September 2014 Minutes.

Minutes of the meeting of Hollingbourne Parish Council

held on Monday, 8th September 2014 in the Cardwell Pavilion

commencing at 7.30pm

 Present:                      Mr M Bedwell (Chairman)                             Mr L Vallins

Mr A Ward (Vice-Chairman)                          Mr A Bennett

Mr J Cobbett                                                   Mr P Waite

            Dr S Bauer                                                      Mr D Ardley

            Cllr Mrs D Parvin

 and      Mrs V Smith, Parish Clerk

 In attendance             Cllr Mrs D Parvin

  

1.      Apologies for absence     None

 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, with the following exceptions:

 Item 12B:       ‘The Windmill’ Planning Application:  The decision should be deferred by the MBC, rather than the Parish Council, until a technical report has been received by the MBC.  We will contact the MBC urgently regarding this matter.  Action:  Parish Clerk 

             Item 16C & D: It is Mr Derek Davison and not Mr Davidson.  Many apologies.

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

 a.       The verge opposite the school has started to grow back to an unkempt level.  Mr A Bennett will contact the KCC with regards to resolving this matter.  Some of the greens in the village are maintained by the residents, but the grass verge is too larger area.

 b.      Regarding the takings from the Hollingbourne Fete, £300 has been put aside for the replacement of six ‘pop-up’ gazebos and other sundry items; this leaves a remainder of £900.00.  The Cricket Club have asked for a donation, to buy small items for the children’s play corner, used whilst matches are taking place.  The Parish Council accounts were discussed and Mr J Cobbett said that we have restricted funds of £1,100 including £200 from the 2013 Fete surplus.  We are merely the trustees of the money, it is not ours to use in the bank for everyday spending within the Parish Council.  The money could be used for new benches within the village; we wouldn’t have brought them if we had not raised the money through the fete.  Mr A Bennett said that this was an excellent idea, and they would be useful to everybody.  They can even be dedicated to people who have served the village well, but are sadly no longer there to enjoy it!  If we do not get an item for the play-ground, we will obtain a substantial item like a bench.

 c.       The Annual Parish Assembly needs to be organised, and the meeting will need to be publicised, and held in the Village Hall.  The Parish Clerk with talk to Barbara Tremble to find out when the hall is available. Mr A Ward said that the Annual General Meeting needs to be done at the next Parish Meeting, and held within the first hour.  We will aim to hold all of the meetings within the month of October 2014.   Action:  Parish Clerk

 5             Chairman’s Report    

 a.    Mr M Bedwell mentioned an article from Helen Grant in the Kent Messenger.  It may be prudent to obtain her views on the new housing issues which our village is facing.  Mr M Bedwell is not surprised that more controversial planning applications take place over the summer months, as there is a lack of more planning staff within the MBC Planning Office and Parish councils, and sometimes the finer details of the plans are unfortunately overlooked.

 b.    There has been a lot of vandalism of the Meadows Trust hedges over the summer break.  Mr A Bennett has tried to get the Kent Messenger interested in having a story about this, as it may help.  The vandalism has now taken place four times.  When the evenings draw in, nobody can see the destruction take place in the dark.  This is very sad.

 c.    The Parish Council would like to commend the WI for a most excellent Safari.  It was for a very good cause and well done to them.  The event was much busier that last year, and comments of “it’s good for Hollingbourne” had been heard by Mr M Bedwell, from the villagers.  Mr A Ward said that visitors need to be encouraged to park in the Cardwell Field and then walk down through the village to avoid grid-locking the roads.  Were ‘The Sugarloaves’ in competition with the WI for the provision of catering?  Dr S Bauer had heard that the WI were quite upset about the deliberate competition.  The Church had also sold coffee and bacon sandwiches.  Mr A Ward had been informed that some items had been stolen off of the villager’s stalls.  This is disappointing, but unfortunately, inevitable!

 6.             Street Lighting Finances

 a.    Mr J Cobbett informed us that a letter had been sent to the owners of Godfrey House, Eyhorne Street requesting their household insurance details, as a falling tree from their property had destroyed the streetlight opposite their property.  No response has currently been received by the Parish Clerk and she will send a reminder letter to them.  Action:  Parish Clerk

 b.   It is evident from our accounts that £1,947.38 has already been spent on the streetlights in the village this financial year, and MBC has still not yet reimbursed the £2,124 which Chris Garland had promised the Parish Council.  The KCC maintenance offer, through Mrs Jenny Whittle had depended on us having years and years of records regarding the streetlights, and we do not have these.  The Parish Clerk will contact Sue Kinsella of the KCC to find out what information they are after.  It may be far less than we have previously understood.  Action:  Parish Clerk

 c.    Cllr Mrs D Parvin informed us that Cllr John Perry, Cabinet Member for Community and Leisure Services, would like to come to our next Parish Meeting to discuss this matter and answer our questions.  Previously, Cllr Mrs D Parvin had explained to him about the previous faulty financial returns sent from the Parish Council, and the fact that we did not then receive streetlight funding.  Cllr Perry felt very sorry about this matter and did not feel that he could rectify this problem.  However, he very much wants to meet us and help out.  Cllr Perry will understand our frustrations, as he is the Chairman of the Staplehurst Parish Council. 

