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Thakeham Parish Council
ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE MEETING – Monday, 17 October 2016
Meeting opened: 6.15 p.m. (Village Hall)
Present Mr N Prince (Chair) Mrs C Hounslow Ms F McConnachie, Mr D MacEachern Mr D Scott Kerr
In attendance Mr O Richards Clerk to the Council
25. Apologies for absence
Apologies were received from Cllrs Hunt and Taylor
26. Interests of Members
No interests were declared.
27. Minutes of the last meeting
Minutes of the last meeting held on 18 July 2016 were approved and signed, and the decision to commission maintenance work at the High Bar Lane playground was ratified.
28. Report on action items from previous meetings
50.3 Greening Thakeham bench – see item 8 on this agenda
52.2 Seek WSCC assistance with replanting trees on cuttings of B2139 – not yet progressed
56.2 Liaison with Binningtons re Winter Plan – done
56.3 Liaison with Binningtons re run-off from field next to Woodlands Way – done
17.1 Furze Field play area - as reported under item 29 below
17.2 High Bar Lane maintenance works: main works had been commissioned; the Committee agreed to form a working party to prune specimen trees (Action: Clerk to convene)
18.1 Walking/cycling route to Storrington – see item 30 below.
23.2 Meadowbrook development – check Japanese knotweed situation. Done (no current issue)
29.1 Furze Field play area
There was still an intention to undertake touching-up of the paintwork on the swings (action: Clerk/Cllr MacEachern). Cllr MacEachern reported that the fence to the left of the east gate needs repair (Action: Clerk to report to HDC). Cllrs Smith and MacEachern were now due to meet shortly regarding ownership and maintenance arrangements for the strip of land surrounding the play area (action: Clerk, Cllrs Smith, MacEachern).
17.2 High Bar Lane
Members noted that the general condition of this playground was good, and would shortly be further improved by additional repairs and new litter bins. The August site visit had flagged that some of the main pieces of play equipment were showing signs of wear and consideration needed to be given to eventual renewal. The Clerk reported that during summer weeks the volume of litter was now creating a disposal issue, which would need to be addressed by summer 2017 (Action: Clerk).
30. Rights of Way
Cllr Prince and the Clerk updated members on progress with creating a new South <-> North-East walking and cycling route through central Thakeham, linked to the ‘safe route to school’ issue created by the move of Thakeham First School to the Rydon site. The approach being taken is to concentrate on progressing this with funding from the Abingworth development, rather than the longer timescale involved in a ‘community highway scheme’ application. Work had now focused on the most readily deliverable route, which involves upgrading Strawberry Lane and, critically, a new section of footway on the east side of the B2139 north of Merrywood Lane. It was hoped that the feasibility of the latter proposal would be confirmed at a further meeting on 19 October with the district WSCC Highways manager. This would be followed by liaison with the Abingworth developer regarding funding and timing of the works, and with Mr & Mrs Binnington as the landowners of Strawberry Lane. Members noted that careful consideration should be given to safety arrangements along the B2139; the older age-group attending Rydon might well cycle on this route. The need to ensure that motor vehicles could not get onto the upgraded section of Strawberry Lane was also noted.
31. Roads matters
31.1 In relation to traffic-calming measures linked to the Abingworth development, members noted the progress of the northern site access works on both sides of the B2139 (soon to be followed by works to the Monaghan’s entrances). Together this would create a busy/complex set of junctions, underlining the need for traffic calming measures. The developer was aware of the high priority of this for the parish and was due to bring back specific designs for this shortly; he was also aware that average traffic speed data currently being collected was compromised by the presence of temporary signals. The developer was also continuing to pursue the proposal to extend the new east-west bridleway across the B2139 and westwards, to emerge on High Bar Lane near the playground.
31.2 In relation to Traffic Regulation Orders, it was noted that (as previously reported to TPC) although the application for a reduced speed limit south of Picketty Corner had been refused, liaison with Highways in relation to the Dukes Hill area was continuing, with a view to seeking a positive outcome at the November 2016 Chanctonbury CLC meeting. Highways now appeared to understand better the impact of the Abingworth development, and the link between B2139 road speeds and the ‘safe route to school’ plans under item 30 above.
31.3 The Clerk reported that he was continuing to liaise with Sussex Police, who were agreeable to installing additional speed limit reminder signs in the 30mph Abingworth area.
32. Greening Thakeham proposal for bench on Woodlands Way
The Committee noted and endorsed the revised proposals for this bench, subject to a minor increase of costs to around £390. (Action: Clerk/Cllr McConnachie)
33. Winter Emergency Safety Plan
The Committee ratified the revised Winter Emergency Plan (submitted to WSCC in September), subject to recommending to TPC some minor amendments/additions in relation to these issues:
Vulnerable/housebound residents: (a) to add guidance to volunteers involved in snow clearance, to be mindful of this issue and to pro-actively enquire whether residents know of anyone in a housebound situation who may need help; (b) to make clear (via the parish website and communications during such weather incidents) that the parish could be contacted for advice and in some cases direct assistance to residents affected in this way. (Action: Clerk)
Proposed additional salt bin location at the southern Abingworth site entrance. This would serve both the immediate junction and the top end of Furze Common road. In the first instance this bin would be located next to the bus stop, before moving to a final position after further works to this junction. This would be subject to obtaining permission from the Abingworth contractors. (Action: Clerk)
It was also agreed to seek additional volunteer snow-clearers via the parish newsletter. (Post-meeting note: space problems prevented this for the Autumn newsletter, but this will be expedited via the parish website and Winter newsletter.) (Action: Clerk)
34. Abingworth-related issues
34.1 The Committee noted the current very limited bus service to the parish, and looked forward to when a parish mini-bus service could begin operating, as foreseen in the Abingworth agreements.
34.2 Having noted the current planting specifications for the Abingworth communal open areas, the Committee agreed to seek further discussions with the developer/contractors regarding the possibility of some amendments/extension of the current planting specifications, with a particular view to inclusion of wildflower meadow areas. These might include the area near the pond/Penn Stone and/or the north-west boundaries of the football field, cricket pitch bank, etc. (Action: Clerk/Cllr Prince)
35. Meadowbrook (Water Lane)-related issues
Cllr Scott Kerr had no recent matters to report.
36. Any other business
36.1 Cllr Prince flagged for the agenda of the next meeting that there was an ongoing, albeit differently located, issue with drainage at the foot of St Mary’s Church steps. This appeared to be linked to a blocked soakaway/drain. (Action: Clerk to investigate and include on next agenda.)
36.2 Cllr MacEachern raised the possibility of introducing a 20mph speed limit for High Bar Lane (and its subsidiary cul-de-sacs), as many drivers were currently ignoring the 30mph limit. Cllr Prince and the Clerk agreed to consult with WSCC Highways and report back. Other communications approaches (e.g. newsletter) could also be pursued. (Action: Clerk, Cllr Prince)
36.3 Cllr MacEachern also reported recent incidents of a very low-flying helicopter appearing to ‘buzz’ the Furze Common area. Cllr Hounslow undertook to investigate (Action: Cllr Hounslow).
36.4 Cllr McConnachie reported a need for repairs to some sections of the fence to the west side of Woodland Way. It was noted that maintenance responsibility for this fence lay with WSCC. (Action: Clerk to report to WSCC)
36.5 Cllr Hounslow raised the issue of roadside debris in the steep Jackets Hill cutting. The Clerk confirmed that this had already been reported to Highways, but was unfortunately pessimistic about the likely response.
Meeting closed: 7.15 p.m.
Date of next meeting: 16 January 2017, 6.15pm, Village Hall Abingworth development, and the link between B2139 road speeds and the ‘safe route to school’ plans under item 30 above.
36.3 Cllr MacEachern