Goudhurst, Kent. A Wealden hill village

Council News December

GOUDHURST PARISH COUNCIL
Local Government for Goudhurst, Kilndown and Curtisden Green

MINUTES OF A MEETING OF GOUDHURST PARISH COUNCIL

at The Jessel Room on Monday 11 December 2017 at 7.30 pm

PRESENT:  Councillors Antony Harris (Chairman), Alan Foster, Mrs Angela Broom, David Boniface, Phil Kirkby, Mrs Susan Newsam, Barry Noakes, Guy Sutton and Stephen Wickham.  Mrs Caroline Richards as observer.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE  

274/17 were accepted from  Cllrs Chris Ditton (business) and Mrs Rachel Washbourn (delayed due to snow).

DISCLOSURES OF INTEREST

275/17 The Chairman reminded Members of their responsibility for any Declarations of Interest on Agenda items for this meeting and for any changes to their Register of Interest Declarations and suggested that they might consider this in a slightly wider context.

MINUTES OF THE LAST MEETING

276/17 It was resolved that the Minutes of the meeting held on November 2017, copies of which had been previously distributed to Members, be signed by the Chairman as a correct record.

QUESTIONS FROM THE PRESS AND THE PUBLIC

277/17 Mrs Barbara Stafford again raised questions relating to the Village Green (Minute 243/17).  She asked that certain correspondence should be included in the Minutes of the Parish Council meeting of 13 November 2017.  Council declined to do this and pointed out that matters raised in Questions from the Public are noted and dealt with by Council following established procedures. In the matter of the Village Green, Council will take no action relating to the ‘top’ Glebe (now a Village Green) until such time the proposed lease agreement from the Diocese of Canterbury is finalised at which time they will consult  wider in the community.

REPORTS FROM COUNTY AND BOROUGH COUNCILLORS

278/17 New Town Hall and Theatre adjacent to Calverley Park.  Cllr Noakes reported that the project has been approved by the full Council of Tunbridge Wells Borough.

AMENITIES COMMITTEE

The Chairman of the Amenities Committee reported:

279/17 Goudhurst Pond De-silting.  Following Minute 248/17.  It was noted that the task had been completed in the week of 20 November 2017.  Very efficiently done and the site had been left clean and tidy.  There had been no damage to the Parish Hall property.

280/17 Duck sign at Goudhurst Pond.  It was agreed in principle to commission a sign that would highlight ‘How to feed Ducks’ and the Amenities Committee will draw up a draft version for costing.

281/17 Goudhurst Pond post and rail boundary fence.  Following Minute 196/16 which had approved expenditure of £4,495.00 + VAT for various replacement posts, splicing some others and a completed redecoration of 61 posts in the Pond area. Approval had included £475.00 to provide and install strimmer guards.  Due to further deterioration of some posts, the net cost has risen to £4,695.00 plus £525.00 for strimmer guards.   It was resolved to approve this amended expenditure

282/17 Chequer Field Wildlife Protection Area.  Following Minute 247/17.   It was noted that Capel Groundcare has quoted £120.00 per cut for the agreed rotating grass strimming programme to improve the habitat.

283/17 Balcombes Hill Toilets.   It was noted that Mrs Laura Napper of Tenterden Twilight Commercial Cleaning Co, Council’s cleaning contractor, attended the National ‘Loo of the Year Competition’ awards ceremony at Solihull on 08 December.  Her company has been awarded the Gold Standard.  This is after only 18 months of being awarded the contract for the cleaning of our toilets.

HIGHWAYS & FOOTPATHS COMMITTEE

The Chairman of the Highways & Footpaths (H&F) Committee reported:

284/17 Bus service cuts. A recent newspaper report covered the proposed consultation by KCC to withdraw financial support from local bus services including the 297 Tunbridge Wells/Pembury Hospital/Goudhurst/Cranbrook/Tenterden route.  Chairman Highways & Footpaths Committee will report further.  Cllr Antony Harris reported that this is on the next TWBC Chairman’s Meeting agenda. He believes it will be referred back for KCC and suggested that we were should contact our County Councillor on this matter.

YOUTH COMMITTEE

The Chairman of the Youth Committee reported:

285/17 Dynamos football pitch on the ‘top’ Glebe (the Village Green).  It was noted that Council has a quote for budgeting purposes for establishing a junior football pitch 48m x 29m on the Village Green.  Council will not be implementing this project until such time as Council has obtained the lease on this land from the Diocese of Canterbury and agreed its policies for this land.

PLANNING COMMITTEE   

It was resolved to note the following Decisions from TWBC published in November 2017:

286/17   DECISIONS

17/02211 Lower Ladysden Farm Winchet Hill Goudhurst

Demolition of existing agricultural buildings (including farm shop) and erection of replacement agricultural building incorporating farm shop, packhouse and coldstore

Granted permission

17/02881 1 Lurkins Rise Goudhurst

Erection of two storey side extension with roof dormers

Granted permission

17/02975 Pinehurst West Road Goudhurst

Change of use of large outbuilding to form single dwelling

Granted permission

17/02993 Blacksmiths Lady Oak Lane Goudhurst

Change of Use of disused forge to single dwelling. Dwelling numbers do not increase on site due to reconfiguration of existing buildings

Granted permission

17/03106 Zion Barn Ranters Lane Goudhurst

Retrospective – Extension of existing front porch with pitched roof

Refused permission

17/03122 St Mary’s Church High Street Goudhurst

Advertisement – Replacement of existing freestanding dilapidated Church notice board

Granted permission

17/03146 Unit 3 The Stable Ladysden Farm Winchet Hill Goudhurst

Change of use of detached office building to a Podiatry and Sports Injuries Clinic (Class D 1)

Granted permission

17/03216 Old Lime House Church Road Goudhurst

Listed Building Consent – Installation of a secondary glazed door

Granted permission

17/03246 The Granary Summerhill Goudhurst

Erection of a cart lodge

Granted permission

287/17   APPLICATIONS considered by the Parish Council Planning Committee in November 2017 with representations here approved by Council:

17/03171 Combwell Farm Bedgebury Road Goudhurst

Extension of one of three poultry houses and internal reconfiguration of outdoor paddock areas

Recommend approval

Since this extension is modest in relation to the approved size of the poultry house, its impact on the location and the AONB will be minimal.

17/03366 The Oaks Lidwells Lane Goudhurst

Conversion of loft space with introduction of two dormer windows and one gable window

Recommend approval

As the proposed new windows are on elevations which cannot be seen from public viewpoints, their impact on the locality and the AONB will be minimal.

17/03395 The Glen Ranters Lane Goudhurst

Erection of a single storey link and garden room

Recommend approval

Due to the well-established mature screening in the immediate vicinity of the house, the proposed extension will only be visible in longer views, from which it will have little impact.   Officers should determine that the size of the proposal conforms with policy.

17/03431 Finchurst Cottage Summerhill Goudhurst

Construction of a single storey detached three bay oak framed garage

Recommend approval

This is a more modest proposal than the refused scheme and will have minimal impact from public viewpoints.

17/03484 Lidwells House North Road Goudhurst

Erection of agricultural barn and associated hardstanding

Insufficient information

Goudhurst Parish Council believes that a D&A statement should be provided, in order to explain the purpose and siting of the building.

17/03491 Trowswell Hill Cottage North Road Goudhurst

Proposed single storey double garage with a gabled entrance in traditional materials

Recommend approval

This is a suitable construction for a rural site such as this, and being close to the neighbour’s garage will have minimal impact on the locality and the AONB.

17/03532 Church House High Street Goudhurst

Replacement gates

Recommend approval

The proposed new doors will weather nicely to complement the main front door to the dwelling.  An improvement to the Conservation Area.

