Minutes of the meeting of Hollingbourne Parish Council held on Monday 9th December 2019, in the Cardwell Pavilion, Hollingbourne, commencing at 7.30 pm.
Present: Cllr A Ward (Chairman), Cllr S Hulme (Vice-Chairman), Cllr J Cobbett, Cllr Dr S Bauer,
Cllr D Ardley, Cllr M Gray, Cllr A Marshall and Cllr C O’Meara.
Attendance: Cllr P Garten (Maidstone BC), PCSO Matthew Adlington, two members of the Maidstone Climate Emergency Network, three members of the public and Mrs V Smith –Parish Clerk.
1.Apologies for absence: Cllr Dr S Bauer & Cllr M Gray (previous commitments) and
Cllr Mrs S Prendergast KCC – work commitments.
- 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
- Approval of minutes of last meeting (circulated prior to meeting)
It was resolved that the minutes of the meeting on 11th November 2019 are a true and accurate record of the meeting,
- Matters Arising (not covered elsewhere on the agenda) –
8.b. The Clerk is drawing up the new hirer’s document for the pre-school, who are happy to renew their agreement, regarding their use of the Cardwell Pavilion. Action: The Clerk
8.c. Cllr D Ardley is enquiring with the Woodland Trust as to whether their offer of planting trees in the village is just on public land, or on private land as well. Action: Cllr D Ardley
- Climate Change and Biodiversity in Hollingbourne – (Maidstone Climate Emergency Network)
- The Parish Council was glad to have Maggie and Sue attending from the Maidstone Climate Emergency Network at the meeting. It is very important that everybody strives to reduce their carbon footprint to protect the environment and the Parish Council needs to seriously consider what they can do themselves. The Maidstone Climate Emergency Network were originally called the Green Planet Action Group, but following the Maidstone BC’s (MBC) declaration to support the biodiversity emergency, their name was changed to express their support of the declaration in the local area. The group works in collaboration with the MBC and fully supports them, but all parts of society need to realise that the future of environment depends on their actions too.
- MBC have their own party to take the declaration forward, but the promises that they have made are a huge challenge. The Maidstone Climate Emergency Network supports the MBC in all respects, but they are keenly active in making sure that the MBC keep to their timeframe and targets in protecting the local biodiversity. The MBC working party are at its grass roots stage of development and is chaired by Cllr Tony Harwood with vice-chair Cllr Steve Munford. The MBC is eager to listen to the suggestions of the Maidstone Climate Emergency Network, but the means to communicate these ideas is still in its infancy stage.
- The Parish Council is keen to reduce its carbon footprint, but Cllr Ward questioned the claim that energy providers make that they are using 100% renewable energy tariff, as there is only 25% renewable energy in the grid. However, it would be prudent to choose a company which is trying its best to use renewable energy, rather than just being concerned about the monetary cost of the energy. A suggestion was made at the meeting that the Parish Council could lobby the MBC to make a deal with all of the Parish Councils who would like to reduce their carbon footprint, and get a good provider who is offering a favourable renewable energy rate, and Cllr Ward agreed that this could be a possibility.
- The Parish Council is responsible for the Lance Memorial Field, Millennium Green and in addition the Hollingbourne Meadows Trust owns and maintains a good deal of land in Hollingbourne. Cllr Ardley said that the MBC is aware of all of the ecology in the aforesaid areas, however the doubling of the tree cover in the areas would be a challenge. The Maidstone Climate Emergency Network were happy to report that a joint initiative between the MBC and Parish Councils is sometimes possible in providing more trees, and this was presently being actioned in Boughton Monchelsea village, where there will be 500 trees planted on a 11 hectare site, which is held in ‘trust’, in January 2020. Cllr O’Meara pointed out that the Parish Council need to protect the trees and ancient woodland that they have in the village and they do not support planning applications which are going to involve the destruction of the trees.
- Many years ago there were allotments within the Hollingbourne village, and apparently these were situated in an area belonging to Network Rail, behind the gates next to the Station Approach. Sadly, these are no longer in existence, but there are many keen gardeners in the village who enjoy growing their own produce, and this is very much encouraged by the Parish Council.
- The link https://policy.friendsoftheearth.uk/reports/20-actions-parish-and-town-councils-can-take-climate-and-nature-emergency is an interesting and thought provoking read. In addition, the Maidstone Climate Emergency Network is questioning the KCC’s monetary investments into fossil fuel and their policies over whether this is justifiable when promoting the protection of the environment, and they are waiting for Cllr Harwood, MBC for his views on this matter. In conclusion, everybody has a responsibility in reducing their carbon footprint and protecting the environment and its biodiversity. This involves using renewable energy companies for our homes, recycling, reducing our use of plastic and reassessing the way that we travel and therefore reducing the amount of pollution we produce when using private transport. Please contact the Clerk on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07856 180003 if you would like a copy of the information supplied by the Maidstone Climate Emergency Network.
- Police Report
- PCSO Matthew Adlington reminded all of the residents that there is a ‘spike’ in burglaries at this time of year and so it is important to take special precaution in protecting our homes and property. There has been a rise in car key burglaries, where thieves actually steal the keys from hallways, etc, as family members are usually in different rooms and are unlikely to hear an intruder. To prevent this happening to residents they must double lock the front and back doors to their properties, not just when they leave the property but when they are in it as well. Do not inadvertently leave your keys in the door for thieves to easy access, and make sure that PVC doors are double locked. It is a sad state of affairs that residents have to do this, but it is better to be safe than sorry.
- If residents see nuisance vehicles, for example, motorbikes or 4X4’s on fields they need to report these incidents to the Police with as much detail of the vehicles that can be safely obtained. If the incidents are reported, the PCSO has data available to ask for the Off Road Police Team to take action on the perpetrators.
- The Police are aware of the parking issues around the Upper Street area of the village, particularly around the PH and are working to relieve the problem for residents and road users.
- With regards to the Speedwatch Scheme in the village, the PCSO advised that there are several ways of setting up the scheme, it can be run by volunteers and/or cameras recording speeding activity. The Clerk will contact the Speedwatch organisation through their website for prices of equipment, etc.
Action: The Clerk
- The report for the Hollingbourne and neighbouring Hucking area taken from www.e-watch.co, since the 5th December 2019 there were two crime reports:
- Between 3:15pm on Thursday 5th of December and 8:03pm on Saturday 7th of December in M20 Junction 8. Caravan taken after car and caravan recovered to services after a breakdown.
- On Sunday 8th of December between 12:00pm and 1:00pm in Greenway Court Road. Criminal damage caused by people using off-road bikes breaking a fence and driving on private land.
- The Police UK web site https://www.police.uk/kent/50/crime/2019-09/+OqXKoY/ advised that November 2019 figures for Hollingbourne showed that eight crimes and one case of anti-social behaviour had taken place at the Maidstone motorway services. There had been three crime reports from the rest of the village and no recorded incidents of anti-social behaviour:
- In November, on or near Tilefields, there were two crime reports, one of violence and sexual offences, and one of Other crime, which includes forgery, perjury and other miscellaneous crime, both of which are under investigation by the Police. Also, one crime report of violence and sexual offences took place along Eyhorne Street, which is under investigation by the Police.
- M20, Junction 8 – Drugs (1 x crime report), including offences relating to possession, supply and production and the Police have given the offender a drugs possession warning; Violence and sexual offences (1 x crime report) and this offence is under investigation; criminal damage and arson (1 x crime report), which includes damage to buildings, vehicles and deliberate damage by fire. There is insufficient evidence to bring anybody to justice; other theft (2 x crime reports) includes theft by an employee, blackmail and making off without payment, which is under investigation; Vehicle crime (3 x crime reports) – includes theft from or of a vehicle or interference with a vehicle, two of these offences are no longer being investigated as there is insufficient evidence to bring anybody to justice, but one offence is still under investigation. Also, one report of anti-social behaviour and we are not supplied with details.
