Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held on the 21st November 2011
Birdham Parish Council
Minutes of the Meeting of the Council
held on Monday 21st November 2011
at 7pm in Birdham Village Hall
Present: Cllr Parks (Chairman), Cllr Finch, Cllr Barker, Cllr Grafham, Cllr Crossley, Cllr Leach.
Apologies: Cllr Bolton, Cllr Tilbury
In attendance: The Clerk, Cllr Montyn (WSCC & CDC), and 16 members of the public.
72-11 Apologies for absence
Cllr Bolton and Cllr Tilbury gave their apologies.
73-11 Public Question Time in accordance with SO’s 1d -1l
Mr Justin Goodwin asked if the Council would consider supporting the setting up of a Neighbourhood Forum with a view to the production of a Neighbourhood Plan. The Chairman asked the Clerk to respond to this question. The Clerk said that a Neighbourhood Forum was not permitted in a parish where there was already a Parish Council and that a Neighbourhood Plan must be started under the auspices of the Parish Council. However, he felt that the Council would give support to producing a Plan and that it must and would involve the residents of the Parish.
Mr Williams felt that this information was at odds with what was being proposed in Portsmouth as evidenced by the document that he waved at the Council. The Clerk replied that he had no idea what Portsmouth were doing as that was a unitary authority.
Cllr Crossley said that Mr Goodwin was known to him and fully supported his proposal and suggested that Cllr Finch could speak to the trustees of the village hall who may well suggest ways that the hall could be used.
Mr Williams then presented two petitions to the Chairman. Petition 1 stated ‘Prior to the Birdham Parish Council meeting on 17th October I do not consider that the council had kept me, as a resident of Birdham, informed of progress in selecting a site for affordable housing.’ This petition contained 38 signatures but, no addresses. Petition 2 stated ‘I would like to see the details of the 17 rejected sites for affordable homes considered by the Council and as a resident of Birdham the opportunity to comment on them’. This petition contained some 16 signatures but, no addresses.
74-11 Declaration of Interests
Cllrs Parks, Barker and Leach declared a personal interest in planning application BI/11/03616/FUL Chichester Yacht Club Birdham as they are members.
75-11 Approve and sign the Minutes of the meeting held on the 17th October 2011
A debate preceded the signing of the minutes as it was considered by Councillor Crossley that minute 63-11 did not make reference to papers that had been obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by a resident. The Clerk explained that minutes of Council meetings were not verbatim and he had not heard mention of these papers at the meeting. He also felt that the minutes were a true reflection of the meeting and, that amending them to include the papers added nothing tangible or of relevance to the meeting especially as at that time the papers had not been seen by any member of the Council and their content was entirely unknown. The Clerk said that he would not alter the minutes unless he was ordered to do so by a resolution of Council.
It was resolved that minute 63-11 of the Minutes of the meeting of the 17th October should be amended to show that Mr Williams, a resident, had obtained papers from Chichester District Council under the Freedom of Information Act in relation to the site of Crooked Lane.
Subject to that resolution it was resolved that the minutes of the 17th October 2011 be signed as a true and accurate record.
76-11 Street Lighting
Samantha Angus of SSE Contracting played a video to the Council and Residents which illustrated the work being carried out by SSE Contracting on behalf of WSCC in renewing the roadside lamp columns, where necessary, and improving the quality of light emission but reducing the power consumption. At the conclusion of the video questions from both Council and residents were put to the team.
Q - Would the level of lighting be increased and what criteria would be employed in the placement of the columns?
A – The level of lighting would be that demanded by modern regulations and because of the efficiency of the modern column the numbers could possibly be reduced, certainly the power used would be less per column. The placement of the columns would largely depend on the location and surround but may well be a straight one for one.
Q – Would the columns that are currently on and light the road but not the footway be changed to light both?
A – It is possible that some changes may be made but, as the light is projected downwards it may well improve the footway lighting as well as the road lighting.
Q – We can see the stars in Birdham at the moment, will the new lights be of sufficient numbers and intensity to prevent light pollution of the night sky?
A – A large amount of light from the existing columns is thrown up into the sky. The new columns are designed in such a way that they use both less power for the same amount of light output and the spread of light can be controlled.
Q – Will there be an increase in the number of column in the village?
A – At the moment we do not know until the final design plans are produced but, it is possible that numbers will be the same.
Q – Can work be carried out outside of the holiday periods?
A – This would be the aim.
Q – Can the lights be switched off at different times if the village requested it?
A – Yes.
Q – Are the lights being changed to fit in with new developments?
A – No.
The SSE Team said that if residents and Councillors were interested in seeing what would happen and the shape and style of lights, they would be starting the installation in Tangmere early in the New Year which would probably take about two weeks.
77-11 Land Bequeathed to the council
The Clerk reported that a meeting had been arranged with the Councils Solicitor for the 28th November.
78-11 Clerks’ Report:
i) WSCC – The Clerk reported that the main item of interest that had not already been circulated was the initiative by the Council to inform Parishes if and when salting would take place. It was envisaged that should the new web site go ahead it would be wise to include this as an informative for residents.
ii) CDC – There was nothing to report
iii) Other related matters – The Clerk reported that he was in receipt of the Manhood Peninsula Partnership final version document ‘Towards ICZM’. This had been accepted by CDC as a ‘Planning Consideration’ document.
Cllr Cobbold, one of the Project Leaders for the document, said that the document impacted on the entire Peninsula rather than small areas in isolation and should be seen, and used, as a tool in the planning process including those who wished to embark on a Neighbourhood Plan
iv) Reports from Members of WSCC/CDC – Cllr Montyn said that winter salt deliveries are taking place for those with salt/grit bins whilst bulk deliveries would take place a little later.
He then went on to talk about the reduction in bus subsidies saying that the cuts which affected the Birdham area had already been made. Those that were being talked about now were in other areas and did not directly impact on local users. He emphasised that bus travel concession cards would not be affected in any way.
Referring to the lighting columns he said that approximately half would be switched off earlier than currently experienced. In answer to a question as to whether a request to leave the lights on could be made he said that he was not 100% sure but would endeavour to find out.
79-11 Planning matters including CDC decisions:
BI/11/03616/FUL Chichester Yacht Club Birdham
This is an application to replace the existing two pontoons with larger and more robust versions, to create zones for the storage of safety boats and to re-grade parts of the foreshore in relation to these works.
The existing pontoons are reaching the end of their life and need to be replaced, in part because of the success of the Club and the amount of people who now use them, especially in the summer. The replacements are to the same pattern as those on the outer side of the lock to Chichester Marina, adjacent to the site.
The replacement East pontoon will be 7 metres longer and slightly wider. At the seaward end there will be two 6 metre long “fingers” either side of the pontoon. And alongside the main pontoon there will be a flat area (a “dock”) for a safety boat. Some re-grading of the ground at the landward end may be necessary for access to a bridge linking the land to the pontoon, as at present.
The West pontoon will be to a similar pattern but without the safety boat dock as part of it. It too will be longer than the present pontoon. At the landward end the intention is to re-grade the shingle beach between this pontoon and the main slipway. The shingle appears to overlay concrete blocks which form the existing partial seawall. They are reputedly left over from the boat construction work for D-Day landing-craft and are in a poor state. The re-grading will be reinforced by a 450mm high retaining wall of railway sleepers at the landward end.
The planning questions are to do with amenity and environment.
The site lies right on Chichester Harbour in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is prominent when viewed from the water and the adjacent road. It is also adjacent to a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a RAMSAR wetlands site.
The pontoons will certainly be larger and therefore more prominent when viewed from the clubhouse or from the roadway between the club and the lock of the Marina. But the general ambience here is of boat storage and sailing activity. The “rib” safety boats will be more prominent in their new storage and it would be desirable when they are replaced to choose a less prominent colour than the present orange. But the ambience here is in any case of multi-coloured sailing boats. We do not therefore consider that the amenity of this site and the views of it will be unduly damaged by this part of the development.
The re-grading will have to be undertaken with some care. The shingle is largely under water at high tide but, in this position, the disturbance of habitat is likely to be minimal. We would defer to expert advice (from Natural England, for example) on this.
The Council has NO OBJECTION to this application.
BI/11/03981/FUL Wophams Lane Nursery Birdham
Wophams Lane Nursery is bordered on the eastern side by the A286 and to the north by Wophams Lane. The site of this application is at the rear of the property and cannot be seen from either road. The site lies outside the Chichester Harbour AONB.
The application is for an array of ground-mounted photovoltaic cells at an angle of 35 degrees to the ground, to offset energy costs at this nursery business. The issues would be intrusion into the views from the AONB, glare from the angled glass and intrusion into the amenity of neighbours. None of these applies here.
The Council has NO OBJECTION to this application.
BI/11/04446/DOM Vine Cottage, Church Lane, BIrdham
This is an application to demolish and replace a single storey extension and conservatory and the existing garage and to create a new garage /studio, and in addition to alter some of the existing house. The site lies within the Birdham SPA and the Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The existing flat-roofed extension is of no particular merit. It projects 2.6m from the house and is 2.4m high. The proposed new extension projects 7.1m from the main house and is 4.4m high to the main ridge. We do not believe that this will involve loss of amenity to the neighbours and there are no overlooking issues as the fenestration is all on the ground floor.
There are considerable alterations to the north elevation but we see no problem with the new windows and entrance here. We have some concerns about the triple roof light on this elevation as the neighbours to the north are only 25 metres away but this could be overcome by conditions on screening hedges maintained to a suitable height.
The existing garage has an area of 59.84m2 and a maximum ridge height of 4.3m. The proposed replacement has an area of 78.84m2 including the studio and a ridge height of 5.5m. The detailing of the west elevation looks domestic and there should be a condition that this may not be used as separate accommodation or sold separately from the main house. The height also seems excessive and could have implications for neighbours to the east.
We believe that there are certain matters of detail which need to be attended to before permission is granted but overall have NO OBJECTION to this application.
It was resolved to instruct the Clerk to forward the decisions of the Council to CDC.
BI/11/03029/FUL Mr And Mrs L Van Rooyen Creek Cottage Westlands Estate Birdham.
Replacement of existing house with new dwelling. PERMIT
It was resolved to note the decisions made by CDC.
80-11 Correspondence – In addition to that already circulated.
The Clerk had received the following ;
i) An email from West Sussex Fire & Rescue informing the Council that the decision of the proposed merger between East & West Sussex Fire & Rescue Services has had to be postponed into 2012. Owing to the lack of full financial information from Central Government it was deemed to be unwise to proceed further down the merger route.
ii) A letter and supporting information from Strutt & Parker on behalf of Seaward Properties Ltd informing the Council of Sewards interest in developing a site off Church Lane and their intention to initiate a public consultation the week commencing 28th November 2011
iii) A letter of complaint from a resident regarding the village pond.
iv) Although this had been circulated previously it was felt that the second paragraph of an email from Mr Sam Irving of CDC should be read out. This was done and related to the confirmation by CDC that a contract had been entered into between the owner of the site to the west of Crooked Lane and CDC on the 13th August 2010. However, conditions contained within the contract were not met and the contract expired on the 12th February 2011. The net result is that is that as at 17th November 2011, neither CDC nor Hyde Martlet owned the land.
81-11 Diamond Jubilee Celebrations 2012
The Chairman reported that she had met with representatives from the church and the school to discuss the Diamond Jubilee.
The date had been set for 14th July 2012 and it was hoped that this would involve the whole community with as many people as possible enjoying themselves on the day. Various activities were in the process of being planned including a BBQ (hog roast). It was hoped that a celebrity would be available to open the event and if anyone knew of such a person would they please contact Alan Drew on 512441 after 6pm please.
Volunteers were needed to both set-up the event and to take it down
The Chairman concluded by saying that it would be nice to have an event the whole village could get behind and that she would report progress at the next and subsequent Parish Council meetings.
82-11 Determine and Formulate a Policy for meeting with developers
The Clerk reported that he was disappointed in not having the policy ready for inclusion at this meeting and asked for it to be deferred, hopefully, to the December meeting.
Cllr Crossley felt that it was important to have a document of this nature to ensure that the Council achieved the best possible options for the benefit of the parish as a whole.
Cllr Cobbold said that it was also necessary to ensure that openness with developers was clear and apparent to all residents.
83-11 To debate and determine the provider of a new web site for the Council
Cllr Grafham, in referring to his report that had been circulated with agenda for the meeting, said that he had approached a number of companies that were capable of providing a site that was suitable for the Council. In his opinion the one that was best suited for Birdham was Access-by Design, a local company who, whilst not the cheapest option, had worked with the Council previously and could provide exactly what was required.
It was proposed and seconded that the Clerk be instructed to start the work required to get the new site up and running in as short a time as possible.
Cllr Crossley spoke against the proposal saying that it was the wrong time to be carrying out this exercise and any decision should wait at least until the December meeting.
When put to the vote it was resolved that the Clerk be instructed to carry out the work required.
i) Play area and playing field – Cllr Grafham reported that the goal nets were now up and being used. There was concern over the state of the goal mouths however, he felt that with a little work he could repair the damage without calling for professional help.
The Clerk reported that the repair work to the gate posts at the entry to the main field and at the Farne Lane entrance to the play area had now been completed and the rubber crumb matting under the main swing set had also been replaced. He also said that he had met with PCSO Bainbridge on-site as he was convinced that some of the rubbish he had found in the children’s play area was drug related, this has been confirmed by PCSO Bainbridge. The Clerk was also concerned about the nuisance attacks on users of the Village Hall which appeared to be carried out by just three or four early teens, PCSO Bainbridge promised that patrols would be increased although she felt that it might well be a fruitless exercise.
ii) Village Green and Pond – The Clerk reported that the family who had asked to put a memorial bench on the village green had in fact meant the Birdham Pool.
The Clerk also reported that the two existing seats on the village green were in dire need of repair and he had asked a local man to quote for the repair work.
He went on to say that he was still awaiting a reply from the charity dealing with the de-silting aspect of the pond and had chased them for an answer.
iii) Police and Neighbourhood Watch – PCSO Rose Bainbridge was present to give her report. She reported that a number of thefts had taken place within the harbour and together with Conservancy and the CCRU from Newhaven and Shoreham they had increased patrols in an attempt to reduce the crime and apprehend the criminals if possible.
She went on to report that the Police and the Fire Service had visited the Wittering School and it was hoped that to go into the Birdham School shortly to talk about road safety and accident prevention in the home.
Sergeant Alan Fenn was new in post and was hoping to get to meet as many residents as possible over the coming months.
There was an increase in burglaries throughout the whole of the district and patrols had been increased to prevent further increase in crime. It seemed that 80% of all burglaries happened to people who failed to properly secure their property. Cars had been left overnight unlocked as had private residences.
PCSO Bainbridge said that there is now a new telephone number of 101 for non-emergency calls, and that this could be used from mobiles or landlines.
There was to be an NPT Meeting shortly although she was unsure of where this would be or in fact when however, if anyone rang her she would give out the information to them and they would be welcome to attend.
iv) Communications/Parish Newsletter – Cllr Finch reported that she was in the process of producing the next newsletter and hoped to have it printed and delivered at the beginning of December.
v) Other – There was nothing to report.
i) The Clerk presented the financial report to the Council which showed the following figures;
Balances held at Bank: £40671.79
Designated Funds: £25557.04
Available Funds: £15114.75
Creditors: £ 2302.73
It was resolved to accept the financial report.
ii) The Clerk explained that he had previously circulated a proposed budget to all Councillors. So far, he had received comments from just one Councillor. As the Precept demand was due to be ratified at the December meeting he urged all Councillors to ensure that they were aware of the budget content and report changes as a matter of some urgency.
86-11 To carry out a review of the Risk Assessment Policy
The Clerk had circulated a draft copy of the proposed Risk Assessment Policy to all Councillors. It was a fairly standard policy that most Parish Councils were using and he commended its adoption to the Council.
It was resolved to adopt the Risk Assessment Policy as submitted.
87-11 Reports from Councillors attending meetings
In his absence Cllr Tilbury had asked the Clerk to present his report of the South Chichester Local Committee that he had attended on the 1st November. The Clerk complied with this request and Cllr Tilbury’s written report is attached as annex a. to these minutes.
Cllr Finch said that she had attended the Park-and-Stride meeting at the School. Residents were extremely concerned about the inconsiderate parking as children were dropped off for school. Officers from WSCC were in attendance and spoke about the travel plan and asked that this be taken forward to the Parish Council.
Cllr Crossley said that he had also been present at this meeting and that he, along with residents who were also in attendance, were very disappointed they had been prevented from asking questions of the officers.
Cllr Finch said that it was her intention that this item would be included in the next Parish Newsletter and that she would be asking for comments.
Cllr Finch said that she had also attended the Annual Meeting with the Parishes, organised and hosted by CDC. She felt that this was a useful meeting and covered subjects ranging from village shops to affordable housing in West Ashling.
There being no further business to discuss the meeting closed at 9.40pm
Signed ___________________________ Dated ____________________
Report submitted to Birdham Parish Council by Cllr Tilbury.
South Chichester Local Committee
I attended the South Chichester Local Committee of the County Council on 1st November.
The main business of the meeting was a presentation by the “20s plenty in Chichester” campaign, led by Sarah Sharp. It was thoroughly reported in the Chichester Observer of 4th November.
The Campaign presented a petition of 3,091 names and has the support of one of the South East’s MEPs and the Chichester Observer,who wish to see slower speeds and less congestion across the City, improve the quality of people’s lives, reduce the number of casualties, encourage more people to walk and cycle and improve the air quality. Many of these are also objectives of the Local Transport Plan.
An interim evaluation of the scheme in Portsmouth showed that average speeds of 24mph or more before the scheme was introduced were reduced by 6.3mph within the trial area and 1.3mph outside it. Comparing the three years before the scheme and the two years after it, the number of recorded road casualties fell by 22% compared with a reduction of 14% nationally.
The campaigners seemed surprised that the decision of the Committee was to support a City wide consultation by the County Council at a cost of £30,000 from accumulated section 106 money. They assumed that their petition with 3,000 signatures was the consultation. Three different schemes were put forward for implementation if the consultation shows strong support, with costs ranging from £84,000 to £107,000.
The matter is now referred back to the County Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, Cllr Pieter Montyn, (who was therefore not able to comment at the meeting) for a decision on whether to go ahead with the consultation.
In Public Business I commented that, while I supported the Chichester scheme, it seemed that once again Birdham (in common with other outlying villages) would be shunted down the list of priorities because Chichester City would take precedence. There must be a better system. Cllr Montyn assured me that the scheme for Birdham will be discussed at the next meeting in February.