17/03573 The Globe Rogers Rough Road Kilndown

Single storey rear extension; Glazed link; Change of use of garage to ancillary/habitable space; Internal alterations

Recommend approval

Since it is only the glazed link which will be readily visible, the impact of these proposals on the Conservation Area will be limited.

17/03746 Springwood Fisheries Rosemary Lane Flimwell

Construction of a new log cabin to provide additional short-term holiday family letting accommodation

Recommend approval

Subject to TWBC Leisure services confirming that there is an unsatisfied demand for this type of accommodation, Goudhurst Parish Council is content that the application is approved.   Although the site is not prominently located the proposed re-organisation of the site will be an improvement.

17/03260 Stable Cottage West Road Goudhurst

Listed Building Consent – Replacement front door and replacement casement window (works commenced)

Recommend refusal

Goudhurst Parish Council believes that the proposed (and installed) double glazing does not comply with established TWBC policy.   The Conservation officer should determine whether the replacement ‘stable’ door is appropriate.

17/03698 Former Allotment Gardens Churchills Rope Walk Goudhurst

Erection of 2 No 4-bedroom dwellings with associated parking, landscaping and ancillary works

Recommend refusal

In the appeal decision on application 02/02726, the inspector emphatically agreed with KCC’s highway officer that any increase in traffic entering and leaving Rope Walk would cause an increase in the likelihood of an accident at its junction with Church Road, and therefore was unacceptable.   Since that date there has been a steady increase in traffic through the village.

Whilst it is understood that the established use of this site could cause some traffic movements, most of the allotment plots were rented by villagers who would walk to the site.   Approval of this proposal for two large family houses could lead to a substantial increase in traffic movements and use of the dangerous junction with Church Road.

Delegate

17/03813 Wagtail Farm Jarvis Lane Goudhurst

Change of use of agricultural building to create 1 No dwelling with temporary retention and accommodation of mobile home and timber clad store during construction

Recommend approval

Subject to officers being satisfied that the building and the proposed scheme satisfy the relevant criteria for the re-use of agricultural buildings for residential use, Goudhurst Parish Council is content that approval is granted.

17/03814 Old Swatlands Cranbrook Road Goudhurst

Demolition of existing conservatory; Erection of single-storey and two-storey side extension and alterations to roof and fenestration

Recommend approval

Subject to the Conservation officer being satisfied that this scheme does not compromise valuable historic elements of the property, Goudhurst Parish Council is content that approval is granted.

Delegate

17/03815 Old Swatlands Cranbrook Road Goudhurst

Listed Building Consent – Demolition of existing conservatory; Erection of single-storey and two-storey side extension and alterations to roof and fenestration

Recommend approval

Subject to the Conservation officer being satisfied that this scheme does not compromise valuable historic elements of the property, Goudhurst Parish Council is content that approval is granted.

Delegate

NEIGHBOURHOOD DEVELOPMENT PLAN 

288/17 The Chairman, as a member of the Steering Committee, reported that it is continuing to progress well.   A first draft of the Plan is being written.

ACCOUNTS 

289/17 It was resolved unanimously that the following payments be made:

