Ordinary Meeting Minutes 7/03/2011



Minutes of the Ordinary Parish Council Meeting held on Monday 7 March 2011 at 7.30 pm in Fordcombe Village Hall

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




2. MINUTES OF MEETING HELD ON 7 February having been circulated, were approved and signed by the Chairman.


Re: Item 3 (e). Clerk received an email from Penshurst Place advising that, in relation to the request for brick rather than weatherboarding, Penshurst Place had not made any official statement to the PC regarding the development of the village school, the comment had been made during an informal discussion about the project with the PC Chairman. Clerk confirmed that the PC had reiterated in their response to KCC that they did not want the project to be jeopardised as a result of comments submitted, this also being the wish of Penshurst Place.


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. The Bottle House & b. Relocation of Pathway – Bottle House Allotments: Matters deferred until future meeting.


c. Diversion Route Damage: Cllr Gilbert confirmed that parishioners had also registered complaints with regard to the condition of the road after the diversion routes, Cllr Lake was scheduled to meet with the highways member to discuss the issue on 8 March. Allan Gibbons (Highways Inspector) had originally advised that only damage which was likely to be dangerous would be repaired, Cllr Gilbert hoped that a meeting could be arranged with Cllr Lake and a further highways representative to tour the area and inspect the damage.


d. Environment Agency: Neil Gunn confirmed he would meet with parishioners on 15 March 2011 at 8 pm in Penshurst Village Hall to discuss the current options with regard to new flood schemes and the impact these might have on the parish, hall had been booked. Clerk would place notices on the boards and the information would be placed on the PC website.


a. Swaylands: The lighting area had been checked during a planning visit, external security lighting timed on a dusk to dawn sensor may be responsible for the problem, further contact with the site representative would be made as the residents concerned may be away. Clerk to check with site agent.


b. Kent County Councillor: No report


c. Sevenoaks District Councillor: Cllr Cooke confirmed that SDC’s minibus fleet would be gifted to local organisations applying for them. The PC were happy in principle to allocate funding to the voluntary organisations that were prepared to ensure a service for the parishioners in Penshurst and Fordcombe. Clerk was liaising with the other local parishes regarding the matter. Cllr Gilbert to liaise with Cllr Cooke regarding numbers involved


d. KALC: Cllrs Mrs Hill and Gilbert were unable to attend the meeting scheduled for Friday.


e. Alms Houses: A considerable amount of work had been carried out which had been identified on the five year inspection. Further damp work was required but this had been deferred until the health of the two residents involved improved.


f. Proposed Affordable Housing Project: Survey/questionnaire had been posted to parishioners, response awaited.


g. Neighbourhood Watch: Clerk had received a call from the PCSO Anne KingScott advising that any external copper tanks or metal property belonging to village halls etc. should be marked with the owner’s details and advising anyone purchasing such items to contact the police on 01622 690690 to report such activities. Crime had increased locally with three instances of heating oil theft. A white van acting suspiciously had been reported to the police. Elderly people in particular were being warned with regard to strangers asking if they had returned their census forms, if left alone thefts had occurred. There had been a number of metal thefts recently with gates and roof lead having been stolen, police were contacting church officials to warn them with regard to the lead of the roofs. The safety fence outside Penshurst Primary School should be repaired by the end of March.




Bottle House Cottage residents stated they were unhappy with some of the content on the Newsletter accompanying the survey and asked the PC who had put forward the allotment site for the affordable home project, information provided by two councillors conflicted with other information they had been given. They considered the situation to be a matter of trust between the parishioners and the council.
Clerk confirmed KPG had nominated The Forge site, which was adjacent to the allotments, having been aware that it was not large enough to provide six properties and also the fact that WKHA would not split the project to multiple sites due to cost implications. For The Forge site to be used it would necessitate using some of the allotment site to provide sufficient space, this being discussed during the site visit which KPG attended.
KPG advised they had professionals working for them who confirmed that providing housing on more than one site would not necessarily cost more.
The Chairman advised that the landowner had been upset by the constant approaches regarding his use of the land, suggestions had been made that he might be prepared to swap his land for some of the area next to his property, residents denied having harassed the owner stating that only two had spoken with him.
Bottle House residents agreed they had been provided with a copy of an email stating that the PC had requested the Bottle House site be removed from the newsletter as explained by Lesley Bowles.
Cllr Gilbert recorded that as the Bottle House site was not on the survey the discussion was pointless, all parishioners would have the chance to register their opinion on the survey with Forge Field being the only option provided. He asked to move on to the next agenda issue.
KPG asked if the PC would vote for the development on Forge Field, Cllr Gilbert stated for the fourth time that he would only vote for it if the plans complied with the PC’s requirements.
SDC Officer Richard Morris expected the development to have the support of the village, it was pointed out that this would be at the planning stage.
KPG advised that wording on the listing document stated that The Forge was listed as in a ‘vernacular ensemble’, it was therefore considered that the current project was a waste of money.
A complaint was made with regard to the timing and damage caused by the hedge and verge mowing. The PC gave details of the contract which was awarded by KCC and confirmed that they were trying to take on the work themselves to ensure a better service was provided when it was needed.




Verge/Swathe Mowing Funding: Email received from John Burr, Director of Kent Highways – ‘I am sorry that you feel that the quality of grass cutting has not been up to standard in previous years. I have raised the issue with the appropriate Head of Service and asked him to ensure that your comments on quality are taken on board. Whilst e mailing I must however point out that at no time must any unauthorised/unapproved/uninsured contractor work on the public highway. And at no point would KCC consider any form of recompense for such an inappropriate act.’ Clerk to check with other local parishes if they would be prepared to amalgamate with Penshurst in appointing a local contractor.


Road Surface – New Road: Laura Squires (Highways) had been in contact with the road surfacing team to clarify the criteria for anti-skid surfacing. She had been informed that Kent roads are surveyed annually to measure the skid resistance against nationally set guidelines. When New Road was last surveyed it was not found to be skid deficient, it does not therefore meet the criteria for skid resistant surfacing. For information the area of road in Fordcombe scheduled for treatment had been found deficient from the junction with Ashurst Road up to the boundary with Sevenoaks. Clerk/Officer will continue to monitor the road.


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. Laura Squires contacted with regard to provision of data collection unit for speed unit in Fordcombe, no information received at date of meeting.


Penshurst Churchyard: Estimate for replacement of bricks being sought, matter deferred to next meeting.


Drainage: Flooding between the two bridges at the bottom of Rogues Hill reported again under Ref. 18823, website indicates matter resolved again. Clerk to report again as drains still full of debris.


Footpath Signs: Broken footpath sign on Fordcombe cricket ground reported, Cllr Gilbert advised this had not been repaired.
Cllr Mrs Broad advised the bridle path bridge at Poundsbridge required the reinstatement of the non slip surface as it was very slippery, hand railing on SR459 needed reinstatement and the surface along SR441 had washed away during recent rainy weather, clerk reported issues to Nicky Biddall, footpaths officer.


White Lining: Refreshing of white lining reported for Colliersland Bridge (10004831) and Rogues Hill (10004832), website indicates further work required to resolve issue. Clerk advised that further work to reinstate white lining would be undertaken when weather conditions improved. Request submitted for white lining at Long Bridge, highways advised that hedge had been cut back and information provided from traffic census, Sue Ireland advised that Aziz Jiwaji considers his response of 20 July 2010 still stands. Cllr Gilbert to raise issue if county officer visits for tour of parish.


Southern Water: Southern Water still insistent problem not caused by their pipework or plant. SW Engineer Richard Spender suggested Swaylands introduce manganate of potash to storage area when waste being held and pumping carried out three or four times a day instead of once.


School Barrier Damage: Reported under reference 17609947, clerk advised work would be completed by the end of the month.




SE/11/00071: 6 Chafford Cottages, Chafford Lane, Fordcombe: Replacement of felt flat roof with tiled pitched roof. Widening existing roof dormer window. The PC note that the majority of the roof area will be tiled with approximately a quarter being glazed, members do not agree that this glazing is in keeping with the style of this, and the adjacent, old cottages.


SE/11/00240: Holly Cottage, Smarts Hill, Penshurst: Erection of rear two storey extension and internal alterations. The PC have no problem with the extension but would object to the provision of a third entrance to the site. This would require the loss of mature hedging and trees, members feel that the existing entrances are sufficient to provide access and parking. Members have also asked that the extension should remain as ancillary use to the building.


SE/11/00292: Quaintways, High Street, Penshurst: Change of use of ground floor Class A3 use to residential with alterations and internal works. The PC have no objections to the planning application but are saddened to see the loss of the year round facility which was always very popular both with parishioners and visitors to the parish.


SE/11/00355: Coldharbour Farm, Coldharbour Road, Penshurst: Demolition of wood store attached to former stable (now outbuilding store). Erection of Alitex Glasshouse to vegetable plot. No Comment


SE/11/01110: Lakeside House, Poundsbridge Lane, Penshurst: Amendment to original planning approval (SE/02/01110) to revise position of proposed access drive. No Comment


SE/1100436: Chafford Rise, Chafford Lane, Fordcombe: Demolition of outbuildings and erection of rear extension


SE/10/02763/4LBC: 2 Rectory Cottages, High Street, Penshurst: Erection of single storey extension to rear. Application no longer valid.


SE/10/03278: 4 New Road, Penshurst: Retrospective application for timber decked area to rear of dwelling. REFUSED
SE/10/03430: Barnfield, Penshurst Road: Erection of two storey front extension. REFUSED
SE/10/03360: Sapperton, Chafford Lane, Fordcombe: Remodelling of existing bungalow to include removal of existing conservatory to rear and porch to front. Single storey rear extension and new porch to front. New pitched roof with height raised to provide three bedrooms and a bathroom with two dormer windows to rear elevation and four roof windows to front. REFUSED
SE/10/02101: Rosebank Cottage, Chafford Lane, Fordcombe: Erection of three bed bungalow to rear of Rosebank Cottage, access from an existing track and through existing gates. Two existing building to be moved. The PC had no objection in principle to the application but noted a number of possible problems on the site. Utility installations might impact on neighbouring properties and the loss of trees, including ash and oak was a concern with the growth of willows indicating possible wet areas. Access might also be a problem.


SE/10/03322: The Small Barn, Nunnery Lane, Penshurst: Amendment to application 10/02163 permitting extensions & alteration to existing dwelling. Change relates to amended pitch roof design above extensions on south western side of house. The PC made no comment with regard to the application.




a. SDC: Notification of temporary road closure to facilitate the Tunbridge Wells Half Marathon on 27 February; roads affected: Penshurst Road, Rogues Hill, High Street – Penshurst, Fordcombe Road, New Road, Saints Hill and Spring Hill. Hours of closure: 9.45 – 1.30 pm


b. Parishioners’ Letter/Email: Complaints received regarding the traffic calming at the Swaylands entrance. Steve Welch, KCC Highways engineer contacted for site meeting. Area being monitored for six month trial period.


The following accounts were presented and approved for payment:


Mr I Streeter Lengthsman 78.00
Penshurst Village Hall Hall Hire 2010 77.00
Hazelwood Tree Mgt Tree Works – Fordcombe Cricket Ground/
Playground 1,128.00
Playdale Playgrounds Playground Equipment Deposit 14,683.39
RIP Cleaning Services Dog Waste Removal 43.20
Information Commissioner Annual Subscription Fee 35.00
Mrs E M Divall Clerk’s Salary/Expenses 1,406.19


a. Public Conveniences: Richard Wilson at SDC had advised that they were still willing to ensure any necessary work would be carried out to handover the toilets in a serviceable condition. Clerk had checked results received from questionnaire circulated to all homes in relation to housing/medical facility/car parking/public toilet issue, in response to question ’Does the village need public toilets, replies in favour indicated that 68.5% of respondents considered the village needed the facilities. This return enabled members to consider use of precept to continue with the service. The Chairman had approached Penshurst Place with regard to the cleaning requirements, clerk had written to local businesses asking for support.
It was agreed clerk discuss the closure with Richard Wilson with a view to closing them temporarily to gauge public response, it was suggested a notice be placed on the door advising users of the situation.


b. Mini Bus: Clerk had liaised with Chiddingstone clerk regarding provision of minibus service for parishioners. A number of the local parishes had considered offering grants to existing voluntary service providers to ensure that the parishioners could continue access to the minibus service to local towns. Clerk to speak with Lesley Bowles regarding Age Concern’s approach. It was agreed in principle that the PC would provide grant funding in line with usage if service could be retained.


c. Childrens’ Play Provision: Clerk had attended a meeting where the options now available were discussed. Penshurst Parish had previously been able to take advantage of the mobile activity bus provided by SDC at the cricket ground in Fordcombe. Due to funding constraints this would no longer be available. A number of smaller parishes were considering funding the facilities now available by trained teams who would continue with a similar service historically provided by SDC. It was agreed PC would consider grant funding if arrangements could be made to continue with the project for the young people.




a. Blocked Drain: Clerk to report drain at top of Manor Drive block.


b. SDC Meeting: Chairman and Cllr Campbell had attended the meeting at SDC to discuss Neighbourhood Plans and Development Orders relating to the Core Strategy and planning aspects of the Localism Bill. Parishes producing Neighbourhood Plans must align them to the SDC strategy. After discussion, it was felt there was little advantage in producing such a plan.


c. Potholes: Clerk was asked to obtain the specification used by highways for filling potholes as a number of these seemed only to last for a matter of hours