Minutes of Sidlesham Annual Parish Meeting on 23rd May 2018
Sidlesham Parish Council Held in the Church Hall, Sidlesham on Wednesday 23rd May 2018 at 7:00 p.m.
Councillors present: Mr Martin Mellodey (Chairman), Mrs C Ranjbar, Mr Paul Bedford, Mr R Ryder, Mrs M Monnington and Mrs C Hall.
Also present: Cllr Tricia Tull (CDC), 36 Sidlesham electors, and Mrs Tessa MacIntyre (Parish Clerk)
Apologies: Mrs U Pearce, Dr F Lewis, Mr A Harland and Cllr P Montyn (WSCC)
Parishioners were informed that a digital recording will be taken of the meeting.
Mr Mellodey welcomed parishioners and councillors to the 2018 Annual Parish Meeting. He hoped the Meeting would provide parishioners with much information and insight into matters that affect everyone.
1. Approve minutes of Annual Parish Meeting 2017. The minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting on 24th May 2017 had been available for all to read on the website for one year. Mrs Palmer proposed and Cdre D Pound seconded that the minutes be approved. No objection was raised and the minutes were signed by the Chairman.
Mr Mellodey urged parishioners to use the website as a source of information. The parish council has worked hard this year to improve the dissemination of information to keep all in touch with the main events and projects via local publications. It still has much to do but will continue to be aware of the need to keep in touch on major topics.
Mr Mellodey thanked his team of Councillors. They have had a busy year and all have worked hard together to achieve the progress made. There remains much to do in the final year of this council. Mr Mellodey wished to mention Paul Bedford, Chairman of Planning. Many of the topics this year have concerned planning matters and he has done a tremendous job in this role. He also is the Parish Council’s expert on drainage. The bad news is that planning will continue to feature heavily in the programme for next year. Next, a big welcome to Peter Monteyn (absent from the Meeting), our WSCC councillor. Pieter has been in office for one year. He has been very supportive of the PC’s actions. The same compliment goes to Cllr Patricia Tull, a more experienced campaigner on behalf of Sidlesham; she proved to be of tremendous help regarding the traveller site at Keynor Lane corner.
A warm welcome was offered to the PC’s new councillor, Riach Ryder. We look forward to his using his experience as a councillor in Staffordshire for our benefit here .Finally, many thanks to Tessa, the Clerk, for oiling the wheels of our administration.
Lastly, Mr Mellodey thanked all the volunteers who contribute to the village in many ways via various organisations, one of which is Neighbour Watch. He strongly recommended David Baron’s grapevine. He is an expert on phishing, scams of all kinds and gives avoidance guidance to keep us secure.
2. PRESENTATION BY CDC ON LITTER IN SIDLESHAM
Mr Mellodey welcomed Mr Andrew Howard, Operations Manager and Ms Lisa Jones, Street Cleansing Lead at Chichester Contract Services (the operational arm of CDC), to the Meeting.