DDR Southern Electric Chequer Field Pavilion energy

4243 AVB Farnfield November 17 salary and expenses £2,425.91

4244 HM Revenue & Customs Clerk PAYE & NI November 17 £905.65

4245 Groundscare & General Services Burial Ground soil clearance £432.00

4246 Capel Groundcare Chequer Field etc grounds maint Nov £761.25

4247 John Fermor Landscapes Grounds maint Nov £720.00

4248 Pearsons Landscapes The Plain and Pond maint November £103.20

4249 Pearsons Landscapes Replacement for cheque 4174 stopped £103.20

4250 Tenterden Twilight Toilet Block cleaning Nov – 5 weeks £778.00

4251 Microshade Business Consult Citrix – Inv 10260 November £61.14

4252 1st Goudhurst Scout Group Grant for Scouts tents  £750.00

4253 PCC Goudhurst Grant for Youth Group ‘Blend’ £900.00

4254 Hurstway Construction Lurkins Rise railings repair £237.60

4255 Chata Hygiene Balcombes Hill toilets service £19.76

4256 White Land Solutions Ltd Goudhurst Pond de-silting Nov 17 £23,127.00

4257 JK Business Machines Photocopier service £132.00

4258 Lights for Fun (SP Wickham) Christmas lights £86.96

4259 AVB Farnfield Postage stamps £118.76

DDR Veolia Environmental Services Burial Ground bin Oct £140.40

290/17 Receipts in November 2017

NatWest interest£2.73

CCLA dividend£5.70

Goudhurst United FC£300.00

291/17  Bank reconciliationResolved to accept the Clerk’s explanation of the reconciliation of accounts to the end of November 2017 and noted that Council’s cash book balance was:

Nat West Current a/c£7,451.56

Nat West Business Reserve£73,506.23

CCLA Public Sector Deposit Fund£35,173.65

£116,131.44

POLICY AND STAFF COMMITTEE

The Chairman presented the Minutes of the Policy & Staff Committee meeting held on 21 November 2017:

292/17 Insurance Cover. This was reviewed in detail.  Members queried the declared values of the Chequer Field Pavilion and the Balcombes Hill Toilet.  Also whether the contents are included under the policy.  The Clerk will check on these points and report to Council. It was noted that Council has entered into a 5 year long term agreement effective from June 2016 and this reduces the premium.

Gritting of the Balcombes Hill car park.  Members queried, from a liability point of view, whether Council should grit the area during freezing weather conditions.  The Clerk had checked our Policy with Zurich Municipal: in effect if Council starts to grit the car park then we will be expected to continue to do so.  If we fail to continue and there is an incident then Council could be held liable.  It was resolved with much regret  that Council will not take responsibility for gritting the car park; however there is a grit box for general use on the car park which is filled by KCC.

293/17 Asset Register.   This was reviewed in detail.  Members recommended to Council that no changes are needed.  It was noted that the recently purchased Burial Grounds notice board, the laser colour printer for the office and the projector being used by the NDP team have been included.  It was agreed that the values of the CCTV equipment will be updated when the proposed new cameras have been installed.  The new Speed Indicator Device (SID) when delivered to us will also be added.

294/17 Risk Assessments.  This was reviewed in detail.  With regard to ‘Corruption of computer software/hardware by a virus’ it was resolved that the Level of Probability be raised from Low to Medium.

295/17 Council’s Bank Accounts and payment signatories. It was noted that the Clerk’s continues to ensure that Council is protected under The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) with Councils funds lodged with both NatWest and the CCLA Public Sector Deposit Fund.

Bank charges.  The Clerk reported that NatWest provides a satisfactory day to day banking service but has given notice that they will apply charges should Council’s turnover be more than £100k in any one year.

Electronic banking. NatWest does not offer an account allowing external payments with two electronic signatures.   Several of our suppliers are asking for payment electronically rather than by cheque.  The Clerk advised Council that Unity Trust Bank offers a two-signature electronic account tailored for the public sector. Whilst not giving formal approval to open an account with Unity Trust Bank, Members indicated that they have no strong objections. Our internal auditor is aware of the situation having mentioned this positively in his last report.  Several Parish Councils in Kent have moved to Unity Trust.

296/17 Bank Signatories.  It was resolved that Cllrs Noakes, Boniface, Kirkby and Wickham should continue to be Council’s bank signatories.  The Clerk is also a signatory for administration reasons as laid down in Council’s Financial Regulations paragraph 6.7.

297/17 Appointment of an Internal Auditor.  It was resolved that Mr David Buckett CPFA DMS be appointed as Council’s auditor for the 2018/19 accounts.