- The Parish Council would like to urge villagers to contact the Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 if they have information relating to crimes, or other concerns that they would like to anonymously supply to the Police. Crimestoppers is a charity which the Police use frequently. If you own a smart phone, the ‘app’ https://countryeye.co.uk/ is also a very convenient way of reporting matters and concerns to the police and the Parish Council would urge you to use this service.
- Chairman’s Report –
- Cllr Ward advised that following John Cobbett’s resignation from being a Parish Councillor at the November Parish Meeting, the Notice of Vacancy for a Parish Councillor had been forwarded to the Maidstone BC, placed on the Parish website and on the village notice-boards. Interested persons should apply for the role as soon as possible.
- Cllr Ward said that Cllr Ardley, at the time of the Parish Meeting, is waiting for written confirmation from UK Power Networks as to why the Eyhorne Street had to be closed so unexpectedly for emergency works earlier this month. UPDATE: The UK Power Networks have advised that the Eyhorne Street will need to be closed again on the Saturday, 4th and 5th January 2020, in the general vicinity of 1 Eyhorne Street, and please see the link on the Parish website https://www.hollingbournepc.kentparishes.gov.uk/temporary-road-closure-eyhorne-street-hollingbourne-4th-january-2020/ which contains more information about the works and alternative road routes.
- Cllr Ward would like to thank all of the willing volunteers helping with the litter pick in the village on the 16th November 2019, please see link https://www.hollingbournepc.kentparishes.gov.uk/village-litter-pick/ It would be a good idea to alternate the these community activities with cleaning the leaves and plant debris from the pavements and drains through the village. However, if there is a particularly urgent problem with regards to these matters it should be reported through the Maidstone BC, who is responsible for the clearance. Future dates for community activities will be advertised on the website and village notice-boards.
- The Parish Council would very much like to thank Maria Domican for her brilliant work in taking over the Parish Website from John Cobbett. The Clerk is very grateful for all of Maria’s efforts and expertise in cascading important information to the residents quickly and efficiently.
- Cllr Ward was also really glad to announce that The Dirty Habit Claret Trophy has been returned home following a visit to the office of Mayor Luc Monnet by villager, Colin Leggat. Golf matches were held annually between Hollingbourne and Templeuve, the last match being a draw, before the Twinning Committee sadly folded due to a lack of new members. Please see the link https://www.hollingbournepc.kentparishes.gov.uk/its-coming-home/ .
- Clerk’s Report
- The Clerk attended the KCC Highways Parish Seminar which was very interesting and informative. A main topic discussed at the seminar was the Parish Highway Plan, which Cllr D Ardley has very kindly formed and forwarded onto the Kent Highways. A meeting has now been arranged between the Parish Council and the Kent Highways to discuss the contents of the Highway Plan and what can be actioned in a specific order. The Parish Council thanked Cllr Ardley for his great efforts in this matter.
- Another interesting point, amongst many, that the Clerk noticed at the Seminar was that in the case of planning developments, often the Kent Highways officers at ground level will raise concerns over infrastructure capability in a location and as a result in surrounding road structures which would indicate an objection to various housing projects. However, their observations are not always agreed upon by the Highways hierarchy and as a result Kent Highways report that they do not see any concerns present to stop developments being built. As confirmation, Cllr Garten explained that a planning application can only be decided by representation but ultimately, the planning approval is the decision of the Maidstone BC, Mid Kent Planning Department. Noteworthily, a prominent Councillor within the Maidstone BC is very frustrated by this matter as very few applications are brought into question by the Kent Highways and he has been lobbying for change. As a result, this problem is now starting to be addressed,
- The Clerk’s duty within the Parish Council is also the Responsible Finance Officer, and this means that it is very important that the Parish Council use the precept funds supplied to them by the Maidstone BC wisely in obtaining good quality and financially sound sub-contractors for necessary works. The Clerk will be putting the works of cleaning of the Cardwell Pavilion and grounds maintenance of the Lance Memorial Field and verges, etc out to tender in the new year. The Parish Councillors were in agreement of this request. Action: The Clerk
- The 2020 Parish Assembly will be on next month’s Parish Meeting agenda and suggestions of ideas for the event will need to be agreed upon in January/February 2020. The input from various groups within the village would be very helpful, and residents should contact the Clerk via email@example.com or 07856 180003 if they can help to make this event an enjoyable occasion.
- Defibrillators – Cllr A Marshall
- Cllr Marshall has checked the defibrillator machines in the village and they are good for action. Spare pads for the machines are also now within the cabinets, with additional guides as to how to carry out CPR. However, please be assured that the defibrillator machines guide the person operating the device through all of the necessary steps, both audibly and in text script. Action: The Clerk / Cllr Marshall
- County Councillor’s Report – Cllr Mrs S Prendergast
- There isn’t a report from Cllr Mrs S Prendergast for this Parish Meeting, but she is happy to receive any updates from the Clerk on matters raised at this meeting.
- Borough Councillor’s Report– Cllr Patrik Garten
- Please see item 8b of this report with regards to Kent Highways and Maidstone BC planning decisions.
- For the information of the Parish Council, Cllr Garten said that in the neighbouring village, Hucking, residents are concerned about a planning application (19/505680/FULL), which has been pulled for the Planning Committee. The planning is for a horse clinic and quarantine area following the conversion of an old barn on Broad Street Hill. Local residents are worried about the scale of the development; whether the narrow country roads can cope with the traffic that the clinic will produce (e.g. horse boxes and staff vehicles); the quarantine facility at the development, for example would animals with diseases such as Equine Influenza be potentially transmitted to neighbouring horses and the problem of light pollution. Please search the Maidstone BC website for more planning information regarding this item.
- With regards to the Call for Sites report and the Maidstone BC Local Plan, Cllr Garten advised that there is not a specific timetable for the report, as it will be reviewed in 2021. However, a response from the Parish Council must be made to the Maidstone BC before the 16th February 2020. Cllr O’Meara will kindly look into the production of the Parish Council’s report, commenting on each Call for Site suggestion, and the Clerk gave her the paper copy of the Call for Sites details which had been sent to her by the Maidstone BC. Action: Cllr O’Meara
- Call for Sites and Maidstone BC Local Plan updates – (Please see item 11.c.)
- It is interesting to note that the village residents view is not to just reject every proposal on the Call for Sites report. The Parish Council should have plans of its own of sites which are acceptable, and sites which are not. Sadly, the fact is that there are no ‘first time buyers’ who could afford to buy a house in the village. In the local area, allegedly 40% of the houses built in local village, Headcorn, are still unsold as they are too expensive. Many of the potential buyers also have to commute to London to work and with the expense in travelling to the City they cannot also afford the properties being sold in the local villages.
- Planning Committee Report – Cllr O’Meara
- 19/505275/FULL – Pilgrim’s Garth, Pilgrim’s Way, Hollingbourne
Proposal: Erection of a part single, part two storey side and rear extension with 2 x Juliet balconies, 2 x light lanterns and alterations to fenestration (resubmission of 19/502461/FULL)
Decision: DO NOT WISH TO OBJECT (DNWTO)
- 19/505314/FULL – Pilgrim’s Garth, Pilgrim’s Way, Hollingbourne
Proposal: Erection of a single storey side extension with 2 x light lanterns. Decision: DNWTO
- 19/505449/SUB – Little Allington Farm House, Pilgrim’s Way, Hollingbourne
Proposal: Submission of details to discharge condition 5 (materials); condition 6 (electrical vehicle charging points) and condition 8 (landscape scheme). Subject to 19/500164/FULL
Decision: DO NOT WISH TO OBJECT
- 19/505956/NMAMD – Coachman’s Lodge, 1 Eyhorne Street, Hollingbourne
Proposal: Non material amendment to velux window position from North Elevation to South Elevation. Insertion of flat roof light into flat roof area above living space subject to 18/502587/FULL.
