Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held on the 16th April 2012
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Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held on the 16th April 2012

Birdham Parish Council


Minutes of the Meeting of the Council

 held on Monday 16th April 2012

at 7pm in Birdham Village Hall


Present:                     Cllr Parks (Chairman), Cllr Cobbold (Vice-Chair), Cllr Leach, Cllr Tilbury, Cllr Finch.

Apologies:                 Cllr Grafham, Cllr Barker, Cllr Bolton and Cllr Crossley.

In attendance:           The Clerk, Cllr P Montyn (WSCC & CDC), Cllr Marshall (CDC), PCSO’s Bainbridge and Broad, Ms Faustina Bayo (AiRS) and 15 members of the public.

154-11 Public Question Time in accordance with SO’s 1d -1l:

There were none.

155-11 Declaration of Interests:

            There were none.

156-11 Approve and sign the Minutes of the meeting held on the 19th March 2012:

It was resolved that the minutes of the 19th March 2012 be signed as a true and accurate record.

157-11 Introduction to Neighbourhood Planning – Ms Faustina Bayo (AiRS):

Ms Bayo introduced herself, who she was from, and how her organisation – AiRS - was funded and its areas of expertise and operations.

Ms Bayo went on to point out that Neighbourhood Plans (NP’s) were designed to enable communities to determine, within certain parameters, how their community would grow. It was stressed that NP’s could not be used to prevent development if it was considered by the Planning Authority that development was required however, it could be used to increase development, determine where development should go and what it should look like, and have the ability to decide the infrastructure requirement, NP’s may be used to determine the use of land and spatial aspects.

Any NP must conform to, or enhance, the LDF/Core Strategy. Any plan will be assessed by an Independent Local Planning Inspector.  The inspector is appointed by CDC but BPC could veto the appointment of the inspector. Once appointed the Inspector will determine if the NP conforms to the LDF/Core Strategy, has it fully incorporated and used public consultation. If the plan does not conform to the LDF/Core Strategy then it will be subjected to increased scrutiny.

If the inspector is happy with the NP it would be recommended to CDC that the NP is put to referenda. The NP must receive 51% of those voting at referenda to be in favour of the NP to be accepted by CDC as a legal and material planning document against which planning applications would be tested.

In the case of Birdham the NP must be initiated, organised and steered by the Parish Council.

If appointed AiRS will assist BPC in organising the setting up of Steering Group meetings, the design of surveys and their delivery, including pre-paid envelopes to be returned to AiRS for analysis and written report, the facilitation of open days. Support the drafting of the NP and support with sustainability appraisal and the final consultation on a draft NP.

Following her presentation Ms Bayo opened the floor for questions.

Q – Are you Government funded? A – No. AiRS is a charity part funded by upper tier Councils.

Q – Can an NP be started now? A – Yes. But you must be aware of the requirements of the LDF prior to submission.

Q – Does the cost of the referenda fall to BPC? A – No. CDC will pay for this but, councils are trying to call a referendum at the same time as an election to reduce costs.

Q – There are concerns over the numbers of developments contained within the LDF?

A – You must be registered with CDC, which will then give entitlement to information which will be relevant.

Q – If we work with CDC does this mean we may have to accept more development than perhaps if we did not?

A – No. And you must work with CDC.

Q – If only 10 people turn out for the referendum then the job has not been done.

A – By effective communication with the community people should be encouraged to turn out and vote.

Q – How long is this likely to take?

A – The consultation phase is most important and is likely to incur the most time but, in total anything from 6 – 12 months.

Q – Can the SPA boundary be changed by an NP?

A – No. But influence can be exerted on any decisions made to build within the SPA. The boundary of any plan should be realistic.

Q- With the one road in and out could we use that to realistically impose restrictions on development?

A – Consultation may be widened to take into consideration neighbouring parishes and the development impact which then may have an influence on the Inspector.

Q – Has Bosham actually done an NP?

A - No. It has done a Village Design Statement.

There being no further questions the Chairman thanked Ms Bayo for coming all the way from Lewis and wished her well on her return journey.

 158-11 Land Bequeathed to the council:

The Clerk reported that he had carried out a basic measurement of the land bequeathed to the Council as requested. It was found to be approximately half an acre.

He went on to say that as yet no response had been received from the charities who had also received bequests. Apparently it was necessary to have their approval prior to the final handing over of the land.

159-11 Clerks’ Report:

i)              WSCC – There was nothing to report

ii)             CDC – There was nothing to report

iii)            Other related matters – The Clerk had received notification from the Harbour Conservancy of their AONB footpath maintenance programme for 2012. He asked that if anyone was aware of problems if they would contact him and he would inform the works team.

iv)           Reports from Members of WSCC/CDC – Cllr Montyn said that he had heard much of Ms Bayo’s presentation at CDC and what he heard today did not conflict with the information that he had previously received.

Referring to WSCC Cllr Montyn said there was not a great deal to report other than to say that more road works had been undertaken and that road conditions had improved thanks mainly to an increase in the workforce.

He was asked if he could get the very large pothole outside of the garage repaired, to which he replied that he had already reported it.

An Alandale Road resident said that they had a lovely new sign fitted but they had not applied preservative.

 160-11 Planning matters including CDC decisions:

 i)              In response to a request from the Itchenor Society to include Shipton Green Lane into their Village Design Statement as a zone of influence Cllr Tilbury said that he saw no problem with the request provided that the words “zone of influence” are clearly seen to be in regard to the aesthetics of the Design Statement and imply no legal rights. In other words that the zone has an influence on the village not that the village has an influence on the zone. He felt that Birdham Parish Council agrees with the aims of the Design Statement insofar as it follows Birdham’s own policy (spelt out at the time of the Haines Shipyard proposal and supported by a village meeting at Birdham) of preserving the AONB and the ambience of this part of Birdham Parish as regards the visual amenity and the preservation of significant environmental factors such as the trees they referred to.

It was already possible for West Itchenor Parish Council to respond to any planning application which concerns West Itchenor (as Birdham Parish Council has, for example, over the proposal on glasshouses on the border of Earnley and East Wittering & Bracklesham Parishes because of the implications for Birdham).  He did not foresee any conflict here if the Council was in general agreement with the Design Statement.

It should however, be stressed that Birdham Parish Council wishes it to be stated in the clearest terms that it regards this area as an historically important part of Birdham Parish and would strongly oppose any implication of further erosion of the boundary between Birdham and West Itchenor Parishes, as happened in the 1970s, or any increased powers for West Itchenor Parish council over this area.

It was resolved that the Clerk respond to the Itchenor Society expressing the statements itemised above.

ii)             Birdham Tidal Mill. Cllr Tilbury explained that the mill, previously owned by the Farne Family and later sold to Castle Marinas in 2007, had been auctioned in Brighton today. The guide price had been set at £5000.00 but was sold for £62000.00 to an unknown purchaser. The Mill is a listed as Grade 2 both internally and externally and will require a considerable amount of money being spent on it to preserve it. Cllr Tilbury said that it would be incumbent on the Parish Council to ensure that the new owners were aware of their obligations in this regard.

iii)            Cllr Tilbury said that in the past month there had been a number of new elements in the planning process and he would draw these to the attention of Councillors and the public so that they may research them for themselves if they wished to do so. He did not think any purpose would be served by debating any of the documents now or trying to take odd extracts from them and applying them to specific local contexts because these matters are in most cases above our pay grade and also need considerable clarification by close reading in many cases, which we have not had time to do.

The first document is the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), published by the Government at the end of March. The claim is that it replaces 1000 pages of detailed planning policy with about 50 pages. But it will need a great deal of interpretation through appeals to the Planning Inspectorate, Court cases and detailed application of, in the case of BPC, the Chichester Local Development Framework, as it is broad brush and aspirational in places. The 50 or so pages may need 1000 pages of interpretation.

It does contain a more rounded definition of “sustainable development” than in the original draft, emphasising the economic, social and environmental elements and that each cannot be seen in isolation. It also reinforces the primacy of Local Plans (in our case the CDC LDF). There is also the important link to neighbourhood planning but, where this conflicts with the LDF, the LDF takes primacy.

The NPPF takes effect immediately but the Government has agreed that there will be transitional arrangements to give a window for local authorities to complete the production of LDF. Meanwhile “full weight will be given to existing policies” (para 214). His understanding is that, after twelve months, decisions on the basis of old plans will have to take into account the new policies. And this will apply in BPC’s case as the Chichester LDF is now not expected to be ready before the end of next year.

There is acknowledgement that transport needs are different in rural areas and reliance on the car is more likely. We shall see whether this has implications for road infrastructure.

In Paragraphs 50 and 54 there is mention of the exception sites policy for affordable housing. There is also the acceptance of “windfall” development within Local plans. Historically Birdham has had one or two of these a year, so, say, 20 to 30 over the period of the new Chichester Local Plan. When the next stage of the LDF process is reached  and numbers for Birdham are announced, this could be significant when it is taken into account the developments since 2006; 28 at Longmeadow, 4 at Tate House and a least three “windfalls”.

Regional Spatial Strategies remain until they are abolished by an Order under the Localism Act. This has not happened yet so the Chichester planners are still obliged to take account of a plan which it is known will be abolished – but not yet.

The second document is the Minutes of the Peninsula Forum (the meeting of the Parish Councils and others on the Manhood,) held in this Hall in March, where we were told that, in the present confused state of planning, it is to be expected that developers will come forward with sites outside the present Settlement Policy Areas (SPA). But simply because they are outside the SPA cannot be treated by the Planning Authority (CDC) as a sufficient reason for refusal. However, if the plans do not meet the criteria set out in CDC’s Interim Planning Policy Statement, issued last July, which will give strength to a refusal decision which can be argued on appeal to the Planning Inspectorate with a much greater chance of the refusal being upheld.

CDC Officers went on to admit that it is difficult for planners to do more than judge each application on its merits and they cannot take into account possible later applications by the same or different developers on the same or different sites.

This statement at the Forum prompted Cllr Jim Oliver of Donnington PC to call an informal meeting of local councillors, which Cllr Tilbury attended, to discuss joint action by the Manhood councils on applications on the Manhood beyond a certain size. The meeting will take a proposal to the next Peninsula Forum (in Sidlesham on the 11th June) that there should be an agreement for individual councils to inform all other councils about applications above a certain size and encourage them to respond – although a number of councils stressed that such an arrangement could not fetter individual councils’ democracy in any particular case; in other words it cannot be assumed that all councils will vote the same way.

One of those present at that meeting was Mike Beal, the Chairman of the Chichester Subdivision (our area of Chichester District Council’s territory) of the Chichester Association of Local Councils (CDALC), which is a statutory body linked to the Sussex Association and the National Association which advises Government. He has written to the Sussex Association listing the concerns of the local councils over the accumulated impact of local development and our shared concerns about utilities, roads, employment, schools, doctors, dentists and social housing for local people, urging SALC to try to achieve a situation where the local planning authority should have the power to consider the cumulative effect of development and to delay the start of development until such time as the infrastructure is in place to deal with the increase in population. Utilities should be pro-active in providing services. Local people should not be expected to suffer deterioration in their standard of living following development but ought to be beneficiaries of development through improved services.

Cllr Tilbury said that he was grateful to the Clerk for forwarding many of these documents and he was sure he would supply website addresses for them if asked.


BI/12/00708/FUL Saxons, Martins Lane, Birdham

The property lies within the Birdham SPA and within the Chichester Harbour area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It was subject to a planning application in 2007 (BI/07/04227/FUL when the original bungalow on this site was divided in two and extended to form two dwellings.

At that time the Parish Council expressed its disquiet at the potential loss of amenity to the neighbours to the south-west. We said at the time: “The plans stress the existence of dense evergreen hedges which are to be retained. The hedging to the south-west is actually on the neighbours’ property but the window of the Living Room on the south-west elevation, right against the fence/hedge, seems to have no purpose but to deprive the neighbours of their privacy if they do not maintain the hedge”. Revised plans were submitted on the 6th September 2007 and the south-west elevation (marked only as “side elevation”) clearly shows that the windows on that side were to be of obscure glass (and fixed) to protect the privacy of the neighbours. The Parish Council then withdrew its previous objection. We cannot therefore agree to the variation of Covenant 4.

As to the sheds: we commented in 2007 that the new construction would be very close to the boundary between the two houses and height was an issue as the building would tend to loom over the next door garden. It is now proposed to put a 1.9 metre high shed in the last remaining pocket of articulation on this elevation which provided a little relief. The shed at the bottom of the garden will be against the other curtilage of the property to a height of 2.20 metres and may well impose itself on the other neighbour’s garden. We are therefore unable to agree to the variation of Conditions 1, 2 and 3 as shown in this application.

The Council must therefore OBJECT to this application.

BI/12/01050/FUL Northleigh Farm, Main Road, Birdham

Northleigh Farm lies outside the Birdham SPA and outside the Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The proposal is to erect an open-sided barn 42.672 metres long by 12.192 metres wide on an existing concrete base for agricultural/horticultural use. The utilitarian barn would stand 4 metres high to the eaves and 5.633 metres to the ridge. The roof would be of natural grey fibre corrugated cement sheets. The site of the barn is to the rear of Russell’s Nursery which stands on the main road. The only issue here would be intrusion into the view from the AONB on the other side of the road but we are satisfied that the screening by the Nursery will mean that the barn will not be unduly prominent in the landscape. We would like the colour of the roofing to be conditioned.

The Council has NO OBJECTION to this application.

BI/12/01166/FUL CEA Settlement Trust, land adjacent to Martins Barn

This Council has consistently expressed its disquiet at the developments at Martins Barn which is in the Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty between the Birdham Road and the road leading to Chichester Marina. We have maintained that this development conflicts with Policy RE4 of the Local Plan. However, the LPA has overruled us and the development has taken place. This application is effectively to move the previously approved 4.3 metre high carport to the west to accommodate more car parking space hus extending the site.. The need for the space has been established and there will be an attempt to screen the site by hedging. We assume that the previously approved (and discharged) conditions on landscaping and materials will still apply and ask that they be rigorously applied.

The Council does NOT OBJECT to this application.

It was resolved to instruct the Clerk to inform the CDC Planning Department of the Councils decisions.

It was resolved that the following two applications be deferred for a site visit;

BI/12/00146/FUL Mr Simon Cobden, Land North of Cowdry Nursery Sidlesham Lane Birdham Agricultural barn.

BI/12/01196/LBC Mr & Mrs A MacDonald The Thatched House Birdham Road

Alterations and two-storey extension to Listed Building. Change of use and extensions to outbuildings to form 2 no. tourist units.


BI/12/00395/DOM Mrs Russell The Hundred House Hundredsteddle Lane Birdham Installation of 10 no. pv solar panels on garage roof. REFUSE

It was resolved to note the decisions made by CDC.

161-11 Correspondence – In addition to that already circulated:

The Clerk had received the following;

i)              Notification from Voluntary Action Arun & Chichester of their new address.

ii)             A request from the CAB for grant aid.

iii)            Notification of the Ship Canal Trust AGM with an invitation to attend – Cllr Cobbold to attend.

iv)           Notification of the AGM of the Manhood Mobility – Cllr Leach to attend.

162-11 Report by the Chairman of the meeting with Ms Y Thomson – CDC:

Cllr Parks said that members of the Parish Council plus the resident members of the Site Selection Working Group had met with Ms Thomson and Mr Irving on the 12th April to discuss the position of Affordable Housing in Birdham. It was an extremely wide ranging discussion the upshot of which is that, provided Ms Thomson and her team received a formal request from Birdham Parish Council, they would provide by the 4th May a written report to the site selection process and written answers to all of those questions that had been submitted, provided that it was within their remit to do so.

A resident, with reference to a letter he had written, expressed his extreme displeasure with Mr S Irving and has now made an official complaint against him to Ms Thomson.

It was therefore resolved to instruct the clerk to write to Ms Y Thomson and Mr S Irving formally requesting that a written report be submitted to BPC on the grounds/reasons for rejecting the original 16 sites and, given the current legislation would they have come to the same conclusion.

It was further resolved to instruct the Clerk to write to Ms Y Thomson and Mr S Irving formally requesting written answers to the questions currently in their possession raised by the Site Selection Working Group and Residents of Birdham.

163-11 Emergency Planning:

            In the absence of Cllr Crossley and Cllr Grafham this item was deferred to a future date.

164-11 Report of the Staffing Committee Meeting:

In the absence, on business, of Cllr Grafham – Chairman of the Staffing Committee, a prepared statement was read by the Chairman of Council as follows;

On 27th March 2012 the Staffing Committee of Birdham Parish Council met to consider a complaint made by a member of the public. After careful consideration of the complaint and with guidance from SALC the complaint has not been upheld.

165-11 Diamond Jubilee Celebrations and Funding:

The Chairman reported that she had met with the Jubilee Committee with the following results;

A band had been booked, the Scouts were doing the ice cream stall, the School was organising a poster contest and fancy dress. The Parish Council was asked to be the car park attendant’s and to provide suitable Olympic themed games.

The Chairman asked for people to come forward with the name of someone they knew who was famous, who might consider opening the event.

The Parish Council is to supply PC’s so that the Parish Council web site and other items of interest might be demonstrated.

The Chairman asked the Clerk to ensure that the Village Hall and the Sandal Room were booked for the 14th July.

164-11 Reports:

i)      Play area and playing field – The Clerk reported that work to the play area fence and gate had been completed to a high standard.

ii)      Village Green and Pond – As reported in the previous meeting the Clerk was anticipating an on-site meeting with a member of the Sussex Wildlife Trust who it was hoped would be able to give guidance, advice and practical help in resolving some of the problems associated with the pond, this meeting has now been confirmed for the 9th May.

iii)      Police and Neighbourhood Watch – PCSO Broad reported that both he and PCSO Bainbridge had met with members of the public and with young people. Generally it was felt that most were happy with their lot. The PCSO’s had carried out security marking. The younger element asked if it was possible for a skate park to be built in Birdham.

PCSO Broad reported that criminal damage had been carried out in Lock Lane and that a spate of burglaries had taken place across the Peninsula. He urged everyone present to be more aware of their own security by keeping doors and windows locked. He also asked if anyone saw suspicious activity would they please report it. There had also been an increase in marine theft and again the answer was primarily down to a lack of personal security.

The reports of poisoned sandwiches left out for dogs had not been experienced in the area for which they were responsible. Dog fouling was, and remains, one of the most worrying aspects for residents in Birdham.

The Chairman thanked the PCSO’s for the CCTV van that had been parked in Sidlesham Lane for a few days as it had reduced the amount of speeding in that area. PCSO Broad said that if sufficient residents were interested they could be trained on, and subsequently deploy a speed indicator device (SID).

Cllr Cobbold asked if the PCSO’s could relay to the younger element within the Parish that the Council would be starting to work on a Neighbourhood Plan and would welcome their insight.

iv)     Communications/Parish Newsletter/Website – Cllr Finch said that the next issue of the Newsletter would be published at the end of May.

The Clerk reported that he was happy with the new web site and was able to make greater use of the flexibility that it offered to present more and detailed information. The next step would be the inclusion of planning applications with a direct link to the CDC Planning Portal.

v)      Other – The Chairman reported that she and the Clerk had judged a number of posters that had been created by Birdham School children in an attempt to reduce and stop dog fouling in Birdham and specifically Crooked Lane. Thirty two posters had been designed from which five had been chosen to be printed onto composite aluminium which would then be attached to lamp posts at either end of the village, the school gates and the village hall gates. Certificates of appreciation would be given at a School Assembly on the 23rd April to all of the children who entered.

In recognition of the work carried out by the school the Chairman thought that it would be appropriate to make a grant to the school.

It was resolved that the sum of £50.00 be granted to Birdham Primary School in recognition of their community involvement.

165-11 Finance:

i)       The Clerk presented the financial report to the Council which showed the following figures;

Balances held at Bank: £41919.18
Designated Funds: £25557.04
Available Funds: £16362.14
Creditors: £  2123.87

The Clerk reported that the first tranche of the precept had been received.

It was resolved to accept the financial report.

166 -11 Reports from Councillors attending meetings:

Cllr Tilbury reported that he had attended the meeting of the Peninsula Forum at which a very comprehensive report had been delivered by Inspector Will Rolls of the Sussex Police Service into policing on the Manhood.

Steve Harrison had given a very good insight into the WSCC Budget.

Cllr Tilbury reported that had also been contacted by the Drainage Officer - Paul Cann - of Adur District Council who wished to use the drainage work done by Birdham as a template to be used in other areas. Cllr Tilbury had invited Mr Cann to visit Birdham and see for himself the problems that Birdham experienced. As Mr Cann is also working with CDC he went away with a very comprehensive understanding of the problem areas and a great deal of information that he had not been party too previously. It was considered that his involvement would also be of assistance to Birdham in the future.

167-11 Items for inclusion in the next meeting:

There were none.

168-11 Dates of Next Meetings:

       5th May 2012 The Annual Parish Meeting at 7pm in the Birdham Village Hall

21st May 2012 The Annual Meeting of Council at 7pm in Birdham Village Hall

There being no further business to discuss the meeting closed at 9.16pm

                         Signed ___________________________   Dated ____________________