June 2014 Minutes.

Minutes of the meeting of Hollingbourne Parish Council
held on Monday, 9th June 2014 in the Cardwell Pavilion
commencing at 7.30pm

 

Present:                      Mr M Bedwell (Chairman)                             Mr D Ardley

Mr A Ward (Vice-Chairman)                          Mr A Bennett

Mr J Cobbett                                                   Mr P Waite

            Dr S Bauer                                                      Mr L Vallins

 and      Mrs D Parvin

Mrs J Whittle

Mrs V Smith, Parish Clerk

 In attendance             Three members of the public

 

1.      Apologies for absence     Mr A Bennett (arriving late, due to commitments)

 2.      Declarations and Requests

 Declaration of Changes to the Register of Interests   – none

Declaration of Interest in items on the Agenda          – Mr Mike Bedwell and Mr Lee Vallins, regarding planning permission MA/14/0569 – Greenway Court Barn, as they are neighbours.

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, except for final sentence in item 18a.  The KCC will arrange for the sign to be tidied, not the Landlord. 

 4.      Matters Arising (not covered elsewhere on the agenda) 

 a.       With regards to the visit to see the orchids on Mr Mike Attwood’s land, Mr M Bedwell needs to know the number of Councillors wishing to attend on the 16 June 2014. 

 b.      The After School Club has come to fruition, and started in early June, operating 3.30-5.30 pm.  We wish Michelle Archer the best in her business ventures.  Should the pre-school take down their posters and other decorations, when the hall is used for other meetings?  Yes.  If it gets damaged it would be their responsibility.  We will remind the pre-school of this fact. 

 c.       The Millennium Green is to be insured through the Parish Council insurance.  Mr A Ward will carry out a risk assessment with the help of Dr S Bauer, and then apply for insurance.

 d.      The former Parish Clerk, Ms E Lawrence, has got various cheques for Cardwell Pavilion rentals at the moment, and V Smith will liaise with her and get them paid into the account.

 

5.             Chairman’s Report    

 a.    Mr M Bedwell feels that the Parish Council has had a rough deal regarding the street-lighting.  We were one of the first Councils to meet with Ellie Kershaw, and she advised us what we could claim for.  We followed her guidance, and then got the knock back for not including street-lighting.  Former MBC Council Leader Chris Garland came to see us and promised to pay one year’s funding for street-lighting, but he has not.  This was for the year 2013/2014.

 b.     The verges opposite the school are due to be cut tomorrow.  It was noted that the plantation on the roundabout near the Great Danes Hotel needs trimming desperately.  School children need to cross it to reach the bus-stop.  It is only a matter of time before an accident occurs.

 6.             Street Lighting Finances

 a.    Mr M Bedwell offered his thanks to Mr J Cobbett for the time and patience he is showing in resolving the problems that we have regarding street-lighting. 

 b.    Mr J Cobbett informed us that Ms Zena Cooke of MBC had declined to pay for the Parish Council money for street-lighting in the year to March 2014.  The decision on how much money Hollingbourne receives for street lights depends on the figures supplied to MBC.  In January 2013 an email was sent with copies of invoices relating to street lighting in 2011/2.  The Annual Expense Return for 2011/2 upon which village footpath lighting or street lighting payments for 2013/4 were based was incorrectly completed with the result that MBC isrejecting our claim.  The ongoing statutory responsibility for street lighting lies with the KCC who consider that Hollingbourne’s 21 lights are footpath lighting and not their responsibility. Maidstone Borough Council also feel that Hollingbourne’s lights are not their responsibility either. MBC Councillor Mrs D Parvin asked if the Parish Council had at any time received Concurrent Functions grants for lighting.  This was confirmed.  There are unresolved questions as to whether Hollingbourne has street lights or foot-lights.  At the time that the Concurrent Functions Payment Scheme was being replaced by the Parish Services Scheme Ms Ellie Kershaw of MBC advised that the Parish Council did not need to make a special claim for ongoing street-lighting. 

 c.    The MBC Cabinet in December 2012 agreed that they would pay for village street-lighting in 2013/4 based on village expenditure in 2011/2 using the figures in the village  Annual Returns of expenditure from the Concurrent Functions Grant.   Unfortunately the Hollingbourne Return listed no expenditure for lighting with the result that no payment has been made although expenditure was incurred. Mrs D Parvin will explain the situation to the new MBC Leader Councillor Annabelle Blackmore, who is a rural Councillor in the hope that the situation can be remedied.

 d.   Mrs J Whittle explained how the street-lighting funding works on an individual basis for Parish Councils.  When Mrs J Whittle, Mr J Cobbett, Sue Kinsella and Al Tanverdi met the following options were discussed:

(i)                 No change – the Parish retains ownership of the street lights and continues to pay for maintenance and energy.

(ii)               The Parish retains ownership of the street lights and Mrs J Whittle enters into an agreement that she will pay for maintenance and energy, under the current arrangement, for as long as funding is available.

