By | January 18, 2018


TUESDAY 16 th January  2018  AT 7.00PM.  Held at the Hever Hotel.


Present:  Cllrs., John Hodson (JH) (Chair), Angela Haydon (AH), Bonnie White (BW) Stephen Lark (SL) (from item 3), Joanna Wade (JW) (from item 4), Christine Thompson (CT), Stephen Sadler (SS).

Also in attendance: Charlotte Cole (CC, Clerk), Matthew Dickins (MD), Peter Lake (PL) and 5 members of the public.  Bobby Groves (caretaker arrived from item 4).

The meeting commenced at 7.00pm.

1. To receive apologies – Rick Brookes-Smith (RBS) unwell, Anita Sebastian (AS) abroad, Duncan Leslie (DL) abroad.

2. To receive declarations of interest in respect of items on the Agenda. To be specified per item.

3. To approve accuracy of minutes from the previous meetings Approved by all and signed by JH.

4.  Public Forum – Four Elms residents wanted an update on and continued concerns of the condition and usage of the pond.  The Clerk updated plans following the last meeting – fishing platform to be put out of use (is rotten) and to be replaced, signs have been erected and will check to whom leaflets distributed in central Four Elms.  Some comments have already been received.  See item 6.

Suggestions towards the design of the new playground (roundabout, extension of size, swings with suitable chains).  Clerk advised that local open meetings will be held during Jan / Feb to gain ideas from locals.

Question about costs of the Rural Café – Clerk explained that at zero cost to HPC as is service offered by Rural Kent.  Local groups can apply at any time to HPC for grant funding for own activities (short grant form available).

PL updated on Kent County Council (KCC) budget issues, council tax to increase 4.99%.  Reviewing discretionary bus funding, cost impact of asylum seekers, long term joint working on local village hall needs, the impact of Hever station car parking charges on Cowden station.  To note that KCC has no contracts with Carillion, KCC Highways member recently changed.  Continued working on Edenbridge hospital, housing and primary schools.

MD updated from Sevenoaks District Council (SDC) – thanks to refuse services over festive period (over twice the usual volume of waste collected), still time (till 2nd Feb) to have Christmas tree collected free.  Annual Spring Clean 2 – 4 March 2018.  Answered query about rural littler picking – done every 6 months.  Supported recent HPC CIL funding request to SDC (towards new playground for Four Elms).  Involved in Cowden parking concerns (safety issue).

Query from public re; bulk refuse freighter.  Cost and locations / timing discussed – Clerk to arrange date in July for Four Elms Parish rooms and Hever and date in Sept / Oct for Four Elms village hall and Markbeech.


5.  Tessa O’Sullivan (www.ruralkent.org.uk) kindly attended to present on West Kent Community Led Housing Issues.  Community Land Trusts (CLT) can provide affordable homes for local people who cannot afford the open market.  The CLT owns the land on which the homes are built and they remain affordable in perpetuity.  Average size of developments 8 homes.  Work with District Councils and Govt. supportive and fund facilitations.  Can also work with Housing Assoc. (who then finance builds and run).  Discussions held around neighbouring Chiddingstone strategy, which started with housing needs survey and then identification of rural exception sites.  SDC recently did housing survey (as part of local plan) – await ward details from MD.  Further information left at the meeting.  The Council thanked Tessa for her time and very interesting and thought provoking subject.

PL left at 8.05pm




6.  Four Elms pond – Clerk updated from local meeting on 02.12.17 (CC,BW, Caretaker and owners of garage) and action planned – removal of dead tree, repair of fishing platform, erection of 4 signs, central village leafleted and request from owners re; erosion.  Agreed that further clarification required about boundaries, obligations of HPC re; flood mgt, erosion risks and fishing mgt.  Clerk to meet with JH, SS, BW and caretaker to work through history, files and action outstanding.

7.  Finance committee – Budget for 2018 – 2019 discussed again following the first discussions at the Nov. meeting.  The 2 proposed options generated from the Finance Committee were considered, noting;


·         The external auditor requirement to hold £7,500 – £20,000 in contingency (33% – 100% of costs) to have funds to cover unexpected costs / pay salary for 3 months etc.

·         HPC have been successful in achieving savings and grants of £18,000 towards the four elms playground project and have used the major part of our reserves to make up the total sum required.

·         Increased costs of land and asset maintenance, e.g. grass cutting costs have been a threefold increase.

·         Legal statutory pension provision for all employees (one employee at HPC who is part time) costs.

Discussions were held re; comparable neighbouring parishes and the range of precepts in the District, of which HPC is still one of the lowest.

As a result Option 1 (the lower of the 2 options) was agreed on – to increase precept to £42,691, which equates to an increase of £16.16 per band D household per year or a total cost per day per household of 19p (£71.17 / year per household).


8.  Grant applications – One application for £150 from Tunbridge Wells and District Samaritans.  Agreed to.


9.  Website / Marketing – As previously discussed, need to update and renovate hever.org.  Local previously used IT expert available and start up budget of £450 agreed to.

10.  Footpaths etc. – JW requested new gate (stolen from Hever Road footpath), Clerk advised that KCC / PROW won’t fund.  Council agreed to.  JW reported that thankfully no local parking issues subsequent to parking changes introduced at Hever station.

11.  Annual Assembly – opportunity to consult with the public and local groups who represent assets (village hall, Churches) and request a short presentation from each and if HPC can facilitate future parish wide efficient use of?

AH updated on behalf of FE village hall – rent has increased from 011.01.18 and meeting to be arranged with locals who petitioned / offered assistance.

12.  Disclosable Pecuniary Interest Clerk reminded all Cllrs. with outstanding forms to complete and return to Clerk please.  Thank you. ALL.

13. Gatwick update. 

14.  Matters arising from the previous minutes

15.  Planning and licensing update – attached to agenda

16.  Financial update attached to Agenda

17. Urgent / other issues – none.

18.  Other correspondence for noting –attached to agenda.  In addition – Sussex Lund grant application re – open (Ecology and landscape of the AONB).  Clerk started training on new data protection regulations – more to follow.  Litter pick – preference to co – ordinate with Annual event this year.


Meeting ended 8.40pm













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