HOLLINGBOURNE PARISH COUNCIL MEETING 13th JULY 2020
Please find below the minutes of the meeting of Hollingbourne Parish Council monthly meeting held on Monday 13th July 2020, 7.30 pm, online via Microsoft Teams, due to COVID-19 Government recommendations. The Clerk made sure that public were invited to the online meeting on the agenda notice. To action this request, their email address was required by the Clerk and they could then be invited to the meeting, via email. This is a necessary requirement, as although the Parish Council can have online meetings at this time, they must still be audible to the public if they wish to listen.
Present: Cllr A Ward (Chairman), Cllr S Hulme (Vice-Chairman), Cllr Dr S Bauer, Cllr D Ardley,
Cllr A Marshall, Cllr C O’Meara and Cllr C Gooding
Attendance: Cllr Mrs S Prendergast (KCC), Cllr Patrik Garten (Maidstone BC), two members of the public
and Mrs V Smith –Parish Clerk
- Apologies for absence: 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 8th June 2020 are a true and accurate record of the meeting.
- Matters Arising (not covered elsewhere on the agenda) – none
5.a. The Clerk has chased up the Manager at the Roadchef Services, M20, Junction 8 for a response to her previous letter with regards to crime prevention at the location. As to date, no response has been received from Roadchef Services, the Clerk will see if there is another Head Office address in which the correspondence could be sent. Action: The Clerk
6.b. Cllr Ward has emailed Mr Balfour-Lynn’s (Hush Heath) legal team, with regards to handing back the Village Hall to them before the deadline of August 2020. The booking of the hall is now carried out via The Windmill PH.
- Chairman’s Report –
- The Chairman has received a letter from the Bearsted and Thurnham Society with regards to a reduction of the 60mph limit along the Ashford Road to 40mph, from between the Junction 8 roundabout for the M20, to just before the Tesco Express garage where the 30mph limit starts. Cllr O’Meara is in agreement but expressed that the speed reduction needs to be extended into the area where pedestrians, including school children, cross the road to reach the bus stop on the opposite side. The Parish Councillors agreed that they should give its support to the action, but it would all depend on the KCC Highways to implement the decision. It should be recognised that the number of fatalities involved in accidents along the Ashford Road have quite often been ‘single’ vehicles at night, with the possibility of alcohol/drugs being the underlining cause of the incident. Generally, statistics give credence to speed limits being changed and it may be difficult to maintain a 40mph as the road is so wide and there is no physical reason for people to slow down. However, if there was a ‘gateway’ system within the distance of the road, it is possible that the road-users would reduce their speed. Cllr O’Meara will write a letter of support to the Bearsted and Thurnham Society and copy the other Parish Councillors into the response. UPDATE: Please see the Kent Online link https://www.kentonline.co.uk/maidstone/news/its-only-a-matter-of-time-before-theres-a-death-230850/ for more information.
- Cllr Ward has also been contacted by the village school with regards to speeding and highways safety. The school gate to its field had been smashed through, and thankfully this did not happen when the children were in the playground/field, as the incident would have had far worse consequences.
If residents witnessed the damage to the gate, please advise the school of any information via 01622 880270 or via http://www.hollingbourne.kent.sch.uk/about-us/contact-us/ . Alternatively, the Parish Clerk can be contacted on 07856 180003, or firstname.lastname@example.org and she can advise the school.
- Police Report – (via email)
- The report for the Hollingbourne and neighbouring Hucking area taken from www.e-watch.co is unavailable at the moment due to the COVID regulations, but the Police UK website supplied the following information:
In total, within the confines of the village, there was one crime and three anti-social behaviour reports for the latter part of May 2020. These consisted of a crime report case of violence or sexual offences taking place on or near Troys Mead. The three cases of anti-social behaviour took place on or near Glosrose Engineering, Old Mill Road, Troys Mead and Greenway Court Road.
In total, within the Maidstone Services, M20, Junction 8, there were five crime reports in May 2020, two of which were for ‘other theft’ which includes theft by an employee, blackmail and making off without payment; two crime reports for ‘vehicle crime’ and one report for ‘criminal damage and arson’.
There have also been various reports of crime and anti-social behaviour in May for local villages consisting of five reports of anti-social behaviour, four taking place in Broad Street Hill and one along Ringlestone Road. One crime report for burglary took place in Church Road, Hucking and two crime reports of burglary and criminal damage with arson in Mattison Place, off The Street, Wormshill.
- Regular police reports are also placed upon the Parish website for resident’s information, together with details of ‘scams’ which people need to be vigilant not to become tricked by. Please see the link https://www.hollingbournepc.kentparishes.gov.uk/june-rural-crime-report/ for the June 2020 report. Information can also be obtained from the Kent Police website https://www.kent.police.uk/ .
- The Clerk was contacted this month by a resident concerned about the site of naked ramblers walking down the Pilgrim’s Way towards Harrietsham, who had surprised/shocked a member of her family. The Clerk reported the matter to the PCSO via email. Cllr Ward had also heard reports of the ramblers going about their business in neighbouring villages. Hopefully, the Parish Council will be able to have more liaison with the PCSO after September 2020, to establish what he can do to help the villagers, and if Police Surgeries are feasible under the COVID-19 regulations.
- 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.
- Co-option of the new Parish Councillor
- The Parish Council abided by all COVID-19 regulations, advised by the Maidstone BC, whilst advertising the vacancy of Parish Councillor in advance of the July Parish Meeting. Two interested parties wished to join the Parish Council. At the meeting both residents expressed their reasons for wanting to become Parish Councillors. Cllr Ward explained that the Parish Councillors would then vote on who they would like to accept onto the Parish Council on this occasion, and they would be contacted by him on the following day. The two interested parties left the ‘virtual’ meeting at this point. (The vote was carried out at this meeting by the Parish Councillors emailing the Clerk privately, during the meeting, with their preference. Subsequently, the Clerk advised the result of the vote to all of the members later in the meeting).
- Clerk’s Report –
- KALC (Kent Association of Local Councils) has issued a Consultation on a New Model Member Code of Conduct . The consultation deadline is 17th August. The Clerk thinks that the new model is excellent and far less ambiguous in its guidelines for Parish Councillors. The Parish Councillors have received a copy of the document and were asked to respond to the consultation.
- The Clerk had received an enquiry as to whether the stocks on the Eyhorne Green could be opened for photographs to be taken with them. This would in a sense seem harmless, however, the lock on the equipment was glued many years ago so that it cannot be opened for health and safety reasons. In addition, the Parish Council’s public liability insurance doesn’t cover its usage, and so the stocks are not workable for this reason.
- Works are progressing well for the Parish Website and the need for it to be compliant with Website Accessibility Initiative WCAG2.1. Action: The Clerk
- Various maintenance works have been carried out at the Cardwell Pavilion during the COVID lockdown period, with all health and safety procedures in place to prevent infection.
- Defibrillators – Cllr A Marshall
- Cllr Marshall has checked the defibrillator machines in the village and they are good for action. However, initially, she couldn’t access the machine outside of the school easily as there was a barrier fencing (due to COVID-19 regulations) around the area. UPDATE: Cllr Ward has reported that the fence has now been moved and there is now clear access to the machine outside of the school.
- The Clerk is in the process of finding out whether a paediatric set of pads can be fixed upon the machine placed outside of the Village Hall. Please see the link https://www.train-aid.co.uk/blog/different-pad-placement-for-aed-on-a-child , for more information on this matter. 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 email@example.com, 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
- It has been a very busy time for the KCC and they have been at the forefront of much of the COVID response. There is a comprehensive update on the KCC, and information on the Parish website, link https://www.hollingbournepc.kentparishes.gov.uk/a-message-from-kcc-cabinet-member-shellina-prendergast/ with an update on the services available during this pandemic. The County Hall has also launched a budget review consultation, please see link https://www.hollingbournepc.kentparishes.gov.uk/kent-county-council-budget-consultations/ .
- The KCC is in the process of opening twelve public libraries, one in every district. There are up to fifty different tests involved in making a public building COVID-19 safe. The libraries will operate on a ‘select and collect’ service, rather than browsing for books.
- The Waste and Recycling Centres have now re-opened but it is vital that visitors pre-book to attend the centres via an online booking system and this can now be done 28 days in advance. Please see the link https://www.kent.gov.uk/waste-planning-and-land/rubbish-and-recycling/visiting-a-hwrc-during-coronavirus . The booking is essential to guarantee that visitors and waste operatives can remain safe and abide by social distancing measures.
- Cllr Mrs S Prendergast is happy to support and do what she can to action the proposed 40mph speed limit in the Ashford Road area (please see item 5.a.). The Bearsted and Thurnham Group and the Kent Messenger have been in touch with Cllr Mrs Prendergast and Cllr P Garten. It is good that joint parishes are supporting this proposal. The strategic road network will need to be taken into consideration for any decisions being made by the KCC.
- KCC Highways are in contact with Cllr D Ardley with regards to highways issues. Cllr Mrs Prendergast’s promised £5000 towards the Parish Council’s works within the village needs to be allocated and budgeted by the end of the year.
- Hollingbourne Hill is a difficult area to tackle in improving road safety. The parked cars are an issue, but they do help to slow the traffic down. However, the parked vehicles in the area down to the footpath are a hazard to pedestrians and speeding road-users need to be caught. Speed cushions have their uses, but in this area of the village, they would be too noisy. The KCC and the Parish Council will continue to look for solutions. Inconsiderate parking around the school is also a problem which needs to be tackled.
- The Clerk is writing to Matthew Scott, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Kent, to enquire whether the online reporting of anti-social highway behaviour can made more accessible. Cllr Mrs Prendergast will be copied into this letter. There is always a burning frustration on neighbourhood forums about the local highways, for example, speeding vehicles. The KCC’s highways engineering is not always the answer to these issues – speeding and illegal vehicles are the concern and problem of the Police.
- Borough Councillor’s Report – Cllr Patrik Garten
- Cllr Garten advised that the Woodcut Farm land which had previously been permitted outline permission for commercial enterprise (ref: 17/502331/OUT), has changed ownership from Roxhill to Clearbell. Therefore, it would appear that the planning application is back on the table, with a view to sustainable business growth. There is an 11mtr height restriction to the buildings and these taller buildings will have ‘green roofs’ to support ecology. English (native) evergreen trees will be planted around the buildings, together with the use of solar panels included in the development design. It is seen that the new owners of the land are keen in working alongside with the Maidstone BC in the development of this area. Cllr Garten has copied the Parish Council into any emails in relation to this matter.
- Please see Cllr Garten’s latest newsletter on the Parish website https://www.hollingbournepc.kentparishes.gov.uk/patrik-garten-mbc-councillor-for-north-downs-ward-recent-newsletter-july-2020/ where issues and information which will be of interest the residents of Hollingbourne are candidly discussed and worth reading.
- Planning Committee Report – Cllr C O’Meara & Cllr C Gooding
- 20/503018/FULL – 1 & 2 White Gate Cottages, Hollingbourne Hill, Hollingbourne
Proposal: Demolition of 2 no. semi-detached dwellings and garages and erection of 3 no. attached residential dwellings. (Resubmission of 20/500103/FULL).
Decision: DO NOT WISH TO OBJECT ‘DNWTO’.
- 20/502337/FULL – Target Cottage, Greenway Court Road, Hollingbourne
Proposal: Erection of detached garage/store building (carriage house style) with timber framed/timber clad and oak front/tiled roof. Decision: DNWTO
- 20/502404/FULL & 20/502392/LBC – Mill House, Upper Street, Hollingbourne
Proposal: Conversion of Mill into habitable space ancillary to main dwelling with insertion of rooflights. Works to include the erection of two storey front glazed extension, single storey rear extension with balcony, external staircase to side, bridge to rear, alterations to roof, windows and doors and internal alterations. Decision: The Parish Council has left this application for the Planning Department’s decision, as the comments due date has now passed.
- Planning Inspectorate appeal: APP/U2235/W/20/3248091 – 1 & 2 New Cottages, Upper Street, Holl.
Proposal: Erection of two storey extensions to 1 & 2 New Cottages, to form 4 x terraced properties in place of a pair of semi-detached properties. (Ref: 19/502435/FULL).
Reason for appeal: The Council refused permission. Parish Council had refused due to additional traffic the development may cause in the area.
- 18/506662/FULL – Courtyard Studios, Hollingbourne House, Hollingbourne Hill, Hollingbourne
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.
UPDATE: Cllr P Garten has recommended that this application be brought to the Planning Committee.
- Environmental / Parks Committee Report – (including the Village Hall and Millennium Green)
- The signs to the entrance to the Millennium Green have been repaired and laminated notices are now placed in the area of the Millennium Green pond advising visitors not to disturb the clay lining of the pond. This is because it is vital that the lining is intact for the water to remain in it when it is refilled. The paths within the green will also need to be cleared. In Autumn, some new trees will also be planted in the area. The Meadows Trust help is very much appreciated in these matters and Cllr Ward, together with the other Parish Councillors, agreed that a small donation to their charity as a token of gratitude would be appropriate.
- Two quotations have been obtained for the removal of a very large and dead branch from one of the trees on the Millennium Green (only two quotations are necessary as the cost of the works is under £500). Cllr Marshall will organise this work to take place. Other works need to take place within the green, including the maintenance of the container. This may need to be repaired or replaced with a structure which can be constructed on site.
- Cllr Marshall recently helped the Parish Council obtain funding for the Millennium Green and is obtaining a quotation from the local shed and shelter company for a duck house.
- A new provisional date of the 12th September 2020 was suggested for a litter-pick in the village, but this will only take place if COVID-19 restrictions have relaxed sufficiently. New litter-picker devices and gloves would also be necessary.
- The grass on Tanyard Green has been cut but COVID-19 related restrictions have led to the planters on the Tanyard Green not being re-stocked. Cllr Ardley will report back on the maintenance of the green for the next Parish Meeting.
- The Parish Council has been granted £18,500 S106 money from the developers of the Brickfield Close housing within the village. The Parish Council has been instructed by the local authorities to use the money on the provision of equipment within the village playground only. Cllr Ward will investigate the options and costs involved, including the replacement of the ‘cradle’ which was stolen, necessary repairs to existing equipment and items for older youths. Cllr Ardley suggested the details of the play equipment be considered in a site meeting with the contractors, hopefully held after normal working hours so that more Parish Councillors can be present. Cllr Gooding expressed that care needs to be taken over the position of the equipment, as the land may need to be used in the future. It is important that any new equipment does not encroach upon the football pitch area.
- Cllr Hulme reminded the Parish Councillors that a few years ago, a lot of money had been spent by the Parish Council on the up keep of the pétanque pitch to the back of the Cardwell Pavilion, and was it still to be maintained? Cllr Ward, with the support of the other Parish Councillors, said that it should be taken care of. Cllr Hulme will investigate the matter and report back. Cllr Ardley added that temporary fencing can be put around the pitch whilst works are taking place.
- Cllr Gooding is in liaison with members of the Village Hall Committee with regards to business rate relief available from the Maidstone BC, due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Hollingbourne PC are the trustees of the Village Hall, but it is run by an independent Village Hall Committee. Cllr Gooding believes that in the past there must have been a resolution / constitution made, regarding to what happens to all of the funds available, when the current arrangements with the Village Hall finish in August 2020. Cllr Gooding will report back on this matter.
- Finance Committee Report – Cllr D Ardley / Cllr S Hulme
- There has been quite a lot of expenditure for the Parish Council in June 2020, including new CCTV cameras. A total of £41,591.83 is in the Parish Council’s combined bank accounts as of the 2nd July 2020, and the cheques raised by the Clerk were agreed upon. Cllr Ardley signed the cheques for the Clerk at a separate time to the meeting (COVID-19 safety measures abided to).
- The Clerk advised the Parish Councillors that the end of year accounts are now with the internal auditor for their inspection. There hasn’t been any rental income of the Cardwell Pavilion for the Parish Council this month due to the hall being closed due to the pandemic restrictions.
- The Clerk will question the waste collection charges being made by the Maidstone BC contractors for the Parish Council over this ‘lock down’ period, as it is not believed that conclusive with the number of bins having been emptied.
- Highways and Infrastructure Committee Report – Cllr D Ardley / Cllr C O’Meara
- a. The KCC Highways had sent an email to Cllr Ardley, which was discussed at the April 2020 Parish Meeting, with regards to the options available to the villagers to improve the roads. Unfortunately, the recent pandemic events have meant that the KCC travel fund schemes have put all of the Highway Plan schemes ‘on hold’. Cllr Ward said that the main areas which need to be addressed are the Upper Street area, outside of the school and the crossing of the A20 near the Great Danes roundabout. The Parish Council needs to work out where the money available from Cllr Mrs Prendergast can be spent within the village – but in the process, the Parish Council is not going to be able to please all of the residents. (Please see item 10.e.)
- Cllr Ardley advised that potential waiting restriction lines in the Upper Street area would cost between £2,000 and £2,500. However, the public house in the vicinity has opened up a new parking area for their customers, which should help the situation. The KCC cannot support the moving of the speed signs up the Hollingbourne Hill for traffic approaching the village from this entrance and speed tables slow traffic down in that area only. Local reports have shown that the police have apprehended a number of illegal motorcyclists in the area, but they cannot patrol the village all of the time. In addition, outside of the school there is a constant concern over inconsiderate parking and speeding.
- With regards to the formation of a Speedwatch group within the village, the use of the equipment could be operated within the various ‘hot spots’ on the roads. The Police can give advice as to the specification of the product which would support the prosecution of a speeding road-user, but cannot recommend any company suppliers. Cllr Ward said that with Cllr Mrs Prendergast’s grant money of £5,000 could be match funded by the Parish Council, and a worthwhile purchase made with it.
- Fête Sub-Committee Report – Cllr D Ardley & Cllr A Ward –
- It is proposed that a meeting for the 2021 fete will be held in September / October 2020. Further updates to be become available depending on COVID-19 regulations.
Date of next meeting: Monday 14th September 2019, 7.30 pm, Cardwell Pavilion, Hollingbourne