FRANT PARISH COUNCIL
THE MINUTES OF A MEETING OF FRANT PARISH COUNCIL HELD AT
VILLAGE HALL, ERIDGE
ON WEDNESDAY 21ST MARCH 2012 2011 AT 7.30PM
Present: Councillors Crookshank (Chair), Argue, Mrs Best, Hall, Harris, Mrs Myers, Rockingham, Rowland and Wright
Also in attendance: Sarah Codling (Clerk), County Councillor Tidy and 24 members of public
1. To receive apologies and reason for absence.
Apologies were received from Cllr Mrs Howell and Rutherford. All apologies were accepted.
2. To receive declarations of interests on items on the Agenda.
Councillor Mrs Myers declared a personal interest as Governor of Frant School.
3. To approve the Minutes of the meeting 15 February 2012 as a true record.
The minutes of the meeting held 15 February 2012 were signed as a true and accurate record.
4. To determine matters arising from the previous Minutes for updating and noting.
5. Public Forum – time limit 10 minutes.
Members of the public present expressed concern regarding the lack of a footpath along the A26. This footpath was in existence until approximately 20 years ago and is the only section of road without a footpath between Tunbridge Wells and Crowborough. It is believed that this section of the footpath was severely damaged when the road was resurfaced cira 1988. There are, however, public footpaths going through Eridge Park and also by the Nevill Crest and Gun, towards Tunbridge Wells.
One member of the public explained that this issue was raised around 1990 when he was a member of the Parish Council. Highways were approached but the matter was rejected. A debate took about a year.
The Chairman responded that he hoped the new Localism Bill should help the cause as, owing to the strong feeling from the community, Highways should be more incumbent to help. We also have the support from the neighbouring RSPB and Eridge Estate.
Further concern was expressed regarding the safety of pedestrians. Also, cyclists struggle up the hill on a daily basis and find they have to dismount. It is the wish of the public to encourage tourism but, before that can happen, all safety issues must be addressed.
County Councillor Tidy asked where the beginning and end of the reinstated footpath were located. He was informed that it is an approximate ¾ mile stretch within a continuous 6 mile pavement between the Bunny Lane cross roads to the Nevill Crest and Gun pub. The Clerk is to email a copy of a map to Cllr Tidy.
When questioned whether the footpath would be utilised all present confirmed they would use it. Some members of the public have been prevented from walking to the Nevill Crest and Gun owing to the lack of a footpath and the safety concerns.
It was also believed that there should be a strong case to have the path located slightly further away from the road, especially around the Nevill Crest and Gun. This is owing to it being a more safe and attractive route to walk. It would also create an attractive walk around High Rocks and RSPB Reserve.
Another member of the public asked that Highways looked at Eridge Road, by the dip in the road. Water appears to collect across that section of road. Highways have looked at the road but to no great avail. This is especially bad during winter when the water freezes over. More work on this section of road would be needed if the footpath is reinstated. The Clerk is to contact the Highways Steward.
6. To receive Police Report.
7. To receive reports of County and District Councillors.
• The County Council have been given approval for the Bexhill-Hastings link road to be constructed.
• It has been arranged for the Chief Executive to visit the whole of the Wadhurst Division on 21st May 2012. Frant Parish Councillors were invited. It was noted that it would be a good time for Councillors to discuss the Localism Bill and it’s impact. The Chief Executive is keen to understand the feeling ‘on the ground’ rather than what is dictated from above. Cllr Tidy will send details nearer the date.
8. Chairman’s Announcements & Correspondence for noting.
The Chairman has received two letters, both relating to the safety issues on A267. One letter is from the Chair of Governors of Frant School, offering support to proposed work on the road. Possible financial support has also been offered. Another letter is from a Frant resident expressing support to a zebra crossing being installed.
9. Highways, Transport & Lighting Matters.
9.1 To review safety issues on Frant Road, A267
• The Chairman sent an email to Brian Banks, Highways, as he is responsible for looking at the proposal. The communication followed the Annual Parish Meeting last week where there was a very strong view about doing something on the road. The email expressed the view that this subject is something residents are rightly concerned about and that the Head Teacher of the school, parents, grandparents and the Parish Council all want something done sooner rather than later. It also mentioned that the school and Parish Council could help with funding if this would speed up matters. However, no acknowledgement of the communication has been received, despite it stating the date of the Parish Council meeting.
County Councillor Tidy will chase up Brian Banks. Cllr Tidy has visited the site on a few occasions. He has had a response from Rupert Clubb who believes that the pavement is inadequate for any railings. Cllr Tidy would have a problem to disagree with this view. The conclusion has been made that the zebra crossing would be located at the island on A267.
Cllr Tidy has been trying to get the 30mph sign on the Tunbridge Wells sign taken back to prevent cars approaching Frant Hill at such speed. It was also noted that there is not much notice before the crossing at Church Lane. A response is still awaited. Councillors queried whether the school sign could also be moved as it is in a poor position. Cllr Tidy believed this would be moved at the same time as the 30mph sign.
The Chair advised Cllr Tidy that he is very happy to meet Mr Banks and discuss the matter on site.
It is believed that this issue should not be difficult to resolve as it should just be a matter of funding.
