Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting of the 16th January 2012
Birdham Parish Council
Minutes of the Meeting of the Council
held on Monday 16th January 2012
at 7pm in Birdham Village Hall
Present: Cllr Parks (Chairman), Cllr Barker, Cllr Cobbold Cllr Leach, Cllr Tilbury, Cllr Crossley, Cllr Bolton, Cllr Grafham.
Apologies: Cllr Finch and Cllr Leach
In attendance: The Clerk, Cllr Montyn (WSCC & CDC), Cllr Marshall (CDC), Lewis Brown – Chichester Observer and 57 members of the public.
102-11 Public Question Time in accordance with SO’s 1d -1l:
There were no questions from members of the public
103-11 Declaration of Interests:
i) A personal interest was declared by Cllr Parks in relation to planning application number BI/11/05313/FUL as she is a near neighbour.
ii) Cllr Crossley declared a prejudicial interest in agenda item 11 as he owned land that was shown in the 2010 SHLAA.
104-11 Approve and sign the Minutes of the meeting held on the 19th December 2011:
It was resolved that the minutes of the 19th December 2011 be signed as a true and accurate record.
105-11 Emergency Planning Presentation given by Lloyd Harris (CDC):
Mr Harris introduced himself to the Council and to residents. He explained his role and responsibilities in the planning for emergencies process. He is an official adviser to the Executive Body of CDC. He advises the first responders, ie Fire, Police and Ambulance Services. He has a responsibility to advise local communities such as Birdham and has the responsibility of producing a Chichester District wide Emergency Plan. Because of the special circumstances in Selsey it is known as ‘site specific’ and is the only parish where CDC will complete and test their plan.
Mr Harris went on to explain what could possibly cause or create an emergency and asked both the Council and the Residents present to think what might happen if there were no first responders available. How would they cope? Who would they look to for help and guidance? If it was required how would they get of the peninsula or would they stay?
Local people have the knowledge and, in most cases, the wherewithal, to assist themselves in the first instance and would be able to assist in directing those first responders that are available to priorities and assets.
The Parish Council has a responsibility to its Residents to ensure that a Parish Emergency Plan is produced.
Questions from the floor were many and varied and are represented as follows;
Q – How does the message get to a co-ordinator and disseminated to the remainder of the village?
A – This would be contained in a detailed plan.
Q – Is there a ‘template plan’ available?
A – Yes. The CDC website has a plan that would only need the blanks to be filled in on a cut and paste basis. However once completed the ‘Plan’ must be thoroughly checked and challenged on a regular basis. Once a plan is complete, it will be tested as a co-ordinating document in various exercises.
Q – Could the Neighbour Watch be involved?
A – Yes most definitely
Q- Evacuation would be extremely difficult with just the one road onto the Peninsula and that same road out.
A – Evacuation would be a very great problem but, it may be better not to evacuate.
Q – Earnley is likely to be the closest village of a similar size, would it be alright to work with them?
A – Yes it makes sense to work together across boundaries to benefit both communities.
Q – Is there a cost to the Parish Council?
A – No.
Q – Ladders and chain saws etc. are normally all subject to Health and Safety Regulations requiring qualifications to use them. Does this still apply in an emergency situation?
A – No. Basic common sense must prevail when life and limb are at risk.
Q – Cllr Crossley said that he and Cllr Grafham were the lead Councillors for Birdham. He asked that if anyone was interested in helping to compile and to produce the Parish Emergency Plan would they please contact the Council through the Clerk. He asked when should the plan be compiled and could he expect any help from Mr Harris.
A – The plan should be compiled as soon as possible and that he would give as much support as he could during the process.
It was resolved that under the guidance of Cllr Crossley and Cllr Grafham, Birdham Parish Council should produce an Emergency Plan.
106-11 Land Bequeathed to the council:
The Clerk reported that as at that date he had received no further information from the Councils solicitors.
107-11 Clerks’ Report:
i) WSCC – The Clerk reported that he had received a document from WSCC outlining a number of road closure orders throughout West Sussex for re-surfacing work. One road in particular affects Birdham. That is the A286 Main Road from the Bell Lane Roundabout to its junction with Sidlesham Lane. If this was to happen within the holiday periods this would create massive disruption throughout the entire Peninsula. The Clerk suggested that he write to WSCC asking if the work could be carried out either out of season or overnight. This was agreed.
ii) CDC – Nothing to report.
iii) Other related matters – The Chairman said she needed to put on record and read a short statement to the Council and to the Residents. The statement reads as follows – ‘I would like to put on record that a complaint has been lodged against Birdham Parish Council and the Clerk. We believe that Birdham Parish Council followed due process and the complaint is unfounded. However Birdham Parish Council will take part in any investigation by the CDC Monitoring Officer and Standards Committee through the Council’s Code of Conduct and keep the Parish informed.
NO FURTHER DEBATE will be entered into, as it is now a matter of sub judice.’
iv) Reports from Members of WSCC/CDC – Cllr Montyn said that he would support the Clerks suggestion concerning the road resurfacing work and would also make representation to the Highways Department.
A resident asked if it would be possible to have a much quieter surface laid during the process as there was little or no difference in raw material costs.
Cllr Montyn said that he would ask the question.
108-11 To Determine if Birdham Parish Council Should Proceed with a Neighbourhood Plan (NP):
In introducing the concept of a NP the Clerk said that whilst he felt a lot of the preliminary work could be carried out, it was unlikely that the law would be available under which the work should be carried out until April at the earliest and possibly much later. He said that any NP produced by the Parish Council would probably take at least a year to complete and possibly much longer. He was aware of ‘Vanguard Councils’ who had been given both funding and the co-operation to produce a NP in order that regulations and the law could be written and tested. Some of the work needed could not be done as the LDF/Core Strategy had not yet been put in place and to which a NP could not diminish or devalue.
The Clerk suggested that there should be a resolution to proceed with a NP and that he should be allowed to contact Action in Rural Sussex (AiRS) to seek advice and help in commencing the project.
It was resolved that Birdham Parish Council should proceed with a Neighbourhood Plan and that the Clerk be authorised to contact AiRS to seek advice and guidance.
109-11 Planning matters including CDC decisions:
BI/11/05313/FUL Cowdry Nursery, Sidlesham Lane, Birdham
This is an application to site one mobile home and amenity building for gypsy use only on land to the south of Withdean, Sidlesham Lane, Birdham. There appears to be some confusion about the status of the applicant. Applications on this site in the last two years: BI/09/00787/FUL and BI/09/07465/FUL (later resubmitted in May 2010), have been in the name of Mr C. Milford. This one is in the name of Mr C. Milton but the supporting statement refers to Mr Milford. We are unaware of any change of ownership in the last two or three years.
We believe that this application should be approached in the same way as any other application for residential development on this site which lies on Sidlesham Lane. Past applications for this site have sought to characterise the Lane as linear development. This is not an accurate description. Rather it is a rural road, with no footpaths, with occasional dwellings, hedges and views across open farmland. Over the 800 metres of the west side of the road between Birdham Road and the junction with Mapson’s Lane there are ten dwellings, irregularly spaced, many of them set well back from the road. This application would involve infill into this scattered development. In 2002 this Council resisted an attempt to create a more linear character with the positioning of the redevelopment of North Cottage. On the east side of the road over the same stretch there are two farm cottages and one farm. This is a rural setting.
In this setting we would contend that a need has to be shown. The adjacent property (“Withdean”) has an agricultural tie as does the cottage on the other side of the road. In our view the supporting statement does not show a need for development in this location.
The site is a former horticultural nursery. The application is to turn this into a residential site. Unsaved Policy RE9 made clear that only in compelling circumstances would development be allowed which would result in the permanent loss of the best and most versatile agricultural land. Similarly, locations will only be deemed appropriate if they satisfy the requirements of the occupants and the neighbours whilst minimising the effect on the rural environment. Subsequent national and local policies (for example PPG3 on the preservation of rural character) have preserved these requirements.
Gypsy sites are currently subject to Circular 1/2006 ODPM but in April 2011 the Government put out a consultation paper. Among the aims of the proposed legislation is to limit the opportunities for retrospective planning permission, to support the provision of traveller sites through the planning system and to ensure fair and equal treatment for travellers while respecting the interest of the settled community. It is hoped to reduce tension between settled and traveller communities in plan making and planning decisions. It therefore seems unfortunate that this application has failed to respect the spirit of his expectation. And since the applicant has already moved onto the site we are surprised that this is a Planning Application rather than an application for a Certificate of Lawful Development.
Paragraph 47 of Circular 1/2006 ODPM says that where there is a lack of affordable land to meet local gypsy needs, planning authorities in rural areas should include a “rural exception site policy” in the relevant development plan. Our understanding of “exception site” is that it is adjacent to the SPA. This site is not and would be most unlikely to receive planning permission for residential development in this context.
Annex C section 4 looks to an assessment of vehicular access and landscaping to provide privacy and maintain visual amenity. Vehicular access is a particular problem here because when the land was sold twenty years ago no separate access was provided so the only way in is via a way-leave for the owner of the land across the forecourt of “Withdean”. We see no plans with this change of use to maintain privacy for the neighbours or visual amenity.
The application is accompanied by a supporting statement from a planning consultancy in Northwich, Cheshire which is reliant on information provided by the family of the applicant. As noted above, it has a different name from that of the applicant. It relies on two matters: the long history of nomadic life of the applicant and his partner and the health needs of Mr Milford/Milton. PPG1 indicates that personal circumstances seldom outweigh the detrimental effect on the character and appearance of the area.
The Council therefore OBJECTS to this application
It was resolved to instruct the Clerk to inform the CDC Planning Department of the Councils decision.
BI/11/04964/TPA Mr Alan Grisdale 31 Walwyn Close Birdham
Reduce south and east sectors by 2m (to previous wound points), remove deadwood and internal epicormic growth on 1 no. Oak tree (T4) subject to BI/97/00037/TPO. PERMIT
It was resolved to note the decisions made by CDC.
110-11 Correspondence – In addition to that already circulated.
The Clerk had received the following;
i) The latest edition News & Guide published by the Chichester Harbour Conservancy.
ii) A letter from the Treasurer of St James Church thanking the Council for its donation towards the upkeep of the Churchyard and notifying the Council of the change of Treasurer.
iii) A letter from the PWLB reminding the Council of its Loan Payment due on the 8th February.
iv) A letter from Mr Cole of Coles Children’s Funfair requesting permission to use the playing field at some time during July and August.
It was resolved to grant permission for the Clerk to liaise with Mr Cole and arrange suitable times and a location. In doing so a debate was held relating to the charges applicable to the field currently £30 per day.
It was resolved that the hire charges would remain at £30 per day for local village hirers and for all others it would increase to £60 per day.
111-11 Diamond Jubilee Celebrations 2012.
The Chairman had received a letter from the Mrs. Drew, Senior Churchwarden and Organiser of the Birdham Fete, in which it was requested that no outside circus or funfair be allowed to conflict with the local organisations on the day of the fete, 14th July 2012. This was agreed.
112-11 Affordable Housing – The Establishing of a working group to look into site selection.
Cllr Bolton, in introducing this item, said that he and other Councillor’s had received feedback that indicated that residents had lost faith in both the Parish Council and the District Councils selection of the site in Crooked Lane for affordable housing. He proposed the establishment of a working group to be made up of Councillors and Residents to revisit the site selection process and make efforts to re-engage with the public. He conceded that to restart the whole process would not be practical but, felt strongly that looking again at the site selection process would help to get the public on side.
Cllr Crossley said that Mr Henry and CDC Cllr Marshall had volunteered to work on the group.
Mr P Finch asked if the group was to be setup by the Council and the Council then step back.
Cllr Cobbold said that the original site selection had been carried out by CDC not Birdham Parish Council however, she felt that the group, if setup, should ‘stress test’ those decisions.
Mr Wilson in supporting the proposal said that residents should have the right and support whichever site was chosen as per law.
Mr Barrington said that if the review of the sites was retrospective it would be a waste of time.
CDC Cllr Marshall said that he would be happy to serve on the group but that a member of Birdham Parish Council should lead. He also said that one of the factors not taken into consideration was cost of the site.
Mr Barrington said that he felt that enough had been said, just get on and do it.
It was duly resolved that a Working Group be setup to re-examine the sites and the site selection process and that the members should be Cllrs Bolton and Barker (Birdham Parish Council), Cllr Marshall (Chichester District Council), Mr Finch, Mr Henry and Mr Barrington (Birdham Residents). Terms of Reference would be submitted to the Birdham Parish Council for ratification at its February meeting as would an initial report from the Working Group.
In closing Cllr Crossley said that he had spoken to Mr Rees Daniels of Hyde Martlet who had told him that if Birdham Parish Council voted against the Crooked Lane site then they, Hyde Martlet, would withdraw their application.
113-11 Fund Application for a Birdham Energy and Sustainability study/plan:
Cllr Bolton introduced Mr Andrew Tofts.
Mr Tofts outlined the opportunity to apply for funding in two parts. The first was to enable a study to be carried out on the energy sustainability of Birdham, and could be used to determine the feasibility of providing, as an example, a central boiler system to provide heat and hot water to homes and the school.
This does not have to mean an extra burden on Birdham Parish Council as it has been suggested that the project is managed by a group appointed by the Council which would include both Parish Councillors and other suitably skilled community volunteers. Cllrs Bolton and Crossley have been involved in the development of the project proposal which is being led by Justin Goodwin, a local resident who has a strong track record in consultancy and project management specialising in air quality and climate change emissions. At WSCC both the Community and Economic Development team and the Sustainability Team are fully supportive of this approach.
The DECC’s Local Energy Action Fund (LEAF), if an application is successful, will pay up to £130,000 for a project but the expectation is that our application would be for significantly less than this as Birdham is not a large community. No match funding or other monetary contribution will be required from Birdham Parish Council, although an element of match funding would increase chances of funding. Applications have to be submitted by noon on Friday, 20th January. The work programme has to be completed by the end of March.
The scope of the project is to provide a baseline of information about the current state of energy efficiency and levels of energy use in Birdham and assess how best the efficiency can be improved, consumption levels reduced (lowering costs for people) and what potential there is for renewable energy generation. In all aspects the key to success is to involve the wider community in Birdham and arrive at a consensus about how to take this forward in the future.
The project is preparatory to a longer term, more ambitious move towards a more sustainable Birdham.
The information and analysis produced through this project would be of great assistance in formulating a Neighbourhood Plan for Birdham – at least as a far as energy is concerned. The draft proposal will be available as soon as it is in a fit state to be read, it is very much a working document at present.
The second element is to request that Birdham Parish Council, as one of the most important stakeholders, to support and endorse the BIG Lottery Communities Living Sustainably (CLS) scheme.
This has a much wider remit than LEAF and can encompass all activities that lead to a more sustainable way of living, Everything from growing local food to sustainable transport, broadband to enable people to work from home to adaptation measures to protect elderly residents from heat waves could potentially be funded.
This is a two stage application process. In stage 1 Expressions of Interest are submitted by 31st January. From these 30 will be selected by the BIG Lottery and supported to prepare a comprehensive action plan to achieve a more sustainable community by the end of June. In stage 2 10 communities will be awarded up to £1 million to help with implementation over the following 5 years. The vast majority of this funding is for revenue spending with just £60k available for capital works e.g. for demonstration sites. Mr Tofts said that he expected that whoever takes on the long term role will be a catalyst and lead the search for capital funding for projects resulting in a more sustainable future.
The CLS scheme requires a minimum population size of 10,000 so discussions are already taking place with neighbouring parishes and the Manhood Peninsula Partnership to build a consortium of interested organisations to be involved in the project across the peninsula. Big Lottery is very clear that all parts of the community should be involved: voluntary organisations, public sector, business residents and community organisations so it’s quite an undertaking to create the development plan in stage 1. The application also requires that the lead organisation for stage 1 is a registered charity, so talks with AiRS among others about taking on this role will need to take place.
Further details and information may be found at the following URL.
Other funding is available from WSCC which could contribute to match funding requirements.
It was resolved that Birdham Parish Council be the lead partner in Birdham Parish Energy Action for an application to LEAF and if a grant is awarded the Council will be responsible for the receipt and disbursement of funding and, ultimately the management of the project.
In addition it was resolved that Birdham Parish Council would support the application to the BIG Lottery Communities Living Sustainably (CLS) Scheme.
i) Play area and playing field – Cllr Grafham reported that the lamp post that overlooked the play area had been knocked down. The Clerk said that he had been aware that the damage had happened either on New Year’s Eve or in the early hours of New Year’s Day and that he went to see what the damage was on the 1st January only to find that the lamp was in the process of being removed and a new one installed.
ii) Village Green and Pond – The Clerk said that he had contacted the charity that had been suggested as potentially able to help with the work required to the pond but as yet had received no response. He would continue to keep in contact with them.
iii) Police and Neighbourhood Watch – In the absence of a report from the Police, Cllr Tilbury reported that the Neighbourhood Watch had been informed of considerable amounts of fuel oil being stolen and that residents should pay extra attention to the security of their fuel tanks, especially as we go into the winter period.
iv) Communications/Parish Newsletter – There was nothing to add.
v) Other – Nil
i) The Clerk presented the financial report to the Council which showed the following figures;
Balances held at Bank: £35322.12
Designated Funds: £25557.04
Available Funds: £ 9765.08
Creditors: £ 979.41
It was resolved to accept the financial report.
ii) The Clerk said that although in the Budget Statement his paid hours had been increased from 8 to 12 hours a minute was required to enable a letter of notification to be written and attached to his personal file.
Cllr Tilbury said that the Clerk worked far longer than he was actually paid for and the Council had recognised this by increasing his hours, especially in the light of the decisions made at this meeting which would require additional hours to be worked.
It was resolved that the Clerks paid hours be raised from the current 8 hours per week to 12 hours per week with effect from the 1st April and that a letter of confirmation reflecting this change be attached to his Personal File.
116 -11 Reports from Councillors attending meetings
There were none
117-11 Items for inclusion in the next meeting:
Situation of the Funding Application.
Site Selection Working Group.
118-11 Date of Next Meeting.
20th February 2012 at 7pm in Birdham Village Hall
There being no further business to discuss the meeting closed at 9.25 pm
Signed ___________________________ Dated ____________________