Minutes of the meeting of Hollingbourne Parish Council held on Monday 13th January 2020, in the Cardwell Pavilion, Hollingbourne, commencing at 7.30 pm.
Present: Cllr A Ward (Chairman), Cllr Dr S Bauer, Cllr D Ardley, Cllr A Marshall and Cllr C O’Meara.
Attendance: Cllr P Garten (Maidstone BC), twelve members of the public and Mrs V Smith –Parish Clerk.
- Apologies for absence: Cllr S Hulme (Vice-Chairman), Cllr Mrs S Prendergast and PCSO Matthew Adlington -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 9th December 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
- Police Report
- 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, and continues to progress the Neighbourhood Watch initiative in the village. Action: The Clerk
- The report for the Hollingbourne and neighbouring Hucking area taken from www.e-watch.co, since the 7th December 2019 advised that there were five crime reports:
- On Saturday, 7th December in M20 Junction 8, a caravan was taken after a car and caravan was recovered to the services after a breakdown.
- Between 12.01 am on Saturday, 21st December and 6.41 pm on Sunday, 22nd December in Hadley Gardens, a front number plate has been removed from a vehicle.
- On Monday, 23rd December between 10.15pm and 10.39pm in Eyhorne Street, a Christmas wreath on a residential property door was damaged.
- On Monday, 23rd December between 9.00 pm and 9.30 pm in Eyhorne Street, residents of a property heard a bang on a window and when they looked found it had been damaged.
- On Sunday, 29th December between 12.00 pm and 12.24 pm in Eyhorne Street, person(s) attempted to break into a vehicle. No access was gained and there was no damage to the van.
- The Police UK web site https://www.police.uk/kent/50/crime/2019-09/+OqXKoY/ advised that December 2019 figures for Hollingbourne showed that eight crimes and no cases of anti-social behaviour had taken place at the Maidstone motorway services. There had been five crime reports from the rest of the village and no recorded incidents of anti-social behaviour:
- In December, 1 x crime report of criminal damage on Eyhorne Street, 1 x crime report of other theft (which includes theft by an employee, blackmail or making off without payment) on or near Claygate; 1 x crime report of criminal damage / arson at the Hollingbourne Train Station; 1 x crime report of vehicle crime on or near the sports/recreation area near Greenway Court Road; and 1 x crime report of criminal damage and arson on or near Greenway Court Road.
- M20, Junction 8 – Drugs (1 x crime report), including offences relating to possession, supply and production and the Police are currently investigating this matter; other theft (1 x crime report) includes theft by an employee, blackmail and making off without payment, which is under investigation; Vehicle crime (5 x crime reports) – includes theft from or of a vehicle or interference with a vehicle, four 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; Other crime (1 x crime report) includes forgery, perjury and other miscellaneous crime, which is no longer being investigated due to insufficient evidence.
- The Parish Council receives regular reports of motorbikes/quadbikes and 4X4’s joy-riding over private land and fields, particularly on Sundays, together with convoys of vehicles in the village. This activity occurs particularly in the area of Pilgrim’s Way, close to the area of the old cricket ground and further along the road towards Harrietsham. Local residents have contacted the owners of the land, but unless the Police are informed of the trespassing, etc, nothing can be done to stop the matter taking place. The Police team specifically tasked to stop this type of activity can only be called upon if enough people report the crime to the Police.
- 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 –
- On behalf of the Parish Council, Cllr Ward was very sad to advise that Cllr Michael Gray had passed away on 26th December 2019, following a major heart attack. This news has come as a great shock to the Parish Council and residents of the village and heartfelt condolences are extended to Michael’s family and friends. Michael was a kind, thoughtful and hard-working member of the Parish Council who cared about the wellbeing of the villagers and was respected by all who knew him. Michael and his wife also put in a great deal of effort in organising the Parish Assembly, which was always most appreciated by the Parish Clerk and Councillors.
- Cllr Ward also has received a letter of resignation from Mrs Pat Price, due to her declining health, who has been the Parish Council’s cleaning contractor for more than ten years. The Parish Council would like to thank Pat for her reliability and flexibility in often working unsociable hours whilst cleaning the hall. The weekly cleaning of the premises will now be carried out by the lady who has recently been carrying out monthly ‘deep cleans’ at the hall.
- With regards to Brexit and its effect on the Hollingbourne residents, the situation has become calmer following the recent governmental elections. As a result, residents have been reliably informed that the iron-work on the M20 will be removed, which was placed there in preparation for ‘Operation Brock’. These works will be starting today for sixteen nights from the date of this meeting.
- The Windmill PH has changed hands in its management, and Hush Heath Inns Ltd has taken over the lease of both the public house and the Village Hall . Representatives from the Hush Heath Inns Ltd, The Village Hall Committee and the Parish Council have met to discuss the future of the Village Hall, which from the perspective of the Parish Council, looks positive.
- Cllr Ward was keen to encourage the villagers to take advantage of the free flu vaccinations available at the Harrietsham Surgery this month (Wednesday’s 15th & 22nd), if they hadn’t already done so at the Bearsted Medical Practice. Residents may have to make an appointment with their doctor for the service.
- Following correspondence from the Clerk a resolution was made by Cllr Ward authorising the opening of another bank account for the Parish Council. The Parish Councillors were in agreement with this, however, Cllr Ardley suggested that the Clerk take good care in selecting a reputable bank company for this process. The Clerk will investigate the matter. Action: The Clerk
- The Parish Website will soon need to be compliant with Website Accessibility Initiative WCAG 2.1 regulations, and the Clerk is attending a workshop on the 24th January about the matter. The changes will enable website viewers, some who have ‘screen readers’, to access the information upon the website a lot easier. According to a very well-known online encyclopaedia, a screen reader is a form of assistive technology (AT) which is essential to people who are blind, as well as useful to people who are visually impaired, illiterate, or have a learning disability. Screen readers are software applications that attempt to convey what people with normal eyesight see on a display. The Parish Council is keen to reach all members of the public, and with this in mind, be aware that in the next few months the Parish online portal will change in various ways, to enable all of our viewers to enjoy visiting the website.
- The Parish Council had been informed of the KCC forming a Select Committee on Affordable Housing consultation, the deadline date for comments being the 26th January 2020. The Committee would be exploring the definition and put into context affordable housing; the KCC’s current role in supporting the development of new affordable housing in Kent, and to consider additional ways in which KCC can support the development of affordable housing in Kent. The Parish Council are in agreement with Cllr Garten’s comments on the matter of forming the Select Committee, when it was noted that the KCC advises that it doesn’t have enough funds to support Social Services, education and highways, and so it seems difficult to understand that they should spend money on a committee whose brief lies with the District Councils.
- Co-Option of a Parish Councillor – Cllr Ward
- The vacancy for a Parish Councillor had been amply advertised on the village notice-boards and the Parish Website, and the Maidstone BC were advised of the vacancy on the 27th November 2019. On the 31st December 2019, Maidstone BC told the Clerk via email that the position could now be filled by co-option, as nobody had officially applied for the post via Maidstone BC. With this in mind, the Parish Council was very glad to announce that at the Parish Meeting (13th January 2020) Mr Craig Gooding has stepped forward to accept the role. Please see the Parish website link https://www.hollingbournepc.kentparishes.gov.uk/hollingbourne-parish-council-elects-new-member/ .
- Clerk’s Report (Parish Assembly) – (please also see items 7.f. and 7.g.)
- The Clerk advised that the commercial waste collectors had indicated that the bins at the Cardwell were too heavy for the contractors to pick up every fortnight, and a weekly collection was now necessary. The waste in the bin is not necessarily from the hall users, but also litter collected from the field and surrounding roads. The additional bin collections will cost the Parish Council double the money each month. However, the contractors will recommend that three bins are sufficient for the hall, rather than four, if they are not full each week and this will help reduce costs.
- The Clerk recommended that ‘Highways’ be the main subject matter for the Parish Assembly on Tuesday, 28th April 2020 and the Parish Councillors agreed with this proposal. It was suggested that there are fewer speakers, and a leniency with the length of speeches being made by certain local groups be adopted this year. This will enable all attendees to have a fair opportunity to speak to the community. The Clerk will contact the hall hirers to confirm time and date. 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. Action: The Clerk
- Defibrillators – Cllr A Marshall
- Cllr Marshall has checked the defibrillator machines in the village and they are good for action, although there had been a little bit of water collecting in the bottom of the cabinet outside of the school, and this has now been attended to. Spare pads for the machines are also 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. Please always advise the Clerk on 07856 180003, via firstname.lastname@example.org, or talk to one of the Parish Councillors, if the defibrillator has been used. 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. Cllr Mrs S Prendergast, KCC Highways and the Parish Council will be meeting very shortly to discuss the highways within the village.
- Borough Councillor’s Report– Cllr Patrik Garten
- Cllr Garten didn’t have a specific report to make with regards to Maidstone BC, but encourages all to read his report on the Parish website, link https://www.hollingbournepc.kentparishes.gov.uk/patrik-garten-mbc-councillor-for-north-downs-ward-recent-newsletter-jan-2020/ . Cllr Garten’s newsletter is always timely, relevant to the local residents and worth reading.
- Call for Sites and Maidstone BC Local Plan updates – Cllr C O’Meara
- Cllr O’Meara advised that the Call for Sites report from the Parish Council is in progress, with responses so far as ‘no comment’ for two sites, and ‘object’ for the remaining eight. UPDATE: The Parish Council and Cllr Garten met to review the Call for Sites response which Cllr O’Meara has put a lot of effort into producing. The report is very thorough and aims to reflect the views of the residents as well as the Parish Council and it will be forwarded to the Maidstone BC before the 16th February 2020.
Action: Cllr O’Meara
- Planning Committee Report – Cllr O’Meara
- 19/504889/FULL– Greenway Court Farmhouse, Greenway Court Road, Hollingbourne
Proposal: Demolition of existing outbuilding and erection of one replacement outbuilding.
Decision: DO NOT WISH TO OBJECT (DNWTO)
- 20/500022/SUB – Pilgrim’s Garth, Pilgrim’s Way, Hollingbourne
Proposal: Submission of details to discharge condition 4 – Biodiversity subject to 19/505314/FULL.
Decision: NO COMMENT
- 19/506208/TCA – Norton Charity, Broad Street Hill, Hollingbourne
Proposal: Trees in a Conservation area notification: (1) – Lime Tree Approx. 65′ to 75′ tall and width of approx. 20′ to 25′ cut back to 30′ high. (2) Five Beech Trees 40′ tall, 10′ wide, reduce in height by 20′. (3) Beech hedge approx. 18′ and width of 6′, reduce in height by approx. 6′. (4) Beech tree approx. 35 to 40” tall and width 20′, reduce in height by approx. 10′ and sympathetically pruned. (5) Two Yew trees 30′ tall and 20′ wide, reduce in height by about 10′ and sympathetically pruned. (6) Yew tree 45′ x 20′, reduce in height by approx. 20′. Decision: DO NOT WISH TO OBJECT
- 19/505743/FULL – ‘Woodside’, Firs Lane, Hollingbourne
Proposal: Erection of 1 x four-bedroom detached dwelling and 1 x three-bedroom detached chalet dwelling. Decision: OBJECT Due to the size of the properties, their impact on the neighbouring properties and the environment. The Parish Council agreed to call the application into the Planning Committee MBC.
- 19/505748/FULL – ‘Woodside’, Firs Lane, Hollingbourne
Proposal: Erection of detached dwelling together with link extension to double garage and carport with studio/storage above and associated works. Decision: DO NOT WISH TO OBJECT
- 19/506084/SUB – The Dirty Habit PH, Upper Street, Hollingbourne
Proposal: Submission of details pursuant to conditions 2 (details of materials and joinery); 3 (noise management plan; 4 (odour management plan) and 5 (noise management plan) of application 19/503180/FULL. Decision: NO COMMENT
- 19/506031/LBC – Courtyard Studios, Hollingbourne House, Hollingbourne Hill
Proposal: Listed Building Consent for realignment and general repairs of garden walls and repairs to glasshouse building north east of Courtyard Studios. Decision: DNWTO. In addition, Cllr Garten advised that the application 18/506662/FULL for Courtyard Studios had been pulled into Committee for its fair review.
- Environmental / Parks Committee Report (Availability of trees for the village) –
- The Clerk had received an email with regards to the purchase of trees from a nationwide conservation charity, but the Parish Councillors feel that the price and the size of the trees available would not be a sound investment. However, the Parish Council has been in liaison with another charity who are offering ‘free of charge’ trees. The trees are available for all landowners, as well as for on Parish Council land. Specifications of the trees are required, for instance, what species and size are they and how many are available? The Clerk will forward the information onto the Hollingbourne Meadows Trust for their perusal before the information is placed on the Parish website.
- Finance Report –
- There is £30,163.95 in the Parish Council’s combined bank accounts as of the 2nd January 2020. The Parish Councillors authorised the cheques drawn by the Clerk. A Finance Meeting will also be held on the 20th January 2020, so that the Precept for the next financial year can be finalised, amongst other items. Please see item 7.f.
- Highways and Infrastructure Committee Report–
- A meeting is due to take place early February with the KCC Highways, Cllr Mrs Prendergast, and the Parish Council to discuss the Highways Plan for the village, and ascertain what funding is available to carry out improvements and what highway improvements are attainable. Items on the Highways Plan include the safety of pedestrian crossing on the A20, Speedwatch and the traffic concerns in Upper Street. Please see item 9.b.
- It was resolved by Cllr Ardley that the Clerk proceeds with setting up the Speedwatch group in Hollingbourne and purchase Speedwatch equipment accordingly. The Parish Councillors were all in agreement with this proposal and residents are ready to volunteer with their help. Please see item 5.a. Action: The Clerk
- As per the recent election in Central Government and Brexit, the metal barriers which were installed for ‘Operation Brock’ along the M20 are now being removed, which should improve the traffic flow immensely. Please see item 7.c.
- With regards to speeding in the village, the Parish Council is often asked why the main through road cannot have repeat speed restriction signs along it, and the reason is because the village has regular street lighting in this area. The website link www.speedlimit.org.uk/speed_markings.html explains this law clearly by stating that ‘any road with regular street lighting has a default speed limit of 30 mph unless signs indicate otherwise. The entry to a 30 mph zone must be marked by a “30” sign on both sides of the road, but no repeater signs are permitted within the zone (on the grounds that they might be confusing if some roads had them and others didn’t). “30” roundels on the road surface are however permitted, with a special dispensation’.
- Inconsiderate parking within the village, particularly in the Upper Street area, causes many problems for pedestrians and road users. Local residents in this area are in liaison with the PCSO regarding the matter. Double or single yellow lines are a possibility within the village, but the opinions of the residents in the proposed areas would need to be considered before any changes took place. The RAC website on link https://www.rac.co.uk/drive/advice/legal/parking-guide/ give the following advice and the laws around the road markings, when it states: ‘A double yellow line – either painted on the road or on the kerb – means parking and waiting are not permitted at any time. In some cases, there might be seasonal restrictions, which will be indicated by signs at the roadside. Loading and unloading may be permitted, providing you can be seen doing so continuously – unless there are specific restrictions against it, indicated either by signage or yellow ‘kerb dashes’. A single yellow line – either painted on the road or on the kerb – means no waiting, parking, loading or unloading at the times shown on the accompanying sign and the restrictions tend to be lifted during evenings and weekends, and this will be indicated on the parking sign. Blue Badge holders can park on single or double yellow lines for a maximum of three hours, providing there isn’t signage to say otherwise, it is safe to do so and it is not causing an obstruction for other drivers’.
- Fête Sub-Committee Report – Cllr D Ardley
- Arrangements for the event are progressing well and the next Fete meeting will be on the 3rd February 2020, at 8.00 pm in The Sugar Loaves PH. UPDATE: Following the Sugar Loaves and The Windmill PH’s being closed on the 3rd February the next Monday 24rd February 2020 commencing at 8.00 pm in The Dirty Habit PH. Action: Cllr D Ardley / The Clerk
- Brexit (Operation Brock) and its impact on Hollingbourne– Please see items 7.c. and 16.c.
Date of next meeting: Monday 10th February 2020, 7.30 pm, Cardwell Pavilion, Hollingbourne