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Hand-drawn Sidlesham signpost with lapwing bird.

‘1. Annual Meeting Minutes’ Pages

Minutes of Annual Parish Meeting 22nd May 2013

Sidlesham Parish Council

Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting

Held in the Church Hall, Sidlesham on Wednesday 22nd May 2013 at 7:00 p.m.
Councillors present: Mr Adrian Harland (Chairman), Mr Paul Bedford (Vice-chairman), Mrs Vanessa Foden, Mrs Corina Hall, Mrs Diana Pound, Mrs Carole Ranjbar, Mrs Elizabeth Smart, and Mrs Patricia Tull.
Also present: 52 Sidlesham electors, Mrs Margaret Whitehead (County Councillor) 1 member of the press and Mrs Tessa MacIntyre (Parish Clerk)
Apologies:  Mr Brian Kennedy

1.   Approve minutes of Annual Parish Meeting 23rd May 2012.  Mr R Hall proposed and Mrs G J Cook seconded that the minutes be approved.  The minutes were approved unanimously.

2. Parish Council report of the past year by Mr Harland.

Mr Adrian Harland, as Chairman of the Parish Council, opened the proceedings and welcomed all present to the meeting.

Mr Harland introduced the Parish Councillors with their functions / jobs for the PC, the Clerk, Mrs Whitehead as the County Councillor and Mrs Tull in her additional role as the District Councillor for Sidlesham and Hunston.

Planning Applications.   During the past year the planning committee met 14 times, one less than the previous two years. However the number                                                                                                              of applications considered increased from 55 to 65. We raised no objection or supported 51, of which 36 were permitted, 1 was withdrawn, 6 were refused and 8 are still outstanding. We objected to 14, of which 4 were refused, 4 permitted, 1 withdrawn, and 5 are still outstanding. One application, an Existing Lawful Development (ELD) matter, which had been outstanding from February 2011, and to which the council had objected, was finally refused in March 2013 after over two years on the table! I have no hesitation in repeating the comments I made last year about such cases. In short these are situations where the applicants are claiming that they have been living continuously in the ‘properties’ for more than 4 years, but in circumstances where it would have been difficult for members of the public to realise that the buildings were being domestically occupied ie hidden in barns, glasshouses, outbuildings etc – in one case the previous owner had been refused permission to develop the ‘property’ after submitting a proper application! This Council remains disturbed by the number of ELD applications it continues to receive (there have been many others in recent years), but we are hopeful that the latest planning legislation covering such situations is now coming to our rescue. Meantime we continue to ask all parishioners to be vigilant, and report to the council if they suspect non-standard buildings are being used for domestic purposes – we only have 4 years at present to intervene. Two of the outstanding applications to which we have objected are ELD matters.

In August we heard that the Madestein Easton Farm glasshouse development, to which the council had objected, had been refused by the government inspector. We have also supported Selsey Town Council in opposing a proposal for 55 new houses on the northern edge of Selsey, which is currently under appeal before another government inspector. Likewise we have supported other local parishes threatened with large scale developments on the Manhood Peninsula primarily on the grounds of traffic volumes, general lack of infrastructure, and the belief that the occupants of any such housing estates will not find jobs locally, and will thus add to the existing traffic problems in getting off the peninsula as they commute elsewhere for work.

Council Committees and Work Groups
All members of the Council can sit on the Planning Committee. The Council has met formally at least every 2 months during the past year, when all remaining business is conducted. At the meeting last week, the council voted to trial holding council meetings on the 3rd Wednesday monthly in an effort to reduce the length of time the bi-monthly meetings have been taking. Planning matters will be incorporated within these meetings, although because of the need to make decisions within the timescales allowed, on some occasions additional planning meetings may have to be called. However there will be no full council meeting during the holiday month of August. The Assets & Amenities Work Group looks after the parish amenities such as seats and bus shelters, the upkeep of the parish open spaces, such as the Paddock Straight, ponds, and the playground. The Finance Work Group draws up the annual precept for confirmation by the council. Other councillors sit on outside bodies, amongst which are the Peninsula Community Forum, Chichester District Association of Local Councils (CDALC), the Manhood Peninsular Steering Group (MPSG) {sea defences}, the Pagham Harbour Coastal Issues Advisory Group {sea defences}, the Medmerry Stakeholders Advisory Group (MStAG) {sea defences etc}, and the Pagham Harbour Nature Reserve Community Group. Councillors may also attend the South Chichester County Local Committee when agenda items are relevant to the parish.

Travellers.
I am sure you have all been aware of the problems caused in the parish by these groups over the last few months. So I will not go into detail as to where they have been, but only add that there have been at least two groups, possibly three. Some of you may have thought that the council should have reacted sooner than it did in installing a height barrier at the entrance to the Memorial Playing Field after last year’s experience. But if you think about it, the field had not been threatened in this way before, certainly in the last 25 years, and so far as I am aware for many years before that. Every one around here hoped that last year’s incursions were a one-off, but clearly this has not proved to be the case. However as soon as it became clear the travellers were here to stay, the council obtained quotes to install a height barrier, and as you will have seen one is now in place. Unfortunately one small English group did get onto the field a few days before the contractor could supply the barrier. However the bailiff we employed did a very good job in persuading them to leave voluntarily potentially before those down at the sewage works, who were Irish and from Dale Farm, might have joined them. The resultant bill was therefore very modest £260 as a court order was avoided, saving the council about £750. Nonetheless the barrier costs will be in excess of £1500, and all of these unplanned sums have had to be paid out of reserve funds. Again we were lucky that the travellers did not leave a huge amount of rubbish, most of which had been bagged, and a trailer visit to the tip dealt with what there was there. Those down at the sewage works on the other hand left a mountain of debris, the disposal of which I am sure will cost a tidy sum. On behalf of the council and the parish, our thanks should go to Brian Kennedy who liaised with the contractors, and to our clerk and her husband who assisted in the clear up operation. For those who are interested, I have pictures of the sewage site so that you can see what we managed to avoid.

Flooding and Drainage.
Following the exceptional wet weather over the past twelve months, the council now has a Flood and Land Drainage Work Group consisting of councillors, parishioners and local farmers, chaired by Paul Bedford. I will say no more, as Paul will be giving you an update as to where matters currently stand after the interval.

Sea Defences.
It would seem appropriate at this juncture to quickly mention the other source of potential flooding – from the sea, on both our eastern and western flanks! The council continues to have representatives sitting on various advisory boards/committees keeping an eye on this threat. The Medmerry scheme should give the parish protection for the foreseeable future in the west, but our neighbours in Pagham are experiencing a distinct threat to about 20 properties as the beach at the now very considerably altered harbour mouth continues to be eroded at an alarming rate. The possibility that the harbour mouth might close up is also a current problem, and if it did whether the authorities would take action to reopen it.

Other additions to Parish assets.
I am sure you will be aware that a village sign was erected on the Paddock Straight in celebration of the Queen’s 60 years on the throne. This was organised by Councillor Hall, and the majority of the cost was covered by a grant and donations of labour etc by various suppliers, including Trident and Knights Fencing, so that the parish contribution was covered by the sum the council had set aside to celebrate the Jubilee. Councillor Hall also organised the small seating in the bus stop opposite the Anchor at a very modest cost. So on your behalf I would like to thank her for her input, and her husband, Richard Hall, for the considerable amount of work and time that he put into these two projects just for the cost of materials – he is also currently refurbishing the bench seat alongside the Anchor bus stop, and previously he completely renovated the seat by Florence Pond.

Turning to Florence Pond itself, the council has entered into a 10 year agreement with the Manhood Wildlife and Heritage Group to maintain the pond. So during the next 12 months some tree work will be carried out, and hopefully the ditch which carries excess water eastwards down Church Farm Lane can be made to work again. The council has set aside £500 this year to help with the costs, and both parties are hopeful of obtaining grants to cover further expenditure. If you were not aware before now, I can tell you that water voles, a protected species, are present in the pond. If anyone is interested in helping with the ongoing maintenance of the pond, please contact the clerk who will pass your details onto MWHG.

Pagham Harbour Nature Reserve.
The management of the Pagham Harbour Nature Reserve is now in the hands of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). A refurbishment of the Visitor Centre has, I believe, now taken place, or is in course. It is likely that a complete rebuild will take place in future years, and no doubt this will also cater for the Medmerry scheme as logically the current centre sits between the two areas, and the RSPB also manages a large part of the Medmerry scheme area. Currently the breach of the sea defences has been put back until the autumn as the very wet weather over the winter months prevented the contractors from using heavy plant. Following the disbandment of the old harbour board, council representatives have attended a Community Harbour meeting on a half-yearly basis. Whilst the council no longer has a formal place on any management body, it still has a voice through this new ‘forum’, which will now be chaired by our WSCC representative, Mrs Margaret Whitehead. The issue of access by boat on the harbour waters is still awaiting formal approval from various bodies, where a ‘code of conduct’ is planned to be put in place. As the harbour is able to be accessed from the sea, the Rights of Navigation on these waters is covered by UK law.

The Finance Work Group draws up the budget for the next financial year. The group then recommends the precept to the full council for approval. The precept for the financial year ended 31st March 2013 was £19735. The precept for the current year was calculated at £20690, an increase 4.70%. From this the council has to deduct council tax rebates of £1492, a new policy introduced at government level, but for the time being the CDC is ‘refunding’ this sum by way of a grant set at the same figure, so the parish will get the total sum it needs ie £20690.

Details of the Income & Expenditure for the past financial year will be posted on the Parish Notice boards as soon as the final audit process has been completed.

Roads Matters
The council’s vice-chairman Paul Bedford, following the agreement of the council, has worked hard in pursuing a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) which will create a single speed limit of 30mph from the northern entrances to the parish on both the B4145 and the B2102 right through to Mill Lane. Our TRO has been adopted by WSCC as one of the 3 schemes they initiate each year, which includes all legal costs etc. We believe that the order will also cover Rookery Lane/Mill Lane, Rotten Row & Lockgate Road. The council hopes in due course to extend a 30mph limit throughout the remainder of the parish including Ham & Easton Lane.

The roadside SID is still in operation, but further volunteers are needed to man this device during the dates that it is made available to the parish. Again please contact the clerk if you are prepared to help. Lastly the use of the fixed CASPAR unit is believed to be still possible, and is being pursued with the help of our County Councillor.

Thanks.
During the interval members of the WI will as usual be serving tea & coffee with biscuits, and once again I thank them for agreeing to undertake this task.

Next I would like to pass on my thanks to all of your councillors for the time and effort they have put in over the last 12 months. As I have said in other years your councillors do not receive any payment for the duties they perform on behalf of the parish. Again I would like to point out that, although they stand for election to the council, at the end of the day they too are just members of the parish who give of their time to try and ensure parish matters are looked after.

However my greatest vote of thanks goes to our very hard-working clerk, Tessa MacIntyre, who has continued to carry out her job extremely conscientiously.  I have already given you an example of her dedication to this parish, in which she herself does not live – on learning that the travellers had left the memorial playing field, Tessa came over to assess the potential damage. I personally am enormously grateful for her support during the past year not just for me, but for the council and the parish too.

3.   GUEST SPEAKERS – FARMERS’ PRESENTATION ON RURAL CRIME

Mr Spiby introduced PCSO Craig Dunlop, Midhurst Community Support Officer and Wildlife Crime and Rural Crime Prevention Advice Officer and Sgt Alan Fenn of Selsey Police.

Mr Spiby stated that in all his years in this village, he had never before been aware of the level of crime he is now experiencing.  He believes that many incidents, particularly theft, involve travellers camped on land on the Peninsula.  A group of travellers had set up camp on land partly owned by Mr Spiby.  They occupied the land for nearly a month and the cost of evicting the travellers and clearing up the area had been considerable.  Further, Mr Spiby stated that hare and deer coursing has escalated over the past 12 months.  Part of Mr Spiby’s land is on the nature reserve and his family has spent many years encouraging wildlife, particularly hares.  Mr Spiby had called the police after 5 incidents and they had responded well.  Mr Spiby requested that anyone seeing coursing should contact the police and, if they have a camera, photograph those involved or their vehicle.

PCSO Dunlop stressed how important it is to the police that the public report incidents or anything suspicious.  In an emergency the public should dial 999 but for any non emergency, the Sussex police number to ring is 101.  Most criminals require a car/van to carry out their offence so, if reported, any car or van registration number can be checked on the police intelligence system.  If the vehicle has been reported before, the police can place that registration number on the ‘suspicious vehicle register’.  Mr Monnington asked whether the police could carry out routine, random tests for red diesel in vehicles.  PCSO Dunlop replied that the police should have a reason to stop and test a vehicle.  Should red diesel be found in an unauthorised vehicle, the owner will be prosecuted and on the 3rd occasion, the vehicle will be confiscated and crushed.

A parishioner asked whether a driving offence, witnessed by a member of the public, would be a suitable incident to report on the 101 line.  PCSO Dunlop replied that it was.

PCSO Dunlop reported on thefts from sheds involving lawn mowers, bicycles, etc.  He stressed the importance of robust locks, chains and installing a remote alarm to deter criminals.  PCSO Dunlop has information on recommended remote alarms which he will forward to the Clerk.

Sgt Fenn from Selsey Police Station gave a report on travellers on the Manhood Peninsula.   There have been 14 reported encampments since February 2013.  One group of travellers has been in the area for over a year, their children attend local schools and they are likely to remain for the foreseeable future.   If travellers have caused criminal damage or used threatening behaviour, those personally responsible must be identified to the police in order to prosecute.  The police can move travellers from land, but only if the land is known to be contaminated, of special scientific interest (eg Pagham Harbour Nature Reserve) or seriously disrupt the local community.  If none of those conditions is met, the owners of the land should obtain a court order to repossess the land.   Sgt Fenn reported that the police visit any occupied site every day and liaise with bailiffs, owners and travellers.  Sgt Fenn stated that there has been no increase in reported crime in the area due to the travellers.  In fact, reported crime has been less this year than in 2012.  Cllr Tull reported that she had been disturbed to hear recently that travellers are now employed by large local employers.  A parishioner suggested that the only way to resolve the problem is for the CDC/WSCC councils to acquire a site specifically for travellers.  Cllr Tull replied that CDC is investigating possible sites under the Local Plan process.

Mr Monnington reported on his own experience of theft by travellers.  He had found 5 men extracting red diesel from his tractors.  He recorded their vehicle registration number, rang the police and followed the men to the travellers’ camp.  The police were unable to make an arrest.  Mr Monnington, like Mr Spiby, has problems with hare and deer coursing on his land.  Mr Monnington felt that, in his opinion, criminals involved in coursing were coming to this area because of a less robust response from the police.   Lastly, Mr Monnington’s farm suffers from potato theft but this is usually small incidents by local residents.

INTERVAL .

4.   REPORT FROM FLOODING AND DRAINAGE WORK GROUP

Mr Bedford thanked the members of the work group for giving their time and knowledge in the writing of the Flooding and Groundwater Study Report.  The Land Drainage and Flood Work Group was set up following the flooding in 2012.  WSCC is the main flood report authority and has requested that parishes record and report flood events.  The work group’s main purpose was to write a local land drainage report to submit to WSCC. The group focussed on ensuring that roads are kept open.  It became apparent that the whole system of land drainage has been neglected and is now unable to cope with heavy, sustained rain.  Mr Bedford stated that this has been recorded as a 1 in 150 year event but he felt that weather patterns are changing so that ratio may not hold true should weather become more extreme.  WSCC has allocated funding of £8.5m to investigate the drainage issues.  There is an immediate fund of £1.25m to which Sidlesham PC has applied for a grant; the report drawn up by the Land Drainage and Flood Work Group has been submitted.  The outcome of the application is not yet known.

At the last meeting of the work group, members decided to formalise the group and apply to become affiliated to the National Flood Forum.  This would give the group access to all agencies concerned with land drainage.

The flood drainage report is ongoing, building up a picture of how local drainage works.  Mr Bedford stated that, in his opinion, flooding is one of the main dangers to this community and recommended that a Resilience Plan be drawn up to ensure that the economy of the parish is protected.

Mr Harland thanked Mr Spiby and Mr Monnington for all their work in improving the ditches in the parish and Mr Monnington requested that all parishioners maintain ditches and water courses on their land.  A parishioner asked what could be done about the ditch in Keynor Lane; it now has trees growing in the ditch and this is causing severe flooding in the lane.

5.   ANY OTHER BUSINESS – questions from parishioners.

a.    Mrs Jupp questioned why Rotten Row had not been included in the TRO application to reduce the speed limit to 30 mph throughout the village.  Mr Bedford replied that it was included in the second TRO application.  The first TRO covered the B2145 and B2210.  The second TRO application includes Rotten Row, Lockgate Road, Rookery Land and Mill Lane.  Mrs Cook questioned whether it would be possible to impose a weight restriction on traffic.  Mr Bedford replied that that was not possible.  Mr Field asked when the new speed restrictions will be in force.  Cllr Whitehead will enquire.  Mr Monnington stated that roads through the village are becoming wider.  Wider roads encourage speeding and now roads are edging dangerously close to ditches in places.  The widening of roads, other than main roads, is partly caused by the quality of the repairs on the roads.  The Clerk will write to Highways to request that the existing width of roads be maintained when repairs are made.

b.    Mr Bond asked if anyone could explain the newly painted white lines on the B2145 at the southern end of the village.  Mr Bedford explained that Highways had not completed the painting and it is hoped that it will be clearer when complete.  If not, Cllr Whitehead offered to seek an explanation.

c.     Mr Blackford enquired about the graffiti on the wall at the Tyre Clinic.  The street art was part of the Chichester City Art Festival.  Mr Harland took a vote by show of hands whether parishioners would like the Clerk to write to the owner of the Tyre Clinic and request that it be removed.  The vote showed that there were as many in favour as against, so the council will take no action at this time.

d.      Mr Heard reported that the new sign at the petrol station obstructs the view of vehicles leaving the garage and is now dangerous.  Mr Bedford stated that the garage owner had reduced the height of the sign but maintained its original width.  In addition, other advertising signs contribute to the obstruction.   The Clerk will write to Planning Enforcement to report the matter.

e.    Mr Hall questioned why the grass verge outside his house is rarely strimmed.  The Clerk will write to Highways to request that this be done.

f.    Mrs Buchanan questioned when debris/grass on  pavements from the Anchor heading south will be cleared/cut.  Mr Harland replied that they have been done.

g.   Mr Martin announced that to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty the Queen’s coronation, there will be a Big Lunch on 2nd June 2013 on the Memorial Playing Field and all are invited.

Mr Harland closed the Sidlesham Annual Parish Meeting 2013 at 9.30 pm.

Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting – 23May 2012 (Unapproved)

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Minutes of the Statutory Annual Council Meeting 18th May 2011

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Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting 2010 (Unapproved)

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