Minutes of the Parish Council of the 17th September 2012
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Minutes of the Parish Council of the 17th September 2012

Birdham Parish Council

 Minutes of the Meeting of the Council

 held on Monday 17th September 2012

at 7pm in Birdham Village Hall


Present:                     Cllr Parks, Cllr Cobbold (Vice Chairman), Cllr Finch (Chairman), Cllr Tilbury,

Cllr Grafham and Cllr Barker.

Apologies:                 Cllr Leach.

In attendance:           The Clerk, Cllr Montyn (WSCC & CDC), Cllr Marshall (CDC) and 25 members of the public.

54-12   Public Question Time in accordance with SO’s 1d -1l:

        A resident asked if it would be possible to write to CDC requesting a moratorium on planning.

The Chairman responded that this would be dealt with under agenda item 7.

A resident asked whose responsibility it was to deal with trees overhanging the paths and part of the A286 from Walwyn Close and those at Cherry Lane.

Cllr Tilbury said that it was the responsibility of the owner to deal with the trees on their property, even though some owners had constructed fences between their properties and the trees responsibility remained. He said that he had in the past written to owners on this subject and would work with the Clerk to remind owners of their responsibilities.

A question was posed by a resident concerning planning, the numbers of units and the FAD.

Cllr Tilbury gave a brief resume of the situation in relation to the ‘Saved Local Plan of 1999’ and the FAD. He also made mention of the unknown numbers of units that would be required of Birdham in the emerging Local Plan but anticipated that a number somewhere between 50 and 100 units would likely be required of which some would be ‘windfall’ sites.

A resident said that the Village Fete was attended by a number of people who came from outside the area and had been trying, unsuccessfully, to get to the beach and instead attended the fete. Whilst they enjoyed the fete they had been disappointed that they had not reached their intended destination because of the traffic situation. What was the Council doing about resolving the traffic issue?

Cllr Cobbold said that it had been an absolute nightmare getting on and off the Peninsula for residents so she could readily understand the frustrations of holiday makers. However, she was aware that WSCC had been doing a number of traffic surveys and modelling in the area of the A27 corridor and they would let us have the figures. Whilst this survey did not directly impact the A286 some of the figures will help and if this was taken forward in the Neighbourhood Plan anecdotal evidence obtained from surveys would be acceptable.

A resident asked if Birdham Parish Council had seen the new drainage plans for the Old Common Close site (formerly the Longmeadow site). The new plans were now the third attempt to resolve the drainage issue. Soakaways had been moved closer to the ditch and with higher ground water levels experienced in this area it would seem to be unsustainable.

Cllr Tilbury said the Council had received no drawings in relation to a new planning application and whilst he had looked on-line at some new drawings he had experienced difficulty in interpreting them. He would contact CDC Planning but, while there is no role for the Parish Council in determining the outcome of the new plans, he would continue to harry them.

A resident asked if the Council had made any claims against the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) to pay for improvements in the village.

The Clerk responded that CDC had not yet implemented the CIL and were still reliant on the sect 106 methods to pay for community improvements. In fact this was illustrated by the award of some £25000.00 of match funding to be paid to the Parish Council for playing field drainage once five units in Old Common Close had been sold.

55-12               Declaration of Interests:

There were no declarations of interest.

56-12               Approve and sign the Minutes of the meeting held on the 18th June 2012:

With the addition of one amendment of minute 46-12, page 16, penultimate paragraph, by the addition of the word prevention after flooding, It was resolved that the minutes of the 16th July 2012 be signed as a true and accurate record.

 57-12               Land Bequeathed to the council:

The Clerk reported that the Chairman and he had signed the required documentation to register the property in the name of the Council and that he hoped the successive agenda would no longer have to show this subject.

 58-12               Clerks’ Report:

i)              WSCC – The Clerk reported that he had received correspondence from Abby Burch – Senior Community Support Worker – offering to come to the Council and speak on the services that her Team offered. Members of the Council felt that the offer should be accepted and the Clerk was asked to arrange this.

ii)             CDC – The Clerk reported that he had now received confirmation from the Local Land Charges Manager that CDC had agreed the name of Old Common Close for the Longmeadow site and had informed the developers accordingly.

The Clerk had also received notification from Steve Carvell – Director of Environment at CDC – of a tree preservation order placed on 10 in number Monterey Pine Trees on land to the north of Cowdry Nursery in Sidlesham Road. The order comes into force immediately.

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

iv)           Reports from Members of WSCC/CDC – Cllr Marshall (CDC) said that the Government was reducing the support paid to benefit recipients by 10% meaning that CDC would have to fund the shortfall. Various methods were being examined under consultation but, it was likely that discounts for holiday home community charges would be abolished and that relief for new homes not yet sold would be reduced from the current six months to three months.

He also asked if anything could be done by the Parish Council to repair the bus stop at the old Bird and Ham pub. The Clerk said that he would look into this.

59-12To receive and approve a financial report:

i)              In presenting the current financial situation to the Council the Clerk said that the second tranche of the Precept amounting to £18463.00 had been received from CDC and that the sum of £8591.04 had been paid to the PWLB.

Balances held at Bank: £44910.40
Designated Funds: £25557.04
Available Funds: £19353.36
Creditors: £  5036.03

It was resolved to accept the financial report.

ii)             The Clerk presented the report of the External Auditor – Mazars – and pointed out the report had been published on the notice boards and on the web site in accordance with current regulations. One observation had been made in that the Clerk had failed to deduct the un-presented cheques from box 8 although he had in box 7. Aside from that minor error the Council had received a clean bill of health.

It was resolved to accept the report of Mazars the External Auditor.

iii)            The Clerk reported that he had received notification from the Audit Commission that with effect from the 1st September 2012 the External Auditor would change from Mazars to Littlejohn LLP. Assuming that everything else remained the same there would be a cost saving to the Council of some £142.00.

This was noted.

60-12   Update on Neighbourhood Planning:

The Chairman reported that the first meeting, held on the 3rd September produced a good number of volunteers who attended the meeting on the 10th September to really start the whole process off.

The Chairman thanked Mr Claughton for the considerable amount of work that he had already done to get the process moving.

Mr Claughton said that he had produced draft Terms of Reference which would be submitted for consideration at the next meeting of the Steering Group on Tuesday the 18th September. He said that he had also managed to get copies of the West Wittering Design Statement with which he was very impressed and was giving ideas of the way forward. A number of people had volunteered to serve on both the Steering Group and on the various Focus Groups. The next step would be to concentrate on consultation to get things moving.

The Chairman raised the subject of asking CDC for a planning moratorium whilst the Neighbourhood Plan (NP) was progressing and asked for comments.

Cllr Tilbury suggested that CDC does not have the legal power to agree to a moratorium but it would keep the pressure on the Planning Department.

A resident requested that any letter should also contain a request that developers should follow the correct procedures when applying for or amending planning applications.

Both Cllr Cobbold and Cllr Tilbury felt that to include the suggestion in a letter would give a mixed message.

It was proposed and resolved that the Clerk be authorised to write to the CDC requesting that a moratorium be imposed on all further major developments in and around Birdham in accordance with, and as defined in, section 17 of the Interim Policy Statement on Housing – Facilitating Appropriate Development as updated in January and July 2012 until the completion of the emerging Local Plan and Birdham’s Neighbourhood Plan.

On the subject of the NP Boundary of which the Clerk was required to notify CDC Planners it was proposed and resolved that the Parish of Birdham in its entirety should be the subject of the NP and that the Clerk be authorised to write to CDC to confirm the boundary decision.

The Chairman raised the subject of finance for the Steering Group and Focus Groups and asked Council how this should be arranged.

It was proposed and resolved that the Clerk be given the authority to expend sums up to the value of £1000.00 provided that original receipts are produced.

 61-12   Flooding – Chairman and Vice Chairman to report:

            The Chairman had nothing further to add to that which was already known and offered the floor to Cllr Cobbold who had played a far greater role in the events of June.

Cllr Cobbold responded that there are still families living in temporary accommodation and unable to go back to their own homes. Nothing further was known at this time although she was due to attend a meeting with the EA on the 27th September.

A resident asked what had happened to the flood survey which he and other residents had carried out some years ago and had they wasted their time?

Cllr Tilbury responding said that they had certainly not wasted their time in compiling what had become a very valuable document for CDC Planners and the EA. It was also now being used as a template by other councils and would also be incorporated into the Birdham NP as an evidential document.

 62-12   Update on the Incursion by Travellers:

            The Clerk had previously submitted a written report to all Councillors detailing the actions taken by him post the incursion on the evening of 16th August. He was concerned that in order to act quickly enough to evict the travellers he had taken decisions for which he had no real authority to do and had incurred expenditure of £1753.01 for which he had neither the authority nor the budget. He also requested guidance on strengthening the weakened security highlighted by the activities of the travellers. In closing his report the Clerk wished to publicly express his thanks to all those who had offered help in clearing up post the eviction, and specifically to the Geary family who had carried out the majority of the clean-up prior to CDC arriving on-site.

Various comments were made by residents concerning the lack of Police action which they felt could have been exercised under sections 61-62 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.

Cllr Montyn (WSCC & CDC) said that the NPPF deals with travellers sites. It has been mentioned before and will be the subject of much discussion over the coming months as WSCC attempts to hand over into private ownership the various site currently in operation. It was difficult to locate suitable sites for travellers for various reasons, not least of which were the traveller family associations and the various problems of mixing the families. He did say that there was to be a meeting in late October with the MP for the area and the subject was on the agenda.

Cllr Marshall (CDC) said that he had had a long discussion with the MP who is already well informed on the subject.

It was proposed and resolved to approve the expenditure used to evict the travellers and that the funding should come from the reserves.

It was further proposed and resolved that the Clerk be granted the necessary executive powers to take future emergency action should it be required.

It was agreed that the security aspect of the playing field should be incorporated into the NP.

63-12   Planning matters including CDC decisions:

i)             To approve the Minutes of the Planning Committee held on the 7th September 2012.

Cllr Tilbury gave a very broad summary of the contents of the minutes of the 7th September and the action taken by the Council on matters directly referred to them.

He then went on to detail the comments made on two applications – D/12/02664/FUL and EWB/12/02461/FUL - whilst not in Birdham both applications would have a direct and detrimental effect on Birdham and beyond. The comments made were also very much in line with the statements made by Birdham Parish Council in response to the last Local Plan Consultation document.

It was resolved that the minutes of the Planning Committee meeting held on 7th September 2012 be signed as a true and accurate record.

64-12   Correspondence – Not previously circulated:

The Clerk reported that he received the following;

i)              The Summer edition of the Countryside Voice from CPRE

ii)             The Autumn edition of Field Work from CPRE

iii)            The Chichester Harbour Conservancy Annual Review

iv)           The Autumn edition of the LCR

v)            An invitation from AiRS to attend their AGM on the 7th November (Clerk to attend).

vi)           A request for grant funding from 4 Sight. It was resolved to award a grant of £100.00 under Sect 137.

vii)          A request from the Manhood Peninsula Partnership. It was resolved to award a grant of £50.00 under Sect 137.

viii)         A request for grant funding from Lifecentre. It was resolved to defer this request for further information.

65-12   Village Fete Report:

            Cllr Parks reported that the rescheduled fete which finally took place on the 9th September was well supported and an exceptional success. It had raised £1600.00 towards church funds which had all come from programme sales, competitions, cakes sales and many other activities and stalls that all contributed to making the day the success that it was. Cllr Parks said that she wished to thank all of the Councillors and Villagers who took part and wished to have a vote of thanks recorded to Sally and Alan Drew for the organization and hard work they had put in to making the day one to remember.

66-12 Reports:

i)      Play area and playing field – The Clerk reported that the Play Park had recently been inspected by RoSPA and was given a clean bill of health and an overall risk rating for the play space as medium.

ii)      Village Green and Pond – There was nothing to report at this time however the Clerk was due to contact WSCC Highways to determine if it was possible for them to both extract and dispose of the resultant silt.

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

iv)     Communications/Parish Newsletter/Website – Cllr Finch said that the latest Newsletter had been delivered and had been made rather easier by the large numbers of helpers that had come forward and to whom she was extremely grateful as it made the job so much easier.

v)      Other – There was nothing to report.

 67-12   To debate & decide the concept of audio/visual recording of Council Meetings.

A resident asked if he might be allowed to speak to this item as prior to retirement he was a professional acoustics engineer.

The Chairman allowed the resident to speak.

He said that in his professional opinion the acoustics of the hall were certainly not good for public meetings. He went on to say the cost to implement a system would be astronomical and would require engineering works to be carried out on the building even before the purchase of a sound and recording system. In his opinion the cost benefits would be prohibitive.

The Chairman reminded everyone that it was not a legal requirement to provide verbatim minutes and the most important and legal item was the written resolutions of Council. She said that in her opinion the minutes produced in Birdham were better than others she had seen.

Cllr Cobbold said that in her opinion the only thing required was for the Clerk to clearly read back to the Council the resolution on which the Council would be voting.

It was resolved that prior to any vote on a resolution being taken, the Clerk would read back to the Council the wording of the resolution to be voted upon and recorded in the subsequent minutes of the Council.

 68-12   Reports from Councillors attending meetings:

Cllr Cobbold said that she had attended the Neighbourhood Planning meeting.

Cllr Finch said that she had attended the meeting of the WSCC South Chichester Community Action Plan (CAP). The Clerk had been working on this for some time in another capacity. The CAP had now formally invited Birdham to send along a representative.

69-12   Items for inclusion in the next meeting:

            Update on the Neighbourhood Plan (NP)

70-12   Dates of Next Meeting:

                   15th October 2012 at 7pm in Birdham Village Hall

There being no further business to discuss the meeting closed at 9.05pm

                         Signed ___________________________   Dated ____________________