Covering the villages of Four Elms, Hever & Markbeech

Category: Latest News (Page 1 of 8)

A joint statement agreed by Civility and Respect Project Working Group

The Civility and Respect Project Working Group agreed at its latest meeting on 28 June 2021 a joint statement committing to promote civility and respect in public life. The statement, which summarises the core aims and values for securing permanent change in the local (parish and town) council sector, reads:

“Civility and respect should be at the heart of public life and good governance is fundamental to ensuring an effective and well-functioning democracy at all levels.

The intimidation, abuse, bullying and harassment of councillors, professional officers and staff, in person or online, is totally unacceptable; whether that is by councillors, professional officers, staff or members of the public.

This can prevent councils from functioning effectively, councillors from representing local people, discourage people from getting involved including standing for election, and undermine public confidence and trust in local democracy.

The National Association of Local Councils (NALC), county associations and One Voice Wales (OVW), as the membership organisations representing the first tier of local government in England and Wales, and the Society of Local Council Clerks (SLCC) as the professional body for clerks, are committed to working together to promote civility and respect in public life, good governance, positive debate and supporting the well-being of councillors, professional officers and staff.

To that end the group will be working to deliver tangible resources, actions and interventions in four main areas: providing councils with the tools to support good governance; lobbying to strengthen the standards regime and encourage more people to get involved; training; and processes to intervene to provide support to struggling councils.”

The meeting of the working group also finalised plans for the appointment of a fixed-term project officer, funded by NALC and SLCC, to drive forward the projects’ key priorities and tangible objectives. Other issues covered at the meeting, which was held online, included a local resolution protocol, links to the Improvement and Development Board (IDB) and lobbying.

FREE family fun day – Four Elms – 9th August 10am to 2pm

Four Elms School (Recreation Ground), Bough Beech Road, Four Elms, TN8 6NE
Enjoy the day together with your children– bring a picnic and stay for the whole event.
Remember, please bring suitable clothing for the activity and the weather, as well as sun cream and plenty of water.
Family Fun Days are organised and financed by Sevenoaks District Council.


This week sees the launch of the newly published Parish Councillor’s Guide to Affordable Housing

The guide sets out a wide range of information, useful to Parish Councillors considering their local areas.  It answers question from everything such as ‘what is affordable housing’ and ‘what planning routes are available’ to more detailed guidance on Rural Exception Sites and how to deliver affordable rural housing in your local area.

It also includes a range of case studies to explore the issues further.

You can access the guide below or by clicking here

Kent Housing Group – A guide to developing affordable homes in rural communities

The Housing Strategy and Enabling Group, sub group of the Kent Housing Group have reviewed and updated the KHG Guide to Developing Affordable Homes in Rural Communities Protocol.

The Kent Housing Group has a long standing commitment and success in supporting the delivery of affordable housing for the rural communities of Kent and Medway, this has been in partnership with a number of organisations, each of whom are passionate about protecting and invigorating our rural communities.

This Guide has been produced to address housing needs through the development of new affordable homes.   it will reflect and offer advice and information that is relevant for a broad audience, with the guide being split into useful Fact Sheets.    This guide has been updated and is one of many key objectives outlined within the Kent and Medway Housing Strategy, a county wide high level strategic plan that has been developed by Kent Housing Group over 2020.

Baroness Warwick, Chair of the National Housing Federation has produced the Foreword for this protocol and a video to support this is available to view here.

The protocol was launched ‘virtually’ on the 19th February 2021, providing an overview of the protocol aims and content and with support from Baroness Warwick and English Rural Housing Association.  Thank you noted to Action with Communities Rural Kent and English Rural HA for their support and participation in the launch.  To view the recording of the event please use the following LINK

 A Guide to Developing Affordable Homes in Rural Communities

Hever Parish Council Meeting Agenda for 7th July 21

2021 Jul 7 HPC agenda to download a copy, or view below for details.

See also Data summary

Breakdown of comments  Comments supporting Comments objecting


To: The Members of Hever Parish Council.  I hereby summon you to attend the meeting of Hever Parish Council to be held at Hever Village Hall on 7th July 2021 commencing at 7.30 pm for the transaction of business as set out below.

Planning meeting to consider the 2 applications as per agenda below will be at 7.00pm

Signed;      Clerk           Date   02/07/21           *are attachments

If a Councillor has declared an interest in an item on the agenda, they will be placed in the waiting room for the duration of the agenda item.  Once the item has been concluded, they will be re-admitted.

There will be no Public Forum at this meeting. The Council have noted the comments and evidence received over the last 6 months during the public consultation of the Affordable Housing Proposal.  The public are however, welcome to attend, but due to the Covid restrictions there will be a limit of 30 attendees (including Councillors).

Meetings shall be open to the public unless their presence is prejudicial to the public interest by reason of the confidential nature of the business to be transacted or for other special reasons. The public’s exclusion from part or all of a meeting shall be by a resolution which shall give reasons for the public’s exclusion.

The Chairman may, if necessary, suspend or ultimately close the meeting if disruptive behaviour is not modified and obstructs the proceedings of a meeting.

The meeting will not be recorded and please do not do so as permission is not given.

For your information, in law, the public have a right to attend meetings but they have no right to speak.  Schedule 12, LGA 1972

To assist in the speedy and efficient dispatch of business, please contact the Clerk in advance of the meeting if further factual information is required on an item on the Agenda.

  1. To receive apologies and declarations of interest in respect of business specified on the agenda (Chair).
  2. *To approve the accuracy of draft Minutes of the previous meetings (6th and 29th May 2021) (Chair)

Items for discussion / decision;

  1. Update from Matthew Dickins, Sevenoaks District Council Member.
  2. To note the appointment of Christina Divall to the Responsible Financial Officer and Clerk’s position. Do the Council resolve to change the banking process and signatories and amend online access to enable Christina to do the financial functions of her responsibilities?
  3. *Affordable Housing proposal on Bull Lane. Following the 6-month public consultation, HPC Councillors will be voting to decide whether to support the progression of this proposal.
    Hever PC has decided that the support for an affordable housing scheme on Bull Lane, Four Elms, is not sufficient and therefore the scheme will not proceed.
    The basis for this conclusion:
    In 2018 we were asked by SDC to undertake a housing needs survey in our parish. This was conducted by ACRK who concluded there was a need for affordable housing. The PC started a consultation which stated that the scheme would only proceed if there was sufficient community support for the only suitable site – Bull Lane.
    The consultation closed on 30 June and whilst there is considerable support, and 14 people have expressed an interest in living on the site, it is clear that there is also strong opposition. This means that the community is extremely divided and therefore in our view the level of support is not enough to justify moving ahead with this scheme.
    We remain convinced, however, that our community should offer a broad spread of housing opportunities for local people and at present building on the green belt is the only way to ensure that affordable homes are ring-fenced for local people.
    We will therefore keep this matter under regular review and expect to be asked to repeat the housing needs survey as one is due every five years. If we do so we will endeavour to work more closely with the community to avoid the damaging conflict which many have found very distressing.
  4. *Financial update. Receipts and payments since last update & accounts and statement reconciliation (Clerk).
  5. Four Elms Pond – The owner is considering selling and is offering HPC to purchase it for £30,000. Does the Council wish to enter into negotiations?  Background – HPC has a long lease with landowner, which cannot be altered without prior agreement of both parties.
  6. *Planning; applications responded to and outcomes – attached to agenda.
  7. Urgent issues at the discretion of the Chairman for noting or inclusion on future agenda.
  8. GDPR – to update any developments or actions required.
  9. To determine matters arising from the previous minutes for updating / noting (Chair)
  10. Consultations / Other Correspondence.


Items for updating on / for information;   



2021 HPC meetings         7pm Planning              7.30pm Full Council meetings




What powers does Hever Parish Council have in planning applications?

What powers does Hever Parish Council have in planning applications?

Hever Parish Council acts as a consultee for all planning applications in the parish.  Sevenoaks District Council is the planning authority and will decide whether or not an application is granted, receiving comments made by the Parish Council (but SDC have no obligation to agree with or take these comments into account) and other consultees, such as Kent Highway Services and The Environment Agency and any member of the public.

The final decision is made by the Planning Authority, not the Parish Council.

  • Parish councils are statutory consultees and have no powers to approve or reject planning applications, they can only comment (or not) on applications.
  • Parish Councils are not obliged to respond to any application it is consulted on.


Hever Parish Council will only comment on what are known as “material considerations” *

If you would like to submit a comment to Sevenoaks District Council, either for or against an application, please send a copy to the Clerk of the Parish Council ( and we will take your comments into consideration whilst discussing the application.  If you would like to know when an application will be considered by the Parish Council to share further information or give us your views, please contact the Clerk.

To view applications on the Sevenoaks District Council website, see, then enter the application number without the SE prefix, for example Ref. No: 09/00009/FUL, in the search box.

A summary of each and every application commented on is included on the Agendas so that it is absolutely transparent to anyone who is interested what the council has commented on, on what planning grounds, which Cllrs. were involved in the consideration (if there is any conflict of interest then the relevant Cllr. must leave the room / zoom meeting so as not to influence the discussion) and what the outcome of the application was (if already decided by SDC).


Do parish councils grant planning permission?

  • Town and parish councils are not Planning Authorities.  Town and parish councils are only statutory consultees in the planning process (for some applications)*.
  • This means that they only have the right to be informed of planning applications within the parish.
  • They cannot approve or reject planning applications.
  • They can only comment on planning applications in the same way that individuals can comment.
  • Consequently, the length of time taken to determine a planning application is governed by the local planning authority not the parish council.
  • The decision whether this is granted rests solely with the planning authority and its own deadlines for decision making.
  • It is also worth mentioning that we have no duty to respond to applications we are informed about. The planning committee consists of volunteer Councillors who have a large number of applications to consider, in addition to major planning issues e.g Local Plan, affordable housing etc.




Valid reasons for comment on a Planning Application

Comments that are clear, concise and accurate stand more chance of being accepted than those that are not. When planning applications are considered, the following matters can all be relevant. These are sometimes referred to as ‘material planning considerations’:

  • Central government policy and guidance – Acts, Circulars, Planning Policy Guidance Notes (PPGs) etc.
  • The Development Plan – and any review of the Development Plan which is underway.
  • Adopted supplementary guidance – for example, village design statements, conservation area appraisals, car parking standards.
  • Replies from statutory and non-statutory agencies (e.g. Environment Agency, Highways Authority).
  • Representations from others – neighbours, amenity groups and other interested parties so long as they relate to land use matters.
  • Effects on an area – this includes the character of an area, availability of infrastructure, density, over-development, layout, position, design and external appearance of buildings and landscaping
  • The need to safeguard valuable resources such as good farmland or mineral reserves.
  • Highway safety issues – such as traffic generation, road capacity, means of access, visibility, car parking and effects on pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Public services – such as drainage and water supply
  • Public proposals for using the same land
  • Effects on individual buildings – such as overlooking, loss of light, overshadowing, visual intrusion, noise, disturbance and smell.
  • Effects on a specially designated area or building – such as green belt, conservation areas, listed buildings, ancient monuments and areas of special scientific interest.
  • Effects on existing tree cover and hedgerows.
  • Nature conservation interests – such as protection of badgers, great crested newts etc.
  • Public rights of way
  • Flooding or pollution.
  • Planning history of the site – including existing permissions and appeal decisions.
  • A desire to retain or promote certain uses – such as playing fields, village shops and pubs.
  • Need for the development – such as a petrol station
  • Prevention of crime and disorder
  • Presence of a hazardous substance directly associated with a development
  • Human Rights Act
  • Precedent – but only where it can be shown there would be a real danger that a proposal would inevitably lead to other inappropriate development (for example, isolated housing in the countryside)

Irrelevant reasons for objection

There are certain matters which do not amount to ‘material planning considerations’ under current legislation and guidance. These matters cannot be taken into account in considering a planning application and should not be included in objections as they weaken your case:

  • Speculation over future use
  • The identity of the applicant or occupant
  • Unfair competition
  • Boundary disputes
  • Breach of covenants and personal property rights, including personal (not Public) rights of way
  • Loss of a private view
  • Devaluation of property
  • Other financial matters
  • Matters controlled by other legislation – such as internal space standards for dwellings or fire prevention
  • Religious or moral issues – such as betting shops and amusement arcades
  • The fact that the applicant does not own the land to which the application relates
  • The fact that an objector is a tenant of land where the development is proposed
  • The fact that the development has already been carried out and the applicant is seeking to regularise the situation.  People can carry out development at their own risk before getting planning permission)
  • The developer’s motives, record or reputation

Other Matters – “concerns and issues”

The person making a planning application has to provide enough information for the application to be determined. They do not have to provide every single detail before an application can be approved because certain matters can be resolved by way of conditions included as part of the permission.

Because of this, certain issues may not be considered as ‘objections’ but it is entirely reasonable for you to raise concerns on such issues and to ask to be kept informed before they are approved. These include:

  • The proposed type and colour of the materials to be used
  • The exact nature of any proposed planting or boundary treatment




Applications where the Parish Council is not a statutory consultee

DETAIL – Submission of Approval of Details

ADJ or ADJAPP – Adjoining Authority Consultations

AGRNOT – Agricultural/Forestry Notifications

DEMNOT – Demolition Consultation Demolition Notification – Details

DEDET RG5, RG9, RG10 or RG1 – Environmental Impact Assessment applications

HEDNOT – Hedgerow Removal Notification

KCCRG3, KCCRG4, DIVERT or PROW – Kent County Council consultations

LDCLBC – Lawful Development Certificate Listed Building

LDCPR – Lawful Development Certificate Proposed

NMA – Non-Material Amendments

PAE – Prior Approval Extension

PAC – Prior Approval Change of Use

WTPO, WTCA, WTREE or W5DAY – Works to Trees


More information;,Loss%20of%20light%20or%20overshadowing for minutes and agendas of the planning committee meetings.

Hever Parish Council meeting. Saturday 29th May midday, Four Elms Church. This is an additional short meeting to consider and approve the annual accounts and consider one planning application.

29.05.21 FE


Please note covid regulations – all attendees to note;


The room will be well ventilated (doors and windows open).

One-way access should be provided if possible.

  • Those attending to bring own hand sanitiser
  • Ensuring everyone wears face masks (unless medically exempt)

If unable to attend, please send comments to by midday Friday 28th May


  • Staggering arrival and exit times for staff, councillors and members of the public
  • Placing seating at least 2-metres apart
  • If papers are provided, people should be discouraged from sharing with others and asked to take the papers with them at the end of the meeting to minimise how many people handle the papers
  • Arranging seating so people are not facing each other directly.
  • All attendees to register details on arrival (for track and trace)

Hever Parish Council have a vacancy for the Parish Council Clerk – now closed to further appilication.

Are you an organised person, want to be paid to work for your community, from home, flexibly? Hever Parish Council have a vacancy for the Parish Council Clerk.

We would like to hear from you if you have excellent computer literacy skills, the ability to multitask and provide both written and numerical support to the council and have some knowledge / interest of the area. The Clerk provides independent support to the Councillors, who vote on decisions.

The post is interesting and varied and the successful applicant will be required to provide professional guidance in respect of all aspects of the Council’s work.  It is not essential to have experience of working in Local Government.

Evening meeting attendance will be required for ~ 6 evening parish meetings / year, the rest of the hours (16 hours / week in total) can be worked flexibly.

The salary will be in the range of £10.65 – £15.37 per hour depending on experience and annual appraisal.  There is a generous pension and working from home allowance.

The Clerk provides all the administrative functions of the Council and is the principal point of contact for Hever parish residents, other local councils, contractors and professional organisations. This includes preparing minutes, agendas and project plans, all correspondence and financial matters / annual audit and planning applications.  Maintaining the parish council website / noticeboards / social media also required. The Clerk is also the Proper Officer and Responsible Financial Officer of the Council.


The Council – Hever Parish Council has 10 Councillors, who make decisions and represent ~ 1,200 residents in Four Elms, Hever and Markbeech, Kent. See  The Council owns and maintains two play areas / recreation grounds, one closed cemetery, a pond and surrounding bank and a large “hut”.


The Role/ The Person

The ideal candidate will have previous office based experience with a good working knowledge of IT (emails, documents and spreadsheets and the internet).  Confidence in basic accounting / finance are also required.

We are looking for someone with a professional attitude, excellent time management skills together with flexibility and a can-do, hands on, proactive attitude and who is confident that they can work on their own and their own initiative.

The ideal candidate will be a good communicator, they must have good interpersonal skills

Whilst relevant experience is preferred, specific training will be provided where required e.g. finance, planning, local government. There will be a comprehensive handover and support from the Council members and experts.


The Offer

16 hours of work / week will be flexible.   All the work is from home so it is essential to have good broadband access.  A computer / webcam will be provided and there is professional IT support.  Interested applicants should contact the Clerk asap, Charlotte Cole ( with any queries and for a formal job description and subsequently send a brief CV and set out reasons for applying in a covering letter.

The closing date for Applications is 14th May – which may close early subject to interest, with interviews being held by Zoom.  Start date asap.

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