Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held on the 21st January 2013

Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held on the 21st January 2013

Birdham Parish Council

 Minutes of the Meeting of the Council

 held on Monday 21st January 2013

at 7pm in Birdham Village Hall


Present:                     Cllr Finch (Chairman), Cllr Tilbury, Cllr Grafham and, Cllr Cobbold.

Apologies:                 Cllr Parks, Cllr Barker and PCSO R Bainbridge

In attendance:           The Clerk, Cllr Montyn (WSCC & CDC), Cllr Marshall (CDC) and 19 members of the public.

112-12   Public Question Time in accordance with SO’s 1d -1l:

              A resident expressed surprise that permission had been granted for advertising flags at the Old Common Close site, in fact additional flags had been erected, hoardings were now lit as was the show house, all adding to the myriad of transgressions by the developer without CDC Enforcement taking action.

Cllr Montyn (CDC) said that the transgressions had been noted by the Enforcement Department. The lights have now gone

A resident asked that if Seawards application showed that larger pumps were required who pays for them. The developer is responsible.

A resident asked if flooding occurs who pays for the damage caused. Residents have a right to ask CDC for compensation who would probably seek recompense from statutory advisors or developers etc. It is normal for a developer to set up a management committee to deal with problems in common areas.

Cllr Tilbury said that sewage problems had occurred in the northeast quadrant of the Village. Southern Water contractors had been called in and had found a large fat ball had blocked the sewer. He asked that the message be passed on that fat and oil should not be put down the drains. Other residents had suffered as a result of this unthinking attitude towards disposal of this waste product.

A resident said that in discussion with the EA it was discovered that they did not remove silt from ditches/rifes in their ownership.

113-12 Declaration of Interests:

There were no declarations of interest.

114-12 Approve and sign the Minutes of the meeting held on the 17th December 2012:

It was resolved that the minutes of the 17th December 2012 be signed as a true and accurate record.

 115-12 Matters arising from the minutes of the 19th November 2012:

i)    Minute 89-12 - Land Bequest. The Clerk reported that the reason he had been given for the hold-up of the final process of transferring the land was inaccurate. The true reason was that the solicitors acting for the occupants of Birdham Straight House had requested a change to the Rights Granted to the Transferee (BPC) be amended to include a proportionate part of the expense of maintaining and repairing the access to the land. Whilst the Clerk felt this was a reasonable request he had raised questions about the amount and the frequency of any such payments. In addition an amendment had been made concerning the Restrictive Covenants by the Transferee binding the bequest to that of Birdham Straight House. The Clerk felt that he should have a more informed view of the meaning and implications of this demand and had therefore contacted the Councils Solicitor for an opinion which had not yet been received.

ii)   Minute 95-12v – Finger Posts. The Clerk reported that he had identified and had contacted the contractor who had maintained these posts for WSCC but as yet had no response for a repair costing. He went on to say that he had identified three such posts within the Village but had not been able to complete the survey.

116-12 Clerks’ Report:

i)    WSCC – The Clerk reported that he had just received from Highways a consultation document on the draft works programmes. Whilst he had not yet had the time to fully read the document it would appear that there are two items which will, at some point, need to be addressed by the Parish Council. The first is the introduction of the 20mph speed limit and the second is the works required to implement a ‘Park and Stride’ scheme, both scheduled for the 2014/15 programme of works.

ii)   CDC – The Clerk reported that he had received notification from CDC that Birdham Neighbourhood Plan Area has been formally designated in accordance with the Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012.

In addition the Clerk had received notification of a Planning Enforcement Notice on Land to the North West of Chichester Marina.

iii)  Other related matters – There were none.

iv) Reports from Members of WSCC/CDC –

Cllr Montyn said that on the planning front he had very little to say other than the applications for Tawny Nursery and Church Lane would not be held on the 6th February contrary to speculation. He went on to say the Draft Local Plan was now with members of CDC who were working extremely hard to ensure that comments, if any, were submitted by the due date.

