January 2019 Minutes.

The Minutes of the Hollingbourne Parish Council Meeting in the Cardwell Pavilion of   14th January 2019 that were approved at the Parish Council Meeting that was held on 11th February 2019.

Minutes of the meeting of Hollingbourne Parish Council monthly meeting held on Monday 14th January 2019, in the Cardwell Pavilion, Hollingbourne, commencing at 7.30 pm.

Present: Mr A Ward (Chairman), Cllr J Cobbett (arrived late due to clash of meetings), Cllr D Ardley, Cllr M Gray, Cllr A Marshall & Cllr M Gray

In attendance: Cllr Mrs Shellina Prendergast- part (KCC) , Cllr Patrik Garten (Maidstone BC), PCSO Dan Genn, five members of the Public and Mrs V. Smith – Parish Clerk.

1. Apologies for absence: Cllr S Hulme & Cllr Dr S Bauer (work commitments)

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 of the meeting on 10th December 2018 are a true and accurate record of the meeting.

4. Matters Arising (not covered elsewhere on the agenda) – none
6a. The Clerk is waiting for prices back from the contractor who mows the Lance Memorial field for the cutting of the grass around the playground, verges, etc and a price for the removal of the moss from the roof of the Cardwell Pavilion. Action: The Clerk
12a. The Leeds Castle Foundation have advised the Parish Council that their pyrotechnic contractors are now using fireworks of a special quieter variety, which will be good news for the residents of Hollingbourne. The noise situation caused by fireworks will be monitored by the Parish Council and local residents. If the situation does not improve it will be necessary will liaise with neighbouring Parish Councils with a view to meeting with Leeds Castle staff to discuss the matter. The Hollingbourne Parish Council remains hopeful that the new type of fireworks will produce a significant drop in volume when events take place. Action: The Clerk

5. Police Report – (via email)
a. PCSO Dan Genn advised that crimes continue to take place at the Junction 8 Maidstone Services and the report for the Hollingbourne area taken from www.e-watch.co showed one crime report taken Thursday, 13th December 2018, between 1:00 am and 1:21 am in M20 when the cover of an HGV parked in a motorway service area was cut and a box opened but nothing appears to have been taken. Crime Report No. 46/11187/19 – The Police UK web site was unable to report crimes taking place in Hollingbourne from November 2018, and it is hoped that an update will be available soon.
b. PCSO Genn reported that there is a rise of crime in Public Houses when devices such as fruit-machines have the money stolen out of them. Also, the PCSO’s are meeting with landowners to talk about crime prevention, as rural crime continues at an alarming rate.
c. PCSO Genn advised that with regards to the parking in the passing point along Pilgrim’s Way / Broad Street, from the perspective of the Police there is little that they can do due to lack of signage and road lines, as the vehicle in question is not officially obstructing access. Cllr Mrs Shellina Prendergast said that Mrs Helen Whately MP and the KCC had also been contacted over the matter, but very little can be done as there is not any legislation that prevents parking in this area and it is not causing an obstruction.
d. 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.

6. Highways – Parking in passing points along Pilgrim’s Way / Broad Street (Cllr D Ardley / Public)
a. Please see 5.c. Police Report and 10.a. County Councillor’s Report.

7. Chairman’s Report – Cllr A Ward
a. A local solicitor has contacted the Clerk with regards to the release of deeds that they are holding for the Parish Council. Cllr Ward will write to them with regards to this matter.

8. Co-Option of Parish Councillor
a. The Parish Council are very glad to announce that Catherine O’Meara, who was the only resident showing interest in replacing Cllr Alan Bennett after the position had been publicly advertised, has been co-opted as a Parish Councillor. Catherine will bring a wealth of experience to the Parish Council and lives on the Ashford Road after moving to Hollingbourne from North Kent in 2015. She is a parent of six sons and a grandmother, together with being a director of a firm of insurance brokers. Catherine is also a keen horse rider and has been instrumental in persuading the Highways Agency to consider resurfacing the M20 through Hollingbourne with a quieter surface sometime in 2019.

9. Clerk’s Report –
a. The Kent Fire and Rescue Service have kindly donated a defibrillator machine to the Hollingbourne Parish Council and this means that there will be two machines within the village with one approximately at each end of Eyhorne Street. Further to the agreement of the Parish Council in November 2018 it is planned that a defibrillator machine will be on the outside wall of the school, with easy access to the public. The Clerk will approach EI Group PLC, the landlord of the Village Hall, and the Village Hall Committee to see if the second machine could possibly be placed on the outside wall of this building, or nearby. Action: The Clerk
b. The Clerk met with the Kingswood and Broomfield Parish Clerk to discuss the matter of sharing the purchase of Speedwatch equipment and setting up working groups in the two Parishes, and at the moment this is only a consideration with our neighbouring Parish Council. In the meantime, Cllr Ardley has found out details of which Parish Councils do have Speedwatch Groups in the locality which is promising. The Speedwatch initiative will be discussed at the Parish Assembly in a few months time where its viability and the provision of additional volunteers can be sought.
c. On the matter of replacing the white post at the top of the Hollingbourne Hill, it was suggested that local companies and may be willing to make a monetary donation towards its cost as the new sign will bring them more business. The Clerk will pursue this matter. Please also see item 9c.

10. County Councillor’s Report – Cllr Mrs S Prendergast –
a. Cllr Mrs Prendergast advised that she was meeting with residents and representatives of Bearsted and Thurnham History Society, JPG, Thurnham Parish Council, Maidstone BC Ward Member and Officers regarding Woodcut Farm highways matters. Hollingbourne Parish Council to be represented at the meeting by Cllr J Cobbett. The aim of the meeting is to ensure/assure that Kent Highways had tested the applicant’s assessments on traffic and access with rigour and within the correct guidelines, and all necessary safety works would be implemented within the S278 agreements when signed.
b. A start date from the JTB (Joint Transport Board) is being waited for the road works on Ashford Road, Hollingbourne.
c. The white finger-post at the top of Hollingbourne Hill needs to be replaced, following its damage and disappearance at the time of the snowy weather earlier in 2018. The KCC would be prepared to pay for a metal sign-post, but not the traditional wooden post which is noted on the ordnance survey maps and twins with the black metal post near Wormshill. With this in mind Cllr Prendergast can contribute £500 from KCC funding (conditional resource) towards the wooden post if the Parish Council authorise the provision of the wooden post. It was agreed that the Parish Clerk contact Simon Bass, Chairman of the Wormshill Parish Meeting to see if the Wormshill residents can help fund the new sign-post. This item will be considered at the next Parish Meeting. Action: The Clerk
d. Cllr Mrs Prendergast advised the Parish Council that more resources including staff recruitment were being put in place to address matters including:
• More drainage engineers to keep our 250k drains as clear as possible
• A programme of works to clear footways of overgrowth and other incursions for safe access by all. Cllr Prendergast had been aware of issues with contractors in some areas and was confident that these had now been resolved.
• KCC members were committed to continuing with the successful pothole blitz implemented last year and contracts were being awarded.
• Recruitment of more Highways Inspectors to ensure that repairs are done to a good standard and identify any works that need addressing
e. KCC had been successful in gaining a one-off grant of £29 m from the Government to assist in preparing our roads ahead of Brexit. As part of these works, Cllr Mrs Prendergast had specifically requested that the white lines on the A20 between Harrietsham and Charing should be refreshed.
f. A KCC Full Council meeting is taking place on the 8th February 2019 to set the budgets.
g. “Councillor A Ward advised that the ‘Friends of Hollingbourne’, who are the parents who organise fundraising events at the village primary school, have approached him about funding to upgrade existing outdoor play equipment at the school. Cllr S Prendergast said that the Friends of Hollingbourne School could approach her with regards to funding from my KCC Members Grant – and she has subsequently been contacted by a representative of that group.

11. Borough Councillor’s Report – Cllr Patrik Garten
a. Cllr Garten is attending a meeting on Friday, 18th January with Mrs Helen Whately MP and the Highways department to discuss the proposals for the roundabout on the M2, Junction 5 at the top of the A249. Different options have been proposed and some, for instance Option 10, are more favourable than others.
b. The Maidstone BC budget meeting has taken place and as last year these is a 3% increase across board. The KCC receives the largest amount of Council Tax to cover the services that it provides. Cllr Garten voted against the proposed charge increases in strategic planning, and reported that the statutory services have been frozen at 0%. However, Cllr Garten was disappointed that the Business Rates Retention Scheme, a pilot scheme which allowed councils to retain a larger amount of business rates, will not be continued in Maidstone & Kent next year. This is a decision by Central Government, Westminster.
c. Following political disagreements the KCC and Maidstone BC have set up a judicial review regarding the Leeds/Langley Bypass proposal and the KCC have also funded towards carrying out a feasibility study to ascertain the practicality of building the bypass.
d. Cllr Garten has been in contact with the Hollingbourne Meadows Trust with regards to accessing the Community Fund for £1000. The Clerk will also enquire whether funding can be provided towards cost of the defibrillator that intended to go on the outside wall of the school. Action: The Clerk
e. A story had been in the local press alleging that the Maidstone BC were planning to sell off playgrounds and Cllr Garten reassured the Parish Council and residents that the process has been to evaluate all MBC property assets.
f. Please see Cllr Garten’s latest newsletter on the Parish website http://www.hollingbournepc.kentparishes.gov.uk/christmas-and-new-year-message-from-our-borough-councillor/ where issues and information which will be of interest the residents of Hollingbourne are candidly discussed. Current Consultations can be found at:
http://www.maidstone.gov.uk/home/primary-services/council-and-democracy/additional-areas/have-your-say/tier-3-primary-areas/current-consultations

12. Planning Committee Report – Cllr A Ward
a. 18/506370/FULL – Land to rear of 44 Culpeper Close
Proposal: Demolition of existing garage and erection of proposed new detached commercial unit.
Decision: OBJECT (4 x voted to object, 1 x do not wish to object)
Reason for decision: The majority of the Parish Councillors were concerned about the additional parking in Culpeper Close, which already suffers from over-parking, that the commercial unit may generate in addition to the possible obstruction to the entrance land behind the property.
b. 18/506395/FULL & 18/506396/LBC – Ripple Manor, Whitehall Road, Thurnham
Proposal: Erection of a single storey rear extension with full basement to main house and sunken pool terrace. Demolition of existing barn storage and stables and erection of a single storey extension and courtyard to existing cottage annexe. Decision: DO NOT WISH TO OBJECT
c. 18/506662/FULL – Courtyard Studios, Hollingbourne House, Hollingbourne Hill
Proposal: Conversion and adaptation of existing photography studio into 2no. new four-bedroom residential dwellings with associated parking and garden area (Revision to 18/500228/FULL).
Decision: DO NOT WISH TO OBJECT
d. 18/506406/FULL – 11 Eyhorne Street, Hollingbourne
Proposal: Proposed loft conversion, including insertion of a new rear window to ground floor and 14 roof lights, and hard and soft landscaping works at forecourt. Decision: DO NOT WISH TO OBJECT
e. 18/506611/NMAMD – Esso Petroleum, M20, Maidstone Services
Proposal: Non-material amendment: 1) Proposal to no longer include the demolition of an existing patio area and creation of four additional parking bays next to the petrol filling station, & 2) Inclusion of 2.5m hit-and-miss fencing surrounding the electrical hardware (relates to original application ref: 18/500959/FULL). Decision: DO NOT WISH TO OBJECT

13. Environmental Committee Report –
a. Cllr Marshall is keen to set a date for a litter picking session within the Hollingbourne village and this matter will be placed on the agenda for the February Parish Meeting.
b. It has been brought to the Parish Council’s attention that following the clearance of the drains on the road near the Church Approach, the pavements, post box and walls of one of the properties at the bottom of the Upper Street hill have been damaged by the works. This matter will be reported to the KCC as any subsequent repairs will need to be carried out. In addition, the Clerk will contact Highways to arrange for new road markings to be painted at the bottom of the Upper Street from spring onwards. Action: The Clerk
c. The suggestion of the Parish Council employing a ‘Lengthsman’ was made at the Parish Meeting by villagers. The term Lengthsman, originating from the 1700s, referred to someone who kept a “length” of road neat and tidy and some Borough Councils and larger Parish Councils are able to employ Lengthsman. Cllr Cobbett stressed that regretfully, although a Lengthsman would be an ideal solution for Hollingbourne, the Hollingbourne Parish Council does not have the funds to employ another member of staff and the Precept from the Maidstone BC is limited to a certain amount of money. This is why the maintenance of the roads and pavements are the responsibility of the KCC or Maidstone BC and therefore the Parish Council do not receive the extra funding to also carry out these works.
c. Please see item 4, Matters Arising, 6.a. with regards to horticultural works within the village.
d. The Clerk will check to see if the damaged streetlight opposite the Fernham Homes development site is covered by the Parish Council insurance. Cllr Cobbett went and spoke to the workers at the site at the time of the incident but they did not know how the damage had occurred. Without any evidence of how the streetlight was damaged and as it may have been unrelated to the development, the Parish Council is reluctant to ask the developer to replace the light. Cllr Marshall pointed out that the streetlight over the motorway bridge leading to the village was also broken, but this light does not belong to the Hollingbourne Parish Council and is maintained by KCC Highways.

14. Finance Committee Report – Cllr J Cobbett
a. Following the Finance Committee Meeting held on Tuesday, 8th January 2019 an increase in the Parish Precept by 1.5% for 2019/20 to £24,418.17. This is necessary as the Parish Council intend to spend approximately £18,000 in 2019/20 on items to enhance the village including a defibrillator, new benches, a notice-board, speed watch equipment, a possible white sign-post, much needed maintenance to the outside of the Cardwell Pavilion amongst other items. In relation to Council Tax payments last year the Parish Precept 2018/19 was £24,057.84 maintained by a payment £51.34 for a Band D property for that year, in other words £0.51 per Band D taxpayer. The increase of 1.5% will result in a Precept of £24,418.71 which will represent an increase of around a pound for each householder. The Parish Council uses this money as wisely as possible and seeks best value in all works carried out. The Parish Council also helps to fund the maintenance of the village and supports local activities.
b. There is £38,443.52 in the Parish Council’s combined bank accounts as of the 2nd January 2019. Cllr J Cobbett and the Councillors present authorised the cheques drawn by the Clerk.

15. Highways and Infrastructure Committee Report –
a. Please see item 9.b. in the Clerk’s Report.
b. Cllr Gray expressed his concern over the resulting local traffic when the Smart motorway conversions take place on the M20 in the Hollingbourne area. Cllr Prendergast confirmed that Highways England and KCC work alongside each other in providing the best service in these matters, but any concerns are best expressed to Mrs Helen Whately MP. Noise monitoring equipment is being placed in Cllr O’Meara’s garden whilst the works are taking place, as her property backs onto the M20.

16. Parks Committee Report – Cllr A Ward / Cllr A Marshall
a. Cllr Ward is progressing well in obtaining the deeds to the Millennium Green and looking at the cost of insurance for the park. Cllr Marshall has started to prune the fruit trees in the park and the Parish Council will soon organise a day for the path clearing.
b. Cllr Marshall commented that the issue of dog fouling is bad in the village and a litter bin is required at the entrance of Millennium Green. There is a sign at the entrance of the park reminding dog owners of the responsibility to clean up after their animals, but the notice does require reattachment to the wall. The Clerk will seek a price for this work. Action: The Clerk

17. Parish Assembly –
a. The Parish Assembly will be held on Tuesday, 9th April 2019, and Cllr Gray, Cllr Hulme and Cllr O’Meara and keen to help the Clerk with the preparations for the event. As well as being a very enjoyable event, it also offers a great opportunity to meet and liaise with different organisations, businesses and residents of Hollingbourne. This year’s event will also highlight the Speedwatch and Community Volunteer schemes in order to gauge the interest residents may have in getting involved with the initiatives. This item will be placed on next month’s agenda for the Parish Meeting, and it is proposed that a separate meeting is held in advance of the Parish Assembly to make sure that the event runs smoothly.

18. Fête Sub-Committee Report – Cllr D Ardley & Cllr A Ward
a. The next Fete meeting will be held in The Sugar Loaves PH, on Monday, 28th January 2019 at 8.00 pm, and by this time the Parish Council would have had proposals from Public Houses with regards to the provision of the bar at the event.

19. Twinning Sub-Committee Report – Cllr J Cobbett –
a. A Twinning Committee meeting is due to take place in Templeuve on Friday, 18th January 2019 and Cllr Cobbett looks forward to the subsequent update.

Date of next meeting: Monday 11th February 2019, 7.30 pm, Cardwell Pavilion, Hollingbourne

Signed as a true record: Chairman: Date: