Thursday 21st November 2019 at 7.30PM. Held at Hever Village hall.
Present: Cllrs., John Hodson (JH) (Chair), Bonnie White (BW), Christine Thompson (CT), Anita Sebastian (AS), Stephen Lark (SL), Stephen Sadler (SS) Joanna Wade (JW) (arrived 8pm)
Also in attendance: Charlotte Cole (CC, Clerk) and 4 members of the public. The meeting commenced at 7.34pm.
1.To receive apologies – Angela Haydon (AH) away, Rick Brookes-Smith (RBS) busy, Matthew Dickins (MD) Sevenoaks District Councillor working at SDC, Duncan Leslie (DL) away. These apologies were accepted and noted.
To receive declarations of interest in respect of items on the Agenda. To be specified per item.
- To approve accuracy of minutes from the previous meetings (Minutes from 17.09.19). Previously circulated draft minutes approved by all and signed by JH.
- Public Forum.
Peter Lake (Kent County Councillor) updated on; New Leader of KCC Roger Gough. Michael Payne responsible for Highways. Trials of 20mph speed limits in school hours in some local villages. DBS checks on school bus drivers. Operation Brock ended. KCC budget – perhaps 3% increase in council tax more suitable with increased Govt. assistance. £250m of KCC pension fund invested in Woodford fund. Invitation received by many groups for Gatwick event. Attended Gatwick Noise Mgt. Board meeting and HWCAAG one. HPC may yet be asked to contribute to HWCAAG / GON fundraising. Note Chiddingstone PC meeting minutes. CAGNE has similar concerns as KCC re; safety of runways in close proximity. Edenbridge Health Centre – is subject to planning / NHS / developers’ collaboration. PL left at 8.07pm.
- Stephen Whitehead, Senior Planning Enforcement Officer, Sevenoaks District Council reported on SDC structure, action and outcomes and Planning Enforcement Plan and relevance to rural communities. He has attended ~10 Parish Council meetings, supplied his mobile number and advised that SDC has the biggest enforcement caseload in Kent. Enforcement can be a civil (e.g. beds in sheds, caravans, permitted development) or criminal matter (e.g. listed buildings, Tree Preservation orders, advertising). He has a team of 2 officers, himself (contracted till 02.20) and admin support. Historically has been under resourced and sadly reactive. Aims to have 30 top priority cases, currently has 52 and working on improved communication and use of software.
They have to give applicant the chance to “regularise the breach”. Are working with MP’s to try to change the law. A number of local cases were discussed. The Council thanked SW for his time and efforts.
The Council resolved to write to Richard Morris, Head of Planning SDC, cc in Chief Exec to encourage resources to enforcement team for tax payers’ visible outcome, noting the proportionate impact of breaches to parishes such as rural Hever. Clerk to share draft with SS.
5i. Payments and receipts since last meeting, bank reconciliation and verification by member of FEC.
5ii. 2020 – 2021 budget. The Chair reported from Finance and employment committee (FEC) (JH, JW, CC, AH) meeting, feedback from resident leaflet drop relating to next year spending and 2019 – 2020 budget plans and options. JH declared an interest as on the Parochial Church Council. Grant allocation considered, in detail relating to village hall funding (section 133, LGA 1972) and the benefit of supporting Churches which contribute to a wide public benefit (LGA 1972). Proposals as per the Agenda were discussed, for the end of this financial year (31.03.20) and for 2020 – 2021 financial year.
For the remainder of this financial year, the following allocations to be made;
1. To be ring-fenced and held by HPC from grant budget for possible future Hever village hall rebuild, subject to further consideration at Council meeting / full application. It was requested that the Clerk summarise the history of grant giving for comparison by next meeting. £5,000
2. Grant to each of the 4 village halls £500 x 4 = £2,000
3. Grant to each Church (to supersede recent grant applications received) £1,000 x 3 = £3,000
4. Pay Clerk one month’s salary in lieu of annual leave not used (incl. pension & NI) ~£1,587
For 2020 – 2021 budget;
1. Maintain total grant budget at £ 6,000, including £500 flat rate to each school and £1,000 to each Church for the year (which will be instead of any further grant applications).
2. Increase spend on “environmental works” e.g. bulk refuse visits to £1,000 / year (4 visits), litter picking in Oct / Nov ~ £250 (in addition to the Community Easter one), hedge cutting.
3. Ask KCC to replace damaged / unsightly village entrance signs (Hever) and repair damaged signposts.
4. Support a parish wide VE picnic in 2020 with £1000.
5. Fund 1 – 3 wrought iron finger signpost(s) £3,000.
6. Hold a further £5,000 for possible HVH rebuild (as per 5ii.)
7. 5 locals contacted HPC following parish wide household leaflet drop with suggestions; Improving the fabric and appearance of village, planning control, speeding / signage, pedestrian safety near the Castle, gardening committee / improvements. It was resolved to fund up to £1,000 for the gardening project and Clerk to respond / Action non-financial suggestions. BW to d/w Hever Horticultural society and local nurseries.
Subject to council tax base figure (tbc), precept will increase parish tax payer’s contribution to HPC from £65.91 to £69.22 / per year / per band D household.
5iii. Grant applications;
£5,000 requested for sensory garden from Hever school. Resolved to award £1,000 this financial year.
6. HPC Affordable Housing Project. Working with the Rural and Community Housing Manager (Action with Communities in Rural Kent) www.ruralkent.org.uk and the English Rural Housing Association https://englishrural.org.uk/. See http://hever.org/hever-parish-council-call-for-sites-for-local-needs-homes
Landowner negotiations would be the responsibility of English rural. A period of full and comprehensive public consultations would take place before HPC consider whether to formally support the project. Only after this time, could any planning application be considered.
Following this initial feedback from SDC, this item will be considered at the next Council meeting on 21st January 2020, following a meeting on 12th December between the HPC working party (Clerk, SS, CT) and English Rural Housing association.
SS wished to have it minuted that the 9-month delay by SDC planning with their modest involvement to date has effectively sterilised this project in an unacceptable way.
7. Gatwick update – SL was unable to attend the recent meeting in Penshurst but will update at next meeting re; GON.
8. BW had met with organiser of the Football holiday camp in Four Elms, had feedback from the Head of the school – all positive and recommended that the Council continued to support. The Council resolved to support this and the Clerk to feedback and obtain information on future dates.
9. VE DAY 75 CELEBRATIONS 8TH – 10TH MAY 2020 8th May 2020. www.veday75.org
Hever castle has kindly offered to host the event, evening of Friday 8th May. JW is to meet with Hever
Residents Association. Council wished to accept Hever Castle’s kind offer and £1,000 has just been agreed in
the budget. Noted the change in the Bank Holiday date and that a number of local groups likely to want to be involved.
Kent County Council (KCC) Council Tax and spending priorities 2020-21 Budget. Closes on 25.11.19
Transport for the South East consultation https://transportforthesoutheast.org.uk/transportstrategy/
The Council did not wish to participate in the Consultation.
11. To determine matters arising from the previous minutes for updating / noting (Chair). None.
12. GDPR – to update any developments or actions required. None.
13. Planning; applications responded to and outcomes – attached to agenda.
14. SDC Local Plan further dates cancelled. See Agenda and https://www.sevenoaks.gov.uk/info/20069131/local_plan_examination/483/local_plan_hearings_cancelled
15. KCC Highways – Highway Improvement Plan. Update on village gateway signage. Clerk has met again with safety team, KCC. Gateways can be ordered and installed by HPC supplier, with KCC permission – Markbeech village hall (on opposite side) and Ide Hill road (North side).
16. Urgent issues at the discretion of the Chairman for noting or inclusion on future agenda. None.
17. Other correspondence for noting. This may include items from the Kent Association of Local Councils / National Association of Local Councils.
Report from MD – SDC Community grant scheme, Cowden station (trying to establish steering group), SDC to become net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030), SDC Local Plan update.
• Family Fun days – Summer 2019 – funded by SDC and HPC. 16 children attended the
Markbeech session (31st July) and 63 in Hever (12th August).
• Kent County Council – Highways; the new steward for the Southern Parishes of Sevenoaks District
is Amy Jeffery. Clerk will be attending the parish seminar on 20th November in Tunbridge Wells.
• Church – “Many thanks for your letter from Hever Parish Council. We are extremely grateful for the
support of the Council over the issue of these dreadful thefts. It is so sad that we do not feel that we can safely leave our churches open for people to stop and enjoy their beauty and serenity. We met with PC Cain who has given us some good advice about how we can best deter thefts in the future….” Kind regards Nicola Talbot Churchwarden, Holy Trinity Markbeech
• Kent Police – PC Hubbard will be based at Sevenoaks and cover the Town, Westerham and
Edenbridge. We are still in the process of establishing our PCSO staffing numbers and will keep you informed of the developments with this.
Last week Kent Police introduced a new website, this is much improved on the last one with more and more features being added. You can now check your local areas which will give you information on recent crimes and trends being experienced as well as having a much improved reporting system. Finally, just a thank a thank you from me while working in the PCSO Supervisor role, I haven’t gone far so should still be working with some of you in the future. Many thanks Pete PS 12068 Pete BALLARD
2020 Parish Council meetings
MONTH DATE DAY LOCATION EVENT
JAN 21 TUES MBVH 6.30pm planning, 7pm Mtg
MARCH 17 TUES HVH Mtg
MAY 5 TUES FEVH Mtg / Agm
MAY 28 THURS HVH Assembly
JULY 14 TUES FEVH Mtg
SEPT 22 TUES HVH Mtg
NOV 26 THURS MBVH Mtg
Planning meeting 7pm, full meeting 7.30pm (unless stated otherwise)
NEXT MEETING Tuesday 21st January Markbeech village hall 6.30pm planning, 7pm Full meeting.