Chichester Contract Services is responsible for litter clearance. Not only does the local authority have a legal requirement under the Environment and Protection Act to clear litter from highways and public areas but it has a strong desire to keep the district clean and tidy for people to enjoy, boost tourism and provide a thriving business environment. To that end if has recently produced a Corporate Plan which sets out a number of objectives for the District. CDC is one of the largest districts in the country with 130,000 residents. It attracts roughly 6.2 million tourists a year. Chichester Contract Services is responsible for collecting waste, both general and recyclable. It operates a green waste service (a paid for service for garden waste to be recycled). Recycling is a major part of CDC’s work. The District must hit a target of 50% recycled waste by 2020; if not, the district will be penalised. CCS operate from Westhampnett. They manage green spaces, parks and sports pitches, two cemeteries and maintain closed churchyards. Ms Jones leads the street cleansing team, focusing on litter and dog bins. By far the biggest problem is highway litter. Fly tipping is now a major problem and in 2017 CCS dealt with 988 incidents, some of which contained hazardous substances. The District is rural, and thus has many small lanes, ideal for fly tipping. In addition, the District has thousands of miles of highways to be litter picked. City centres are relatively easy but highways, some of which are very busy and require closure, are more difficult. Ms Jones has carried out the task of drawing up a risk assessment on every road in the District in order to keep their operatives safe. This involves traffic calming or diverting traffic while litter picking is taking place. CCS has, as a result, invested in training, equipment and special vehicles to continue to keep highways clean. It remains, however, a labour intensive exercise. CCS has launched an action plan: Against Litter Campaign. Officers can issue fines to those caught dropping litter and these fines are enforced. 350 people were fined in the first month of the campaign but last month 18 were fined which would indicate that people are becoming more aware. CDC’s bins have sensors which monitor the level of rubbish; this helps CDC to assess the best place for bins and deploy resources more effectively. Ms Jones and SPC’s councillor, Mrs Hall, have met and walked the village to assess the need for bins in the village. Mr Howard hoped that local parishioners would adopt a section of the neighbourhood to litter pick and keep clean. This would leave the local authority more resources for the more dangerous jobs. Mrs Hall has organised a team of litter pickers and supplied them with CDC’s high viz jackets, picker sticks and bags. She could always do with more volunteers.
Mrs Palmer, who has adopted Highleigh Road, Keynor Lane and beyond to the Ham Road, Eastern Lane turning, produced the bagged up pickings from her most recent circuit. Her pickings will be sorted to extract recyclable waste. In April she collected 80 kilos of rubbish. Mrs Palmer said how much better the village looks with the help of the team of litter pickers. Mrs Hall asked that volunteers contact her and she will equip them with the necessary equipment, most important of which are high viz jackets.
A parishioner asked if it would be possible to have bins at the Anchor Pub and Lockgate Road bus shelters. It was also requested that a bin be installed outside the school gate. Mr Howard will look into these. Mrs Hall informed parishioners that Sidlesham will have two yellow signs erected on Paddock Straight asking drivers not to leave their litter. Mr Mellodey asked that if anyone spots someone throwing litter from a car, they take the car registration number, take a photograph if possible and report them to the police.
Mr Allisstone asked if it was correct that the public will be charged for taking waste to Westhampnett Depot. Mr Howard replied that the District Council is aware of the connection between fly tipping and increased charges for waste at the depot but WSCC controls the funds for this facility. His view is that for small businesses, taking waste to the right place should be made as easy as possible.
Mrs Palmer informed parishioners that she has set up a Facebook site for litter pickers and they can find information on the Nextdoor.co.uk website.
Mr Mellodey again thanked Councillor Corina Hall and her team of litter pickers for the effort they have put into the anti-litter campaign.
3. NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN
Mr Bedford addressed the meeting. The PC has decided, after much discussion, to embark on a Neighbourhood Plan, rather than a Village Plan. A Neighbourhood Plan, once approved by the District Council, will give a measure of statutory protection which a Village Plan would not. The PC has made the formal application to CDC to outline the designated area and a reasoned justification for that boundary. The area includes the whole parish; it is a large area with different settlements. The plan is to unify those areas and give them some policy protection. The Application will be on deposit with CDC for 6 weeks, during which time anyone can make representation on why an area should or should not be included. The PC has been looking into what should be covered in the plan and has come up with the following 4 teams covering:
Team A: transport – based on the existing STAG group with additions
Team B: flooding and land drainage + environment and wildlife – based on the existing Sidlesham Flood & Land Drainage Group + FLOW and Manhood Wildlife & Heritage Group
Team C: community facilities, social and wellbeing, services, education, employment and culture and arts
Team D: development, land use, planning and design, landscape and environment, housing and economy.
For the Plan to be a success, the village must have full consultation. It is hoped that as many as possible will engage with and contribute to the Plan. The Plan will go through 7 stages, including a referendum at which the Parish will require 50% agreement for the Plan to be adopted. At the end of the process, the Plan will be referred to an inspector appointed by CDC who will independently look at the Plan and ensure that it conforms to CDC’s Local Plan. It is thought that, in future, the Local Plan will not have the level of detail that it has now and this is why the parish needs specific policies for this area. The Land Settlement properties and the future of agriculture/horticulture in this area are significant issues. Another issue is drainage and the concept of living water; although not the case now, it is possible that in future the area may have a shortage of water. The environment and wildlife issues will be included under the Flooding and Land Drainage Group. Ms Reeve of the Manhood Wildlife & Heritage Group explained the FLOW project (Fixing and Linking our Wetlands) which will inform Team B. FLOW is a project sponsored by the Heritage Lottery Fund to look at all ditches, ponds and waterways. The Manhood Peninsula is a relatively flat area with associated flooding issues. Some parishes have carried out work which has, in turn, passed the problem to the neighbouring parishes. Ms Reeve stated that an aim of the project is to map all the ditches and give an overview of how the ditches work. The group has been working with the Environment Agency, Highways (WSCC) and CDC to share knowledge and produce a comprehensive report. Ms Reeve stressed how important it is to increase the size of our ditches and ponds, manage them well, keep litter out and allowing wildlife to flourish. The data produced will be interpreted and used for modelling and flood prediction by the Environment Agency. Strategic tree planting can be used to create green corridors for the environment and wildlife.
Mr Bedford outlined and explained the 4 teams and asked for volunteers to form Work Groups. He asked that volunteers give their names and email addresses which will be used purely for this project.
The Plan aims to preserve the character of Sidlesham, take it forward in a managed way and ensure that change in the future is shaped in a way parishioners would like it to be. The pressure for new housing on the Peninsula is increasing and it is important that while there may be increased housing on the coast, there should be corresponding improvements to the access to those areas. There are proposals to protect conservation areas, but these should not to be treated individually but be part of an integrated plan.
It is hoped that the Plan will be completed within this year but if not, the next Council, after the May 2019 election, will be committed to complete the Plan.
Mr Hall, Chairman of STAG informed those present of GENESIS equipment to monitor speeds of those driving through the village. He is always looking for volunteers to man the equipment; training would be given. 5 sites have been identified which are safe positions for those manning the equipment.
A Neighbourhood Plan by Birdham PC is nearing completion and can be seen on their website, as can Selsey’s Plan. Mr Bedford recommended that parishioners look at those Plans on their websites.
It is important that the project does not run out of steam; this will be a significant commitment by those volunteering. A parishioner asked how much it will cost. Mr Bedford was not absolutely sure but it will be costed with a business plan before the PC embarks on the project and it is anticipated that the PC will obtain a grant to cover the costs.
3. CHAIRMAN’S PARISH COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2017/2018
Mr Mellodey had grouped the topics into transport, planning, drainage and general matters.
Mr Mellodey regretted that the PC had made no headway with WSCC on improving the B2145 for residents. Despite meetings, written requests and personal calls the PC has not been able to make any improvements on Crossings for Manhood Lane and the Anchor. On speeding through the village, despite complaints to the police regarding speeding trucks particularly at night, no progress has been made with the police on enforcing the limit. Richard Hall of Stag is always looking for volunteers to man the Genesis gun. If interested, please contact Richard: training will be provided. However, police follow-up is a problem.
The PC has submitted a plan for a roundabout at the Donnington road Junction – supported by Cllr Pieter Monteyn (WSCC). However, no action yet.
We also await the opening of the Free school in Hunston where traffic plans look to be behind schedule.
Mr Mellodey has attended every workshop of the BABA27 group, Having stopped the RIS1 Highways England proposal, these workshops, initiated by Cllr Louise Goldsmith of WSCC, were designed to build a consensus on the way forward that everyone could support. Sadly some tribal utterances still persist. WSCC appointed the consultancy SYSTRA who re-examined the whole project. At the latest and final meeting on 18th May, SYSTRA recommended a mitigated northern route. There are many hurdles in the process, not least of which is getting Highways England and the government to support this scheme and admit it to RIS2 and then build it. Cllr P Monteyn is a member of the steering group and is aware of the parish’s concerns.
It was asked whether a solution has been found to the new bridge which has been found to be unstable. WSCC has not solved the problem yet.
Selsey to Chichester cycle track – the Greenway
This project is making headway. Mr Bedford and Mr Mellodey are members of the Work Group on behalf of Sidlesham.
The good news is that WSCC and CDC support the project and that agreement has been reached and funding secured to build the southern section from Selsey to the RSPB at Pagham. The funding has come from a grant to promote tourism on the Manhood Peninsula. The bad news is that the much needed commuter route is delayed. Sidlesham has expressed its concerns that cyclists wishing to carry on to Chichester will have to navigate the most dangerous Sidlesham section until our bit is commissioned. We are working hard on plans to build the link from the RSPB to Jury Lane. Mr Mellodey and Mr Bedford will write a paper to be submitted to WSCC. It was pointed out that an environmental study on the route through Sidlesham has not yet been carried out and negotiations have not yet begun with landowners on the route.
Sidlesham PC has been very busy.
Keynor Lane/B2145 Junction traveller site.
The first application for change of use from agricultural to a traveller site has been, after a long delay, refused. However, a second, modified application has been lodged. We will continue to give the residents support in this second round. We believe that it is a totally inappropriate site and that we already have our share of traveller sites. We are observing what is going on with travellers at Birdham with all the twists and turns of refusals, evictions and reapplications. A near neighbour of the site pointed out that parishioners should re-submit their objections to CDC. Letters objecting to the previous application will not be considered under the new application.
In terms of planning, the council has limited powers but with a new planning law called class Q we have virtually none. Class Q permits, without referral, the conversion of agricultural buildings to residential. We are working with CDC Planning to refine a policy which can be applied to Earnley and Sidlesham so that the general look of the communities is not damaged by this legislation with its unfettered development.
We are engaged with CDC and WSCC regarding legislation covering common land at Sidlesham Common.
Thanks to grants received under Operation Watershed of close to £50k over the last four years, the Council has been able to carry out a programme of drainage improvements, principally repairing what was there, but not functioning. Mr Mellodey was sure parishioners have seen the benefits. There is much more to do but the progress made so far is satisfying and the number of flooded areas has decreased. We ask everyone who is close to a drainage feature to make sure it is flowing. Riparian owners, are responsible: it is not always the council. Let it flow please.
We would like to thank Jane Reeve and her team from the Manhood wildlife and Heritage Group for their efforts, not only with drainage schemes, but also with projects like Florence Pond, the community orchard and the hedge at the Memorial Playing Field. Ms Reeve is running a programme and will give a presentation on SWISH (Surface Water Management in Sidlesham and Earnley) The project illustrates how difficult it is to persuade all agencies to work together. SWISH will pilot a new scheme to inform the correct agencies and impose time limits on action needed.
There was an incident just after Christmas that underlined the importance of drainage and sewage.
What became known as ‘Poo Corner’ was identified after many expert visits as a leak of sewage into the drainage system. Once the source of the sewage leak had been identified, Mr Bedford was able to inform Southern Water engineers how the sewage system works so that the immediate sewage problem could be solved.
Again, on drainage we hope to solve the puddling at the Lockgate bus shelter. There is still much to do on this front so it is hoped the grant money will continue to flow.
I am happy to report that thanks to the diligence of Mrs Ranjbar and Mr Harland on the Finance Committee, we have a small surplus at year end. From a total precept of £28k we have an actual spend of £20.5. However, we have marked provisions of £6.5k. We will continue to be frugal and chase grants when and wherever to improve our community.
In that context we are very grateful to Greenwood Nurseries for their donation of replacement sand for the playground sandpit. Thank you very much.
4. MEMORIAL PLAYING FIELD REPORT – Results of questionnaire
The Sidlesham Community Association, a registered charity, commissioned a survey from Action in Rural Sussex with funding from the Big Lottery Fund.
Mrs Scotland, a member of the SCA and a member of the panel appointed to design the questionnaire, addressed the Meeting. The Memorial Playing Field is owned by the PC, dedicated for the use of the community by a resolution at a PC Meeting in 1956. The use of the field is constrained by a covenant on the land which dictates that it should be used only for sport and recreation. The questionnaire is an essential first step before further action can be taken towards a community/sport hall. The clubhouse on the ground is in bad repair and the SCA was originally set up to assess how best the ground could be used and hopefully build a community hall.
The survey was conducted by AiRS who have experience in running such surveys. A panel was appointed by the SCA to draw up a list of possible activities a community hall could accommodate, with advice from AiRS. The contents of the questionnaire was approved by the PC The questionnaire asked parishioners if they would like a selection of activities and whether they already do those activities elsewhere but would prefer to do them in Sidlesham. AiRS delivered questionnaires and received and collated responses. Each household received 1 form which was completed on behalf of all members of the household. The response rate was 25% which was considered good for such a survey. A large number of activities are already done elsewhere but parishioners would prefer to do them in the village. There were also free form boxes with the hope that parishioners would use those boxes to make comments and suggestions. Suggestions included play school/toddler group/day care, adequate kitchen facilities, stage, café, bar, family events and somewhere where families could meet to create a sense of community. There were several sporting suggestions. Bowling had support, as did facilities for dogs such as designated areas for training. The playground is well used but users would like a café and toilet facilities. Festivals and events should take place on the field and some would like the community orchard extended. Parishioners were asked if they would agree to an increase in the precept to fund the hall; 61% of respondents supported a small increase but no figure had been given. One respondent had said that they would make a donation. The SCA is now drawing up the business plan for the project and is looking at other halls, their charge rate and number of hours they are used. The building of a hall must be funded and the hall must continue to be self-funding. Respondents were asked if they would be willing to help with the project and several said ‘yes’. Under ‘any other comments’, many respondents had given their support for the project. It was felt that those parishioners who had responded had done so in a considered, thoughtful manner. Parishioners were encouraged to read the report which is on the SCA website. The survey has indicated that there is an interest in the project. Sidlesham Community Association is now working, in conjunction with the PC, on a detailed business plan and building requirements with the information gathered in the survey. The results of the survey make it worth taking the project to the next stage. It was asked if the building would replace the current building on the field. Mr Mellodey replied that the PC had used a CDC grant to investigate the existing foundations; they were found to be adequate and it would save costs to use those foundations wherever possible. Mr Mellodey was asked if the Football Club is co-operating with the project. Mr Mellodey replied that the FC and the PC are working towards agreement and progress has been made. There should be a shared interest in developing the facility. The field is for all the community of which the Football Club is an important part.
Mrs Scotland informed parishioners that the SCA will be holding its AGM on 6th August in the Anchor Pub.
A parishioner spoke on the underuse of the existing School Sports Hall. She felt that the facility should be properly advertised and used as was intended at the time it was built. The village cannot put the administration of the hire of the hall on the school. However, when built, the funding was granted with the condition that the facilities be for the use of the community, not just the school. Sports, such as badminton and short tennis will not be catered for in the new hall but can be played in the school sports hall. It was thought that the two facilities would be complimentary and combine to give the village a wide range of facilities.
6. ANY OTHER BUSINESS
A parishioner raised the question of parking on the Memorial Playing Field behind the gardens on Shotford. He had been offended by the Clerk’s notes asking residents to use the car park and not park on the grass. He asked that the PC take a more reasonable attitude and allow cars to park at the back of the houses in the summer. He said that Football Club supporters park on the grass during matches, leave litter and do not mow the grass. Mr Mellodey said that he would talk to the Football Club about litter, grass mowing and parking. However, an underground water main runs along the back of the Shotford gardens and the PC has been informed that it cannot have cars or vans parked over that main, or on a designated area either side of the pipe. Mr Mellodey will take the matter up at the next PC meeting and look into cordoning off the required area either side of the pipe.
Annual Parish Meeting, 2018 closed at 9.45 pm.