Miinutes of the Annual Parish Council Meeting held on the 21st May 2012

Miinutes of the Annual Parish Council Meeting held on the 21st May 2012

Birdham Parish Council


Minutes of the Annual Meeting of the Council

 held on Monday 21st May 2012

at 7pm in Birdham Village Hall


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

Apologies:                 Cllr Leach, Cllr Cobbold (Vice Chairman), Cllr Montyn (WSCC & CDC ) and  PCSO’s.

In attendance:           The Clerk, Cllr Marshall (CDC) and 12 members of the public.

1-12  Prior to the commencement of the meeting the Clerk was asked to read out the resignation letter received from Cllr Bolton which was to take immediate effect .

The Clerk informed Council that he would notify the Returning Officer of CDC and request permission to advertise the vacancy.

2-12  Election of Chairman of Council:

It was duly resolved that Cllr J Finch be Chairman of Birdham Parish Council until the date of the next Annual Meeting of the Council. Having made the declaration of Acceptance of Office Cllr Finch took the Chair.

3-12  Election of Vice-Chairman of Council:

It was duly resolved that Cllr C Cobbold be Vice Chairman of Birdham Parish Council until the date of the next Annual Meeting of the Council.

 4-12  Public Question Time in accordance with SO’s 1d -1l;

There were none.

5-12  Approve and sign the Minutes of the meeting held on the 16th April 2012:

It was resolved that the minutes of the 16th April 2012 be signed as a true and accurate record.

6-12  Declaration of Interests:

Cllr Crossley wished it known that he had a prejudicial interest in land belonging to him that had been the subject of determination by CDC as a potential site for affordable housing. He went on to say that he wished it known that his land was no longer to be considered as available for affordable housing. The Clerk advised Cllr Crossley, through the Chair, that he should put this information in writing and send it to the planning authority.

A resident asked for clarification of Cllr Crossleys position as it was known he had taken part in a discussion with CDC and other members of the Council into affordable housing. The Clerk explained that no direct discussion had taken place regarding land but was purely a meeting to determine the way forward in both answering the questions put by members of the Council and by Residents on what criteria, and how, CDC had determined that the site at Crooked Land was suitable for affordable housing.

It was decided that the Clerk should put further questions relating to ‘interests’ and specifically Cllr Crossleys position to the Principle Solicitor of CDC.

 7-12  Land Bequeathed to the council:

The Clerk reported that whilst he had anticipated that the documentation would have been signed off it appears that the current occupants of Birdham Straight House, themselves beneficiaries, 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. This had consequently created a delay that would need to be resolved to the satisfaction of all beneficiaries of the late Mr Adams Will.

8-12  To appoint Members to outside bodies:

i)              Play Park and Playing Field – Cllr Grafham.

ii)             Civil Protection Emergency Planning – Cllr Crossley.

iii)            Village Hall Trust – Cllrs Finch, Barker, Grafham and Tilbury.

iv)           Manhood Mobility Volunteer Service – Cllr Leach.

v)            Peninsula Forum – Cllrs Finch, Barker, Cobbold and Crossley.

 9-12  Clerks’ Report:

i)              WSCC – The Clerk reported that he had been contacted by WSCC concerning the proposed 20mph speed restriction on roads in and around Birdham and asked for guidance from Council as to the answer they wished to give. The Clerk was instructed to respond that all roads to the North of the Birdham Straight should be subject to the 20mph speed restriction.

ii)             CDC – Have now completed a ward level report which would be extremely useful when compiling the Neighbourhood Plan.

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

iv)           Reports from Members of WSCC/CDC – There was nothing to report.

 10-12   To consider and approve Councillor membership of the following committees and working groups:

i)              Staffing Committee – Cllrs Cobbold, Grafham and Barker.

ii)             Communications Working Group – Cllrs Finch, Barker and Grafham.

iii)            Emergency Planning Working Group – Cllrs Crossley and Grafham.

11-12   To receive the finding of the Assessment Sub-Committee of Chichester District Councils Standards Committee:

The Clerk reported that he had received the Decisions Notice and the Summary of the Complaint that had been filed by a resident against a current Councillor and two past members of Council. For the benefit of those present the Clerk read out the conclusions of the Assessment Sub-Committee which are summarised as follows. It was concluded that this was not an appropriate case to be referred to the Interim Monitoring Officer for an investigation to be undertaken or for other steps to be taken.

The Complainant had been given thirty days in which to lodge a request for a review of the findings and had not done so, thus the finding of the Assessment Sub-Committee stands.

Mr Way, past Councillor who was a subject of the complaint, was granted permission to make a statement in support of the findings. In summary he stated that he had acted with absolute integrity and had gone out of his way to ensure that he did not speak on the subject of Affordable Housing and had always ensured that his interests had been properly recorded. He added that in all cases he had left the room if any mention of the subject was made in Public Question time or had given his apologies and had not attended meetings if there was an agenda item on the subject.

12-12   To receive and agree Terms of Reference for the Staffing Committee:

Councillors had been sent copies of the proposed ToR’s for the Staffing Committee and had raised no objection or suggested amendments.

It was resolved to adopt the Terms of Reference for the Staffing Committee as proposed.

13-12   To determine the way forward on Neighbourhood Planning:

Cllr Finch opened the debate by suggesting that the subject should be raised in the Parish Newsletter in which the Council would be asking for volunteers from all sections of the community to take part.

The Clerk said that he had contacted CDC concerning the notification that the Council would be proceeding with a Neighbourhood Plan and requested guidance on the boundary that the plan should encompass. He also suggested that as the postal costs had risen since the quotation from AiRS that a confirmation quote should be obtained for agreement or otherwise at the June meeting.

It was resolved that the Newsletter should contain information about Neighbourhood Planning and to promote the formation of the plan concept at the Village Fete on July 14th.

It was further resolved that the Clerk be instructed to contact AiRS to confirm the previous quote given by them.

 14-12   To receive a report on Emergency Planning:

In introducing the subject Cllr Crossley said that he, and those who had joined him on the Working Group, had been shocked to find out that they could be sued if a mistake, however unintentional, was made.

He was speaking to various groups who had come across the same problem and had the same concerns, insurers including the Councils own insurers could not guarantee that cover would be available should individuals be sued.

He was also working with an officer of WSCC, who is trying to bring together interested parties, to whom Cllr Crossley had suggested that an open exhibition should be held which may well develop sufficient interest for a training module of some form to be initiated, perhaps by SALC or CDALC.

Cllr Crossley said that he thought the St. Johns Ambulance Service was a good model to copy, as this voluntary service leads with 'training' and certification. He suggested contacting St. Johns to see if they would be interested in promoting EP to its own members as they were already conditioned to accept the risk of potentially being sued.

He ended his report by saying that certain risks may be accepted by insurers if the correct training had been carried out. Equally organisations such as the St John Ambulance Service may well be able to identify individuals from their database who are already trained and may well volunteer if asked.

 15-12   Planning matters including CDC decisions:


 BI/12/00146/FUL Land north of Cowdry Nursery, Sidlesham Lane, Birdham

Birdham Parish Council finds it difficult to respond to this application as there is a lack of detail in the papers. On the face of it this is an application for the erection of an agricultural barn on a piece of land on Sidlesham Lane where there has recently been some activity in felling trees and constructing a new entrance, with a new culvert. The barn is 18.3 metres long by 10.67 metres wide and 5.6 to the ridge. It consists of a metal frame with blockwork walls 1.1 metres high and green plastic covered metal sheeting for the remainder of the height and the roof. There is a roller shutter door at one end. The barn will be sited 4 metres from the edge of the boundary with Mill House Farm to the north and 6 metres from the boundary on the Sidlesham Lane side. However we are provided with no information to show the need for or projected use of the barn or indeed the projected use of the land which has been cleared. Are there, for example, implications for noise and lighting? We also do not know why the barn is to be connected to an existing septic tank or whether the soakaway for the surface water is an existing arrangement or, if not, what form of soakaway is intended. If the site is to be used more intensively we would also wish to know the implications for traffic movements along Sidlesham Lane, which has no footpath and is used by pedestrians and cyclists especially during the summer months when the local camping and caravan facilities are available. If more trees are to be cleared from the site we would also have concerns about a utilitarian design in a possibly exposed rural site.