Decision: DO NOT WISH TO OBJECT (Cllr Dr Bauer wasn’t in attendance at the Parish Meeting, but all other Parish Councillors voted in agreement. As confirmation, no member of the Parish Council has a close, or personal, or professional relationship with Dr Susan Bauer).
- 19/505986/TCA– 64 Eyhorne Street, Hollingbourne
Proposal: TPO application to fell one Elder tree. Decision: DO NOT WISH TO OBJECT
- 19/506056/SUB – The Dirty Habit PH, Upper Street, Hollingbourne
Proposal: Submission of details to discharge condition 3 – materials, subject to 19/503181/LBC.
Decision: No comment.
- 19/504019/FULL – Parkmill House, Ashford Road, Hollingbourne
Proposal: REVISED DETAILS: Proposed conversion of curtilage listed outbuilding to a dwelling together with erection of a proposed detached double garage (existing shed to be removed), including lowering of land level to rear of outbuilding (retrospective) and construction of proposed retaining walls, steps and paved area.
Decision: OBJECT (as per the previous application the Parish Councillors feel that the demolition of the existing building and a rebuild will not be in keeping with the listed building. Also, there are concerns over the proximity of the building to the motorway and the noise in the location).
- 18/506662/FULL – Courtyard Studios, Hollingbourne House, Hollingbourne Hill
Proposal: REVISED DETAILS: Demolition of the rear section of the building and erection of replacement structure, and conversion of front section of building including external alterations, to facilitate the creation of two dwellings with associated parking and garden areas. Demolition and repositioning of section of garden wall and repairs to other areas of garden walling. Decision: DO NOT WISH TO OBJECT – (according to previous Parish Council’s approval to the application in January 2019).
- Environmental / Parks Committee Report –
- The Parish Councillors thanked Cllr Marshall for her organisation of the works which have taken place in the Millennium Green where the pond has now been cleared of all of the rhizome plants which had invaded it, and the clearance of the pathways in the park. The park can now give access to visitors in wheelchairs and children in prams. A member of the Hollingbourne Meadows Trust has offered to help carry out additional works in the early Spring 2020.
- A tube has been installed in the ground on Tanyard Green for the Xmas tree to stand up in. The Parish Council is very grateful for the hard work of the volunteers who take a lot of time and effort in decorating the tree every year, on both the Tanyard and Eyhorne Greens. However, it was agreed items such as the tube on the green will be mentioned upon the Parish website in future, so that villagers can offer to quote for works instead.
- The litter and rubbish on the verges of the A20/M20 junction has been recorded twice online of the Maidstone BC website, but the verges are still in a mess. Some of the roads in this area were too dangerous to tackle whilst volunteers were litter picking in November and so the Maidstone BC will need to help out with their contractors. Cllr Ardley fully supports the idea of combining footpath clearance and litter picking events within the village. Please see item 7.c.
- Cllr Ward is in contact with the playground contractors with regards to replacing missing play equipment and prices of repairs.
- Finance Report –
- There is £34,730.20 in the Parish Council’s combined bank accounts as of the 2nd December 2019. The Parish Councillors authorised the cheques drawn by the Clerk. The Parish Clerk will make a suitable appointment with the Bank and Parish Councillor in agreement to become an additional signatory on the account, as Cllr Cobbett has departed from the Parish Council.
