Ordinary Meeting Minutes 2/04/2012




Minutes of the Ordinary Meeting of Penshurst Parish Council held on Monday 2 April 2012 at 7.30 pm in Penshurst Village Hall


1. PRESENT: Cllrs J Cass (Chairman), Mrs D Broad, A Campbell, I Carson, S Frederick, J Horsford, J O’Shea, B Townsend.


APOLOGIES: Cllr J Broadhead, this was approved. SDCllr P Cooke, KCCllr P Lake


SDCllr Cooke had provided a statement which the Chairman read at the meeting:
I must apologise profusely for my absence at the PC meeting dated 2 April 2012. It is extremely unfortunate but I have been committed to attending a family event, since May last year – at the time I didn’t realise that it would coincide with such an important meeting.
Please be reassured that my failure to attend this meeting, will in no way deflect my conviction to ensure that the outcome of the Forge Field Planning Application is handled in a proper and correct manner. All representations will be considered and all avenues pursued, to establish the most satisfactory decision for the inhabitants of Penshurst and Fordcombe.
Should you wish to discuss the application with me further, do not hesitate to contact me on my mobile or by email.
Do be assured that the outcome of this Application, will be decided sensitively on established planning grounds, not just on passion and rhetoric.


2. MINUTES OF MEETING HELD ON 5 March having been circulated, were approved and signed by the Chairman.
An addition to the minutes relating to display of VIA documents in the Fordcombe and Penshurst village halls was added. Cllrs Carson and O’Shea stated that the clerk had advised that a vote would be taken at the April meeting in connection with the Forge Field affordable housing project, clerk rejected this as this action was not within the remit of a clerk, an explanation of the allowable procedure had been explained. The Chairman stated he had also not agreed to a vote at the April meeting. The issue remained in dispute.
Cllrs Broadhead and O’Shea had left the March meeting early assuming it was over, Chairman confirmed that many people had left after an agenda item at that time which had caused confusion, he added to the minutes they had left with permission.


Declarations of interests in agenda items


If a Member has a prejudicial interest, this should be declared at the start of the meeting.
Personal interests may be declared at this point or alternatively can be declared at the time when the specific item is being discussed, if a Member wishes to speak on an item in which s/he has a personal interest.


Cllr S Frederick Prejudicial interest, being tenant farmer of the application site for affordable housing


Cllr J O’Shea Personal interest, being a former member of Keep Penshurst Green
Cllr I Carson Personal interest, being a former member of Keep Penshurst Green
Cllr A Campbell Personal interest in planning application for 3 Pioneer Cottages due to proximity to own house




