June 2019 Minutes.

The Minutes of the Hollingbourne Parish Council Meeting of 19th June 2019 that were approved at the Parish Council Meeting on 8th July in the Cardwell Pavilion.

Minutes of the meeting of Hollingbourne Parish Council held on Monday 10th June 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), seven members of the public and Mrs V Smith –Parish Clerk.

1. Apologies for absence: Cllr Mrs S Prendergast (KCC) – (meeting clash)

2. Declarations and Requests
Declaration of Changes to the Register of Interests – none; Declaration of Interest in items on the Agenda – Cllr O’Meara is the neighbour of applicants for 19/502451/FULL – 2 Park Gate Cottages, Hollingbourne and therefore will not vote on the planning decision. 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 13th May 2019 are a true and accurate record of the meeting, except for a sentence repeated twice in the Police report, item 6a.

4. Matters Arising (not covered elsewhere on the agenda) – none
8b. The Clerk is in the process of obtaining quotations for the correction of sign-writing on the blue notice board outside of the Cardwell Pavilion. Action: The Clerk
15b. The dog fouling notice at the entrance of Millennium Green has now been re-erected. Action: The Clerk

5. Christopher’s Village Shop (its future) – Mr C Rudgard
a. On the previous occasion when Christopher was going to ‘call time’ on running the village shop and weekly post office, some serious interest had been expressed by retailers in a neighbouring village about taking over, but they had been put off the idea of running the store as residents living above the shop needed access through it at all times. Because of his compassion for the villagers and understanding their need for a local shop, Christopher carried on running the store, but the time has now come to stop as for the last three to four years the business has dealt with big financial losses due to staff costs and lack of footfall, which has contributed to a drop in turnover. The demographics of the village have changed since Christopher took over running the shop with more people food shopping ‘online’ and fewer people buying newspapers. Christopher advised that there are no restrictions on opening times for the shop, and he will welcome enquiries from anybody who would like to take over the running of the shop, and turn it back into a viable business, as he will be leaving early in 2020. The other alternative is to turn the store into a Community Shop, being run by volunteers rather than paid staff. Christopher has spoken to the landlord of the shop, who does not charge him any rent as he is also keen to keep the village shop in Hollingbourne. The landlord reserves the right to approve any new operators of the shop, but as a Community Shop, he would not charge any rent. Christopher will in the meantime, present his accounts to the Parish Council, as at the moment he can only supply estimates of figures. The Clerk will speak to the organisers of the Community Shop at Chart Sutton, to see how they set up their store. A lady within the village, who attended the Parish Meeting, has kindly offered to provide her proactive support and will shortly be issuing a questionnaire to all houses in the locality asking for input from the residents about supporting a ‘Community Shop’. Please visit the Parish Council website for further information and updates. Action: The Clerk / Mr C Rudgard (accounts, etc)

6. War Memorial (Discrepancy on War Hero’s name on the plaque) – Cllr A Ward
a. At the Parish Meeting the plaque at the war memorial was discussed. The Parish Council is responsible for the upkeep of the war memorial and so can only make a decision on amendments to the plaque. The Parish Council were approached in November 2018, from the great-nephew of the War Hero with regards to a discrepancy of his name on the plaque and the Role of Honour in the Church. The matter was looked into by the Royal British Legion and Mrs Helen Whately (MP) at the time, and there has been a recent article within the Kent Messenger newspaper with regards to the name discrepancy. Cllr Ward proposed that a price is obtained for the changing of the name on the plaque without delay. Cllr P Garten also suggested that there may be monetary support in the pipeline for carrying out the work. If the cost of the works is less than £200, the Clerk can proceed immediately. With regards to the matter of the amendment of the Church’s Role of Honour, this will have to be the Church’s decision. This item will be on next month’s Parish Meeting agenda. Action: The Clerk (to obtain costings, etc)

7. Police Report – (via email)
a. The report for the Hollingbourne and neighbouring Hucking area taken from www.e-watch.co , since the 20th May 2019 showed three crime reports, emanating from the M20, Junction 8 services and these being:
• On Sunday, 16th June between 3.50 am and 4.03 am in M20 Junction 8 services. Person(s) have stolen items from the front seat of a vehicle.
• Between 8.00 pm on Friday, 14th June and 9.10 am on Saturday, 15th June in M20, Junction 8 services, a vehicle was broken into whilst left parked in the service area.
• On Monday, 3rd June around 2.43 am in M20, Junction 8, a vehicle parked in the road was broken into.
The Police UK web site advised that 2019 figures for Kent were unavailable.
b. PCSO Genn, was glad to advise that there has been no anti-social behaviour and other incidents of note reported to the Police since the 20th May 2019. Speedwatch / Speed ‘gunning’ has been carried out within the village this month and further assessment of the new area for speed gunning carried out. As an update to previous reported issues, PCSO Genn advised that patrols on the corner of Upper Street, near the Manor found that there were no vehicles requiring moving on by officer assessment. Also, the patrol of the byway encountered no issues. As previously mentioned in the Parish Council May meeting minutes, there had been a theft of plant machinery on the 3rd May 2019 within the village and criminal damage to a fence on the 11th May 2019.
c. 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.

8. Chairman’s Report –
a. Cllr Ward has received further email correspondence from a resident in Upper Street with regards to speeding vehicles in the area. This is an ongoing problem and the resident has been advised to report every incident to the Police. The Parish Council is aiming to produce a Highways Plan for the village of Hollingbourne, and plan to develop a scheme for the project. Cllr P Garten said that the Police recommended moving the speed restriction signs further up the Hollingbourne Hill before you enter the village from this direction. The Parish Council should collect a set of questions and concerns from the residents, and then arrange to meet with Cllr Mrs Shellina Prendergast and the Highways Department to start making a difference. ‘Speeding’ will now be an ongoing Agenda item for the Parish Council Meetings.
b. In contrast to the above matter, complaints were also received about the necessary highway works which took place along Eyhorne Street at the beginning of the month, which left the village closed off and therefore unnaturally peaceful for approximately four days. As a result of this some resident’s took Cllr Patrik’s Report https://www.hollingbournepc.kentparishes.gov.uk/june-2019-newsletter-from-our-maidstone-borough-councillor/ quite literally when he suggested closing off the railway arch. Please see the further link https://www.hollingbournepc.kentparishes.gov.uk/no-gates-under-the-hollingbourne-railway-bridge-says-borough-councillor/ which confirms that this was suggested ‘tongue in cheek’ and is not going to happen.
c. Cllr Ward suggested that the Parish Council develop their own ‘mission statement’ for the 2019/20 year and onwards, which will highlight key issues for the village and objectives to improve the situation. The Clerk will look into this matter.
d. Cllr Ward advised that depending on willing volunteers, the Hollingbourne Brownies can start again in September 2019, on a Wednesday evening from the Cardwell Pavilion. More information will be made available shortly.

9. White Post at the top of Hollingbourne Hill – Cllr D Ardley
a. Item 9a – The quotations had been received and an order placed with Jaxx Country Furniture to provide and install the replacement finger post. At the time of the meeting no update had been received on the planned delivery date and Cllr Ardley was to obtain an update.

10. Clerk’s Report
a. The Parish Council’s 2018/9 Year Accounts have now been completed and returned by the Accountant carrying out the internal audit. The Clerk will send the documentation off to the External Auditor within the next week, once it has been signed off by the Chairman, and copies of the documentation are then placed on the Parish website.
b. The IT company who have supplied the Parish Council with a new laptop for the Clerk, following the ‘expiry’ of the previous equipment, has suggested that a new contact email address be set up for the Parish Council. The company has looked into being the ‘domain’ company for the Parish Council, but they have discovered that the existing domain company, who also provide the website, would be able to arrange a new email address instead. This matter will be looked into.
c. The Clerk asked whether prices could be obtained for the interior decorating of the Cardwell Pavilion, as an excellent job has been made in repainting the exterior of the building. The Parish Councillors have agreed that an estimate for the works be obtained with a view to having the works carried out in 2020. Recent expenses for the Parish Council, some expected and some not, have meant that money is tight. The Clerk will obtain a cost for the works. Action: The Clerk

11. Defibrillators – Cllr A Marshall (update next month)

12. County Councillor’s Report – Cllr Mrs S Prendergast (nothing to report at the meeting)

13. Borough Councillor’s Report – Cllr Patrik Garten
a. Following the Borough Councillor elections on the 2nd May 2019, the Conservatives remain the largest party within the Maidstone BC but they do not have overall control. The new Leader of the Council is now Cllr Martin Cox and details of the leadership of the new committees will follow.
b. Cllr Garten was quick to confirm that he was just jesting when he suggested gates at the railway arch within the village, and please see item 8.b. in the Chairman’s Report. However, he did warn that the traffic situation within the village will get worse before it gets better, when the works on the A249 and Stockbury Roundabout take place. Please see Cllr Garten’s regular newsletters and reports on the Parish website, where issues and information which will be of interest to the residents of Hollingbourne are candidly discussed.
c. Various reports have been published in the Kent Messenger newspaper with regards to matters discussed being ‘leaked’ to the press following a Policy and Resources hearing taking place at Maidstone BC with reference to a large amount of properties being built within the locality. The Parish Councillors asked Cllr Garten about an update on the option made for a development called Binbury Park, near the A249. Cllr Garten could only advise that this would probably be the biggest development proposed in this country on AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) land, but even so it would not be big enough for Maidstone BC to accommodate the house numbers to be built as requested by Central Government.

14. Planning Committee Report – Cllr A Ward
a. 19/502591/FULL – 23 Culpeper Close, Hollingbourne
Proposal: Part single storey, part two storey side extension. Decision: DNWTO (all in favour)
b. 19/502595/NMAMD – The Oast House, Pilgrim’s Way, Hollingbourne
Proposal: Non material amendment for external material change – sedum roof to single storey element to the rear subject to 18/506075/FULL. Decision: DNWTO (all in favour)
c. 19/502600/NMAMD – The Oast House, Pilgrim’s Way, Hollingbourne
Proposal: Non material amendment being proposed log burner and matte black chimney flue along south east elevation subject to 18/506075/FULL. Decision: DNWTO (all in favour)

d. 19/502451/FULL – 2 Park Gate Cottages, Ashford Road, Hollingbourne
Proposal: The demolition of an existing structure to the rear and the erection of a single storey side and rear extension. Decision: DNWTO (all Parish Councillors in favour, except for Cllr O’Meara who abstained as she is a neighbour of the property).
e. 19/502465/SUB – Charity Farm Barn, Pilgrim’s Way, Hollingbourne
Proposal: Submission of details to discharge condition 3 (materials) subject to 18/501665/FULL. Decision: DNWTO (all in favour)
f. 19/502583/FULL – Land Rear of 44 Culpeper Close, Hollingbourne
Proposal: Demolition of existing garage and erection of proposed new detached commercial unit with ground floor parking (resubmission of 18/506370/FULL). Decision: DNWTO (all in favour)
g. 19/502795/NMAMD -Land East of Eyhorne Street (between Godfrey House and Claygate)
Proposal: Non material amendment to split the terrace units 9-12 into 2 semi-detached homes with a 1 metre access gap between the plots of planning permission 16/508640/FULL.
Decision: OBJECT (all in agreement). The reason being that this is not seen as a non-material amendment as it is changing the fundamental style of properties and the application is substantially changing the original consent. The requirement for smaller properties in the village was welcome by the Parish Council, but the new proposals are not of this type.
h. UPDATE: Cllr Cobbett had attended a meeting at the Maidstone Town Hall with Cllr P Garten, with regards to affordable housing and social housing. There is a critical issue with the lack of social housing, at 50% of market rates, as none have been built in the Maidstone area for the past five years. It was noted that housing building standards are higher for social housing than for the private homes on the open market. There are also difficulties in persuading developers to provide “affordable housing” at 70% of market rates.

15. Environmental / Parks Committee Report –
a. Cllr Ardley advised that he hadn’t yet received a response to his email to the Fernham Homes developers with regards to the clearance of the hedge around the site, which was carried out during bird nesting season, together with contractors working, including the burning of trees, on the Good Friday bank holiday. Cllr Ardley will chase the matter up. On the same subject, Cllr Dr Bauer was very distressed to report that hedge cutting had taken place by the KCC, at the Ashford Road entrance to the village, between the Hollingbourne and Leeds Castle roundabouts, which once again took place in the bird nesting season. The works resulted in three or more nests being destroyed and a baby bird being found dead on the pavement. This is not acceptable and the KCC should not be cutting hedges at this time of the year. The Parish Council, like many members of the village, is very concerned about the falling numbers of wild birds in the County and works being carried out like this are barbaric. Cllr Ardley will raise this matter with the Highways Department and copy Cllr Mrs S Prendergast into the correspondence.
b. Cllr Marshall has obtained a quotation for use of an excavator to empty the pond on Millennium Green. The works are for two people labouring over five days, with the Parish Council insuring the excavator for the duration of the maintenance. The pond is at the moment dry, but it is as aimed after the pond works to bring it back to its former state. Due to the cost of the works it was proposed by the Parish Council to obtain two further quotations for the works. Action: Cllr Marshall
c. Cllr Marshall met up with the Clerk with regards to fixing the ‘dog owner’s’ sign on the bridge at the entrance of the Millennium Green (please see item 4, 15.b). This work has now been carried out, and the Clerk is making enquiries as to renewing the sign-writing on both notices outside the park, as well as amending the details on the blue sign outside of the Cardwell Pavilion. Action: The Clerk
d. Cllr Garten has kindly organised the reservation of a bin and bench with Maidstone BC for the Parish Council, and the bin of which will be placed near the entrance of the Millennium Green. The Clerk is waiting for confirmation from South East Rail to see if the bench can be placed at the entrance of the Railway Approach.
e. Cllr Ward advised that the aerial runway play equipment in the children’s playground should have a notice on it to advise that it is only to be used by 6 – 12 years old children. The Clerk will check to see if this notification is upon it, and if not contact the supplier for a notice to be installed. Action: The Clerk

16. Finance Report –
a. There is £46,601.86 in the Parish Council’s combined bank accounts as of the 2nd June 2019. The Parish Councillors authorised the cheques drawn by the Clerk.

17. Highways and Infrastructure Committee Report –
a. Regular updates from Highways England with regards to works taking place on the M20 are put on the village website.
b. Please see item 7.b. Police Report, the Chairman’s Report and item 9 with regards to the white post at the top of Hollingbourne Hill.

18. Fête Sub-Committee Report – Cllr D Ardley & Cllr A Ward
a. Despite the gales and deluges of rain on the day of the fete, the event was a success. The Parish Councillors would like to thank all of those who faithfully stayed to the end of the event, together with the many volunteers who helped make the day run smoothly. The pluck and determination of the children, and adults, taking part in the dances and races was also very much appreciated and their displays were very enjoyable to watch.

19. Twinning Sub-Committee Report – Cllr J Cobbett
a. The Twinning Committee has now dissolved as there had been total silence from Templeuve since November 2018, despite efforts on behalf of Hollingbourne to rekindle a relationship. Funds in the Twinning Committee’s bank have now been handed back to the Parish Council. As stated in the minutes last month, these funds consist of £250 which had been donated to the Twinning Committee by the Parish Council in February 2015, but the money being returned by the Committee is £479.97 and this will be ‘ring-fenced’ within the Parish Council’s finances for any possible rebirth of the Twinning arrangement. With this in mind Cllr Ward advised Cllr Cobbett to hold fire on formally giving notice of terminating the relationship with Templeuve. There has been an annual golfing event between Hollingbourne and Templeuve in the past and Cllr Cobbett advised that Hollingbourne Golfers have been trying to make an arrangement for a re-match, as they would like to win the prize claret jug back, but Templeuve have not as yet responded.

20. Website (maintaining its future optimum quality) –
a. Cllr Cobbett, the Parish Council’s Webmaster, is leaving the Hollingbourne village in the next few months and somebody will need to take over the maintenance of the Parish Website. Cllr Cobbett advised that the website is run by WordPress package which is fairly easy to learn how to use and he spends between 30 minutes to an hour maintaining the website each day. Cllr Cobbett advised that around 200 people visit the website every day and the information placed upon it generally is picked up from local knowledge, Kent Online, etc. The Clerk has had some training but will meet up with Cllr Cobbett for a ‘refresher’ in the system.

Date of next meeting: Monday 8th July 2019, 7.30 pm, Cardwell Pavilion, Hollingbourne

Signed as a true record:                                                                                                                                               Chairman: Date: