FRANT PARISH COUNCIL
THE MINUTES OF A MEETING OF FRANT PARISH COUNCIL HELD AT
FRANT MEMORIAL HALL, FRANT
ON WEDNESDAY 20TH JULY 2011 AT 7.30PM
Present: Councillors Crookshank (Chair), Harris, Mrs Myers, Rockingham and Wright
Also in attendance: Sarah Codling (Clerk), County Councillor Tidy, District Councillor Padfield, Alan Argue, Christopher Hall, William Rutherford and two members of the public
1. To receive apologies and reason for absence.
Apologies were received from Cllrs Mrs Best, Mrs Howell and Rowland.
2. To receive declarations of interests on items on the Agenda.
3. To co-opt Councillors
Mr Alan Argue introduced himself as a potential Councillor. He has moved to Broadwater Forest from Bromley. Working as a landscape gardener, he has come to know the area and people well, an important attribute as a Councillor. He is enthusiastic, respectful and caring about the community. Mr Argue is keen to be involved and wishes to make a difference in certain areas. Mr Argue is also open to taking on specific responsibilities and has time available to do so.
The Council voted and unanimously agreed to co-opt Mr Argue as a Councillor of Frant ward.
Mr William Rutherford then introduced himself as a potential Councillor. He moved into Frant 3 months ago after living in Tunbridge Wells for 11 years. Mr Rutherford previously lived in Cheshire and, therefore, is used to village lifestyle and enjoys being part of community.
Mr Rutherford moved to Frant the week before the Royal Wedding street party and met many people at that event, making contacts with many village activity leaders.
An accountant by profession, Mr Rutherford can bring financial expertise to the Council. He is able to commit to meetings on the 1st Monday and 3rd Wednesday of every month.
The Council voted and unanimously agreed to co-opt Mr Rutherford as a Councillor of Frant ward.
4. To approve the Minutes of the meeting 15 June 2011 as a true record.
The minutes of the meeting held 15 June 2011 were signed as a true and accurate record.
5. To determine matters arising from the previous Minutes for updating and noting.
- Cllr Mrs Myers has spoken to Graham Thorpe regarding the outstanding work at Frant Green. He is due to start within the week and will see if any other work needs completing. If possible, Mr Thorpe would like to be paid promptly following issuing his invoice.
- The invoice has been received from Frant Film Club for the aerial used at the Royal Wedding Street Party. The invoice is £63.67, no amount has been mentioned for licence. The Council should be in credit for street party, the clerk will advise at the next meeting.
6. Public Forum – time limit 10 minutes.
Mrs Rogers wished to bring to the Council’s attention a problem at the new Frant school regarding admissions. Cllr Mrs Myers declared a personal interest as Governor to the school.
The new school has been built as a half form building with each year going into school having a planned admissions number of 15. Historically the school has not had as many children as it had capacity for. Currently, the planned admissions number is being superceded. Last year 30 people put Frant as first choice, meaning the school was over-subscribed by double and was put as any choice by 54 parents. This problem will affect each year group in the whole school if more children go into Reception as each year can only cater for 15 children.
Mrs Rogers wished to know that, even considering measures being put in place by Governors, are there any provisions being made to ease the situation?
Mrs Rogers asked that even though Frant school has just been built, are there any plans for expansion? Owing to new houses being built, there may be a need for a second school. The Chairman believes this will not happen as the existing school was built just before the budget was cut.
Councillors believed that this issue does not come under the remit of the Parish Council and is mainly an issue for the Governors as the Parish Council do not have any say regarding provision of education.
Mrs Rogers then asked if there are there any provisions to halt building family homes? The Chairman responded that no such provision can be put into place. However, the Parish Council is aware of the situation and considers infrastructure when contemplating plans. The Chairman also commented that it is recognised that we are under pressure to build more houses but that Frant does not need to build as many houses as other parishes in East Sussex.
County Councillor Tidy informed the Council that it is anticipated that there will be 18 new pupils at Frant in September. However, parents who have not been successful in getting into the school can still appeal and the County Council have to abide by the decision of the appeal.
Cllr Tidy also stated that there are no plans to build a new school in Frant. No new builds are expected in the County except for new Academies in Hastings.
Cllr Mrs Myers commented that from 2012 the admissions criteria will change, hence limiting the catchment area for eligibility. The new criteria also will not consider whether siblings attend the school as the child has to be assessed according to proximity to the school.
The Council thanked Mrs Rogers for bringing it to their attention.
Christopher Hall arrived at 7:50pm
7. To receive Police Report.
- Two males were seen near locked gates on Bunny Lane, Frant at approximately 10:30 on 7 July. The police have issued descriptions of the suspicious males.
- There has been a theft of front and rear number plates from a blue Landrover Discovery, parked on the drive of a property in Frant Green Road.
- There has been a break into an outbuilding of a property in the vicinity of Station Road, Withyam.
- There has been a theft from a grey Kia Sorento, parked in Eridge Road, Groombridge.
- Two windows were broken and the garage door locks forced in an attempted break into a garage of a property in Eridge Road, Groombridge.