A statement had been received from Sarah Crookenden which the Chairman read:
The Becket Trust Housing Association are expecting to submit a full planning application for additional affordable housing at Becket’s Field before Easter. The application will be for up to 10 units of between 1 and 3 bedrooms. It is expected that, if granted, construction will take place over a period of time. The Becket trust intends to hold a public consultation towards the end of April giving details of the project.
The chairman understood the date would probably be 24 April in Penshurst Village Hall.
Some of the comments received from the floor regarding the affordable housing project were:
A VIA covering the change to the site design had been provided, the project was based on an exception site where a local need for housing must be proved which cannot be met with another site elsewhere with houses being available at an affordable cost. No financial appraisal had been carried out, there would be highway and environmental impact and it was debatable whether it would be affordable due to above average costs due to siting. Possible rental would be £680 per month for two bedroom property, which equates to 80% of market value. Those unable to afford the rents would be eligible for financial benefit
Why had WKHA been chosen over Becket Trust, it was assumed Penshurst Estate preferred WKHA.
It was hoped the PC would vote with their heads and hearts.
The AONB confirm there would be overriding impact on the site.
KPG representative confirmed they had refused co-option to the PC in August/September 2011 to assist in finding sites but had advised of three or four sites considered suitable.
Chairman advised that Andrew Byrne and Aaron Hill of SDC, Paddy Cooke and Ivan Carson had accompanied him on site inspection in late 2011 where they had visited 14 sites: Forge Field, The Bank Site, BT site, Warren Allotments, garages at Glebelands, Bottle House Allotments, Bottle House (Ken Simmons Field), Bottle House (Ken Simmons Reservoir), Paddock Close, New Road – Spile Bank, Grove Road Orchard, junction Smarts Hill/New Road, Rogues Hill past Bridge House and the Enterprise Centre, these had all be rejected as they did not comply with criteria. Penshurst Place had refused to offer any site other than Forge Field.
There were sites suitable for smaller developments and it was disputed these would cost more than one larger site to develop. Site outside the village centres would also be suitable as residents would have cars.
Only 10% of people in need of housing would be able to afford the new properties.
Becket Trust statement provided life line although the Chairman pointed out the application had not yet been submitted.
If Penshurst people could not afford the houses they would be offered to surrounding villages.
Further development means the community collapsing, Becket Trust did not have enough room to build.
If the project suggested by Becket Trust was built one of the walls would be three feet from a existing resident’s property.
There was a need for affordable housing, available to local people, Becket Trust could guarantee this via their constitution. Clerk advised new legislation would override this and asked for the designation of the site and whether this would impact on allocation to local people.
The chairman welcomed the alternative site and would wait and see what the result was.
PC requested to withdraw support for Forge Field.
Becket Trust build costs would not be much different to Forge Field houses but rents would be cheaper.
Becket Trust would need to rely on contributions and grants to complete the project but gave a glimmer of hope for the future.
SDC website had not been available for access to the VIA, PC to advise SDC.
S106 indicated properties available for local people, financial assistance available to those not able to pay full rental.
Chairman understood properties would be available to all ages needing housing.
Sir John Stanley had agreed to full public consultation on issue but there had been insufficient publicity via the village magazine.
Chairman advised that the information had been made available to all councillors with a request to Cllrs Carson, Broadhead and O’Shea that they be forwarded to KPG members for inclusion on their website, Cllr Carson advised he had called Mr Rees. Chairman confirmed that SDC had stated letters received after closing date would still be acknowledged.
Original indication was that Forge Field project would be 15% of field, current VIA indicated 29%.
Becket Trust proposal might provide a better alternative to Forge Field.
If Becket Trust build ten more houses, where would the cars go? There was not enough room now, the garages were needed for storage and turning space.
The question of space at the local primary school was raised, clerk advised developments under ten units were not required to include investigation into school provision.
Traffic speed past the school at the bend was still a concern together with the conflict of entrance to the garage and the new site. PC currently investigating traffic calming measures.
The VIA had been slammed by professionals.
Penshurst consultation process indicated that over 80% looked on Forge Field as an asset and in favour of a safe route for children to the school
The registration number of a grey Porsche should be forwarded to the PC for reporting to the police for dangerous driving.
There was an oak tree down in the Eden.




SE/12/00367: The Limes, 10 Latymers, Penshurst: Erection of single storey side extension, installation of velux window, re-configuration of internal layout and changes to fenestration and installation of external flue. PC in support of application but request that flue be erected in black material to blend with existing guttering etc. and not metal.


SE/11/02726: Upper Bullingstone, Penshurst Road, Speldhurst: Revision: Reduced scale of building and changes to design.


SE/12/00465: Bowens Cottage, Poundsbridge Lane, Poundsbridge, Penshurst: Demolition of existing stables, workshop, glasshouse and play shed and erection of double garage. PC in support.


SE/12/00191: Penshurst Place Estate, Penshurst Road, Penshurst: Enlargement and improvement of woodland access off Penshurst Road to facilitate HGV movements. Creation of turning and loading area upon open ground within woodland. Formation of hard track from loading area to cooks pits. PC in support.


SE/11/03004: 4 New Road, Penshurst: Retrospective application for two storey side/rear extension. Variation on application reference SE/08/02529. PC in support.


SE/11/02258: Land SW of Forge Garage, High Street, Penshurst: Erection of 6 Affordable Dwellings with associated access and landscaping works amended by revised plans and document received 13.3.2012
The Chairman asked for comments regarding the latest documentation and whether members would have voted differently had the VIA been available at the November meeting.
Cllr Carson noted the new AONB report which had slated the project, he had a report from a Quantity Surveyor confirming the VIA was not complete, the AONB report stated the project did not enhance the area with fourteen car spaces shown and alteration to a medieval route way. A 3D topographical illustration provided by a Quantity Surveyor would have been preferable. He advised he had read virtually all documents available to the PC regarding planning and stated all members should access the internet do so, he tabled a report written by the AONB representative which four of the members had not seen.
Cllr Frederick would have welcomed a computerised graphic of the site. He would make no further comment on the project
Cllr O’Shea stated the visuals could have been better to provide parishioners with the best view, he considered the parking now seen from the front was detrimental. He would like to suspend opinion until further information about the Becket Trust application was known.
Cllr Mrs Broad felt the houses were no longer so intrusive on the site, having been moved back, the AONB listed loss of views, the parish benefited from many beautiful views.
Cllr Horsford felt change must happen to facilitate the project and had had the opportunity to inspect the VIA documents in detail in Fordcombe.
Cllr Townsend had inspected the VIA documentation at length and seen nothing to alter his opinion of the project.
Cllr Campbell stated is was not reasonable to expect everyone to read through all legislation. He reiterated his previous comments about the highways. He preferred the cars at the back as this allowed the site to follow the line of the street better. He was unsure what precedence SDC gave to the Conservation Officer’s requests. He advised it was not a requirement for members to have internet access to serve as councillors
Cllr Cass noted that the AONB report now objected to the height of the housing, this issue not having been raised previously when the roof line was much higher. There were other discrepancies in the AONB officer’s reports eg fencing required as opposed to hedging, and the PC would ask what the situation was with regard to considering the document. He noted that the roof line looked better as it was now lower, an area it would be seen from was the footpath opposite Elliotts.
No member had changed their minds with regard to their vote in November in view of the VIA.


Submission to SDC: The PC would comment as follows with regard to the above revision.
1. The timescale given for public consultation has been limited, complaints have also been received from parishioners regarding lack of access to documentation on SDC’s website.
2. The PC have been made aware of an application being submitted by Easter by the Becket Trust for an affordable housing project and would ask what impact this will have on the current WKHA project in Forge Field.
3. The VIA documentation has been discussed by members of the PC together with the latest report from the AONB representative. There appears to be a number of discrepancies in the two reports submitted by AONB, we give a couple of examples:


a complaint now exists regarding the roof line, it must be noted that the buildings are considerably lower to eye line than before the revision when no comment was made
fencing rather than hedging has been suggested, the field is currently hedged as are many of the surrounding ‘irregular fields’ and properties further along Fordcombe Road this comment is therefore inconsistent
the complaint regarding the VIA made by Mr Shaw is confusing as the PC understands the methodology, sites for provision of photographic evidence etc was agreed with him prior to the process being undertaken as per guidelines.


4. Members were asked if they would have voted differently had the VIA document been available last November when the PC voted to support the application, no one has changed their mind.
The PC would ask what the situation is at present, does the current VIA stand, will further work be requested to the VIA or will a complete new document be required.


SE/12/00692: 3 Pioneer Cottages, Smarts Hill, Penshurst: Erection of 2 storey side extension and alterations. Application for an extension of time limit of any extant planning permission SE/09/00314. PC in support


SE/12/00691: Warren Farm Barn, Fordcombe Road, Penshurst: Reconstruct roundel including roof and cowl. PC in support


SE/12/00740: Palmers Cottage, The Lane, Fordcombe: Erection of a single storey side extension.


Tree Surgery:


SE/12/00589/WTPO: PORC, Grove Road, Penshurst: Fell 21 Turkey Oak trees TPO: The PC would not support this application as there appears to be no evidence of infestation currently, only the potential for such problems being cited as the reason for the removal. The PC would ask if it is possible to introduce preventative measures to protect the trees from such problems. There has been a substantial loss of trees on this site generally in recent times and therefore would ask that this be refused. Further submission forwarded after discussion with landowner: Further discussions have taken place with the applicant to clarify the situation and the PC are prepared to withdraw their opposition to this application, however, in view of the loss of trees on this site it is hoped only essential works are carried out in the future.
The chairman was aware replanting was being undertaken, Cllrs Cass, Broad and Townsend would visit the site at the invitation of the landowner.




SE/12/00120: Penshurst Place Estate, Penshurst Road, Penshurst: Change of use of land from Agriculture to Mixed use – Agriculture and Recreation Use as a Maize Maze open to the public for 54 days per calendar year with the erection of two bridges and viewing platforms. GRANTED




a. Speedwatch: Cllr Broadhead advised the clerk that he had received 18 expressions of interest from volunteers. It is considered necessary to run Speedwatch ten times a month to provide continued effectiveness when not actually in progress. Ideas on organisation would be welcomed, response from police awaited regarding meeting to identify suitable sites, currently set for 12 April, Penshurst and Fordcombe being included on police data base in preparation for submission of data.


b. SDC: Governance Review. The suggestion to split the parish into two parishes had been refused, notification had been received from SDC that recommendation being put forward for Penshurst Parish to be unwarded and views to be sought specifically on a change of name from Penshurst Parish to Penshurst and Fordcombe Parish. It was confirmed that the two properties North Lodge, Redleaf and Woodside Kennels would transfer from Leigh Parish to Penshurst.


c. Public Toilets: Clerk circulated information to councillors regarding costs of installing and maintaining coin operated door access to public toilets. Cllr Campbell suggested that, in accordance with the Localism Bill the facility could be handed to the residents to run with the PC making a financial contribution.





d. Broadband: Advice received from DEFRA via Joe Middleton that the Expression of Interest has been approved, consequently a full application will be formulated for submission within the next six months. Residents and local businesses especially are encouraged to vote on line in support on www.makekentquicker.com. Articles were appearing in the village magazines and Courier.


e. Bulk Freighter: Dates confirmed as 28 April, 30 June and 1 December; times available Penshurst layby by Latymers from 7.45 – 8.30 am and Fordcombe at top of Chafford Lane from 8.45 – 9.30 am. Electrical appliances, metal, hard core, large amounts of garden waste and large panes of glass cannot be taken.




a. Swaylands: Clerk was asked to write to the agents to register the concerns regarding the lighting, clerk to liaise with Mr Sellings who would in future report as necessary. All units were now taken. The PC thanked Mr Sellings for his work in this respect.


b. Kent County Councillor: No report


c. Sevenoaks District Councillor: No report


d. KALC: Minutes of recent meeting circulated via email to members.


e. Alms Houses: Mr Peter Johnson reported that three companies have been approached for quotations for the heating and hot water supply to the residents. Trustees would meet in the near future to consider these. Mice in one of the properties would be dealt with, Cllr O’Shea advised problems with the television aerial were being checked. One resident was in Pembury Hospital at present but was being well looked after.


f. Neighbourhood Watch: Mr Peter Johnson reported that two thefts had been reported in Penshurst between mid February and March with one in Fordcombe. Police had concerns over residents storing petrol and the consequent dangers of this action. Motor vehicle thefts and thefts from garages were still regularly reported in the Sevenoaks area. Parishioners were advised to always check traders selling at the door with their associations, Consumers Direct are available on 08454040506 to confirm their honesty.




a. Notification of Road Works: Rogues Hill, Penshurst between Penshurst Village and “Swaylands” Development. 31st May 2012 for 1 working day between 09:30 – 15:30


Diversion: B2176 Penshurst Road, Bidborough Ridge, A26 London Road, St Johns Road, A264 Church Road, Bishops Down, Langton Road, Ashurst Road, B2188 Fordcombe Road, Spring Hill, Saints Hill, New Road, Fordcombe Road, Penshurst High Street.




The following accounts were presented and approved for payment:
Mr I Streeter Lengthsman £86.00
SDC Public Toilet Rates £431.25
KALC Annual Subscription £630.08
CPRE Annual Subscription £29.00
RIP Cleaning Services Dog Waste Removal £43.20
Playdale Fordcombe Play Area £2,977.38
Goldservice Contract Cleaning Ltd Public Toilet Cleaning £383.98


a. Jubilee Celebrations: Clerk advised Penshurst School would welcome provision of Jubilee Mugs for children, order being placed, sample provided at meeting. Clerk liaising with Mr M Gilbert regarding provision of picnic seat for Fordcombe.




a. KCC: Information on Parish Council Legal Scheme available in relation to Property, Planning and Highways, Contracts and Procurement, Litigation and Employment.




a. Cleaning of Signposts/Road Signs: Cllrs Mrs Broad and Campbell to liaise with clerk regarding signs to list. Other councillors asked to advise clerk of any needing attention.


b. Article: Cllr Cass advised there would be a WKHA article in the ‘In and Around’ magazine


c. Fordcombe Village Hall: Cllr Townsend was joining the village hall committee and had been advised that a rebuilding programme was being formulated.


d. Longbridge Footpath: Clerk to report missing handrail.


e. Coach Road Bridge: Mr Peter Johnson reported that the bridge over the River Eden had been inspected again and the movement was exactly as expected when the ties were installed some year previously.


Meeting concluded at 9.50 pm Next Meeting 10 April 2012 – Annual Parish Assembly