The Council were advised by the public that a further incident occurred today where an elderly lady was nearly knocked down.
Cllr Mrs Myers asked if the Chair could discuss the surfacing of the road when he meets Mr Banks.
• A fingerpost needs repairing at High Rocks. The Council approved the £60 quote from JAKK Furnishers to repair the post.
• The Parish Council requested for Frant Hill to be cleared by ESCC Village Maintenance Team. Correspondence has been received requesting clarification about where needs clearing. The Clerk was advised that the whole hill needs clearing on the side of the road where Tate Fencing is located.
It was also mentioned that a work party, in conjunction with the school, could clear the area. Approximately 18” of path should be gained. The area proposed to be cleared would be from the Abergavenny Arms down to Tates Fencing.
• The Clerk was asked to contact Wealden as several incidents of flytipping have occurred on Dundale Road.
9.2 To agree lighting in Parish
An orange light has been installed in Church Lane. Frant have previously agreed to only have white lights installed. This is more in keeping with rural surroundings and gives less light pollution.
It was proposed that the whole parish should have only white lights. All Councillors approved.
10. Planning Matters
10.1 To approve the Minutes of the meeting 5 March 2012
The minutes of the meeting held 5 March 2012 were signed as a true and accurate record.
10.2 To make recommendations about Planning Applications received.
There were no planning applications to consider. However the following decision notice was recorded:
WD/2012/0078/F – Woodlands, Frant, TN3 9DL – Proposed rear and side extension, render and pain upper storey of dwelling – Approved
11.1 To approve accounts payable.
The accounts were approved as per Appendix A.
The Clerk is to write to the Henry Smith Charity expressing our gratitude and advising how many parishioners have benefitted from the distribution. Next year parishioners are to be advised that they can spend their allocation in either Frant Stores or Lambs Larder but allocations cannot be split between the shops.
11.2 To appoint internal auditor
The Clerk advised the following auditors and rates:
• J Roberts – £160
• Gwen and Tony Pritchett – £190
• Doug Williamson – £60
Councillors approved Mr Williamson, CCAB qualified accountant, as auditor. The Clerk is to advise Mr Williamson of his appointment and to thank Mr Roberts for his work in the past.
11.3 To approve grants
Applications for funding have been received from the Citizens Advice Bureau and the Samaritans. The Parish Council agreed the following grants:
• Citizens Advice Bureau – £150
• Samaritans – £50
12. To discuss Diamond Jubilee celebration
The Clerk has advised the organisers of the Bells Yew Green and Eridge celebrations the funding awarded from the Parish Council. Details regarding who to pay the funds to is still awaited.
No further communication has been received regarding a celebration in Frant.
Councillors queried whether a plaque could be erected on Victoria Well to commemorate the Diamon Jubilee. A brass plaque was suggested commemorating the reign of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II. Cllr Mrs Myers is to review and the matter discussed at the next meeting.
13. To discuss Eridge footpath
An email has been received from Peter Heasman, Highways. Unfortunately, this email does not show much support for the project. Cllr Mrs Best is to send the Clerk a copy of a map circa 1910 showing the existence of the footpath. The Clerk is to also review historic files for any pertinent information.
Further communication will be sent to Mr Heasman stating the strength of feeling in the area regarding the need to restore the footpath.
14. To review grass cutting schedule.
The costs of grass cutting were reviewed.
At the Annual Parish Meeting a resident suggested that part of Frant Green should be set aside to cultivate wild flowers, ie. the grass is not cut. Councillors suggested the section next to the bowling green could be set aside. However, the Trustees of Frant Green are to review this matter and advise the Parish Council. However, should this project go ahead it was proposed that the Garden Club should maintain the area.
Councillor Mrs Myers has spoken to the Head Teacher at Frant School. They would like to use the football pitch for rounders. Speaking to Ron Thompson, Frant Football Club, Cllr Mrs Myers has been advised that plumbers have repaired the leak in the hut but it requires further review. Neither the Football Club or the School have a need for the huts. Mr Thompson agreed to speak to the Second Team to see if they would use the huts but believe they will decline as they have not used them for a year.
The water supply at the football pitch is also used by allotment holders. It could be cut off from inside the football hut as there is a separate tap available outside. Councillors proposed to take away that huts but leave the goal posts.
The Clerk is to get quotes to take away the huts. Cllr Mrs Myers is to look at the safety of the goal posts.
A plumber is to be approached regarding the pipework.
15. To review feedback from Annual Parish Meeting.
Good feedback has been received from parishioners regarding the Annual Parish Meeting. One Frant resident emailed to express they enjoyed the meeting. The RSPB also thanked the Council for being involved.
The Chairman thanked Councillors for the food they provided.
16. Correspondence for noting.
17. Urgent issues at the discretion of the Chairman for noting or inclusion on future agenda.
• It was proposed and agreed to hold the Annual Parish Assembly in April, not March.
• Cllr Rowland attended a Wealdlink Meeting. There have been 5-6 residents who have signed on but only 1 person has used the service. Wealdlink is monitoring how many residents use the service.
• The Clerk is to request Wealden clear litter in the area. Rotherfield Road especially needs attention.
There being no further business the meeting closed at 8:30pm.