Minutes of the Ordinary Meeting of Fulking Parish Council held in the Village Hall, Fulking on Thursday 10 July 2008 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 : District Councillor Gina Field and County Councillor Peter Griffiths.
Declarations of Interest by Members (if any) are shown against the relevant items in the minutes.
The minutes of the meeting held on 10 April 2008 were read, approved and signed by the Chairman.
Rights of Way: DMMO 07/01 Perching Drove. The Parish Council had written to Mr Gort-Barten on 25 April to get an update on the legal situation regarding the Permissive Path Agreement. The PC had not received a reply. It was agreed that if a reply was not received soon then the PC should write again.
Highways: The PC had written to WSCC (on 10 April) requesting Unsuitable for HGV signs to be placed at either end of Clappers Lane. The surface of the lane had always been a problem and it was believed that this was being exacerbated by the increase in heavy traffic which was being diverted along the lane by sat nav systems. This had been chased up again as no response had yet been received.
The PC had requested (on 9 June) WSCC Highways to authorise a section of non-skid surface across half of the Clappers Lane northern junction. This had proved to be a dangerous junction for cars joining the Henfield Road.
Councillor Brooks talked about a private company that carried out small road repairs. However, it would need more Parish Councils to be involved for it to be a viable option.
A problem with the street light at the bottom of Stammers Hill being on during the day had been reported. EDF had advised that it was a light sensitive switch and had trimmed back the tree leaves that had been covering it. They also reported that the old fitting was holed, the Perspex melted and the bracket rusty and that a new lantern would be required. A quote of 276.54 plus VAT had been received and it was agreed to go ahead with this work.
A local resident had written to the PC to raise the issue of parking problems in Clappers Lane and requested that the PC lead a debate. This issue was discussed but as the PC did not own any land, a possible solution would have to involve the use of private land. Therefore it was agreed that this would need to be a matter for private agreement and was not something that the PC would have any jurisdiction over.
Market Garden: A letter was sent (on 25 April) to the Chairman of the Southern Area Planning Committee, Mr A Barrett-Miles, to strongly express the concern that continual flouting of Planning Law had been allowed to continue for such a long period and that planning law be vigorously enforced to ensure that all the planning conditions were complied with.
MSDC confirmed that Mrs Hearne had appeared at Mid Sussex Magistrates Court summonsed for failing to comply with the Breach of Condition Notice.
The PC wrote (on 27 May) to MSDC Development Control to ask that they ensure that the planning schemes for conditions 7 and 8 went through the normal planning process so that both the PC and local residents could be consulted. Detailed requirements for layout schemes were also specified to MSDC. However, MSDC replied that because of time and resources it would not be practical to consult with third parties over the discharge of conditions. It was agreed that the PC should write again to Development Control to ensure that the specific requirements for conditions 7 and 8 were included in the layout schemes.
MSDC confirmed (on 20 June) that Mrs Hearne had pleaded guilty and had been fined.
Preston Nomads: Local residents had reported traffic problems with drivers speeding along the southern section of Clappers Lane to the Cricket Club. District Councillor Gina Field had been trying for some time to arrange a meeting with PNCC. However she had not received any response from David Laing. Therefore no meetings had been held between PNCC and Gina Field and Tony Brooks with reference to other outstanding matters.
North Town Field: The bark pit in the play area had been weeded and needed topping up with more bark. Councillor Brooks had estimated that six cubic metres of bark would be needed. This would cost 360 (at 60 per cubic metre). Councillor Brooks had found someone who was able to deliver it and help lay it at a cost of 120. It was queried whether funds were available to do this. Although it had not been allowed for in this year s precept, there were reserves to cover it and it was believed that this was acceptable as it was a task that needing doing every 4 or 5 years. It was discussed whether other surfaces were possible but as it needed doing urgently the decision was made to go ahead with the bark surface in this instance.
The annual ROSPA report had highlighted maintenance actions that were needed in the play area. Tony Brooks had carried out many of these tasks on his own but more help was needed. The issue of the need for increasing maintenance of the play area and the need for people to do it was discussed. It was agreed that this was an issue that needed to be addressed further.
The PC had received a request from the NTF Trust asking if the Parish Council’s Public Liability insurance could cover both the play area and the rest of the field so that only one insurance policy was needed. The Clerk was looking into the implication of this both in terms of the future security of tenure and the insurance implications.
The PC had suggested improvements that could be made to the NTF and put this to the NTF Trust for approval before seeking funding. The main suggestion was to tarmac the entrance to the NTF to improve access for front-wheel cars. The NTF Trust had rejected this suggestion because they felt that access was good enough and that making access easier could encourage unwelcome attention to the field. The other suggestion was for picnic tables but on reflection the PC had withdrawn this proposal because it was thought that this would increase the maintenance tasks needed for NTF.
Village website: The website was now up and running. The PC expressed its thanks to Richard Linford and James Lightfoot for all their work.
Conservation Area: The Conservation Area Appraisal document had now been formally adopted.
Affordable Housing: No further information directly affecting Fulking had been received.
MSDC Grant: The Mid Sussex grant had been investigated. The grants must meet specific Community criteria according to current funding areas that MSDC is focusing on. Grants available from West Sussex had also been investigated. The PC was mainly looking at funding for any NTF improvements. It was also suggested that this may be a possible line of investigation for the funding of the printing of Pigeon Post.
Two Sheds at Clappers Lane: Concerns were raised at the last meeting about a generator running in one of the large wooden sheds on the corner plot of Clappers Lane because the sheds were only to be used for storage. The Sussex Association of Local Councils had advised that as the Parish Council was not a Planning Authority it did not have any authority to pursue the owner for Breach of Condition. Any Planning Breach would have to be reported to MSDC. However as the generator had now stopped there would not be anything for Enforcement to see. The PC had advised CLAG about this and requested that the situation be monitored and the PC be advised if it reoccurred.
Small Acres: Concerns were raised at the last meeting that this land was up for auction as it had a history of planning applications. It had been bought by a local resident and it was believed this was to protect it from development or use as a travellers’ site. It was believed that the whole village would be thankful to Mr Diamond for this.
WSCC Boundary Commission: Councillor Corner updated the meeting about the Boundary Committee for England s electoral review of West Sussex. The Boundary Committee had recently published draft recommendations.
Waltons Farm: The PC had been asked to report a possible Breach of Condition at Waltons Farm. In 2005 Outline Planning Permission for a house had been granted with several conditions one of which was that the dwelling could only be occupied by a person solely or mainly employed in agriculture. The land had been sold subsequently to someone who it was believed was not a farmer and building of a new house had started in June. MSDC had investigated this issue and had advised the PC that the new owners had said they were involved in farming and therefore MSDC believed that there had not been a Breach of Condition.
Pigeon Post Printing: Options for obtaining a printed version of Pigeon Post were being investigated. The costs of printing a colour version were prohibitive but printing it in black and white seemed to be a possible solution. Councillor Brooks was looking into this. The PC was going to arrange a meeting with Richard Linford, the current editor of Pigeon Post, to discuss this but he was stepping down and had put out a call to find a new editor.
Allotment: A local resident had asked about the likelihood of any land being available for allotments. Councillor Brooks said that historically there had been allotments in Fulking since the First World War. The land was on the Poynings Road near Hillside. However, the land had not been used as allotments for a long time, partly it was believed because there was no water supply.
Financial Matters: The Chairman and Vice Chairman signed off the interim audit, cheque list and cheque stubs. A better insurance quote ( 601) than the PC s current insurer had been received from Norwich Union. This was more than 200 cheaper and the PC had decided to go with Norwich Union. The Clerk was investigating the extent of existing cover for Public Liability for the North Town Field both inside and outside the play area.
The Chairman and Clerk (as Responsible Financial Officer) signed off the Annual Accounts for 2007/08 which included the Annual Return and the Annual Bank Reconciliation Summary.
AOB: Councillors Brooks and Rowland reported a problem with diseased oak trees in the section of Clappers Lane roughly between Badgerwood stables and Sunnyacres. Two large limbs had come crashing down recently into the road and a number of other oak trees in the vicinity also presented a danger. It was agreed that the Clerk write to Vince Tipper (WSCC Highways) about trees on the roadside of Clappers Lane and Councillor Rowland speak to the Landowner about trees on the field side of the road.
Dates of Next Meetings: 9 October 2008 and 8 January 2009.
The meeting closed at 9.25.
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