Another positive outcome is reduced crime. The policy team at Wealden Council are looking to Strategy regarding how they work with the local community.
Another question posed to Parish Councils is ‘what does Wealden do well when communicating with Parish Councils and how can this be improved’. Councillors are to consider this question and it will be reviewed at the next meeting.
• Wealden and Rother Rural Partnership have some money available for community grants. This information is to be put on the parish website. This will be reviewed at the next meeting.
8. Chairman’s Announcements & Correspondence for noting.
• Communication has been received from a resident who lives on the other side of the A267 who has had a problem with the Cricket Club. The resident has had a lot of damage to their property by errant cricket balls. The last bill for repairs came to £1,500. It is known that it is from the Cricket Club as balls are left in the garden. Corresponding with the Cricket Club, the resident has been informed that cricket has been on The Green since the 19th Century and the tradition will continue. The Council is concerned that the communication is not promoting good local relations.
The Parish Council have received an email from the Cricket Club regarding an outstanding query about the signs on The Green during a match. The Council have been informed that disclaimer notices are put up as part of their insurance and this is a practice followed by other local clubs. A net is also erected to stop balls from going across the A267.
The Clerk is to reply to the Cricket Club asking for assurance that the nets will be put up at each match, especially in light of the problems reported from residents.
• One resident has reported that he has been out and cleaned the Frant signs. He has volunteered to paint the signs to make them more visible. However, Cllr Mrs Howell has responded that they cannot be painted as they are owned by Highways.
It has also been noticed that there is a lot of litter in the heather, opposite Frant Court on The Green. Both the litter problem and the signs are to be put on the list for the Wealden working group to resolve.
• Highways are to be approached to find out if the plastic bollards on The Green can be removed as they are broken and not in keeping with surroundings.
• Parking on The Green is getting worse. Councillors are to distribute letters to perpetrators. This matter will be revisited in future.
• A car is parked opposite the Abergavenny Arms with a ‘for sale’ notice in the window. Councillors noted that this should be removed but that it is on Highways land.
• The Victoria Well is looking very good. Cllr Hall has also been sowing wild flowers in the new designated area.
9. To adopt Code of Conduct
Councillors were presented with the NALC template Code of Conduct. It was suggested that amendments relating to ‘co-opted’ members was amended to members, both co-opted and elected.
The Code of Conduct was approved and will be added to the website.
10. Highways, Transport & Lighting Matters.
10.1 To review progress regarding Little Bayham
A meeting has taken place between Michael Higgs, ESCC, and the Police. The traffic speed for Bayham Road and Little Bayham was reviewed. Proposals to the Parish Council are expected by the end of the week.
Michael Higgs hopes to agree a 50mph speed limit from Bells Yew Green to just below Little Bayham, then 500 yards of 60mph limit back into 50mph. East Sussex do not believe a 40mph speed limit can be justified at Little Bayham and lowering the limit would be ignored by drivers. Cllr Harris does not believe residents will be pleased with this outcome.
Michael Higgs is also not prepared to look at overtaking lines as it is difficult to change rules that have been established for years and the visibility is not impaired.
Councillors approved the payment for the gateways. The Clerk is to inform Michael Higgs but also to ask whether the Council would receive a discount if further gateways are ordered. Councillors noted that the Eridge sign coming from Crowborough is hidden in the hedge and easily missed.
Cllr Harris advised the Council that a deer sign will be replaced at Bells Yew Green. However, there is a major deer problem in Little Bayham. Highways have agreed to a temporary road sign to inform drivers of more activity in the rutting season.
Councillors wished to know the statistics relating to accidents involving deer. The police will only have a record if they are called out. It is possible that Sussex Safer Partnership may have statistics for reported incidents. It was noted that the area with the proposed 60mph limit is the worst section for deer.
10.2 To discuss outstanding highways matters
• A letter has been received from the Chair of Governors, Frant School, thanking the Parish Council for their work attaining the zebra crossing on Frant Road. However, the Parish Council have heard from James Vaks, Highways, that the zebra crossing installation is not to be scheduled until the financial year 2013/14. This has been queried by the Council and County Councillor Tidy is also to enquire.
• Cllr Mrs Best has advised that a team of residents and representatives from RSPB and neighbouring properties has been created. The response from Highways has been explained to the team with a view to what can be done without help from Highways. A local working party has looked at the options of the positioning of a path and a further meeting is planned with representatives from the RSPB to work out the preferred route. RSPB have indicated that they would be happy to give a permissive right of way to create the path. It has been suggested that funding could be sought from Sustrans if the path is to cater for cyclists. Cllr Mrs Best is to advise Highways at the next SLR meeting of the progress made. Planning permission will need to be sought but public benefit and health and wellbeing can be evidenced. However, it is unclear who would apply for the permission as the path covers land owned by different bodies. Cllr Mrs Howell is to research this matter. Cllr Mrs Best was also advised to contact Peter Heasman at Highways as he initially helped on this subject.
• Councillors noted that the path needs clearing from Bunny Lane to Tunbridge Wells. This is to be added to the working party.
10.3 To discuss the agenda for the SLR meeting, 4 October 2012
Items to be discussed include:
Bells Yew Green – gates, Little Bayham, double yellow lines regarding traffic calming, disabled access across Bells Yew Green Road to Brecknock Arms, Frant Lakes sign
Frant – zebra crossing and school sign
Eridge – update regarding footpath
11. Planning Matters
11.1 To approve the Minutes of the meeting 3 September as a true record.
The minutes of the meeting held 3 September 2012 were signed as a true and accurate record.
11.2 To make recommendations about Planning Applications received.
• WD/2012/1572/LB – Virginia Cottage, High Street, Frant TN3 9DU
Removal of weatherboard on north gable end wall, repair of frame (timber) behind and replacement of weatherboard like for like.
• WD/2012/1809/FA – Bush House Field, Bayham Road, Frant TN3 9AN
Change of use of land from grazing to residence for a gypsy family, stationing of one mobile home and one touring caravan.
The Council objects to this application.
We would like to note that it states in the application that the mobile home is grouped. However, this is incorrect and the mobile home stands alone. It also states that the applicant has health problems. It is believed that this location would be detrimental to the health of the applicant as it is rural with little or no public transport. Also, the location is within East Sussex, not Kent as per the medical needs of the applicant.
Frant Parish Council initially objected strongly to the temporary application as it sets a precedent to all the residents of Frant Parish that if you buy or own land you can set up a ‘mobile home’ in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with impunity. In this particular case, the ‘mobile’ home – a substantial modern detached bungalow – is built on solid brick foundations and is nowhere near any other farm or other buildings. Also, this ‘gypsy site’ will attract further travellers and turn this field, surrounded by woodland and many miles from a bus service, shops, schools or amenities, into an unplanned and inappropriate Gypsy site. In addition, it is too close to the junction with the Hawkenbury Road and Dundale Road and a very dangerous exit.
We are also very concerned regarding the comment that approval is not personal as this could mean the site could be expanded beyond the applicant to make a significant site in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The following instructions were noted:
WD/2012/1652/F – Thornbury, Mayfield Road, Frant TN3 9DH – Proposed summerhouse extension to existing garage/exercise room – Approved
WD/2012/1476/F – Benhall Forge, Benhall Mill Road, Tunbridge Wells TN3 9AE – Demolition of modern single storey extension, replacement with two storey extension – Approved
WD/2012/1489/F – Cobwebs, The Platt, Down Lane, Frant TN3 9HP – Single storey living room extension, demolish existing conservatory – Approved
Cllr Mrs Howell advised that she has received several complaints regarding the application for 11 High Street. If this goes to committee, Cllr Mrs Howell will recommend for refusal on the grounds of light detriment.
12.1 To approve accounts payable.
12.2 To review 6 month budget
The Clerk presented the 6 month budget review to Councillors. This is to be looked at in more detail at the next meeting.
13. To discuss removal of Frant Football Hut.
The wooden structure has been removed. Cllr Argue was thanked for all his work.
The metal container requires more considered work. The internal plasterboard is to be removed along with internal partitions. Most of the rubbish left inside the container has been disposed of. Equipment will need to be hired as there is no power supply available on site. There is also a steel platform which may be cemented in. Quotes are being sought.
14. To review items to be included on website – for example, links to ESCC highways portal
Items to be added to the website include contact details for Wealdlink, links to external sites (eg. Highways), police contact numbers (emergency and non-emergency), details regarding Speedwatch and Police and Crime Commissioner election.
15. Correspondence for noting.
16. Urgent issues at the discretion of the Chairman for noting or inclusion on future agenda.
Councillor responsibilities are to be added to the next agenda.
There being no further business the meeting closed at 9:20pm.