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Hand-drawn Sidlesham signpost with lapwing bird.

Minutes of Annual Parish Meeting 24th May 2017

Sidlesham Parish Council
Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting
Held in the Church Hall, Sidlesham on Wednesday 24th May 2017 at 7:00 p.m.

Councillors present: Mr Martin Mellodey (Chairman),  Dr Fiona Lewis, Mr Paul Bedford, Mrs C Hall and Mrs Diana Pound.
Also present: 25 Sidlesham electors, Cllr Tricia Tull (CDC) and Mrs Tessa MacIntyre (Parish Clerk)
Apologies: Mrs Mary Monnington, Mrs C Ranjbar, Mrs U Pearce, Mr A Harland and Cllr P Montyn (WSCC)

Parishioners were informed that a digital recording would be taken of the meeting.

1.   Approve minutes of Annual Parish Meeting 2016.    The minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting on 25th May 2016 had been available for all to read on the website for one year.  Mrs Hall proposed and Mrs Roope seconded that the minutes be approved.  No objection was raised and the minutes were signed by the Chairman.

Mr Mellodey reminded parishioners that the PC publishes the minutes of meetings and other council business on the web-site and notice boards. The PC is aiming to improve the web-site, possibly next year, subject to Council agreement.  The Council’s aim is not to work in a vacuum and welcomes parishioners’ attendance at council meetings. Any questions for councillors should be directed in the first instance to our Parish Clerk for her to contact the appropriate council member. This meeting is therefore all about the communication between councillors and the Parish.  Therefore, there is a session allocated at the end of the meeting for this dialogue to take place. The PC is also looking at publishing a bi-annual report for the village, again to advise people of PC actions and projects.

2.   CHAIRMAN’S PARISH COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2016/2017

Mr Mellodey welcomed everyone to this year’s Parish Meeting.  Cllr Pieter Montyn, who was unable to attend this meeting, was welcomed as Sidlesham’s new WSCC Councillor.  Cllr Montyn replaces Margaret Evans, whom he thanked, once again, for her service and wished her a wonderful year as Mayoress of Chichester.

After the re-organisation of the boundaries of WSCC councillors, for efficiency or economic reasons, Cllr Montyn is now the councillor for the Witterings division, geographically middle Manhood. I am sure this concentration of Manhood parishes will help underline the importance of the Manhood in WSCC chambers. A rough calculation of the division estimates that Cllr Montyn will be the voice of just under a third of the Manhood.  He will now add the straight A286, a very busy road, to the less straight, but equally busy, B2145 to his portfolio of challenges.

Mr Mellodey extended a warm welcome to Cllr Tull (CDC) and thanked her for her efforts on behalf of Sidlesham in the past year. As has happened with regard to parish reorganisations at county level, where in the Witterings solution logic prevailed, at District level the parish is facing a reorganisation and, with effect from the elections of 2019, Sidlesham will be joined up with Selsey North in a two councillor arrangement that no one really understands except that the numbers of electors work out for the authorities. Both Sidlesham and Selsey councillors protested vehemently to the CDC panel, CDC councillors and to the Boundary Commission but to no avail. Both areas accept that there is a wide disparity between the two communities, urban versus rural, resort versus horticultural, etc, but this had no effect. I am sure that this topic will arise again. Sidlesham and Selsey did their best but failed.

Mr Mellodey thanked all councillors, both County, District and Parish for all their unpaid hard work over the past year and also members of the public who have contributed their time and expertise to council matters.  A big thank you also to Tessa MacIntyre, our parish clerk, for keeping the wheels on the truck and keeping them turning in roughly the right direction.

At this stage Mr Mellodey acknowledged the honour of being re-elected chairman, but he was more delighted at the fact that all councillors were re-appointed to their jobs so that the PC can continue working together as an effective, united team.  Our image at District and County level is important and we need to keep on improving.

Having looked again at the minutes of the last meeting, Mr Mellodey was surprised and delighted to see that the programme set out has been adhered to along the main lines with some pluses and minuses and some things taking longer than anticipated.

The biggest plus and highlight of the year in the programme set out last May was the inauguration of the adult gym equipment on the Memorial Field. We owe a lot to Corina Hall’s drive and determination, together with the support of the SCA and Tesco’s bag programme.  What is important now is to see the equipment used. We intend to carry on with the development of other sports on the field in line with the policies announced last year. I shall be talking about the Memorial Field after the interval

Finance
Thanks to the good stewardship of the Finance committee, we rounded off the year with a very small increase in spending on the previous year.  However, this was well within the predicted budget for the year. The budget for 2017/18 is £2,750 up on that for 2016/17, roughly a 10% increase.  The main reason for that is an increase is the allowance for the playground; it is 7 years old, needed new gates last year (£1,809) and will need new fencing and work on the zip wire this year.   The percentage increase on the Precept is further increased by the fact that in 2016/17, 10% of the budget (£847) was given in the form of a grant.  This year Sidlesham does not qualify for that grant so all income from CDC is in the Precept payment, raising the percentage to 14%. We are obviously unhappy about this. I did warn last year that the government is very keen to promote housing with grants as carrots and Sidlesham is penalised by not being categorised as a housing development area.

Planning
We are very lucky to have the services of Paul Bedford as our Chairman of Planning. Our thanks to him and his team for their work in trying to preserve the essential character of Sidlesham.  As I reported last year, we were frustrated by a new government policy regarding the conversion of agricultural buildings to residential use, regardless of their impact on the neighbourhood, environment and service infrastructure like roads and drainage. These plans were waved through by CDC without parish input.  Now our planning eagle Paul has spotted a recent court judgement which seeks to clarify the scope of a conversion. We aim, along with other affected councils, to seek clarification with CDC of this ruling and its application.  We are not anti-development as such, but we do aim to preserve the character of the village within the limits of our powers.

Our planning eagle has another role in this parish and latterly in the Manhood area as drainage supremo. The success of Operation Watershed will be carried on in a new programme of works to unblock culverts and the like. More power has been devolved to localities and Paul is chairman of that authority too.  If President Trump wants to drain the swamp, Sidlesham has the man to do it!

Roads
Firstly the A27.
This project took up more time than any other in the whole year. We attended, on your behalf, numerous presentations, had numerous meetings to come to grips with Highways England’s plans for improving through traffic on the A27. The process and the outcome were highly criticised and the level of local Manhood opposition was very high. It culminated in a meeting of Manhood Council Chairmen with The Rt Hon Andrew Tyrie MP in which he was very clearly told by all councillors that, to borrow Theresa May’s phrase, “No road is better than a bad road”. We know the reaction from Chris Grayling. I was disappointed to see the reaction of some in authority in this area who could not understand why people were so against the process as well as the proposed project.
So where are we now and what to do?  WSCC is trying to see a way forward and has orchestrated meetings to try and have a consensus evolve. The next meeting is in June. At a local level we are forming a sub group with our neighbours at Hunston and N. Mundham /Runcton as we have been told that local inputs will be valued.  We will keep you informed of the situation

The B2145
I have to report on sheer frustration with WSCC on this. As I said in my opening report we are very hopeful that Cllr Montyn will lend his support to our cries for improvement to this road. In Selsey the new housing developments are well under way and Asda is due to open shortly. Asda hopes, no doubt, that more customers will be attracted from beyond Selsey to visit their store. It all means ever more traffic on this windy and congested B road.

I do not know what we have to do to prove the case that we need crossings on this road at both the Anchor and Manhood Lane. The legend of the lady getting the bus to Selsey to go to Chichester as she dare not/could not cross the road does not seem to have an impact. We desperately need a root and branch review of infrastructure. It is fine for the government to push for housing but infrastructure facilities must follow, even precede.

Facilities
I did warn in last year’s presentation that grants and funds were becoming scarcer, particularly from government sources. Thanks to Tesco’s £8000 top up we were able to complete the outdoor gym equipment. Part of the funding for this project was from the New Homes Bonus. This bonus also contributed to the bus shelter at Sidlesham Common and to level and reseed the so-called junior pitch.  This latter project has not gone to plan and the work is having to be redone as the ruts have not completely vanished – nor have the moles. The work is being carried out by Burleys mostly at their expense. The Parish is making a small contribution to the seed needed.  We hope by the autumn of this year we will have a sports/games area fit for purpose.

The LSA project has continued to enthral us. I believe that a permanent site for an LSA building has been found at the Weald and Downland Museum and Bill Martin continues to find more connections between LSA people throughout the country. Well done, Bill

I would like at this stage to call for a break for tea and biscuits kindly provided by the WI. On resumption I will briefly address the Memorial Field project with an update on current actions before we discuss our proposal for a village plan and a section on village amenities before the question and answer section at the close.

INTERVAL with tea and biscuits provided by the WI

3.       MEMORIAL PLAYING FIELD REPORT

The current policy is the same as outlined comprehensively in last year’s Parish report. The council still believes that the parish would benefit from a Community Sport and Recreation Hall. This would offer better facilities for many activities than offered by this church hall, whose future is still uncertain.  The council is mindful that the capital funding (build cost) is manageable and that the income stream from all activities, sport and social, meets running and maintenance costs.  Currently, we are looking to see if we can use the foundations of the existing building as the basis for a new building.  A surveyor’s report has been commissioned and we await the results. The next step will be to obtain a grant from CDC so that we can commission an architect to design facilities accordingly.

At the same time, we are looking to attract other sporting bodies to the Memorial Field with a view to obtaining grants for the rebuild from Sport England. The more grant income streams we have, the better.

A business plan will be needed. Mr Mellodey thanked Norman Robson for his help on the project. I wish to assure the parish that as soon as we have the elements in place for a presentation of the options, a parish meeting will be called. But again, as with the gym equipment we need to know that a new facility would be used.

In the meantime, I have to report that we have reached a positive and cooperative understanding with Sidlesham Football Club. They, together with the Ladies teams from Chichester, have made great strides in cleaning up the buildings and the field. This effort has been recognised by the league and the team is eligible for promotion.

Darren Pearce, the new Chairman of SFC will be telling us the latest in a short presentation on particular plans for the development of more junior football.  The Club has offered to make a contribution of £600 next season for the use of the facility in addition to the existing maintenance work they do. They know we shall be looking for more as matters progress.

Mr Darren Pearce introduced himself. He is Chairman and 1st team Manager of Sidlesham Football Club.  He played semi-professional football for 14 years and has been involved in youth football for the last 16 years.  Mr Pearce runs the Chichester Junior Teams (from 7 to 16).  SFC is a non-profit making club, run by volunteers and all costs are met through sponsorship.  Since Mr Pearce and Mr Andrew Bell have taken over management of the Club, they have tidied up the ground and the clubhouse and intend to maintain it to the highest standard.  They have brought more, younger members to the team.  This season he has introduced youth football (under 8’s and under 12’s).  They will progress to the under 18 youth side.  Next season the Club will run a 1st team, a reserve team, under 8’s, under 12’s and under 18’s teams.  They have advertised in local schools, shops, social media and a monthly report in the Sidlesham Spread. The Club will hold an open day on 22nd July 2017 to which all are invited.  Mr Pearce urged members of the parish to encourage children, grandchildren (and possibly a veterens team!) to join; all are welcome.  Mr Pearce can be contacted by email or telephone and his contact details are in the Sidlesham Spread.

Cmdre Pound asked how many players are from Sidlesham.  Mr Pearce replied that they have 2 in the team but urged more to join.

Cmdre Pound asked Mr Mellodey to clarify his statement on the survey of the foundations.  Mr Mellodey replied that the foundations of the clubhouse are thought to be sound and adequate for a new building, or part of it, to be built on those foundations.  The PC awaits the surveyor’s report. If the foundations are adequate, the PC would look into the possibility of using the foundations of the current building as a basis for a new building for sport with a social/recreation hall. Cmdre Pound asked the Chairman to acknowledge that the cost of a hall could be found through the Public Loans Body.  Mr Mellodey agreed that it could but the PC would like to keep the loan (which would have to be repaid by parishioners through their council tax) to a minimum and explore all avenues for grants.

4.    Village Plan
Neighbourhood Plans and their much cheaper and simpler cousin, the Village Plan, are a must-have fashion accessory in today’s planning world.  If you have a Neighbourhood Plan, you have access to extra grant money – CIL money, government carrot money, mostly associated with housing
.
The Neighbourhood Plan is a way of telling government what you need. It is particularly useful in terms of housing development sites.  This does not affect Sidlesham but it has become increasingly obvious that if we do not make our immediate supervisors aware of our needs, wants and concerns we will be ignored so we are putting forward for debate this evening our thoughts that we need to do at the least a Village Plan.

The PC will need help so is looking for volunteers to contribute.  A flavour of the topics our village plan should contain are:  Development and the pressures the parish faces from its neighbours’ development, transport  (A27 and B2145), flooding, ground water and sewerage, community facilities, social wellbeing and community safety (possibly including a Resilience Plan), employment and business development, environment and wild life habitats, housing, services, education, economy, culture, arts, sport, planning and design and landscape and environmental improvement.  Mr Bedford acknowledged that this is quite a daunting list but the Plan might not cover all those topics.  It is fundamentally about the people of the village and the direction in which they wish the village to proceed.  There will be collaboration with Hunston and North Mundham and establish the stance of Sidlesham PC.  There are huge pressures from outside, particularly from Selsey with significant new building plans and in future changes to horticulture and agriculture, both of which are fundamental to this area.

Mr Bedford would like as many parishioners as possible to volunteer to help.  It will be a concise document with all subjects condensed into a number of statements.  Some aspects, particularly flooding and drainage, are already well developed.

Mrs Pound stated that a Neighbourhood Plan has legal status whereas a Village Plan is purely advisory.  Mr Mellodey replied that it should be a solid, positive document, agreed by the parish, which will be put to CDC and will have weight.  Mr Mellodey asked parishioners who would like to help to contact the Clerk.

5.       Village Amenities
This is to try to make parishioners aware of resources in the village.  In no particular order and all of equal importance, Mr Mellodey asked for short presentations on what they do:

(i)  David Baron on Neighbour Watch, IT phishing advice traveller alert.
Mr Baron took over as the area co-ordinator of Neighbourhood Watch 15 years ago.  It was an effective organisation.  He liaised regularly with the Neighbourhood Police Officers and was able to pass on intelligence from local people.  At that time Chichester had a police officer who was dedicated to liaising with Neighbourhood Watch and they met and spoke regularly.  People were well informed, through the Neighbourhood Watch, of any incidents, and similarly, police received information from local people.  Since that time, there have been changes to the police organisation.  Despite Mr Baron’s letters to the police authority, the police now appear to have little contact with the local Neighbour Watch, and through that, residents.  In 2012 Management Panels were set up. Sidlesham joined with Hunston and North Mundham and at these meetings, the local PSCO met with representatives from Parish Councils.  These have now ceased to exist and the numbers of Sergeants and Constables has steadily decreased.

In July 2016, the Chichester and Arun Neighbourhood Teams were established.  There are 11 PCSOs in the Chichester team and 14/15 in Arun.  However, these appear to have little contact with local representatives.  Mr Baron receives bulletins which he circulates.  These have become less informative and Mr Baron intends to take this up with the police.

One issue at this time of the year is travellers.  If travellers invade land, it had been thought that a court order was necessary to remove the travellers.  However, that is not necessarily so, the police do have discretionary powers to remove travellers immediately from land under certain conditions such as if it ruins an amenity for the population or interferes with the economy.

Mr Baron asked that anyone not on his mailing list for the weekly bulletin, please let him know their email address.  Lastly, please alert Mr Baron of phishing fraud.

(ii)   Community Bus – Richard Hall

Sidlesham has had a minibus since 1985 and ‘Zoe’ is their 2nd bus.  They applied for a grant towards a new bus in 2016 but this was unsuccessful. Mr Porritt of Sidlesham Garage checks the bus every month and carries out maintenance on the bus, charging only for materials used. The bus is used 3 times every week regularly as well as other events.  The bus cannot be hired out but can be used at the cost of fuel and a donation.  On Wednesday morning, it goes to the centre of Chichester, Wednesday afternoon it is used by the Good Companions Club who meet at the Anchor and Thursday morning is a shopping trip to Tesco.  The bus is short of drivers and Mr Hall requested that anyone willing to drive, perhaps 1 journey a month, contact Mrs Devonshire (dancingdevonshire@hotmail.com).  Mr Hall thanked all drivers.

(iii)  STAG – Richard Hall
Mr Hall informed parishioners of the Genesis machine which the village can borrow from the police.  This is to monitor speeding and report registration numbers of offending vehicles to the police.  However, STAG needs volunteers to man Genesis.  One needs at least two people on the machine at any one time to record the speed and identification details of the vehicle.  Volunteers need to take a test and, following that, Mr Hall offered training on the use of Genesis.  It is mainly used on the B2145 and Highleigh Road.  Anyone willing to volunteer, please contact Richard Hall (641533 or richardcorina@gmail.com).

(iv)   Mrs Hall reported on the volunteers who give up their time to carry out inspections of the playground and gym equipment.  She is always looking for more volunteers.

(v)    Mrs Hall also asked for volunteers to help with litter picking in the village.  Mrs Hall has high viz jackets, sacks and pickers from CDC if anyone would like to help by doing a section of road.  The Clerk was asked to investigate the cost of installing bins at bus stops.

Mr Mellodey thanked all those who contribute to village life. The authorities are spending less on services so the more that can be done by volunteers to keep the village as parishioners would like, the better.

Hedges.
The village needs parishioners to cut their hedges so that they do not impinge on the pavement or in front of road signs. The Clerk wrote an article on this topic in the Sidlesham Parishioner and Spread.

4.   ANY OTHER BUSINESS – questions from the public.

4.1   Cllr Tull enquired if the parish has a defibrillator.  It does not.  She informed the meeting that there are grants available to purchase one.  The Clerk will put this on the agenda for the June PC meeting.

Mr Mellodey closed the Sidlesham Annual Parish Meeting, 2017 at 9.00