Until these matters are clear the Council feels unable to support this application, although it is mindful of the need to provide employment and economic activity in the Parish. We would advise further clarification and resubmission.

BI/12/01196/LBC The Thatched Cottage, Birdham Road, Birdham

This is an application to refurbish The Thatched Cottage, a 17th century Grade II Listed property, and to convert some outbuildings to holiday lets.

We would comment that the mislabelling of some of the elevations made the reading of these plans more difficult than it needed to be. The angles of the perspective views are also not labelled. All of them omit the modern barn which is to be retained, thus giving a false impression of the view from the road.

The main cottage is to be reorganised internally but this involves minimal change apart from the removal of some partitions, the building of some new ones to create a study and to reorganise the first floor, and add a new main porch in keeping with the original building. We appreciate the decision to refurbish largely on a like-for-like basis, using reclaimed or handmade materials. Modern fireplaces will be replaced with ones more suitable to the period of the cottage.

To the rear of the main cottage will be a new, two-storey extension linking to the existing stables to the north. This will involve the demolition of the southern end of the existing stable block. We calculate that the additional space will amount to approximately 45% of the existing property. (We note the claim that this development overall will not increase the footprint of the whole collection of building – but only because the pole barn, some distance away, is to be demolished) We have some concerns that the extension will be prominent because it will be roofed in red clay tiles rather than the thatch of the existing cottage but the main viewpoint will be from the main road, some distance away and it will be partially obscured by other buildings. The overall massing will be little different from the existing. The flat roofed lobby to the extension is undistinguished but preserves the integrity of the original cottage and overcomes doubts about this extension of a Listed building. It should be a condition that this extension cannot be sold separately from the main cottage.

We are not clear as to the future use of the remaining part of the stables to the north. There is an implication that they may be offered to local enterprises for equine use which could offer employment opportunities for local people. However, our experience of another application in the Parish is that the smell of manure and urine from the stables may not be what is expected by those in the holiday let conversions on the other side of the yard.

The conversion of the barns to holiday lets has been well thought-through. We appreciate the retention of the existing exteriors by putting new walls on the inside of the cladding. There is major internal reorganisation but it is not significant for the external appearance of the stables. The re-thatching of the barn at the end of holiday let 1 is an improvement to be applauded. We note that the pre-application raised some doubts about the suitability of this site for a small-scale holiday complex because of its distance from services and facilities. In our view this is little different from other sites in the neighbourhood; the site is linked to the main village services by a footpath and cycle track as well as by the main road. It is also small enough not to raise problems of increased traffic on the A286. We are concerned that the terraces/gardens on the east of the holiday lets should be controlled as to planting; there have been instances elsewhere of “suburban” gardens in the rural landscape and we would expect conditions on the choice of indigenous species of plants and suitable materials for any sitting areas. It should also be a condition that these conversions should not be sold separately from the main cottage. In view of problems elsewhere in the Parish we assume that the use of these conversions as holiday lets will be confirmed by visit from time to time.

We see no reference in the plans to the Garden Store shown on one of the drawings.

We are glad to see the rehabilitation of these buildings. We are satisfied that there will be no adverse effect on the amenity of neighbours and the Council raises NO OBJECTION to this application, subject to clarification and negotiation on some of the points made above.

 BI/12/01330/DOM Field Cottage, Westlands, Birdham

The applicant is the partner of a member of Birdham Parish Council who has taken no part in the determination of the Council’s response to this application.

Field Cottage lies on the Westlands Estate, outside the Birdham SPA but within the Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The application is for certain small scale alterations to create a carport, to make a small extension of the property into what is effectively an internal courtyard in order to carry out some internal reorganisation and to alter some windows at the ground floor level. The bungalow is tucked away to the rear of other properties on the Estate and the alterations will only be visible from the courtyard which is not overlooked by any other property. We assume that the materials used will match the existing property in order to preserve the integrity of the building.

The Council has NO OBJECTION to this application.

BI/12/01830/LBC and BI/12/01569/DOM Chaffinches Farm, Main Road, Birdham

Chaffinches Farm lies outside the Birdham SPA but within the Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This application is mainly the same as the applications to which the Council responded in February 2007 (BI/06/05809LBC and BI/06/05820/DOM) which have now lapsed but which were approved at the time. The intention is to erect a single storey rear extension, to carry out minor internal alterations and to replace the leaded light on the rear dormer.

The circumstances have not changed since the previous application and we would only make two comments. The replacement of the leaded light in the rear dormer is a straight substitution, we understand. We would be unhappy with the substitution of plain glass windows in the position as they would introduce a prominent modern element into this elevation of the building. We would also like a condition on the colour of the surrounds of the window; the application specifies white but we would prefer a more muted colour in line with the recommendations of the Chichester Harbour Conservancy’s Design Guidelines.

The Council has NO OBJECTION to this application.

BI/12/01570/DOM Palmers, Pescotts Close, Birdham

Pescotts Close lies within the Birdham SPA and within the Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This application is to build into the loft space and to extend the original bungalow to provide an additional bedroom and two additional bathrooms. There will also be a balcony overlooking the rear garden.

Pescotts Close consists of 9 properties of varied design, most of which take up the full width of their site. A number of them have been the subject of applications for enlargement laterally and into the loft space. Problems arise with overlooking and loss of light to neighbouring properties. The questions of overlooking have been thought through by the design. The loss of light to the neighbouring property to the west is mitigated by the fact that the alterations recently carried out there have included the erection of a fence more than 2 metres high in front of the only window on that elevation. Nonetheless we note that the 60 degree angle of light has been preserved. The west elevation of the application is now effectively increased to two storeys and this might otherwise have been felt to be overbearing on the neighbouring property. Similarly on the west side it might have been felt that the proximity to the curtilage was to great but other properties in this Close are similar. The ridge height is increased from 5.2 meters to 6.7 metres. As far as the streetscape is concerned there is no doubt that there will be a change in the massing of this property but we are content that it will not be such as to change the character of the road. On the east side, the building over the garage will impact on the bungalow to the east. We note that the Velux windows will be obscure glazed up to 1.7 metres and this should be conditioned for the future.

The Council has NO OBJECTION to this application.

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

 At this point the Chairman left the meeting due to a bout of coughing.


BI/12/00542/DOM Mr Nicholas Hayes Havenhurst Sidlesham Lane Birdham. Proposed single storey side/rear extension including cloakroom. PERMIT

 BI/12/00640/LBC Mr And Mrs Nick Von Schirnding Hammonds Farm Westlands Lane Birdham.  Internal and external alterations including replacement of windows and doors beyond repair, new internal opening. Replace internal doors and staircase furniture. Remove partition, relocate boiler flue and remove treatment on exposed timbers. PERMIT

 BI/11/05313/FUL Mr Chris Milton Cowdry Nursery Sidlesham Lane Birdham. Siting of 1 no. mobile home and amenity buildings for gypsy use only. REFUSE

 BI/12/01166/FUL C E A Settlement Trust GWA Auto Barn Birdham Road Birdham. Erection of covered parking for car preparation. PERMIT

It was resolved to note the decisions made by CDC.

 The Chairman returned to the meeting.

 16-12   Correspondence – In addition to that already circulated:

The Clerk had received the following;

i)              Water Resources Update – Southern Water

ii)             Field Work – The magazine published by the CPRE

17-12 Reports:

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

ii)      Village Green and Pond – The Clerk had met with Sussex Wildlife Trust and the Environment Agency to try and formulate a strategy for the pond maintenance. It was agreed that due to the water voles nothing could be done until late autumn when it would be possible to remove silt and cut back some of the bank growth and trees provided that certified contractors were employed to do the work.

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

iv)     Communications/Parish Newsletter/Website – Cllr Finch introduced a paper which had previously been circulated to members. The paper outlined the starting point of the Communications Working Group from May 2011 to the current date, what had been achieved and how, and looked forward to the immediate future.

Cllr Finch then went on to present the Terms of Reference for the Working Group which had also been circulated to members and proposed their adoption.

It was resolved to adopt the Terms of Reference for the Communication Working Group as presented.

v)      Other – Although not strictly a report Cllr Tilbury asked that a vote of thanks be passed to the outgoing Chairman Cllr Parks for her work during the Council Year. He remarked that at times it had been a difficult year but with caring kindness she had allowed the Council to do its work.

18-12   Finance:

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

Balances held at Bank: £41340.81
Designated Funds: £25557.04
Available Funds: £15783.77
Creditors: £  1916.23

The Clerk reported that he received the VAT refund of £2879.04. He had also received notification that £200.00 from the Leader of CDC. Cllr H Caird, towards the Jubilee events had been received but, not yet banked. He was also anticipating that Coles Children’s Fair would be booking for a 21 day period.

It was resolved to accept the financial report.

ii)      The Clerk presented the report of the Internal Auditor and asked for it to be accepted and approved by Council.

It was resolved to accept and approve the report of the Internal Auditor.

iii)     The Clerk then presented the External Audit Report and explained the various comments and headings contained within it and asked that the Council resolve to give permission for the Chairman to sign the various areas of the report in order that it can be despatched.

It was resolved to permit the Chairman to sign pages 2 and 3 of the External Audit Report.

iv)    The Clerk then introduced a document from the Audit Commission which outlined the new system that would be in place for five years from 2012/13 proposing that Littlejohn LLP rather than Mazars be the new External Auditor. If the contract was placed with Littlejohn it would commence on the 1st September 2012 and show a saving to the Birdham Parish Council of an anticipated £180.00 on the audit budget.

19-12   Reports from Councillors attending meetings:

Cllr Parks reported that she had attended a meeting concerning the Madestein Appeal at Almodington. She went on the say that residents were extremely unhappy about the Inspectors decision to allow submission of an amended plan showing a wide parking/passing bay. Cllr Parks also commented on the additional £30000.00 required to defend the local opposition to the whole project.

Cllr Tilbury said that he was extremely concerned at the additional plan as it called for introducing culverts which were notorious for becoming blocked or damaged by tree roots causing additional flooding in an already threatened area.

Cllr Parks proposed that a further letter be written by the Clerk to the Planning Inspector supporting the previous objection to the project and, including the concerns of the residents to the parking/passing bays and the possible flooding.

It was resolved that the Clerk be instructed to write to the Planning Inspectorate supporting the previous objection to the project and, including the concerns of the residents to the parking/passing bays and the possible flooding.

Cllr Crossley reported on the All Parishes Meeting that he attended on the 10th May. He felt that it was probably the best that he had attended so far with information that was both relevant and pertinent to the current situation. He especially commented on the presentation made by Cllr Ransley on Neighbourhood Planning that was involved with.

Cllr Crossley asked if the documentation from the meeting could be placed on the Parish Council website which was agreed.

Cllr Tilbury said that he had attended that last meeting of West Sussex Hospitals Trust and was pleased to discover that St Richards Hospital had reduced the incidents of MRSA infection to zero. He had heard an interesting talk on orthotics. The Hospitals were also revamping their documentation and communications systems to make them more easily understood and relevant to the subject.

20-12   Items for inclusion in the next meeting:

Village Fete.

Affordable Housing.

Neighbourhood Planning.

21-12   Dates of Next Meeting:

    18th June 2012 at 7pm in Birdham Village Hall

There being no further business to discuss the meeting closed at 8.50pm


Signed ___________________________   Dated ____________________