Minutes of a meeting of Lewes District Association of Local Councils

Held on Monday 8th March 2021 via zoom

In opening the Meeting the Chairman expressed concern that some Clerks might not be sharing LDALC information with their Councils and urged those present to double check that invitations to meetings were being circulated.

Present : Stephen Catlin, Chairman [Lewes], Ruth O’Keeffe, Vice Chairman [Lewes], Chris Armitage [Newick], Harriet Martin [Wivelsfield], Sue Carol [Rodmell], Vincent Tickner [Westmeston], Steve Hitchcock [South Heighton], Paul Julian [South Heighton], Roy Burman [Ditchling], Don McBeth [Ditchling], Ken Jordan [Chailey], Nick Beaumont [Plumpton], Mark Brown [Seaford], Adam Chugg [Town Clerk of Seaford], Johnny Denis {Beddingham & Glynde],Fiona Harrison [Kingston],Christine Robinson [Telscombe], Alison Stevens [Clerk of Rodmell], Tamsyn D’Arenzio [Hamsey],Richard Turner [Ringmer], Steve Brigden [ Town Clerk of Lewes].

Oliver Dixon [Monitoring Officer, LDC], Nat Belderson [SDNPA Observer ], Trevor Leggo, [CEO SSALC]      

  1. Apologies for absence : apologies were reported from Councillors Collier, Wickens and Elms
  2. Minutes : the Minutes of the Meeting held on 25th January were approved as a correct record.
  3. Notes of the Planning briefing held on 12th February : within the notes it was agreed the Acting Secretaryto use contacts and identify the likely cost of a barrister, a specialist in Planning matters to advise on concerns raised by parishes about the Lewes District Local Plan; it was reported that depending on the scope of the brief this could cost up to £5000.

It was agreed that any further action should await the outcome of the Cabinet Meeting on 25th March.  See footnote

  • Code of Conduct : the Chairman welcomed Oliver Dixon, Monitoring Officer for Lewes / Eastbourne to the meeting to brief member councils on the effect of the new Code of Conduct published by the Local Government Association. Mr Dixon set out the following points :
  • There had been no response by Government to the Report of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, published in January 2019, consequently the recommendations relating to the re-imposition of sanctions to suspend are not included. This would require legislation to amend the Localism Act and there is no timetable for change. Sanctions therefore remain limited to censure, issuing a written apology, additional training and a recommendation that a councillor be removed from a committee.
  • The LGA issued the latest version at the end of 2020
  • The Code applies equally in a virtual environment as it does in a face to face situation.
  • This version explains what ‘respect’ actually means
  • There are no new obligations on councillors
  • A weakness is the poorly drafted element on ‘interests’ likely to cause confusion to those who have to interpret the Code and give advice at short notice. Any guidance must be clear and understandable.
  • The Borough and District Councils of Eastbourne and Lewes will not be recommended to adopt this version and existing Codes across the District can remain in place.
  • Iford farm development:  Serious concern was expressed by parishes of the Lower Ouse regarding the impact of HGVs joining the C7 via a new access on a blind bend if the Iford Farm development was approved. It was noted that the application was currently with SDNP for planning consideration and a representative of SDNP Planning was present to listen to concerns, but not comment. ESCC Director of Highways and Transportation had indicated he would not comment while the application was under consideration.

The Acting Secretary suggested that Sussex Police Traffic team be invited to take a view from a road safety point of view and it was agreed that Chief Inspector Rahman of the RPU be approached. See footnote

  • Litter on the C7 : Rodmell PC raised the matter of litter along the verges of the C7 and the responsibility of the District Council. The Acting Secretary stated that he had asked LDC for a statement on it policy but as yet nothing had been received. It was agreed that any statement when received would be shared with member councils.

With the advent of ‘litter cameras’ the question was posed by Kingston PC as to why LDC had chosen not to explore this option.

Newick PC stated that there was no litter collection at all in the parish but was being followed up with District Councillor Julie Carr.

Westmeston PC felt the majority of litter found on its verges came from takeway food and drink establishments.

  • Other matters raised by councils :  Chailey PC advised other councils to do what it had done and move the Annual Meeting so it took place before 7th May in case Covid Regulations were not extended.
  • Next Meeting :  The next meeting of LDALC would take place at 1.30pm on Monday 11th May 2021.


Iford Farm Development – Chief Inspector Rahman responded immediately and assigned the task to a member of the RPU team, views are awaited.

Counsel’s opinion – Given that the number of towns and parishes outside the NP and likely to be affected by housing numbers is small relative to the total membership, it may not be appropriate to levy all member councils. This would mean a substantial contribution from Newick, Chailey, Ringmer, Barcombe and Wivelsfield – perhaps £1000 in each case. LDALC funds currently sit at around £500 so there is no prospect of a contribution from that source. As an alternative to seeking Counsel’s opinion LDALC may wish to consult Flo Churchill as to its realistic options.

Categories: Lewes