On the WSCC front Cllr Montyn said the Council had taken £8.4 million pounds from the reserve which would be spent on dealing with the effects of the flooding that took place during June to December. It will also look at schemes on a once only basis to resolve the immediate problems. Highways had taken on more staff to deal with the huge amount of problems on and in the road structure throughout the County.

In answer to a question from a resident Cllr Montyn said that pumps in Church Lane would remain in place until the culvert repairs had been completed. Other culvert cleaning would take place in Walwyn Close. He repeated the plea to stop putting fat down the drains as this did create some of the problems for which others suffered.

Cllr Tilbury congratulated Cllr Montyn on the work that he had put in to prevent many properties from inundation prior to and over the Christmas period.

Cllr Marshall (CDC) said that all CDC Members had been asked to attend a whole day workshop on the Local Plan in order to get the plan out as soon as possible. In his opinion it does need some additional work.

Cllr Tilbury asked if the Draft Local Plan could and would be used to decide current planning applications.

A resident asked if the £8.4 million will be used to sort out the problems with the Walwyn Close drainage.

117-12 To receive and approve a financial report:

i)              The Clerk presented the financial statement for the 21st January 2013 which showed the following figures and offered to answer questions.

Balances held at Bank: £33051.91
Designated Funds: £27121.58
Available Funds: £  5930.33
Creditors: £    311.12

It was resolved to accept the financial report.

118-12 Neighbourhood Planning – Chairman to report.

The Chairman reported that Mr Claughton was not available for this meeting so she would give an outline of actions so far.

The Environment group had been working extremely hard on trying to find a solution to the land drainage problems within the Village.

An ‘Drainage Open Day’ will be held at the Village Hall on the 16th March.

Progress on the questionnaire was going well and would shortly be with AiRS who will administer the operation and collation of responses.

119-12 Planning matters including applications and CDC delegated decisions:

             i)              Applications to be decided.

BI/12/04484/FUL East View, Church Lane, Birdham

 This is an application to replace the existing dwelling with an enlarged dwelling on the site of the existing garage and to build a double garage on the site of the existing dwelling. The site lies within the Birdham SPA and within the Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is a sensitive site, within the Chichester Harbour 7km zone and is less than 1km from Chichester Harbour’s RAMSAR and SSSI sites. The streetscape here was the subject of a Planning Inspectorate Report, APP/L3815/A/00/10500393. The Inspector concluded the character of the west side of Church Lane was of “houses divided by wide gardens, paddocks and extensions of the open field which lies to the rear. Roadside hedges partially obstruct clear views of these open areas. Nonetheless, there is a clear sense of space between and to the rear of the buildings which gives this area a clearly distinct character which is transitional between the main body of the settlement and the open countryside.”

The first questions to be addressed must be the intrusion into the landscape described by the Inspector and the amount of extra development on the site. The proposed dwelling will be largely hidden from the road by the existing hedge and it should be a condition of any permission that this hedge is to be retained at its present height. The existing house has one elevation onto the roadside and the proposal will have the effect of withdrawing the dwelling from the roadside and may thus improve the streetscape at this point. The proposal is not simply to build on the footprint of the present garage but to add a substantial building to the west of it. This is an ample site and we are of the opinion that the site will not be overdeveloped by this addition and nor will the streetscape be adversely affected on the lines outlined by the Inspector, subject to the caveat below.

We were concerned by certain inconsistencies on the plan and elevations drawing (04C) which we received. The plan shows a width of approximately 9.6 metres (and that agrees with the block plan) but the west elevation shows approximately 10.6 metres.   We have been assured by the architect that the correct width is 9.561 metres and that the inconsistency in the elevation is probably due to errors in the copying process. Similarly the length of the new building appears to be 17.4 metres on the elevation but 15.7 metres on the plan. The scale bars do not show the same errors. Because the question of the amount of development on the site has to be addressed, we ask that these inconsistencies be resolved.

The problems apply also to the height of the rooms and the overall height of the building. The ceiling height shown on the east elevation appears to be 2.9 metres where we would expect to see something nearer 2.4 metres. The overall height of the proposed dwelling is shown as 9 metres. We understand that it should be nearer 8 metres.

