HEVER PARISH COUNCIL
THE MINUTES OF A MEETING OF HEVER PARISH COUNCIL HELD AT
HEVER VILLAGE HALL,
ON MONDAY 14TH MAY 2012 AT 7.30PM
Present: Cllr Hodson (Chairman), Leslie, Nightingale, Roundhill, Sebastian, Southworth, Thompson, Ward, White.
Also in attendance: Sarah Codling (clerk)
1. To elect Chair
Resolved to elect John Hodson as Chairman. The Declaration of Acceptance of Office was signed.
2. To elect Vice Chair
Resolved to elect Joanna Wade as Vice-Chairman.
3. To receive apologies and reason for absence
Apologies were received from Kenton Ward (work). All apologies were accepted.
4. To receive declarations of interest in respect of items on the Agenda
5. Public Forum – time limit 10 minutes.
6. To receive reports of County and District Councillors
The council was disappointed that our new District Councillor was unable to attend and the clerk was asked to write to encourage his joining us in the future. County Councillor Lake is due to arrive later in the meeting.
7. To approve the Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held 20th March 2012.
Item 13 was amended to state ‘The Stores, Four Elms’ not ‘Four Elms Stores’. Following this amendment, the minutes of the meeting held 20th March 2012 were signed as a true and accurate record.
8. To determine matters arising from the previous Minutes for updating and noting.
• Roger Edwards is to audit the accounts – the accounts are ready and Mr Edwards is scheduled to complete the audit 23rd May 2012.
• To organize demonstration of air show by Mr Tom King for Jubilee Celebration – Mr King has advised that the air show will not be possible as the celebration is midweek when the participants would be working. The Clerk is to liaise with Kenton Ward.
• To liaise with Christina Hodson to be allocated a country for the Four Elms Flower Festival – the Parish Council have been designated Pakistan.
• To book the bulk refuse freighter to visit the Parish in six months – to be booked for November.
• To improve community information for the website www.hever.org – completed. However, this is an ongoing task.
• To chase Sevenoaks District Council regarding their investigation over the empty property in Four Elms – Sevenoaks District Council are satisfied that repair work is being undertaken.
• To investigate the District Responsibility regarding litter – Sevenoaks District Council operate on a system of clearing litter when it is reported. The Clerk is to obtain further information.
Christine Thompson advised that litter picking took place in Four Elms between Willerby Landscapes and Roodlands Lane. A total of 14 bags of rubbish was picked up.
Councillors agreed they would also like litter to be picked up in Hever. It was noted that the roads more severely affected by litter are the fast, windy roads. The Council would like Sevenoaks District Council to assume responsibility and get rid of the worst of the litter. It was felt that the litter should be cleared between January-March.
It was also noted that rubbish appears to be coming from Edenbridge, including a freezer in the lake. The Clerk is to liaise with the Edenbridge Town Clerk and District Councillor.
John Roundhill agreed to look into the purchase of biodegradable bags to give to dog walkers/tourists visiting the parish. The availability of bags would be publicized to enable walkers to dispose of their litter responsibly and even pick up any they find.
• To submit ideas to Cllr Lake for funding – completed.
• To research the Princes Countryside Fun d – this item is carried forward.
Joanna Wade arrived 8pm
9. To receive an update on the Parish Plan and approve projects to be adopted by Parish Council.
The results to the Parish Plan questionnaire have been partially analysed. It is anticipated that they will be fully analysed for the Parish Assembly meeting 31st May 2012. This will give the steering group the opportunity to tell people who attend the Assembly meeting the full results, ask for any feedback and allow people to volunteer for the various projects that have been identified.
It is felt that the Parish Council would be best to facilitate projects by acting as an ‘honest broker’ or linking together various contacts and improving communications through the website. Unfortunately, no project stands out as particularly obvious for the Parish Council to support beyond the website and maybe developing better resources on the Parish Field and playground in Four Elms.
The Parish Council can, however, provide allotments. There have been 28 people respond that they wish to have an allotment and 12 people are willing to organise the allotments, once up and running. The Council needs to establish a potential site.
Other projects include a community shop, walking clubs and rebuilding Hever Village Hall.
It has also been established that many people have indicated that they do not know what the Parish Council does in the area. Therefore, the Council need to work at raising awareness.
There are some items which are ‘quick wins’ as they can be initiated very quickly, for example drivers for the hospital, help at local schools and people to help ‘police’ footpaths.
The Clerk is to contact both Four Elms and Hever primary schools stating the Parish Council are willing to initiate a playground project if there is a demand.
The Clerk is also to telephone Mrs Biddall at Kent County Council asking about who owns the footpaths as it may be possible for the areas to be cleared by the landowners.
Peter Lake arrived 8.10pm
County Council Report
• Kent County Council have a new archive centre on the Maidstone Approach from the M20. It is possible to obtain copies of maps going back 200 years. Peter Lake said he would obtain copies of what the Parish looked like historically.
• Cowden are still concerned regarding fracking as there is a danger of polluting water or seismic activity. A debate is ongoing and nothing will happen until permission is granted from Kent County Council planning department and department of climate change. Peter Lake is to provide more information. Cowden are keen to tell other parishes what is going on and keep them informed. To date, no applications for fracking have been submitted.
• Peter Lake has met with Highways regarding the crossroads in Four Elms where there continue to be accidents. The latest idea is to have a mini roundabout. Another suggestion is to have a further interactive sign coming in from the west which is the only approach without an interactive sign.
Joanna Wade noted that existing street furniture is in the line of sight when trying to turn at the crossroads. This will be investigated.
• It has been reported that Five Fields Lane is being used as a short cut for heavy vehicles. Peter Lake is to investigate and report back to the Parish Council.
• A huge number of potholes are developing. These will be filled in before the end of the summer but Highways have reported that they cannot get to them at present.
• Schools – the Local Education Authority have revised figures upwards in Sevenoaks stating that by 2017 there will be a need for 425 new primary school places and 900 new secondary school places. This is a new problem for the County Council to face. There will be a need to build new schools in Tunbridge Wells but that will mean that children will need to be transported there.
Currently there are a number of school appeals with many schools operating a waiting list system.
• There are over 10,000 signatures on the petition for better broadband. Residents are urged to let Kent County Council know if there is a need for improved broadband by signing up to the website www.makekentquicker.com as there is a lot of funding around. KCC has also pledged to match any funding received in Kent as they believe everyone should have the opportunity for better broadband.
Peter Lake has received the information regarding broadband from the Parish Plan. However, individuals need to log onto the website as funding is received from volume of requests.
• Peter attended a GATCAN meeting recently. There are no promises relating to respite by Gatwick or NATS. Peter has asked whether the gates have been moved as residents in Cowden feel more aircraft are approaching over them.
It was noted that there is still a noise meter in Hever. However, Peter would like a noise meter to be to the east of the runway, within the Parish, so readings can be available when needed.
This is an ongoing problem. Peter stated that he would like a steeper approach to be adopted. It was also noted that, to date, the maximum find Gatwick have imposed on airlines is £500 giving the feeling that Gatwick are being lenient on airlines.
Councillors also noted that planes should not be flying over Hever Castle as it is one of the top 20 heritage attractions in the UK.
• KCC have announced today that they will be removing all deposits from Santander.
• Peter advised that application forms for the Members Fund are not yet available. Further information is awaited. The Council have submitted requests for picnic tables on Hever field, a hardstanding at Four Elms school/church, a kissing gate at Chippens Bank and a flashing speed light at Four Elms crossroads. Peter advised that the Parish Council will have to complete their own forms for the Members Fund but he will complete the forms for highways applications. The council was disappointed that no further progress had been made.
Peter Lake left 8.40pm
10.1 To approve Sections 1&2 of the Annual Return 2011/12
The accounts were approved and signed by the Chairman.
10.2 To review Financial Regulations
The Financial Regulations were reviewed and approved.
10.3 To approve Members Allowances 2012/13
The level of the members allowances were agreed:
Members basic allowance (maximum) £140 pa
Chairman’s allowance (maximum) £230 pa
Approved mileage payments – car 40p per mile
Approved mileage payments – motor cycle 24p per mile
Approved mileage payments – cycle 20p per mile
Additional passenger supplement 5p per mile per person
Subsistence allowance – breakfast Up to £5.50
Subsistence allowance – lunch Up to £7.50
Subsistence allowance – tea Up to £3.50
Subsistence allowance – evening meal Up to £9.50
Members are to advise the Clerk whether they will opt out of receiving the allowance. Expenses can still be claimed whether Councillors receive the allowance or not.
10.4 To approve accounts payable.
10.5 To approve purchase of accounting system.
John Southworth advised that the purchase of ‘Quickbooks’ accounting system will save the Clerk time. It also enables reports to be printed. The cost is £200.
The Council approved the purchase.
11. To review Risk Management, Insurance and Asset Register.
The Clerk is to contact the advisor at KALC for impartial advice as to how much insurance the Parish Council should have. The current levels of public liability and employers liability are being questioned.
KALC are also to be approached about who has the responsibility to draw up and maintain the risk assessment.
The Clerk is to amend a template from a neighbouring parish to be eligible to Hever. John Hodson, John Roundhill and Christine Thompson are to go round the parish checking all the assets are in order. A copy of the completed assessment is to be sent to the insurer.
12. To discuss celebration and approve grants for Diamond Jubilee 2012
A grant request has been received from Kenton Ward for the remaining funds available to Diamond Jubilee celebrations. The money is to go towards a beacon for Hever and Markbeech. The Clerk advised that there is approximately £800 remaining.
Councillors approved the grant.
13. To discuss Fields in Trust scheme (JW)
This item is on the agenda in error.
14. To review the Village Warden role and responsibilities
John Southworth advised that in his duties as Village Warden, John Pearce tidies the bus shelter on Edenbridge Road, mows the grass at the pond once a week and trims the hedge along Bough Beech Road by the school to keep the maximum width of pavement. Also, drains are cleared if flooded. This work costs the Council £100 a month for 7 months over the summer period.
John Southworth advised he would like to go through the asset register to decide who is responsible for the assets and agree the budget for each particular asset. The Clerk is to ensure the grass at the recreation ground is not cut by Kent County Council.
15. To discuss litter issues
This item was covered under matters arising.
16. Correspondence for noting
17. Urgent issues at the discretion of the Chairman for noting or inclusion on future agenda.
Advertising boards have been commissioned for the Annual Parish Assembly meeting. Councillors agreed to put them up in each ward.
John Hodson agreed to provide wine and glasses for the Annual Parish Assembly meeting. The Clerk is to provide soft drink, napkins, plates and bin bags. Christine Thompson and Anita Sebastian agreed to provide food.
The Clerk is to ensure the police, District Councillor and County Councillor are invited. Gerry Ryan is to be invited as retiring District Councillor.
There being no further business the meeting closed at 9:50pm