 d.   We are not the only Parish Council with this problem, Leeds village have the difficulties too.  Were Leeds Parish Council given the same incorrect information when filling out their financial returns too?  It is very disappointing when Chris Garland promised to reimburse us for the cost of the streetlights, as we have not budgeted for this level of expenditure.  Mr J Cobbett feels that we may have to increase our precept if this matter is not soon resolved.

 e.    Various lights within the village have required maintenance recently.  Including one along the school-side of Eyhorne Street, that also required pruning of trees from around it.

 7.             Parks Report   

 a.      Mr A Ward informed us that a gate leading into the playground has been bent out of alignment.  This would mean that the foundations need to be dug up and the gate post straightened.  This will be quite a major task.

 b.      Mr A Bennett said that a notice leading into the Millennium Green regarding ‘responsible dog ownership’ had disappeared.  Mr A Ward told us that the sign had broken as the wooden post had rotted, but he will arrange to get it repositioned into the ground.

 c.       Dr S Bauer said that she is dismayed by the amount of owners who let their dog’s defecate in public places within the village, and then leave the mess behind.  This is very irresponsible and offensive of the dog owners.  Cllr Mrs D Parvin said that we need photographic evidence of the owner, the dog and the bodily function taking place, to bring about any convictions.  This is not going to be easy.

 d.      The risk assessment for the Millennium Green is still in progress.

 

 

 

8.             Crime Report        (late entry from email)

 

a.    PSCO Dave Rowley informed us that there had been a total of twenty-two reported crimes for the period of 18th July – 4th September 2014.  Seventeen of the crimes took place at the Junction 8 Services.  The Police have advised Junction 8 Petrol Station to contact 999 rather than 101 when people make off without paying, just in case they can catch them.  The Police also received one call relating to anti-social behaviour within the village.

 

19.07.14

Junction 8 Services

Tendering of fake currency.

22.07.14

Junction 8 Services

Fake coins in machines/ persons selling fake gold

25.07.14

Hollingbourne Hill

3 x water storage tanks daubed with graffiti

25.07.14

Greenway Court Road

Fuel cap of combine harvester was damaged.

02.08.14

Junction 8 Services

Making off without paying

05.08.14

Junction 8 Services

Robbery – monies taken

12.08.14

Junction 8 Services

Side of vehicle curtain cut and damage to carton

12.08.14

Firs Lane

Theft from motor vehicle – taking personal items

12.08.14

Junction 8 Services

Side of vehicle curtain cut

12.08.14

Junction 8 Services

Vehicle interference

12.08.14

Junction 8 Services

Side of vehicle curtain cut

13.08.14

Junction 8 Services

Theft of boxes from HGV (items not identified)

14.08.14

Junction 8 Services

Theft of camera from vehicle

15.08.14

Junction 8 Services

Vehicle made off without paying

19.08.14

A20, Ashford Road

Car bonnet damaged

19.08.14

Junction 8 Services

Vehicle made off without paying

20.08.14

Junction 8 Services

Vehicle made off without paying

22.08.14

Junction 8 Services

Vehicle made off without paying

30.08.14

Junction 8 Services

Vehicle made off without paying

03.09.14

Hollingbourne Hill

Burglary of various power tools

04.09.14

Junction 8 Services

Theft of shoes

04.09.14

Junction 8 Services

Fire extinguisher let off and various food items contaminated

 

9.             Clerk’s Report            

 

a.    The Clerk informed the Parish Council that an asbestos survey report had been found for the Cardwell Pavilion and a quotation had been obtained for a further check.  Mr A Ward perused the quotation and also recommended another company, so that we can compare prices.  Dr S Bauer is concerned that we have a legal obligation to renew the asbestos survey report regularly.

 

b.    The Clerk circulated an invitation from the Mid Kent Downs Steering Group if the Councillors would like to attend.  Cllr Mrs D Parvin is the Chairman and she advised us that all sorts of people attend the meeting, in fact anyone who has an interest in the countryside, especially the Weald.  Concerns and questions are discussed at the meetings and there is the opportunity of having a place on the Joint Advisory Council of the Area of Outstanding Beauty.    Meetings normally take place in the Wormshill Village Hall, and the Clerk’s name is Caroline.  Mr P Waite used to attend the meetings on behalf of Thurnham Parish Council, and enjoyed them.

 

c.    The office had received a letter from the Air Ambulance asking for a grant of £250 from the Parish Council.  It was agreed by all of the Councillors that unfortunately due to the critical condition of our financial accounts; we would have to decline the charity’s wishes on this occasion.

 

d.   The Parish Clerk raised the question whether it would be beneficial to have a ‘defibrillator’ available within the village, which could be life-saving in a medical emergency.  It was considered by the Councillors, but it was decided that because Hollingbourne is a long and spread out village it may not be advantageous.  By the time the machine had been collected from its designated place, to the patient, the ambulance would have arrived!  All of the Councillors decided against the idea of the defibrillator.

 

e.    The office printer is not performing very well and may be coming to the end of its life expectancy.  The Councillors agreed that the Parish Clerk could investigate in obtaining a new one, as it is essential to her work.

 

10.         County Councillor’s Report  –  None available for the meeting.

 

11.         Borough Councillor’s Report 

 

a.       Cllr Mrs D Parvin said that earlier in the financial year it was agreed by Local Government that all of the play areas would be upgraded.  Villages could receive a grant of up to £10,000 for play areas.  Cllr Mrs D Parvin will find out about what would be available for us and let the Parish Clerk know.

 

b.      With regards to the Meadows Trust damage to the hedges, Cllr Mrs D Parvin said this was an Environmental Services issue.  Have the department been in contact with Mr Peter Lee the Chairperson of the Meadow’s Trust?  Cllr Mrs D Parvin also asked whether the Parish Council still had portable CCTV.

 

12.         Planning Report       

 

a.       Mr A Bennett informed the Parish Council that he had been making enquiries again regarding the owners of the land around the railway station.  The Parish Council has informed MBC before that Network Rail own the land.  Is the advice that the Parish Council supply to the MBC getting received by the right person?  When independent development companies are sent out by the MBC they are ‘earmarking’ Meadow Trust land instead!!

 

b.      Mr A Bennett informed the Parish Council members that there had been many planning applications over the August month, and they had required a response before the date of today’s meeting.  Details of these planning applications had been circulated to the Councillors, and it was felt prudent to mention only a few, which were of concern.

 

c.         14/502895/HYBRID

Waterside Park, M20, Junction 8                                       OBJECT

Hybrid (part outline/part detailed) application for re-grading of the site to form development platforms including the creation of new bunds and batters; the development of a new industrial estate comprising up to 45,528m2 of B1 light industrial, B2 general industrial and B8 storage – distribution uses with ancillary offices; ancillary cafe and crèche facilities; creation of a new access to the A20; new internal access roads; parking, internal drainage, structural landscaping and the diversion of the existing public footpath.  Detailed permission sought for erection of new warehouse building (21,990m2) and associated offices (2,995m2) with access, service yard, parking and landscaping.

 

Mr A Bennett pointed out that it had been difficult to get our comments in to the Planning Department on time as the email system at their offices kept on failing.  However, we did succeed in the end.  There had been marginal changes to this application compared to last time it was proposed, and so we have issued similar reasons for its rejection.

 

d.         14/0475                                                                               OBJECT

Land adjacent to 103 Eyhorne Street, Hollingbourne

An application for the erection of 14 detached dwellings inclusive of garaging / car barns and open amenity land adjacent to the northern boundary.  (Previous app. MA/14/0475).

 

The developers have made reasonable substantial changed to the properties and had listened to our concerns, for example now suggesting bungalows and changing the orientation of some of the properties.  However, it still remains outside the village envelope and labels itself as ‘exclusive’ housing.  The Councillors were shown a copy of a letter sent to Mr Harouni of the MBC, from a professional planning consultation company acting on behalf of the owners of 103 Eyhorne Street, in objection to the housing proposals.  The company’s reasons for objection are very similar to our own.  Mr A Ward also had copies correspondence to this effect objecting in principle.

 

e.       14/502204/TPO/AW2                                                                       Do not wish to object

Snarkhurst Wood, Crismill Lane, Bearsted

TREES – vegetation clearance and canopy reduction of various trees.

All Councillor’s in favour.

 

f.       14/502203/LBC                                                                                 Do not wish to object

51 Eyhorne Street, Hollingbourne

Reconstruction of an existing conservatory at the rear of the property and other minor changes to the rear including renewal of an existing dormer window.

All Councillor’s in favour.

 

g.      Mr A Bennett is concerned about planning applications which may sneak through whilst most planning department staff are away on holiday.  Can the time for response be extended over the month of August for these applications?  Mr J Cobbett asked Cllr Mrs D Parvin if there should be eight weeks from the planning application to make comments.  Cllr Mrs D Parvin suggested that if a proposal is contentious, write to Planning Development department to extend the response date.  This could then be based individually rather than a blanket rule.  Some of the planning application notification letters that the Parish Council receive are dated so close to the deadline for response; that it is almost impossible to comment on time.  Mr A Bennett said that he would speak to Mr Clive English about this regarding extended deadlines in the acknowledgement of the Parish Council not having a monthly meeting in August.

