Markbeech Village Hall.  TUESDAY 16th May  2017  AT 7.30PM

Present:  Cllrs. John Hodson (JH) (Chair), Bonnie White (BW), Anita Sebastian (AS), Duncan Leslie (DL), Stephen Lark (SL), Rick Brookes-Smith (RBS), Joanna Wade (JW) (Vice Chair), John Southworth (JS).

Also in attendance: Charlotte Cole (CC, Clerk), Peter Lake (PL)(County Councillor), Mr. Gerry Ryan (GR) (Hever Residents Assoc.), Mrs. Jan Ryan (Hever Residents Assoc.).

The meeting commenced at 7.40pm.

Numbers as per items on agenda;

The Chair welcomed the council and visitors and encouraged to study the displays, prepared in advance of the Annual Assembly (1st June, Four Elms).

1. To receive apologies. Christine Thompson (CT), Matthew Dickins (District Cllr. for Hever and Cowden).

 2i. Election of Chair and Vice Chair.  It was noted that prior to this meeting, all Cllrs. had been contacted to offer the position and nominations for Chair and Vice Chair.  JH and JW were reappointed as Chair / Vice.

The planning committee to continue with DL, AS and CT.

Finance committee with CC, JH, JS and JW.

Gatwick committee DL, RBS, SL.

 2ii. Casual vacancy – JH had accepted the resignation of Louise Nightingale (Four Elms ward), with immediate effect.  The Clerk is to proceed with the statutory advertisements of a casual vacancy, the Council are quorate with more than 4 Cllrs. so may wish to co – opt onto the Council, which will remain on future agendas.  It would be beneficial to have a Cllr. with planning / building knowledge / expertise.

ACTION; JH to raise at Annual Assembly (1st June) and all to consider co – option.

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

4. To approve accuracy of minutes from the previous meeting.  Approved by all and signed by JH. Once approved will be displayed on noticeboards and website (

5.  Public Forum;

 PL was welcomed to HPC as newly elected Kent County Councillor.  He discussed a number of local consultations and issues relevant; the location of and proposed facilities in Edenbridge medical and hospital review (overnight beds).  His involvement with the HWCAAG and plan to encourage Highways to improve local signage, road marking painting and filling of pot holes.  Also wishes to use some of the available Member Grant money to contribute towards caretaker work local to each parish, which HPC accepted with thanks and support.  It was noted that HPC had already expanded local contractor caretaker work to undertake sign clearing and cleaning.  PL reported that had already received request from HPC towards support for Four Elms playground renovation.  It was reported to the Council that the water board were making changes on the Medway and Eden rivers with implications for local businesses and farmers.  He will report back to HPC with any developments.

GR advised that Hever village hall roof needs replacing and grant request to follow.

6. The Clerk advised that was working on reviewing the risk management, financial regulations and standing orders in the next few months.

7i.   The Clerk advised Council that the annual internal audit was complete (report and recommendations attached to agenda) and subsequently the Annual Governance statement 2016 / 17 (copy attached to agenda) was approved by resolution.

7ii.   The Accounting Statements 2016 / 17 (copy attached to agenda) were considered (Accounts and Audit regulations 2011) by members meeting as a whole.

7iii. The accounting statements were approved by resolution and statements signed and dated by JH (Chair).  These would be submitted to the external auditor (PKF Littlejohn) with the annual return, accounts and report made for inspection by the public by September 30 2017.

8.  Street lighting – Clerk advised that reviewing the costs of maintaining the 2 street lights in the parish (Four Elms).  It was considered by the council important to maintain this service.

9.  Local festivals / events – the Clerk had been advised of 3 local events that had not yet applied for licenses and was in contact with planning and licensing to ensure that there was a reasonable time for Council to study once submitted.

8.10pm PL left.

10.  Bulk refuse freighter – JW proposed that HPC fund and organise a bulk refuse freighter to collect local oversized refuse.  Costs (£234 per 4 hours), timings and locations discussed.  This had last been organised in 2006 / 7 via SDC (was free of charge then).

ACTION; Clerk to organise and publicise 2 dates – ideally June and September, Saturday, late morning to stop in Four Elms (opposite Church) and coach car park / bottle bank to the side of Henry VIII pub.

DL advised that Hever castle proposes increased security on their perimeter and installing gates in the castle coach park following attempted intrusions and increasing suspicious behaviour by some groups.

 11.  To determine matters arising and noting from previous minutes;

JW reported back on the litter pick success, thanks to all.  It was agreed that next year to consider holding earlier in the year (so verges not so overgrown) and to coincide with SDC litter pick.

Hever field parking – JW requested that the Clerk circulate latest guidance on parking / use of field.

It was noted that the Diocese of Rochester (who own the parking strip outside Hever school) were reviewing signage and arrangements for parking there.

12.  Planning and licensing update – applications, HPC submissions, outcomes and appeals was attached to agenda and applications currently being considered by the Committee.

13.  Other correspondence;

a) Two public submissions of correspondence (via facebook and by email) re; Four Elms grant sources (Gatwick Community Fund).  This was discussed at length and the Council unanimously supported all viable grant applications.   In response to the specific queries in the communications;


·         The long standing significant lobbying, effort, involvement by HPC and achievements by individual Cllrs. and HPC as a whole, in working with the local Gatwick groups was noted, praised and would continue.

·         Applying to an independently run, publically accessible grant giving body (which is only available to who are impacted by Gatwick noise) for a small proportion of funds to support the renovation of a children’s playground in no way detracts from the totally separate efforts made or compromises the campaigning activities.

·         It was noted that there is a huge range of opinions / importance by parish wide parishioners placed on Gatwick operations / impact of.  HPC represents all locals in the villages of Four Elms, Hever and Markbeech.

·         HPC consider it an integral duty in sourcing and applying for all relevant grants which may be of assistance to local projects, based on the needs of the local community.  The entire budget is derived from precept and as a small council, HPC have no income generation opportunities.

·         All decisions made by the Council,  is based on any project being proposed, planned and discussed at full Council meetings over a period of time, including the finance / planning committee (where appropriate) and minuted, subsequently made publically available.  It has been the intention of the Council to apply for all such grants for many years, subject to the grants being open to applications and meeting the criteria.

·         £40,000 is the fund raising target for the Four Elms playground.  £3,000 has been applied (and recently received from) for from the Kent Community Foundation (who are an independent grant making charity, Gatwick have no control over which applications go before the panel, and which do not.  The KCF run the Gatwick Foundation Fund).  As with all receipts and expenditure this is recorded in subsequent meeting agendas financial updates.

·         No other projects or funding have been requested by HPC to or from KCF (in the past 2 financial years) as the fund has only just re – opened.

GR and JR left at 8.35pm

Clerk updated on Hever defibrillator – grant obtained from Clive Pearman (KCC) and awaiting permission from Hever primary school to install there.  Awaiting re – scheduling of Four Elms defibrillator training.

SL re – introduced issue of broadband speeds and whether still a significant local issue.  Grants centrally available if downloads speeds < 2Mb.  To mention at Assembly.

13b) Communication from Kate Craib, Youth Services Manager, West Kent Communities about service provision in Edenbridge, youth club in Four Elms.

13c) Thanks from Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance for grant.

13d) AGM invitation and annual report from Edenbridge and District Rail travellers association (Thursday 18th May).

13e) Communication from Fareshare Food Cloud at Waitrose Sevenoaks – passed to JH.

14). Financial update – as per attached to agenda.

15.  Gatwick update – SL, RBS and DL updated on the chairmanship of the HWCAAG (Colin Stratton Brown).

16.  Urgent issues

Preparations discussed regarding Annual Assembly.  Start time 7pm, presentations from 7.30pm.  JW requested to add a Fire Hydrant poster.

SL enquired about any changes at Hever station car park – no news to report, remains open.

For future agendas – JW requested to add Hever village signs.



Next full meeting ; 18th July 7.30pm Hever Village hall.