- Highways and Infrastructure Committee Report–
- The road closure in the vicinity of 83 Eyhorne Street, which started at above 5.00 pm on the 3rd December 2019, by UK Power Networks was because of a fault with supply to the cottages. It is questionable though whether there was sufficient working space for the repairs, why the road couldn’t have been closed at 7.00 pm, for instance, rather than 5.00 pm, peak time. The traffic along Greenway Court Road was terrible and emergency vehicles would have had no chance of driving through the village. Cllr Ward had also telephoned the Kent Highways ‘out-of-hours’ service line, which was just a call centre, and staff were not able to help or advise him at all. This may be because they are unfamiliar with the roads and areas which Cllr Ward was concerned about, but this may be a matter that needs to be investigated by Cllr Mrs Shellina Prendergast, KCC. Please also see item 7.b.
- Cllr O’Meara pointed out that the traffic is also horrendous along the Ashford Road, particularly in the area of the two roundabouts when there are special events taking place at the Leeds Castle. The organised and continuous movement of the traffic should be a concern of the Castle Traffic Managers in all of this area and not just for traffic entering and departing the castle gates. Cllr Hulme asked whether Leeds Castle have to talk to KCC and the Police when special events are taking place for their assistance in maintaining a free flow of traffic, as it would be a good idea.
- Cllr Ardley has produced a Highways Improvement Plan, copies of which were circulated at the Parish Meeting. Copies of the document have been forwarded to the Kent Highways and Cllr Mrs S Prendergast, KCC, and a meeting has been arranged in January 2020 to discuss the matter with Kent Highways. At the meeting the Kent Highways will be able to advise the Parish Council what improvements can take place, and in what order, to make the roads within the village safer. Items on the Highways Improvement Plan include (1) the review of road signing to better manage vehicle flow; (2) construction of footway at Church Corner, as there is no footway at present for pedestrians; (3) relocation of speed limit sign on Hollingbourne Hill, to provide advance warning to motorists coming down Hollingbourne Hill much earlier before entering the village; (4) investigate traffic calming options through village and a 20 mph near to the school due to excessive speed reported and anti-social behaviour of motorists; (5) introduce 40 mph limit on the A20 across the Great Danes and Leeds Castle roundabouts, to reduce the speed of vehicles approaching the roundabout and between the two roundabouts; (6) increase the size of the Great Danes roundabout to increase deviation, to reduce the ability of vehicles to straight line the roundabout and reduce vehicle speeds; (7) hazard signs with ‘pedestrian crossing’ sub-plates to warn of pedestrian crossing point adjacent to the Great Danes roundabout, to warn motorists of pedestrians (children and adults) crossing the road immediately after the roundabout; (8) and Broad Street – signing of passing places because parking in passing place(s) causes an obstruction. (Please see item 8.a).
- A20 pedestrian crossing /speeding in Upper Street and village – (Please see item 6.c.).
- Complaints have been made by residents about the parking in the Upper Street particularly around the PH on Sundays. Cllr Garten advised the Clerk to initially contact the PCSO about these matters.
- Fête Sub-Committee Report – Cllr D Ardley
- All of the events for the 2020 fete have now been booked, together with the BBQ and ice-cream suppliers, and the guest opening the event has been arranged. Verification from the Hollingbourne Meadows Trust is being sought as to whether they will arrange the car parking at the fete. Some of the gazeboes need to be replaced as bad weather, etc, has taken its toll on the equipment. The Parish Councillors agreed that approximately six gazeboes should be obtained, together with cast iron weights for the gazebo legs, and Cllr Ardley will look into this matter. The Clerk will send out stall booking forms within the next few weeks. The next Fete meeting will be on the 3rd January 2020, at 8.00 pm in The Sugar Loaves PH. Action: Cllr D Ardley / The Clerk
- Brexit (Operation Brock) and its impact on Hollingbourne–
- At the time of the Parish Meeting the General Election was about to take place and so the matter of ‘Brexit’ was uncertain and the item will be on the January 2020 Parish Council Agenda. However, any concerns which residents may have about Brexit can be lessened if villagers look out for each other and strive to be neighbourly. The gift of kindness is a precious thing and always has a positive impact on both the person receiving the help and the person giving assistance.
Date of next meeting: Monday 13th January 2020, 7.30 pm, Cardwell Pavilion, Hollingbourne