(iii)             As (ii) but KCC maintains the lights on behalf of the Parish under their Term Maintenance Contract, paid for by Member’s (Mrs J Whittle’s allocated) funding.  To enable this KCC will require asset inventory details, maintenance records, current electrical test certificates and structural testing records to ensure that the lights are of a maintainable standard.  Once this is provided Sue Kinsella can give us an estimated cost for maintaining the lights per annum.

(iv)             As (ii) and (iii) but the existing lights are upgraded with more energy efficient equipment.  This is Mrs J Whittle’s preferred option and the most affordable one.

(v)               A new scheme is designed and new columns installed, funded by the Parish or Member’s funding, to bring the lights up to an adoptable standard.  In Mrs J Whittle’s view this would require flooding the village with unnecessary lighting).  Alternatively, the Parish Council can look at replacing the existing columns and combine this with options (ii) and (iii).

 e.       Mrs J Whittle stated that the Parish Council will need to find their own energy provider and pay energy bills themselves, and then recover the cost from the KCC if she funds these.  We need to let Mrs J Whittle know fairly urgently what option we would like to decide upon, and suggests that a further meeting with Mr J Cobbett, Sue Kinsella and herself takes place.

 7.             Parks Report   

 a.   Mr A Ward tries to contact Mr Ian Truman at the MBC, regarding obtaining the deeds to the Millennium Green, but does not get any response to his emails.  Mrs D Parvin will pursue this matter, which relates to assisting lodging deeds with custodial charities amendment of deeds.

 8.             Crime Report        (sent by email)

 a.    PSCO Dave Rowley informed us that there had been a total of two reported crimes for the period of 11th May – 2nd June 2014.  There was one account of the theft of a wallet at the Junction 8 services, on the 12th May, and a theft of jewellery in Eyhorne Street on the 31st May.  Dr S Bauer had heard that it was a domestic crime which took place on the street.

 9.             Clerk’s Report           

 a.     The Clerk informed the Parish Council that there would be a Member Training – Part 1, on the 25th June.  Mr A Bennett would like to attend the training, but unfortunately Mr P Waite will not be able to attend on this occasion.

b.    The Clerk is at present obtaining quotations for tree surgery services for various trees surrounding the Cardwell Pavilion.  We have one quotation for perusal, but will seek three estimates for the work.

 c.    Unfortunately, the former Mayor of Maidstone, Mr Jeremy Hindle had passed away on the 29 April 2014.  Mr P Waite would like to attend his funeral on the 12th June, as he has fond memories of working with him

 d.   Ms Margaret Blackwood of the Highways Department has contacted the Parish Clerk with regards scheduled works within the village.  They will meet in due course.

 10.         County Councillor’s Report

 a.   Mrs J Whittle reported that 90 applicants had listed Hollingbourne Primary School as their first choice and that only 15 places were available.  The edge of the catchment area is only 2.7 miles away.  MBC is writing to planning authorities with regards to housing developments within the village – there are simply not enough places within the school, to supply education to extra children.  Predictions cannot be made as to the amount of children applying to the school for places each year, as birth rates fluctuate.   The school can just about cater for the amount of children in the existing village homes, and to serve forty extra properties would be impossible.  There is not enough room at the school to erect temporary classrooms, and it would not be in keeping with the style of the establishment.

 b.  Mrs J Whittle will liaise with Margaret Blackwood regarding the overgrown verges along the footpath of Eyhorne Street to the railway station. 

 

11.  Borough Councillor’s Report

 a.       Mrs D Parvin addressed the Parish Council’s concerns about the ‘additional call for housing sites’ within the village which sees 19600 new homes being built in Maidstone by 2031.  Mrs D Parvin is aware of the need to cut down the number of proposed properties in Hollingbourne for number of reasons including the lack of supporting infrastructure.  The documents published so far by MBC are only what the Planning Officers have seen as possibilities within the village.  Dr S Bauer was dismayed to discover that the Officers had pinpointed her private property/land as being suitable for development.  Mr J Cobbett said that the residents at Grove Mill Cottage were also totally unaware that they were being assessed.  The field at the back of Mr J Cobbett’s house is only accessible from a privately owned bridleway.  Mrs D Parvin said that all concerned residents should contact the Planning Department directly to express their concern.  The Parish Council felt that this process has been rather unprofessional as they do not appear to have kept affected property owners informed.

 12.  Planning Report       

 a.         MA/14/0692

‘Acorn Cottage’, Pilgrims Way, Hollingbourne                             TBA

Ground Floor and first floor extensions.

The Parish Council does not yet have any paper documentation regarding this planning application, and it would like to peruse the drawings before making a comment.  This application decision is ‘to be announced’ shortly.                                   

 MA/14/0687                                                                                   Do not wish to object

‘Valley View’, Pilgrims Way, Hollingbourne

A planning application for the erection of a replacement garden summerhouse.

Proposal by: Mr A Bennett, Seconded:  Mr P Waite – all in favour.

 MA/14/0569                                                                                   Do not wish to object

Greenway Court Barn, Greenway Court Road, Hollingbourne

Alterations to side elevation fenestration and installation of an oak-framed balcony / green-stage.

Proposal by:  Mr A Bennett, Seconded:  Mr P Waite – all in favour (with the exceptions of Mr M Bedwell and Mr L Vallins, who are neighbours to the property, and therefore cannot vote).

