Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting of the 17th October 2011
Birdham Parish Council
Minutes of the Meeting of the Council
held on Monday 17th October 2011
at 7pm in Birdham Village Hall
Present: Cllr Parks (Chairman), Cllr Tilbury, Cllr Finch, Cllr Barker, Cllr Grafham, Cllr Crossley, Cllr Leach.
Apologies: Cllr Cobbold, Cllr Bolton.
In attendance: The Clerk, Cllr Montyn (WSCC & CDC), Cllr Marshall (CDC) and forty three members of the public.
58-11 Apologies for absence
There were none.
59-11 Urgent/additional items notified to the Chairman or the Clerk prior to the meeting
There were none.
60-11 Public Question Time in accordance with SO’s 1d -1l
There were none.
61-11 Declaration of Interests
Cllr Grafham declared a Prejudicial Interest in item 6 of the Agenda as his property backed onto the proposed development.
62-11 Approve and sign the Minutes of the meeting held on the 19th September 2011
It was resolved that the minutes of the 19th September 2011 be signed as a true and accurate record.
63-11 Affordable Housing
The Chairman introduced Yvonne Thomson (Assistant Director-Strategic Housing) and Sam Irving (Rural Housing Enabler) both of Chichester District Council. Austin Wade (Rural Development Officer) and Chris Buchanan-Hepburn both of Hyde Martlet and Cllr Tilbury who would open the debate.
Cllr Tilbury outlined the reasons for the Affordable Housing requirement in Birdham and that the Council thus far had kept the residents of Birdham informed of progress, although at least one member of the public disputed this citing missing minutes. Cllr Tilbury then handed the floor to Mr Irving of CDC.
Mr Irving introduced the subject from a CDC point of view and described the progress so far as follows. A presentation had been made to Birdham Parish Council when it was disclosed that a Housing Needs Survey had been carried out which determined that 44 families had direct links to Birdham and were in need.
A search for land upon which affordable housing could be built was put in place. Initially this was done by reference to land maps resulting in a possible 16 plots being identified. These sites were then toured with a member of the Parish Council after which an informal analysis of the plots was then carried out by CDC Planning Officers. One site, to the west of Crooked Lane, was identified as the favoured site.
Mr Irving summed up by saying that the site identified was considered to be the best site available and also had the support of the CDC Planning Policy Officers for no more than 15 affordable units. He also stressed that as at the meeting date neither CDC nor Hyde Martlet had ownership of the land. He then handed over the floor to Mr Wade of Hyde Martlet.
Mr Wade said that CDC and Hyde Martlet working in partnership had produced developments of a similar nature to that being proposed for Birdham at Singleton and West Ashling. During the past year the partnership had been looking at ways to both acquire and develop the site. He said the site did have constraints including a water main that went through the centre of the site.
Mr Wade then produced two possible representative site layouts in block form and said that the partnership would be seeking views on the final design and possible amenity areas ie allotments/community orchard. It was hoped that the partnership would be able to put on a public exhibition in November or December 2011 with a planning application being submitted in the spring of 2012 with work starting approximately one year from the date of the planning application being granted.
The Chairman, on completion of the presentations, offered the opportunity to Councillors to put questions.
Cllr Crossley said that although Mr Irving had said that his land was included as a possible site this was in fact not the case and the land indicated was owned by his immediate neighbour.
Cllr Finch asked what designs would be consulted upon and how will the presentations take place.
Mr Wade said that their architects would be producing drawings which would be available at the public exhibition when the public would be able to put forward proposals and or make comments.
There being no further questions from the Councillors the Chairman opened up the opportunity for members of the public to both comment and question.
A number of the public were concerned with parking, the potential increase in traffic so close to the school and the access lane to the site. Mr Irving replied that WSCC Highways had been consulted and would be further consulted when plans had been drawn up. Mr Wade said that initial consultations with WSCC Highways had been entered into and that Highways were aware of the problems and would be carrying out further work including safety audits.
Questions were raised about the installation of sewage and water pipes across a flood plain and how were the developers going to deal with the problem in order to prevent further flooding which is already a problem throughout the village. Mr Wade felt this question was better left to the public exhibition when technical questions of this nature would be answered.
A number of questions related to the site and how it was chosen. Why was it an exception site, what is an exception site, would the properties be aligned to make use of solar gain, where were the boundary lines being drawn, the site access is too narrow, would the documents relating to other sites be made available?
Mr Irving explained that an exception site was a site that bordered the SPA and could not be used by developers for anything other than affordable housing. Thus the value of the site was extremely low leading to an extremely low build cost. The chosen site would remain an exception site which would prevent the units from being sold on and could only be rented by tenants with a direct link to Birdham. He also said that documents relating to the way the site was chosen could and would be made available to the Parish Council.