We were also concerned about the height of the building in relation to the bungalow next door. We have no existing height (as the present dwelling is, in any case, to be demolished) and therefore cannot make a comparison as to impact. The impact is mitigated by the half hip and we are inclined to accept this, especially as there is no fenestration on this elevation.

We have no objection to the proposed garage.

It will be apparent that we are not inclined to oppose this proposal but might reconsider that view if the anomalies in dimensions cannot be clarified, in which case we would expect to be consulted again. With that caveat, Birdham Parish Council has NO OBJECTION to this application.

 BI/12/04411/FUL Land at Tate House, Main Road, Birdham

 This is an application to vary a Condition (17) imposed when planning permission was first given for this development. There are in fact two issues here: the reason for the buffer zone in the first place and then the nature and extent of that buffer zone.

The creation of the buffer zone was to protect and conserve the ditch to the rear of the site. The problems of surface water drainage have been apparent for some time in Birdham and recent events have alerted the community to the dangers of ignoring them. The ditch runs from the rear of Burlow Close, past the back of this site and on to Chaffinches Farm. There is a history of surface water flooding at Chaffinches Farm and at Burlow Close. The ditch then turns north but is crossed about 400 metres north of Chaffinches Farm by a main foul water sewer from West Itchenor to Birdham. The top of this sewer is at the bottom of the ditch and can have the effect of creating a weir in the ditch at this point. This in turn causes a backflow of surface water which exacerbates the flooding back to Burlow Close. It is therefore essential in our view that no action be taken which could in any way interfere with the flow of this ditch (which needs attention currently as it is full of reeds to the west of the site) or its accessibility for maintenance. We therefore view with some alarm the plans to plant trees and shrubs right to the edge of the ditch at the rear of plots 2, 3 and 4.

The applicant reminds us of the need to conserve the visual aspects of the landscape at this point. The site lies inside the Birdham SPA, and inside the Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – despite the applicant’s unsupported assertion that “the surrounding area is acknowledged as being somewhat lacking in distinctiveness”. The potential visual impact of the proposal was highlighted by the Inspector and the dense indigenous screen was approved by him. The applicant asserts that “consideration must be given to  ... sterilising a landscape zone excluded from the residential properties … {to} secure visual amenities when viewed from the AONB” but provides no evidence of why this buffer zone must be excluded from the residential properties apart from the need to provide a garden of a larger size which was not the criterion of the Inspector. If the boundary fence is sited on the top of the ditch and planting takes place beyond that we fear for the free flow of water in the ditch. The willow trees have an enormous root spread. One authority states that they should not be planted within 130 feet of a building for this reason.  The applicant simply states that the area outside the fence “can be managed outside the control of the residents”. By whom? The ownership of ditches is notoriously disputed. This one is important as a drainage ditch and also a wild life corridor and should be maintained on alternate sides every other year.

Inside the boundary fence the proposal is for a triple row of native species to be secured by condition and covenant for retention and maintenance by residents. The argument is put forward that, unless the new plan is adopted, maintenance will be made more difficult because access to the buffer strip will involve three different properties. We believe there is some flexibility on the actual width of the buffer zone but we are of the opinion that the planting must be outside the boundary fence, that it should not go nearer than a metre from the edge of the ditch and a maintenance agreement on the trees and hedging with a management association of the residents should be in place before planting.

Birdham Parish Council OBJECTS to this application.

 BI/12/04625/DOM 7 Redmoor Estate, Main Road, Birdham

 This is an application to enlarge this property by building a first floor to an existing single storey extension and to square off the building at the northern corner. The property lies within the Birdham SPA and the Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Our only concern here would be that the proposed extension does not interfere with the privacy or amenity of neighbours on either side. The proposal matches the existing extension by having no fenestration on either of the elevations towards the neighbours. The replacement window on the ground floor would similarly have no effect. The footprint of the building is increased by a very small amount by the process of squaring off.

Birdham Parish Council has NO OBJECTION to this application.

BI/12/04377/ELD Norrells, Batchmere Road, Batchmere, Birdham

 This is an application for a certificate of Existing Lawful Development on a dormer window at the rear of the dwelling house.

