Home » Minutes of the Council Meeting held on the 21st March 2011

Minutes of the Council Meeting held on the 21st March 2011

Birdham Parish Council

Minutes of the Meeting of the Council

held on Monday 21st March 2011

at 7pm in Birdham Village Hall

Present:                    Cllr Mrs Parks (Chairman), Cllr Mrs Cobbold (Vice-Chairman), Cllr Tilbury, Cllr Mrs Leach, Cllr Churchill, Cllr Ms Huskisson, Cllr Mrs Barker.

Apologies:               Cllr P Jones, Cllr P Montyn (WSCC & CDC), PCSO’s Bromley and Bainbridge

In attendance:         The Clerk, Cllr P Montyn (WSCC & CDC) and 23 members of the public.

127-10 Declarations of Interests

Cllr Barker declared an interest in planning application BI/11/00668/PLD.

128-10 Urgent/Additional items notified to the Chairman or the Clerk prior to the meeting.

The Chairman, Cllr Parks, proposed that the Council should fund the purchase of 180 commemorative mugs which would be presented to the children of Birdham C E Primary School to mark the Royal Wedding on the 29th March.

Proposed by Cllr Barker and seconded by Cllr Cobbold and Resolved, to purchase 180 mugs at a cost of £394.20 for presentation at a Street Party on the 28th April.

129-10 Minutes of the meeting held on the 21st February 2011

.Resolved: that the minutes of the 21st February 2011 be signed as a true and accurate record.

Proposed by Cllr Tilbury, and seconded by Cllr Cobbold.

130-10 Matters arising from the Minutes

Land Bequeathed to the council – The Clerk reported that although the transfer was progressing it had been slowed by what appeared to be a slight anomaly in the boundary. On the recommendation by the Councils solicitor, Cllr Tilbury and the Clerk had paid a visit to the land and together with the other neighbouring beneficiary had agreed the actual boundary. This was notified to the Councils solicitor who has now submitted the amended drawing and documentation for action by the executors of the will.

131-10 Clerks’ Report:

i) WSCC Reports, highway matters and correspondence.

The Clerk reported that he received a briefing email from Cllr Deborah Urquhart – Cabinet Member for the Environment and the Economy – concerning the future of libraries in the County. Currently there is a work being undertaken to determine the future of the smaller Tier 5 & 6 libraries. There is no library in Birdham, with the nearest in Wittering falling into the category of a Tier 6 library and therefore, possibly, under threat. It should be emphasised that no decision has yet been taken and no library has been earmarked for closure.

ii) CDC Reports including correspondence.

CDC has forwarded to the Clerk for action the Annual Update Request of the Community Buildings/Facilities Audit. The Clerk reported that this would be thoroughly checked and returned by the due date of 15th April 2011.

iii) Other related matters.


iv) Reports from Members of WSCC/CDC.

Cllr Montyn reported that WSCC were taking and making supreme efforts on Budgetary Control. A decision had been made to ensure all necessary actions would be taken over three years rather than four years, and by doing so would save a considerable amount of money.

He confirmed the Clerks report on libraries and said that there were no imminent closures and all options to remain open would be examined.

Cllr Montyn then went on to say that a director for the Harbour Conservancy was being sought. Interviews had taken place which had whittled the list down to two very good candidates who would be interviewed over the next week or two.

Finally there would be no Council Tax rises this year. Clerk’s note – By not raising the Council Tax the Council would receive an increase in their grant of 2.5% for the tax year 2011/12.

132-10 Planning matters including CDC decisions:


BI/10/05592/FUL St James Church, Church Lane Birdham

St James Church lies in the Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty but outside the Birdham SPA. It is a Grade 1 listed building. This application is of such significance for the village that the Council held a public meeting for residents to express their views on the proposals at which the relevant planning guidance was put before them.

As the proposed extension is to a Listed building we have considered the setting of the proposal and whether it will enhance or detract from the existing building. We are satisfied that the design is such that it is suitable for its site and will not detract from the existing church, as great care has been taken with the elevations to complement the present structure. We note the rigorous proposals by the archaeologists and trust they will be observed in every detail during the construction of the concrete base for the new building and during the construction of the extension.

