Ordinary Meeting Minutes 4/08/2014


Minutes of the Ordinary Meeting of Penshurst Parish Council to be held on Monday 4 August 2014 at 7.30 pm in Penshurst Village Hall

1.            PRESENT:   Cllrs J Cass (Chairman), Mrs D Broad, J Broadhead, A Campbell, J Horsford (Part), J O’Shea, B Townsend

In Attendance:     Mr M Knowles (Gatwick); KCCCllr C Pearman; Mr R Sellings (Swaylands & Speed Watch)

APOLOGIES:   Cllrs I Carson & S Frederick SDCllr P Cooke

2.         MINUTES OF MEETING HELD ON 7 July 2014 having been circulated, were approved and signed by the Chairman after discussion with regard to the Addenda A:     Final Addendum 6 August 2014.
At the end of the PCM 2 June Cllr Cass raised two points from an email sent to him by Cllr Carson on 5 May which was answered and copied to all councillors on 6 May.  There was some confusion as to whether or not the meeting had closed for this exchange which was verbally queried by Cllrs Mrs Broad and Campbell as soon as the minutes were produced and by Cllr O’Shea on 25 June.  There was no query received from Cllr Carson
It was made clear that whether in or outside of the meeting made no difference to the intention of minuting the exchange and Cllr Carson has been asked in two series of correspondence to agree a final version to close this issue.
This he has now done.  His first requirement is to minutes:
“Cllr Cass read out a communication from Cllr Carson which asked him if he had considered stepping down from the Chair?”
Cllr Cass indicated that as he had stood for and been elected into that post just three weeks before, at the APA, it did not seem a sensible question.   Cllr Carson’s question had an additional point:
“, and if not, to be more transparent”
Cllr Cass stated he had always had a wholehearted desire to supply affordable starter homes for the youngsters in both our villages wherever a suitable site was available.  He would be surprised if anyone was unaware of this or feel he was anything but transparent in his approach to fellow councillors.
Members were asked if this was their recollection of the event, those having heard the exchange confirmed it was.  Minuting of the issue was considered to be academic in view of the confusion at the time and the fact it was now included.

Cllr O’Shea advised that Cllr Carson had felt issues he raised regarding Forge Field were not taken seriously eg the VIA; Cllr Cass confirmed this had not been required at the time of the issue being raised but should Cllr Carson wish to raise valid points in future in relation to Forge Field these would be taken into account.

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

Cllr Mrs Broad
Prior to the business of the meeting Cllr Mrs Broad advised that, in view of recent criticisms, she had received a letter of support for parishioners which she read to those attending.

Open Letter to Penshurst Parish Council:
Dear Parish Council
We would like to thank the councillors for all the hard work that they do for the benefit of the Parish community.  In  particular we want to thank the Council Chairman John Cass for the many hours of unpaid work he does for the benefit of the whole community and Evelyn Divall for the tremendous effort she puts into her job as Parish Clerk.
We do not support the criticisms that have been made of the Chairman and Parish Clerk at the last two PPC meetings and as we attend considerably more PC meetings than some Parish Councillors, we feel that we can make an accurate assessment of their performance.   We suggest to the individuals concerned that they stop hectoring and attacking members of the PC in meetings and make a formal complaint if they have legitimate grounds.   On previous occasions Parish Councillors have had complaints made against them by KPG members.  These complaints were not upheld by Sevenoaks District Council.

Signed:  R Sellings; R Loring; N Furnell, M Gilbert

Chairman and clerk thanked the parishioners for their support, it was greatly appreciated.

3.         OPEN SESSION
Clerk to check position with regard to Highway Ref: 97389.   (Now reported under 116313)
Clerk to report obscured signage: 30MPH opposite The Glebe and 30 MPH near The Grove
Clerk to report potholes by Peelers House and The Warren entrance.   (Reported under 116321 – Clerk advised work had been marked for completion and 116324 respectively – Clerk had been advised this was private land for which the KCC highways was not responsible.
A parishioner recorded his apologies regarding recent complaints made in relation to noxious fumes caused by a bonfire on his land, he had recently found that the site was being used for fly tipping and burning rubbish which had been carried out without his knowledge.   He had witnessed three vans on site and reported these together with the registration numbers to the police who had done nothing about the problem other than provide him with an incident number.
A parishioner requested the PC to consider a grant towards costs incurred by the committee – Planes over Penshurst – approximately £2K had been spent to date on printing and a website.   Clerk advised an official request would need to be submitted.   A meeting was being held on Thursday 7 August at 7.15 pm in the Penshurst Village Hall to update parishioners on the current situation with regard to Gatwick.

6g.    Gatwick Airport:
In addition to the latest consultation response to the London Airspace Change we have one more immediate consultation process to respond to from the Airports Commission and again we have a tight end date as we have all been involved in the more pressing London Airspace Consultation and the threat of the concentrated flight path over Penshurst, Fordcombe and surrounding villages. On the last matter the newly formed action group Planes over Penshurst  has performed remarkably well in the few weeks it has been established.  A web site www.planesoverpenshrst was created in record time and has been well-received. Posters, leaflets and mail drops have all been achieved from a very committed and active group. The strategic committee comprises of Martin Barraud, Charlotte Knapper, Chris Pulsford, Stephen Hazell-Smith, David Lough, Robert Rees and myself. We hope that the new action group though totally independent from the PPC will be complimentary to the council’s involvement with aviation matters.
The new team were out in force on Saturday at the Farmers’ Market with a ‘Planes over Penshurst’ stall with pre-printed responses for residents to fill in for the latest Gatwick Airport consultation. The team has self- financed web page design and printing and would be very grateful if there was any parish fund that could contribute to some of the costs. We acknowledge this could only be done to settle third party invoices, which are available.
We at PPC will continue to engage directly with local MPs, Gatwick Airport and airlines in an effort to promote residents interests in aviation matters which are having a disruptive influence on their quality of life. Through HWPCAAG and GACC we are also able to influence group approaches to these problems.  As mentioned before we are drafting our response to the Airports Commission’s latest discussion paper on ‘Delivery on new runway capacity,’ which will have to be completed by Friday 15 August via email. There are three areas in which they are seeking a response: Legal and Planning Issues; Local Communities and the Role of the State. Often, these documents are so technical that ordinary members of the public cannot understand them and alternatives are not available. Without the huge resource of companies such as Gatwick Airport Ltd who are aggressively promoting their commercial interest we can only respond to them from our own experiences and knowledge in an objective way.
Michael Knowles 04/08/2014
Clive Pearman:        (Addition to 6c)
KCCllr Pearman addressed members with regard to Gatwick:
Cllr Pearman had been involved with the campaign for approximately three and a half years and generally included information as part of his monthly report.   He considered it crucial to enlist the support of the local MPs including Sir John Stanley, Michael Fallon, Gregg Clark and the Minister of Transport to enable the councils to fight the campaign and therefore stand a chance of changing the aviation policy at government level.   The input provided by the combined local councils was extremely important as this carried great weight due to the fact they were elected representatives.
KCC in its response documentation two weeks previously had referred ambiguously to a second runway at Gatwick, he considered they should respond stating quite clearly that a second runway was not acceptable at Gatwick.   The business case for Gatwick was collapsing, approximate figures for a workforce were estimated to be in the region of 130,000;  at the present time there were less than 30,000 people drawing job seekers allowance in the catchment area, this left a shortfall (assuming the existing unemployed had the experience to undertake the work available) with a shortfall of approximately 100,000.
It was anticipated that much of this shortfall would be sourced from abroad, subsequently increasing the incoming migrants’ figure as they would be accompanied by their families etc.   Heathrow as an airport was nearer the existing labour force.
Cllr Pearman advised they would continue to work to obtain a satisfactory outcome for the residents represented.

4.        PLANNING

SE/14/01953:  1 Culvers Hill Cottages, Penshurst Road, Penshurst:  Insertion of pitched roofs on the existing flat roof dormers, roof lights, garden room and garden wall.   Alterations to fenestration.   PC Support

The following planning issues were received after preparation of the agenda but prior to the meeting:
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.

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

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.

Becket Trust Representative:  Cllr Carson advised Mr Harley (Chairman) had agreed to attend PC meeting; clerk confirmed Mr Harley would be at the October meeting.  The Becket Trust members were committed to providing affordable housing to local residents.  The Trustees were writing to KCC to raise concern over access to their site at certain times due to excessive parking.

Affordable Housing Sites:
Cllr O’Shea considered the previous site identification process was not adequate.  Cllr Townsend reported that he and Cllr Horsford had checked detailed maps of Fordcombe and identified suitable sites, he suggested the same procedure be carried out by Penshurst councillors.   Cllrs Broadhead and O’Shea proposed an independent land agent be appointed to check the parish, Cllr Mrs Broad had spoken to and independent one who had been recommended, his charges would be £5K but he also stated that the best option was to use local knowledge to find the sites.   Costs were estimated to be between £5-10K generally.   Clerk advised that SDC and the Housing Enabler would ask each parishioner to notify them of any possible sites in the correspondence despatched with the housing surveys.   Cllrs Broadhead and O’Shea preferred the option of a land agent, the Chairman noted that a proposal to share the costs between the PC, Becket Trust, the Estate and SDC had been suggested by Cllr Broadhead.   It was agreed there would be an opportunity to vote on the issue if members weren’t happy with the current search.
SDC/Housing Enabler:  2nd Stage Survey – Clerk had circulated the latest letter that SDC would be circulating with the second stage survey during September, this included a request for sites in the parish suitable for affordable housing to be identified.     Members unanimously supported this for distribution to parishioners.   Members suggested that the local parish magazines be asked to include an article regarding the forthcoming survey to encourage parishioners to take part, it was suggested they may not feel the process to be worthwhile.


a.         Long Bridge Project:   Clearance:  Information regarding original agreement at installation stage of fencing provided for councillors by KCCllr Clive Pearman, this indicated that KCC would be financially responsible for replacing the fencing however the original requirement was that the landowner would be responsible for keeping the area along the length of the fence clear of vegetation.

b.         Swaylands:   Clerk contacted during the month by a representative of the agents, nothing further to report on the
National Garden Scheme issue, no further information available from SDC officer.

c.         Gas Supply:  Mr Furnell advised that he had received a quotation from SGN Connections to extend the existing gas network to provide gas to properties showing an interest.   Each household within the project boundary would need to pay approximately £16.5K to obtain a gas supply based on 31 households.    It was possible Mr Furnell could explore other providers or any grants that may be available but it was not thought a more competitive price would be found.

d.         Rectory Hedge:   KCCllr Pearman would be checking issue with relevant department.

e.         Churchyard: Cllr Carson to report on rubbish dumped in corner of Penshurst churchyard, matter deferred due to absence.

f.          Willow Tunnel:   Quotation provided for work required to willow tunnel, arrangements being made for parishioner to attend work when carried out in order to undertake work in future.   Clerk was advised some work had been carried out to the tunnel but she felt the specialist should attend to ensure the work had been completed in the correct manner.

g.         Handrail:  Pathway from road to Leicester Square:  Clerk reported to Penshurst Estate who had removed same.

h.         Mobile Fish and Chip Service:   Clerk had contacted the company and advised them of the complaint regarding
litter.  They would take particular note of site whilst serving and again when they normally checked the layby before leaving.
It was noted the litter problem had not been so noticeable and it was possible the problem had arisen when a coach stopped
to use the service.    Clerk to check position with regard to possible provision of a further litter bin.

6.         REPORTS:
a.     Sevenoaks District Councillor Paddy Cooke:      No report

b.     KALC:    No report

c.      Kent County Councillor Clive Pearman:    KCCllr Pearman provided an update from the Gatwick Co-ordinating Group from the 16 July 2014.   The following items were forwarded for the PC Meeting from Cllr Pearman’s report of issues dealt with by KCC:
§  Local Government Boundary Commission Review into number of County Councillors
§  Patient Transport Service
§  Proposed Closure of Faversham Minor Injuries Unit
§  Flood Risk Management Committee and Impact of deteriorating highway drainage network
§  Bold steps for Aviation – apparent support of Environment & Transport Cabinet Committee for second runway at both Heathrow and Gatwick.   Cllr Pearman is concerned the wishes of the local Town and Parish Councils will received scant regard.
§  Attendance at Young People’s Services Cabinet Committee
§  Attendance at Governance and Audit Committee

Cllr Pearman’s closing comments:   Sitting here now, having described the meetings which I attended, I am looking at a pile of papers for those meetings measuring the best part of 3 inches in depth!  The last time I experienced such a paper-based system was back in the 1980s!  In those good old days we used to say “there must be a better way of doing business”; now, and well into the 21st century, we know that there is.  I just wonder how long it will take KCC to rid itself of the comfort of the past.

And so, I think, exhausted at the thought of carrying the weight of this paper around, and with complete sympathy for the environmentalists who would wish to protect our forests, I think that I will draw this monthly up-date to a close and, once again, with my personal thanks to all of you for your continued support.

d.    Alms Houses:    Cllr O’Shea advised there was still a vacancy.

e.    Neighbourhood Watch:    No report

f.     Speedwatch:   Mr Loring confirmed the team was still very active in the parish and a reduction in the number of people speeding had been noted.   Cllr Campbell reported that 2458 drivers had been listed as speeding resulting in 396 letters being forwarded to those responsible.

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 at later date.
93436:  Drains still blocked on New Road past Burzes Cottages, site attended, further work required.
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.
113542:  Pothole – Honey Field Cottage, Poundsbridge.   Works completed 10 July.
113543:  Pothole – Road leading from Poundsbridge up towards Speldhurst.  Work completed 10 July.
343310: (SDC) – Fly Tipping:  Clerk reported items left in Grove Road near Blowers Hill where footpath crosses road, debris included bath.   Debris should have been removed.
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.   The use of plasticised kerbs was introduced as a H&S measure to aid easier manual handling, they appear not to have been as successful as originally hoped and were not now used as much.
113191 & 113198:  Signs obscured by vegetation including the 30 MPH flashing sign near the Fordcombe Village Hall and Colliersland priority sign.   Work completed to both signs 8 July 2014.
113545: Potholes:  Clerk to report pothole/sunken area in Coldharbour Road/Nunnery Lane near Godfrey House.  Not highways responsibility, issued to be passed to utility company.

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
Fordcombe Village Hall                                                               Hall Hire Fees                                        £14.00
RIP Cleaning Services                                                                 Dog Waste Removal                               £79.20
Hazelwood Tree Management                                                     Fordcombe Churchyard/School
Tree Surgery                                         £540.00
Play Place                                                                                  Family Fun Day Costs                             £625.00
Playsafety Ltd                                                                            Rospa Inspection Fee                             £110.40
Commercial Services Trading Ltd                                                 Gangmowing                                         £549.54
Oast & Oak Services                                                                   Fordcombe Churchyard Mowing               £792.00
Penshurst Churchyard Mowing                 £1003.00

a.    Swathe & Visibility Cutting:  Area advised by Cllr Horsford passed on to contractor for addition to work, now completed.
b.   Bottle House Allotments:    Quotation provided by Pallet Handling for supply and fitting replacement fence/upright at £422 Plus VAT.   Clerk circulated email to councillors for comment, quote approved, work being undertaken.
c.     Contribution to Penshurst Village Hall:  No further information available with regard to plans for the work to be carried out, PC unable to contribute to investigative procedures, matter deferred until further information available.
d.    PROW Maps:   Clerk advised that extra copies of the PROW maps are available at £20 per copy, it was agreed the clerk obtain an extra set of maps.
g.   Allotments:    Outstanding payment for one allotment received
h.   Penshurst Bus Shelter/Fordcombe Noticeboard:  Contractor obtaining glass to carry out repairs as requested
by clerk.
i.   Rospa Play Equipment Inspection:  Circulated to members for their information.   Minor items had been noted.

9.                   CORRESPONDENCE:

i.              KCC – Kent Minerals and Waste Local Plan (MWLP) 2013-30:   Advice that final consultation  would be undertaken from 31 July to 12 September and subsequent submission to Secretary of State in October.   Online consultation portal:  http://consult.kent.gov.uk/portal/mwcs/mwlp-submission
ii.             Air Ambulance:  Letter of thanks for the PC donation together with information on how the service works.
iii.            Sir John Stanley MP:  Letter confirming his approach to Paul Carter, KCC to request he write to the Chairman of the Airports Commission formally rescinding the KCC’s 2013 recommendation of a second runway at Gatwick and instead strongly recommending additional runway capacity in the SE be provided by means of one or other of the two options at Heathrow.
iv.            Sir John Stanley MP:  Letter enclosing the first Press Statement formulated by the Gatwick Co-ordination Group whose purpose is to oppose unconditionally the construction of the second Gatwick runway.
v.             Sir John Stanley MP:  Letter enclosing copies of letters to Paul Carter KCC and from Rt Hon Lord Smith of Finsbury – Chairman of the Environment Agency regarding the situation with regard to the capacity of the Leigh Flood Storage area.
vi.            KALC:   Information on campaign to obtain slip road on M25 by Junction 5 and request for funding to assist with economic benefits study.

10.                   ANY OTHER BUSINESS:

i.          WW1 Commemoration:   It was noted the flag had not been raised at Penshurst Village Hall.
ii.          Hedging:   Cllr Mrs Broad noted that the hedge near Colliersland Bridge and Sandfield Road required cutting back.

Meeting concluded 9.30 pm                                                               Next Meeting 1 September 2014 – Fordcombe