Minutes of the meeting of Hollingbourne Parish Council held on Monday, 9th February 2015, in the Cardwell Pavilion commencing at 7.30pm.
Present: Mr M Bedwell (Chairman); Mr A Ward (Vice-Chairman); Mr L Vallins; Mr A Bennett;
Mr P Waite; Mr D Ardley; Cllr J Whittle & Mrs V Smith, Parish Clerk
In attendance: PSCO R Waring; PSCO D Rowley and two members of the public
1. Apologies for absence: Mr J Cobbett (holiday); Dr S Bauer (illness)
and Cllr Mrs D Parvin (personal)
2. Declarations and Requests
Declaration of Changes to the Register of Interests – none
Declaration of Interest in items on the Agenda – none
Requests for Dispensations – none
3. 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.
4. Matters Arising (not covered elsewhere on the agenda)
a. A letter has been received from Alison Broom (MBC), regarding the approval of the houses being built opposite Godfrey House, Eyhorne Street. The Clerk will distribute it to the Council members. Action: The Clerk.
b. An asbestos check of the Cardwell Pavilion takes place on the 14 February 2015.
5. Chairman’s Report
a. It is with much sadness that Cllr Daphne Parvin’s husband Cllr Peter Parvin has passed away, and the Parish Council send their sincere condolences. The funeral will be held on Friday, 13 February 2015 and Cllr A Bennett will be in attendance.
b. On another sad note, Norman Dabbs has also passed away after battling a long illness. Norman was a cornerstone within the local Church and Royal British Legion.
e. The villagers of Hucking are asking for the ‘Hook & Hatchet’ PH to be deemed a community asset. If this request is approved upon, the owners Shepherd Neame, cannot sell it for the next six months, giving a time period for funds to be gathered to purchase the premises. Mr M Bedwell has already met with the group, which consists of a ‘hardcore’ of six people who are putting together a group to finance the scheme. Hucking do not have a Parish Council and therefore we are its closest neighbours and should be more than willing to assist them. A Parish Council or Church can recommend that the Hook and Hatchet become a community asset.
f. A Youth Club is also going to open within the village on the 18 February 2015, in the village hall. M Bedwell has met with the two organisers of the group, and it has been agreed that they will also use the Cardwell Pavilion and Lance Memorial Field for outside activities for the club.
6. Neighbourhood Plan – nothing to report.
7. Governance and protocol for sub-committees
a. M Bedwell thanked D Ardley for all of his efforts in locating the documents for governance and protocol for sub-committees. It was agreed that the documents are now to be adopted by the Parish Council and they will be signed off at the next meeting. However, a number of items were outstanding and needing recognition:
3.6. The agenda for the meeting will be agreed by the Clerk, Chairman and Vice Chairman as appropriate. The agenda will always include an item to enable Councillors to declare interests. An opportunity for public questions will be made available immediately before the commencement of each meeting. – A change of positioning on the Agenda.
3.7. The Council may only take decisions on items clearly specified on the agenda; if agreed by the chairman, any urgent items which are not on the agenda may be discussed, but no decision may be made, at that meeting – items for information.
3.14. With regard to planning applications – if there is a personal interest a statement can be made to the Parish Council meeting but then the person must leave the meeting while discussions take place. – In the case of there being a ‘general interest’, the Councillor would not need to leave the meeting.
3.19.2. A resolution of the Council will nominate at least three members to be authorised by the Council to sign cheques. – The Parish Council has three authorised members.
3.19.3. All items of expenditure will be authorised by the Council and the payments approved. The Responsible Financial Officer (RFO) will examine invoices and verify and certify the expenditure. Cheques will be completed for all transactions and signed by two authorised Councillors. – This clause clarifies the situation with the use of the fete takings; the Parish Council needs to authorise any donations and expenditure.
3.21.2. Orders for values £500 to £2000 require a minimum of two quotations; for values above £2000 three quotations are required. Contracts exceeding £50,000 require additional safeguards and will follow Proper Practice. – The Parish Council does not always need three quotations.
8.1. The Council from time to time may set up committees and task-and-finish groups to undertake work on behalf of the Council. The Council will set their Terms of reference, and they will report periodically to the Council.
8. Parks Report
a. A tree along Greenway Court Road is threatening to fall down. The Clerk will arrange for tree-works to take place. Action: The Clerk.
9. Crime Report
a. PSCO R Waring informed us that there have been several instances of nuisance vehicles in Hospital Lane. One of the drivers had been reprimanded and details of the vehicle recorded.
b. Quad bikes have also been a problem in Greenway Court road. A Police ‘operation’ will be carried out in March regarding this matter; and most of the incidents seem to take place in the early afternoon.
c. The crime figures for Hollingbourne have been fairly low, but they are as follows for the dates of the 5 December 2014 – 5 February 2015:
Crimes Reported: 9 January 2015 – vehicle interference – Eyhorne Street
9 January 2015 – burglary other than a dwelling – Upper Street
18 January 2015 – vehicle interference – Eyhorne Street
22 January 2015 – burglary other than dwelling – Pilgrims Way
Anti-social behaviour: 13 December 2014 – nuisance vehicle – Pilgrims Way
4 January 2015 – nuisance vehicle – Hospital Road
24 January 2015 – nuisance vehicle – Greenway Court Road
25 January 2015 – nuisance vehicle – Pilgrims Way
10. Clerk’s Report
a. The heating had broken down at the Cardwell Pavilion, but it should be up and running again this week.
b. The Clerk checked with the Parish Council insurance, to see if all hirers of the Cardwell Pavilion (private use – e.g. parties), are covered for public liability. Yes they are, as long as a group or party are ‘non-profit’ making, they are covered by our insurance.
c. M Bedwell gave the Clerk details of another Parish Council insurance company, and prices will be compared before renewing the insurance.
d. The Parish Council has received a letter requesting donation and other charities had also been considered. The Councillors agreed on the whole that due to the lack of money within the Parish Council, it would not be acceptable to spend public funds on such items. Giving donations to charity should be on a personal level instead.
e. The additional clauses of the Hire Agreement for regular tenants of the Cardwell Pavilion has now been agreed and finalised by the Parish Council. Proposed: P Waite and Seconded: D Ardley – all in favour.
f. Zena Cooke recommended to M Bedwell that we look into obtaining solar heating for the Cardwell Pavilion. Can we obtain a grant for these works, as there is a substantial initial cost?
11. County Councillor’s Report – Cllr Mrs J Whittle
a. With regards to school transport, a major budget meeting is to be held on the 12 February, with the aim of a 1.99% council tax increase to improve the service. There is to be a half a billion pounds saving, over the next six years, within the KCC. This is to be achieved by better procurement, driving down prices, and reducing the number of children in the care system.
b. Cllr J Whittle would like to arrange a meeting with J Cobbett, S Kincella (KCC), Ken Bonner (Streetlights Contractor) and the Clerk regarding the future of the village street-lighting. There could be up to £10,000 ‘earmarked’ out of the highways budget for replacing the existing street-lights with LED lighting. It is essential that this matter is resolved. KCC will not adopt the lights, but they have signed up with a major LED company; if we can get them replaced now, it is the best that we can hope for. M Bedwell advised that we need to obtain energy readings for the individual street-lights.
c. Cllr J Whittle is concerned about Alison Broom’s response regarding the approved fourteen houses opposite Godfrey House and proposed ten houses between Godfrey House and Claygate. The local school simply cannot take any more children.
12. Borough Councillor’s Report – none available for the meeting.
13. Planning Report
a. P Waite attended a meeting today with the Leader of the Council, Annabel Blackwell and David Burton, Cabinet Member, regarding the number of houses needed to be built in the Maidstone area (16400-18600 homes). A point was made that the infrastructure cannot take these numbers and it is unlikely that it could be improved to that extent. At the Public Enquiry Stage these figures will be argued with the Inspector to achieve the lowest possible figure. D Burton and the planning team remain adamant that they stand by the 18,600 figure, however, all other parties are trying to lower the housing numbers.
b. Waterside Park, Junction 8 – Annabel Blackwell will ensure that Rob Jarman negotiates with the Joint Parish group in exchanging information regarding the public enquiry. There needs to be firm agreement between the Maidstone Borough Council, the JPG and the Parish Councils. As hosts to this application we need to decide who will appear as our witness and to prepare and submit our evidence to the CPRE who are acting as the lead for our side. A Bennett said that he would act as a witness from the Hollingbourne Parish in conjunction with John Cobbett. P Waite will put in his efforts before the enquiry but will not be available to attend.
c. 15/500285/TCA – ‘August Moon’, Musket Lane, Hollingbourne
Proposal: Trees in conservation area – Scots Pine (fell).
Result: DO NOT WISH TO OBJECT – (all Councillors in favour)
d. 14/506817/FULL – Parkgate Cottage, Ashford Road, Hollingbourne
Proposal: Driveway and cross over.
Result: DO NOT WISH TO OBJECT – (all Councillors in favour)
d. 15/500680/FULL – 1 Culpeper Close, Hollingbourne
Proposal: erection of one residential dwelling with associated parking and landscaping (minor dwellings).
Result: OBJECT – (one Councillor – abstained from voting, five in objection)
Reason: over development of site and inadequate parking provision.
14. Environmental Report
a. A member of public at the meeting raised major concerns over the amount of HGV vehicles passing through the village. This has been a problem for the last twenty years. What can be done to reduce the number and minimise the damage that they cause to the highways? Cllr J Whittle receives a great number of emails regarding this matter. D Ardley confirmed that the signage in the village which discourages ‘heavy vehicles’ is advisory only and not legally binding. It was also noted that this is the first time the issue of the signs has been raised at a Council meeting. HGV vehicles do require access through the village to farming enterprises, etc. Greenway Court Road needs to be discounted as a viable access through the village, as there is a low bridge along it, and an HGV would not be able to pass underneath it. Matters such as these should be brought up at the annual Parish Assembly. Councillor Bennett confirmed that he is going to improve the Parish Assembly and make it more encouraging for villagers to attend and ‘air’ their views and concerns.
15. Fête Report
The date for the Fete is Saturday, 13 June 2015, and theme is the ‘Swinging Sixties’. It was noted that the surplus funds of the 2014 fete should be spent beforehand. L Vallins wondered if a new PA system would be a wise investment of these funds (£250-£500). It is advantageous to be self-sufficient in these matters; we would then only need to hire the toilets, skip, etc. P Waite asked whether PA systems become outdated quickly. L Vallins does not believe so, but he will look into the matter further. The next Fete meeting will be on the 23 February, 8.00 pm, at The Dirty Habit.
16. Off-Road Motorcyclists and Quad Bikes – nothing to report.
a. A representative of the Twinning Committee attended the Parish Meeting to request funding for refreshments for the expected 150 visitors from Templeuve. The Parish Council agreed upon this.
b. An email has been received from D Davison, regarding the news of ‘Bob’ a long-standing twinning friend, who at ninety years of age had sadly passed away; cards of condolence have been sent to his family.
c. M Bedwell said that it would be kindly for the Parish Council to give a donation to the Royal British Legion, as a sign of appreciation for the gifts brought for the ladies from Templeuve on Remembrance Day.
18. Financial Report
a. M Bedwell and the Clerk met with Zena Cooke and John Owen, MBC, to discuss the finances at the Parish Council today. Zena is pleased with the Finance Committee, the financial documentation which is checked by our internal auditor and the general state of the accounts. John Owen of the Finance Department has offered his services and expert advice, and he is our contact at the MBC.
b. Zena confirmed that we are not going to get any post-dated funding for the village street-lights. It simply cannot happen, as the making of decisions at the MBC is going to change, from a Cabinet system to committees. They would not be able to just look at our Parish Council, but all six villages who missed out on that year’s funding. This would also be looked at by a committee (fifteen people); we would never get the result that we wanted.
19. Items for Information – none to report.
Date of next meeting: Monday, 9th March 2015, 7.30 pm, Cardwell Pavilion
Signed as a true record: Chairman: