Minutes of the meeting of Hollingbourne Parish Council held on Monday, 14th December 2015, in the Cardwell Pavilion, Hollingbourne, commencing at 7.30 pm.
Present: Mr M Bedwell, Mr A Ward, Dr S. Bauer, Mr J Cobbett, Mr D Ardley, Mr A Bennett, Mrs A Bennett, Cllr Mrs J Whittle, & Mrs V Smith, Parish Clerk.
In attendance: Mr Michael Gray, PCSO Ryan Waring, PCSO Dave Rowley, Mr Patrik Garten, Prospective Conservative Candidate for the MBC North Downs Ward, & three members of the public.
1. Apologies for absence: Cllr P Waite (previous commitment) and Cllr Mrs D Parvin (illness).
2. Declarations and Requests
Declaration of Changes to the Register of Interests – none; Declaration of Interest in items on the Agenda – Item 11 – Planning – 21 Eyhorne Street – Cllr J Cobbett will not vote as he has already formally objected to the planning application as a near neighbour. Requests for Dispensations – none
3. An Additional Parish Councillor
Mr Michael Gray was in attendance at the meeting tonight and had expressed an interest in becoming a Parish Councillor. The meeting was advised that the number of Councillors is dependent on the size of the electorate in the village, and the Clerk has checked with the Electoral Services Manager, MBC, to see if the Parish Council can appoint a ninth Parish Councillor. The village has 705 electors which means that Hollingbourne falls into the bracket for having nine Councillors. Mr Gray was then co-opted as a Parish Councillor.
4. Approval of minutes of last meeting (circulated prior to meeting)
It was resolved that the minutes were a true and accurate record of the meeting, with the following exceptions: Cllr D Ardley pointed out that as per item 21.c. the parking on the night of the village fireworks caused a lot of disruption in not only Culpeper Close, but also along Eyhorne Street. This was particularly near the bridge and in the mounting of footpaths by parked cars.
5. Matters Arising (not covered elsewhere on the agenda)
21c. As previously mentioned there were parking issues at the time of the School Fireworks Display on 6th November. However, in response to last month’s minutes, Mrs Beccy Stroud has emailed M Bedwell, and placed a note upon the village website apologising for the parking. We have been assured that the problem will be addressed next year with the possible use of parking marshals to assist in safe parking.
6. Chairman’s Report
a. There is a great deal of fly-tipping along the Station Approach. In one area it looks like the debris has come from a Public House, and it consists of a lot of furniture, a dishwasher, a signs with a £4.95 meal price advertised and as a late addition, a washing machine. Unfortunately there does not appear to be any evidence to hand which would indicate the source of the rubbish. South East Trains lease the land while the Maidstone BC has been informed of the fly-tipping. It is understood that Maidstone BC usually try to find out who has dumped rubbish. Cllr M Gray suggested that we could request that South East Rail install a camera to catch offenders. Cllr A Ward advised that the camera at the Railway Station had been faulty for the last eighteen months and that they may need to replace that one as well.
b. There have been a number of complaints that Wealden Homes development site has been the source of much mud in Eyhorne Street, Cllr J Cobbett wheel washing and sweeping at the entrance to the site and it was felt that this could be done more frequently. It was also noted that there had been a lot of excavation carried out by BT Openreach, and a tractor coming in and out of the fields next to Godfrey House recently. All three of these operations would have exacerbated the problem of the mud..
c. Hirers of the Cardwell Pavilion sometimes have their notices / posters taken down from the windows without their consent. To avoid problems of this nature in the future, Cllr M Bedwell stated that signs should only be put up in the Parish Clerk’s window.
7. Neighbourhood Plan – nothing to report.
8. Crime Report – PCSO Dave Rowley and PCSO Ryan Waring
a. The Hollingbourne crime figures 5th November – 8th December 2015. It has been fairly quiet this month with only one crime reported being on the 5th November – theft miscellaneous – Pilgrims Way. There has not been any anti-social behaviour reported. This is in comparison with last year, when there was also one crime report created – 15th November 2014 – burglary other than dwelling – Greenway Court Road, and one case of anti-social behaviour – 24th November 2014 – nuisance vehicle – Hospital Road.
b. There have recently been concerns raised regarding the vehicle parked outside The Pavings, in a lay-by. The PCSO’s have attended and assessed the vehicle several times. Parking is only a Police matter if a vehicle is causing an obstruction. If the vehicle is deemed an obstruction in future, then further action will be considered. On the last observation, the vehicle had been moved and a different vehicle was in the lay-by. The owner has been spoken to regarding this matter. The PCSO’s will continue to monitor the situation. Cllr M Bedwell said that when the houses were built in the 1970’s, the houses had to have the lay-by as part of the planning permission stipulations, for loading and unloading only. If there was a sign to this effect the PCSO’s would have more power to ask for the vehicle to be removed, as the owner would not be able to park there all of the time.
c. Cllr M Bedwell mentioned that there is a definite problem with cars being raced and ‘drifting’, in other words, spinning cars, around Hospital Road. Cllr Dr S Bauer had also telephoned the Police the night before about the same matter taking place around the Great Danes Hotel roundabout and the surrounding area.
d. PCSO Dave Rowley will forward an email onto the Clerk with regards to action taking place in Ashford regarding lorry parking. In our locality a lot more cones have been placed on the slip road to Junction 8 to prevent lorry drivers parking there. Cllr Mrs J Whittle is looking into this matter at the moment with regards to parking restrictions.