Mr Wade said that the units would be built to a minimum level 3 standard of sustainability and would make as much use as possible of solar gain. In relation to boundaries and the width of the entrance Mr Wade said that no discussions had yet taken place as they did not own the land.
One resident raised the subject of debate and thought that neither Birdham Parish Council, Chichester District Council or Hyde Martlet were prepared to debate the issue and felt that a conspiracy existed to use the suggested site and no other. This was refuted by all parties involved.
Mrs Thomson introduced herself as the person responsible for resolving housing need within Chichester District. She felt that her department and the Council had expended considerable resources in bringing the project thus far for the benefit of Birdham Residents and those in need.
Cllr Crossley complimented those who had been working on the project but expressed concerns about the subject site proposed and suggested a delay and reconsideration of the project which should involve local people.
Mr Buchanan-Hepburn said that he believed it was no longer possible to reverse the progress made so far and would be both damaging to the needs of the community and very costly.
Cllr Montyn (WSCC & CDC) said that the sites discarded had been on planning grounds and not as suggested, economic. He re-iterated that the need was demonstrated by the numbers that he had seen on the housing needs list who were qualified. He added that qualification was a matter of law and not dreamed up by CDC.
In response to a question on the Local Development Framework/Core Strategy and the Interim Policy Statement he said that further work is being undertaken and consultation would be again be carried out. Cllr Montyn also said that further discussions would take place at the Peninsula Forum on the 5th December, the time and place would be notified later, he encouraged all to attend.
In summing up he suggested that residents to take the opportunity of attending the Public Exhibition on the proposed affordable housing at which a deeper level of consultation would be entered into.
Cllr Tilbury, in summing up for Birdham Parish Council, said that there was a clash between concept and reality. Questions have and would be raised about the technicalities of the planning process. However, people are in need of housing within the Parish and the question we must all ask ourselves is do we need affordable housing or do we wish to exclude all those other than owner occupiers? He then went on to say that any application on any site will be examined under the current planning processes and the Council would examine closely all aspects of the application ie access, traffic etc. etc. Drainage was and is a problem in Birdham which would need to be addressed, the mix of units and their design to ecolevel 3 but the Council would wish to see ecolevel 4 with tenancy across all age groups.
Finally the Council would seek to include everyone in the balancing act which is the planning process.
At this point the debate was ended Cllr Montyn and approximately 35 residents left the meeting.
Cllr Crossley proposed that Birdham Parish Council should rescind minute 51-09cl viii) of the 21st September 2009 and minute 40-10 of 19th July 2010. The proposal was not seconded and therefore failed.
64-11 Land Bequeathed to the council
The Clerk reported that he was still awaiting the outcome of a meeting with the solicitors of the other beneficiaries and our solicitors. Once the results of this meeting were known he would be able to meet with our solicitors to determine the next step.
65-11 Clerks’ Report:
i) WSCC – The Clerk reported that he had received a complaint from a resident concerning kerbing sets at the entrance to the school. The Clerk investigated the problem and contacted WSCC Highways who have repaired and re-set the kerb stones and paving.
ii) CDC – There was nothing to report
iii) Other related matters – There were none
iv) Reports from Members of WSCC/CDC – Cllr Montyn had left the meeting and Cllr Marshall had nothing further to add.
66-11 Planning matters including CDC decisions:
BI/11/03687/DOM 5 Burlow Close, Birdham
This is a retrospective application for the retention of the trellis fence arising, we assume, out of a refused application (BI/11/01761/DOM).
The application lies within the Birdham SPA and the Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Burlow Close is a private road composed mainly of bungalows. The front gardens are unfenced but are fringed here and there by shrubs. The application site lies at the corner of the dog-leg in the road and so is both side-on and facing the road on the south and west sides respectively. A close boarded fence has been erected from the road on the east side and marks the rear (eastern) curtilage of the property. The trellis fence is along the south side of the property together with a shrub hedge and certainly affects the streetscape of Burlow Close. Policies BE 13 (sections 3 and 4) could apply here. The trellis and hedge at this point also obscure oncoming traffic approaching the dog-leg corner. We would not wish to see the open character of the Close spoilt by the creation of a precedent which would encourage other residents to enclose their front gardens at random and therefore OBJECT to this application.
BI/11/02869/ADV Lansdale Marine, Birdham Road, Birdham
The site lies outside the Birdham SPA and within the Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The Yamaha sign was erected two or three months ago and this application seeks to regularise that situation.
This section of road is an Area of Special Control for Advertisements. Policy BE9 therefore applies. A precedent was established along this section of the road by application BI/10/00516/ADV where Mr Froud was refused his retrospective application for a modest, hand-painted sign for his pine furniture business. PPG19 states, in addition to the criteria in LPA Policy BE9, that amenity and public safety must be taken into account.
The first assessment under PPG19 is the effect on the visual amenity in the immediate neighbourhood and the characteristics of that neighbourhood. This sign is on the roadside at a small retail park which has been established at the edge of the AONB in a rural environment characterised by trees, fields and hedges. If Mr Froud’s sign was unacceptable, so is this one. This Council has sought to minimise the visual intrusion into a gateway site for the village but there have been frequent complaints about both of the businesses on this site and the breaking of development conditions on advertising, forecourt retail sales and the poor condition of the roadside hedge which was intended to soften the intrusion into the landscape.
Is this sign so distracting or confusing that it creates a hazard or endangers people taking reasonable care? If the answer is no it is only because there are already so many other distractions, some of which contravene planning law.
On the basis of PPG 19, and LPA policies BE9 and RE4 the Council OBJECTS to this application.
BI/11/03813/FUL Northleigh Farm, Main Road, Birdham
The Council raises NO OBJECTION to this application
It was resolved to instruct the Clerk to notify Chichester District Council of the decisions made.
BI/11/02728/FUL Birdham Nursery School Birdham C Of E Primary School Crooked Lane Birdham Nursery school building. WITHDRAWN
It was resolved to note the decisions made by Chichester District Council
67-11Correspondence – In addition to that already circulated.
i) The Clerk reported that he had received a letter from WSCC asking for Public Rights of Way Volunteers. Mrs Evans and Mr Finch as residents of the Parish volunteered to undertake this role.
ii) An email had been received from SALC informing BPC that they had a meeting with the Chief Constable scheduled, and requesting that any unresolved items of a strategic or local nature should be forwarded to them for potential resolution.
i) Play area and playing field – The Clerk reported that vandals had again attacked the rubber crumb matting, this time beneath the swings. He asked for permission to have this repaired as soon as possible at a cost not to exceed £1100.00 exc VAT and that the funds be transferred from the Councils Reserve to cover the cost.
It was Resolved that permission be granted for the repair work to be carried out and that the funds from reserve be transferred to cover the cost.
The Clerk also reported that the vandalised gate post had been renewed and the gate was due to be re-hung within the next few days.
Due to the amount of vandalism that had taken place recently coupled with other incidents at the Village Hall the Clerk reported that he had asked for an on-site meeting with Police, this was due to take place shortly.
The Clerk reported that the RoSPA Play Safety Inspection had been carried out and that whilst observations had been made the play park was given an overall low to medium risk grading.
The goal nets had been passed to Cllr Grafham for installation.
ii) Village Green and Pond – The Clerk reported that he had no further information to give on the pond and was chasing the various organisations for answers.
The Clerk went on to say that a meeting was to be held in late November with a family who had asked for permission to install a memorial bench on the green. In addition it was noted that two other benches already on the green were in dire need of attention which was in hand.
iii) Police and Neighbourhood Watch – Although there was no Police present at the meeting it was reported by Councillors and by Residents that five houses had been broken into in Martins Lane and a large quantity of wine and champagne had been stolen from one residence and that several parked cars had their tyres slashed.
iv) Communications/Parish Newsletter – Cllr Finch said that in the light of the Affordable Housing debate and the public exhibition a newsletter should be sent out just prior to the exhibition to encourage as many as possible to view and ask question or raise comments.
Cllr Grafham had produced an interim paper concerning the new web site but, still had a little more work to do. He asked that this item be deferred until the November meeting.
v) Other – There was nothing to report.
The Clerk recommended the re-appointment of Ms E O’Flanagan as the Internal Auditor to the Council. She had proved extremely business-like and was very aware of council administration and finance.
It was resolved to appoint Ms E O’Flanagan as the Internal Auditor for Birdham Parish Council for 2011/12.
The Clerk presented the financial report to the Council which showed the following figures;
Balances held at Bank: £44475.52
Designated Funds: £25883.04
Available Funds: £18592.48
Creditors: £ 2548.09
It was resolved to accept the financial report.
70-11 Reports from Councillors attending meetings
Cllr Crossley said that he had attended the CDALC meeting earlier. He felt that this was an organisation ideally positioned to represent the various Councils on the Peninsula and to act as catalyst for closer working and clustering to potentially reduce costs. The Chair of CDALC was seeking ideas to take forward.
Cllr Tilbury commented that the group opposed to Madestein ‘glasshouse’ development was meeting to fight the appeal by Madestein against the refusal of its planning application which had already started. Cllr Parks said that a leaflet was available which would give more information to interested parties and she would be happy to give some out.
Cllr Crossley said that he and the Chairman Cllr Parks had a meeting arranged with the Headmaster of Birdham School and the School Travel Advisor to discuss the ‘Park and Stride’ initiative. He also said that there was to be an open meeting at the School at 1900hrs on the 1st November to discuss this initiative and other subjects.
71-11 Items for Inclusion in the next meeting
The Chairman Cllr Parks asked for the Celebration of the Queens Diamond Jubilee to be included on the next agenda.
Signed ___________________________ Dated ____________________