Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting of the 19th December 2011
Birdham Parish Council
Minutes of the Meeting of the Council
held on Monday 19th December 2011
at 7pm in Birdham Village Hall
Present: Cllr Parks (Chairman), Cllr Finch, Cllr Barker, Cllr Leach, Cllr Tilbury
Apologies: Cllr Bolton, Cllr Grafham, Cllr Cobbold and Cllr Crossley
In attendance: The Clerk, Cllr Montyn (WSCC & CDC), Cllr Marshall (CDC) and 21 members of the public.
88-11 Apologies for absence:
Cllr Bolton, Cllr Grafham, Cllr Cobbold and Cllr Crossley
89-11 Public Question Time in accordance with SO’s 1d -1l:
Mr K Wright asked why the letters delivered by Seawards Properties Ltd in relation to a development of Church Lane, did not appear on the agenda for discussion.
The Chairman in response said that as at the date of the meeting Seawards had not even entered into a pre-application discussion with the District Council Planning Department. No plans had been submitted. No impact studies of any kind had been submitted. The result was that without the correct information being available it would be pointless to take it to any form of local discussion.
Mr Wright felt that nonetheless it should have been on the agenda and fully discussed.
Mr Williams said that as with the Crooked Lane site he felt that Birdham Parish Council had given tacit approval to the application.
Cllr Tilbury said that as there had been no planning application submitted for either site it was totally wrong to level this unfounded accusation at the Council. He went on to say that when an application was submitted to the Council then it would receive full objective and rigorous consideration, as did all applications, and would be judged against the usual planning policies. It had been the Councils practice in the last ten years to hold a Village Meeting to hear the views of residents on major applications and he hoped this would be the line the Council would take on this occasion. Cllr Tilbury re-iterated the date of the exhibition for the Crooked Lane site of the 20th January 2012 and urged all residents to go along with an open mind to learn about the proposal.
In response to a resident who said that 80 letters had been sent out concerning the Church Lane site in which Seaward’s had said that the Parish Council had refused to meet with them, Cllr Tilbury said it was inaccurate that the Council had to refused meet with Seawards. A matter of protocol had arisen which had to be agreed and which would be discussed later in the current agenda.
Mr Wright asked about a village plan and if the Council had discussed in detail the Crooked Lane site. Cllr Tilbury said that a village plan had been proposed some years ago and had been set aside and, no, Birdham Parish Council had not discussed the Crooked Lane Site other than in principle as an application and plans have yet to be submitted.
Cllr Tilbury went on to explain the current situation in relation to village Plans, the Local Development Framework/Core Strategy and Neighbourhood Plans. He said that Neighbourhood Plans would be on the January 2012 Agenda and it would be hoped that the entire village would both help and support the initiative.
Mr Williams asked how many houses would be built in Birdham by 2028. Cllr Tilbury said that he was reluctant to speculate about the latest LDF and he went on to highlight the vagaries of the Inspectors ruling on the last LDF submission. However, if the LDF was in the same vein as the last submission the proposed figure might be about 80 units, but this was purely a guess and such a figure might be unacceptable to this Council. CDC’s aim was to have the Core Strategy in place by 2013. Unfortunately, the consultation that had been due to start in the spring of 2012 is likely to be delayed by up to six months due to problems associated with the strategic infrastructure which Birdham Parish Council had highlighted in its response.
Cllr Montyn confirmed that the A27 and the treatment works were causing a great deal of concern. It is known that plans for the A27 are still with the Highways Agency but are unlikely to come online until 2015 at the very earliest and are based heavily on cost ratios which are the numbers of fatalities and the time wasted in traffic jams but, does not take into consideration the economics associated with time delays. He was hoping to persuade the Minister of Transport that economic influences should be a matter of material consideration.
Cllr Montyn then went on the urge the Parish Council to start working on a Neighbourhood Plan.
90-11 Declaration of Interests:
There were no declarations of interest.
91-11 Approve and sign the Minutes of the meeting held on the 21st November 2011:
It was resolved that the minutes of the 21st November 2011 be signed as a true and accurate record.
