Adopted minute of the Council Meeting held on the 21st October 2013

Adopted minute of the Council Meeting held on the 21st October 2013


Birdham Parish Council


Minutes of the

Meeting of the Parish Council

 held on Monday 21st October 2013

at 7pm in Birdham Village Hall


Present:                     Cllr Finch (Chairman), Cllr Barker, Cllr Hamilton, Cllr Grafham & Cllr Ayton

 Apologies:                   Cllr Cobbold (Vice Chairman), Cllr Churchill.


 In attendance:              The Clerk, Cllr Marshall (CDC) and 14 members of the public.

 54-13 Public Question time in accordance with Standing Orders 1d -1l:

              A resident commented on the lights at the roundabout at Donnington and how they were impeding the flow of traffic.

55-13 Declaration of Interests:

The Chairman declared a personal interest in agenda item 8a

56-13 Approve and sign the Minutes of the meeting held on the 16th September 2013:

              It was resolved to adopt the minutes of the 16th September 2013 as a true and accurate record.


57-13 Matters arising from the minutes of the 19th November 2012:

Minute 89-12 - Land Bequest.The Clerk reported that he was still awaiting the acceptance of the previously reported arrangements by the third parties involved. 

58-13 Clerks’ Report:

i)    WSCC

a)     The Clerk reported that he had received a ‘consultation’ document from WSCC Highways on the Draft Highways and Transport Works Programmes. It contained two items that were of specific interest to Birdham namely the drainage improvement works at Bookers Lane in Earnley and the likely start date of the 20mph speed reduction scheme in Birdham.

b)    The Clerk went on to say that he also received an email with the commencement dates of the works to install the ‘Park & Stride’ Scheme. Work at the school would start on the 28th October with the final part of the project being carried out to the Village Hall car park week commencing the 18th November.

c)     The final information received from County involved the notification by the Prevention Assessments Team Working Age Adults Service.

ii) CDC 

a)     The Clerk reported he had been notified of the District Councils intention to install the new waste bin at the bus stop opposite the garage during the week commencing 28th October.

iii)Other related matters – There were none.

iv)  Reports from Members of WSCC/CDC – Cllr Montyn (WSCC), via email, gave his apologies and addressed the problems that had been experienced by many at the temporary traffic lights at Donnington. He reported that the lights were temporary and the works for which they were in place was due to be completed by the 6th December.

Cllr Marshall reported that the fully amended Draft Local Plan was due to be presented to CDC Members on the following Thursday. Good progress had been made to proceed to the next stage of consultation and final presentation in early 2014. 

59-13 To receive and approve a financial report:

i)    The Clerk presented the financial report for the month (shown at annex a) which showed the following balances;


Balances held at Bank


Designated Funds


Available Funds





£  1770.99




The Clerk offered to answer any questions that Councillors may have.


It was resolved to adopt the Financial Report.


ii)   The report from the External Auditor – PKF Littlejohn LLP – showed a clean bill of health but with two minor observations.


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


60-13  Neighbourhood Planning – Council Chairman to report.

The Council Chairman reported that the Vice Chairman had stood down from the NP Steering Group for personal reasons. This now meant that the Steering Group needed to elect a suitable Chairman and Vice Chairman as quickly as possible. Equally, more pro-active members were required to drive forward the development of the Neighbourhood Plan.

Currently the Steering Group are in the process of producing draft policies.

An Open Day is scheduled to be held on the 23rd November.

A number of other Neighbourhood Plans have been passed.


61-13 Planning matters including applications and CDC delegated decisions:


i)   To decide on the request by residents to reduce the speed limit on the A286 Birdham Straight. – Cllr Ayton introduced this item. He had been approached by a number of residents who felt unsafe whilst using what little in the way of footpaths that exist and the noise of speeding traffic. Residents were experiencing difficulty in turning right either onto or from the A286.

It was generally accepted that speed was excessive at times but the main task was to get the traffic to observe the existing limit of 40mph. The Clerk suggested that a volunteer group could be trained by the Police to operate radar speed devices however, no volunteers have yet to come forward. The Clerk also said that he had approached WSCC to speed up the process of a TRO to reduce the speed limit but had been informed that even with the support of the local member – Cllr Montyn – it would be unlikely to come to fruition within 5 years.

No decision was made to take this forward.

ii)To decide on Birdham Parish Councils response to the proposed bridging of the Canal over the A286 Birdham Road.

Cllr Hamilton introduced this item. This item had come to the attention of the District Council whilst updating the old saved Local Plan of 1999 to the emerging Local Plan. It had been called in by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee of CDC and subsequently to the full District Council Meeting which was in favour of supporting its inclusion in the emerging Local Plan even though local members of the Manhood spoke against it.

During the following debate members of Birdham Parish Council felt that the impact on the one road in and out of the western side of the Manhood would be totally unacceptable. More importantly it emerged that very little if any consultation had taken place with the residents of the houseboats moored on the canal to the west of the A286. There was little evidence to suggest that consideration had been given to the protection of the wildlife either during or post any construction phase of such a bridge. On a more positive stance it was suggested that improvements could be made to the footpath from the canal basin to the Marina.

It was resolved that Birdham Parish Council currently does not support the bridging of the A286 to provide through navigation of the Chichester Ship Canal.


iii)   Planning Applications to be Decided


a)     BI/13/02962/TPA Cross Trees, Burlow Close, Birdham

Fell 1 no. Horse Chestnut tree (T4) . Crown lift by up to 4.5 m and crown reduction by 2/2.5m on 1 no. Horse Chestnut tree (T5). Both trees subject to BI/69/0009/TPO.

As the Parish Council has no expertise in this field it is content to rely on and abide by the recommendation of the DC Tree Officer.

b)    13/03105/P3JPA Opal Building Chichester Marina

This is an application to convert an office building on their marina site to residential use using the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Amendment) (England) order 2013. In general the Parish Council accept that the building is already in existence the conversion to residential use flies in the face of NPPF 115 and 116 as the site is outside of the existing SPA and well within the boundary of the Chichester Harbour Conservation Area AONB. The harbour is of national and international importance for nature conservation. It is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), a wetland of international importance, a Special Protection Area for wild birds and a candidate Special Area of Conservation. The Harbour is of particular significance for wintering wildfowl and waders some of which are internationally important.

Development in an AONB is covered very clearly in the NPPF sect 11 para 115. NPPF Sect 11 para 116 quite clearly says that permission should be refused except in exceptional circumstances and where it can be demonstrated that development would be in the public interest. In the opinion of the Parish Council there is no evidence to suggest that the site has been advertised to determine the viability of the building as an existing Class B1 site.

The application currently makes no mention of affordable housing or a contribution towards affordable housing and shows no detail of the car parking area or the proposed decking area. Currently the area surrounding the building is used as amenity area by boat owners and visitors to the marina is this to be lost?

Equally it is not disclosed whether these flats will be for sale or lease as full residential units or as holiday lets with the usual caveats in terms of months of use? Are they to be for the use of berth holders or are they open market properties?

The Parish Council is also concerned that should this change of use be permitted then a precedent will have been set allowing the adjacent building to be converted in the same vein.

Birdham Parish Council Objects to this application for change of use until it can be demonstrated that all of the questions above have been properly answered.


It was resolved to instruct the Clerk to forward the decisions of Birdham Parish Council to DC Planning


i)    Delegated Decisions to be noted


There were no delegated decisions


62-13 Correspondence – Not previously circulated:

The Clerk reported that he had received notifications of, and invitations to, the AGM of the Action in Rural Sussex (AiRS) and the Sussex Association of Local Councils (SALC). Both AGM are to be held on 7th November at the Amex Stadium in Brighton.


63-13 Reports:

i)      Play Area and Playing Field. – The repair work to the play area gate and fence had been carried out and additional ‘hardening’ of the fence to the Farne Lane/Crooked Lane corner fencing had been finished.

ii)     Village Green and Pond – The Clerk reported that although he had ordered the work to be carried out on the pond the contractor had not yet started.

iii)    Condition of Village Ditch/Drain Network. – The previously reported application for funding from Op Watershed had been successful but not yet received. Cllr Ayton raised concerns about the ditch running alongside the playing field.

iv)   Police and Neighbourhood Watch – PCSO Bainbridge had given her apologies and submitted a written report. The Clerk read out the report (shown at annex b).

v)    Communication Working Groups – There was nothing to report.

vi)   Other - Mr Barrington reported that he had attended the CDC Planning Committee meeting at which the concerns of residents to the Old Common Close development had been discussed. (His report is shown at annex c). In closing he said that the advertising signs currently displayed had permission until the 28th October, he hoped they would be removed by or on that date but, doubted it.

A resident thanked both the Chairman and Mr Barrington for their work and support and suggested that all residents of Birdham should be very vigilant when it came to future developments.

It was also suggested, and agreed, that a letter from the Parish Council should be sent to the District Council highlighting the concerns of the Parish Council in the perceived lack of enforcement support during the development of Old Common Close.


64-13 To determine the location within the Village of donated trees and, to seek help in their planting:

Cllr Barker said that the school had donated a number of trees to the Parish Council to be planted within Birdham. As the school were seeking to have these trees removed from the school grounds as soon as possible she asked for volunteers to help her. A number of Councillors offered their help as did Mr Pocock and Mr Barrett.


65-13 Reports of meetings attended by Councillors;

          The Chairman said that she had attended the All Parishes Meeting and had listened to the PCC Katy Bourne say how ESCC had dealt with travellers and how success full they had been in reducing the number of incursions and the damage. She was now working with the leaders of the various District, Borough Councils and WSCC to try and achieve the same result.


66-13 Items for inclusion on the next agenda:



66-13 Date of Next Meeting:


21st October 2013 at 7pm in Birdham Village Hall


There being no further business to discuss the meeting was declared closed at 20:36pm






                        Signed ___________________________   Dated ____________________




Annex a

Birdham Parish Council

Financial Statement as at 21st October 2013


Bank Accounts as at 31st March 2013


Receipts to date


Expenditure to date











Represented by;

Current Account (Barclays Community A/c)


Deposit Account (Barclays Premium Business A/c)


National Savings





Reserve @ 50% of Precept


Loan Reserve for half year


Outstanding Cheque/s -





Available Funds



Clerk to the Council

21st October 2013

Payments to be considered

B Geary (Litter Picking)


Clerks Expenses


M H Kennedy & Son


A Dover (Village Green/Bus Stops)


KJB Contractors (Playpark damage & Fencing)


SALC ( Good Cllrs Guide)


PKF Littlejohn (External Auditors)


Access by Design (Web site Hosting)


Southern Electric


CPRE (Subscription)







Annex b


Please note that the West Wittering Neighbourhood Management Panel Meeting (NMP) which included Birdham has now ceased.

This is because two members have joined East Wittering NMP and two from Birdham have decided to wind down for personal reasons.  They have both attended for many years and I am most grateful for their valued input over that time.  Despite requests to the public, no further residents/businesses have come forward to attend and so after discussion, the existing members have agreed to all join the East Wittering and Bracklesham NMP.  This will henceforth become known as THE WITTERINGS NMP. 


I still have a Meet Me In Person session at Birdham Stores on the 4th Thursday of each month between 11:00 - 11:30 am.


October is Tyre Safe month and I have joined NPT colleagues in checked tyre safety in various car parks.   Anyone can check their tyres by placing a 20p coin in the central part of the tyre.  The ridge of the coin should fall inside the grooves.  Tyres should be checked regularly and especially with winter approaching.  Good tyres are essential for good road safety for yourself and others and ensure best performance from your vehicle.  If you are stopped by Police with tyres below acceptable levels, you could receive a £60 fine and 3 points on your licence.



Annex c


The issues on various breaches of conditions by Bellway Homes on the Longmeadow site were brought in front of the Planning Committee last Wednesday. Essentially these majored on the failure of the Bellway to implement the approved drainage scheme and also to carry out excavation in tree root zones by means of hand digging as specified in the Conditions.


Though these and other items were discussed for well over an hour, the result was that the recommendation that no further action was required was carried by 8:2.


With regard to the drainage, the reasons given were that the CDC Drainage Officer considered the scheme installed was acceptable and an improvement to that approved. Our request for an open and independent assessment was therefore refused and so we must assume that CDC will now take on full responsibility for any malfunction in the future. 


With regard to the tree root damage - the Council determined it was not considered expedient to take any enforcement action, as they couldn’t prove that any damage had been done. The fact that mechanical digging was used, which amounted to a clear breach of Condition 40, whether any damage was done or not, was ignored.


As those who attended know, the procedure at these meetings is hardly a level playing field. Though we had submitted written comments in response to the initial Officers’ 9-page report - immediately before the meeting we were faced with a long update sheet, with further comments and information, to which it was impossible to reply. Furthermore the four objecting speakers had a total of 12 minutes to state their case. Thereafter, Officers’ can say anything in response to Committee members’ questions without any public intervention.


Although we have to accept the decision, arising out of the comments made by the Officers’, both in the update sheet and at the meeting, were some points which we feel should be addressed by the Parish Council on our behalf.


1. One of the Planning Committee, Mrs Tull, suggested that the issues were brought before the committee because local residents simply objected to the Longmeadow site. As the matters discussed were confined purely to the technical issues arising out of the construction process and not the design itself, these remarks were unfair and out of order.


2. The Officers’ original report said that the drainage outfalls had been passed as satisfactory, though, having notified them that these had lain uncompleted since 4 September, the update sheet produced at the meeting stated that the works would be completed last week (i.e. a grille would be fitted). This has not been done and neither has the banking been reinforced - therefore the statement was misleading. In any case, Condition 9 says the work should have been completed before the development was brought in to use.


3. It might also be interesting to note that last Thursday work had to be carried out due to a blockage in the foul water system, which brings into question whether the system is fit for purpose and presents ongoing problems for the inhabitants.


4. The ditch abutting the main road should have been cleared on completion. We are not sure whose responsibility this is now, as the Conveyance Plan did not make this clear. We are told this is the affordable housing association. (Note: I will check this with Guinness Hermitage on Monday )


5. We were not satisfied at the Enforcement Officer’s response to the car parking issue (Condition 15), which effectively said that the breach was not pursued because the financial consequences for the developer were considered to be of a greater amount than the disturbance caused to residents. This suggests that CDC regard developer as more important than the residents. Furthermore, they have argued that Bellway submitted a scheme – albeit after the problem arose – which was approved because it complied with the Condition on paper, but, as was seen, in practice, it was hopelessly inadequate and not observed.


6. The permission for the advertising signs expires on 29 October. Having already breached the permission with additional hoardings for 5 months, we hope the Council will ensure that Bellway remove them by that date and not use the excuse that this is a low priority matter.


Mr Frost (ADDM) stated at the meeting that lessons have to be learned from the Longmeadow issues and we hope they will.


7. However, we have the prospect of more developments and taking Rowans as a case in point, amongst others including ground water monitoring and tree protection, there are three references to excavation by ‘hand-digging’. One of the Committee members at the meeting pointedly remarked that hand digging was not practical in this day and age and therefore any plan involving this was liable to abuse. 


8. It is also noted in the Crooked Lane application that a letter from Technical Arboriculture refers to use of air spade and hand-digging in constructing the access track to the site.


So how is the Council going to deal with these situations? As with Longmeadow it is obviously the case that residents have to be vigilant. But I think it is important that the Parish Council express our concerns to CDC in the light of these events to try to avoid the despoiling of our amenities and environment to meet a very questionable demand for more housing.