8. To receive reports of County and District Councillors.
- An environmental strategy for East Sussex was adopted on Tuesday, together with partners of district boroughs in health. This affects the County Council as it is about making buildings (both old and new) as sustainable as possible. One leading example is Crowborough Secondary School which is completely heated by one of the most advanced bio-mass boilers in Western Europe and is proving most successful as it has brought measures down in order to achieve some of Governments targets. Frant school has proved better than any target that has been set. Today, Frant School received a visit from planning at ESCC to look at the school and be talked through process of it’s build. Those present were extremely complimentary and particularly impressed that the carbon footprint is practically zero. Also, the school was built at a cost of two thirds of the budget as it was bought in kit form. It is believed that this process will be adopted for any future builds.
- East Sussex Fire Authority is working with West Sussex to merge the two fire authorities together. Brighton & Hove is a separate authority and shows the fire service as separate council charge. However, West Sussex are part of ESCC. Parishes are invited to review proposals.
- Waste collection costs £7m to collect of which £3m is received from recycling. Most recycling goes to China or the E.U. Some items are still going into landfill as incinerators do not cater for everything. Wealden are looking to combine with other councils. However, Wealden’s collection is completed ‘in house’ whereas Brighton, Eastbourne and Rother contract their waste collection to other service providers.
- Wealden is planning for houses. There are new regulations in planning whereby members of Wealden cannot sit on parish planning committees so there are no prejudicial sources of information.
- The Local Development Framework policy is ready to be presented to the Government. However, the Shin family have asked for more time for consultation.
- Many people have asked about the farm shop on Bunny Lane and how planning permission was granted. The Head of Planning has responded that planning has been granted by agricultural determination as it is a farm building and, therefore, does not need to go to the Parish Council for comments. The application was submitted to Wealden for consultation and their officers passed it.
The Chariman asked District Councillor Padfield whether the Parish Council could be informed and consulted as a matter of courtesy as Councillors have had to field many questions from the public. Councillors cannot comment to those concerned as no information has been received. Councillor Padfield was asked to take the message back to Wealden that the Parish Council recognise what the law says but believe it is discourteous not to advise the Parish Council that the building has been approved. The Clerk is also to write letter to Wealden.
- Councillor Padfield has joined a working party on housing allocation and how people are offered community housing. Many more people looking for houses than are available. The working party is having to look at criteria for eligibility.
9. Chairman’s Announcements & Correspondence for noting.
- Mr Christopher Hall of Eridge, previous Parish Councillor, put himself forward for co-option. All Councillors approved and Mr Hall was co-opted.
- A letter has been received from David Dain declaring concern about the situation of parking outside Frant shop and on the pavement in particular. Sir Dain would like the Parish Council to either erect bollards or something similar to stop parking.
The Chairman has also been contacted by some of the elderly residents in Frant who utilise mobility scooters who say they cannot get to the shop due to the state of the pavement and how it is designed.
Mr Roger Keen has previously said he believed that the cars parked outside are from houses nearby and are asserting their right to park nearby. There have been a number of incidents when cars come off the A267 quickly and have hit parked cars. Mr Keen does not believe it is necessary to make any parking restrictions.
PCSO Sarah Roberts has produced a notice regarding this issue. However, it was noted that one copy in the Estate Agent is illegible and the other notice in the shop is pointing inwards so cannot be read from the street. Cllr Wright believes there could be local opposition.
Cllr Mrs Myers was concerned about creating restrictions as it may alienate people from visiting the shop. It was voiced that the Council should possibly mail local residents to ask not to park during opening hours. PCSO Sarah Roberts is also to be asked to issue notices for those parking frequently.
It was noted that there is a dip in the pavement for mobility access, but it is generally parked across.
Cllr Mrs Myers is to talk to residents regarding the mobility issues. Cllr Wright is to talk to Sir Dain.
This item will be put on the agenda for the next meeting.
10. Highways, Transport & Lighting Matters.
10.1 To receive update regarding gates for entrance to Bells Yew Green.
No update has been received from Michael Higgs, ESCC. Cllr Harris is due to meet Mr Higgs on Friday.
11. Planning Matters
11.1 To approve the Minutes of the meeting 4 July 2011.
The minutes of the meeting held 4 July 2011 were signed as a true and accurate record.
11.2 To make recommendations about Planning Applications received.
WD/2011/1452/F – 1 Broomfield, Bells Yew Green,TN3 9BJ
Pitched roof extension at side.
The Council approved this application 16 February 2011
WD/2011/1431/F – Unit L, The Brewery Business Centre, Bells Yew Green, Nr Tunbridge Wells, TN3 9BD
Alterations to roof and front elevation.
The Council supports this application.
WD/2011/1316/FR – The Abergavenny Arms, Frant Green Road, Frant, Tunbridge Wells tN3 9DB
Retrospective application for 1.2m close boarded fence with 0.45m bow topped diamond trellis over.
The Council supports this application.
