Ordinary Meeting Minutes 1/11/2010


Minutes of the Ordinary Meeting of Penshurst Parish Council held on Monday 1 November 2010 at 7.30 pm in Fordcombe Village Hall
1. PRESENT: Cllrs R Sellings (Chairman), A Campbell, Mrs D Broad, S Frederick (Part), D Geal, M Gilbert, Mrs A Hill, R Horsford, C Viccars
2. MINUTES OF MEETING HELD ON 4 October 2010 having been circulated, were approved and signed by the Chairman.
Prior to the business of the meeting Mr Neil Gunn – Flood & Coastal Risk Management (Environment Agency) – attended the PC meeting to update those present on the proposed flood storage scheme.
The bad floods of 2000 had initiated the development of the Medway catchment flood management plan. This sets flood management policy. Subsequently a strategy was developed to see how the plan could be put into action. Both pieces of work are underpinned by the development of a model.
Aerial surveys are undertaken, these giving accuracy of ground levels to +/-15 cm, rivers are then surveyed and joined into a contour map. Flows are estimated and run through the model. Simulations are compared with real life events to ensure the model represents reality.
Frequencies of flooding, together with financial cost implications are used to obtain funding for projects to reduce flood risk and impact. The best case options are tested through to basic design for the most suitable benefit/cost ratio. Aspects considered include technical, social, economic and environmental. The Environment Agency is required to provide best value for taxpayers. On average for every £1 spent on defences £8 are saved.
Of the 5 options under discussion those with a local impact include enlarging the Leigh barrier and a storage holding area upstream of Edenbridge. A map was provided to give an indication of existing areas affected presently, this being based on the barrier holding water up to 28m above sea level (i.e. a depth of 4 or 5m under the A21 viaduct). The proposal being to increase this by approximately 1m, a map showing this extent was provided. The maps reflect land heights and give a generalised indication of where may be affected. It was also noted that the railway line was vulnerable in respect of the Leigh barrier and the cost of protecting this needed to be borne in mind as it would be a considerable expense.
The Leigh barrier is now used differently to the manner in which is was initially envisaged to be operated, having been adapted after the 2000 flood, the procedure and method of use was reviewed and updated after the incident. This has resulted in lower instances of standing water for long periods as the system is used more selectively in conjunction with other flood control systems in the area.
It was confirmed the barrier suffered no damage after the 2000 flood although some work was required due to scouring of the stilling basin. As a result of the 2007 floods the Pit review, commissioned as the result of a reservoir failure, a ’belt and braces’ approach is now applied to such installations, for example two power options and two lifting mechanisms are required.
Funding has been set aside for the work required but the timescale is flexible, at present mobilisation, initial consultation etc is anticipated in 2012/13; detailed designs expected during 2012/14 with construction commencing 2014/15. The original barrier was installed primarily for the protection of Tonbridge, extensive public consultation is envisaged at planning stage during 2011, although it is the wish of the officer to meet with affected landowners/farmers as soon as possible.
During the production of the Medway CFMP and strategy the local authority, County Council and IDB were consulted. However, it was noted that SDC planning officers would be made aware of the proposals in order to apply these to new planning applications. It was noted that the road near Leigh and the area between the two bridges on Rogues Hill already flooded and would probably be adversely affected by the new proposal.
The Chairman thanked Mr Gunn for his time, members present were invited to discuss any aspect of the proposal with Mr Gunn after the meeting
Declarations of Interest in Agenda Items
If a Member has a prejudicial interest, this should be declared at the start of the meeting.
Personal interests may be declared at this point or alternatively can be declared at the time when the specific item is being discussed, if a Member wishes to speak on an item in which s/he has a personal interest.
Cllr Sellings registered a personal interest in Agenda Item 6 – first three applications.
a. Fordcombe Hospital Bus Stop: No response from Speldhurst Clerk after highways meeting.
b. Saltbins: Chairman advised that he had spoken with Andrew Stronghill regarding a possible site for a salt bin in the Rogues Hill area, no suitable secure site had been identified. Information received from Highways regarding allocation of salt/grit circulated to members. Clerk to place order for salt/grit bin for siting in Fordcombe.
c. The Bottle House: Letter requesting permission to introduce gate for emergency access in corner of rear fence. Councillors Sellings and Campbell had visited site but could see no advantage to the proposal, arrangements would be made to meet with the parishioner to discuss the issue.
d. Penshurst Primary School: Cllr Sellings to arrange site visit and advise other councillors in order that those available could attend to see the proposed alterations for which the planning application had now been received.
e. Rectory Hedge: Diocesan office confirmed hedge being cut back on a programme agreed with highways, clerk to check with highways officer regarding timing and extent of hedge cutting. Clerk advised that Mr Marsh was aware from PC minutes that work was proposed to be undertaken in the churchyard at Penshurst and advised that a faculty would be required to carry out the work. Clerk had advised him that this was not new work, only resurfacing of the pathway undertaken on a health and safety basis to ensure an even level surface for pedestrians.
f. Ice Sign: Information provided by Cllr Mrs Broad forwarded to Laura Squires at highways, subsequently acknowledged and advised matter being investigated further.
a. Swaylands: No report
b. Kent County Councillor: KCCllr Lake confirmed the spending review had indicated that a 7.5% reduction would be required for each of the following 4 years amounting to a £340m reduction in the county budget. The temporary interactive sign would return to Penshurst during next year, members were in support of a permanent sign being erected at an agreed site in the parish as the temporary sign had had a significant affect on the speed of vehicles using the stretch of road. A parishioner had since reported that the removal of the temporary sign had meant that vehicles using the stretch of road were again driving dangerously fast along the route used by parents and young children walking to school, the reduction in speed having been noticeable whilst the unit was in use. SE Water had postponed the work at Colliersland bridge until the new year thus enabling local businesses to benefit from the Christmas trade. It was still hoped that the work could be carried out without closure of the road and this option was being pursued by Cllr Lake, Sir John Stanley and was supported by the PC. Retained local fire services were being asked to change conditions of work and become part time staff which meant fire engines would be manned on a part time basis with the operatives being salaried rather than paid only when called out. Complaints had been received with regard to problems caused by a mobile home parked on Smarts Hill by the corner, thereby affecting visibility and safety for drivers using the route, also it had been noted a land rover full of rubbish was parked on the highway without tax. Clerk to advise police. The culprit responsible for the fires at the Homebase and two B&Q stores had been arrested and imprisoned for four years.
c. Sevenoaks District Councillor: Clerk read Cllr Cooke’s report emailed for the meeting:
Swaylands: After a good deal of negotiation between the Planning Officer, the Applicant and the occupants of Swaylands in respect of the material change of the roof finishes from Leadwork to Rhefonal it had been established after research that the existing roofs in the main were originally Lead and Asphalt and therefore the introduction of a modern covering, although perfectly sound, would effectively reduce the life expectancy and guarantee of the roofs on a Listed building and would therefore jeopardise the integrity of a building, which had Planning Permission granted by using the ‘Enabling Argument’. This argument provides for additional development to the norm but ensures the maintenance, refurbishment and longevity of the Listed Building. The Officer is now deciding on the extent that can be insisted upon for the reinstatement to the original covering in either Lead or Asphalt.
Section 106 – Surety Having spoken to several Lawyers it would appear that there are several alternatives in the different levels of restriction in respect of S106 Agreements. The most secure is that of ‘Binding’ which ensures that the terms are permanently adhered to over the Statutory Period. The alternative is to provide for the owner of the land/property to vary the conditions by the means of a ‘Deed of Variations’ but this can be restricted by time.One can also restrict any financial gain generated by such a variance to be diverted to a third party, such as a School or Community. Cllr Cooke has presented this to SDC’s Legal Department and is awaiting their response.
Spring Hill Penshurst – Road Closure As a result of public consternation and discussion, it has been agreed with Kent Highways and South East Water that the closure of Spring Hill will be rearranged to the first week in January. Trial holes are being formed to establish the best form of construction and thus to determine the period of closure required.
Salmans Farm – Polytunnels The programme for the removal of the polytunnels, in accordance with the Planning Application, is progressing. The removal of the last tunnel, as agreed, will be before the end of November.The drainage works have commenced ahead of programme and the formation of the holding ponds are programmed for 2/3 weeks time.Roadways have been established within the area and the extent of mud on the roads has been greatly reduced. Cllr Cooke will accompany the Planning Department to inspect the extent of the works mid November.
d. KALC: The regular meeting, as well as the AGM were scheduled for November.
e. Alms Houses: A meeting was being arranged to discuss estimates received for work required.
f. Proposed Affordable Housing Project: Four workshops had been held by Lesley Bowles, she had promised a resume of points raised would be circulated to those attending.
There had been some confusion over the due date for sites identified as possible affordable housing sites, this had now been clarified and KPG would be submitting the information by the required date. Clerk advised that the date given had been governed by the despatch of the final survey and would ensure that eligible sites identified by KPG could be included.
Verge/Swathe Mowing Funding: Cllr Gilbert advised he had inspected the areas cut with Cllr Sellings and the Highways Officer and although the standard had greatly improved on the first cut, he had no confidence that this would be maintained without continual prompting from the PC. A further request for information relating to the costs of this work had been submitted with request for compliance within seven days, acknowledgement received that information being sought and, if available, would be forwarded to the PC together with a note of any charges involved in providing same.
Road Surface – Fordcombe: Reported to Sue Ireland, no further information available. Clerk to advise best time to visit to inspect area.
Interactive Road Signs: Further information awaited from KCCllr Lake and Sue Ireland regarding possible provision of permanent interactive road sign, clerk to confirm again that PC in favour of permanent unit. Clerk to ask for download on unit installed at Fordcombe.
(Cllr Frederick apologised and left the meeting)
Penshurst Churchyard: Dimensions and photos of area requiring ramp for wheelchair access forwarded to Goodland Engineering, quotation received for £662 plus VAT. Clerk investigating further. Footpath repairs completed.
Colliers Land Bridge: Noted under KCCllr Lake’s report.
Drainage: Drain cover surrounds indicated as having been repaired, work not carried out therefore reported again under reference 14961. Website indicates enquiry resolved, no further information received from liaison officer.
Footpath Signs: Signage repairs near Daneby Hall completed, Grove Road repair to be checked as this was scheduled for completion during September/October.
White Lining: Refreshing of white lining reported for Colliersland Bridge (10004831) and Rogues Hill (10004832)
SE/10/02538: Abbotsmerry Barn, Salmans Lane, Penshurst: New oil tank and boiler balanced flue. No Comment
SE/10/02767: Abbotsmerry Barn, Salmans Lane, Penshurst: Erection of stables, tack room and feed store building together with change of use of land for family horses. The PC note that the building would be highly visible from three sides and would ask that consideration be given to locating the unit nearer to the house in the area adjacent to existing outbuildings, this would reduce the visual impact and also afford better access for delivery of necessary materials.
SE/10/02766: Abbotsmerry Barn, Salmans Lane, Penshurst: House alterations including internal partition alterations, new stair to attic room, fitting alterations, door fire treatment, window enlargement. No Comment
SE/10/02886: The Grove Cottage, Grove Road, Penshurst: Erection of stone wall to front boundary. (Resubmission to application SE/10/02886) The PC have no objections to the erection of the wall but are sorry to see yet another natural hedge being removed.
SE/10/02871: Orchard Mews, Nunnery Lane, Penshurst: Demolition of existing dwelling and outbuilding and erection of a replacement detached dwelling and detached three car garage (amendment to previously approved scheme Ref SE/09/01482)
KCC/SE/0354/2010: Penshurst C of E Primary School: Proposed school reception/office area, library, new toilet facilities, additional storage and rationalisation of the servery and circulation routes
SE/10/03023: Barnfold, Saints Hill, Penshurst: Erection of two storey side extension with garden room. Erection of detached 3 bay garage and log store and two bay garage and log store to be accessed by secondary access and driveway. No comment
SE/10/02209: Coldharbour Farm, Coldharbour Road, Penshurst: Construction of below ground swimming pool with surrounding paving, installation of small boiler and pump filtration within existing outbuilding (no modifications required). GRANTED
SE/10/02322: Mitre Oast, Fordcombe Road, Fordcombe: (Retrospective)Changes to fenestration with installation of replacement bespoke windows and doorways to include bespoke glass panels to replace garage door. GRANTED
SE/10/02200: Bridge House, Rogues Hill, Penshurst: Removal of existing single storey rear extension and erection of new single storey extension with two storey side roundel extension. REFUSED
SE/10/02134LBC: Swaylands, Penshurst: Retrospective application for works to replace asphalt/
felt/lead roof coverings to existing flat roof areas with ‘Rhepanol’ single ply membrane. LBC REFUSED
SE/10/02239/02242LBC: Lakesview, Penshurst Road, Penshurst: Amendment to extant planning permission and LBC, demolition of existing house, erection of replacement, refurbishment of outbuildings. Replacement dwelling of same floor area but different design in revised location. GRANTED
SE/10/02205: Barnfold, Saints Hill, Penshurst: Erection of two storey side extension with garden room. Erection of detached 3 bay garage and log store and two bay garage and log store to be accessed by secondary access and driveway. REFUSED
a. KCC: Consultation Document – Bold Steps for Kent – Medium Term Plan to 2014/15
b. Penshurst Estate/West Kent Housing Association: Clerk advised she had received an email from Penshurst Estate and WKHA, this was read to those present: In response to the statement by the KPG committee contained in a letter to the Courier, Penshurst Place Estate and West Kent Housing Association (West Kent) wish to make it clear that land at Forge Field is being made available to West Kent on a long lease at affordable housing rates, not as stated ‘selling the land at market value on a long lease’ “
Members noted the same statement had been published in the Penshurst News, clerk to bring this to the attention of Penshurst Estate/WKHA for their information.
c. Parishioner: Request for relocation of pathway at Bottle House Allotments. Clerk provided a copy of old plans of the site used during the affordable housing project, after discussion members agreed that the PC was not in a position to approve the request.
The following accounts were presented and approved for payment:
Mr I Streeter Lengthsman 78.00
Fordcombe Village Hall Hall Hire 12.00
RIP Cleaning Services Dog Waste Removal 38.07
David Wheeler Penshurst Churchyard Mowing 874.13
a. Precept: Draft circulated to members for comment. Clerk confirmed that she had spoken with Richard Wilson regarding continued financial support for the public toilets. He had advised that at the moment it was not known whether the toilets would be kept open at all after April 2010 due to the SDC budget cuts envisaged, an alternative would be for the PC to take on the responsibility for the unit in its entirety as previously offered. Clerk to advise local businesses that it was likely this facility would no longer be available in the long term. Further items on the precept draft were discussed but no problems were found. Clerk’s salary to be considered.
a. Meetings 2011: Provisional Dates: Fordcombe: 7 March, 11 April (APA), 9 May, 4 July, 5 September, 7 November. Penshurst: 7 February, 4 April, 6 June, 1 August, 3 October, 5 December