Steering Group Minutes 15/04/10


Penshurst Village Project Steering Group
Minutes of the Meeting held 15 April 2010
Bill Hughes Smithsgore Partner – Penshurst Place Consultant
Lee Scott – Smithsgore Planner
David Shaw – Smithsgore Partner
Liz Crockford – Housing Initiative Officer – SDC
James Sperryn – SDC Planning Officer
Rob Sellings – Penshurst Parish Council
Dianne Broad – Penshurst Parish Council
Dave Geal – Penshurst Parish Council
Evelyn Divall – Penshurst PC Clerk
Andrew Stronghill – Penshurst Place
Janet Ranson – WKHA
Sarah Petch – WKHA
Susan Senecal – Warders’ Practice Manager
Paddy Cooke – SDC Councillor
Gavin Missons – SDC Housing Policy Manager
Julia Armstrong – Headteacher – Penshurst Primary School
Roger Dawe Governor – Penshurst Primary School
Eric Baldock – Kent Police
Caroline Lingham – West Kent Leader (SEEDA)
Apologies – None
LC requested that AOB be brought forward on the agenda, this was agreed. No items were raised.
1. Design Brief and Plans:
Prior to showing the initial plans, David Shaw asked if members wished to comment on the circulated draft. SS reported that the size of the car parking area had been mentioned, ED stated that the PC were confident in the ability of the architects.
DS provided and expanded on the details of four sets of plans for discussion. These gave indications as to where the medical centre, housing and public toilet could be positioned. Alternatives were given with either the medical centre closest to the Forge/Post Office and alternatively further away at the other end of the site. Road safety was an important factor and allowances for traffic calming were under consideration. A safe road crossing was also paramount. The car parking area was positioned in order that minimal impact would be caused by any potential flooding, the surface would be design to be permeable to aid drainage should flooding occur. Garden areas for the housing would include storage areas, WKH required a specific minimum cubic area to comply with their regulations. The Environment Agency had clear guidelines regarding building on the site.
DS stated the plans were not definitive but hoped to obtain feed back at the exhibition scheduled for the 22 April. SS advised that it was hoped the PCT would be in a position to consider the plans, including minor adjustments, at their May meeting.
CL advised Expression of Interest received from the Penshurst Estate re. West Kent Leader funding for such items as the public toilets and car park.
JR advised following discussion with the Homes & Communities Agency, funding for the affordable housing has been ringfenced, in principle, for this project subject to planning approval, tenders processed and start on site (of the housing) by March 2011.
BH hoped the application would be treated as a single application ie medical centre, housing, car parking, toilets etc. to minimise the time involved to obtain approval.
Problems were identified with undercroft areas ie tendency for youths to congregate in such areas when weather conditions were poor, DS confirmed that this may well be a gated area to increase security but that the undercroft size could be altered to deter such activities.
The area of green included at the edge of the site could be grazed by the local farmer’s sheep. Access for the Environment Agency to reach the river for any possible work would also be addressed.
The location of the toilets in relation to the medical centre and housing would be crucial, if the facility was not included in the project it would mean that the problem of providing public toilet facilities and the inherent costs would be passed back to the PC.
After discussion it was agreed by the steering committee that the RED option was preferred. This was due to the location of the various buildings, privacy afforded both to the medical centre and housing, increased security and car parking arrangements. It was agreed all four options would be displayed on 22 April.
2. Draft nominations criteria: LC advised that the current site required local connection in order that a house could be allocated, this would be ring fenced as part of the rural exception site scheme. Current Section 106 documents, SDC guidelines, etc, had been taken into consideration when the nomination criteria had been drafted.
DG and ED stated that the final sentence would not be acceptable to the PC i.e a house could be allocated to anyone on the Sevenoaks District Housing Register if no other eligible families were available. It was suggested this sentence be removed from the document prior to the exhibition and be addressed again when the Section 106 was discussed. This was agreed. LC to provide copy of draft nominations criteria for display on 22 April.
ED asked what criteria was used in relation to surrounding/neighbouring parishes if the immediate parish did not have an eligible family. Members were unsure but would check, it was thought any other parish would have to have a common boundary with Penshurst or Fordcombe. ED stated that Penshurst and Fordcombe was one parish. BH advised that Lord de L’isle was concerned that the housing be allocated to local people, ED stated that under these circumstances his support for the PC in requiring the removal of the last sentence would hopefully be forthcoming. LC to check identity of neighbouring parishes and report back at next meeting.
3. Consultation Event: The school had been booked for the exhibition and would be available from 1.30 – 2pm onwards for setting up. Exhibition scheduled from 4 – 8 pm. Two sets of the four design options would be set out for inspection together with photographs of key architectural building styles and close ups of keys design points on the buildings to provide an indication of what the architects were hoping to achieve. Comments sheets would also be provided for visitors to record their opinions.  Any members of the steering group wishing to include questions on the sheet to forward to GM by Monday 19 April for drafting for comment by members and for printing in order that they are available at the school on Wednesday. Completed responses to go to LC for photocopying and distribution to steering group members for information.  LS to formulate posters and email to school, ED, Medical Practice for displaying.
It was agreed an indicative project time line would be an important piece of information to be made known to consultees. If planning permission were approved (anticipated planning process would take three months from submission), it was hoped that works would start in early 2011 with a finish date of Spring 2012.
LC suggested a further meeting of the steering group during May after the exhibition.
Date of next meeting: 18 May, 10.30am to 12.30pm, Committee Room, SDC Offices.?