MINUTES - March 2021 Meeting

MINUTES OF THE PARISH COUNCIL MEETING held on Thursday 18th March 2021

1)            Welcome & Introductions

The meeting commenced at 19.31

NB: During these unprecedented times of the Global Coronavirus Pandemic, this meeting was held remotely via a web meeting – with each Cllr calling in from their own home.  This had been communicated and members of the public invited to join and/or to submit questions in advance via telephone or email.

The Chair (HWS) welcomed those present at the web meeting – Cllr Richard Clark (RC), Cllr Lucy Robb (LR), Cllr Julie Watson Grant (JWG), Cllr Cath Lack (CL), Cllr Anne Booth and Cllr Dean Sturrock (DS).  Cllr Martin Hill from LCC was also present.  14 members of the public also joined the meeting.

Apologies – PCSO Bramwell; Cllr Jan Hansen (SKDC)         

2)            Declarations of Interest

There were no declarations of interest.              

3)            Public Questions

The Chair noted that a public question had been submitted in advance and there is further correspondence from some to be addressed at item 17. 

  1. MS - The new government white paper on planning will open up any unprotected land to potential development. In the light of this and recent planning proposals, does the parish council agree it's time to put the community in the driving seat, rather than private land-owners, by creating a neighbourhood plan to legally define future development? Chair responded that now is the time, it will be discussed later in the agenda and thanked MS for his work so far.
  2. Mr L – Item 15, Toddler group application. Answers available if any questions
  3. JO – sent in 3 points in advance, will they be dealt with later in the meeting?  Defibrillator pads were bought without prior agreement so understands if the claim cannot be guaranteed but hopes that the PC will support the decision made.            
4)            Notes of the last Council Meeting held on  21st January 2021 

The notes of the Parish Council Annual Meeting held on 21st January 2021 were approved as the minutes.      

5)            Matters Arising

There were no matters arising that will not be covered on the Agenda later in the meeting.              

6)            Planning
  1. Application for windows in a listed building at 10 Market Place – listed building consent.
  2. Application for 3 houses at Low Farm, Spring Lane
  • The Chair noted that an enormous amount of communication has been received from residents regarding point 6.2.  The Chair asked all Councillors to make their comments.  A brief discussion was had, the key points of which are summarised as follows:
    • Not in-fill
    • Flood risk already – building will take the ‘sponge’ away and make the situation worse.
    • Flood map was shared from Environment Agency and it appeared that all 3 houses were potentially affected by flooding and there is a discrepancy between the planning application flood map and the environment agency flood map
    • Land is already boggy – lovely for a campsite and a jewel for the village but concerns about the stability of the land and the potential to worsen the flooding.
    • Proposals are not in keeping with the surroundings.
    • If permission is granted will it set a precedent for further properties in that area?  Outskirts of the village, not infill.
    • Social value of any proposals should be considered.  Campsite brings life and benefits to the village.
    • Is SP4 not SP3 as is not in-fill as has been stated in the application
    • No development since 1888 and is therefore an edge of settlement development not in-fill
    • A map of development was shared which demonstrated permitted developments recently are all clearly in-fill. 
    • The local plan (25 yrs. from 2011) Parish Council supports sympathetic infill and there are better opportunities in other sites within the village.  If the number of properties assigned for small villages is equally apportioned then that should imply 6 new properties in Folkingham.
    • Not in conservation area but in one of the oldest parts of the village. Land has been untouched since 1888 so why are we not considering building elsewhere in the village.
    • 2 parking spaces per house is not enough and Spring Lane cannot cope with overflow traffic
    • No evidence they have looked at the design statement for Folkingham
    • Is there a need for 3 x 4 bedroomed houses?
    • Listed buildings should be protected – these new houses are between 3 listed buildings

Cllr Hill commented to share the concerns and noted that he would also object in support of the PC.

  • Flood plain concerns
  • Development in the village – SKDC have to provide new houses but policy says this should be mostly towns and main villages.  Smaller villages are not expected to support those numbers and would need large scale community support.
  • In-fill policy says in must be within built up frontage and the main built up area of the village. Neither of which applies in this case.

The Chair gave Mr Fred Gibson, the applicant, the opportunity to respond as he was present at the meeting.  He made the following points in response:

  • Campsite land isn’t that field – is to the West of the farmhouse. Campsite will be operational when possible again.  Mostly group bookings.
  • Flood plains are not an issue – houses are placed 2 meters above the flood line.  When Spring Farmhouse garden flooded the field didn’t.  Foundations will be better engineered than any of the old buildings
  • Drainage – sewerage does overflow when there is a massive rainfall.  There will be holding tanks.  All contained.
  • If a line is drawn between 18 Spring Lane and the farmhouse the site does fall within the village boundary.

It was agreed:

  1. The Chair requested a show of hands to vote in favour of making an objection to the application from the PC.  Unanimously carried.
  2. The Chair thanked everyone for their contributions and noted that a document would be prepared and approved by all Councillors for submission to the planning application.       
7)            Updates from SKDC/LCC

There were no updates available from Cllr J Hansen (SKDC). 

Cllr Hill (LCC) provided the following update:

  • Precept set with an increase of 2% to reflect the economic damage of coronavirus.  Aging population to deal with, considerable additional care home demand due to C-19
  • £12.5m put into more highways maintenance – trying to get more of the minor roads sorted.
  • Small businesses need additional support - £12m to help their survival and provide internet support (websites and cards payments etc.) Financial support for shops etc.  Oversubscribed but trying to help where possible.
  • Tree guards now in place and enhance the Market Place.              
8)            Defibrillators

Following a brief discussion it was noted:

  1. The recent need for them has highlighted the maintenance issues.  The defibrillators were not set up by the PC but PC have a duty of care to support in the ongoing maintenance.  It was proposed that this should involve a Parish Council Councillor plus a volunteer member of the public
  2. Get some child sized pads for the playing field defibrillator

It was agreed:

  1. Cllr Watson Grant to assist the volunteer member of the public as the PC representative.
  2. Motion to pay JO back for those pads already bought and to also buy more - carried
9)            Traffic Calming Update

It was noted:

  1. Some correspondence had been received regarding perceived speeding in the village.  Chair reminded those present that there is no evidence of this from the surveys undertaken in 2018 so speed cameras and other suggested measures cannot be supported by LRSP.  Average speeds show it is not as bad as perception.  Emergency vehicles passing through at speed several times a day may also affect the speeds measured.
  2. LRSP put up additional signs recently and FPC ones will be placed again soon.
  3. It is likely that future rotations will alternate between West Street, Walcot Lane and the main A15/Market Place.
10)         Playing Field

It was noted:

  1. More graffiti in the dug-outs recently.  Lots of vandalism over recent years. Yet more reasons for CCTV.  Current  CCTV system is very old.  New cameras needed.  Propose 4 cameras on each wall of the pavilion. 2 TB hard disk £600 - £700 estimate. Stand-alone system. Policy to limit the number of people who can access the system.
  2. New hedgerow– request by RFFC to plant them as a replacement to the existing hedgerow.  Native thorn-less varieties only.  Cllr Clark reported he had heard nothing further since more details were requested. Is now too late to plant really.
  3. Playground:
  • New toddler swings have been installed.  Looks really good, Creative Play have done a Great job.  Thanks to everyone who helped to remove the old swing and prepare the ground
  • Cllr Robb noted that the roundabout clearance issue needs to be investigated soon.

Following a brief discussion the following was voted on and agreed:

  1. Agreement in principal to go ahead with CCTV had been agreed at the last meeting. So RC to get full quotes. Privacy policy to be drafted. Signage will be required.
  2. RC to communicate further with RFFC about their plans and ask them to suggest alternative to conifers.  
11)         Grass Cutting

Nothing to note.             

12)         Allotments

It was noted:

  1. The vacant plot has now been tenanted.  All plots are now occupied.
  2. Almost all rents for 2021 have been received, Clerk to chase any remaining unpaid in a few weeks’ time.
  3. No comments received about the small increase in rent from £30 pa to £36 pa   
13)         Village Green 
  1. Still awaiting new posts
  2. New tree guards in place, the Chair had sent thanks to the resident who suggested them.   
14)         Other Village Matters

It was noted:

  1. Extension of the Conservation Area Proposal:
  • Has been discussed before but recent events have brought it to the forefront.  Chair has discussed with planning team and has been put in touch with conservation officer.
  • Martyn Smith has done a lot of work in preparing a rationale (MS is an historian and is currently writing a book about Folkingham.)  The Chair asked for comments from Martyn and the Councillors and the following points were noted: Protected zones extend beyond the conservation area – a neighbourhood plan would help with this, Land is allocated a status and if it isn’t in a status area it is open to development.  This is a longer term issue.  Martyn stated that he has been involved in a neighbourhood plan elsewhere and would be happy to help.

It was agreed:

  1. The chair asked for support from the council to pursue this matter further – motion carried.              
15)         Finance

It was noted:

  1. All payments and receipts were reviewed.
  2. Grant application:
  • The Chair invited Mr L to speak as he had offered to during public questions in relation to this point.  Toddler Group – longer term aim to get things up and running.  Highly motivated to grow the group further in a new home
  • There was a suggestion that FPC could support on sliding scale over the next few years to help them get started.
  • Some questions were raised about who else would be supporting the funding and whether the application was likely to be an annual one

It was agreed:

  1. All payments were approved.
  2. Grant application:
  • Further discussion required, clarity on funding and advice offered on where further funding could be obtained.         
16)         Training Update

The Clerk continues to circulate training dates available to all Councillors.  Some training is now available online.     

17)         Correspondence
  1. York Stone – who is responsible for the York Stone Paving in the village and can anything be done to protect following reports of overnight thefts in Sussex recently
  2. State of the pavement on West Street – Cllr Clark responded and situation is now resolved thanks to the highways team.
  3. The History group are planning a Folkingham Heritage Festival on 19th Sept – using FVH, MG and permission has been granted to use part of the castle site too.  A re-enactment group have been approached.    
18)         Date of Next Meeting

The date of the next meeting was confirmed as the Annual Meeting of the Council Thursday 20th May 2021 at the earlier start time of 7.00pm.  Please note that it is highly likely that this meeting will also be held remotely – members of the public may submit any questions in advance and are welcome to join the virtual meeting –details will be posted on the website a few days in advance of the meeting.       

19)         Close

There being no further business the meeting closed at 21:05        

Future Meetings:            

20th May 2021 (Annual Meeting of Folkingham Parish Council) – 7.00pm              


15th July 2021

16th September 2021

18th November 2021