The Clerk presented a paper for information from the Smaller Authorities Audit Appointments Ltd (SAAA) who were appointed by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (after the Audit Commission was wound up in 2015).  SAAA has appointed PKF Littlejohn LLP to audit Local Councils in Kent for the next 5 year period from 2017 to 2022. .

298/17 Standing Orders with Financial Regulations.  These were reviewed in detail. It was resolved that no changes are needed

299/17 Council’s Policies.  It was resolved that documents relating to Internal Audit procedures and Check Sheet, Burial Board System Documentation, Grant Awarding Policy, Data Protection Policy, Complaints Procedure, Lone and Home Worker Policy, the Policy for dealing with the Media and the Goudhurst Parish Neighbourhood Development Plan Terms of Reference be accepted without change.

300/17 The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).  The Clerk briefed Members on GDPR (EU legislation) which is due to be implemented from May 2018.  It seems certain that it will bring an increase in administration work for Council and possibly extra cost.  Early evaluation shows that it is possible that either each Parish or a cluster of Parishes may be required to appoint a Data Protection Officer (DPO) to monitor implementation.  KALC & SLCC are organising half day briefings.

301/17 Annual Grant Payments, Memberships and Subscriptions and Direct Debit arrangements.  These were reviewed.  It was noted that all payments are reported to Council when made and it was resolved to approve the full list which is attached as an Appendix to these Minutes.

302/17 Committees and Responsibilities.  It was recommended to Council that Cllr Chris Ditton be appointed to the Highways & Footpaths Committee.

303/17 Replacement Councillor.  It was resolved that Mrs Caroline Richards be appointed effective 15 January 2018 to fill the vacancy arising in the Goudhurst Parish Ward.

304//17 Budget and Precept for2018/2019.   It was unanimously resolved that Council’s Budget and Precept should be set at £152,640.  This represents a 1.80% increase over the 2017/18 budget and precept.

305/17 Goudhurst Parish Tax Base.  It was noted that the Parish element of a Band D property will rise from £112.28 to £114.25 a year, an increase of £1.97 or 1.75%.

306/17 Review of the Clerk’s Salary, Terms and Conditions and Job Description, It was resolved that the Clerks pay scale will remain unchanged at SCP37 on the NALC scales from 01 April 2018 and since no information has been received from NALC on a cost of living increase, a provision of a 2% uplift will be included in the 2018/19 budget.

307/17 Clerk’s Pension Scheme.  It was resolved that a provision of £5,000 as the Employers contribution be included in the 2018/19 budget.

GOUDHURST PARISH HALL

Cllr Alan Foster briefed Council on developments.  They regret that Mr Ed Bates had recently resigned as Chairman of the Trustees.  Cllr Foster has taken on the Chairman’s role on a temporary basis.  The Hall’s finances are weak.  Although revenue is good, the costs of maintaining the Hall are considerable.  A recent fire inspection raised many issues that will costly to put right.  Several external areas need urgent attention.  The Trustees are considering changing the legal basis of their Trust Deed to bring in fresh volunteers.   Council asked Cllr Alan Foster to keep Council appraised of the situation regularly.

NEXT PARISH COUNCIL MEETING

308/17 15 January 2018.   The Jessel Room in Goudhurst Parish Hall at 7.00 pm.  The earlier start has been agreed as the Council meeting will be preceded by a presentation from the TWBC Planning team on current planning matters.

ITEMS FOR INFORMATION

309/17 Oast to Coast.  Action with Communities in Rural Kent (AwCiRK) Winter 2017 Magazine.

310/17 The Battle is Over – a Nation’s Tribute.  A guide for Parishes to hold events on 11 November 2018.  Bell ringing and Lighting the Beacon?

The Meeting closed at 9.05   pm.

These Minutes are subject to approval at the next meeting of Council

Clerk to the Parish Council

Anthony Farnfield MBE

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