Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting of the 18th June 2012
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Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting of the 18th June 2012

Birdham Parish Council


Minutes of the Annual Meeting of the Council

 held on Monday 18th June 2012

at 7pm in Birdham Village Hall

 Present:                     Cllr Parks, Cllr Cobbold (Vice Chairman), Cllr Finch (Chairman), Cllr Grafham, Cllr Crossley, Cllr Barker.

Apologies:                 Cllr Leach, Cllr Tilbury.

In attendance:           The Clerk, Cllr Montyn (WSCC & CDC), Cllr Marshall (CDC) and 68 members of the public.

22-12   Prior to the commencement of the meeting Cllr Crossley asked for and was given permission to read his resignation letter.

After reading his resignation letter, which was to take immediate effect, Mr Crossley left the Council table and joined the audience of residents.

23-12               Again prior to the commencement of the meeting, the Chairman commented on the appalling situation that a great number of residents found themselves in as a result of the flooding which took place during the previous week.

Cllr Cobbold said that she now had a family staying with her whose home had been devastated by the flood water and now found themselves homeless for approximately six months while their home dried out and repairs made.

24-12   Public Question Time in accordance with SO’s 1d -1l:

Q - A resident asked about a path from the school to the church.

A - This had been spoken about many times and was potentially part of the ‘walk to school’ initiative that was being dealt with by WSCC. Cllr Montyn said that he was working with WSCC and local members to find a solution.

Q – Is it true that the Drainage Officer was shared by Arun and Chichester District Councils?

A – Yes. Cllr Cobbold said that she had concerns with this arrangement especially in the light of the problems that had hit the Peninsula last week and seemed to be on-going.

Q – What was happening with the flood survey that had been carried out by the Council and Residents?

A – All of the information had been passed to CDC. However, the Drainage Officer at the time had left through illness creating a vacuum in which nothing further could be done until the appointment of the current Officer. All of the information had now been passed over to the new Officer and he had, together with Cllr Tilbury, walked the Parish to familiarise himself with both the area and the problem.

Q – What was the situation concerning the pond and de-silting?

A – The various wildlife surveys had been carried out. A meeting on the 9th May was held with representatives of the EA and Sussex Wildlife Trust at which permission was granted to have the work carried out by a licensed contractor during the Autumn/Winter period. A recommendation had been made by the EA that WSCC gully cleaning contractor might well be the best organisation to carry out the work.

25-12               Declaration of Interests:

Cllr Grafham declared a prejudicial interest in item 8 as his property backed onto one of the sites that may be discussed.

26-12               Approve and sign the Minutes of the meeting held on the 21st May 2012:

It was resolved that the minutes of the 21st May 2012 be signed as a true and accurate record.

 27-12               Land Bequeathed to the council:

The Clerk reported that he had now spoken directly to the current occupants of Birdham Straight House, themselves beneficiaries, who had raised concerns over the request by the Council that the Council should have the right to connect to the water supply that may cross what, would be the land within the boundary of Birdham Straight House. It appeared that they objected to the idea that damage may well be done to their land and they may be forced into having a water meter which they also objected to.

The Clerk recommended that the solicitor be instructed to proceed by dropping the requirement to cross the land that would belong to Birdham Straight House and bring the situation to a conclusion.

It was resolved to instruct the Clerk to instruct the Solicitor acting for the Council to conclude the negotiations without access to Birdham Straight House.

 28-12               Clerks’ Report:

i)              WSCC – There was nothing to report.

ii)             CDC – There was nothing to report

iii)            Other related matters – There was nothing to report.

iv)           Reports from Members of WSCC/CDC – Cllr Montyn (WSCC/CDC) said that the planning and adequacy of foul water treatment was causing concern especially in the light of recent events. Other parishes had asked for assistance in resolving the problem, he suggested that parishes on the Peninsula may wish to work together, perhaps inviting Southern Water to come and investigate, and OFWAT to arrange a public meeting. He suggested that by working together more could be done.

There had been many problems during the recent floods which had exacerbated the problems, a rising main in Selsey had burst, a pumping station had failed and in an entirely separate incident a massive block of fat had created a blockage.

Cllr Marshall had nothing further to add.

29-12               To receive and approve a financial report:

                The Clerk in presenting the financial report which showed the figures as under said that the £200.00 donation made by the Leader of CDC – Cllr Caird – had now been received and banked.

Balances held at Bank: £39016.52
Designated Funds: £25557.04
Available Funds: £13459.48
Creditors: £    736.01

It was resolved to accept the financial report.

30-12   Update on Neighbourhood Planning:

The Clerk reported that he had contacted AiRS to ask them to confirm the quotation that had been submitted. As suspected this had been increased due to the postage rise that had recently taken place. However, he felt that if Councillors where prepared to hand deliver the first batch of survey letters the costs could be contained to a reasonable level, as a result he felt that AiRS represented good value for money and recommended to Council that AiRS should be contracted to assist the Council in going forward with its Neighbourhood Plan.

It was resolved that the Clerk be authorised to enter into a contract with AiRS to support the Council in the production of a Neighbourhood Plan.

The Clerk went on to say that he had contacted CDC to inform them that Birdham Parish Council is to start Neighbourhood Planning and that he now had an appointment with CDC to determine the administration requirements.

 31-12   Affordable Housing. To determine the way forward:

            The Chairman opened the debate by saying that it was not her intention to debate the 26 sites that had been examined by CDC but to split the debate into two areas. Firstly was there a need for affordable housing in Birdham and secondly did the Parish support the concept of building on an H9 Exception site to provide no more than 15 units of residential accommodation.

The Chairman went on to say that she wanted Council to hear the views of the residents present prior to coming to any decisions. She then opened the debate which very quickly became noisy and bad tempered.

Q – Why was this being debated now when it should be discussed as part of a Neighbourhood Plan?

A – The length of time taken to produce the Neighbourhood Plan would effectively diminish the funding available.

Q – What is meant by a ‘local connection’?

A – The Chairman read from the H9 policy.

At this point Cllr Montyn said that as of that morning he had checked the housing list and found that there were 51 on the housing list with a direct connection with Birdham. However, this number may reduce as those on the register must prove both their need and their connection.

A Resident pointed out that she had a daughter that was approaching 21 years old and had no opportunity to buy a property in Birdham but she wished to stay in Birdham as she was part of the community. She had been to school and worked in the community.

A Resident said that it was not the people who were the problem but the traffic it would generate and the infrastructure they would require.

A Resident said that funding for this project would only be released if the project was completed and handed over in 2015 any delay would compromise this opportunity. Regarding the School he said that currently the school was running at 21 pupils per class and could take more.

Cllr Parks said that she was a Governor of the School and that the physical size of the classrooms was large and that there would be capacity to take more.

Q – Why is there rush to make this decision?

Cllr Cobbold said that it was correct to get the right decision and that this had been discussed over a number of years so it was not a rush. She went on to say that as part of market development affordable housing would come through but, it would not necessarily be for Birdham people and would still not meet the demand.

A Resident said that Sam Irving – CDC Rural Housing Enabling Officer - had said that housing should be on the western side of the A286 Birdham Straight.

A Resident said that the site selection process was revisited and that Hyde Martlet will not go away in providing ‘social housing’ and will negotiate with developers to achieve the required housing. This should be included in the Neighbourhood Plan.

A Resident said that the Site Selection Working Group which had been set up by the Council had asked a number of questions of CDC concerning the initial sites put forward. He felt that CDC had not answered the questions put to them and that CDC had not properly examined the sites and certainly none of the site owners had been contacted by CDC.

Cllr Montyn (WSCC/CDC) said that there was considerable interest in finding homes to fulfil the need for affordable housing. However, that also meant that planning applications would undergo stringent examination as would the prospective tenants.

In the case of H9 Exception site accommodation most, if not all, of the applicants would already be living in the area so would not add large numbers to either traffic or school placement requirements.

He added that the Parish Council had been going through the process for well over a year and that any site chosen would consist of no more than 15 mixed units.

A Resident said that any application for affordable housing would need to go through the planning process in exactly the same way as any other development application.

Cllr Barker said that whilst she could see both sides of the debate this process had begun 4 years ago and that there was a need for affordable housing.

Cllr Cobbold said that she would be very annoyed and ashamed if we did not take advantage of the opportunity to provide a scheme of housing for those in our community who were in need. She went on to say that whichever site was chosen careful consideration would have to be given in the planning process to prevent any re-occurrence of the recent flooding that had been witnessed.

It was resolved that Birdham Parish Council recognised that there was a need for an H9 Exception site affordable housing within Birdham.

The Chairman then continued with the debate on the location of the site stating that she considered that only those sites that had been considered suitable should be discussed.

A Resident again raised the question of land and that CDC had not contacted land owners to determine if any of their land was available.

The Chairman said that in fact the original site selection counted for just 16 sites. The second look had examined some 26 sites and reasons had been given for their rejection in the answers to the questions posed by Birdham Parish Council.

A Resident felt that answers to the posed questions had been vague at best.

A Resident said that he had contacted CDC concerning some of the answers and had those answers clarified to his satisfaction.

Cllr Montyn said that in response to the concerns of building in an AONB it was certainly possible to build it just meant that more stringent rules applied. He went on to say that all of those sites that had been examined and rejected had been rejected on planning grounds alone.

It was resolved that Birdham Parish Council instruct the Clerk to write to Chichester District Council formally requesting that they, CDC, or Hyde Martlet proceed to the planning application stage on one of the three potential sites identified in the Birdham H9 Exception Site Assessment Memoranda issued to Birdham Parish Council on the 4th May 2012, taking into consideration the suitability and requirements of both the site chosen and of those who are in need.

 32-12   Planning matters including CDC decisions:


 BI/12/01636/FUL Chichester Marina, Birdham

 This is an application to resite existing portacabins and a toilet block during the construction of new buildings for Premier Marinas at Chichester Marina. The Council has NO OBJECTION to this application but requests a condition that the portacabins and toilet block should be removed from the site on first occupancy of the new buildings.

BI/12/01902/ADV Birdham Garage, Main Road Birdham

 Birdham Garage lies inside the boundary of the Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and The Birdham SPA. The location is semi-rural. The Council recognises that no changes are proposed in the layout, extent or design of buildings on the site. The application is for the rebranding advertising in connection with the change from a Total garage to a Shell garage.

Much of the proposal simply follows the existing use of advertising and health and safety signage at the existing garage. We are concerned however about the increase in illuminated signage. It is proposed (items A to H on the plan) to illuminate the edges of the canopy which is at present only lit below. It is also proposed to have considerable illuminated signage on the Prime/Price Sign. We recognise the need to illuminate the price panel for ease of reading but the red and yellow livery on white of the Shell signs (and associated branding) will be an added illumination and we consider this to be unnecessary light pollution in the AONB in this rural location. The garage is the only retail petrol outlet on the west side of the Manhood Peninsula and no competitive advantage over rival retailers is to be gained from the extra illumination involved.

We would hope that Shell and their agents can be persuaded to amend the application to cut down the illumination, especially the white light involved. If negotiation is unacceptable then the Council OBJECTS to this application under Policies RE4, BE9 and the spirit of paragraph56 of the Local Plan 1999.

 BI/12/01918/FUL Moorings, Westlands, Birdham

 This is an application to amend some aspects of the design approved under application BI/11/04680/FUL to which the Council did not object despite misgivings over developments of this size along the Harbour and about the extent of the glass facing the Harbour. We also questioned the need for the bedroom window on the east elevation which could be intrusive of the neighbours’ privacy and enjoyment of their garden. We note that this window still appears on the amended application.

Despite these misgivings, and in the light of the previous permission, the Council raises NO OBJECTION to these amendments.

BI/12/01931/DOM Glen Iris, Bell Lane, Birdham

 Glen Iris was the subject of planning application BI/09/00211/DOM. At that time the Council expressed its concerns about the fact that the roposed extension would run right up to the cartilage of the site and the unneighbourliness which could be implied during the construction of the extension and in the future when maintenance was necessary on either property. These matters seem to have been resolved to the satisfaction of the Planning Authority by the grant of permission in 2009. We note that there will be no windows on the north side of the property, as was conditioned in 2009, and that there will be no overhang onto the neighbours’ land. There has been some pre-application advice from a planning officer before the submission of this application. Unfortunately the letter referred to in the application form was not supplied to us. On the assumption that the Officer has been made aware of the problems referred to above and that pre-application advice has resolved likely problems, the Council raises NO OBJECTION to this application.

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


 BI/12/00146/FUL Mr Simon Cobden Land North Of Cowdry Nursery Sidlesham Lane Birdham

Agricultural barn. WITHDRAWN

BI/12/01982/NMA Mr G Harford Little Burlow Burlow Close Birdham

Non-material amendment to planning permission BI/11/04943/DOM. Lantern style roof window in flat roof section of car port. Velux roof window in roof over front door. PERMIT

It was resolved to note the decisions made by CDC.

33-12   Correspondence – In addition to that already circulated:

There was none.

34-12   Village Fete Report:

            Cllr Parks gave a very comprehensive update on the situation so far, including the inclusion to the Fete of a marching band. However, the band needed some sort of financial support and proposed a grant be made of £250.00. After some debate the Clerk suggested that rather than make a grant to the band if the Council were minded to make any sort of grant it should be to the organizers of the Village Fete under sect 137.

It was resolved that a grant of £250.00 be made to support the Village Fete under sect 137.

Cllr Parks also asked if it was possible for the programme of events to be placed on the Parish Council Website. This was agreed.

35-12 Reports:

i)      Play area and playing field – There was nothing to report

ii)      Village Green and Pond – Reported under Public Question Time.

iii)     Police and Neighbourhood Watch – There was nothing to report.

iv)     Communications/Parish Newsletter/Website – Cllr Finch said that the June newsletter had been printed and most had been delivered.

v)      Other – It was noted that the bus shelter by the old Bird and Ham was in need of repair.

36-12   Reports from Councillors attending meetings:

Cllr Cobbold said that she had arranged a meeting with those who had been affected by the flooding in Bell Lane at which over 40 residents had turned up to hear what was said. In the main an investigation would be carried out by the relevant authorities and the results would be conveyed to interested parties.

20-12   Items for inclusion in the next meeting:

21-12   Dates of Next Meeting:


16th July 2012 at 7pm in Birdham Village Hall

There being no further business to discuss the meeting closed at 9.25pm

Signed ___________________________   Dated ____________________