Minutes of the meeting of Hollingbourne Parish Council
held on Monday 10th January 2011 in the Cardwell Pavilion at 7.30pm
Present: Mr M Bedwell (Chairman) Mr A Ward (Vice-Chairman), Dr S Bauer,
Mr G Bryan, Mr J Cobbett, Mrs. S O’Connell, Mr F Stephenson, Mr A Williams.
Also in attendance: Ms E Lawrence (Clerk), County Councillor Mrs J Whittle,
Borough Councillor Mrs D Parvin, PCSO L Woods and 3 members of the public.
1. Apologies for absence Mrs Whittle and Mr Cobbett had informed the Clerk they would join the meeting late due to a clash of commitments.
2. Declaration of Interests and amendments to Register of Interests
There were no declarations of interest.
There were no amendments to the Register of Interests.
The Chairman proposed a change to the order of items on the agenda to facilitate PCSO Woods leaving the meeting and for Mr Norton to make his presentation – agreed.
3. Crime Report PCSO Woods reported the theft of a compressor (value approximately £600). Staff from Network Rail have themselves complained of damage caused to vehicles parked at the station, but the CCTV is still not working. The Clerk has also written, but not received a response. Lindsay informed the Council of a head on collision which had occurred about halfway up Hollingbourne Hill during the previous weekend.
Mr Williams queried the situation regarding an apparently abandoned vehicle, and was informed that the vehicle in question fulfilled the legal requirements to be parked on the Highway.
4. Mr Graham Norton of SLK re Affordable/Starter Housing
Mr Norton identified the proposed plot of land as being 2.7 acres, opposite Godfrey House and with good access to the village, school, transport etc. He referred to the Localism Bill and the lack of new affordable housing generally within the village in recent decades, but admitted that the identified plot of land is outside of the current village envelope. He stated that the range of choice becomes strangled if the strategy diminishes to the point of doing nothing. The average age of first time buyers in England is now 37years.
Q. How was the land selected?
A. Simply as an opportunity
Q. How many dwellings were being considered, and using what criteria?
A. As there would be 2 acres for building, 30 houses could be provided.
A general discussion followed, with the general view that there was no identified need for such a large number of houses in or for the people of Hollingbourne. There followed a short discussion on Social or Affordable housing and where was the evidence of need.
5. Approval of minutes of last meeting
It was resolved to approve the minutes of the last meeting.
6. Matters Arising (not covered elsewhere on the agenda) Approved.
7. Chairman’s Report
Mr Bedwell reported that the main concern to almost everyone in the village was the impending renewal of the gas mains, which would cause great disruption (or worse) to residents and businesses. He confirmed that to his information, no compensation would be available to residents. At the time of the meeting, the start date of the works was not known. Concerns/matters to be considered include Refuse Collection arrangements, access for farming vehicles during the harvest, access arrangements for those with profound physical disabilities, the Fete and loss of income, older people the half marathon etc. Consideration was given to the suggestion that the work could be completed in a four week timeframe if allowed throughout 24 hours a day, but it was thought this would cause excessive distress to some.
8. Clerks report Nil to report.
9. County Councillors Report
Councillor Whittle had arranged for a representative from Kent Highways to meet with her in Hollingbourne on Tuesday 18th February at 11.30am to discuss the unresolved issues regarding traffic speed/calming, signage etc. and asked for Parish Councillors to attend – Messrs Cobbett and Williams agreed, as did the Clerk.
It was reported that Kent Highways are currently identifying and prioritising potholes for repair and a full programme of works will commence in April, leaving the most dangerous potholes to be dealt with first.
KCC have identified £95 million savings, with 1500 posts being abolished from non-school posts and £2 million from staff benefit reductions.
The transfer of Maternity Services from Maidstone Hospital to Pembury continues to cause concern and currently there is a campaign to request the Secretary of State for Health to defer such a major change until GP commissioning is fully implemented.
Lobbying to include the land identified with the KIG proposals into the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AoNB) continues, at a time when new criteria are being published by Protect England.
Mr Cobbett enquired if any senior post holders within KCC had taken pay cuts as recommended by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. Councillor Whittle replied that they had not done so at this point, but all posts are under review with no bonuses.
11. Finance Report
12. Parks Committee Nil to report
13. Planning Report
Mr Stephenson reported that the objection to the change of use application identified in planning application MA/10/0738 stood as no enforcement notice had been issued on the previous application for B2 use. He expressed disappointment that a view exists that Sheds and Shelters are being “victimised” in some way – any recommendation from the Parish Council is only made on planning rules, and the grounds for refusal from the Planning Inspectorate have either been ignored or not complied with. No one on the Council wishes to see a local firm disadvantaged, but the Council has a responsibility to ensure that current planning laws are complied with..
14. Environment Report
Mr Williams reiterated his concerns regarding the future road closure and the possible environmental impact diverted traffic could have. The blocked drainage gulley near the Church has caused dangerous driving conditions with black ice overnight and the gulley needs to be properly and thoroughly cleaned out. The dumped spoil had still not been removed from Upper Street and a letter should be sent requesting an explanation. Both matters should be brought to the attention of the local Councillor. Action: Clerk.
The installation of the Stocks on Eyhorne Green has been delayed by the recent weather, but will put in place during the Spring.
Mr Williams asked for consideration as to how best promote the local bus service, on a “use it or lose it” basis.
15. Items for Information
A date for the Annual Village Fete was agreed for Saturday 4th June 2011.
Tickets for the Pantomime are now on sale, available from Christopher’s.
Date of next meeting
Monday 14th February 2011 at 7.30pm in the Cardwell Pavilion.