Ordinary Meeting Minutes 3/09/2012





Minutes of the Ordinary Meeting of Penshurst Parish Council held on Monday 3 September 2012 at 7.30 pm in Fordcombe Village Hall


1. PRESENT: Cllr J Cass (Chairman), A Campbell, Mrs D Broad, J Broadhead


APOLOGIES: Cllrs I Carson, S Frederick, J Horsford, J O’Shea, B Townsend. These were approved.


2. MINUTES OF MEETING HELD ON 6 August 2012, having been circulated, were approved and signed by the Chairman.


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. NONE




Clerk to request New Rectory hedge in Penshurst be cut back again in order that it no longer overhangs the roadway, thereby making pedestrian access safer.
Clerk to contact Penshurst Estate regarding the poor condition of Leicester Square and bad impression this gives visitors ie cherry tree, overgrown vegetation and untidy garden areas.
A local farmer had been approached by SDC to ask if he had any land available suitable for possible traveller sites, the PC were unaware of any other landowners being contacted, Cllr Cooke to check with SDC. Cllr Lake advised that Edenbridge Town Council had been approached to extend the Hever site but this had been refused. (Information from Cllr Cooke: Owners of land identified as possibly suitable for affordable housing, but not selected, were being approached by SDC who were making preliminary enquiries in an endeavour to see if they would be prepared to sell the land for traveller sites, any purchase of land would be made directly between the travelling families and the landowners.)
The parking in Poundsbridge was raised again, clerk confirmed the highways officer was unable to help and he considered the matter closed. Photographs were provided of parking which was obstructing the road, potholes and overhanging hedges; the matter was considered dangerous as emergency vehicles could not gain access to properties along the road and farm vehicles were unable to use the road either. Clerk to contact landowners to ask them to cut back their hedges and forward information to highways again.
A complaint was made regarding signage left after roadworks had been completed, this was considered a waste of funds and also caused damage when hedges/verges were being cut.
Cllr Cooke asked if Penshurst clerk would act as liaison for other local clerks with regard to joint ventures to improve services in the parishes, this was agreed.
Clerk to be advised when roadway floods near the pond on the Penshurst/Bidborough road near Meadow Wood in order that this can be reported before the winter weather causes ice to build up subsequently damaging the carriageway.






SE/12/00946: 1-8 Beckets Field, Penshurst: Demolition of garages and No. 6 Beckets Field, erection of 4 x 2 bed apartments and 2 x 2 bed houses. Revised design and access statement received, revised financial appraisal awaited. Chairman confirmed the revised design and access statement varied little from the original, in view of this no further comment had been made to SDC by the PC.


SE/12/01913LBC: The Old Rectory, High Street, Penshurst: Installation of new hard landscaping scheme within curtilage of a listed building. PC Support.


SE/12/02005: Place Farm Barn, Penshurst Place, Penshurst: Erection of proposed kiosk/eating area. PC Support.


SE/12/01973: Garden Cottage, Poundsbridge Lane, Penshurst: Erection of stable block and ancillary tractor shed and manure store. Construction of sand school and new access. The PC assume the current use is agricultural and therefore a change of use will be needed. The buildings are quite large but if SDC Planning are happy with these the PC would raise no objections. We have been informed the sand school will not be lit and would ask that this is the case. With regard to roofing materials, the PC suggest brown Onduline might be less obtrusive.


KCC/SE/0243/2012: Fordcombe C of E Primary School: Construct two storey extension to existing reception classroom/staffroom, including single storey adjoining toilet block and extension of existing canopy over decked area to rear of reception classroom.


SE/21/02109: Finches, Chiddingstone Hoath, Edenbridge: Minor alterations to Finches, demolition of side garage and erection of two storey extension and glazed entrance hall. Creation of new access, driveway and carport off Coldharbour Road. (PC Support)


SE/12/02185/LBC: St John The Baptist Church, Rogues Hill, Penshurst: Single storey extension to create accessible standard toilet facilities, internal re-ordering, installation of kitchenette, new floor finishes, new draught lobbies and improvements to existing drainage services. Cllr Broadhead confirmed the diocese had approved the proposed work. Clerk to provide contact details for Public Rights of Way officer for Mr Dennard to discuss temporary relocation of footpath during building works. (PC Support)




SE/12/01427: Larkfield, Saints Hill, Penshurst: Demolition of existing porch, erection two storey front/side extensions, rear extension over existing catslide. Basement creation. Loft extension with provision of two dormer windows on rear elevation. Roof light insertion. Alterations to fenestration. Amended plans 25/6/12. REFUSED Complaint raised with SDC regarding administration of application being investigated.


SE/12/01632: The Small Barn, Nunnery Lane, Penshurst. Variation Condition 3 SE/10/02163: Demolish existing single storey side addition to existing dwelling, replace with two storey extension of reduced footprint. Erect front extension to accommodate proposed stairwell. Remove existing front porch to pitch roof design over side extension. GRANTED.


SE/12/01442LBC: The Old Rectory, High Street, Penshurst: New window in north elevation of existing grade 2 Listed Building, as drawing received 4 July 2012. LBC GRANTED


SE/12/01378: 4 St Peters Row, Fordcombe: Rear garage extension. GRANTED




a. SDC Governance Review: Chairman advised the agenda documents for the Governance meeting had been received and recommendation had been made that the existing formation of the Parish Council remain. The three options offered were to (a) create separate parishes of Fordcombe and Penshurst (two in support); (b) retain the current wards but restrict voting on issues relating to respective villages and (c) unward the Parish (three in support). The final recommendation was based on the response to the SDC information circulated for consideration by parishioners in both Fordcombe and Penshurst which overwhelmingly requested no change, those in support being in excess of 100.
Chairman also advised that Leigh had wished to retain the two properties which had asked to be transferred to Penshurst, the PC being unaware of this at the time they agreed to the transfer. The transfer had been recommended for approval at the meeting scheduled for 11 September 2012.


b. Code of Conduct: All those present had submitted their forms as required.


c. Broadband: Small sample survey provided by Joe Middleton (SDC), Clerk had distributed to residents/businesses as requested.


d. Highways Issues:


Ref: 46449 – Culvert outside Alms Houses, Rogues Hill. Shown on website as being investigated on 20 August.
Ref: 46450 – Pothole near No. 10 Glebelands. Website states matter resolved at 28 August.
Ref: 46452 – Hedge cutting Speldhurst Road. Highways Officer dealing directly ie land search required to enable KCC to instruct landowners to clear hedges on both sides of the road.
Ref: 46441 – Parked cars blocking road adjacent to Poundsbridge Church. Initial response from county advised no help could be offered, clerk contacted again and asked that consideration be given to provision of signage to indicate lane was of single track width or similar to deter inconsiderate parking. Response received from Steven Noad, KCC Traffic Engineer that the County Council’s criteria was being strictly adhered to in these difficult times and therefore their position was most unlikely to change. He consequently considered the issue closed.
Ref: 46053 – Potholes/poor road condition near Palmers Farm, Coopers Lane. Website indicates issue resolved. Short notice road closure application forwarded by county to facilitate repair of water leaks.
Ref: 46458 – Obscured road signs Rogues Hill. Website indicates issue resolved as of 9 August.
Ref: 46459 – Obscured road signs Long Field Bridge. Website indicates issue resolved as of 29 August.
Ref: 46471 – Road Condition Blowers Hill, road apparently collapsing. Highways Officer advises order raised for work to rectify problem, area has no gulley therefore plans to introduce one to alleviate any future problems.
Ref: 46463 – Blocked Drain, corner of Broad Lane. Website indicates works being programmed as of 21 August.
17419697 – Coach Road Bridge: Slight movement of 9mm measured. Movement on bridge and loss of brickwork from underneath culvert reported to highways Ref. 17419697. Website indicates issue resolved as of 17 August. On checking with the call centre clerk had been advised that the matter had been passed to David Munn, Public Right of Way Manager for Kent who would be dealing with it. He advised clerk that he would be discussing the repairs/replacement of the bridge with the local residents responsible for a contribution towards the costs involved, he would also be inspected the culvert during the week.
Pathway 10/16 Glebelands: Jim Latheron SDC, scheduled to visit site on 16 August, order for repair work being raised.
Pathway between bridges on Rogues Hill: Landowner approached to cut back overgrown vegetation, work completed.
Hedge adjacent to 5 Glebelands reported to WKHA for cutting. Work carried out.
Hedges between Glebelands and Primary School: Residents approached to cut back overgrown hedges, some work carried out, most work completed.
Verge/Hedge Cutting by county contractors: Clerk wrote with complaint to David Brazier – Deputy Cabinet Member for Enterprise and Environment at KCC, response received advising issue being investigated. Subsequent letter received advising Landscape Manager Alan Riley would be contacting parish regarding standard of cuts.
Ref: 47620: Request for pavement to be provided from New Road on route to Penshurst Primary School. Members were concerned for the safety of pedestrians using this stretch of road, clerk had asked local landowners to cut back hedging as far as possible to allow pedestrians extra space to walk. Mr Johnson had checked the footpath from Riverside to The Warren, this was not considered suitable for anyone using a buggy. Enquiries would be made of the school with regard to assistance with this issue and any other options available would be investigated.




a. Swaylands: No report



b. Kent County Councillor: Cllr Lake noted the road surfacing had been completed by Colas but no attempt had been made to smooth out the uneven surface prior to laying of the asphalt. A stretch of the Penshurst to Bidborough road had been resurfaced which was now considered to be more acceptable. Cllr Lake had requested the support of a Lengthsman’s service for the parish who would liaise with himself and the PC regarding work required, the anticipated start date for this service was Christmas time. Clerk to check with Cllr Lake regarding provision of grit bins for Glebelands (Peelers House) and top of Smarts Hill.



c. Sevenoaks District Councillor: Cllr Cooke provided information from the Rural Services Network giving up to date advice on speed limits on rural roads ie reducing same from 60 to 40 MPH on C roads and unclassified road eg through national parks and AONB land. 20 MPH was being recommended outside schools/churches. Government grants were available for upgrading heating systems until March 2013 for those without access to mains natural gas, this was called the Warm Front Scheme managed by Carillion Energy Services on ‘free call‘ 0800 3162814 and on line at www.warmfront.co.uk There was a possibility that the law relating to red diesel might be changed in order that farmers could use their equipment for snow clearing. Any comments on the consultation document for the permanent removal of the restriction on tractors and other agricultural vehicles using red diesel when snow ploughing and gritting rural roads, should be sent to www.customs.hmrc.gov.uk Comments to be sent by 5th October 2012. (Cllr Cooke advised SDC had contacted landowners in the district who might have land they would be prepared to sell for traveller sites, any such transactions would be directly between the landowners and travellers.)



d. KALC: No report



e. Alms Houses: Mr Johnson reported the sad loss of George Apps who died at Pembury hospital on Thursday evening, there was no information regarding the funeral available at the time of the PC meeting. Any applications received for the vacant property would be considered the following week. Major work has begun on the heating system involving each of the flats in the block, this will resolve the issues last winter where heating was not found to be adequate, work would also be carried out to the windows.



f. Neighbourhood Watch: Front wheel hubs had been stolen overnight from a car parked in Penshurst High Street, a large metal field gate had been removed from between Walters green and Fordcombe and a speeding motor cyclist riding through the village en route possibly from Bidborough to Edenbridge (problem also noted on Bidborough Ridge but not a Bidborough resident). Training in the use of the speed indicator system would be taking place on the 6 September, parishioners were encouraged to attend.





a. Penshurst School Access: See under Item 4 d – Highways Issues, final bullet point.



b. Provision of Salt: County had made the offer once again to provide one tonne bags of sand/salt mix for use by parishes. County requested to deliver bag to
Cllr J Horsford for distribution when necessary. Clerk was asked to check if Cllr Lake could also provide a salt bin for the top of Smarts Hill as requested some time ago.



c. KCC – Country Roads, anti speeding campaign: Cllr Broadhead confirmed sites for checking with the SID had been chosen after discussions with the police officer in charge of Speedwatch and a tour of the sites which had generated the most complaints regarding speeding vehicles. Articles had been placed in the parish magazines and a meeting would be held at the school on 6 September for all volunteers interested in helping with the project. (Cllr Broadhead advised three further sites approved: Rogues Hill, Glebelands and New Road; suggestion PC purchase dedicated unit for own use to be considered by members, further meeting arranged for 4 October)




The following accounts were presented and approved for payment:
Mr I Streeter Lengthsman £86.00
Graham Wickens Penshurst Bus Shelter Repairs £324.00
RoSPA Play Area Inspection £108.00
Welcome Printing Photocopying July 2011-February 2012 £43.85
Complete Weed Control Fordcombe weed clearance £170.80
Goldservice Contract Cleaning Ltd Public Toilet Cleaning Contract £364.01
Mrs E M Divall Clerk Salary July – September £938.60
HMRC Clerk Tax £201.40
Mrs E M Divall Expenses £2209.47
(Clerk’s expenses included refund of Oast & Oak Services Invoice for £1,615;
Internal audit fee of £50 and cost of Ink Cartridges of £41.97 paid on behalf of PC)



a. Parish Fun Day: Clerk visited during event which benefited from excellent weather, and was appreciated by those using the facilities provided, the combat course was very popular with all ages. Final figures for attendance were not confirmed but estimated to be approximately 90.



b. Members’ Allowances: Members advised of current request by SDC for PC to advise if they wish to change current position at Penshurst PC with councillors not being allocated allowances. It was unanimously agreed that members would not vote for allowances to be paid to councillors.



c. Audit Commission: Notification received that Audit Commission have completed the PC audit for the year ending March 2012 and AC auditor has signed off the accounts with no issues raised and it was also noted all regulations and legislation had been complied with. Clerk had posted notice that audit had been completed as required. Confirmation received that Littlejohn LLP had been appointed as external auditor with effect from 1 September 2012.



d. RoSPA Inspection: Report on inspection of play area received, copies to be provided for those with responsibility. No risks noted for action.



e. Precept 2013/2014: Clerk provided preliminary figures for members with a breakdown on the costs of the public toilets, fun day and bulk freighter. Issue to be on agenda for discussion at next meeting, final decision required at December 2012 meeting for submission to SDC for inclusion in district budget discussions.



f. KALC: Email circulated providing copy of representation letter sent to Department of Communities and Local Government regarding the possible changes in method of making payments by Parish Councils. Councils would be permitted to authorise clerks to run accounts on line and the necessity for three signatures on cheques would no longer be needed. Clerk confirmed that the PC held Fidelity Insurance to cover any loss of funds due to embezzlement but requested the PC maintain the current method of making payments in accordance with the PC’s Financial Regulations, ie payments approved at meetings with three signatures, the matter could be reconsidered at such time in the future when thought necessary. It was unanimously agreed that the PC continue with the current system of payment of accounts.




a. KCC: Definitive Map and Statement of Public Rights of Way – Kent. Cllr Campbell had checked the website and found the map to be accurate. (http://www.kent.gov.uk/prowconsultations)



b. SDC: Email received requesting parishioners views on what they consider is needed to make the District a better place in which to live and work. Comments will be used to help for the basis of the next SDC Community Plan which sets out the community’s priorities for action.


Although it is co-ordinated by Sevenoaks District Council, the Community Plan is delivered by all of the agencies in the District. The Community Plan helps local public services to plan for your needs. It is reviewed every three years to make sure it remains relevant to changing circumstances. The next thee year Community Plan and 15 year vision will start in April 2013.
The Community Plan is delivered by the Sevenoaks District Locality Board, made up of elected representatives of Sevenoaks District Council and Kent County Council. SDC work in partnership with the Police, Kent Fire & Rescue Service, the health service, housing associations, voluntary organisations and businesses. Everyone who submits a response is eligible to be entered into a free prize draw for £50 of Amazon vouchers. If you wish to confirm your entry, please provide appropriate contact details at the end of this survey.
The existing Community Plan can be see at www.sevenoaks.gov.uk/communityplan and the consultation information can be seen on



c. South East Water: Compulsory Customer Metering Programme: Notification of installation programme commencing in area during early 2013.




a. Play Area – Penshurst: Cllr Mrs Broad suggested the PC approach Penshurst Estate to ask if an area of Forge Field could be provided for seating/village green area etc. for mothers to visit, especially after school. Issue to be on agenda for next meeting.


Meeting concluded at 9.05 pm Next Meeting 1 October 2012 Penshurst