Ordinary Meeting Minutes 1/09/2014


Minutes of the Ordinary Meeting of Penshurst Parish Council held on Monday 1 September 2014 at 7.30 pm in Fordcombe Village Hall

1.            PRESENT:   Cllrs J Cass (Chairman); Mrs D Broad, A Campbell, S Frederick, J Horsford, B Townsend

In Attendance:   SDCCllr P Cooke, Mr R Sellings (Swaylands & Speedwatch), Mr P Johnson (Alms Houses and Neighbourhood Watch).

APOLOGIES:   Cllrs J O’Shea, J Broadhead,  KCCllr C Pearman, Mr M Knowles (Gatwick)

2.         MINUTES OF MEETING HELD ON 4 August 2014 having been circulated, were approved and signed by the Chairman.

Declarations of interests in agenda items
If a Member has a disclosable pecuniary interest in an item of business this must be declared at the start of the meeting, unless dispensation has been granted.  The member may not participate in any discussion, vote or discharge any function related to that business.
Non-pecuniary interests may be declared at this point if not already registered.  Members with a non-pecuniary interest may speak on the subject if members of the public can do so but may not vote.    NONE

Chairman:  Prior to the Open Session Cllr Cass provided information regarding a possible affordable housing site.   He had been contacted by Mr Conrad Birch of Randalls who had advised he was investigating the possibility of providing five starter homes plus one marketable five bedroom dwelling in the grounds of his home.   Cllr Cass confirmed that under SDC Policy SP4 – Core Strategy cross subsidy housing was currently not acceptable, he asked Cllr Cooke to update everyone on the issue.   Cllr Cooke advised that in view of the National Planning Policy Framework SDC would addressing their Core Strategy in order that this complied with the requirements of the NPPF.
Para 54 states:  ‘In rural areas, exercising the duty to cooperate with neighbouring authorities, local planning authorities should be responsive to local circumstances and plan housing development to reflect local needs, particularly for affordable housing, including through rural exception sites where appropriate. Local planning authorities should in particular consider whether allowing some market housing would facilitate the provision of significant additional affordable housing to meet local needs.’

There is however a requirement, if there are optional sites, those with no market housing would take preference.   Cllr Cooke confirmed that the applications outstanding in relation to Forge Field could still go ahead if the result of the forthcoming Second Stage Survey indicated a relevant need.

Cllr Cass reminded members that a request would be included in the survey documentation asking for information on any possible sites considered suitable for affordable housing in the parish to be notified.   Mr Birch had been advised to include his proposal at the survey stage, SDC had suggested he register his offer with the PC, Cllr Cass confirmed the minutes of this meeting should be taken as confirmation of this.

3.         OPEN SESSION
A question was asked regarding Cllr O’Shea’s comments at the previous meeting in relation to affordable housing sites and an approach to SDC about the Bottle House/Pump House sites.    Members of the PC did not know why this site had been raised again as an option for housing.    The Chairman and clerk both confirmed that previous applications to develop the site for affordable housing has been comprehensively refused, its inclusion on the options for consideration for the current project had also resulted in a refusal at the initial inspection stage as it did not comply with the criteria required to meet the affordable housing guidelines. Members were advised that Cllr O’Shea had offered to address residents of the Bottle House site to reassure them regarding the affordable housing situation, it was hoped this could be arranged in due course.
Questions were asked about the attendance requirements of councillors at meetings; clerk confirmed that if a councillor missed six meetings in a row they forfeited their position on the council.

4.        PLANNING

SE/14/02255:  Hammerfield House, Penshurst Road, Penshurst:  Alterations to garage/studio, conversion of workshops to additional residential accommodation, installation of two roof lights, staircase, alterations to fenestration.  Installation of two new lantern roof lights to flat roofs over kitchen and main entrance hall.   PC Support.
14/02488:  Finches, Chiddingstone Hoath:  Minor alterations to Finches, demolition of side garage and erection of 2-storey extension and glazed entrance hall.  Creation of new access, driveway and garage/carport off Coldharbour Road.  PC Support.
SE/14/01221:  Land North of Swaylands School Farm, Penshurst Road, Penshurst:  Erection of a  single dwelling and formation of associated driveway.   Application notified as invalid.   (Copy of Swaylands Plans obtained)

SE/14/01736/01737/LBC:  Swaylands School Farm, Poundsbridge Lane, Poundsbridge:  Conversion of existing farm buildings to new dwelling; erection single storey extensions, creation of habitable room within roof space, alterations to existing garage and realignment of driveway to reduce existing hardstanding area. (Resubmission of 14/00615/616).  GRANTED
SE/14/01692:  Westfield House, Nunnery Lane, Penshurst:  Erection of two storey infill extension, single storey extensions and proposed new pool pavilion in garden.  Provision of dormer and external entrance to basement.  GRANTED
SE/14/01643:  Beggars View, Penshurst Road, Penshurst:  Demolition of existing conservatory and erection of extension to replace.   GRANTED
SE/14/01842:  The Gables, The Green, Fordcombe:  Internal reconfiguration, demolition of rear kitchen, bedroom and bathroom; construction of new side extension to form replacement.  Erection of single garage, associated landscaping.   GRANTED

Tree Surgery:
SE/14/02422:  Rogues Hill House, Rogues Hill, Penshurst:  Various works to trees in conservation area.
SE/14/00908:  1 Smarts Hill, Penshurst:  Erection of single storey rear extension with three velux windows.  Refusal of Lawful Development Certificate.

Affordable Housing Sites:   Clerk had approached BT in early July with regard to the availability of their site near Penshurst Primary School; the department dealing with properties had confirmed this was an operational site with planned use for a further ten years, it was therefore not available for sale.

Land Agent:   It was felt prudent to wait until the return of the survey papers and notification of any possible sites for housing prior to making a decision to spend parishioners’ money in this way.   The Chairman noted that Cllrs Townsend and Horsford had checked all sites in Fordcombe to check for any suitable housing sites, he felt sure this should be a reasonable exercise for Penshurst members to carry out, taking into account that much of the area was owned by Penshurst estate.

SDC/Housing Enabler:  2nd Stage Survey:  Paperwork was being prepared for circulation to parishioners in mid September, an article regarding this had been prepared for inclusion in the two village magazines.   The draft of the article forwarded to the Penshurst magazine was not printed in full, the clerk being advised space was limited.    Members noted that the final paragraph providing factual information regarding the recent Judicial Review had been removed whilst a third of the page opposite the PC’s article was blank.   Cllr Mrs Broad reported that an item from the minutes of the previous meeting had been edited incorrectly. This item covered the letter of support submitted by parishioners for the work of the councillors and the Chairman and clerk in particular, the editing having changed the meaning.   The article had appeared, in an expanded version, in the Fordcombe magazine.

Article forwarded to Parish Magazine for printing:

In a few weeks time a new housing needs survey will be carried out by Action with Communities in Rural Kent in conjunction with the Parish Council.  These surveys are undertaken by ACRK across the district and financed by SDC.  This survey is to reassess the local situation since the previous one in 2009.

Anyone can apply for housing who has a connection with the Parish through work or family, even if they have moved away.   Applying does not commit you to anything.   Each household in the Parish will receive a letter giving full details of how to apply together with the criteria for eligibility and the survey form.  If you or a member of your family has a need for housing in the Parish it is important to apply.  The number of houses provided will be approximately half the total number of applicants who are eligible.

You may be aware that the High Court recently quashed two planning permissions relating to the development of Forge Field for local needs affordable housing.   As a result of this both applications have been returned to SDC for re-determination.  I would therefore advise you that the Forge Field applications will not be determined by SDC until the result of the new rural needs survey have been published or any new sites identified have been considered.


a.         Long Bridge Project:    Work to improve safety for pedestrians was being scheduled for October half term, this included the reinstatement of fencing adjacent to the road from the bridge around the corner towards Penshurst.   Meeting scheduled with Cllrs Pearman and Cass with Donna Rixon (Highways Officer – Traffic Engineer) on 8 September at 10 am.  Clerk would attend if available.

b.         Swaylands:   Nothing further reported since previous meeting.

c.         Rectory Hedge:   KCCllr Pearman advised the clerk he would discuss this issue on site with Julian Cook (Member for Highways) at the time of the meeting being scheduled to inspect the Long Bridge site.   Options available for this would be discussed at that time.

d.         Churchyard: Issue deferred due to Cllr Carson’s absence.

e.         Willow Tunnel:    Contractor liaising with Cllr Horsford regarding attendance on site and training for future work required.

f.          Flagpole:  A question was asked at the previous meeting regarding the raising of the flag to commemorate the anniversary of the outbreak of WW1.  Cllr O’Shea’s response subsequent to the meeting advised that this was not an official flag day as listed on the government’s flag flying dates.   Graham Peachey was responsible for the flag and was happy to raise the flag on other dates if suggested by local bodies eg PC or other committees and there is local support for this.       List of dates proposed by Cllr Cambell, which had been agreed by the Royal British Legion, were supported by PC members attached as Addendum 1 to Minutes.  The only date altered was for Remembrance Day which was revised to 11 November of each year.  It was hoped that the respective village magazines would find space to include the dates and reasons for the flag being flown on a monthly basis.  Members were asked why the old flagpole was still erected, Cllr O’Shea to be asked if he had any information regarding this.