There are no issues of overlooking, privacy of neighbours or unsightly development and Birdham Parish Council has NO OBJECTION to this application.

BI/12/04519/FUL Land north of Cowdry Nursery, Sidlesham Lane, Birdham

 This is an application to erect an agricultural barn with amended access and internal track and hard standing. It is a resubmission of BI/12/00146/FUL. The site lies outside the Birdham SPA and the Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Birdham Parish Council is pleased to see this land restored to agricultural use and supports the application. The new access is already in position and we have no objection to the barn or the layout of the internal track. We are satisfied that smells from the enterprise will be no greater than might be expected in a rural location and in the prevailing south-west winds are unlikely to cause any loss of amenity to neighbours. We understand that foul water disposal will be by means of a septic tank and the usual conditions on maintenance should be applied. We are a little concerned about the disposal of surface water from the site when in operation, as the ditch along Sidlesham Lane has flooded in the recent past. Perhaps this could be investigated.

Birdham Parish Council has NO OBJECTION to this application.

BI/12/04458/PLD 1 Bell Lane, Birdham

 This is an application for a Certificate of Lawful Development to a single storey extension to the rear of the existing dwelling house, bathroom, alterations to the existing foul drain and a new soak away.

The site lies within the Birdham SPA and outside the Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

We understand that there has been considerable discussion with the Officers about the roof of the extension and the pitched roof which was recommended has been used. The applicant was also advised that, as the size of the extension was less than 50% of the external walls of the existing dwelling, a Certificate of Lawful Development should be applied for.

The Council has studied the plans and raises no objection to the extension or the alterations to the foul drain in connection with the new bathroom. We are concerned that the plans do not show how the surface water soak away will be positioned or what form it will take, as there has been a history of serious flooding in this area of Birdham. We assume that the Drainage Authorities of the District Council will satisfy themselves that the proposed system will be adequate and will not create problems for neighbours – as happened when the Pipers Mead estate was built at the rear of this site.

On the assumption that this matter will be examined and a suitable system installed, Birdham Parish Council has NO OBJECTION to this application.

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

ii)             Delegated Decisions to be noted

BI/12/03671/FUL D K Friesen & P K Friesen Land East Of Mile Cottage Birdham Road

Erection of 5 no. houses with access road, children's play area and associated landscaping. REFUSE

 BI/12/02769/DOM Mr Graham Hornsby Saxons Martins Lane Birdham

Retain 2 no. single storey garden sheds. PERMIT

 BI/12/04179/FUL Mr M Huggett Tawny Nurseries Bell Lane Birdham

Demolition of existing greenhouse and provision of a visitor car park and turning area for use in association with existing nursery. PERMIT

 It was resolved to note the delegated decisions made by CDC Planning

iii)           Although not on the agenda Cllr Tilbury said that he had attended the ADMC (South) Committee at which the 50 houses subject to an application in Bracklesham had been refused by the committee but had been referred to Planning Applications Referral Committee (PARC). The reason for the referral was that the committee had gone against technicalities documented by officers and which would potentially leave CDC open to costs should the applicant appeal and ask for costs to be awarded against CDC. Cllr Tilbury said that it was a lesson to be learned.

 120-12 Correspondence – Not previously circulated:

The Clerk reported that he had received the following;

i)              A letter from Mears Home Improvements Ltd who are working with WSCC on the Warmer Homes Initiative.

ii)             A letter from the Public Works Loan Board reminding the Council of its obligations.

iii)            An email from Mr Snow of LifCentre thanking the Council for its recent grant of £100.

121-12 Reports:

i)      Play area and playing field – The Clerk reported that the gate post at the Northern end of the play park was damaged preventing the gate from closing, he had contacted contractors for a quotation and expected the repair work to be carried out shortly.

ii)      Village Green and Pond – The Clerk said that he had commenced the action required to get the pond de-silted and the tree problems rectified.

iii)     Condition of Village Ditch/Drain Network – The Chairman said that she had asked for this to be placed on the agenda as a permanent item because of its importance to the wellbeing of the Village. In raising the subject Cllr Finch said the condition of ditches in Florence Road and Chaffer Lane was giving cause for concern as was the pond and the ditch to the rear of the houses in Chaffer Lane which had been used as a dumping ground. She asked the Clerk if he would write to Martlet Homes to get the situation resolved.

Comments had been made about the ditch between Birdham Stores and Farne Lane however, it was pointed out that this was a non-flowing, soak-away ditch. Other comments concerned the culvert at the top end of Crooked Lane to Church Lane which some felt may well be blocked.

iv)     Police and Neighbourhood Watch – In giving her apologies PCSO Bainbridge asked that her emailed report be read out which was done and for completeness is included as annex a to these minutes.

v)      Communications/Parish Newsletter/Website – Cllr Finch said that a meeting had recently taken place to decide what should be published in the next newsletter and how to make better use of the Council website.

vi)     Other – The Clerk reported that he had arranged for repairs to be carried out to the bus stop at the old Bird and Ham pub.

122-12 Reports from Councillors attending meetings:

Cllr Cobbold said that she and Mr Claughton had attended a meeting at the offices of CDC to discuss with the Drainage Officers an overall strategy for the Village which would form part of the Neighbourhood Plan.

Cllr Finch said that she had resurrected the Community Resilience Plan working group and the team had met. The new team consisted of Mr G Barton, Mr D McDonald, Cllrs Barker, Grafham and Finch and Cllr Marshall (CDC).

123-12 Items for inclusion in the next meeting:

 Cllr Tilbury asked for the co-option of Councillors to be debated at the next meeting as he was concerned that at times the Council could be in-quorate. He went on to say that he would be standing down at the end of April 2013 which would leave the Council in a precarious position with currently only six of the nine Councillor slots filled. He reminded everyone that if the Council did become inquorate then the Clerk would have to notify CDC who would then take over the running of the Council until such time as fresh elections could be held or co-options take place.

124-12 Dates of Next Meeting:

In closing the meeting at 8.45pm the Chairman reminded all present that the next meeting of the Council would be held on the

 18th February 2013 at 7pm in Birdham Village Hall


Signed ___________________________   Dated ____________________





Annex A


Report by PCSO R Bainbridge as presented to the Parish Council Meeting of the 21st January 2013

 Please accept my apologies that I will not be able to attend Birdham Parish Council Meeting on Monday as I have a rest day.

We have had some coping stones stolen from a wall in Crooked Lane and similar stones were removed from the Church at Donnington.  Nothing was seen or heard however we do encourage residents to report anything suspicious - it is no trouble to check anything out.

Across the district there is an increase in breaks to outbuildings, sheds and garages. Please ensure these are as secure as possible, even if you don’t believe you have anything valuable in them. Please ensure any connecting doors between garages and houses are firmly secure and locked and ensure all windows and doors are locked on your property even if you are asleep in the house.

Please see the Sussex Police website for further details on Crime Prevention.

We are holding more bike marking sessions which we have named OP VELO.  Dates will be announced in the Local Rag, Facebook, Twitter and on Sussex Police website.  The next date will be SUNDAY 27 January 2013 12:00 noon - 13:00 pm at Birdham Village Hall car park.  Bike marking takes very little time yet is very effective in alerting us promptly if we suspect a bike is stolen.  Ideally this is for adult bikes only.

The next Neighbourhood Management Panel meeting for West Wittering is Monday February 11th at 7pm in the Fooball Pavilion, Rookwood Road.  Although this is called West Wittering NMP, this also encompasses Birdham as well as Itchenor.  Current priorities are Burglary, Anti-Social Driving and Giving Advice to Elderly relating to bogus and cold callers in particular.  If any resident is interested in discussing and addressing issues that concern them, they are very welcome to attend or alternatively call me for more information.

If any resident would like to obtain our Community Messaging every week (sent by email) which gives details of crime and crime prevention in your area, please get in touch with me or alternatively register online on our Sussex Police website.

Best wishes.


Rose Bainbridge
Neighbourhood Policing Team - Selsey West Downs
Tel: 101   Ext. 19516  Mobile: 07881 754535

"Talk to Me, I can help"