Cross Keys Swing Bridge, Sutton Bridge, Lincolnshire

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Sutton Bridge Parish Council
Archived Meetings News for 2016


Mar 42016

Notes on the Sutton Bridge Parish Council Meeting held at
The Curlew Centre on 23rd February 2016

PREAMBLE: Though the Bridgewatch Team has attended every Parish Council meeting, much water has flown under many bridges since there was last a report on Sutton Bridge Parish Council Meetings. Perhaps we all relaxed after seeing PREL off – that was a great success.

The South East Lincolnshire Local Plan (SELLP) shows a much reduced area for the Wingland Industrial Site but there's no guarantee that something obnoxious could not still be dumped on the area now known as 'countryside' and occupied somehow by the 'rifle club'. (See Appendix) It is worth remembering that the Chairman of the SHDC Planning Committee, R Gambba-Jones, said, somewhat seedily, that if Sutton Bridge had not wanted an Incinerator on their doorstep they should have rooted for the Wingland site to be de-classified. This we've done.

When the PC sub-committee on SELLP reported to the full meeting, Cllrs Brewis and M Booth were outspoken in their opposition to its findings and said they would not support the Parish on declassification of the Wingland Industrial Site at SHDC Planning.

We've not managed to get a Public Enquiry over EDF B Power Station; we've pointed out that the Decision Letter was riddled with discrepancies. Ms Rudd has never had the decency to respond to our concerns though Mr Hayes has said he would do something. So much for a listening Government. There's no sign that she's being made to face up to her inefficiency.

Since last year, the makeup of the Parish Council has changed somewhat though it's still dominated negatively by a certain member. Cllrs Hill and Giles both walked out of meetings last year after resignation speeches that cited Cllrs Brewis & Booth as reasons for withdrawal. Jenny Rowe is now sorely missed after 34 years as a knowledgeable and forthright member of the Council.

Comments in blue are, as usual, observations emanating from the Public Gallery.

All Councillors present... No press and no police...

PUBLIC FORUMonly two members of 'the public' were present. Gone are the heady days of PREL and Cllr Brewis' Road Enhancement Scrapping when the Public Gallery used to be overcrowded and vociferous to the point where the Chair had to threaten to read the Riot Act – at least we saw PREL off...

• Joan Ansell said that at the previous PC meeting there was talk about the parish buying a speed detector that parishioners could use. The powers are not great, it is more a deterrent than anything. The PC had questioned whether the user would be harried in some way. She had a relative who has a senior position in Northants police. He said that several parishes had clubbed together to buy and share one, and no one had been attacked.

• Colin Blundell said he noticed that there would be some discussion about a Conservation Area for SB later in the evening. He thought it might be worth bearing in mind then that there have been two goes at a Conservation Area since 2000. We have been fobbed off for 16 years through 'lack of money' or 'lack of a Conservation Officer'. No excuse now there is one. Has the PC received any response from Julie-Ann Middleditch? He said he knew that the Clerk wrote to her asking for it to be put back on their Agenda and she said she would pass a request to the Planning Dept .

Acknowledging that it wasn't a listed building, if a conservation area had been in place The Bridge Hotel would never have been allowed to fall into the state it's in – a disgrace to the village.

Although the Local Plan Document contained many references to conservation areas in other towns at the unsatisfactory SELLP exhibition Gary Alexander said that a conservation area was not in his remit. How will the PC chase this up? Presumably the Local Plan will be used by people intending to move to SB: if so it will be grossly misleading – the site of the planned EDFB is not shown, for example. Gary Alexander denied that the maps used for the Local Plan were out-of-date. They certainly didn't fit the way things are at the moment – the Curlew Centre isn't shown and the old vicarage is still described thus. What faith can we have that the rest of it is OK?

It's good to note that the Wingland so-called industrial area has been reduced but there's still the risk that something like the incinerator will be dumped there – the area hasn't been conserved. Gambba-Jones quite clearly said that if SB didn't want an incinerator it should push for the area to be declassified. What do we know about the rifle range? How permanent is that? Is it just a holding arrangement?

Maybe it's time for GA to be recalled for a public meeting re SELLP progress?

Incidentally, there's been no proper response from Rudd or Hayes in 6 months about calling a public enquiry into the Decision related to EDFB.

4. POLICE MATTERS

Burglaries
Hare coursing – worse than ever with suspicious 4x4's
Lead theft
Internet scams

5. CHAIRMAN'S REMARKS

Sign vandalism. Some of Chairman's allowance will be put to renewal.
The Annual Parish Meeting (15th March 2016) will include a DONG presentation

6. CLERK'S REPORT (Karen Croxford)

Marina consents sorted. Electrics in hand. Wet side will commence in April

9. CORRESPONDENCE

Email from parishioner re Conservation Area. The need to take things up with the new Conservation Officer.

'Debate' on the matter was hi-jacked by Bridge Hotel issues. As if we didn't know, Cllr Brewis was at pains to point out that the Hotel was not a listed building – a needless repetition of what was said in the Public Forum. It emerged that the Enforcement Officer had said that the building was unsafe. Cllr Brewis just said, "Knock it down!" There was a complete lack of proper discussion about the need for a Conservation Area for SB. One has to wonder how much of an issue it is for the PC and what support is likely from District Cllrs...

It was agreed to write to Paul Jackson (cc Gambba-Jones) to ask that the Conservation issue be addressed.

We can only sit and wait. Holding breath may prove risky.

10. PLANNING MATTERS

H18-0128-16 DONG & the seawall. The Chairman reported that the Environment Agency is happy with the methodology. A ten-year monitoring of the breach should be requested and the roadway should be reinstated after excessive use.

Cllr Brewis (who tonight was generally in a 'this is sensible' mode – no doubt to make up for his reported stew at the January meeting) expressed his satisfaction with the new methodology so we can all rest easy.

There was much argy-bargy about whether H18-0110-16 – extensions to B&B facilities for The Riverside – should have been under the heading of Non-commercial Planning. Cllr Brewis got quite hot under the collar; Suzanne England (sitting in the Public Gallery) pointed out that it was just a clerical misconception. Passed anyway.

11. HIGHWAYS & FOOTWAYS

a. Chairman reported that it seemed that people need to be knocked over before speed cameras are installed. There would be no more speed checks since things seemed to be OK..

How come Long Sutton and many smaller places (Terrington St John, for example) have these signs that indicate your speed? The one on the Bridge is totally meaningless – it's in the wrong place and if you're crawling at 5mph it tells you you're doing 25/30mph... This needs looking at...

b(iii). The signs to the Port leave a lot to be desired – haulage firms need notifying of the direct route to the port. On Bridge Road before the turn there needs to be a list of businesses to be found down West Bank and clear signage to save lorries having to turn round in the village when they miss the turn. It's a County Highways issue.

Cllr Phil Scarlett pointed out that there was to be a joint meeting between Highways and the Police for Long Sutton – Sutton Bridge could be involved in this. It was agreed to wait for the result of this meeting.

12. REPORTS FROM WORKING PARTIES & COMMITTEES

There are some overhanging hedges.

F(I) Burial Ground Committee – variations to contract.

A paper had apparently been circulated about many matters which the committee had not yet been able to get resolved. The Public Gallery of course did not have the opportunity to view this and so found it difficult to make much sense of the proceedings; the impression was that councillors were not much wiser anyway.

Cllr S Booth (does he not have a vested interest?) wanted each item of what came to seem like an endless list to be considered separately – gravel issues, holes in the tarmac, tree planting, conduits, 'BT covers' – so it turned out that an uninformed large group of people were being invited to consider things which should have been at least pondered clearly in Committee with presentation of an interim statement of its views instead of a garbled version of Committee lack of decision. This must have gone on for 30/45 minutes. It seemed like forever.

Cllr Brewis insisted that on the matter of tree-planting he wanted his abstention to be noted: rather than plant mature trees which might die he deemed it preferable to plant young trees which would grow well quickly; he also thought it a shame that a mixed planting was not being considered.

14. EDF B A letter from Hayes pointing out that Rudd has said that the Decision has been made and that a Public Enquiry was not on the cards.

In fact Rudd refused to meet him; the impression is that neither of them are keen to push for a Public Enquiry which might show up the deficiencies in the Decision letter. A public Enquiry was what Sutton Bridge residents asked for.

[ OBSERVATIONS ON THE SUTTON BRIDGE PARISH COUNCIL EXTRAORDINARY MEETING - Held at The Curlew Centre on 13th October 2015...]

Cllr Brewis said that it would cost £100,000 to revoke the planning decision.

One has to wonder when the District Councillors will ever support the Parish. It was not an SHDC decision to grant planning permission so they would not be liable for damages.

16. 'CLEAN FOR THE QUEEN' 4TH- 6TH MARCH It was a bit short notice to get anything organised – what about the 21st April for which the Payback Scheme could be organised?

All seemed to go along with this. We should be living in a caring community – we should care for it – but could this not be seen as a political con? Why do we allow ourselves to be sucked into it? Are we not being manipulated by the Government? The reason Britain has a problem with litter is because local councils have been forced to cut their budgets by up to 40 per cent in two years, for no good reason other than to fund Tory tax breaks for the same companies that are sponsoring 'Clean for the Queen'. Major sponsors of the event include McDonalds, Greggs, Costa and Kentucky Fried Chicken, who are hardly lacking in responsibility for the mess. Councils have had to choose between closing their child crisis centres, shutting down libraries, or firing half their cleaning staff. Many of the 'grot spots' that the Clean For The Queen social media team has chosen to shame in public are untidy precisely because they've had to get rid of the people who were actually employed to tidy up.

NOTE: At least one enlightened Parish Council allots 15 minutes at the end of a regular meeting to a feedback session when the Public Gallery can make comments on what they've heard. No doubt it can be imagined what might have been said at the end of this meeting.

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APPENDIX:

Press Release 1st March 2016
SOUTH EAST LINCOLNSHIRE LOCAL PLAN

Many Sutton Bridge residents will not know that there is currently a process of 'consultation' concerning a South East Lincolnshire Local Plan (SELLP). It will affect the village in various ways and will presumably be used in the future as a source of information for Estate Agents & solicitors when they offer advice to anybody intending to move to the area. It might therefore be expected to provide accurate information. The Wash & Sutton Bridge Protection Group looked at the Planning document and noted that '...The Local Plan must be based upon adequate, up-to-date and relevant evidence about the area's characteristics and future prospects, and must reflect the vision and aspirations of the local community...'

It's true that the Planners mounted an exhibition concerning the Plan but one has to be somewhat sceptical about any resulting plan being likely to reflect the vision and aspirations of the local community. Especially since the map of Sutton Bridge on display at the exhibition did not show the Curlew Centre or the proposed site of the second Power Station about which we can get no response from Ms Rudd. We have pointed out the many flaws in her Decision Statement. One has to wonder what else in the Plan is likely to be unhelpful to searches done for intending residents unless the consultation process produces genuine changes.

It is, of course, good to see that the area for proposed development on the Wingland site has been much reduced but it is not good enough to define the remainder of the site simply as 'countryside'. It seems that anything can be built on what's called 'countryside' – there is therefore no guarantee that what might be built there in the future (ie, other than acceptable small non-polluting enterprises) will not be of the same order as the now rejected Incinerator.

One has to ask When is plan a plan? when it seems that anything goes. It would be more acceptable for the planners to follow R Gammba-Jones' advice to Sutton Bridge protesters to get the Wingland site de-classified and redesignated as strictly 'Agricultural Land' with guaranteed protection from development.

Sutton Bridge is one of the smallest of the five major towns in South Holland, but has the largest amount of industry, for example, the so-called 'one-off current power station' which sets a precedent for other 'one off' unplanned developments.

The Plan suggests ensuring that infrastructure and local facilities are provided at the same time as new homes but there's no indication that the inevitable impact of development on infrastructure, the road network, health provision, schools etc has been taken into account at all.

The Plan is supposed to identify those areas of land which must be protected from development – perhaps because of their historic or environmental importance. 'Conservation areas' and the preservation of 'history' are often mentioned in the plan but not in reference to Sutton Bridge except for the odd reference to the bridge itself. When this was raised at the SELLP exhibition it was it was claimed that the intended 'Conservation Area' for Sutton Bridge was not part of the remit yet it is acknowledged that Holbeach, for example, has a historic centre. Although it's not a listed building, the wanton destruction of the historic Bridge Hotel could have been prevented had the Conservation Area (on the cards but shelved by SHDC since 2000) been operative.

The Plan has the laudable aim of Keeping development areas relatively compact in order to reduce the number and length of motorised journeys, especially by car, to and from everyday destinations. This contributes to the well-being of the environment by cutting down on the use of non-renewable resources (such as petrol) and, in turn, reducing the emission of harmful gases into the atmosphere... But the proposed housing development area to the west of Sutton Bridge along Bridge Road does not fit this aim: it will have the effect of extending the village which is already linear in configuration and lengthening travel time; it should be deleted and accommodated in other sites to the north of Bridge Road on allotment land and perhaps to the the West Bank Industrial area which has not been noted on the map for potential housing development

Residents of Sutton Bridge, Estate Agents and solicitors should follow very closely the consultations taking place. A sub-committee of the Parish Council is following things carefully.


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Archived notes for previous Parish Council meetings held in 2015 can now be viewed HERE


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