Minutes of the Council Meeting held on the 20th May 2013

Minutes of the Council Meeting held on the 20th May 2013


Birdham Parish Council


Minutes of the

Annual Meeting of the Parish Council

 held on Monday 20th May 2013

at 7pm in Birdham Village Hall


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

 Apologies:                   Cllr Cobbold (Vice Chairman).

 In attendance:              The Clerk, Cllr Montyn (WSCC &CDC), Cllr Marshall (CDC) and 2 members of the public.

 1-13 Election of Chairman:

              It was resolved that Cllr J Finch be elected to the Office of Chairman of the Council until the date of the next Annual Meeting of the Council.

 2-13 Election of Vice Chairman:

              It was resolved that Cllr C Cobbold be elected to the Office of Vice-Chairman of the Council until the date of the next Annual Meeting of the Council.

 3-13 Public Question time in accordance with Standing Orders 1d -1l:

              There were no questions.      

4-13 Declaration of Interests:

There were no declarations of interest 

5-13 Approve and sign the Minutes of the meeting held on the 15th April 2013:

It was resolved by that the Minutes of the meeting of the 15th April 2103 be signed as a true and accurate record.

 6-13 Matters arising from the minutes of the 19th November 2012:

Minute 89-12 - Land Bequest.The Clerk said that he had received no further information on this very frustrating project and had asked the Councils Solicitor to try and expedite the final documentation. 

7-13 To appoint members to outside bodies:

              CDALC – Cllrs Finch and Cobbold

              Village Hall Trust – Cllrs Finch, Barker and Grafham with one vacancy to be filled by a co-opted member.

              Manhood Mobility Forum – Mrs Sheila Leach

              Peninsula Forum - Cllrs Finch, Barker and Cobbold with one vacancy to be filled by a co-opted member. 

8-13 Clerks’ Report:

i)    WSCC – There was nothing to report at this time.

ii)   CDC – The Clerk reported that he had received the Draft Housing Strategy Document from CDC requesting comments by the 7th June.

The Clerk went on to report that he had received from the Principle Solicitor for CDC a copy of an enforcement notice issued to, and on, the development at Old Common Close (Longmeadow) concerning breaches of the permitted working times.

A report had also been received from the CDC Task & Finish Group to go before the Cabinet recommending that current system dealing with planning applications with suffix DOM should be abolished. The current system is that if a Parish Council objects to an application with the suffix DOM then the application is referred to the Development Control Committee. The recommendation is such that if a Parish Council objects to an application with suffix DOM then it would not go to the committee, unless Red Carded by the local member, and would be dealt with by Officers under delegated powers. This recommendation has now been deferred pending further consultation with Parishes.

In the same report it was being recommended to Cabinet that the current system of issuing paper copies of applications to Parish Councils is abolished with effect from April 2014 and that Parish Councils should be encouraged to deal with planning applications using electronic methods. In the case of major applications hard copy paper documents would be issued.

iii)  Other related matters – There were none.

iv)Reports from Members of WSCC/CDC – Cllr Marshall (CDC) reported that the Rowan Nursery application was to go before committee on the 29th May and that it would be helpful if a Parish representative would be available to speak.

Cllr Montyn (WSCC) reported that he has a meeting scheduled with officers to discuss the situation with the ditch and culvert problems associated with the flooding in Birdham. He intimated that it was likely that some community involvement might well be required. 

9-13 To approve Councillor membership of the following committees and working groups:

                      Play Park and Playing Field – Cllr Grafham

                 Staffing Committee – Cllrs Cobbold, Barker and Grafham

                 Planning Committee – All members of Council

                 Communications Working Group – Cllrs Finch, Barker and Grafham

                 Resilence/Emergency Planning Working Group – Cllrs Finch, Grafham, Barker and Cllr Marshall (CDC) 

10-13 To receive and approve a financial report:

i)    The Clerk presented the financial report for the month and commented on the refund by HMRC of the VAT paid by the Council over the preceding year. He offered to answer any questions that Councillors may have.

It was resolved to adopt the Financial Report.

ii)   The Clerk presented the report and findings of the Internal Auditor.

It was resolved to adopt the Report of the Internal Auditor.

iii)  The Clerk presented the report to be submitted to the External Auditor and requested that Councils permission be granted for the Chairman to sign section 1- the accounting statements –  and section 2 – the annual governance statements.

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

In addition it was resolved that permission be granted to the Chairman to sign sections 1 and 2 of the external audit report. 

10-13 Neighbourhood Planning – Chairman to report.

The Chairman of the Council said that unfortunately the Chairman of the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group had resigned with immediate effect for personal reasons and asked that any report should be given at the next meeting of the Council.

She went on to seek authority from the Council to request the Clerk write to Mr Claughton thanking him for the considerable amount of time and effort that he had expended on the plan. 

11-13 Planning matters including applications and CDC delegated decisions 

i)              Planning Applications to be Decided

BI/13/00389/DOM Coppice Barn Church Lane Birdham

This is an application to replace a redundant out building with a new studio and games room.

The original building is a single story brick building, with hipped roof and wooden agriculture style doors. The application is to demolish the existing building, move the base to the east of the property line by approximately 2mtr and rebuild the new room to the same size as the original.

Existing roof tiles will be used on the new building which again will be of a hipped roof construction albeit with a rather large, oak framed hipped entrance porch and overhang, which is to be clad with a raised seam metal roof (lead or zinc – grey in colour). There will be an overall increase in the roof height of 355mm. The walls will be built using similar colour stock bricks with red brick quoins.

Internally the floor will be raised by approximately 300mm to reduce the flooding risk and will consist of a games room, studio/work room and cloakroom.

At the rear of the building the existing flint wall is to be retained and repaired or reconstructed as necessary. There will be no windows to the rear of the building or to the western wall. There is one small window to the eastern end wall of the building. The southern or front of the property is predominantly full height windows set in painted or stained hardwood joinery with one glass entrance door.

The application is in the AONB but in this location gives no cause for concern.

Birdham Parish Council raises no objection to this application but would suggest that a condition is attached preventing occupation, holiday letting or selling as separate domestic accommodation. 

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

ii)            Delegated Decisions to be noted

There were none.

12-13 Correspondence – Not previously circulated:

i)              The Clerk had received a number of copies of a publication produced by the Chichester Society which were handed out.

ii)             Notification had been received that the RoSPA inspection on the play area was due to be carried out in June.

iii)            A letter had been received from Mr Tilbury confirming his resignation from the Council with effect from the 1st May 2013. 

13-13 Reports:

i)      Play Area and Playing Field. – The Clerk reported that the repairs to the play area gate on the southern side and the fencing to the playing field had been repaired.

ii)     Village Green and Pond – Nothing to report.

iii)    Condition of Village Ditch/Drain Network. – The Clerk reported that following up on the concerns with the condition of the Hyde Marlet ditches in the Florence Road area of Birdham he had received from a Mr Sean Haslam the information that is summarised below as follows; The update on the clearance is that Dave King is waiting for another 2 quotes to come in as the works required are costly. 

In regards to the drainage and land ownership Jonathan is speaking to WSCC and finding out from Land Registry who the adjoining owners are before any works can commence. 

We have decided that rather than a community garden (for the moment) that we will clear the land and install a fence with a large gate access. This will prevent any further dumping and the gate access will enable contractors to get through when an agreement is in place in regards to clearing the ditches.

The Clerk said that this needed to be carefully monitored to ensure that the work was done.

Cllr Cobbold felt that this should be left to the Flood Action Group to take on board.

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

v)    Communication Working Groups – The June Newsletter was well underway and should be available for delivery by mid-June.

vi)   Other - There was none.

14-13 Reports from Councillors attending meetings:

Cllr Parks said that she had attended and spoken at the enquiry into the breach of planning that had been committed by the unauthorised development of land and the placement of a mobile home on a site in Sidlesham Lane. The appellant was claiming to be a gypsy and that the land was a gypsy site. The comments that Cllr Parks made at the enquiry are summarised as follows; As a parish councillor and the owner of a touring caravan site I have considerable concerns about the impact and precedent that might be set in allowing nurseries, such as this one, to be granted gypsy status.

The economy of the entire Manhood Peninsula and of Birdham itself is very reliant on horticulture and tourism, which are the main economic drivers of the area and its largest employers. A recent survey by Tourism South East showed that tourism the spend in the peninsula represented nearly half of that of the entire Chichester District ie as much as the city of Chichester and the South Downs part of the district put together. Moreover, much of the tourism spending in the entire district came from visitors staying on the Manhood.

The importance of tourism to our local economy has been recognised in the emerging local plan and in Towards ICZM, an integrated coastal zone management document recognised by the local plan and given significant material weight in a recent decision on a nearby site by a planning inspector.  Environmental and green tourism also has been recognised as a major growth sector in the area by a Destination Management Plan produced by tourism operators on the Manhood. This economically growing sector also has a once in a lifetime opportunity with the creation of the Medmerry Coastal Realignment scheme, which will create a large stretch of valuable and protected wetland habitat about a mile from this site.  

Many of the visitors to our area stay in the camp sites and caravan parks on the peninsula. As such, these sites are core to our local industry. It must also be remembered, however, that the environment also is a key element of our tourism product. As a result, while the emerging local plan aims to protect the existing caravan and camp sites on the peninsula, it states that new sites will be discouraged because of the impact of caravans on the flat, open landscape of the peninsula, a landscape which is an integral part of the area’s attraction and tourism product. (Policies 31 and 32 of the emerging Local Plan). The new local plan also aims to encourage existing small-scale horticulture in this area. CDC and the ICZM recognise a strong symbiosis between the retail nursery and tourism sector, which is very apparent in Birdham and the refusal of a recent planning refusal for housing on Tawny Nurseries campsite, demonstrates this.

While there may be a lack of gypsy sites in West Sussex as a whole, as a Parish Councillor and caravan site owner, I would argue strongly that the Manhood Peninsula is not the right part of the county in which to encourage such sites. The peninsula has a poor transport network and already suffers from considerable traffic congestion, particularly in the summer months, and is located away from any main highways or through roads. Commercial caravan sites are a major part of our tourism accommodation and the creation of gypsy sites close to commercial sites is likely to cause considerable confusion among holiday makers and likely to undermine our vital tourist industry. The flat and open landscape of the peninsula is important to our tourism industry and as a result applications for new commercial caravan parks will not be encouraged under the new local plan – so surely the same policies should be adopted for gypsy caravan parks, as each would have the same impact on the landscape and environment. The local community and other stakeholders in the peninsula, including landowners, businesses, the district and county councils, the Environment Agency, English Nature and others have worked together as the Manhood Peninsula Partnership for over a decade to produce the ICZM. This document, accepted by the local plan and a planning inspector, puts together a sustainable and integrated economic and planning vision for the entire peninsula. Both horticulture and tourism, together with the area’s unique, flat and relatively rural coastal plain landscape, are key elements of that vision. As such, approval of this application, in a village which is economically sustained by both nurseries and camping and caravan sites and sees both these types of businesses as core elements of its long-term future, would be a worrying precedent. 

15-13 To receive a report and recommendations from the Staffing/Selection Committee on the Co-Option of potential Councillors.

The Chairman proposed from the Chair that the Council invokeStanding Order 5a xx to exclude the press and public, because of the confidential nature of the business about to be discussed.

It was resolved that the Council exclude the press and the public under Standing Order 5a xx.

After a short debate it was resolved that Mrs E Hamilton, Mr D Ayton and Mr G Churchill be invited to join the Council as co-opted Councillors. 

16-13 Cllr Mrs Parks said that it was with regret that she felt she could no longer carry on as a Councillor and would resign from the Council with immediate effect. She went on to say that her resignation was purely on personal grounds and she wished the Council and its members well in the coming years.

The Chairman said that she had been aware of Cllr Parks decision and with regret she accepted the resignation of an extremely hard working and conscientious Councillor.

17-13 Dates of Next Meeting:


17th June 2013 at 7pm in Birdham Village Hall






                        Signed ___________________________   Dated ____________________