With regard to LPA Policy RE17, we are satisfied that the size, form and appearance of the building are suitable and note the amount of consultation with experts which has preceded this application. The design will maintain, by the link passage, the integrity of the existing building, as demanded by Policy RE14. Because of the extensive screening we are also satisfied that there will not be any unacceptable damage to the landscape, especially from the north, as demanded by PPS7 and LPA Policy BE11.

We are also satisfied that the criterion of need, as spelt out in Policy RE4 has been demonstrated by the applicants.

An email had been received from Mr Boarer with a copy of the objection he had lodged with CDC.

Birdham Parish Council has NO OBJECTION to this application.

BI/11/00233/FUL Mansfield, Church Lane, Birdham

This is new application following the withdrawal of 10/05313/FUL. We must repeat much of what we said about the previous application.

This is the third attempt to build a bungalow on the land to the rear of Mansfield.  Two of the previous attempts were taken to a Planning Inspector. This application shows a lower roofline for the building and a redesign of the driveway with screening from Church Lane. It is also claimed that the barn style responds to the semi-rural setting.

Mrs Manning has lived in the village with her husband for many years and at one time they owned most of the land surrounding their house. It has been sold off in parcels over the years, including Hoots Barn at the rear of Mansfield. These parcels of land have been of roughly equal size.  An approximate calculation shows that Straight House, Tir-na-nog, Fenlands and Hoots Barn all stand in an average of 1500m2. The proposed dwelling would stand in approximately 500m2. One of the previous applications was made at about the time when Mr Manning became disabled and Mrs Manning could no longer manage the garden on her own. She applied for permission for a small dwelling for herself in the hope that her family might take over the main house and help her to care for her husband. Mr Manning died about two years ago. When that permission was refused she fenced off and abandoned the far end of her garden and this is the “unused land” referred to in this application. To that extent it is deliberately unused

In 2001 Inspector Isobel Mc Cretton (APP/L3815/A/01/1059130) said that this part of Church Lane was characterised by a feeling of spaciousness in contrast to the higher density development opposite and in pockets such as Springfield Close. She went on to say that, despite backland development elsewhere in the village, this case had to be considered on its own merits. She concluded that the benefit of one additional dwelling to the building stock would not outweigh the harm to the local character. She also concluded that dwelling on this site, so close to the boundaries with Mansfield and Hoots Barn would involve a considerable loss of amenity to both and there would be unacceptable noise and disturbance to Mansfield because of the proximity of the drive access, contrary to policies BE11 and BE12 of the Local Plan.

Inspector Paul Jackson, in 2003 (APPL/L3815/A/03/1124539), reminded us that, however much sympathy we may have with the circumstances of the present occupant, paragraph 38 of PPG1 indicates that personal circumstances would seldom outweigh more general planning considerations. He also pointed to LP Policy BE13 which indicates that proposals which would increase the proportion of hard surface, such that the garden would be significantly reduced, will be refused. Although this present application makes use of permeable surfacing there is still very little left in the way of garden (approximately 220m2). He agreed with the previous Inspector that close proximity to the neighbours was a serious objection to the development.

The applicant’s agent tries to establish responses to the previous criticisms of the Inspectors. However, much of the argument is tendentious in that it selects phrases from sentences and omits the subsequent criticisms or conclusions (The paragraph numbers are also incorrect in three cases.) For instance, the fourth example omits the word “While” at the beginning and the conclusion “the development would appear bulky and cramped from the surrounding properties.”

The applicant may argue that she has done her best to meet the criticisms made of the previous applications and, in the screening and the removal of the drive from directly outside the windows of Mansfield, may have mitigated the situation somewhat. The criticism which she cannot overcome however is that the development of a third dwelling on the site, at right angles to the road, would constitute overdevelopment of the site which would seriously detract from the character and appearance of the area, bringing an urban element to a rural environment. The decision of the District Council Planning Officer of 19th March 2002, paragraph 1, is still valid.

The Parish Council therefore OBJECTS to this application.

BI/11/00299/FUL Lansdale Marine, Premier Business Park, Birdham Road, Birdham

(We note the ongoing dispute as to whether this site is in Birdham or Apuldram (not Appledram!). It is in Birdham. Please can this be amended on this and all previous applications as it makes searching online unnecessarily complicated?)

Premier Business Park lies on the A286, outside the Birdham SPA but within the Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The site is divided between Premier Motorhomes and Lansdale Marine. This application refers to the Lansdale Marine part of the site. Permission was granted under 08/01359/COU to convert a former office building specifically into a classic car showroom. Condition 5 stated that the permission was for no other purpose. For business reasons the building is not being used for that purpose but for the sale of bicycles. This current application is however for car valeting facilities in connection with the classic car business.  We understand that new plans are in the offing but meanwhile the site has been visited by an enforcement officer. It is difficult to form a judgement until the prospects of the new plans actually happening are clear. The garage which is being replaced (at the A286 end of the existing building) is considerably smaller than the projected building. (Since the building as shown on the site plan on drawing PL/GAR/LW/001 is out of date we cannot exactly estimate the discrepancy)

The applicant has taken some measures (in consultation with his neighbour, we are told) to start screening the north-east and north-west aspects of the site with indigenous planting (hawthorn and blackthorn). The plans refer to “non-deciduous” plants and we were told that they had a cupressus leyladii hedge in mind. We would oppose that for reasons that have been widely rehearsed. The applicant has taken some measures to screen the site from southbound traffic on the A286 by the use of green screens attached to the temporary fencing. This seems to be effective. We would ask that a condition be applied at some point to ensure that the hedging be maintained at 3 metres high.

The building which is the subject of the application is a standard industrial unit which will be clad to match the main building and, although it will hardly make a contribution to the architectural quality of Birdham, we would not oppose it if the necessity (which must be shown in the AONB under Policy RE4) can be proved.

We visited the site and spoke to the applicant’s wife and were subsequently contacted by the applicant. As a result of those conversations our advice is that this application should be the subject of further discussion and that NO DECISION should be made at present, especially in view of the new plans being drawn up and the possible enforcement action.

To inform those discussions we would draw attention to the ongoing discrepancies over car parking on the site and ask the planners to compare the parking as shown in 08/01359/COU, 10/00821 and 10/04039/EXT (condition 6). The applicant also assured us that the hedge on the A286 (see conditions 8 and 12 of 10/04039/EXT amongst others) has been replanted recently. At the time of our visit there were signs that it might be breaking into leaf but in parts it is still only 60cms high and affords no screening.

BI/11/00342/FUL 2 Cowdry Cottages, Sidlesham Lane, Birdham

This is an application for the removal of an agricultural tie on the cottage in Sidlesham Lane. It is also an application to transfer the tie to a cottage in Oving. The transfer does not concern this Council although we can find no basis for it in our previous experience.  We leave that to the authority’s lawyers.

The original tie appears to have been imposed by condition by Chichester Rural District Council in 1953 which may be when the cottage was built as one of a semi-detached pair. Such ties were commonly used then to stem the drift away from the land. With the decline of labour intensive farming there have been attempts nationwide to have these ties removed as they affect the resale value of the property. But the result has been that many people who work in the countryside cannot afford to live there and many people who can afford to live there increasingly do not work in the countryside. This has obvious implications for sustainable rural communities.

Removal of a tie seems to be achieved by two methods. The owner may put the property on the market with the tie at a price reflecting the tie and, if no buyer has been found after a reasonable period of time (normally one year), it can be reasonably assumed that there is no need for the tie on the holding or in the locality. Alternatively the property may be lived in by a non-agricultural worker undiscovered for a period of ten years and the owner may then apply for a Certificate of Lawful Use; the restriction would remain but would effectively be nullified, thus making it possible to sell the property at somewhere near the market value.

Another test is whether planning permission would be granted today.

We have spoken to the applicant’s agent and it appears that neither of the first two tests can be satisfied and planning permission, on this site in open countryside outside the SPA, would be unlikely. Birdham Parish Council therefore OBJECTS to this application.

BI/11/00668/PLD 10 Burlow Close, Birdham

The wife of the applicant is a Birdham Parish Councillor and has taken no part in the determination of the Council’s view on this application.

We note that the applicant has asked the Authority if planning permission is actually needed for this application and has been advised that it is usually safer to make an application. In our view the application was not necessary since this is a simple replacement of one existing wooden building of extremely modest dimensions with another. The Council has NO OBJECTION to this application.

BI/11/00755/FUL GWA  Autobarn, Birdham Road, Birdham

The Autobarn lies outside the Birdham SPA but within the Chichester Harbour AONB.  The existing building was a conversion. This application is for a new building. However, the applicant establishes a need for this extension to the premises,  it is of modest proportions, of suitable materials and well-screened. We have some concerns about light pollution from the security lighting and would ask that there be a condition specifying horizontal cut-off to any system. Otherwise the Council raises NO OBJECTION to this application.

BI/11/00632/DOM Mile Cottage, Birdham Road, Birdham

Mile Cottage lies on the eastern edge of the Birdham SPA and within the Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. To the west and north are bungalows on spacious site. Mile Cottage stands on a plot of approximately 1020m2.

The application is to extend the present two storey house at the side and rear. We estimate the existing ground floor area including the side buildings (since we do not know whether these were additions to the original building) at approximately 97m2 and the first floor at 59m2, making a total of 156m2. The proposed extensions would leave us with a building approximately 174m2 on the ground floor and 141 2 on the first floor, totalling 315m2.

The Council has commented before on the trend to extend dwellings in this area which depletes the number of smaller properties available to local buyers and concern has been expressed also by Development Control Committee (South) on the failure of LPA Policy H12 to control this. We were therefore concerned to see this proposal will all but double the size of the property.

However, it must be assessed on its own circumstances. It is a spacious site and the design is such that the impact on the locality and the surrounding properties will be minimal, especially as the site is surrounded by a 1.8 metre high fence and hedge and tree screening. It will not detract from the character of this part of Birdham Road since it will be largely unseen and neither will it have a great impact by virtue of scale or mass. It will not dominate the properties to the west and north and the only overlooking window will be obscure glazed.

With some reluctance therefore the Council registers NO OBJECTION to this application.

It was Resolved to instruct the Clerk to forward the recommendations made by the Council to DC Planning. Proposed Cllr Tilbury and seconded Cllr Huskisson.

Delegated Decisions

BI/10/05426/DOM Mr & Mrs Nick Wells Oakhurst Crooked Lane Birdham

Proposed rear extension, front porch and replacement windows. PERMIT

BI/10/05676/ELD Mr & Mrs C Mason Westlands Farm Westlands Lane Birdham

1 no. Class C3 private dwelling house (non-compliance with condition - use a holiday chalet) "The Stables". PERMIT

BI/10/04192/FUL John Hetherington 12 Pipers Mead Birdham

Erection of retaining wall and change of use to garden land. REFUSE

BI/09/07465/FUL Mr C Milford Land South Of Withdean Sidlesham Lane Birdham

Construction of new access (resubmission of BI/09/00787/FUL). REFUSE

BI/11/00582/NMA Mr Stephen Martin 3 Whitestone Farm Cottages Main Road Birdham

Non-material amendment to planning permission BI/10/02247/DOM.  Window to first floor gallery study area and porthole window in end gable wall. PERMIT

It was Resolved to note the decisions made by CDC.

Other Planning Matters

The Clerk brought to the attention of the Council the following information;

I)          Under the Town & Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended) enforcement notices have been issued against the Properties known as Granary East & Granary West, Westlands Farm.

ii)         A Pre-application consultation with communities: a basic guide. Which is designed to explain to developers the requirement to consult with local communities prior to submitting certain planning applications.

Cllr Tilbury introduced a letter that he had received from Mr C Barrington concerning the Longmeadow Development which was a copy that had also been sent to Mr D Travis of CDC.

The letter pointed out the problems associated with flooding and drainage from the Longmeadow site and included photographs which showed an apparent increase in water levels over successive years.

Mr Barrington was asked if he wished to make any comments. He made a number of points which need clarification and disputed some of the planning conditions that in his opinion had not been met although CDC had signed them off.

Cllr Montyn commented on Mr Barrington’s letter saying that aside from condition 34 & 43 no other conditions had been either signed off or lifted. He also said that an engineer from the Environment Agency is to be contracted to work with CDC for two days per week in an attempt to reduce the work loads and one of his priorities would be to take a look at the Longmeadow site.

Cllr Tilbury suggested that it would be a good idea if the Clerk would write to the EA Engineer and try to arrange a meeting with him to work through the problems associated with this site and flooding.

Mr Crossley asked if the developer had engaged with residents.

The answer was that it was not a legal requirement for the developer to do so at the moment. It was seen as good practice and most problems could be resolved prior to any planning application being submitted.

133-10 Correspondence:

The clerk has received the following correspondence that had not been circulated;

i)             A letter from CDC stating that as a more comprehensive range of recycling materials could now be collected from household bins, including glass, the glass recycling bins would themselves be recycled.

ii)            Birdham Village hall Trust had written requesting the following dates for Car Boot Sales to be held on the 30th April, 28th May, 25th June, 30th July, 27th August and a reserve date of 17th September. These dates were agreed

iii)           A copy letter from Mr & Mrs R S de Chair giving their reasons for objecting to the Easton Farm development.

iv)           A letter from Home Start requesting a grant. Proposed by Cllr Tilbury and seconded by Cllr Cobbold and resolved that under Section 137 of the Local Government Act 1972 a grant of £100.00 be awarded.

v)            A letter from Victim Support requesting a grant. Proposed by Cllr Huskisson and seconded by Cllr Cobbold and resolved that under Section 137 of the Local Government Act 1972 a grant of £100.00 be awarded.

134-10 Reports:

i)           Play area and playing field – Cllr Churchill reported that he had experienced an increase in the amount of rubbish in the play area, including broken glass from drinks bottles. Mrs Geary had been informed and had cleared the area.

ii)            Village green and pond – The Clerk requested this item be deferred pending further research into funding sources.

iii)                Police and Neighbourhood Watch –  PCSO Bainbridge in sending her apologies and those of her colleague PCSO Bromley asked if the following items could be read out;-

21/02/11 - A resident in Crooked Lane stated a male called at the door claiming to be Police and asked searching questions about the property. (A company called Central Intelligence Security who sell alarms/security equipment, have been cold calling in the area).

28/02/11 - Shower Units and Mixer taps were stolen from Premier Marinas. 02/03/11 - A black swan at Chichester Marina was attacked and had its nest destroyed.

04/03/11 - There was an attempted shed break in Westlands Drive.

14/03/11 - A white side step pick-up seen in suspicious circumstances in Bell Lane.

Chichester Police will be conducting a vehicle crime prevention initiative at the Market Car Park, Chichester from 1000 - 1400 hrs on Wednesday 30th March.  Crime Prevention Staff, Local Officers and members from Chichester Community Safety team will be available for a chat about vehicle security as well as fitting free security products to cars.  The team will be able to replace number plate screws with new anti-theft number plate screws to cars.

We are cascading warnings regarding phone scams and reminding public NEVER to give out bank details over the phone to unknown persons, no matter how plausible they may seem.

Finally, a warning when visiting beauty spots - mainly north of Chichester - to leave all valuables out of site.

The Clerk informed the Council that he had receive an email from the Chief Inspector Ali Darge concerning the cost cutting measures that Sussex Police Service were in the process of implementing. The North Downs and West Downs Division would merge into one division and be known as the West Sussex Division. This would be in place by the 1st April and save £800,000.00 in management costs alone. The down side is that police officers would be reduced in number by 500 and staff by 550 over the next four years.

135-10 Finance:

A financial reported was submitted by the Clerk and was circulated to Councillors.

This showed:

Balances held at Bank:      £35543.39

Designated Funds:              £25577.04

Available Funds:                  £9966.35

Creditors:                               £340.39

Resolved: To accept the financial report.

Proposed by Cllr Leach and seconded by Cllr Tilbury

136-10 Reports from Councillors attending meetings

Cllrs Cobbold and Barker had both attended a meeting hosted by CDC at which the consultants DTZ had outlined their approach to determining housing numbers for the new LDF consultation. It was stressed that the numbers would be based on housing need and would not in any way impose locations for housing. There would be further meetings which would be notified in due course.

Cllr Parks (Chairman) reported that the School capital grant had been reduced from £26,000.00 to £6,000.00 for the forthcoming year. The School was hoping to be a winner in the Observer ‘Going Green’ competition.

137-10 Public session:

There were no questions from members of the public.

There being no further business to be dealt with the meeting closed at 8.45pm

The next meeting of Council will be the Annual Parish Meeting to be held on the 18th April 2011 at 7pm in the Village Hall.

Signed ___________________________   Dated ____________________