To note applications granted, refused and withdrawn by District Council
The following instructions were noted:
- WD/2011/0844F – 7 Down Lane Cottages, Down Lane, Frant TN3 9HW – Side double storey extension to create utility, enlarged kitchen/dining room with bedroom and bathroom above. Demolish lean-to porch, construct front porch/cloakroom – Granted
- WD/2011/8006/AA – OS Plot 6447 Adjacent Dormers, 12 Bayham Road, Tunbridge Wells – Erection of up to 45 new dwellings including associated access and parking, utilities and service, infrastructure, amenity space and landscaping – No objection
- WD/2011/7021/AD – Chase Wood, Frant – Upgrading of access tracks – Refused
- WD/2011/0993/F – Waterdown Oast, Bayham Road, Bells Yew Green, Frant TN3 9BP – Remove pseudo hipped flat roof over garage and construct pitched gable roof with storage – Granted
- WD/2011/0627/LB – Charmers Cottage, The Green, Frant, TN3 9ED – Removal of existing front door and window and frames and replacement with new solid oak door and frame and new purpose-made window and frame made to fit existing openings. – Granted
12.1 To approve accounts payable.
The accounts were approved as per Appendix A. The Council also approved the cost of £63.67 from Frant Film Club.
12.2 To agree office allowance for Clerk.
As part of employment terms, the Clerk is to claim an office allowance to cover supply and running costs of telephone line, broadband, electricity and working space.
The Council agreed a sum of £50 per month, subject to tax.
13. To discuss the Victoria Well.
Mrs Susan Piccioni has started weeding around the well. She has reported that the soil is really poor and the plants need replacing.
In response to this, and in an effort to improve the appearance of the locality, Cllr Mrs Myers proposed re-planting the plants at the well and also the troughs outside Frant Memorial Hall and the School.
The Council agreed a maximum budget of £200 for the re-planting. Cllr Argue agreed to take responsibility for this project. Cllr Argue is also to refit a spindle which has fallen off the well.
Cllr Mrs Myers agreed to buy a thank you gift to Helen Carpenter for all her work at Victoria Well.
14. To discuss the Albert Well.
A quote is to be received from Graham Thorpe regarding removing the ivy.
15. To discuss visibility of satellite dishes on residential dwellings.
This item has been postponed to the next meeting.
16. To discuss tree on Frant Green
The felled tree is still laying on Frant Green. The Chairman will discuss its removal with the owner.
17. To appoint a Neighbourhood Representative for Bells Yew Green, as requested by the Police at the recent Street Meeting.
Following the meeting in Broomfield it was mentioned that, as there is no-one in the village involved in police matters, a Councillor should be elected as a Neighbourhood Representative. Cllr Rockingham was proposed and agreed to become the Representative.
18. To receive update regarding Glebe Land
Cllrs Harris, Mrs Howell and Mrs Myers attended a meeting with Andrew Craft, Property Director of Diocese. Research using historic documents shows that the Parish Council have no official access, except for off A267 which is pedestrian only so cutting the cricket pitch would be impossible.
The meeting went well and the Council will obtain an annual licence to get access. A copy of this licence will be sent to the Clerk. The Clerk should then send a copy to Cllrs Hall and Harris to review the content.
Cllr Mrs Myers discussed parking on the Glebe Land with the Head of Frant School. Parking is permitted on the land but permission should be sought from the church warden. The Head is also anxious to purchase rights as vehicular access is on the Glebe Land, round Parish Council land (football pitch).
Mr Craft, Property Director, informed Councillors at the meeting that he would be open to discussions regarding purchasing access rights. It is hoped the diocese will be sympathetic.
When asked about renting land Councillors were informed that historically there have been disagreements about price.
Councillor Harris was thanked for all his work planning and researching for the meeting.
As part of Cllr Harris’ research, it was noted that the last agreement between the Council and the Football Club is dated February 1961. Councillors agreed that the football pitch needs regulating and a new agreement should be drawn up. The Clerk is to review this matter. The Council have also noted that they do not have a copy of the constitution of Frant Football Club and would like to receive a copy.
19. To review WDC – Green Infrastructure Strategy document.
The Clerk is to compile a list and send to Councillors to agree.
20. Correspondence for noting.
- Councillors would like a copy of the email regarding the merger of East and West Sussex Fire Service.
- A Parish Map Survey is being completed. This is to be emailed to all Councillors.
- An enquiry has been received regarding notices erected during cricket matches on Frant Green which state a disclaimer for liability should any cars be hit with errant cricket balls. The Clerk is to speak with the cricket club.
- Wealden are requesting information regarding the local area to promote Tourism. The Clerk is to respond.
- A request has been received for a grit bin in Cricketers Close. The Clerk is to respond that the Council cannot purchase grit bins for each residential road. The Council have purchased 4 new grit bins for the parish.
21. Urgent issues at the discretion of the Chairman for noting or inclusion on future agenda.
Cllr Wright brought to the Council’s attention that DEFRA have announced they are producing saplings to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee. The Clerk is to research how to apply.
Bells Yew Green Village Hall have agreed to set up a sub-committee for building a new play area. A questionnaire is to be distributed to understand local views.
There being no further business the meeting closed at 9:15pm.