6.         REPORTS:

a.   Sevenoaks District Councillor Paddy Cooke:     Cllr Cooke advised the Meeting that the Gypsy and Travellers’  Plan was now drafted and would be going before the Local Planning and Environment Advisory Committee on 3rd September and the Cabinet on 11th September. The report is subject to ongoing revisions as further sites have been promoted and are currently being investigated. The next consultation document is due to be debated late October/early November.
SDC have introduced a ‘Switch and Save’ scheme which enables residents and businesses alike to visit the Council’s Website to establish the most competitive supply of services both locally and nationally. The Website can be accessed on www.sevenoaksswitchandsave.co.uk – during a recent trial conducted by SDC an average saving of £193.71 per year was achieved.
SDC are experiencing a good deal of interest in their monthly business newsletter – Real Business. This publication allows businesses to keep up with local and national events and to source information which can assist to enhance their performance.
The Inspector for the Allocations and Development Management Plan (ADMP) has now signed off the ‘main modifications’ for consultation. The consultation period is from 21st August – 2nd October (6 weeks).  Drop in session relevant to our Ward is on Thursday 9th September between 16.00 and 20.00 at Rickards Hall, Edenbridge, Kent. The majority of modifications are minor in scale.
Of the most significant modifications the following is relevant and important for our Ward.
MM13 – ‘the Inspector also requested one further modification – “Subject to the findings of an up to date Strategic Housing Market Assessment (which the Council will commence during 2014) the Council commits to undertake an early review of the Core Strategy, in part or in whole, within the next five years, in accordance with the National Planning Practice Guidance, in order to ensure that it has an up to date suite of policies and proposals in place to deliver sustainable growth in accordance with the NPPF.”
Cllr Cooke highlighted the relevance that MM13 would have on planning in the District and the consequential effect this might have when considering an alternative site for the Affordable Housing in Penshurst. It was stated that this modification could have far reaching effect on planning within our Ward, in the future and should be monitored by all the Groups involved.
Cllr Cooke reiterated his wholehearted support for the ‘HWCAAG  and ‘Planes over Penshurst’ which have been formed by local residents to combat the threat of the changes in policies of aircraft management and the possibility of a second runway, as being promoted GAL. These Groups are allowing the voices of local councils, local organisations and local residents to be heard at the highest level and to hopefully influence the final decisions in respect of Gatwick. We must all be vigilant in expressing our views that our special environment must be protected! Cllr Cooke added that he had recently met with Charles Hendry (MP for High Weald) to generate interest in East Sussex, which would complement the proactive campaign in our area. The MPs in our area, especially Sir John Stanley, have expressed their unequivocal condemnation of GAL’s conduct during the last round of consultation and expressed their objections to a second runway at Gatwick. East Sussex MPs are in accord with their counterparts.
Elizabeth Woolman, Stephen Hazel Smith, Martin Barraud (Friends of Penshurst Church) and Cllr Cooke are preparing an application for a grant from the SDC’s Big Community Fund in support of the Exhibition at Penshurst Church ‘Penshurst Reflects 1914 – 1918.
b.KALC:     No Report

c.   Kent County Councillor Clive Pearman:     Updates provided on agenda items, no official report submitted in
August due to County Hall holiday period.   Information forwarded to PC regarding the Defra National Dredging Plan together with Boundary Map, information provided by Environment Agency and circulated to members of PC.

d.    Alms Houses:   The vacancy would be filled during the coming month.  A meeting with the Trustees to discuss work carried out together with any other issues of concern to the residents would be held on 16 September.  A new set of conditions of residency had been issued.  The three bedsit units would be refurbished during the coming months.

e.    Neighbourhood Watch:    Police reports during August indicate no crimes in Fordcombe and only one in Penshurst which involved the theft of a quad bike from a farm.  Cllr Townsend advised that there had in fact been two crimes in Fordcombe: diesel stolen from a tractor and a farm broken into.   The accuracy of the crime figures was questioned.

f.     Speedwatch: Mr Sellings reported that checks continued to be made on a regular basis with a small decrease in speeding being identified, this included a reduction in the speed of lorries from a local company.   Cllr Campbell advised he had submitted data which now totalled detections in the region of 2,700 although no update had been received from the police.

g.    Gatwick:   PC had submitted responses to Gatwick Local Area Consultation, Issue 1 and the Delivery Discussion Paper.   With regard to the HWCAAG Stakeholder Matrix allocations the clerk had provided a contact at Boris Johnson’s office for a representative of the High Weald Councils Aviation Action Group to discuss the group’s work and an exchange of mutually beneficial information, initial lists of schools, councils and airlines had also been submitted.  In view of the impact on the parish it was considered that all parishioners could be classified as ‘Affected Individuals and General Public’. At date of meeting although CPRE had been contacted a member of their Transport Committee/Aviation Group had not replied to the clerk.

7.         HIGHWAYS:

Reported Faults Update:

83586:  Entrance to The Lane, Fordcombe:  damaged grating cover reported for repair/replacement. Site inspection indicates rebuilding required.  Officer advised there was a history of flooding in this area which would be addressed.
93431:  Blocked drains from Chafford Lane towards Walters Green.  Highways representative advised length of drains would be checked during next twenty eight days, clerk advised this had not been carried out.   Team attended site and work programmed again, clerk to check latest position with regard to this as no teams had been sited.  On 8 July clerk advised by highways officer inspection would be undertaken, job subsequently raised on 23 July 2014 to be completed in 28 days, issue being chased.)
93436:  Drains still blocked on New Road past Burzes Cottages, site attended, further work required.  Clerk to advise that this area was particularly vulnerable during winter as ice pockets occurred on this stretch of road.
Penshurst Road/Poundsbridge:   Notification received from Highways Officer that drains/gullies were being checked for efficiency – cameras being used as necessary, ditches and pond area also to be checked to see if clearance work necessary to prevent length of road persistently flooding.   Work promised before winter, clerk to check history of request for work to be carried out.   91196:  New reference number indicates at end of June work has been passed on to the contractor for completion by winter.
113139: Path/Kerb Damage:  Clerk reported damage to edging kerb (plastic), probably hit by vehicle leaving sharp edges and possible trip hazard.   Enquiry attended 8 July, further work required.    Clerk rang 3.9.14. Job had been passed on to contractor, highways advised condition worsened.
Obscured signage: 30MPH opposite The Glebe (resident checking whether work completed) and 30 MPH near The Grove which had been rectified.
116313: Clerk reported issue under Highway Ref: 97389 again.   Works completed 8 August, sign now upright.
116321 & 116324: Potholes by Peelers House and The Warren entrance reported.   Clerk advised pothole by Peelers completed, Warren Lane, being a private road was not the responsibility of highways and was reported to Penshurst Estate for action.   It was noted this had not been attended to and was increasing in size.
118885:  Drains/gullies blocked on Rogues Hill.  Enquiry under investigation as of 30 August.
Stretch of road from bottom of Glebelands by bus stop towards Forge Garage – drains blocked with silt.
Clerk regularly chased for work to be carried out as required, the support of parishioners via personal complaints to the highways authority always appreciated.
Please Note:   Any signs that are leaning but still visible and considered safe will be deferred for repair until funding is available.   Only signs required to support speeding issues or of a safety nature will be repaired until further notice.  Items in abeyance: 92566, 97389, 98395, 91196.

8.                     FINANCE:

The following accounts were presented and approved for payment:

Mr I Streeter                                                                  Lengthsman                                           £89.00
PKF Littlejohn                                                                            Annual Audit Fee                                    £240.00
RIP Cleaning Services                                                                 Dog Waste Removal                               £63.36
Pallet Handling Ltd                                                                     Gate/posts Bottle House Allotments         £506.40

a.   Annual Audit:  Confirmation received from PKF Littlejohn, accountants appointed by the Audit Commission, that PC accounts prepared in accordance with proper practices and no matters have come to their attention giving cause for concern that relevant legislation and regulatory requirements have not been met.

Section 1:  Accounting Statement 2013/14 noted allocation of annual precept to Box 2 included extra funding provided by SDC, auditor requested this be shown in Box 3.   Section 2: Annual Governance Statement 2013/15; Section 3: External Auditor Certificate and Opinion 2013/14; Section 4: Annual Internal Audit Report; all approved by auditor.   Conclusion of Audit requirements complied with.

b.   Planes over Penshurst:  Request for funding towards costs of setting up website and printing/distribution of
leaflets.   Cllr Campbell raised the issue of the PC donating funds to organizations under Section 137 of the LGA Act 1972 which required that parishioners obtained direct benefit for sums allocated.  Clerk confirmed the PC was required to use precept funds for the benefit of its parishioners.   Cllr Campbell proposed a donation of £250 be made, when a bona fide bank account was available, to the Planes over Penshurst group, this was seconded by the Chairman and unanimously agreed.   Cheque to be made out to GatwickObviouslyNot.

The Chairman advised that Edenbridge Town Council had initiated the campaign some years ago and had worked consistently to raise awareness of the issue across the community.    Cllr Cooke congratulated the High Weald Group of PCs on their success in recruiting MPs and other influential individuals to support the cause and also the local Penshurst pressure group in raising awareness of the issue.

c.   PROW Maps:   Extra copies of the PROW maps were available at £20 per copy, clerk obtaining copies.

d.   Litter Bin:  Clerk advised the provision and installation of a further litter bin in the lay by opposite Penshurst
Place would cost £260 Plus VAT.   If the installation was carried out by SDC they would be responsible for any future problems, eg if unit was stolen/damaged as had previously happened.   It was unanimously agreed clerk action this.

e.   Judicial Review Charge:  Payment received from Winckworth Sherwood for PC charges submitted to cover
photocopying, mileage, postage and administrative time in providing papers under FOI.

f.    Litter Bin St. Peter’s Row/Chafford Lane:  Request for re-siting to aid visibility for drivers, clerk approached
SDC to check ownership and possibility of moving unit, no response received at time of meeting.  It appears this unit may be unserviceable, clerk to discuss with Dunbrik Depot.

9.                   CORRESPONDENCE:

a.         SDC – Allocations and Development Management Plan and Seal Neighbourhood Plan:   Consultation document available on planningconsult.sevenoaks.gov.uk.
b.         Sir John Stanley MP:  Letter regarding advertising campaign being utilised by Gatwick Airport Ltd at the entrance to the Houses of Parliament from the Westminster Underground Station:  “Fly an extra 130,000 planes over London or build a new runway at Gatwick instead?   London Gatwick Obviously”.

10.                   ANY OTHER BUSINESS:

a.         Provisional Dates for 2015 Meetings:  Penshurst:  2 February, 6 April, 1 June, 3 August, 5 October, 7 December.      Fordcombe:  2 March, 13 April (Annual Parish Assembly), 11 May, 6 July, 7 September, 2 November.

b.         Coach Road Bridge:  Mr Johnson had inspected this as part of his periodic monitoring.  The 13mm crack in the upstream parapet wall caused by the rotation of the wing wall had not altered, the wing wall having stabilised.     The tie bars beneath the road tying the two north bank wing walls together are now stabilised at full tension and no wall separation movement has been observed for many months.

c.         Hedge – Sandfield Road to Colliersland Bridge:  Clerk to ask highways to cut vegetation back on their land.

d.         Fly Tipping:  Cllr Frederick reported on asbestos sheeting having been dumped in Bradley Road approximately half way along.  Clerk to report to SDC.

e.         Triathlon:   Cllr Mrs Broad reported that she had visited the Grove Road residents who appreciated the provision of information regarding timings/dates etc from the organizer of the triathlon together with free tickets for Hever Castle.

f.          SDC – Allocations and Development Management Plan:   Everyone was reminded the consultation period for this ended on 2 October, all were welcome to attend drop in sessions at the SDC Offices on 8 September from 4-8 pm or Edenbridge Rickards Hall on 9 September from 4-8 pm.

Meeting concluded at 8.45 pm                                               Next Meeting 6th October 2014 – Penshurst

2014 Meetings:
Fordcombe:  3 November.
Penshurst:    1 December
Meetings at Penshurst commence at 7.45 pm and at 7.30 pm in Fordcombe.

Addendum 1

2nd Monday in March                   Commonwealth Day (Designated day)
21 April                                     Birthday of H M The Queen (Designated day)
23 April                                     St George’s Day (Designated day)
8 May                                        V E Day
24 May                                      Empire Day *
2 June                                       Coronation Day (Designated day)
10 June                                     Birthday of The Duke of Edinburgh (Designated day)
14 June        (variable)               Official birthday of H M The Queen (Designated day)
Last Saturday in June                  Armed Forces Day
15 August                                  V J Day
15 September                            Battle of Britain Day
11 November                                       Remembrance Day
Any other day                            The 100th birthday of any parishioner

*In honour of Field Marshall Henry Hardinge, 1st Viscount Hardinge GCB, PC, Governor-general of India (1844 to 1848) and Commander-in-chief of the British army and
His grandson, Charles Hardinge, 1st Baron Hardinge of Penshurst KG,GCB,GCSI,GCMG,GCIE,GCVO,ISO,PC, Viceroy of India (1910 to 1916)
Wikipedia has much more details on these illustrious Penshurst residents.  24 May is an appropriate day since Empire Day is no longer celebrated.