Ordinary Meeting Minutes 6/12/2010


Minutes of the Ordinary Meeting of Penshurst Parish Council held on Monday 6 December 2010 at 7.30 pm in Penshurst Village Hall

1. PRESENT: Cllrs R Sellings (Chairman), Mrs D Broad, A Campbell, S Frederick, D Geal, M Gilbert, R Horsford, Mrs A Hill

APOLOGIES: Cllr C Viccars, SDCllr P Cooke, KCCllr P Lake

2. MINUTES OF MEETING HELD ON 1 November 2010 having been circulated were approved and signed by the Chairman.

Declarations of Interest 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


a. Saltbins: New salt/grit bin purchased for Fordcombe, arrangements made for unit to be filled, Mike Payton (Highways) advised that as this was placed on private land county would not provide salt for the bin, salt stock ordered by clerk from alternative suppliers. Cllr Campbell advised the bin at Smarts Hill contained little more than sharp sand with little or no salt content. Clerk to forward complaint regarding unwillingness of county to provide stocks of salt/grit when parishes have been proactive and provided their own bins.

b. The Bottle House: A request for access had been made to facilitate exit from a fire escape area, the access would not be used for any other purpose, ie oil deliveries etc. In view of the lack of accurate details of ownership, clerk to obtain copy of deeds of site before any further discussion on the request.

c. Rectory Hedge: Sue Ireland advised Allan Gibbons had inspected hedge and spoken with contractor responsible for cutting same, the agreed plan with the tree surgeon was to cut the hedge back to the original line over three years and then cut it on a regular basis. In view of the fact that the hedge had already been subjected to two cuts this meant that it should be cut back during 2011. Cllr Gilbert to speak with Allan Gibbons.

d. Relocation of Pathway – Bottle House Allotments: Clerk advised resident that the PC were unable to grant request for alteration, letter received requesting reconsideration of decision circulated to members. Further discussion deferred until accurate information on ownership obtained by clerk, see also 3b.


a. Swaylands: Cllr Sellings advised that six apartment were available in the block with four still available in the main house. Residents were raising the issue of parking for the NGS open days in view of the refusal of planning for an area laid to Grasscrete. Clerk to report ongoing problems with lighting on the outside of the building visible overnight across the valley.

b. Kent County Councillor: No report

c. Sevenoaks District Councillor: No report

d. KALC: Cllr Mrs Hill advised Gregg Clarke, MP for Tunbridge Wells had attended the meeting and informed those present that the government wished to remove barriers to parishes acting for the benefit of residents. Accountability for precept increases was being considered and may require a local vote for approval. Civil servants would be required to help communities and regional authorities were being scrapped.

Ian Learmouth, Chief Constable of Kent had confirmed budget cuts were required, some costs might be transferred to precepts, police recruits would need to work when required ie weekends/evenings and other unsocial hours if necessary. John Burr, Director of Kent Highway Services had promoted customer satisfaction and accountability as his main aim. First fix repairs as an ethos was important, where numerous potholes were identified resurfacing would be required with a waterproof membrane. He felt that if the costs for the A21 project could be cut by one third there was a chance this could be reconsidered. Joint working of utility companies was important. Gullies would be emptied to a schedule.

e. Alms Houses: Mr P Johnson advised that a donation of £500 had been made to the almshouses by the Penshurst News.

f. Proposed Affordable Housing Project: Clerk consulted councillors after discussions with Liz Crockford on 11 November relating to original PC schedule for submission of sites by KPG, members confirmed 5 January 2011 for submission prior to site visits to be held week commencing 10 January 2011. Item deferred for further discussion until February 2011.

g. Neighbourhood Watch: Mr Johnson advised that an amount of cabling had been stolen from Salmans Lane and if anyone had seen anything suspicious the police would appreciate being advised.


The clause that tenants would be given the right to buy their homes after five years in the proposed localism bill was raised, members would need to check what impact this might have on the current project prior to commenting.

Members were asked to consider the advantage of Beckett Trust, a charity, becoming involved in the project as their mandate could protect properties to prevent selling on, members had been advised there was a need for an organisation such as Beckett Trust to tie in with a Housing Association to become involved in such projects.

Referring to the information printed in the Penshurst magazine, members confirmed sites in Fordcombe were acceptable for consideration if they fulfilled the criteria, Fordcombe was part of Penshurst Parish and was therefore eligible.

Clerk advised she had draft dates for KPG to submit alternative sites by 5 January and the revised questionnaire to go out after that to allow inclusion of any new sites. The timing was now in line with that originally requested by the PC and already known to KPG.

A request for Neil Gunn to be invited back to the parish to discuss the flood project and its possible impact on Forge Field was made, clerk to check options and report back. A preference for a venue in Penshurst was expressed. (Approach made to Neil Gunn to provide available dates and Penshurst Primary school contacted as a possible venue, timing requested February/March, response awaited)

Checks on the movement at the coach road bridge indicated the same as at the previous inspection, ie 2mm. This confirmed the ties were fulfilling their duty of stabilising the bridge.


Verge/Swathe Mowing Funding: Information received from highways office that swathe cutting takes place twice per year and is part of the contract that was awarded in March 2009 for the maintenance of urban and rural grass verges and shrub beds as well as weed control in the districts of Sevenoaks, Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge & Malling. The tender price was £574,024.64 which represents the annual maintenance costs of providing those services in the three districts. They are unable therefore to provide the cost of maintaining the verges in a particular parish as the contract was priced on the basis of the total areas to be maintained. Clerk asked to contact John Burr in view of Cllr Mrs Hill’s comments regarding the level of importance he placed on customer satisfaction to request linear distances used for quotation purposes.

Road Surface – Fordcombe: Mick Noonan from Countywide team advised that grip fibre will be laid at the crossroads on Fordcombe Road, surface dressing will be applied to a short way to the north of the crossroads and to the south as far as the main road. This work will be carried out next summer, clerk to request confirmation this will prevent the surface from reflecting winter sunshine and blinding motorists using the area.

Interactive Road Signs: Clerk advised Sue Ireland that PC in favour of provision of permanent speed sign, special form to be completed by KCCllr Peter Lake to initiate project.

Penshurst Churchyard: Wooden test ramps provided for Cllr Gilbert to assess whether suitable. Clerk to have a word with Nicky Biddall regarding the brick paths in the churchyard as the problem area was an official footpath. (Finger post to be checked, only option on church path provided by Footpaths would be removal of stone and replacement with tarmac due to cost implications and lack of funds. Possible contribution by agency of funds that would be necessary to tarmac area towards any work PC decided to undertake)

Colliers Land Bridge: Information received from SE Water regarding ‘drop-in’ session scheduled for 3.30 – 6.30 pm on Thursday 16 December 2010 at Fordcombe Village Hall to enable local businesses, residents and stakeholders in Fordcombe, Penshurst and surrounding area to access further information explaining the practicalities of the scheme and to raise any issues or concerns prior to commencement of project. Any councillors available would attend to raise any outstanding issues. Response awaited to letter forwarded by Cllr Lake requesting rethink on method of completion of work.

Drainage: Flooding was still being caused as they were full of weeds and debris, clerk to report again. (Reported under reference 18823)

Footpath Signs: Cllr Mrs Broad confirms that Grove Road signage repair had been completed. Clerk to report broken footpath sign on cricket ground in Fordcombe.

White Lining: Refreshing of white lining reported for Colliersland Bridge (10004831) and Rogues Hill (10004832), reports logged on 26 and 27 October 2010. Clerk had no information on the white line requested at Longbridge.



SE/10/02871: Orchard Mews, Nunnery Lane, Penshurst: Demolition of existing dwelling and outbuilding and erection of a replacement detached dwelling and detached three car garage (amendment to previously approved scheme Ref SE/09/01482). No Comment

KCC/SE/0354/2010: Penshurst C of E Primary School: Proposed school reception/office area, library, new toilet facilities, additional storage and rationalisation of the servery and circulation routes. The Parish Council have no objection in principle to the application but wish to make the following comments: the weatherboarding is not aesthetically acceptable and brick would be more in keeping with the surroundings, no tanking is shown underneath to counter damp problems, where the outer skin overhangs this causes the structure to be top heavy, in a worst case scenario if impact occurred for example by a vehicle on the adjacent road the design would afford no protection for anyone in the vicinity, thereby compromising safety.

SE/10/02887: Walters Green Farm, Walters Green Road, Penshurst: Installation of two solar panels on pitched roof. No comment

SE/10/02963: The Studio, Old Swaylands, Poundsbridge Lane, Penshurst: Solar energy roof panels on non-listed building to supply both listed and non listed properties. No Comment

SE/10/02896/LBCALT: Dairy Cottage, Poundsbridge Lane, Penshurst: Erection of lean to conservatory, two storey extension to side incorporating triple garage and internal alterations (amendments to original planning approval SE/02/01110/FUL) and proposed new access drive. The PC object to this application, due to the fact that it would appear the proposal does not comply with the Section 106 agreement originally formed in relation to the original planning permission.


SE/10/02163: The Small Barn, Nunnery Lane, Penshurst: Demolition of single storey side addition, replace with two storey extension of reduced footprint. Erection of front extension for stairwell. Removal of existing porch. GRANTED

SE/10/02538-02539LBC: Abbotsmerry Barn, Salmans Lane, Penshurst: New oil tank and boiler balanced flue. LBC Granted


10/03167: 8 Latymers, Penshurst, Tonbridge: Various works to 1 Ash tree. Clerk emailed Les Jones advising PC had no objections to work on ash tree but suggested resident check for any encroachment of roots on property and possibly consider removal if problems found.


a. South East Water: Information on drop in session regarding project to be undertaken at Spring Hill, Fordcombe. Thursday 16 December 2010 from 3.30 pm – 6.30 pm at Fordcombe Village Hall.

b. Penshurst Primary School: Additional drawing of boundary wall in connection with planning application, produced as a result of councillors visit.

c. KCC: Annual Performance Report 2009/2010 available directly from the KCC link: www.kent.gov.uk/your_council/council_performance/annual_performance_report.aspx or can be accessed from the KCC home page http://www.kent.gov.uk selecting in turn from the navigation bar – Your Council, Council Performance, and then Annual Performance Report.

d. Kent Fire and Rescue Service: Opinion invited with regard to ‘Towards 2020’ draft plans on www.kent.fire-uk.org

e. Lord Lieutenant of Kent: Invitation for PC Chairman to attend annual Civic Service at Canterbury Cathedral on 29 March 2011.


The following accounts were presented and approved for payment:

Mr I Streeter Lengthsman 156.00

RIP Cleaning Services Dog Waste Removal 38.07

Derek Baker Fordcombe Churchyard Maintenance 720.00

Penshurst Place Allotment Rental 7.50

Mrs E M Divall Salary/Expenses 1104.70 (Inclusive of Glasdon A/c settled on behalf

Of Parish Council)

a. Precept: No further information available regarding proposed closure of toilets, clerk had received a telephone call from one local business with a proposal that might assist with the problem but no written confirmation received at date of preparation of agenda.

Notification received from the current contractor that he is unable to continue with the maintenance work at the Penshurst Churchyard, Neil King was currently carrying out the work at Poundsbridge Church and had confirmed he would undertake the Penshurst Church site at the same rate as the current contractor, it was unanimously agreed that he be offered the work for the forthcoming season.

Clerk’s salary had been reviewed, a one off payment of £500 to be made for extra hours undertaken in relation to affordable housing project meetings and administrative work during the year with the new salary set at £4675 to be effective from 1 April 2011, this to cover 10% increase to cover for the four year period. Lengthsman’s salary also increased by 10% over four year period and set at £86 per month. Both increases to take effect from 1 April 2011.

The condition of the Bottle House allotment site was again giving cause for concern, two allotments in particular were in very good condition but most of the others were overgrown and neglected. Clerk to write to allotment holders and advise that these must be brought up to standard by 1 April 2011 or the PC would instruct contractors to clear the plots and the holders would be charged for any necessary work. It was agreed the allotment fees would remain as existing, matter to be reviewed at time of next precept.

The allowance for the continued support for the public toilets would be retained, options to keep this facility would be investigated.

After further discussion with regard to expenditure listed on the draft precept and updating the cost centres it was agreed that the precept for 2011/12 be set at £20,745. Clerk to advise SDC accordingly.



Meeting concluded at 9.20 pm Next Meeting 7 February 2011 (Penshurst)