Minutes of the Ordinary Meeting of Fulking Parish Council held in the Village Hall, Fulking on Thursday 8 January 2009 at 8.00pm
Present : Chairman Mrs Jenny Vaughan, Vice Chairman Mr Tony Brooks, Councillors Mr Richard Corner, Mrs Jennifer Parmar and Mrs Pamela Rowland and Clerk to the Council, Mrs Paula Hazard.
Apologies for Absence : None
Declarations of Interest by Members (if any) are shown against the relevant items in the minutes.
County Councillor Peter Griffiths addressed the meeting with an update about Highways, the grant for the North Town Field and the Health Service review. District Councillor Gina Field had sent her apologies as she was unable to attend the meeting due to illness.
The Chairman reminded the meeting about the current arrangement regarding publication of the minutes. The previous meeting s minutes would not be read out but draft minutes of the previous meeting had been posted on the notice board within a month of the meeting and had also been posted to the website. This trial arrangement would continue until the next Annual Parish Meeting at which point public opinion would be re-canvassed. It was confirmed that in future the agenda would be posted on the notice board five working days before the meeting.
The minutes of the meeting held on 9 October 2009, as previously circulated, were approved, accepted and signed by the Chairman.
Rights of Way: DMMO 07/01 Perching Drove. The Chairman read out the letter from Mr Gort-Barten of 6 October 2008, received shortly before the previous PC meeting, which laid out the legal judgement that this was private land. The PC’s reply of 12 December was also read out which asked whether consideration could be given again to putting a Permissive Path agreement in place.
Highways: WSCC Highways had installed ‘Unsuitable for HGVs’ signs at each end of Clappers Lane. However the sign at the southern end was not located in an acceptable place for nearby residents and had been removed. County Councillor Peter Griffiths said he would see if there was any nearby WSCC land that would enable an acceptable location.
The PC had not received any news from WSCC Safety Engineering about the PC’s request to authorise a section of non-skid surface across half of the Clappers Lane northern junction. County Councillor Peter Griffiths said he would chase this up.
EDF were still trying to source suitable street light fittings to replace the worn and damaged ones for the street light at the bottom of Stammers Hill. These would be fitted when EDF was able to source fittings to match the style of the street light.
The fixed rate agreement for the street lights had now expired. EDF had advised that the new fixed rate would be 350 p.a. instead of 100 p.a. As this was such a vast increase, the PC decided that for the time being the street lights would be billed at the variable rate which was currently 160 p.a. This would be reviewed if it was necessary to switch back to a fixed rate.
Market Garden: MSDC Development Control had advised that they had received a landscaping scheme which had been approved and now regarded all conditions in relation to the site as having been complied with and discharged.
Preston Nomads: No further progress.
North Town Field: The problem of the maintenance of the play area was discussed. Councillor Brooks agreed to continue investigating finding someone to help with the ongoing maintenance at a cost that was affordable.
Quotations had been obtained for improving the entrance to the NTF and to better secure the gate. On the basis of these quotations, the PC had applied to WSCC for a grant of 1693. The grant was approved but for only half the amount (850), therefore the outstanding funds would need to be found. Clerk to contact NTF Trust to see if the original quotations could be looked at again with the contractors to see if the quotations could be reduced. If this did not prove possible, the possibility of holding a fund-raising event was suggested.
The NTF Trust had reported that all major tree work had been completed. There needed to be an on-going programme to ensure safety of trees. Councillor Brooks advised that EDF had arranged for a company to assess trees that interfered with the power lines and to carry out any necessary work. EDF would be responsible for the cost of this.
The issue of the PC and NTF Trust trying to avoid taking out two Public Liability Insurance policies to cover the same risk was discussed. The NTF Trust had investigated this and had been advised by the PC s insurance broker that if the PC were to sign a legal agreement stating that they are responsible for looking after the field then the PC’s existing policy would provide Public Liability Insurance cover for the whole field at no extra cost. The PC agreed that they would be happy to do this. Clerk to advise NTF Trust.
The November report from Foster Playscapes suggested that the barkpit in the play area needed to be topped up again. This was a surprise as it had only been topped up last year and was previously thought only to be required every 3-4 years. It was queried as to why it needed to be so high. The PC agreed that if the following month’s report still reported the same problem then a meeting should be arranged with Foster Playscapes.
Village website: Wherever possible Planning Meeting dates were to be posted to the website. However there was not always sufficient notice as Planning Meetings had to be arranged soon after MSDC advised the PC of planning applications.
Affordable Housing: No further information directly affecting Fulking had been received.
Pigeon Post Printing: Pigeon Post was now being distributed both as a hardcopy version and by email.
Diseased Trees on Clappers Lane: Councillor Brooks advised that the Tree Warden had received a definitive map from WSCC which enabled him to work out whether any problem trees were on public or private land. The Tree Warden was now speaking to landowners Lane about the diseased trees and advising them of their legal responsibility.
Action in Rural Sussex: A survey had been placed in the December issue of Pigeon Post asking for residents to choose the top three priorities for the AiRs Community Planning Network to focus on. The detailed results of the survey were read out. The top three priorites chosen were Allotments, Community/Public Transport and Community Shop. Clerk to advise AiRs of results. Because of the problem of finding one plot of land for allotments and the old allotments now being farmland, it was suggested that a garden-share scheme may be a solution. It was agreed that this suggestion should be put in the next edition of Pigeon Post to gauge interest. With reference to the bus service it was suggested that a bus service to Henfield would be useful. A request for any specific ideas from residents concerning these themes was to be put in Pigeon Post. These themes would also be explored further with AiRs.
Freedom of Information Act: The PC had adopted the Freedom of Information Act Publication Scheme. The scheme had been published on the website.
APM: The date of the Annual Parish Meeting was set for 7 May. Speakers needed to be arranged and it was suggested that the National Trust was invited to talk about work in the area, Aidan Walker to talk about Pigeon Post and the local Tree Warden to talk about his responsibilities. County and District Councillors, local MP Nick Herbert, Poynings PC and police representative to be invited. Clerk to arrange speakers and issue invitations.
Financial Matters: The Chairman signed off the interim audit, cheque list and cheque stubs. The precept for 2009/10 was set at 5776 an increase of nearly 16%. The large increase was necessary as additional expenses had needed to be budgeted for. These items were the maintenance of the play area in the NTF, mowing of the NTF, street lighting and an increase in the Clerk s hours.
AOB: The meeting was opened up for local residents to raise any issues.
The issue of trees at the southern end of Clappers Lane presenting a danger was raised. This had been caused by very large trucks cutting into the trees.
The problem of the external lighting at the Market Garden site being on all night was raised. The PC had written to MSDC Development Control about this on numerous occasions but MSDC had said they had visited the site and were satisfied with the lighting. Partly because it was thought that their site visits were during the day, it was discussed that photographic evidence may make a more powerful case. It was suggested that if this could be provided to the PC then they could pursue the issue again. The positioning of the caravan had also been raised with MSDC but they had said that they were satisfied with the current caravan position.
The PC was asked why they seemed to be involved with many aspects concerning the NTF which gave the impression that the NTF Trust was not shouldering these responsibilities. It was explained that the NTF Trust received no funds and therefore were reliant on the PC or the Social Committee for funding. Because the PC had their meetings in public this publicised the work they were doing, but the PC and the NTF Trust were working closely together on issues concerning the NTF.
It was requested that the agenda give more detail than had historically been the case. It was agreed that in future the agenda would be issued with greater detail.
Date of Next Meeting: 9 April, 9 July, 8 October 2009.
The meeting closed at 9.05
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