9. Clerk’s Report –
a. There is going to be a ‘free of charge’ assessment and development design of the children’s playground in the village, by professional consultants. This is to take place on the 21st January 2016, at 1.00 pm. Cllrs Mr & Mrs A Bennett have agreed to accompany the Clerk on this occasion.
b. As mentioned in the previous month’s minutes, the hirer’s of the Cardwell Pavilion had requested a new refrigerator for the use of the children’s clubs. Mr Robin Dearle, of Pilgrims Way, has very kindly donated a fridge/freezer unit to the Parish Council, and we are extremely grateful for his generosity.
c. The Clerk would like to thank all of the villagers who waited for the delivery and subsequent decoration of the Xmas Tree in the village. Your assistance and giving of your time is very much appreciated.
d. The Clerk will obtain a third quotation for the works to be carried out on the storage room ceiling.
10. County Councillor’s Report – Cllr Mrs J Whittle
a. Cllr Mrs J Whittle met with Richard Emmett, Highway Manager, with regards to getting bollards on the narrow pavement at the entrance of the village, from the A20. Cllr Mrs J Whittle will meet with Cllr Dr S Bauer to discuss this matter and possible improved road user/pedestrian safety in the area. Cllr D Ardley is concerned that the pavement is not sufficiently wide enough to install bollards. Due to the non-existent sight-lines around the bend on the road, it is an almost impossible situation to improve. Without widening the road resulting in the demolition of listed buildings it will always remain a ‘pinch point’.
b. The cost from KCC for replacing the street-lighting in the village is very competitive. Cllr Mrs J Whittle will forward a photograph of the ‘gas lamp style’ street-lights KCC can provide on to the Parish Council.
c. With regards to the road-works in the village, the temporary traffic lights are not working properly, and road resurfacing is to be arranged.
d. In relation to the request from the Parish Council for a pelican crossing between the Great Danes and Leeds Castle roundabouts, the following can be conveyed. The KCC Transport Department are in touch with the bus operator to see if buses would be able to enter the village to collect and deliver the children who currently have to cross the busy A20 dual carriageway.. Cllr J Whittle will find out the outcome of this matter and will come back to us with any further news.
e. A consultation is under way with regards to Operation Stack parking at Junction 11 of the M20, and Cllr Mrs J Whittle will keep us informed of any news in this matter.
f. Cllr M Bedwell thanked Cllr Mrs J Whittle for all of her help in addressing these matters, and reiterated that the safety of the pedestrians and road-users in the village was paramount to the Parish Council, and we looked forward to seeing positive results in the near future.
11. Borough Councillor’s Report – Mr Patrik Garten – Faversham & Mid Kent Conservatives on behalf of
Councillor Daphne Parvin reported the following:-
a. Mr Garten has been in contact with Cllr M Round, who acts on behalf of the Headcorn village about parking enforcement. Unfortunately, the impression given is that parking enforcement is a ‘numbers game’ and that the Maidstone Parking Enforcement Team is very reluctant to go into rural areas as for the time and manpower invested in the financial return in fines is small. However, on events such as Fireworks Night, we ask the Enforcement Section to attend.
b. Regarding the off motorway / lorry parking, the Highways Agency has written to Mrs Helen Whately MP, and she is very keen on tackling this issue. We look forward to an improvement in the situation.
c. The Police and Crime Commissioner’s elections will take place next year. The Conservative Candidate will be Matthew Scott and he will be pleased to attend the Parish council for questions and answers if this is acceptable to the Parish Councillors. Cllr J Cobbett mentioned that the Hollingbourne Parish Council is ‘apolitical’ in its stance. With this in mind it would be good to invite the candidates from the other political parties as well, possibly to our Parish Assembly next year.
d. The Parish Councillors requested that Mr Garten look into the waiting restrictions and parking enforcement outside of the village school and along Eyhorne Street. The Clerk will forward any emails of this nature on to Mr Garten and Cllr Mrs J Whittle. Action: The Clerk
12. Planning Report – Cllr A Bennett
a. 15/509266/FULL – Lime Kiln Cottage, Hollingbourne Hill, Hollingbourne, ME17 1QH
Proposal: Erection of a single storey front extension (resubmission of planning application MA/11/0093). Result: DO NOT WISH TO OBJECT
b. Update on 15/503232/FULL – 21 Eyhorne Street, Hollingbourne, ME17 1TR
The neighbours of 21 Eyhorne Street, Mr and Mrs Foad, attended the Parish Meeting today, as they have many concerns over the above the proposed works which have been requested within planning permission. The planning permission had previously been ‘refused’, but it is now awaiting decision again. However, correspondence has not been sent to all of the neighbouring properties regarding the proposed works, which does not sound very professional and unbiased. Neighbours have clearly stated to the Planning Department their concerns over the works at 21 Eyhorne Street taking place. The entrance between 21 and 23 Eyhorne Street is so narrow at 2.34 metres and angular that cars struggle to drive in and out let alone construction vehicles (skip lorries). Therefore, it is very concerning that a vehicle could hit and damage 23 Eyhorne Street which was built in 1462. Also most properties around this area are built without foundations and are all listed buildings, and so the vibration of construction machinery could cause cracks and other forms of damage to the walls. This problem is of concern to local residents particularly as vibration from the machines used in construction of Bourneside Terrace some years ago resulted in a major crack in an adjoining listed property. Another other obvious problem is that the four cars which are presently housed in the garages will then be forced to park upon the roadside, which is already congested. All Parish Councillors were in favour that the Clerk would write to the Chief Executive, Ms Alison Broom, Maidstone BC, about the concerns that we have about this Planning Application having approval and the perceived lack of diligence in the handling of concerns by many local residents. The Planning Application is due to be discussed at Committee on the 21st January 2016, and Cllr P Waite has agreed by email to support Mr Foad at this time in defence of the proposed works. In the meantime, Cllr Mrs J Whittle recommended that a letter be obtained from the neighbouring properties insurers in advance of a decision being made for the works at 21 Eyhorne Street. Cllr A Ward is also concerned that proper planning notices were not given to the neighbours of the property, as it is so close to them. Cllr D Ardley suggested that an injunction to stop works be obtained if the planning permission is permitted, and Cllr Dr S Bauer said that a solicitor may have to act on behalf of Mr Foad and his neighbours. Action: The Clerk / Cllr P Waite.
13. Waterside Park, Junction 8 Update – Cllr J Cobbett
Gallaghers will appeal against the decision of refusal in January 2016, we will wait to see what happens.
14. Environmental Report –
a. Cllr A Bennett attended the Parish & Town Council Seminar, 9th November 2015, in Tunbridge Wells, and reported that highways related issues were discussed in depth. Cllr Clive Pearman, Deputy Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport felt that even though the KCC are having their funding cut drastically, a high standard of service is delivered by all departments.
b. Cllr Mrs A Bennett mentioned the problems that the residents of Tanyard Cottage have with flooding following bad weather.
15. Millennium Green
Cllr A Ward informed the Parish Council that he had various conversations with the new legal representatives at the Maidstone BC with regards adoption of the Millennium Green by the Parish Council. Unfortunately, there is quite an extensive paper-trail involved in locating the people who had previously signed the deeds, but Cllr Ward is urging the legal representatives to carry this out quickly. Cllr A Ward advised the Parish Council that the charity accounts are maintained for the Millennium Green.
16. Sewerage Inspection Report for the village update – Cllr J Cobbett
On the 23rd November 2015, Southern Water visited the village to visit Hasteds where the sewerage system is frequently cleared out to prevent possible backflow of foul water into houses. The sewerage system narrows under Hasteds before running under the HS1 and M20 before joining the main sewer on the Ashford Road. Pro rata, there are six times as many ‘jetting outs’ in the Hollingbourne village, per the population of the rest of the county. Southern Water stated that they had recommended to the Maidstone BC that Wealden Homes should carry out the sewerage capacity check before the building of the houses – but this was ignored by the Maidstone BC. This situation will also affect the other properties which may possibly be built in the village. Clearly, there is a question whether the sewerage system in the village can cope with new homes as the foul water system has to be cleared out by tanker and there is a problem with flooding from run off around Tanyard Cottage and where the bourne runs under Eyhorne Street.
17. Fête Report
a. The next meeting for the Fete will be on the Monday, 18th January 2016, 8pm, at The Dirty Habit.
b. A decision needs to be made with regards to the organisation and management of the barbecue for the fete, as two of our villagers are interested in running it in place of the local butcher who has run it successfully for a number of years with volunteer helpers.
c. A theme for the Fete will be decided at the next Fete meeting.
18. Off-Road Motorcyclists and Quad Bikes – nothing to report.
19. Twinning with Templeuve – Cllr J Cobbett
The Jules Verne School in Templeuve has expressed an interest in ‘student exchange’ with our village school who unfortunately are unable to reciprocate.
20. Financial Report
a. The cheques at the meeting were authorised, and there is £37,764.09 in the bank. The Clerk has forwarded all of the 2015/16 financial paperwork onto the internal auditor, so that he can check it for accuracy.
21. Street Lighting
a. Cllr J Cobbett is liaising with Cllr Mrs J Whittle with regards to replacing the street-lights in the village.
Date of next Parish Council meeting: Monday, 11th January 2016, 7.30 pm, Cardwell Pavilion, Hollingbourne
Signed as a true record: Chairman: Date