November 2019 Minutes.

The Minutes of the Hollingbourne Parish Council Meeting of Monday 11th November 2019 that were approved at the Parish Council Meeting held in the Cardwell Pavilion on Monday 9th December 2019.

Minutes of the meeting of Hollingbourne Parish Council held on Monday 11th November 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), thirteen members of the public and Mrs V Smith –Parish Clerk.

 1. Apologies for absence:      Cllr Mrs S Prendergast KCC – work commitments.

2. Declarations and Requests

Declaration of Changes to the Register of Interests – none; Declaration of Interest in items on the Agenda – Cllr Cobbett, as he is a neighbour of Fern Cottage, 26 Eyhorne Street (19/505376/LBC); 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 14th October 2019 are a true and accurate record of the meeting,

4. Matters Arising (not covered elsewhere on the agenda) –

10.c.    The Clerk has contacted the Green Planet Action Group with regards to attending a Parish Meeting and possibly the Parish Assembly in 2020, and she is waiting for their confirmation of attendance.

12.b.    The Clerk is in the process of sending a photograph of the white post at the top of Hollingbourne Hill to Cllr Mrs S Prendergast KCC.  Action:  The Clerk

  1. Village Website – Cllr J Cobbett
  2. Cllr Cobbett has been running the Parish Council website for the last ten years but as he is leaving the village a new Webmaster needed to be found, and this request for interest was made in October 2019, please see link https://www.hollingbournepc.kentparishes.gov.uk/upcoming-vacancy-for-a-parish-councillor-and-editor-of-this-village-website/ . The Parish Council is very happy to announce that Maria Domican who lives within the village, has kindly volunteered to take over this busy role.  Maria has a lot of experience in using the WordPress system, which is used to operate the website, and can be contacted here if you have a suitable item for the website, and please see link https://www.hollingbournepc.kentparishes.gov.uk/new-editor-for-hollingbourne-website/  .
  1. Call for Sites and Maidstone BC Local Plan updates –
  2. The Call for Sites is a process carried out by the MBC (Maidstone BC) as part of their three-year development of the Local Plan, and the process gives landowners an opportunity to submit ideas as to where additional housing could be built on their land. The report for Hollingbourne was made available to the public on the 4th November 2019, and the link https://www.maidstone.gov.uk/home/primary-services/planning-and-building/primary-areas/local-plan-review/call-for-sites is available to navigate and locate details of all of the submissions made to the MBC.  There are in total ten different locations submitted for Call for Sites in Hollingbourne, and they are
  • Ref: 004 – land adjacent to Penn Court, Manor Lane (24 to 30 units);
  • Ref: 086 Elsfield Cottages, Ashford Road (number of units undisclosed);
  • Ref: 139 Greenway Forstal Farmhouse and adjoining paddock to the east of the farmhouse, Greenway Forstal Lane (potentially 16 dwellings);
  • Ref: 176 – land north and south of the Ashford Road (potential 500 dwellings /commercial space);
  • Ref: 195 – land south of A20/M20 Link Road roundabout, Maidstone (commercial land);
  • Ref: 204 – land south east of Eyhorne Street (approximately 10-15 dwellings)
  • Ref: 205 – land south west of Greenway Court Road (approximately 10 dwellings)
  • Ref: 223 – land south of Ashford Road (up to 100 dwellings)
  • Ref: 232 – land lying to the west side of Firs Lane (up to 50 dwellings)
  • Ref: 254 – land to south of Cotuams Hall, Eyhorne Street (11 retirement homes)

The Parish Council will be looking closely at the Call for Sites proposals and respond to the MBC with their comments, and the Parish Clerk will investigate the closing response date for their report.  Some of the submission proposals are detailed and others are very vague in their detail.  Four of the sites are on AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) land and ancient woodland and the sites south of Ashford Road would affect the Leeds Parish Council as well.  The initial response to the sites will be made by the Hollingbourne Parish Council to the MBC, but it is then up to the MBC to take any of the proposals up with the landowners.

  1. Cllr Ward and Cllr P Garten emphasized that the Call for Sites is a process that the MBC have to go through as requested by Central Government, who are looking for an increase of 7,000 homes in the Maidstone area, and it is the first step of a process which may go on for years. The Calls for Sites submissions are purely speculative, and they are not planning applications.  Cllr Garten feels that the proposed Garden Village, which has been publicised in the local newspapers, is a far more likely option for the MBC than various smaller sites.  Parish Council has limitations in their influence with the MBC and Planning Department over the proposed Call for Sites, although they are invited to meet to discuss the site ideas.  If a Call for Site submission is deemed as feasible by the MBC, there has to be a planning application submitted for the proposal, which has to be permitted by the Planning Department, before any development can take place. Cllr Ward also questioned whether all of the plots proposed on the Call for Sites were legally allowed to have housing developments upon them.   Investigation into whether land is allowed to be developed can be a long process carried out by the MBC, and appropriate searches are made before any decisions can be made for planning permission at proposed sites.
  2. Cllr Garten said that he doesn’t want any development in Hollingbourne, unless it is affordable housing. Cllr Ward agreed with this statement, however, if the location of the site worked, and affordable housing was being built, it would be considered by the Parish Council.  The question was raised with Cllr Garten of whether a Neighbourhood Plan, if it was produced now by the Parish Council, would protect the village from any further development?  Cllr Garten responded that the Neighbourhood Plan would not protect the village from the review of the Local Plan at this stage, and feels that the value of a Neighbourhood Plan may not be proportionate to its cost, in the case of Hollingbourne.
  3. Police Report
  4. The Parish Councillors have been informed that PCSO Matthew Adlington has now taken over the North Downs area. Matthew has been a Maidstone PCSO for five years, in the rural areas of Maidstone and has covered the areas of Boxley, Bredhurst, Detling and Thurnham Ward over this period.
  5. The report for the Hollingbourne and neighbouring Hucking area taken from www.e-watch.co, since the 28th September 2019 didn’t show any crime reports, which is good news.
  6. The Police UK web site https://www.police.uk/kent/50/crime/2019-09/+OqXKoY/ advised that September and October 2019 figures for Hollingbourne showed that eleven crimes and one case of anti-social behaviour had taken place at the Maidstone motorway services. There had been four crime reports from the rest of the village and no recorded incidents of anti-social behaviour:
  • In September, at or near the sports/recreation area – Greenway Court Road, there was a report of criminal damage and arson (includes damage to buildings and vehicles and deliberate damage by fire), which has been under investigation by the Police.
  • In September, on or near Eyhorne Street, there was a report of violence and sexual offences (includes offences against the person such as common assaults, grievous bodily harm and sexual offences), which has been under investigation by the Police.
  • In October, on or near Athelstan Green, there were two crime reports of violence and sexual offences, which has been under investigation by the Police. Hollingbourne Train Stations there were two crime reports noted. These are both being dealt with by the British Transport Police and so no further details are available.
  • M20, Junction 8 – Other theft (3 x crime reports), including theft by an employee, blackmail and making off without payment. Vehicle crime (6 x crime reports) – includes theft from or of a vehicle or interference with a vehicle.  Violence and sexual offences (2 x crime reports) – includes offences against the person such as common assaults, grievous bodily harm and sexual offences.  Plus, one reported case of anti-social behaviour, but no further details are provided.
  1. 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.
  2. Chairman’s Report –
  3. Cllr Ward wished to thank the organisers of the Fire Works event which was held on 1st November 2019 on the Hollingbourne Meadows Trust land. The event was very enjoyable and raised considerable funds for local causes.
  4. The Hollingbourne Pre-School have advised the Parish Council that they would like to renew their hirer’s agreement of the Cardwell Pavilion for another fixed period of three years. The Parish Councillors were all in favour of this taking place and the Clerk will draw up the new paperwork.
  5. The Parish Council has received information about the provision of planting trees within the village on suitable land, organised by the Woodland Trust and Maidstone BC. Cllr Ardley enquired whether this was on land belonging to the Parish Council, or was the opportunity available for private land as well.  The information will be cascaded to the Meadows Trust for their interest.
  6. Clerk’s Report
  7. Please see items 8b and 8c.
  8. The Clerk is in receipt of a KRF Community Emergency Template from the Maidstone BC, which is in relation to preparations for Brexit. This item will be discussed again at following Parish Meetings.
  9. Defibrillators – Cllr A Marshall
  10. Cllr Marshall has checked the defibrillator machines in the village and they are good for action.  The Clerk is obtaining prices for additional paediatric pads for the machine at the Village Hall and additional adult pads for both machines.  Action:  The Clerk / Cllr Marshall
  11. County Councillor’s Report – Cllr Mrs S Prendergast
  12. 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.
  13. Borough Councillor’s Report– Cllr Patrik Garten
  14. Please see items 6b and 6c with regards to the Call for Sites enquiry made by Maidstone BC, in relation to the Local Plan. The proposed Lenham Heath ‘Garden Village’ development is part of the Call for Sites submissions.  In this instance the ‘developer’ for Lenham Heath is the Business Department of the MBC, and the Planning Department are those calling for the sites, and so they are two different departments under the umbrella of the Maidstone BC.  The other Garden Village(s) proposed, one of which is near Marden, has been submitted by a private developer.  Both sites will be given equal consideration to ascertain which one would be most suitable for the Garden Village.
  15. Unfortunately, the Maidstone BC will need to raise the Council Tax for residents as their budget is deficient in essential funds. Interestingly, the MBC only receives a 12% share of the Council Tax.  The Clerk has located the link https://maidstone.gov.uk/home/primary-services/council-tax/primary-areas/banding-and-what-to-pay which gives details of the 2019/20 Council Tax payments and compares the costs to other local villages.  As taken from the link https://www.kent.gov.uk/about-the-council/finance-and-budget/council-tax#tab-1  the KCC use most of the council tax money which includes money for KCC Adult Social Care funding, and then in descending order the beneficiaries are the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner, Kent and Medway Fire and Rescue, Maidstone BC and finally the Parish Council.
  16. As an update on the Maidstone Town Centre, Cllr Garten advised that plans are being drawn up for developing various areas, which are privately owned. Land considered includes next to the Gala Bingo site, which is MBC land.  The proposals for the Broadway Shopping Centre have been refused by MBC.  The important criteria which needs to considered when plans are submitted includes whether the development will enhance the area.  It has been the case that business premises can be developed into residential properties without having to go through the planning process.  However, there is concern that some of the London BC’s are taking on the business properties for their housing and rehoming their existing tenants into areas such as Maidstone.  As a result, an Article 4 Direction was applied to some office buildings that in twelve-month permitted development rights will cease and full planning permission will be needed to change the use of the building.  This is to enable proper checks to be carried out on proposals.
  17. Residents have noticed that the refuse collection in the village has been sporadic, and often garden bin collections have not taken place. Cllr Garten has been made aware that there were problems with the contractor’s vehicles breaking down, which would have delayed the usual collections.  However, missed refuse collections should initially be reported through the Maidstone BC website, and if a problem persists Cllr Garten can investigate the matter.
  18. Please read Cllr Garten’s latest report to the North Downs residents on the village website link https://www.hollingbournepc.kentparishes.gov.uk/november-2019-newsletter-from-our-maidstone-borough-councillor/ and https://www.hollingbournepc.kentparishes.gov.uk/december-newsletter-from-our-mbc-councillor-patrik-garten/ . If you would like your own personal copy of Cllr Garten’s newsletter emailed directly to you, please contact him on patrikgarten@maidstone.gov.uk  , as Cllr Garten’s updates are always essential and interesting in their content.
  19. Planning Committee Report – Cllr O’Meara
  20. 19/505244/FULL- Woodridge, Manor Lane, Hollingbourne

Proposal:  Partial demolition of existing garage. Erection of a timber pre-fabricated single storey annexe for ancillary use to the main dwelling. Decision: DO NOT WISH TO OBJECT

  1. 19/505376/LBCFern Cottage, 26 Eyhorne Street, Hollingbourne

Proposal: Listed building consent for the erection of a single storey rear extension (resubmission to 19/502713/LBC, works partially completed).  Decision:  DO NOT WISH TO OBJECT (Cllr Cobbett abstained from voting as he is a neighbour of the property owners).

  1. 19/505275/FULL – Pilgrim’s Garth, Pilgrim’s Way, Hollingbourne

Proposal:  Erection of part single, part two storey side and rear extension with 2no. Juliet balconies, 2no. light lanterns and alterations to fenestration (resubmission: 19/502461/FULL). Decision:  Delayed until after the Parish Meeting, as more time required to examine the drawings.

  1. 19/505314/FULL– Pilgrim’s Garth, Pilgrim’s Way, Hollingbourne

Proposal:  Erection of single storey side extension with 2no light lanterns.  Decision:  Delayed until after the Parish Meeting, as more time required to examine the drawings.

  1. UPDATE: Land East of Eyhorne Green House, Musket Lane – Erection of single dwelling (Resubmission to 19/500310/FULL & 19/501539/FULL). An appeal has been lodged by Mr Paul Teague in relation to the above for the following reason: The Council has refused permission for this application.  Ref: APP/U2235/W/19/3236776
  2. Environmental / Parks Committee Report –
  3. Cllr Marshall advised that the Millennium Park pond and pathways works had started today, 11th November 2019 and should take approximately a week to complete. Pedestrian access to the park has been closed whilst the work takes place for health and safety requirements.
  4. Cllr Marshall and the Clerk have and are applying for grants to fund further works within the Millennium Park. Cllr Ward is progressing well with the Maidstone BC legal team in arranging for the transference of the park’s deeds.
  5. On Saturday, 16th November 2019, between 10.30 – 12.00 midday, a litter picking session took place within Hollingbourne village. All interested volunteers met at Tanyard Green, 10.30 am, to collect litter pick equipment.  Please see link https://www.hollingbournepc.kentparishes.gov.uk/village-litter-pick/ .
  6. Cllr Marshall advised that there is a patch of dead grass on the Tanyard Green, which needs seeding. Also, the Parish Council is going to arrange works to have a pipe sunk into the green for the placement of the Christmas tree.  The Parish Council is very grateful for the hard work of the volunteers who take a lot of time and effort in decorating the tree every year, on both the Tanyard and Eyhorne Greens.
  7. Cllr Ward is in contact with the playground contractors with regards to replacing missing play equipment and prices of repairs.
  8. Finance Report –
  9. There is £38,816.51 in the Parish Council’s combined bank accounts as of the 2nd November 2019. The Parish Councillors authorised the cheques drawn by the Clerk.  The Parish Clerk will make a suitable appointment with the Bank and Parish Councillor in agreement to become an additional signatory on the account, as Cllr Cobbett is departing from the Parish Council.
  10. Highways and Infrastructure Committee Report
  11. Cllr Ardley is producing a Highways Improvement Plan, however, it needs more input from the rest of the Parish Councillors and any comments need to be forwarded to Cllr Ardley for inclusion on the document. A main inclusion on the plan will be the crossing point at the A20, near the Ashford Road entrance to the village.  A suitable sign, warning road users of pedestrians crossing the highway, needs to be installed on the dual carriageway.  Cllr Ardley would also recommend various other improvements, for instance increasing the size of the roundabout, which would act to reduce the speed of vehicles crossing and a green fence down the central reservation, to reduce visibility and encourage road-users to drive/ride with more caution.  Action:  All Parish Councillors
  12. Cllr Ardley recommended that the Parish Clerk pursue the idea of a Speedwatch group within Hollingbourne, by initially approaching neighbouring Parish Councillors, who have the scheme to see if we can find out more about the cost of purchase or whether we can borrow the equipment from them. The Parish Council is positive that there will be plenty of volunteers within the village who want to get involved in the Speedwatch initiative.
  13. Cllr O’Meara said that the initial report of the noise and pollution survey advised that the results are not above dangerous levels. Cllr O’Meara is waiting for the full report which will furnish the Parish Council with more detailed results.
  14. A20 pedestrian crossing /speeding in Upper Street and village – Please see item 16.
  15. Fête Sub-Committee Report – Cllr D Ardley & Cllr A Ward
  16. Preparation works are already taking place with the ice-cream and BBQ suppliers booked up and there has also been confirmation from the regular performers at the fete that they are happy to attend the fete on the 13th June 2020.
  17. Brexit (Operation Brock) and its impact on Hollingbourne– Cllr J Cobbett
  18. Cllr J Cobbett and Cllr M Gray attended the Brexit meeting at the Maidstone BC on Wednesday, 16th October 2019, where the possible impact of Operation Brock was discussed, which would involve the motorway becoming a contraflow system, the storing of lorries, as well as the effect at Manston Airport and the M26. Operation Brock would also have a dramatic effect on local traffic, and the impact which would stretch to areas such as Sevenoaks and Dover.   Maidstone BC have even considered turning community halls into reception centres for drivers caught up in the turmoil, and concerns are expressed over services which we take for granted, such as refuse collection and where the waste would be deposited if vehicles could not travel to recycling plants.  Cllr Gray emphasised that there is a lot of speculation over the possible effects of Brexit and the assumption of what its effects will be in the locality and in extension the UK, together with the leaving of the Customs Unit and Operation Brock.  Cllr Hulme has requested that the Parish Council should consider how residents can be provided for in the event of difficulties as a result of traffic chaos, for example the provision of food and fuel.  The item will be placed on the agenda for Parish Council meetings, as the provision of ‘phone trees’ to cascade important information quickly and efficiently, would be very useful.        Date of next meeting: Monday 9th December 2019, 7.30 pm, Cardwell Pavilion, Hollingbourne