FRANT PARISH COUNCIL
THE MINUTES OF A MEETING OF FRANT PARISH COUNCIL HELD AT
VILLAGE HALL, BELLS YEW GREEN
ON WEDNESDAY 21ST SEPTEMBER 2011 AT 7.30PM
Present: Councillors Crookshank (Chair), Argue, Mrs Best, Harris, Mrs Howell, Mrs Myers, Rockingham, Rowland and Wright
Also in attendance: Sarah Codling (Clerk), County Councillor Tidy, Sgt Mike Keeler, 2 members of the public
1. To receive apologies and reason for absence.
Apologies were received from Hall and Rutherford.
2. To receive declarations of interests on items on the Agenda.
3. To approve the Minutes of the meeting 20 July 2011 as a true record.
The minutes of the meeting held 20 July 2011 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.
6. To receive Police Report.
PCSO Sarah Roberts sends her apologies for not attending.
Crime recently has mainly been in the form of thefts from garages and sheds with power tools, hedge trimmers (petrol driven), small motorcycles and quad bikes primarily being the target. A theft also took place in Hartfield where 2,000 litres of oil was taken from an oil tank.
The Spa Valley Railway has been the victim of graffiti. The side of carriages have been defaced whilst on the railway lines at night.
An operation is being set up to target thefts, mainly around Withyam and Rotherfield. Two men are removing five bar gates and going round the back of properties. One owner returned to their property and challenged the intruders who left their vehicle behind as it would not start. One of the suspects have been described as having blonde hair and is thinner than other man who has dark hair. They are thought to be opportunists, and are believed to be from Frant. Different cars are used in the crime. If disturbed the men ask occupants for scraps.
The police attended a RTC last week. A head on collision took place as the result of a speeding issue. One driver has a suspected crushed vertebrae. There are no other injuries.
Cllr Myers arrived 7.35pm
Cllr Wright mentioned a car parked in Frant, possibly from the school, with a registration ending PUG. This has been reported by a resident in Fern Close. The police do not know of any issue but will keep their eyes open.
The Response Team who deal with grade 1 and calls will shortly move from Crowborough to the East Sussex hub in Uckfield. Each police officer will complete a brief at Uckfield before going to their designated field.
7. To receive reports of County and District Councillors.
The planning meeting took place this morning to consider the objections to the parking proposals at Bells Yew Green. Cllrs Crookshank and Harris were in attendance. Cllr Tidy thanked Cllr Crookshank for putting a positive case to the committee who have, in turn, supported the recommendations and disregarded the objections. Building is expected to start mid October. The yellow lines will be completed first, followed by the double yellow lines and, finally, the engineering of build-outs. Traffic will need to be cleared to construct the build-outs.
During initial stages the Council will look forward to co-operation from residents and the police will be monitoring anyone not adhering to the new restrictions.
At the last Parish Council meeting there was discussion about Frant school where a member of the public questioned funding, admissions policy and whether the school is to be expanded. Cllr Tidy explained this will definitely not take place. Frant school is unique across East Sussex as it has a special admissions policy due to pressure from Tunbridge Wells to send pupils here. It is extremely difficult to get admission to school for those outside of catchment area. It will remain a 15 intake school as combining any 2 years may dramatically exceed the recommended level of 30 children and will compromise teaching ability. The member of public has been fully briefed.
However, Cllr Mrs Myers noted that extra children are allowed into the school due to appeals so there is no guarantee that the final limit will be 15.
A question arose following another memorial on Wadhurst Road which has been in situ the past 2 years. Councillors requested the matter be treated with delicacy but removed as it is quite distracting and in a dangerous position. Cllr Tidy is not sure what is being done about that stretch of road as he does not believe the measures taken 18 months ago are adequate. An enquiry is being reviewed.
Cllr Howell attended the Parish and Town Conference at East Sussex County Council. Cllrs Rockingham and Wright were also in attendance. A talk was given from a lady from trading standards. There is a website available to alert people to scams aimed at the elderly. A poster is to be displayed on our noticeboards detailing information. This is also to go on our website.
A Highways steward is to be allocated to our area to look after roads, etc. This is to be rolled out soon. The Clerk is to obtain the name of the steward for our records. The steward is to be the first point of contact instead of going to the call centre. A list of what the task force will complete is available and the Clerk is to obtain.
Part night lighting is to be rolled out. The lights are dimmed down a few degrees, thus saving money. Trials have shown the difference to be unnoticeable but saves 20% of money. East Grinstead have recently undertaken this initiative. The Clerk is to investigate.
A website for apprenticeships is available. This is to be advertised on the Council website so young people can look when needing jobs.
In October there is to be a conference to roll out fast broadband for areas with poor communications. The organisation BDUK (Broadband UK) is to raise £10.6m which will be matched by the County Council. However, the Council will have to find match funding which could cause a problem. There is a hot list of places which are badly served.
There are reports in the newspaper that District Councillors are allowed to build council houses. It has been delegated to a working party to create criteria. Historically, council houses have stayed in families for many years so proposed houses will be short tenancies only. There are several areas available to build on, none of which are in Frant. The funding is to be from the housing revenue account which holds money from tenant rent. The money currently goes towards upgrading and renewing tenants homes. That budget may be reduced. There are also other plots of land the District Council owns but no longer have a use for. These plots may be sold to raise more funds. Details are still to be finalised. The number of houses to be constructed is unknown.
The leisure contract is coming up for renewal in October. This is currently going to tender to several suppliers. The contract requires suppliers to meet certain criteria, for example, encouraging older people to attend.
8. Chairman’s Announcements & Correspondence for noting.
9. Highways, Transport & Lighting Matters.
9.1 To receive update regarding gates for entrance to Bells Yew Green.
Cllr Crookshank took this opportunity to thank both Michael Higgs and Cllr Tidy for all their hard work relating to the Bells Yew Green parking.
Michael Higgs reported this morning that he has 3 designs for the gates that he is looking into. He will get costings before reporting to the Council.
10. Planning Matters
10.1 To approve the Minutes of the meeting 1 August 2011 and 5 September 2011.
The minutes of the meetings held 1 August 2011 and 5 September 2011 were signed as a true and accurate record.
10.2 To make recommendations about Planning Applications received.
11.1 To approve accounts payable.
The accounts were approved as per Appendix A.
2 members of public arrived 8pm
12. To review and adopt procedure to co-opt Councillors
The recent requirement to co-opt Councillors has highlighted a need for a policy.
Councillors agreed that the Council should have in writing a statement why the proposed person is interested in being Councillor, what they can bring to Council, a brief CV and a person to sponsor (nomination by anyone residing in the Parish). Candidates are to write to the Clerk who will circulate to members of the Council. Councillors can then ask the candidate questions at a meeting further to the information given.
Positions available should be advertised on noticeboards, the website and in the village shop.
Councillors noted that a policy is to be in place if Quality Council status is to be sought in the future.
The Clerk is to draft a document to be adopted next month.
13. To receive update regarding the Victoria Well.
Cllr Argue reported that he has been in contact with the Garden Club who will be taking over the planting at Victoria Well.
Cllr Argue proposed that a mowing strip be installed as currently all plants are being damaged when the grass is cut. Also, the shape of the area has changed over the years due to the lack of a defined edging.
It was noted that the memorial should be made slightly more permanent in view of the Diamond Jubilee next year. It was proposed that a defined border be created, a mowing strip installed and either entrance to have a defined edge. Once the edging has been built plants can be introduced.
A quote has been received from Tate Fencing Ltd for materials at a cost of £128.63. This does not include labour costs.
Councillors approve the idea and Cllr Argue is to obtain more quotes. Susan Piccioni from the Garden Club has advised that the Trustees of the Green are also happy with the idea.
It was also mentioned that the Well is one of the main visitor points in Frant but is also fairly unknown. It has been proposed that a plaque is installed in conjunction with the Jubilee.
Cllr Mrs Myers agreed to meet Mrs Piccioni with Cllr Argue. A report is also to be written for the Parish News to advertise participation with public. A ‘potted history’ of The Green is to be written, including upgrading the Well and how to be involved. This is also to aid advising people why not to park on the Green.
14. To discuss the Albert Well.
East Sussex County Council have maintenance responsibility for the well. They have been contacted and are looking to repair it.
Councillors noted there was a plaque on Albert Well which has disappeared in the last maintenance work, 8 years ago. The Clerk is to research whether it can be re-instated.
15. To discuss visibility of satellite dishes on residential dwellings.
As Frant Village Green is a designated Conservation Area, residents are not supposed to have satellite dishes visible on their property. Many dishes appear to be on the front of properties, being highly visible from the road. They can be placed more subtly and residents should be aware to be more careful where to put them. Councillors also felt that residents should be aware that they moved into area due to the surroundings and they should be mindful to retain them.
The Clerk is to put Conservation Area rules on website.
16. To review enforcing Advertising Policy.
The Parish Council have created a policy detailing permitted advertising on The Greens within the Parish. SALC have been contacted and have advised that the Council have powers to remove any unwanted posters under the ‘fly posting’ law. Also, Highways can be contacted to remove unwanted posters.
Councillors agreed that if any member of the Council see unauthorised advertising they are to notify the rest of the Council. The owner of the advert is to be contacted stating that the sign will be removed. The sign will be stored for one month before being destroyed.
17. To receive update regarding tree on Frant Green
A tree was felled by the A267 and has subsequently been laying on The Green for about a year. The tree has now moved onto boundary of the owner’s property but is still on The Green. Cllr Crookshank has already spoken to the proprietor. He will contact them again.
Also, a branch has recently fallen down in windy weather by Shernfold Park Farm. Cllr Argue agreed to remove it but will speak to the owner with Cllr Mrs Howell.
18. To receive update regarding Cricket Club
The Clerk has tried to contact Cricket Club regarding an email received from a Trustee of the Green. The opinions of the Cricket Club are being sought as to legal implications following their signs renouncing liability for damage to cars during a cricket match.
Due to lack of response, the Clerk has been given an alternative contact.
19. To receive update regarding Glebe Land
Cllr Harris has spoken to Andrew Craft from the Diocese of Chichester. Due to other commitments, Mr Craft will not be able to draft a licence until after Christmas.
The Clerk has contacted the Football Club regarding the need for a new agreement. A response is awaited.
20. Correspondence for noting.
Burslem have contacted the Council quoting £350 +VAT to clean Eridge War Memorial. Cllr Mrs Best is to inspect the memorial. Ownership also needs to be established.
A request has been received for more information regarding the Botten family. No information is known by the Council.
A resident has contacted the Council with concerns about safety following the traffic calming work in Bells Yew Green, detailing that their property will be compromised. The Council are to review this once work is completed.
The East Sussex County Council mobile office is due to leave Frant 11th October 2011. Councillors thanked Cllr Tidy for his work in this matter.
21. Urgent issues at the discretion of the Chairman for noting or inclusion on future agenda.
East Sussex County Council have advised the Clerk that an invoice will not be sent for the grit bins we have purchased. Cllr Tidy disagreed with this and will follow up.
There being no further business the meeting closed at 9:00pm.