 MA/14/0757                                                                                   Do not wish to object

The Windmill, 32 Eyhorne Street, Hollingbourne

An application for listed building consent for the relocation of kitchen exhaust duct.

There has been a problem with cooking smells and complaints from neighbours.  The Windmill needs to change the position of the duct and direct it into their pub garden.

Proposal by:  Mr P Waite, Seconded:  Mr A Bennett – all in favour.

 13.         Environmental Report

 a.      Dr S Bauer is not impressed with the litter left on the verges.  Even when the verges are cut back, refuse is just left there and it still remains looking untidy.  Clarification as to whether the Highways contractors also be collecting the litter is needed.

b.       Mr A Bennett informed us that he has asked Golding Homes, the management company for Bourneside Terrace, when they will be trimming back the hedges along the footpath outside the properties.  They may have to wait until mid-July.  Residents in the properties are generally elderly and with disabilities.  Overgrown vegetation can decrease the mobility of residents and form a trip hazard.  A letter will be sent to Golding Homes, and Mr A Bennett will assist the Parish Clerk with the content of the letter.  Action:  Parish Clerk and Mr A Bennett.

 Fete Report

 a.      The village fete is to take place on Saturday 14th June 2014.  French visitors will offer entertainment in dancing and a boules demonstration.  Mr J Cobbett had previously sent an email regarding refurbishment of the boules piste in the sum of £200 which will be funded from the some of the remaining surplus from the 2013 Fete and this fact was noted.

 e.       The promised traction engine may not be able to attend due to technical problems.

 f.       Mr A Ward has been addressing the matter of the ‘tug-of-war’.  Mr A Ward has been approaching the village pubs regarding teams.  Gary Hitch at the Sugarloaves, the Dirty Habit, our French visitors from Templeuve appear all keen on the idea.  However, The Windmill is doubtful of its attendance because the competition is at 5.30 pm which is a busy time prior to the evening service.

 g.      Mr A Bennett would like to sell the ‘Hayl Hola’ books which were published in 1987 at £5.00 each at the fete.

 h.      The fete stallholders will need to put up their own gazebos.   The ‘pop up’ gazebos should be easier to erect.

 14.          Off Road Motorcyclists and Quad Bikes

 a.    Mr Howell of MBC had promised to respond to Mr J Cobbett’s letter of 7th May within 21days regarding the ongoing problems experienced because of the off road motorcyclists and quad bikers but had not done so.  Mrs P Johnstone has complained about the noise and destruction of rare orchids, etc caused by the vehicles.  Dr S Bauer said that they are allowed to participate in their sport 14 times a year – but they have demolished trees and redirected footpaths in the process, and this is the a problem.

 15.  Twinning

 a.    The next three twinning events are as follows:  14 June 2014 – the village fete; 30 June 2014 – the golf tournament, home game, and 9 July 2014 – a visit to Templeuve to see the Tour-de-France.  This third event is to take place mid-week and Hollingbourne residents are expected to travel there at their own expense.  In addition, Mr Dudley Wright is very keen that visitors from Templeuve come over to our fete next year and that we organise a dinner for them to attend. 

.16.         Financial Report  (Mr J Cobbett)

 a.    The Parish Council accounts for 2013/4 are making progress and the draft accounts are at the moment with Mr Peter Lee FCA.  Some questions have been raised including the timings of payments and receipts which are in the process of being resolved.

 b.        On the 23rd June 2014, 7.30 pm at the Cardwell Pavilion there will be an Extraordinary General Meeting to approve the accounts which must be filed with PKF Littlejohn LLP by 30th June.

 c.         In order for the Parish Council to break even, it may be necessary to increase the rentals of the Cardwell Pavilion and Lance Memorial Playing Field.  Mr M Bedwell reiterated that the new rates had been agreed previously for casual hirers of the hall and the field although we need to agree on a new rate for the Pre-School.  There needs to be clear agreement on the rental charges for all regular users of the Cardwell Pavilion and Lance Memorial Playing Field. It was noted that the principal hirers may have to pay more and Mr Bedwell proposed that it has to be a level playing field for all tenants of the hall and the field.

 d.        Dr S Bauer proposed that we finalise all of these matters at the next meeting.  The future financial plan is dependent on the result of our accounts audit.  Mr P Waite commented that we should not worry yet about rental increases and that we should wait to see what the accounts look like first.

 e.          We will put an advertisement in the Downs Mail for the Cardwell Pavilion after the financial meeting of the 23rd June 2014.  The Parish Clerk will obtain details of costings for advertisements before this next meeting.  Action:  Parish Clerk.

f.         Mr Bennett expressed concern that ‘fingers are being pointed’ with regards to problems experienced with the financial accounts.  He went on to suggest that comments have sometimes been too personal.  It was agreed that any shortcomings in the records of the Council need to be addressed.

 

17.         Items for Information

 a.         The Lance Memorial field will have its grass cut on Wednesday in preparation for the fete, and line marking will then follow.

 

Date of next meeting          Monday, 14th July 2014

  

 

Signed as a true record:                       Chairman: