Ordinary Meeting Minutes 6/05/2014


Minutes of the Annual Meeting of the Parish Council of Penshurst Parish Council held on Tuesday 6 May 2014 at 7.30 pm in Fordcombe Village Hall

1.            PRESENT:     Cllrs J Cass (Chairman), Mrs D Broad, J Broadhead, A Campbell, I Carson, S Frederick, J Horsford, J O’Shea,  B Townsend

In Attendance:   Peter Johnson, Michael Knowles, Rob Sellings
APOLOGIES:   SDCllr P Cooke,  KCCllr C Pearman

2.         MINUTES OF MEETING HELD ON 7 April 2014, having been circulated, were approved and signed by the Chairman.


Declarations of interests in agenda items
If a Member has a disclosable pecuniary interest in an item of business this must be declared at the start of the meeting, unless dispensation has been granted.  The member may not participate in any discussion, vote or discharge any function related to that business.
Non-pecuniary interests may be declared at this point if not already registered.  Members with a non-pecuniary interest may speak on the subject if members of the public can do so but may not vote.

Cllr Mrs Broad registered a disclosable pecuniary interest in the final Planning Application item under Agenda No. 5  SE/14/01073:  Hartsland Farm, Walters Green Road, Penshurst.   Cllr Mrs Broad would not attend site meetings.


Cllr Mrs Broad nominated Cllr Cass for the position of Chairman, this was seconded by Cllr Campbell.
Cllr Carson nominated Cllr O’Shea, this was seconded by Cllr Broadhead
A vote was held, Cllr Cass was elected Chairman on a 5:2 vote

Cllr Cass nominated Cllr Mrs Broad as Vice Chairman, this was seconded by Cllr Frederick, this was unanimously agreed, Cllr Mrs Broad was elected.

Appointment of Representatives:                Following Councillors or Co-optee to hold positions:

KALC Representatives:                                       Cllrs Broadhead and Horsford
Village Hall Representatives:                               Cllr O’Shea (Serves as Treasurer to Penshurst Village Hall Committee)
Cllr Broadhead – Penshurst, Cllr Townsend – Fordcombe
Planning Representatives:                                   Chairman plus councillors available to attend scheduled site meetings
Transport/Speedwatch Forum Representative:      Mr R Sellings
Cllr Campbell to deal with data
Swaylands Representative:                                 Cllr Mrs Broad/Mr R Sellings as necessary
Footpath/ Bridle Path Representative:                  Cllr Mrs Broad
Allotments:                                                        Cllrs Frederick and Campbell
Highways:                                                         Cllr J Cass
Play Area:                                                         Cllr Horsford
Alms Houses:                                                    Cllr O’Shea
Becket Trust:                                                     Cllr I Carson
Gatwick:                                                           Mr M Knowles

Chairman thanked those who had held positions with the council for their work during the preceding year.

Policies/Financial Regulations/Standing Orders/Code of Conduct:

Financial Regulations – PC Payments:    Clerk requested PC continue with triple signatures for cheques rather than move to on line banking with control of payments etc being undertaken by clerk.    This was unanimously agreed.

Taking above into consideration it was unanimously agreed that all the above continue until the end of the PC term.

4.         OPEN SESSION
Long Bridge:  Quotation to be sought for clearance of vegetation from brick wall on bridge to telegraph pole, previous estimate sum of £400 to clear all vegetation approved if still applicable.
Pothole:  On road to Leigh near Redleaf kennels and Keepers, clerk to report.
Forge Field Project:  Cllr Carson raised the issue of the lack of response time provided by the clerk to answer the SDC question raised in relation to site selection and current situation with regard to sites previously identified.  He considered a professional organisation should have been appointed to identify sites, Cllr Carson to provide individual response for SDC to be submitted via PC.

5.        PLANNING

SE/13/03604:  Meathe House, 1 Brooklands Farm Close, Fordcombe:  Erection two storey side extension, converting existing garage to living accommodation with two bedrooms above. Timber decking to NW elevation.       PC Support
SE/14/00615:  Swaylands School Farm, Poundsbridge Lane, Poundsbridge:  Erection single storey extensions to existing building, creation of habitable room within roof space, alterations to existing garage and realignment of driveway to reduce existing hardstanding area.       PC Support
SE/14/00766:  Hill Corner, Cottage 1 The Lane, Spring Hill, Fordcombe:  Erection of greenhouse in garden (not attached to house).   PC Support
SE/14/01040:  Bridge House, Rogues Hill, Penshurst:  Demolition of existing single storey rear extension and construction of new rear extension, new steps with iron railings.  Alteration to fenestration.
SE/14/00988:  1 Smarts Hill, Penshurst:  Erection of single storey rear extension.
SE/14/01073:  Hartsland Farm, Walters Green Road, Penshurst:  Proposed farm works dwelling, farm office and garage.  Cllr Townsend requested this application be discussed at open meeting, Cllr Mrs Broad left the room.
The details of the application were explained by Cllr Townsend and members were advised that SDC would only approve planning if the financial feasibility of the operation could be proved to the satisfaction of specialists analysing such projects.   After discussion there were no objections to the application, a site visit would be held and, if everything was in order, a decision would then be taken with the support of the PC.

Site Visit:   Cllrs Cass, Campbell, Horsford and Townsend attended site on behalf of the PC, as agreed at the May meeting.  Those members not attending the site meeting had indicated at the May meeting that they would support this response should the attendees agree on this course of action after site inspection.

PC Response:    The members had been provided with the planning application documentation and after full discussion regarding the details it was agreed that the PC would support the application if the specialists providing the necessary supporting reports to SDC for this application consider it to be a viable, financially feasible farming proposal.

SE/14/00222:  Yew Tree Cottage, The Lane, Fordcombe:  Proposed single storey extension to replace existing single storey lean-to extension.  Alterations to the fenestration.    GRANTED
SE/14/00510:  Swaylands, Penshurst Road, Penshurst:  Internal alteration works to upgrade means of escape protection and fire safety systems.   GRANTED
SE/13/03604:  Meathe House, 1 Brooklands Farm Close, Fordcombe:  Erection two storey side extension, converting existing garage to living accommodation with two bedrooms above. Timber decking to NW elevation.       GRANTED

Affordable Housing Judicial Review/Current Planning Permission awarded:    Letter received from SDC asking if PC could advise if they have been made aware of any further sites that have not previously been considered, or whether they have been advised of any change in the circumstances of any sites previously considered.   Reply forwarded after email/ telephone consultation with councillors:  The Parish Council will be discussing the Forge Field issue again at their meeting on Tuesday but, with reference to your letter regarding the site options relating to Forge Field, I have circulated the members of the Parish Council in advance of the meeting with your request.
Members have neither been made aware of any other available sites, nor any changes to those already inspected and considered prior to the final decision having been made to nominate Forge Field for the affordable housing.   As far as we are aware it remains the only site available.

Tree Surgery:
SE/14/01223: Meathe House, 1 Brooklands Farm Close, Fordcombe:  Reduce height of one multi stemmed Lime adjacent to public footpath to approximately 3 m from ground level.


a.         Long Bridge Project:    KCCllr Pearman confirmed in his April report that this was one of the issues being deferred until road repairs of damage caused by poor winter weather had been undertaken.
b.         Swaylands:  Managing Agents requested to settle issue within two months, ie information expected May/June 2014.

c.         Gas Supply:  Issue deferred.

d.         Rectory Hedge:  Cllr Cass advised Rev. Tom Holme had contacted the diocese who were happy with the current condition of the hedge.  The diocese stated they had written to the PC in the last two months but this was not the case, Rev Holme to ask diocese to confirm current position in writing.

7.         REPORTS:

a.    Kent County Councillor Clive Pearman:   The Local Government Boundary Commission for England is embarking
on a full Council review triggered by an arithmetical calculation identifying variations in County Council divisions resulting in an electoral variance of more than 10% from the average.  A more appropriate balance between the number of County Councillors and the population will inevitably result in a significant reduction in the number of County Councillors and probably an increased geographical size of resultant divisions.   All changes will take place within the boundary of each District Council, a legal requirement of the Commission’s review process.  There will be no change to either the number or boundary of Parish Councils, or of Parish Councillors.  The review commenced in April and is expected to end in September 2015 with numerous consultations and publications being undertaken in the intervening period.  New boundary changes will be implemented at the local election in 2017.

From a Parish perspective I would strongly recommend that you visit the Commission’s website – www.lgbce.org.uk – where all of the detail and relevant criteria is clearly displayed and with interactive maps.  Anyone and everyone is entitled to express and submit their own views at each stage of the public consultation via the consultation portal of the website at consultation.lgbce.org.uk

The new cabinet and committee structure came into operation this past month, having attended the Environment and Transport Cabinet Committee a number of matters were agreed upon including the Road Casualty Reduction Strategy for Kent, based upon a ‘data-led’ approach in order to target all efforts and initiatives where they are most likely to succeed in achieving the overall objective.
Final approval was given to the Young Person’s Travel Pass, formerly known as the Freedom Pass.   The final decision is as follows:-
·         A Young Person’s Travel Pass to be introduced for 11 – 16 year olds, providing free bus travel from 6 am to 7 pm on Monday to Friday, commencing at the start of the new academic year and continuing through to the 31st July, 2015.
·         The pass will cost £200, but charged at £100 for those entitled to free school meals, and will be free to ‘young carers’ and ‘looked-after’ children.
·         An option of two, six-monthly payments will be offered, and
·         The cost of the 16+ Pass will be reduced from £520 to £400 and will continue to offer unlimited bus travel in Kent.
The meeting also ‘signed off’ the Strategic Priority Statement of the new Growth, Environment and Transport Directorate, with its four separate sections of (i) Highways, Transport and Waste, (ii) Environment Planning and Enforcement, (iii) Economic Development, and (iv) Libraries, Registration and Archives.  The document setting out the detail of the Priority Statement can be found on the KCC website.
Work to make good pothole damage continues, occupying virtually all efforts of Kent Highways, the Government has made additional funding available to the County and much work is being carried out by the repair teams, this issue remains a priority.   A consequence of this is the inevitable delay to other highway projects such as the Long Bridge initiative, new pavement in Edenbridge and drain and gulley clearance in the division.
It would seem appropriate to ‘round off’ this month’s report by extending it a couple of days to include the events of Friday evening, the 2nd May, in connection with the penultimate ‘consultation’ conducted by Gatwick Airport to gain support for its proposed second runway, and of the Rt. Hon. Sir John Stanley’s wish that his most sincere thanks and appreciation are passed on to all of the elected members and officers of the Parish and District Councils who attended in support of his continuing efforts to demonstrate, via the democratic process, the unanimous opposition to the proposed second runway which exists across the communities in West Kent and beyond.
Somewhere in the region of 160 members of those communities were present at Sir John’s impromptu public meeting which was convened at 6.30 pm that evening, this was an unmistakeable representation of the views expressed against Gatwick’s proposal.  Sir John asked, once again, that I pass on his sincere thanks, in particular, to those elected members and the officer of the High Weald Parish Councils Aviation Action Group for their consistent and unqualified opposition to the proposal over the past few months in the letters which he has received from its members and which enables him to take forward that opposition in the knowledge that the weight of that opposition has been articulated and expressed by the elected representatives of the communities most affected.
b.    Sevenoaks District Councillor Paddy Cooke:    Cllr Cooke advised the clerk he had attended the Gatwick
meeting the previous Friday, he considered this had been a bad tempered meeting.

c.    KALC:    No report

d.    Alms Houses:     Mr Johnson reported that a meeting of the Trustees was scheduled for Wednesday 14 May to discuss the refurbishing of the bed/sit residences and to consider the applications for residency of the No. 6.  Other items, such as dealing with dampness, will also be discussed.

e.    Neighbourhood Watch:    Mr Johnson advised that only one crime in Penshurst had been reported since the April meeting.   A chain saw had been stolen from a vehicle parked in Salmans Lane, two crimes were reported in Chiddingstone Hoath: a lawnmower stolen from a shed and an attempted break in to a garage.

Police warned residents of two crimes in Sevenoaks District, thirty birds had been stolen including budgerigars, canaries and finches, most from garden aviaries, no local thefts had been reported.   Purses and handbags left in unattended shopping trolleys were vulnerable to theft and should be kept with the shopper or out of site whilst shopping.

f.          Speedwatch:     Mr Sellings reported the team had attended a meeting in Maidstone where Guy Rollinson had advised the police were underfunded, four teams were available in Kent to carry out speed checks.   Clerk to write to Guy Rollinson supporting the need for further funding and requesting data collected by Speedwatch teams be authorised for use in prosecutions.

Mr Johnson advised that the Speedwatch team would be carrying out checks on the section of road between Long Bridge over the River Eden and Glebelands, the entrance to The Glebe would be used for this purpose, written permission having been given for this by the residents.   It was hoped this data would provide information relating to safety for pedestrians using this stretch of road.

Mr Campbell provided data on checks to date:  1,924 vehicles detected; 163 letters for 2nd detection; 40 for 3rd; 17 for 4th; 8 for 5th; 3 for 6th; 1 for 7th and 1 for 8th.   43 of those detected had been using excessive speed.

g.     Gatwick Airport:    Michael Knowles – London Airspace Consultation (LAC). Response Publication

The primary purpose of the consultation was to gather views on the proposals to change the way in which aircraft are vectored on landing and take-off. Currently, which is most important for Penshurst and Fordcombe residents, aircraft arriving on the long low arrival flight path to Gatwick Airport are vectored across a broad swathe from the stacking areas which should give us respite throughout the day. The National Air Traffic Service (NATS) and Gatwick Airport Limited (GAL) are seeking to alter this so that aircraft arrivals assemble at a new so-called Point Merge area to the south of us from where they will join a single flight path to the west of Hever before the final approach to the airport. Wherever this flight path may be, and NATS AND GALs were unwilling to divulge this information, it would cause severe noise nuisance and a disturbance to the quality of life for those being overflown continuously and affect their property values. A single alternating respite path was suggested, though not firmly proposed, and no mention was made of any compensation for those who would be most affected. The Council dealt with these issues in its response.
The response report to the London Airspace Consultation has now been published and can be viewed at www.londonairspaceconsultation.co.uk and then at item 2 ‘consultation report.’ We hope that the Council’s considered response may have had some effect in shaping the proposals which will be made known in the final design process and route description. These will be published later in the year but not before 1st September.
There were 89 parish, town and borough councils that responded to the consultation and feedback will be provided to them and other stakeholders as the design process develops. Penshurst Council’s contribution dealt with the inequalities in the LAC proposals and encouragingly some of them have been directly quoted in the newly published report. Also noted were the Council’s required protection for schools, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and for Penshurst Place and similar historic buildings. The input that other members of the High Weald Parish Councils have had in the consultation process is also apparent.
We would hope that in future consultations more parishioners will join with the Council in direct representation which will give added weight to its views. This can still be achieved in Gatwick Airport’s latest consultation process where it is seeking opinions on the preferred option for Gatwick Runway 2 from three choices. This is almost given a fait accompli as though the Airports Commission has already given its ruling on a second runway for the South East which it hasn’t. Fortunately, in the consultation document there is a fourth option and that is NONE. To register your response simply search Gatwick Airport Consultation on the Internet and enter the web page via HAVE YOUR SAY then ‘online response form.’ Go directly to Section D ‘Selection of runway option’ and tick the box ‘none of these options.’  The closing date is the 16 May.   Clerk had completed and submitted the response of the PC on 30 April 2014 in line with agreement reached at the recent joint PC meeting.
8.         HIGHWAYS:

Reported Faults Update:
91196:  Laying water reported on road opposite Poundsbridge Lane junction with Penshurst Road.   Problems caused by water flowing from Penshurst Estate land on to roadway.     Flooding on road from Meadow Wood towards Barden Road reported again.   Both issues passed to Alistair Coleman to deal with, programming of work required, plans to channel water into cleared ditches/pond area to alleviate problems on road with laying water/ice.   Website indicates work completed, issue to be monitored.    Issue shown as under investigation again as of 22.1.14.
83586:  Entrance to The Lane, Fordcombe:  damaged grating cover reported for repair/replacement, Inspection required, logged at 14 November.
90796:  Broken Bend sign: Outside Saint’s Hill House. Work completed.
17140998:  Blocked Drain:   Junction of St Peter’s Row and Chafford Lane.   Work completed.
92557:  Signpost leaning and one arm bent:  Junction Nunnery Lane with Sandfield Road near Nunnery Cottage, under investigation as of 30 January
92558:   Priority Sign Leaning:  Junction Sandfield Road and Colliers Land Bridge B2188, under investigation as of 30 January
92561:  Speed Sign Leaning:  Chafford Lane junction with Broad Lane TN3 OSH, under investigation as of 30 January
92565:  Speed Sign Leaning and Twisted:  Chafford Bridge, under investigation as of 30 January
92566:  Signpost Missing:  Bradley Road junction with Chafford Lane, under investigation as of 30 January
93431:  Blocked drains from Chafford Lane towards Walters Green.  Gully scheduled for cleaning.
93433:  30 MPH sign between the two bridges at the bottom of Rogues Hill rotted, works being programmed.
93436:  Drains still blocked on New Road past Burzes Cottages, under investigation as of 4 February
97389:  Signage (Penshurst) reported:  Fordcombe Road at junction with Grove Road: directional sign giving three way directs – twisted; right turn triangle and 40 MPH both tilted; bottom of Saints Hill – 40MPH tilted over; 30MPH near Spotted Dog as approached from Saints Hill – twisted; Leigh Road before junction to Penshurst Station, Little Brown Jug – 40MPH twisted;
Poundsbridge Lane from Rogues Hill – national speed limit twisted with 40mph on back;  Bidborough Ridge dropping down into Penshurst along the Swaylands curtilage – Road Narrows sign twisted, then 2 x 30MPH signs readable but damaged on their edges;  bottom of Rogues Hill between the river and the Backwater – 30mph fallen in hedge.
Works being programmed.
98395:  Sign Opposite Salmans Lane:  30MPH sign leaning over, under investigation
98386:  No Through Road Sign:  Entrance to Glebelands on 2188 Fordcombe Road requires repainting, works being programmed
98388:  Penshurst Village Sign:  at Glebelands Entrance on 2188 bent, enquiry attended, further work required
97389:  40 MPH Sign:  Near The Grove junction on 2188 towards Fordcombe, broken off at base.  Works being programmed
100943:  Road adjacent to Fordcombe Church Wall:   Sunken area, works completed.

Please Note:   Any signs that are leaning but still visible and considered safe will be deferred for repair until funding is available.   Only signs required to support speeding issues or of a safety nature will be repaired until further notice.

9.                     FINANCE:

The following accounts were presented and approved for payment:

Mr I Streeter                                                                  Lengthsman                                           £89.00
Zurich Municipal Insurance                                              Annual Insurance Premium                     £926.06
RIP Cleaning Services                                                     Dog Waste Removal                               £72.00
Complete Weed Control                                                  Penshurst Weed Clearance                      £170.80
A C Moaby                                                                     Penshurst Churchyard Tree Clearance      £720.00

a.           Annual Accounts:  Annual accounts finalised by the clerk, the internal audit completed, year end balances checked and PC documentation inspected with no points of concern raised by the internal auditor.   Annual Governance Statement checked.   Sections 1 & 2 completed by Chairman and Clerk, Section 4 completed by Internal Auditor.   All legal requirements relating to finalisation of accounts complied with.
b.           Government Grant Funding:  Issue of funding for Parish and Town councils still under review by SDC.  Further information was awaited regarding possible allocation of Government funding to Parish and Town Councils from SDC.  There was a dispute as to whether any sums had actually been ring fenced by the Government for the smaller authorities, this issue had arisen as a result of the change in the benefits system the previous year
c.            High Weald Parish Councils Aviation Action Group – Gatwick:  Request for payment of £150 donation towards group to assist with setting up of Website.    This was unanimously agreed.
d.           Bulk Freighter:  Next visit scheduled for 7 June 2014 at Penshurst (7.45 – 8.30 am) & Fordcombe (8.45 – 9.30 am)
e.           Fordcombe Village Hall:  Letter from Trustees requesting grant to assist with or support cost of replacing gas boiler at the Hall.   Clerk had received a request from the committee for financial assistance with costs to replace the current gas boiler at the Hall, an estimate had been received from Darren Pocknell to supply a new unit at a VAT inclusive sum of £3,211.   In view of the fact that plans were under consideration to renew the building itself, the Committee had requested a boiler specification that would be suitable for transfer to any new building.   After discussion it was unanimously agreed that this funding be provided.   Members were advised that Cllrs Cass and Townsend would serve on the rebuilding committee.
f.            Penshurst Churchyard Tree Surgery:   Clerk advised the clearance of the two fallen yews in Penshurst Churchyard had been completed, all debris had been removed from site with assistance for access by Penshurst Place.
g.           Fordcombe Churchyard Tree Survey:  Clerk had contacted Coblands/SDC for advice.   Trees are sited in Conservation Area therefore official application must be completed and submitted to SDC.   Quotation obtained from Hazelwood Tree Management Ltd to remove significant major deadwood from canopies of two oak trees overhanging the corner of the school playing field, this in accordance with Jacobs tree survey recommendations.   The remaining canopy to be visually inspected with any findings being reported together with any recommended remedial works.   All resultant debris to be cleared from site.   Cost quoted to be £480 Plus VAT.

10.                   CORRESPONDENCE:

a.            Sir John Stanley, MP:   Copy of letter received from Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport, Robert Goodwill regarding Gatwick Airport Noise
b.            Sir John Stanley, MP:   Copy of letter received from Chairman of Airports Commission, Sir Howard Davies.
c.             Sir John Stanley, MP:  Letter enclosing Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign’s press release of 4 April.
d.            Sir John Stanley, MP:  Letter enclosing copy of reply of 27 February from Chairman of Environment Agency, Lord Smith providing answers to Sir John’s request for information together with copy of reply from Secretary of State for DEFRA, Owen Paterson.  Advice provided that 2035 is the target date for increasing the capacity of the Leigh Flood Storage Area, Sir John has written to Chief Secretary to The Treasury, Danny Alexander stressing it is imperative the increase is made available at the earliest practicable date
e.            SDC:   Information regarding Domestic Abuse Volunteer Support Services (DAVSS).
f.             Sir John Stanley, MP:  Letter enclosing copy of reply of 9 April from Chair of Airports Commission, Sir Howard Davies confirming the PC’s response was considered during the consultation.   Final Appraisal Framework now published on Airports Commission’s website.

11.                   ANY OTHER BUSINESS:

a.    SDC Planning Meeting:  Wednesday 11 May at 7 pm – Sevenoaks District Council Offices

b.    Penshurst Village Hall Flagpole:  Cllr O’Shea confirmed this had been ordered but not yet delivered.

c.     Broadband:  Cllr O’Shea reported that Superfast Broadband should be available in September

Meeting concluded at 8.45 pm                                                           Next Meeting: Penshurst Village Hall
2 June 2014 at 7.45 pm

Evelyn Divall

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