 

h.      Mr P Waite had attended a training session regarding planning enforcement.  In conclusion, it was felt that enforcement was rather ‘subjective’ within the regulations.

 

13.         Environmental Report

 

a.      Dr S Bauer was glad to announce that the village sign is now back, in its original place.  The wooden post previously used by the sign was in good condition, and it was therefore sensible to use it again.  Hollingbourne Property Services had erected the sign for us, free of charge.  A letter of thanks will be sent to them, thanking them for their generosity.  Action:  Parish Clerk.

 

14.          Fete Report

 

a.       Mr J Cobbett confirmed that six new ‘pop-up’ gazebos would be purchased for next year’s fete*.  These, and other sundry items, would be funded from £300 set aside from the fete’s takings. (* Four gazebos were subsequently purchased at a cost of £200 which left £100 as contingency reserve).

 

15.          Off Road Motorcyclists and Quad Bikes

 a.       The motorcyclists have been seen again over the last few weeks.  Cllr Mrs D Parvin took the name of Kevin Metland, to look into this issue for us.  Our main concern is the damage by excavation works, and the negative effect that this has had on rare flora and fauna.

 16.  Twinning

 a.    Mr J Cobbett informed us that Mr Derek Davison of the RBL is arranging a visit with our friends in Templeuve, for about fifty people from the War Veteran’s Association on Remembrance Sunday which is 9th November 2014.  Mr D Davison is hoping to arrange  a lunch for about a hundred guests, and this will possibly take place at the School.  Hollingbourne residents are then invited to return to the Templeuve on the 11th October 2014 for their Armistice Day Ceremony..

 b.    With regards to the twinning golf tournament, new organisers of the event have taken over, but unfortunately none of the golf staff are interesting in joining a Twinning Committee.  Mr J Cobbett suggested that the Chairman sends letters to prominent members in all of the organisations within the village asking for their support in forming a committee.  We could write to the school, Church, WI, Pantomime Group, and many more.  Mr M Bedwell said that he would much rather speak to them individually.  Mr D Ardley stressed that these meetings should be recorded, so that they could be referred back to.   Action:  Mr M Bedwell.

 17.         Financial Report  (Mr J Cobbett)

 a.         Mr J Cobbett advised the Councillors that the RBL had arranged a village trip to commemorate those lost in WWI, and the battlefields will be visited on the  17th and 18th October 2014.  The RBL would like donate two wreaths, one from themselves and one from the village at a cost of £25.00 each.  The Councillors agreed that the Parish Council would purchase the wreath on behalf of the village.  All were in favour of this proposal.

 b.        Unfortunately, it looks like we may have to increase our village precept next year by possibly 50%.  The Clerk was asked for details of progress with the Council’s VAT Returns as it appeared that no VAT input tax had been reclaimed for several years.  Mr A Ward advised the members that we have for the year 2013/2014, but this exercise needs to take place for years 2012/13, 2012/2011 and 2011/2010.  The Parish Clerk will look into this.  Action:  Parish Clerk.

 c.         The Parish Council has received a reminder invoice from PKF Littlejohn regarding the costs incurred for our audit; it comes to the sum of £2,236.40 including VAT. The contract price for the audit is £100 plus VAT.  We have subsequently requested a breakdown of costs, showing how this figure is arrived at.  The costs are also due to various letters and over a hundred emails to the Parish Council.  Did all of the letters come to the Cardwell Pavilion, or did they get sent elsewhere?  We need further clarification of what the costs are on the invoice and the additional fees.  Did a senior manager need to work on the Parish Council account?  Mr J Cobbett said, almost certainly to sign the accounts off.  This is a very contentious issue and Mr M Bedwell said that he would deal with this problem personally; it should not fall upon the present Parish Clerk’s shoulders.  Action:  Mr M Bedwell

 d.        It was agreed amongst all members of the Council that all further correspondence relating to the Parish Council should be sent directly to the Cardwell Pavilion office.  It had obviously been agreed in the past that the previous Parish Clerk could receive paperwork at her home address, but from now on this arrangement was no longer acceptable.

 18.         Items for Information

 a.         Mr A Bennett will speak to Mrs Jean Duffy, the editor of the Village Magazine with regards to some misspellings of people’s names in the publication.

 Date of next meeting          Monday, 13th October 2014, 7.30 pm, Cardwell Pavilion

  

Signed as a true record:                       Chairman:                                                            

 

 

 

Date:                                                    Date: