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Hand-drawn Sidlesham signpost with lapwing bird.

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

Sidlesham Parish Council

Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting

Held in the Church Hall, Sidlesham on Wednesday 23rd May 2012 at 7:00 p.m.


Councillors present: Mr Adrian Harland (Chairman), Mr Paul Bedford (Vice-chairman), Mrs Vanessa Foden, Mrs Corina Hall, Mr Alastair Malir, Mrs Diana Pound, Mrs Carole Ranjbar, Mrs Elizabeth Smart, and Mrs Patricia Tull.
Also present: 29 Sidlesham electors, Mrs Margaret Whitehead (County Councillor) and Mrs Tessa MacIntyre (Parish Clerk)
Apologies:  Rev’d Stephen Guise, Mr Dudley Pound, Mr and Mrs Richard Clarke Adams, Mr and Mrs Colin Field.

Mr Adrian Harland as Chairman of the Parish Council opened the proceedings and welcomed all present to the meeting.
Before commencing the meeting, Mr Harland asked if all present would be agreeable to join him in a minute’s silence to remember a number of people, most of whom have passed away during the last few weeks and days, with significant connections to the life of this parish. Firstly, Debbie Kennedy, a former chairman of the council, Diane Sadler, a long time member of the WI and a recent President, Peter Jones, who oversaw the replacement of the church organ a couple of years ago, Brian Gibbs the husband of the church’s organist and choir mistress, and Denys Hardy, the last head teacher who occupied School House. The last two named both died this last weekend. Rosie Boxall and Edna Wade the latter aged 99, both long term residents and lastly, Allan Jenkins, our former vicar, whose retirement proved to be all too short. And any others that Mr Harland has failed to record. In making this request this year, he was not intending that this should set a precedent for the years to come, but the number of losses in the last few days has been significant. All stood.

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

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

As always the most regular task of the Parish Council is to consider Planning Applications. During the past year the planning committee Again met 15 times, which was the same as in the previous two years. However the number of applications considered increased from 44 to 55. We raised no objection or supported 37, of which 30 were permitted, 4 were withdrawn, 2 were refused and 1 is still outstanding. We   objected to 18, of which 11 were refused, 3 permitted, 1 withdrawn, 2 are still outstanding, and 1 for which no planning permission was required. One application remains undecided from the previous year, which is an Existing Lawful Development (ELD) matter! In short these kind of situations are where the applicants are claiming that they have been living continuously in the ‘properties’ for more than 4 years 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 receives (there have been many others in recent years), but we are hopeful that the latest planning legislation covering such situations will come 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.

The School House development was completed in the late summer and immediately occupied. As planned it was named Hardy’s Garden in honour of the last headteacher who occupied the School House. The Medmerry Managed Realignment project is going ahead at a good speed despite the recent wet weather. The Madestein Easton Farm glasshouse development remains before the government inspector, and is due to resume in mid-June. At the last moment the applicants submitted a revised transport plan incorporating 15 passing places in Almodington Lane, which the inspector allowed them to present. The many objectors remain hopeful that the application will be turned aside. The additional fear is that if the application is allowed many more acres in the hands of the land owners could also be covered in glass. We have also supported Selsey Town Council in opposing a proposal for 55 new houses on the northern edge of Selsey, which has been refused.

Council Committees and Work Groups

All members of the Council can sit on the Planning Committee. The Council meets formally every 2 months, when all remaining business is conducted. This covers the ever present concern over traffic matters on all of the parish’s roads, footpaths both alongside the roads and across fields etc, the parish amenities such as seats and bus shelters, the upkeep of the parish open spaces, such as the Paddock Straight, and ponds, and now of course the new playground. We also review the parish finances, receive reports from various other bodies on which members of the council sit, amongst which are the Peninsular Community Forum, Chichester Association of Local Councils (CALC), 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 Advisory Board (PHNRAB). Councillors may also attend the South Chichester County Local Committee when agenda items are relevant to the parish.

Parish Playground Work Group/Parish Playground Community Group

The remaining playground items were installed last summer, including an additional seat and a shelter within the playground, and two further picnic benches just outside. The upkeep and maintenance matters have now been passed into the hands of the Amenities and Assets work group.

The Playground Community Group as I reported last year acquired a further grant of £3,500 as part of the lottery funding which has being used to put on a couple of community play days, led by professionals, as it cannot be used for instance for the purchase of further equipment. These were very well attended. A Community Orchard is going to be planted to the south of the playground boundary this autumn.

Parish Hall Work Group.

By a majority decision, this work group was disbanded last November. It is my belief that in its place a Community organisation is/has been set up to continue with plans for a possible village hall at some point in the future, together with any other facility that it feels would be of advantage to the parish. Again it is my understanding that membership of this organisation is/will be open for all parishioners to be able to participate, although I personally have yet to see any notices displayed to this effect.

Pagham Harbour Nature Reserve Advisory Board (PHNRAB).

At the end of January the management of Pagham Harbour was passed to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). As the RSPB also manages a large part of the Medmerry scheme area I guess there will be some real advantages for both the birds and the watchers in bringing these two areas under one organisation, and in due course no doubt plans will be submitted for a replacement of the current facilities at the Ferry site. Meantime the old harbour board has been disbanded, but according to the plans we last viewed some sort of substitute will be formed, and this council will have a representative

Boat permits for the use of Sidlesham residents are to be rescinded. The Parish Council played a full part in discussions as to the new rules that will be applied instead covering boat usage on the harbour waters. For those of you who are aware of the harbour conditions, the number of opportunities that are available to launch a small boat, or indeed a canoe, are relatively few in number because of the relatively shallow depth of water in the harbour even around high tide, so we should not expect to see large numbers of people trying to take advantage of the removal of a licence system. Instead a number of rules, or rather a code of conduct, has been drawn up to cover what is acceptable, also putting in restrictions on certain areas during the year to protect nesting birds. Chris Bond, my predecessor as chairman of this council, who is also a permit holder and a former vice-chairman of the PHNRAB, sat on the work group who have devised the code of conduct, so you can be assured that Sidlesham’s interest has been fully looked after. Once the Environment Agency etc have assented to the new code, it will be put into action. It is planned that boards will be set up on Sidlesham Quay and at the Pagham end of the harbour to advertise the new code.

Proposed Marine Conservation Zone.

The plans for a reference area covering Pagham Harbour are we understand in an advanced state. You may have read in the local press that a special zone is proposed to the south of the harbour mouth to protect a minute snail, despite any current evidence that the snail still exists. As I understand it, the remainder of the harbour will have a reduced protection status. The plans are due to go out for public consultation later this year.

Sea Defences.

The council continues to have representatives sitting on various advisory boards/committees. The MedmerryStAG group continues to meet from time to time to comment on updated plans for the scheme, and the project appears to be progressing well and on schedule. The Manhood Peninsular Steering Group and the Pagham Harbour Coastal Issues Group continue to promote the interest of local inhabitants in pursuing counter measures against sea incursions. With the parish at risk of encroachment from the sea on two sides, you can be sure the council continues to be active in looking after our long term interests.

The Finance Work Group meets to draw up the budget, and then recommends the precept to the full council for approval for the next financial year. The precept for the financial year ended 31st March 2012 was £18840. Allowing for one item that was paid twice during the year the budget was overspent by £27! The precept for the current year is £19735, an increase 4.75%. This increase is largely due to a provision of £1000 for work on Florence Pond. We are negotiating with the Manhood Wildlife Group to carry out the work. Those of you who are interested in such things will want to know that signs of water vole activity has been found. We are also looking for volunteers to join the Manhood Wildlife party when they commence work, and if you would like to assist, would you please give your name to Alistair Malir who chairs the Amenities and Assets Work Group.

Details of the Income & Expenditure for the past financial year will be posted on the Parish Noticeboards as soon as the final pages of the audit have been completed.

Roads Matters

Regrettably the Manhood Parishes Road Safety Group has been wound up as none of the members was able to commit themselves to running this organisation when its chairman wished to retire. The Vehicle Activated Sign (VAS) outside the entrance to the Memorial Playing Field was eventually wired up correctly to the mains electricity following pressure from ourselves, and most importantly from the personal intervention of Margaret Whitehead, our County Council member. I think that both this sign and its brother at the southern entrance to the parish have helped to slow traffic down. More recently the traffic lights for the gas works have certainly been effective, though a nuisance to the residents and road users alike. I think it is clear that these works will not be completed by the end of May as originally envisaged. The Speed Indicator Device (SID) has not featured in recent months, if at all during the past 12 months. Likewise the
The CASPAR equipment having unfortunately suffered several incidents of vandalism, particularly when used in Itchenor, was unusable for a long period of time, although I understand it may now be working again. The problem with this item would seem to be that it is vulnerable bearing in mind it is unmanned.

I have nothing further to say under this subject, which will be the subject of discussion during the second half of this meeting.


The first of my vote of thanks can be easy to overlook, so that is why it comes first! In the interval members of the WI will be serving tea & coffee with biscuits, and once again I thank them for agreeing to undertake this task to keep the annual parish meeting lubricated. Many thanks.

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. None of the councillors receives any payment for the duties they perform on behalf of the parish, although these days we are entitled to vote ourselves a small allowance. Needless to say we do not take advantage of that piece of legislation. However I would like to remind you that, just as the rest of you, they are simply members of the parish who give of their time to try and ensure parish matters are looked after.

I reserve my greatest vote of thanks for our very hard-working clerk, Tessa MacIntyre, who has coped extremely well with a baptism of fire over the last 18 months since taking up her appointment. I am enormously grateful for her support during this time.

4.  Guest Speaker – Mrs Jane Ramage, Chairman of Friends of Chichester Hospitals.
The Friends of Chichester Hospitals support St Richard’s Hospital, Greylingwell Hospital and associated mental health services.

The Friends consist of about 750 members (a ‘member’ can include all members of a household so the number of individual members is higher).  The members donate a subscription each year which contributes a small part of the charity’s income.  They monitor the work of the committee and scrutinise how the money, raised by Friends, is spent.  Members select the Committee of Trustees who meets about 8 times a year to discuss the raising of funds and how it is to be spent.  The Trustees come from different backgrounds; some work as volunteers in the shop and on the ward trolley and some have business or medical experience.  There is a team of between 100 and 120 volunteers who man the hospital shop and trolley service and a couple who work in the Friends’ office.  They have no salaried employees.

Mrs Ramage then explained the main aspects of the Friends’ work.  Firstly, the charity was set up to provide a service in the form of the hospital shop and ward trolley to enable patients and visitors to buy what they need on the premises.   Secondly, as the largest part of hospital funding is spent on staff salaries, a relatively small amount is left for capital purchases on hospital equipment.  These tend to be highly technical and costly and the Friends try to ensure that the hospital has the best equipment it possibly can for specific needs.  In the last 3 years the Friends have spent roughly £1.5m on equipment.  Lastly, the committee acts as a link between the hospital and the community which it serves.  For example, when St Richard’s was threatened with cuts, the Friends were active in making representation to the PCT and various local councils to persuade them that St Richards should not be downgraded.  The Friends have also supported the application for Foundation Trust status for the new Western Sussex Hospitals Trust which comprises St Richards, Worthing and South West Hospitals.

The shop and trolley service not only provides a service to visitors and staff, it also provides the single most reliable source of income (about £75,000 per year) for the charity.  Other fund raisers are bucket collections, Christmas cards, events and sponsored activities such as Chichester Challenge.  The Friends also receive support from the Lions, Rotary and Rotaract.  Lastly, legacies can bring in significant sums but these are a less predictable source of income.

Mrs Ramage showed photographs of several pieces of equipment purchased for the hospital, all costing significant sums of money. These included A & E trolleys, computers for the neurological unit for patient therapy, birthing pool, echo couch in cardiology department, equipment for an A&E x-ray room and a robot being developed for the pharmacy which will improve the flow of prescriptions.  She particularly mentioned the Friends’ Eye Appeal which has brought an ophthalmology department back to Chichester which means that the people of Chichester have a first class diagnostic and theatre facility locally.

For the future, the Friends are working on plans for a more private and comfortable reception area in the women and children’s block, parent education classes, intravenous anaesthetic pumps and decontamination vaporisers.  And, the Friends of Chichester Hospitals now has a new website with an online donation service.

Mr Harland thanked Mrs Ramage for a very interesting and informative talk.

Refreshment interval organised by Sidlesham WI.

5.    Proposed Village Sign for the Queen’s 60th Jubilee
Mrs Corina Hall gave a short description of the project.  Having established that the cost of a new sign would be prohibitively expensive, she approached the Selsey Tram who kindly donated their sign to be refurbished.  The project has received excellent support from local businesses;  Parkers Electrical disconnected the sign, Knights Fencing cut the sign down and delivered it to Mr and Mrs Hall’s garden and Trident engineers are manufacturing a metal ‘shoe’ to fit on the bottom of the post – all free of charge.  The wood is teak and in very good condition.  Mrs Hall is now looking for artists and ideas for a design for the sign.  Mrs Hall would like to invite artists, who are willing to volunteer, for a coffee morning to discuss ideas for the design.  When the picture has been completed, it will be enclosed within a double sided Perspex weatherproof frame.   Mrs Bowling suggested a crab, lobster, a marsh bird and an anchor as possibilities for the design and Mrs Jupp suggested an LSA house as something unique to Sidlesham.  Mr and Mrs Hall and Mr Bedford had met with a Highways Officer to discuss the proposed position for the sign which will be near the centre of Paddock Straight.  Mrs Aylwin suggested Sidlesham Common as a point where one enters the village but this would be difficult to conform to highway regulations for erecting the sign.  Mrs Hall has been informed that Highways would be responsible for digging the hole and WSCC will come back to Mrs Hall with the cost. Cllr Margaret Whitehead suggested that the PC approach the County Local Committee for a grant.

The sign will not be complete in time for the Jubilee but Mrs Hall hopes to have it up before the end of this jubilee year.

6.    Parish Roads
The Council had asked parishioners for suggestions of places where the village roads could be improved.   .
*   Mrs Jupp asked that some measure be taken to slow traffic on Rotten Row.  Mr Harland replied that the Parish Council had met with an officer from WSCC and proposed a 30 mph speed limit throughout the built up area of the village.  In order to change a speed limit, a Traffic Regulation Order is required and at present only 3 per year is granted.  However, the PC does have about £6000 (S106 money) which could possibly be used to fast track the process.
*   Mrs Openshaw raised the prospect of reducing the speed limit along Rookery/Mill Lane which is at present derestricted.  Mr Harland replied that there is an application to reduce the speed limit to 20 mph, submitted by Mr Bowling, but that it was not high on the list.  However, if the council is able to achieve a 30 mph limit throughout the village, that would include Rookery Lane and Mill Lane.
*   Mr Hall, representing Sidlesham Traffic Action Group (STAG), addressed the meeting with a list of traffic management and environmental proposals.  Several suggestions would be covered by an overall 30 mph speed limit.  In addition, proposals include the creation of a ‘Quiet Lane’ (for walkers, riders and cyclists) under the Wild Life and Countryside Act from the junction of Rookery Lane and B2145 and junction with south end of Mill Lane and a school safety 20 mph zone.  There were many more suggestions and should anyone wish to see the list, please contact the Clerk who will email a copy.
*   Mrs Aylwin raised the state of Easton Lane.  This has been reported and the PC will continue to try to get action.
*   Mrs Smart raised the proposed RSPB car park on Ham Road.  When there is more traffic for the RSPB car park, WSCC should re-examine the camber of the road.  In addition, Mrs Smart mentioned the poor condition of Jury Lane.
*   If anyone has any other concerns, please email the Clerk.

6. Open forum on topics of parish interest.
*   Mr Harland raised the clearance of Florence Pond.  The Manhood Wildlife and Heritage Group have agreed to take on the project. Mr Malir is looking for volunteers to help with the work.
*    Mr Hall reported on the Sidlesham Village Community Association which is being established to work towards a new village hall for the parish.  The group now has a draft constitution and they will write to all organisations in Sidlesham and invite them to send a representative to join the group.
*    Mrs Bowling asked about vandalism on the playground.  Mr Harland reported that only the shelter had been vandalised and that it will be repaired.  All the other pieces of equipment are in good order.
*     Dame Jenny Trimble updated parishioners on the new church rooms.  The name is to be St Mary’s Parish Rooms.  The idea is to share this between the parish and the church communities.  This will enable them to use church and parish related organisations to obtain grants.  The plans are in the final stages of being accepted by the Diocese and Advisory Committee.  The site has now been cleared showing the wall of the church.  The new rooms will not be able to be joined to the church but there are several ideas for walkways between the rooms and the church.  Dame Jenny thanked everyone for their support; they have about £150,000 and are working towards matched funding for that.  They anticipate that about £300,000 will be needed.  After the Jubilee fundraising events, the gift service and the barn dance in September, they should be about half way towards the matched funding.

The Mr Harland closed the Sidlesham Annual Parish Meeting 2012 at 9.15 pm.