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Thakeham Parish Council
ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE MEETING – Monday, 18th April 2016
Meeting opened: 6.15 p.m. (Village Hall)
Present Mr N Prince Mrs C Hounslow Mr D MacEachern Ms F McConnachie Mr D Scott Kerr
In attendance Mr O Richards Clerk to the Council
1. Apologies for absence
Apologies were received from Cllr Hunt.
2. Interests of Members
No interests were declared.
3. Minutes of the last meeting
Minutes of the last meeting held on 18 January 2016 were approved and signed.
4. Report on action items from previous meeting
50.2 Appointment of new outdoor maintenance contractor – done. (Members noted with approval the new contractors’ standard of work to date, subject to requesting they extend tidying at the top of Woodland Way. Action: Clerk)
50.3 Greening Thakeham bench – see item 8 on this agenda
51 Rights of Way: engagement with Abingworth developer/WSCC – progressed, see item 6
52.2 Seek WSCC assistance with replanting trees on cuttings of B2139 – not yet progressed
53 Road speed limits: progressed – see item 7;
Actions to address flooding of Abingworth Hall pond – done
54.3 Abingworth development: location of Wm Penn stone – ongoing
54.4 Investigate/circulate status of S106 funds for Land South of Venters – done
56.1 Village Tidy Day/Clean for the Queen – actions taken in run-up to event of 5 March
56.2 Liaison with Binningtons re Winter Plan – ongoing
56.3 Liaison with Binningtons re run-off from field next to Woodlands Way - ongoing
5.1 Furze Field – replacement equipment update
Cllr MacEachern reported that replacement of the central climbing equipment was now complete, and further work to replace gates was imminent. The parish would undertake touching-up the paintwork on the swings in due course (Action: Clerk/Cllr MacEachern)
Members were concerned, given the sensitivity of the location, to hear that this area had been flooded with sewage twice since January, caused by root penetration/blockage, and agreed to contact Southern Water to seek reassurance that plans were in place to prevent re-occurrence. (Action: Clerk)
5.2 High Bar Lane maintenance works
Members noted that repairs to the eastern fence were underway and agreed the proposal to create a stile to lessen incidence of children damaging the fence by climbing it to retrieve balls. Members welcomed the improvement brought to the grass condition by new contractors’ equipment. The agreed re-surfacing/repairs to the areas under the toddler play equipment had been commissioned and would be done shortly.
6. Rights of Way
6.1 The agreed response to the WSCC review process on improving rights of way had been submitted, featuring the proposal to create a new South <-> North-East cycle able route connecting the Storrington suburbs with central Thakeham. The many desirable features of this scheme had been flagged and work was ongoing to get approval for the north-east and southwards connections, either side of the Abingworth section, e.g. in terms of establishing likely costs. The specifications of the Abingworth footpaths/bridleways were now explicitly geared to produce cycle-able surfaces. WSCC PRoW team had recommended that most routes within the Abingworth development should be left designated as footpaths, with permission for cycling (as opposed to becoming bridleways).
6.2 Cllr MacEachern reported damage to a fingerpost on the High Bar Lane-Smock Alley bridleway (action: Clerk to report).
7. Roads matters
The Committee noted the report on developments as provided to TPC in March, including the submission under new WSCC procedures for Traffic Regulation Orders of the key road safety priorities in the parish. The next step would be collection of average speed data. Subject to officers confirming these proposals were viable, they would be prioritised at Chanctonbury CLC in September. (Action: Clerk/Cllr Prince to pursue.)
8. Greening Thakeham proposal for benches on Woodlands Way
The Committee endorsed the proposals relating to location and design for these new benches (subject to splitting the bench seats into two planks) and agreed to progress manufacture and installation, subject to re-circulation of relevant quotes (action: Clerk, Cllrs Prince and McConnachie to secure two further quotes for carpentry to compare to existing quote of £240). It was agreed that if the total final cost, including installation, exceeded the £555 donation a request would be made to the full Council to use Environment funds to cover the balance.
9. Litter and dog-waste provision
This matter had been remitted to the Committee by TPC. Members endorsed Cllr Prince’s sense that, given the costs to the parish of bin installation and emptying, the long-term needs of the parish needed to await the Abingworth development being substantially in place (including key community assets and playing field/landscaped areas) before the community could sensibly be consulted and needs properly be assessed. It was agreed to feed this view back to TPC.
10. Abingworth-related issues
The Committee noted that the refreshed waiting-list for allotments currently stood at 15 names, and that around half had expressed willingness to become members of a management group. A plot had been offered to Thakeham First School but the feedback was that this would not be feasible.
The Committee noted latest exchanges between the developer and HDC planning team in relation to LEAP provision (DC/15/2527). While some aspects were acceptable (general landscape/ planting design, bench, litter bin) members were not satisfied with the suggested provision of play equipment, which appeared to be poorer than the initial ideas presented in October 2015. Although there was a good case in principle for the parish to adopt this playground, to operate and evolve it in future years in synergy with its existing facilities, members would not feel able to recommend this without changes to current proposals. Specific concerns and improvements sought included:
Current proposals offered little for the 2-5 age group. This could be addressed by inclusion of items such as a toddler swing and a sandpit or raised sand basin;
For the 6-12yrs group, the central feature of outline proposals of Oct 2015 was a ‘large timber climbing frame with scramble nets/ropes’. This has disappeared, but should be reinstated;
Similarly, earlier proposals contained a willow structure, which members would like to be reinstated;
The facility would benefit from inclusion of some form of climbing wall;
Members were concerned that the proposed crawl-through tunnel would collect water/silt and soon be abandoned – such tunnels, if included at all, need to be of the raised plastic tube type;
The see-saw currently suggested seemed of an unnecessarily heavy construction, posing potential injury risk (on the down-swing) to wandering toddlers.
It was agreed to seek a further meeting with the developer on these issues (action: Clerk).
11. Water Lane
Cllr Scott Kerr reported that, following representations from the parish, the contractor seemed to have satisfactorily addressed the issue of litter from vehicles. The phase of work requiring pumped diversion of the front-of-site watercourse (and associated noise issues) had been completed; a duct under the access road was now in place. He was not aware of any issues relating to construction traffic.
12. Any other business
There was none.
Meeting closed: 7.15 p.m.
Date of next meeting: 18 July 2016, 6.15pm, Village Hall ads matters
The Committee endorsed the proposals relating to location and design for these new benches (subject to splitting the bench s