HEVER PARISH COUNCIL
THE MINUTES OF A MEETING OF HEVER PARISH COUNCIL HELD AT
HEVER VILLAGE HALL,
ON MONDAY 20TH MARCH 2012 AT 7.30PM
Present: Cllr Hodson (Chairman), Nightingale, Roundhill, Sebastian, Thompson, Wade, Ward, White.
Also in attendance: Sarah Codling (clerk), Chris Neal (District Councillor candidate)
1. To receive apologies and reason for absence.
Apologies were received from Duncan Leslie (work) and John Southworth (holiday). All apologies were accepted.
2. To receive declarations of interest in respect of items on the Agenda.
Christine Thompson declared a personal interest in item 8.3 as trustee for Four Elms Hall.
3. Public Forum
Chris Neal introduced himself as a candidate in the election for District Councillor. His opinion is that the needs of the Parish should be taken to District level so a good working relationship is essential.
Following from campaigning, knocking on the doors of parishioners, Mr Neal believes that one of the main concerns is the speed of cars around Pootings, Four Elms. Mr Neal also noted the Localism Bill, reinforcing his political standing that Parishes should have a voice to the District that ensures answers to questions are given, not that the District dictates to the Parish Council.
4. To receive reports of County and District Councillors
County Councillor Lake will be arriving late so his report will be given upon his arrival.
5. To approve the Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held 16th January 2012
The minutes of the meeting held 16 January 2012 were signed as a true and accurate record.
6. To determine matters arising from the previous Minutes for updating and noting.
• Kenton Ward has been reviewing applications for the Diamond Jubilee. This is an ongoing process.
• The bulk refuse freighter was booked for 10th March 2012. Feedback to be given under item 10.
• The noticeboard in the Hever bus stop is in a bad state and the grass needs tending. The Clerk has asked Richard Bennett to review the area and he will provide a new noticeboard.
• The Clerk sent a letter to the owner of Four Elms Stores. A response has not been received.
7. To receive an update on the Parish Plan.
Questionnaires have been collected and data entry has been completed. The data is ready to be formatted into a useable form.
There have been 45% returns. However, there is a differential between wards, for example Hever returns are 60% and Four Elms 30%.
The proposal is to collate the information and present at the Annual Parish Assembly. This will hopefully enthuse parishioners to take some projects forward. One particular project which should be driven by parishioners should be the development of Hever Hall.
Some projects people have expressed interest in are:
• 38 people wish to help in the school
• 16 people have offered to drive for the hospital
• 28 people wish to have an allotment
Interest has also been expressed in having a community shop. It was noted that the information needs further break down as there is a shop in Four Elms.
The information so far is preliminary. The Parish Council need to establish what help can be given for each project.
Kenton Ward is to be asked for a full print out of the data.
Clerk to add an item to the next agenda regarding which projects the Parish Council will take responsibility for.
8.1 To approve accounts payable
The accounts were approved as per Appendix A.
Councillors questioned the funding for the Jubilee mugs for Four Elms. The amount being paid by the Council exceeds the agreed budget for Four Elms as the difference is to be reclaimed VAT.
8.2 To appoint internal auditor
The auditor from last year, Roger Edwards, is to be approached to audit the accounts.
8.3 To review and approve grants
John Southworth requested prior to the meeting a proposed grant of £250 to the elderly bus service. Councillors deem this to be a viable cause. The grant was approved, subject to the claimant having guaranteed viability.
Four Elms Village Hall applied for a grant of £300 towards insulating the hall. This was approved by Councillors. However, the funds are to be paid in the next financial year as a grant has already been given to the hall.
Kenton Ward arrived at 8:15pm
9. To discuss celebration for Diamond Jubilee 2012
Kenton Ward advised that Markbeech are holding a street party. Four Elms are providing commemorative mugs to residents, holding a footpath walk on Saturday 2nd June and a Games Day on Monday 4th June. A flower festival is also to be held in Four Elms Church.
Hever Residents Association have decided to have a Family Day to start at noon Tuesday 5th June. There will be an arena, remote control air display and egg and spoon races, to name a few activities. The pub will have a food and drinks tent. It is also intended to have a band and falconry. An application for road closure will be made by Hever Residents Association. A meeting to discuss organisation will be held in The Greyhound on Monday 26th March. It is anticipated that this should be organised by the community, not just the Residents Association or Parish Council.
Mr Tom King applied to the Council to hold a remote control air show. This was approved. However, a demonstration is necessary prior to the event and insurance implications investigated.
An application from Hever Residents Association is to be made at a later date.
Chris Neal left 8:20pm
The organisers for the Four Elms celebrations have asked if a flower arrangement will be made on behalf of Hever Parish Council. The arrangements are on the theme of Commonwealth countries. Bonnie White is to ask Christina Hodson to allocate the Council a country.
10. To receive feedback regarding bulk refuse freighter
The bulk refuse freighter visited Four Elms and Hever on 10th March 2012. Unfortunately, this was not well attended with approximately 740kg of waste being picked up.
The Clerk advised that there will be a price increase of 5% for the next financial year. Counciillors believe this to be a good initiative and believe more residents will use the facility with more publicity and notice. It was agreed to have the freighter visit the parish again in 6 months, advertising in the link a few months ahead of the scheduled date. The Clerk will liaise with the venues to ensure availability.
11. To discuss the website www.hever.org
Kenton Ward distributed a report detailing the traffic for the last year and last month.
There is a reasonable number of people who visit the website. The website is about to get a boost through the use of email alerts. It is also anticipated that a monthly newsletter will be distributed. This can only be achieved if more community information is gathered.
The Clerk is to work at improving the content on the website, contacting local organisation to see if they wish to be included.
Peter Lake arrived 8:50pm
12. To agree report for website/The Link explaining increase in precept.
A Hever resident has enquired why the precept has increased for 2012/13. John Hodson proposed that this is publicised at the Parish Assembly, explaining that it is to fund Parish Plan projects.
13. To review Four Elms Stores
The Parish Council sent a letter to the owner of Four Elms Stores asking for an update regarding progress with building works. A response is still awaited.
John Southworth sent an email to the Council, declaring his interest, enquiring whether involving Sevenoaks District Council would progress the matter. The Clerk has spoken to Planning Enforcement and Community Development who will visit the site. The Clerk will contact Sevenoaks District Council should no further information be received.
Report from County Councillor Peter Lake
• Peter Lake advised that Chris Neal is looking at the issue of Four Elms Stores and confirmed that this would be a matter for the District Councillor. Peter asked for the details of correspondence with Sevenoaks District Council so that he could reinforce his support.
• There have been more accidents at Four Elms crossroads, owing to speeding and not observing stop signs from the direction of both Tonbridge and Pootings. It is unlikely for traffic lights to be installed. There was talk of a mini roundabout a while ago but it is uncertain if this is a viable possibility. Peter Lake is hoping to speak with Kent Highways regarding what is possible.
The worst accident recently was a few days ago when a car stopped to turn right into Pootings. A further car came straight across from Pootings hitting the first car through the fence of a garden. The second car ended on top of the first. It was noted that the Pootings side is the only side without signage. It was questioned whether speed bumps could be installed but this would only be possible if street lights were in situ. Peter Lake is to liaise with Kent Highways.
• There are 25 pupils who passed the 11+ in the Sevenoaks Area who have not been given grammar school places. The pupils have been asked whether they will go to Sevenoaks Academy but have advised they wish to go to a grammar school. Subsequently, they have been offered places in as far as Dover. However, some pupils do drop out of their placements in local grammar schools so it is hoped that all pupils will not have far to travel.
Rules are changing regarding school transportation. From September 2012 parents have to pay for children to travel to grammar or faith schools. Children can have a ‘freedom pass’ but this is not accepted on rail or some bus services. Peter Lake is wishing to start a fund for children whereby fares are paid if the family is on income support. Sevenoaks District Council have advised that it costs £10 per week for pupils aged 16-18 to travel to school.
• Peter Lake will have £10,000 to allocate in small units from 5th April for the financial year 2012/13. Small allocations are welcome from Parish Councils. Peter Lake also has £25,000 available for highways issues. It was advised that flashing lights at Pootings would cost £4,000 but a mini roundabout would be beyond his powers. Peter Lake wished to be advised of projects in the next month.
• Gatwick have been approached regarding the idea or respite. Gatwick have advised that nothing is to happen until after the Olympics. Hever Castle, in future, cannot be guaranteed that no aircraft will fly over on certain days. However, no respite means flying planes on a tighter circle and landing on a steeper descent. For NATS this has limited appeal as planes do not have time to divert in case of emergency as the flight path is too narrow.
Peter Lake advised that he feels Gatwick are being kind to aircraft as a few planes have recently flown low and broken various rules. A fine of only £500 was imposed.
The noise meter in a Hever resident’s garden is due to be relocated to Marsh Green and the other noise meter in Hever has already been relocated. A consultation meeting in Edenbridge saw the idea of respite being supported. Peter Lake awaits the information from the Parish Plan regarding the view of residents on this subject. He believes not many people are badly affected.
Tom Denton has advised there will be a meeting explaining the data recorded on the noise meter.
Another idea being voiced is for planes to fly higher and to land at a steeper gradient.
Councillors asked Peter Lake whether there are any ways of slowing cars down in Four Elms, other than approaching Highways for ideas. Peter advised that there is the possibility of ‘creative signs’ for the area which involves installing plastic flowers to make the road look narrower. He will investigate.
Peter Lake is looking forward to receiving the raw data from the Parish Plan to see what projects may be started within the area.
Peter Lake left 9:25pm
14. To discuss litter issues
At the last meeting it was approved that John Roundhill’s son was to complete litter picking for his Duke of Edinburgh. On one occasion John Roundhill joined him and 2 hours of work saw them complete 100 yards and fill 4 bags with lager cans. Concern was voiced regarding the high level of litter in the area. It was proposed that the District Council is asked to clear the area, especially along Hever Road. Once this has been achieved the Parish Council will promote residents and walkers to clear litter as they see it.
The Clerk is to investigate the policy for litter clearing at District Council. Fly tipping has also been noted between the station and Edenbridge. The Parish Council wish to know what responsibility the District Council take regarding this issue.
15. Correspondence for noting
16. Urgent issues at the discretion of the Chairman for noting or inclusion on future agenda.
It was proposed by Councillors to approach Peter Lake for funding towards 4 picnic benches on Hever Field.
Other ideas for funding were for litter picking, hardstanding by Four Elms School/Church, flashing speed light and footpath/kissing gate past Chippens Bank. Councillors are to email the Clerk with any other ideas.
An email was distributed regarding Community Funding from Kent Can, Princes Countryside Fund. Grants up to a value of £50,000 can be awarded. Bonnie White agreed to research this.
There being no further business the meeting closed at 9:50pm