Minutes of the Ordinary Meeting of Fulking Parish Council held in the Village Hall, Fulking on Thursday 14 April 2011 at 7.30pm
Present: Chairman Mr Tony Brook, Vice Chairman Mrs Pamela Rowland, Councillors Mr Richard Corner, Ms Jo Hudek and Mrs Jennifer Parmar.
Apologies for Absence: Clerk to the Council Mrs Paula Hazard
Declarations of Interest by Members (if any) are shown against the relevant items in the minutes.
County Council update: None (no County Council representatives attending).
The minutes of the meeting held on 13 January 2011, as previously circulated, were approved, accepted and signed by the Chairman.
Highways: Flooding — The Chairman has compiled a Flooding Report detailing all recurring flooding problems in the area and submitted this to WSCC Highways and Peter Griffiths. This has resulted in a successful site meeting between the Highway Officer, Chairman and Clerk resulting in: jetting of drains by corner of Kent Cottage, Four Acres corner, and Shepherd & Dog corner; plan to stop soil erosion on northern bank of Shepherd & Dog corner; a ditch dug at the Four Acres corner for water to soak away. Highways confirmed that WSCC is responsible only for the first metre of the ditch off the road so the ditch has only been dug for that length. We ideally need a longer ditch to cope with heavy rain.
The Highways representative also stressed the responsibility of landowners to drain their land properly. Highways believe the main source of the problem in Clappers Lane is water coming off the land and ditches not being maintained adequately. The landowners need to ensure that their ditches are kept clear and free running. Ditches on the land running on the eastern side of Clappers Lane need digging out and maintaining in order to reduce water on the lane. WSCC Highways has written to the landowner to this effect. No action has been taken by the landowner to date.
Correct Signposting for Roadworks: WSCC and Peter Griffiths have been advised about a problem with incorrect road closed signposting at the Shepherd & Dog pub. When Highways plans to carry out roadworks where the road is still available for access, they must put up access to business signs. On 14 Feb the access open to business sign was not put up, only road closed only sign up. (Ref 557735). This has impacted both the pubs and Springs on a number of occasions.
North Town Field Play Area: The grand opening of the improved Children’s Play Area will take place on 22 April at 11am as part of a wider celebration including an Easter Egg hunt. Representatives from Viridor and WSCC have been invited.
NTF lease: The PC is arranging to register the lease with the Land Registry (which is an obligation of the tenant). This will reduce the insurance costs with one policy covering both the play area and NTF.
Field tidy-up: A major tidy up of the southern bank of the field was held in February. Many thanks to all the volunteers who helped out.
Rights of Way: Diverted Footpath 4dF — There was no further news from the Rights of Way Committee.
Reopening of Bridleway11F — There was no further news from West Sussex Rights of Way.
Bridleway 5/3F — The PC has contacted the South Downs Joint Committee as they had previously carried out some work to improve the drainage. They advise that responsibility for the maintenance of rights of way within the South Downs National Park will pass to the local authority (i.e. West Sussex County st Council) on April 1. This means that the PC will need to look to them to fund the maintenance of this type of work. The SDJC advised that on a previous project to do this type of work, the local PC requested support from the Mid Sussex Bridleways Group. MSBG has been contacted to seek support. Awaiting response.
Village Plan: The draft Village Action Plan was discussed and final comments taken at a meeting on 10 February. The Plan booklet is now in production and should be ready for printing shortly.
Ram House: Further to the repairs to the Ram House, undertaken and paid for by the National Trust, there is no further news on the NT taking ownership of the House. A reminder letter will be sent to the NT.
Lower Kents: The planning application was received by MSDC in October and has now been passed to the PC and is available to residents for public for consultation. The PC has passed on its objections and concerns and those expressed by local residents at the Planning meeting. We are now waiting to be informed of the date of the MSDC Planning Committee meeting which is likely to be in May or June due to the local elections.
Powered Microlights: The Chairman raised the issue of noise and nuisance caused by powered microlights at the South Downs National Park Authority February meeting. The SDNPA are looking into it.
Market Garden Site: The Chairman read out to the meeting the letter received from Claire Tester, Head of Planning at MSDC in response to the PC’s letter. Copies of both letters were made available to attendees. The MSDC letter did not address the issues and concerns raised by the PC in respect of dealing with the expiry of planning permission. The letter merely states that there are no plans to offer additional sites for travellers and offers information for the family occupying the Market Garden site and advises them to contact the Housing Needs Team.
Parish Council: Two people have submitted nomination forms to MSDC to become councillors. As the PC needs 3 Councillors to be quorate, there aren’t enough councillors to Elections form a PC. The Clerk is in discussion with Returning Officer about how to deal with this. It may be possible for MSDC to extend the deadline for nominations and for a new election date to be set probably for mid June. However, the Clerk is waiting for confirmation from MSDC.
Finger post: The main post of the sign at the junction of Clappers Lane and The Street has been painted and new, painted finger boards have been fitted. Temporary lettering has been put on the finger boards, with final lettering now being manufactured. It was noted that Clappers Lane has been misspelt. The Chairman will report this to the contractor to ensure that all spellings are correct for the final version.
Parish Clerk: The current Parish Clerk is standing down at the end of April so the position was advertised in two editions of Pigeon Post. There were general enquiries from four local people but no formal applications received. A formal application was received from Jenny Hartley who acts as Clerk for 3 neighbouring parishes and she has been offered and accepted the post.
Annual Parish Meeting: Because there will be no new Parish Council to hand over to in May, the APM is being postponed until such time as a new PC has been formed. This is dependent on the outcome of discussions with MSDC. The APM should hopefully be held in June. The new date will be publicised in the Pigeon Post. A speaker from SDNPA has been requested.
Litter Bins: Bins are not emptied by Mid Sussex. 3 bins in NTF are being regularly emptied by 2 volunteers. The Chairman asked for a volunteer to empty the bin in the bus shelter.
Financial Matters: The Chairman signed off the interim audit and cheque list.
AOB: Councillor Corner informed the meeting that EDF are in the process of changing electricity meters for some residents. This is a routine operation. Any resident affected by this will receive a letter from EDF. All electrical appliances should be disconnected when this work is taking place to avoid damage to appliances.
Councillor Corner informed the meeting that he is submitting a funding application to MSDC to get funding for the village fair.
The meeting was then opened up for local residents to raise any issues.
A resident has written to and emailed Susannah Kemp with regard to Lower Kents. She has received no reply other than to say that Ms Kemp is stepping down.
A discussion took place to clarify PC issues in respect of the fact that the current Councillors lose their powers as of 9 May. The information provided earlier in the meeting was reiterated. Jenny Hartley said that she will email her details to residents.
A resident objected to Councillor Corner’s intention to apply for funds for the village fair on the grounds that the fair generates funds for the village and therefore it was not appropriate to apply for public funds to support this venture.
The issue of how WSCC deal with road closures was raised. A resident stated that official procedures are not being followed, leading to problems for businesses and residents. The key problem is that when road closure signs are put in place it is not made clear that people are still able to access businesses (Springs, Coles, Shepherd & Dog, etc.) and houses. The PC will make WSCC aware of this problem.
A discussion about the temporary airstrip at Folly Farm took place. The matter was discussed in terms of the nuisance caused to local residents by the very frequent use of the airstrip. In reply to a question from the owner of Folly Farm, the Chairman confirmed that it is the PC’s intention to enforce the 28 day rule in respect of this airstrip and that this would be monitored by residents living close to the airstrip. The owner of Folly Farm raised concerns about possible errors in recording flight frequency since there are other aircraft and motorised hang gliders using the area. The Chairman stated that the residents monitoring usage could tell where the craft are taking off and landing because of their close proximity to the airstrip. The Chairman also raised the issue of horses being disturbed by the noise. The owner of Folly Farm undertook to give warning when the airstrip was being used so that horses could be moved but maintained his right to keep a temporary airstrip and indicated that enforcing the 28 day rule will mean that a greater concentration of flights will take place which will increase the nuisance. Two pilots who use the airstrip also attended the meeting and made clear their intentions to minimise the nuisance to residents. The issue remains unresolved in as much as those residents living close to the airstrip will still experience noise disturbance from the temporary airstrip. The PC and some residents commented that the airstrip does not appear in keeping with the ethos of the new National Park with the emphasis on peace and quiet. The Chairman reported that the PC was waiting to hear from the SDNP with regard to the policy on motorised hang gliders and small aircraft in the National Park.
Date of Next Meeting: TBA once arrangements for the new PC are in place.
The meeting closed at 8.15pm