Minutes of the meeting of Hollingbourne Parish Council AGM and monthly meeting held on Monday 11th May 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 D Ardley, Cllr A Marshall,
Cllr C O’Meara and Cllr C Gooding.
Attendance: Cllr P Garten (MBC) and Mrs V Smith –Parish Clerk.
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING:
- Apologies for absence: Cllr Dr S Bauer (computer accessibility)
- The election of Chairman: Cllr Ward is happy to remain as the Chairman for a following year, but will review the position at the next AGM as it is only fair that the other Councillors have the opportunity to hold the Chairman’s position. All Parish Councillors were in favour of Cllr Ward remaining Chairman.
- The election of Vice Chairman: Cllr S Hulme remains happy to stand as the Vice Chairman and was duly elected to the role by all of the Parish Councillors in attendance.
- Election of Committee Chairmen & Allocation of Committee Places:
The following Committee Chairs and members were agreed and duly elected to the role by the six Parish Councillors in attendance:
- Finance: Chair – Cllr D Ardley and Members – Cllr S Hulme and Cllr A Ward
- Planning: Chair – Cllr C O’Meara and Member – Cllr C Gooding
- Environment / Parks: Chair – Cllr Dr S Bauer and Members – Cllr A Marshall and Cllr A Ward
- Highways and Infrastructure: Chair – Cllr D Ardley and Member – Cllr C O’Meara
- Webmaster: Maria Domican (volunteer)
- Main Targets and Concerns of the Parish Council for 2020: To be reviewed at the Finance Meeting, Monday, 18th May 2020, 7.30 pm (online via Microsoft Teams).
- Any Other Urgent Items: None to report.
HOLLINGBOURNE PARISH COUNCIL MEETING MAY 2020:
Present: Cllr A Ward (Chairman), Cllr S Hulme (Vice-Chairman), Cllr D Ardley, Cllr A Marshall,
Cllr C O’Meara and Cllr C Gooding
Attendance: Cllr Patrik Garten, Maidstone BC and Mrs V Smith –Parish Clerk
- Apologies for absence: Cllr Dr S Bauer (computer accessibility), Cllr Mrs S Prendergast (KCC) (work commitments) 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 13th April 2020 are a true and accurate record of the meeting, with the exception of wording in item 9.a. which was adjusted for Cllr Mrs S Prendergast.
- 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. Action: The Clerk
6.b. Cllr Ward is in the process of liaising with Hush Heath, the owners of The Windmill PH, with regards to handing back the Village Hall to them before the deadline of August 2020. In this way the owners of the hall can commence the halls maintenance repairs at their earliest convenience. Action: Cllr A Ward
6.c. The Clerk will as requested produce the notice, advertising the vacancy for the Parish Councillor, in line with the present COVID-19 rules given by the Maidstone BC. The position would be only valid from March 2020 to May 2021, which is when all of the Parish Councillor positions need to be re-elected for. Action: The Clerk
13.a. The Clerk is investigating the installation of a new notice-board near the Church Approach to facilitate the residents at the upper end of the village. The notice-board design will be similar to that situated near the school and it will need to stand on posts. Cllr O’Meara will be able to organise installation of the notice-board, avoiding any underground services, which may be there for the bus stop. Action: The Clerk / Cllr O’Meara
- Chairman’s Report
- Cllr Ward thanked everybody for their great efforts on the 8th May 2020 in remembering and celebrating the 75th anniversary of VE day. Residents were holding little parties in their gardens, and marking the important occasion with much fun as possible, whilst abiding to the ‘lockdown’ rules and regulations. Please see the report on the Parish website via link https://www.hollingbournepc.kentparishes.gov.uk/hollingbourne-prepares-for-ve-day-75th-anniversary-celebrations/ .
- Cllr Ward and the Clerk had been approached by a resident (on separate occasions) with regards to the length of time the pavements lights are on at night. The resident advised that the light outside of her property, is still on at 5.00am in the morning, when it is no longer dark. The Parish Council’s contract with Npower, who provides the electricity for the lights, is called a ‘dusk to dawn’ service. The lights are set to a specific time and because of this the Parish Council does not have any control of the times the lights are operational outside of the contract. Cllr Ardley said that the light may remain on due to shade being produced by surrounding trees onto the light unit. The Clerk wanted to reassure the residents that the cost of the running the pavement lights has reduced by two-thirds since the introduction of ‘led’ bulbs, three years ago. The cost of the pavement lights being on at 5.00 am is absolutely nominal under these circumstances and therefore shouldn’t be a concern of the residents at all.
- 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 for February and March 2020:
In total, within the confines of the village, there were five crime and one anti-social behaviour reports for February and March 2020. These consisted of four cases of violence or sexual offences taking place with the areas of Claygate, the Lance Memorial Field, the Hollingbourne Railway Station and Athelstan Green. One case of anti-social behaviour on or near Athelstan Green and one Public Order Offence on or near Eyhorne Street (between Hasteds and Tilefields).
In total, within the Maidstone Services, M20, Junction 8, there were nine crime and one anti-social behaviour reports for February and March 2020. These consisted of two cases of criminal damage and arson; two cases of other theft (which includes theft by an employee, blackmail and making off without payment); one case of robbery; four cases of all other crime (description unavailable) and one case of anti-social behaviour. (Please see item 4(5.a.)).
- Reports have been made to the Parish Council of equine equipment being stolen from a local stables and agricultural/horticultural equipment being stolen from a popular pub/restaurant outhouse. With this in mind, the Parish Council would urge all residents to be especially vigilant in locking all outhouses, sheds and garages. Padlocks are available which set of a high-decibel alarm when they are tampered with, and these and such like devices may prevent property from being stolen by thieves.
- Additional Police reports and advice are placed on the village website for the residents. Recent information has included helpline advice for people experiencing domestic abuse, which sadly can be exacerbated during the present COVID ‘lockdown’ requirements. As well as the direct ‘999’ contact for the Police, important organisations include National Domestic Abuse Helpline 0808 2000 247; Domestic Abuse Support Services in Kent and Medway www.domesticabuseservices.org.uk/ ; Victim Support 0808 16 89 111 www.victimsupport.org.uk ; Broken Rainbow www.brokenrainbow.org.uk and
Childline 0800 1111. No person should need to suffer alone if they are experiencing domestic abuse and these services, amongst many others, can offer help and advice.
- Please also see the latest report from Matthew Scott, Kent’s Police and Crime Commissioner on link https://www.hollingbournepc.kentparishes.gov.uk/kent-pccs-spring-summer-newsletter-2020/ together with various other Police reports and information about scams which residents need to be alert to.
- 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.
- Clerk’s Report –
- The Clerk has received an email from a local resident expressing concern over the lengthy timespans and regularity of the road closures within the village. This is a great problem experienced by many road travellers as well as the village residents, as the roads used as alternative routes are often narrow, single-track passages. The Parish Council also experiences the same frustration by the highway works, but they do not have any control of the length of time works take to carry out, or the dates of the works. As soon as the Parish Council is notified of local roadworks, the notice is added to the parish website. The utility companies, generally requiring road closure, legally apply to carry out the works via the highways authorities by applying for permits and the works are for the good of the residents. However, residents can be assured that the Parish Council are in full sympathy with their inconvenience of the road closures as it affects everyone.
- Works are progressing well for the Parish Website and the need for it to be compliant with Website Accessibility Initiative WCAG2.1. The Clerk would also like to express her sincere appreciation for Maria who volunteers tirelessly in keeping the Parish website up-to-date with excellent reports and articles for the Parish Council and residents of the village. Maria juggles her volunteering for the Parish Council with her own busy career and homelife and the Clerk would be absolutely lost without her. Action: The Clerk
- Various maintenance works are being carried out at the Cardwell Pavilion during the COVID lockdown period, with all health and safety procedures in place to prevent infection.
- Please see item 4 (6.c.) with regards to the effect of the COVID-19 outbreak and the elections of the Parish Councillors.
- Defibrillators – Cllr A Marshall
- Cllr Marshall has checked the defibrillator machines in the village and they are good for action. 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 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 (via email)
- There has been a lot of interest in Household Waste and Recycling Centres over the last few weeks – which closed down on March 23 as a result of the Covid 19 lockdown. Cllr Mrs Prendergast is pleased to advise that these will be reopening from this Friday 15th May for essential use only via a booking system – available from this Wednesday either online or via a booking system. Further details can be found on https://www.kent.gov.uk/waste-planning-and-land/rubbish-and-recycling/visiting-a-hwrc-during-coronavirus .
- Cllr Mrs S Prendergast is proud of the work that has been done at KCC to protect the vulnerable, support Kent businesses and maintain service delivery where possible. All of these have involved close working with partners and providers and one of the most striking things about the county’s response to the pandemic is how effectively communities and organisations have come together. Infographics showing how just a small fraction of the things that have been achieved in each of these key areas, are very impressive, and are on the Parish website.
- Borough Councillor’s Report – Cllr Patrik Garten
- Cllr Garten reported that a Policy Resources meeting (virtual meeting, held online) had been held by the Maidstone BC, which discussed in depth the proposed Lenham Garden Village. If the scheme should take place, there would be a need to push for a new motorway exit. Please see link https://www.maidstone.gov.uk/home/primary-services/council-and-democracy/primary-areas/your-councillors?sq_content_src=%2BdXJsPWh0dHBzJTNBJTJGJTJGbWVldGluZ3MubWFpZHN0b25lLmdvdi51ayUyRmllTGlzdERvY3VtZW50cy5hc3B4JTNGQ0lkJTNENTc3JTI2TUlkJTNEMzQ5MyUyNlZlciUzRDQmYWxsPTE%3D
- Other Maidstone BC virtual meetings are starting to take place, including Planning Committee meetings.
- Cllr Garten was glad to announce that the Maidstone Borough Services were running smoothly under the COVID-19 circumstances. For further details please see the link https://www.maidstone.gov.uk/home/other-services/covid-19/tier-2-primary-areas/covid-19-impact-to-our-services .
- Please see item 11b and 11c.
- Please see Cllr Garten’s latest newsletter on the Parish website http://www.hollingbournepc.kentparishes.gov.uk/may-2019-newsletter-from-our-borough-councillor/ where issues and information which will be of interest the residents of Hollingbourne are candidly discussed.
- Planning Committee Report – Cllr C O’Meara & Cllr C Gooding
- There wasn’t any new Planning Applications within the Hollingbourne Parish to be considered at the May Parish Meeting, however, please see item 11.c.
- 20/501217/FULL – Land Rear Of 44 Culpeper Close, Hollingbourne
Proposal: Demolition of dilapidated garage and construction of detached single storey pitched roof office unit with ground floor parking.
UPDATE: The Planning Officer has been in touch with Cllr P Garten, Parish Council and the applicant in response to the Parish Council’s decision to object to the application and call the item into the Planning Committee. Various planning conditions have been agreed upon with the applicant and as a result, if the conditions are in place the application does not need to be discussed at the Planning Committee. At the time of the meeting it was decided by the Parish Council that they still wanted this item to go to the Planning Committee for clarification. FURTHER UPDATE: After various email communications, and additional conditions involved with the Planning application, it has now been decided by the Parish Council to vote ‘DNWTO’ on this occasion, and the application will not go to the Planning Committee.
- 20/501497/LAWPRO – Hollin Wood, Part of Castle Wood, Hospital Road, Hollingbourne
Proposal: Lawful Development Certificate for a proposed change of use of 3 acre woodland for dog walking business – maximum of 10 dogs a day (commercial use). Hard standing to existing tracks at site entrance for one vehicle. The proposal will be in use for 3 hours a day 10-1pm Monday to Friday.
UPDATE: The Clerk had not placed this item on the list for consideration at the Parish Meeting, as it had been accidentally placed within a neighbouring parish rather than Hollingbourne. It will be placed on the June Planning Applications list for consideration.
- Environmental / Parks Committee Report –
- Cllr Marshall advised that on Thursday, 7th May 2020, the Millennium Green was closed off from visitors as a volunteer from the Hollingbourne Meadows Trust, qualified for the particular works, treated the pond with herbicide. The pond is continuing the fill with water at the moment, which wasn’t foreseen following the treatment to remove all of the rhizome plants. The Parish Council’s regular helper within the Millennium Green has reported that the pipe running from the stream to the pond is causing it to fill, due to a higher level of water within the stream.
- The Parish Council had previously replaced the sign-writing on the notices outside of the park, but Cllr Marshall reported that the signs are already starting to peel away from the bases. The Clerk will contact the suppliers and find out what can be done to rectify the problem. Action: The Clerk
- The signage from the Fernham Homes building site falls into the road, and Cllr Marshall reported that she had to put it back in place quite often. Cllr Ardley has reported this matter to Kent Highways and we have a contact at Fernham Homes to advise them of the problem.
- Finance Committee Report
- The 20/2021 precept payment has now been received by the Maidstone BC and there is £53,052.41 in the Parish Council’s combined bank accounts as of the 4th May 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).
- Highways and Infrastructure Committee Report –
- Cllr Ardley has had no further progress to report from KCC Highways regarding the Parish Council’s Highways Improvement Plan, which is probably due the upheaval in working conditions within the KCC due to the COVID-19 outbreak. However, Cllr Ardley is pursuing his enquiry with regards to the wall that has been built outside a house along the Pilgrim’s Way, which is allegedly obstructing the transportation of large agricultural vehicles travelling along the road.
- The Parish Council continues to receive reports of speeding in the village, particularly in the Upper Street area of the Hollingbourne. Unfortunately, the speeding vehicles are not a unique problem for the Upper Street, as it is all through the village. All matters of speeding vehicles, and vehicles driving illegally on private land, should be reported directly to the Police. Please report all non-emergency crime on 101 or https://www.kent.police.uk/ro/report/ocr/af/how-to-report-a-crime/ and emergency crime on 999.
- Fête Sub-Committee Report – Cllr D Ardley & Cllr A Ward – nothing further to report.
Date of next meeting: Monday 8th June 2019, 7.30 pm, Cardwell Pavilion, Hollingbourne