92-11 Land Bequeathed to the council:
The Clerk reported that he, the Chairman and Cllr Tilbury had attended a meeting with the Councils Solicitor on the 28th November. The Clerk went on to say that the solicitor acting for the Council had recommended that the Council now concentrate its business purely with the executors of the late Mr Adams will. It was felt that whilst the partnership working with the solicitors acting for the third party had been advantageous to the partnership, it had now reached the point where this was no longer viable. This advice was accepted and the Solicitor acting for the Council was instructed to amend the transfer deed and pursue the following five points:-
- The right to open the fence into the roadway.
- The right to have water pass to the property and to connect to existing services.
- The right that garden sheds could be built if the property was to be used as allotments.
- The right to deal with the hedge which currently separates the property from Birdham Straight House.
- The removal of the requirement for the transferors to approve the fence to be erected between the two properties.
During the meeting we were also introduced to Gillian Dussek who is to act as our contact whilst Jane Futrille is recovering from an operation.
The Clerk said that he had received a request from the Chairman to determine if it was possible to put a charge on the land, which then may have the effect of speeding up the transfer process. He had discussed this with the Councils Solicitors who had said that it was not possible to put a charge on the land but, that it was possible to put a notification of interest on the land. After further discussion the solicitors advised against proceeding as not only would it make no difference there would also be a cost involved of approximately £300.00.
It was resolved to adopt the advice of the solicitor in this matter.
93-11 Clerks’ Report:
i) WSCC – There was nothing to report.
ii) CDC – The Clerk reported had now received the Council Tax setting for 2012/13 which set the tax base for Birdham at 769.3. He had also received the latest full version of the Register of Electors.
iii) Other related matters – There was none.
iv) Reports from Members of WSCC/CDC – Cllr Marshall reported that a report had been submitted by the Planning Officers of CDC to change the way that future planning applications would be dealt with. After a considerable amount of debate the net result was that there would be no change in the rules.
Cllr Montyn was asked if he would bring the Council up to date regarding the mobile home that had suddenly appeared next door to Withdean in Sidlesham Lane. Cllr Montyn felt that the Chairman should bring the Council and the residents up to date with the situation as she knew it. Cllr Parks reported that a mobile home had been delivered to the site under cover of darkness and at the weekend. Workers had appeared on site and connected the mobile home to the water and electrical supplies. Cllr Parks went on to say that she had contacted Cllr Montyn who she felt should be commended for the speed with which he had started the action on the site.
Cllr Montyn then said that a planning application had now been received, but not validated, to turn the site into a gypsy site. He said that it was a very difficult situation against which nothing could be done until the planning application was considered viable. He suggested that once the application was live residents should write in with their own letters, not copied chain letters, to either support or object to the application.
94-11 Planning matters including CDC decisions:
Cllr Tilbury said that planning applications had piled up and apologised for the delay which meant that some of the applications had already been decided by CDC however, the decisions that had been made were in line with the decisions that Birdham Parish Council would have made except in the case of Havenhurst where CDC had refused the application on a technicality.
BI/11/04708/TPA Mr A Hope, Crosstrees, Burlow Close, Birdham
The Council is content to rely on the judgement of the District Council’s Tree Officer in respect of this application.
BI/11/04784/PLD Mr N Hayes Havenhurst, Sidlesham Lane, Birdham
This is an application to renew a previously granted planning permission. It appears to the Council that there is no material change from the previous application and we therefore raise NO OBJECTION to this application.
BI/11/04617/DOM Mr A Major The Corner, Crooked Lane, Birdham
The Corner lies within the Birdham SPA and the Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This is an application to alter and extend the house (formerly known as Fir Trees) by adding a single storey to the existing bungalow. Our main concerns would be to the east and west elevations. The east elevation faces towards a neighbouring property in Longmeadow Gardens and we would draw the attention of the planners to the first floor glazing above the mini-courtyard on this elevation. In order to maintain the privacy of the neighbour we would recommend that a condition be applied to any permission to maintain the dividing hedge at a suitable height to prevent the loss of amenity. The west elevation is considerably altered but constitutes no intrusion into the streetscape at this point. The Council has NO OBJECTION to this application.
BI/11/04680/FUL Mr & Mrs Oliver, Moorings, Westlands, Birdham
Moorings lies on the edge of Chichester Harbour and within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This application follows a previous one to alter and extend the property, to which we did not object although we expressed our concern that this house would be another which would contribute to the view from the Harbour being dominated by large properties which have been developed from smaller ones.
With the decision to rebuild, the issues continue to be the amount of glass facing the Harbour (although this is to some extent broken up by vertical divisions and shaded by the veranda), the bulk of the building which will be read as a continuous unit with the garage from some angles (although this will be broken up by the change of level to the garage and the minimal visual break between it and the main house). The neighbours to the east will be presented with a rather blank building and we would ask that the first floor bathroom window be of obscure glass. We also question the need for the bedroom window on the east elevation which could be intrusive of the neighbours’ privacy and enjoyment of their garden.
Despite our misgivings over developments of this size along the Harbour we have NO OBJECTION to this application.
BI/11/04767/DOM Mr D Finnamore Broomer Farm, Lock Lane, Birdham
Broomer Farm stands in open countryside outside the Birdham SPA and in the Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This proposal is for a garden office with wc adjacent to the pool and pump room. The development is at the rear of the site, furthest away from the road, mostly hidden, and would not constitute an intrusion into the open countryside as it would be read with the existing buildings. We would ask that a condition be applied that the building should not be used for any residential purpose and that it may not be sold separately from the main house. The Council has NO OBJECTION to this application.
BI/11/04964/TPA Mr A Grisdale 31 Walwyn Close, Birdham
The Council is content to rely on the judgement of the District Council’s Tree Officer in respect of this application. However we would remind the Officer that the oak trees at this point have been the subject of dispute between the school (which wishes to maintain them for summer shade on their playing field) and the residents who find that the trees cast too much shade into their gardens. This Council has continuously applied the criterion of need. We would ask that it be ascertained when the tree was last pruned and that only such work as is necessary for the good maintenance of the tree be carried out.
BI/1/04727/DOM Mr D Powell Boughtons, 26 Greenacres, Birdham
This development has been the subject of ongoing problems. The previous applications have been refused by the District Planners and the most recent was taken to appeal. We responded to the previous application on the 13th January 2011 and set out our concerns as follows:
The applicant’s agent spends considerable space in his Access and Design Statement setting out the objections to the glazing in the original application but it is our judgement that he then fails to meet the objections raised. Some attempt has been made to break up the mass of the building by articulating the extension. No attempt has been made to reduce the amount of glazing on the ground floor and the first floor of the proposed extension; there is simply a nod in the direction of non-reflective glass and a claim that the ground floor will be under a balcony and so shaded. The glazed areas extend over the north and west elevations of both floors and are plain glass whereas the advice given was to break up these large areas with vertical subdivisions. We feel that the effect of this will be over-dominant on the Harbour front. In addition, this amount of glazing threatens the privacy of neighbours as will the fact that the proposed extension will mean that the structure is taking over almost all the site width.
The Inspector subsequently identified the same issues: the effect on the character and appearance of the AONB and the effect on the living conditions of the neighbours at 28 Greenacres especially as regards the overlooking of the foreshore.
The Inspector dismissed the first issue but allowed the second. The Chichester Harbour Conservancy and the District Council have both subsequently complained about this judgement.
The Council wishes to OBJECT to this application although it recognises that the District Council’s hands are to some extent tied by the Inspector’s judgement.
It was resolved to instruct the Clerk to notify the decisions of the Council to the Planning Department of Chichester District Council.
BI/11/01392/ELD Mr Wayne Hemmingway Home Shipton Green Lane Itchenor
Use of land as private amenity space in association with adjacent dwellinghouse. REFUSE
BI/11/03687/DOM Mr Kenneth Swayne Pentlands 5 Burlow Close Birdham
Retrospective application for the retention of the wooden trellis fencing to south side of property. REFUSE
BI/11/04345/NMA Mr And Mrs Douglas 15 Walwyn Close Birdham
Non – material amendment to planning permission BI/11/01724/DOM. Change the material from brickwork with brick detailing to ivory render and brick detailing to two walls of the rear extension. PERMIT
BI/11/00342/FUL The Church Commissioners Of England 2 Cowdry Cottages Sidlesham Lane Birdham
Removal of agricultural/forestry occupancy condition from permission for dwelling (reference BI/13/53) at 2 Cowdry Cottages, Sidlesham Lane, Birdham.
APPEAL LODGED AGAINST NON DETERMINATION
BI/11/03813/FUL Mr Graham Pick Northleigh Farm Main Road Birdham
Lockable barn for agricultural machinery with lean-to for cattle and cattle feed. PERMIT
BI/11/02869/ADV Mr Peter Lansdale Premier Business Park Birdham Road
1 no. forecourt sign. REFUSE
BI/11/03981/FUL Blue Ribbon Plants Wophams Lane Nursery Wophams Lane Birdham
Erection of ground mounted Solar Photovoltaic panels. PERMIT
BI/11/04446/DOM Mr & Mrs James Carpenter Vine Cottage Church Lane Birdham
Extension and alteration of Vine Cottage, including demolition of existing single storey extension, conservatory and the adjacent garage/workshop, and construction of new single storey extension, new conservatory and new garage/studio. PERMIT
It was resolved to note the decisions made by CDC.
95-11 Correspondence – In addition to that already circulated.
The Clerk had received the following ;
i) The Winter Edition of the CPRE Magazine.
ii) A letter from the Samaritans requesting a support grant. As a grant of £250 had been awarded in March 2011 it was resolved to defer this application to March 2012.
iii) A letter from Disability Awareness UK requesting a support grant. It was resolved to defer this application until further information had been obtained and not prior to March 2012.
96-11 Diamond Jubilee Celebrations 2012
The Chairman reported that she was awaiting a decision by the village committee on the request by Circus Wonderland to bring a performance to the village at the same time as the village fete.
97-11 Determine and Formulate a Policy for meeting with developers
The Clerk said that he had produced and circulated a draft copy of a Members Planning Code of Good Practice to all Councilor’s to comment upon. It had included the three main criteria that had been discussed at a working group meeting. To date he had received no adverse comments.
A resident raised the question of how residents could comment on planning applications and were the comments actually listened to. Cllr Tilbury responding said that all residents had the right and the opportunity of making comments either directly to Chichester District Council against the planning application number, or they could contact the Birdham Parish Council via the Clerk. In either case their comments would be taken into consideration provided that the comments were valid planning points. He then went on to commend the draft code to the Council.
It was resolved that the Members Planning Code of Good Practice be adopted by Birdham Parish Council.
i) Play area and playing field – A proposal was made by Cllr Finch that a working group be set-up to look at all aspects of the playing field and play area with a view to improving the facilities available to residents. It was agreed that this was a sound idea and that Cllr Grafham should lead the group.
The Clerk said that in response to a request by the Chairman he had spoken with CDC regarding the S106 agreement against the Longmeadow Development. The monies awarded may only be used for the purposes under which the S106 agreement was originally signed. However, if the applicant needed to resubmit the application for whatever reasons then the S106 could be renegotiated.
ii) Village Green and Pond – The Clerk reported that he had received a quotation to repair the benches currently on the green. A member of the WI asked if the repair charges also applied to the bench that they had supplied. The Clerk responded that this was indeed the case as elements of the bench seemed to be missing. The WI Member said that she would investigate as they had paid for the seat to be repaired not that long ago.
iii) Police and Neighbourhood Watch – The Clerk reported that the elections for the new Police and Crime Commissioner would take place on the 15th November 2012. The newly elected Commissioner will take over the responsibilities of the Police Authority seven days after the election results are known.
A Police and Crime Panel would also be formed with each County, Unitary Authority and District/Borough Council being able to appoint one Councillor to the panel, in total 15 Councillors in Sussex. A minimum of 2 lay members would also be appointed with a maximum of 5. The purpose of the panel would be to act as a review or scrutiny panel of the PCC’s Police and crime plan, budget and precept.
There was no PCSO in attendance and no report had been given to the Clerk.
iv) Communications/Parish Newsletter – Cllr Finch said that it was intended to produce a newsletter every three months. The last one for 2011 had just been circulated. She said that it was intended to have as many as possible delivered via email and requested that if residents were happy with this medium they should contact the Clerk with their email addresses.
A resident said that the Council and specifically Cllr Finch should be congratulated for a well put together and informative newsletter.
The Clerk said that he was currently working with the web site designers and submitted a ‘first look’ front page. After the Christmas break it was anticipated that the final updating would proceed at a pace.
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: £38359.06
Designated Funds: £25557.04
Available Funds: £12802.02
Creditors: £ 2575.61
It was resolved to accept the financial report.
ii) The Clerk explained that a draft budget had been with Councillors for approximately two and half months. All Councillors had put in a considerable amount of time and effort into analysing every aspect of the budget to ensure that it gives the best possible outcome for the residents of Birdham.
The Clerk said that he had also written to the Chairman of the Village Hall Trustees with a request that the Parish Council be exempt from further hire charges for the duration of the PWLB period. It was considered that hire charges to the Council were in fact a form of double taxation for the residents of Birdham.
It was resolved that the precept for 2012/13 should be set at £36927.00 which would mean that a Band D property would pay £48.00
100-11 Reports from Councillors attending meetings
The Chairman said that she and three members of the Council had attended the last meeting of the Peninsula Forum. Cllr Tilbury, one of the three members, gave his report of the meeting which can be seen as annex A to these minutes.
A resident asked if it was known what the work was that was currently being carried out on the Birdham Straight. Cllr Tilbury said that it was the ‘bell mouth’ that was to be the entrance to the Longmeadow development of 28 dwellings that had been given planning permission in 2007.
A further question was asked, to what extent did the residents and the Parish Council respond to the Longmeadow development. Cllr Tilbury said that a Village Meeting attended by 130 people had been held and both the residents and the Parish Council had strongly objected to the development. He also said that the Council had made a complaint to CDC concerning the way that the objections and the final decision had been handled by the Planning Committee.
101-11 Items for inclusion in the next meeting:
There being no further business to discuss the meeting closed at 9.16 pm
Signed ___________________________ Dated ____________________
Annex A to Birdham Parish Council Minutes of the 19th December 2011
A Report by Cllr Tilbury on the Peninsula Forum Meeting of the 5th December.
John Ward, the District Treasurer, gave a presentation on the District Council budget for 2012 to 2013. He said that 59% of the budget came from the Council Tax and 41% from Central Government. A new feature of the budget was the new homes bonus but he stressed that the local planners will only approve appropriate development and not just anything in order to qualify for an increase in the bonus.
The Community Services Audit Team (Tania Murphy and Sharon Turner) gave a presentation on the new data base which is an attempt to put all the information Parishes have and may need on one site.
Karen Dower, the Planning Policy Manager and Amanda Jobling, Director of Homes and Community, spoke about progress with the Local Development Framework. The South East Regional Strategy is still the starting point. The Council had a shortfall of one year in its housing provision and, to avoid the risk of appeals on unsuitable sites, had therefore issued the Interim Strategy, which drew together existing local and national policies, to make clear that planning applications to CDC will have to meet normal planning criteria.
The responses to the Draft Core Strategy had made clear that there was widespread concern about the lack of infrastructure for new housing locations and the next stage of the Strategy will have an infrastructure plan alongside it, showing what, when and how things will be done. Most respondents had gone for the lowest number of new dwellings but this will have to be balanced by need as shown through evidence from the DTZ survey and elsewhere. More evidence collection is going on.
47% of respondents felt that there was no need to harness housing growth to a need for economic growth in the South East but the economic downturn may alter this view, as young people will move away. We do not want to be merely a retirement area.
The restrictions on new homes dictated by the waste facilities, the AONB, the South Downs National Park, and the A27 corridor mean that brave decisions may have to be made on useable areas for reasonable development. If we cannot overcome the infrastructure constraints then we cannot go ahead but if we do not produce a robust plan based on evidence then the presumption in favour of development may prevail, leading to piecemeal rather than holistic development.
In answer to questions Karen and Amanda said that CDC is prepared to say to developers “You are coming forward too early and you’ll have to wait.” if development seems to present challenges of size, scale and infrastructure. If development looks like dominating the strategy for the area, we shall say “stop”. “We would not expect cumulative applications in one location”.
Sidlesham WWTW is at capacity and OFFWAT will only upgrade the best cost/benefit. “If Sidlesham is not updated we cannot do anything in this area and we shall have to say so and show what might be possible if things change”.
A member of the audience said that the new housing at Graylingwell in Chichester is not selling because of the rule on 40% affordable housing. This was denied. The evidence collected by CDC shows the houses are selling slowly because of the lack of mortgages for first time buyers and lack of finance for developers.