Goudhurst, Kent. A Wealden hill village

Amenities Committee July

Local Government for Goudhurst, Kilndown and Curtisden Green

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Minutes of a Meeting held on 24 July 2018 in the Jessel Room

Present: Cllrs Stephen Wickham (Chairman), David Boniface, Mrs Angela Broom, Chris Ditton, Alan Foster, Antony Harris and Phil Kirkby. 

10 Members of the Public (some arrived after the meeting started and some left before the end).  

Apologies were accepted from:  None declared.

Declarations of interest:  None declared.

The Chairman asked that the Questions and Statements from the Public be taken in the Agenda order and this was agreed by the Committee.   He reminded the Meeting that the Public could make a statement or ask questions with the 3 minute rule as defined on the Agenda papers.

The Village Green (the top Glebe). Fields.

The Lease Agreement. The Chairman announced that the proposed 30 year Lease with the Diocese of Canterbury has been signed by the Parish Council and St Mary’s PCC.  The Diocese however has raised a late query regards clause 4.1.   On the advice of Council’s legal adviser, Council has agreed that the words ‘from time to time’ be removed from the Lease documentation. 

Access to the Village Green all year.  The Parish Council will arrange for appropriate signs to be made that will reflect 365 days access for local residents but will also satisfy the Lease requirement to close the field for 2 days annually.  

Friends of Goudhurst Village Green.  A member of the Friends of the Goudhurst Village Green (FGVG) previously the Goudhurst Village Green Committee was invited to speak . Before doing so, the Chairman asked how many belonged to FGVG  (8 or 9) and whether FGVG has a Constitution (no, anybody can turn up at their meetings).  The speaker wished to remind Goudhurst Parish Council (GPC) of its responsibilities as lease holders of the Goudhurst Village Green.  She was concerned about car parking and the Law relating to car parking on the Green.  Also the proposed marking of a football pitch for the  Goudhurst junior footballers (the Dynamos) which should not impeded the lawful use of the Green.  She asked that GPC should liaise with FGVG about the proposed notice board on the Green.

The Secretary of FGVG wants this matter to be on Council’s Agenda because there are cases and points of views ‘from both sides’.

St Mary’s Parochial Church Council (PCC).  A local resident spoke on behalf of a Church Activity – Café Toddlers.  Each Friday for a large part of the year some 40 children with their mothers meeting St Mary’s Church.  This is an important social activity in the community as a whole. If parking on the Village Green is stopped, there will be a serious safety issue given the scarcity of parking spaces in the Village.  It will have a negative effect on this community activity.

One of the St Mary’s Church Wardens spoke.  The congregation in recent years at St Mary’s has grown to 150 – 200 on Sundays.  That is to be celebrated and encouraged.  There is no alternative parking in Goudhurst.  St Mary’s is actively encouraging several children’s activities and this involves the parents as well.  Banning parking on the Village Green risks the Church losing momentum on their current good community work. 

Goudhurst Dynamos Junior Football Club.  A Manager of the Club spoke of the success of this youth activity for both boys and girls.  They have 70 to 75 players each Saturday.  There is insufficient space for all of them on Chequer Field.  They wish to have a pitch on the Village Green for the very young players once a week and they will ensure they do not get in the way of other recreational activity by local residents.  

Chairman Amenities Committee comments.  He observed that the Village Green is there as a facility for the Parish as a whole; general community enjoyment, St Mary’s Church, junior football and other activities.  He recalled that the preamble to the Village Green application highlighted parking problems in Goudhurst.  He feels that any occasional conflict between users of the Green can be sorted out amicably by the users at the time.  The suggestion aired elsewhere that the lower Glebe be used for parking is not a viable option (mothers pushing buggies over a wet and muddy field etc).

GPC is concerned about the legal status of parking on the top Glebe.  However, Community is everything.   Everyone should work together when there is a perceived conflict.  

The Chairman of the Parish Council.  It seems that there is squabbling over successes.  The Village Green status was obtained for the benefit of the Parish as a whole. Other villages are dying, but Goudhurst is not.  We should be proud of this, not arguing.   Those who started the campaign to obtain Village Green status wanted all to use it.  How is anybody being inconvenienced by a few cars on an occasional basis?  Why do we want to lose the successes?   It is a matter of balance and the world moves on.  He noted that the FGVG are raising questions about how much and how often regarding Glebe Field parking.  We need to work this out. 

Member of the Public.  It seems the FGVG are being perceived as hard-hearted.  It was noted that the Green should not be used for parking in winter if it becomes churned up. 

Chairman Amenities Committee further comments.  We need to find a compromise.  We all want the same solution.  We are, after all, on the same side.   The Law needs to make common sense; it is what is reasonable.  A casual proposal that a small group representing FGVG and GPC should form a working party to bring forward issues to the Amenities Committee.

The meeting took a 5 minute break from 8.30 to 8.35 pm at which time some members of the public departed.

Goudhurst Scouts overnight event.  The Clerk confirmed that the Goudhurst Scouts will hold their event on the lower Glebe in October.  The actual date is to be confirmed.

Goudhurst History Board.  Chairman Amenities Committee reminded the Committee that there are issues that need to be resolved for this to be progressed.  These are the release of the copywrite, the possible removal of the French language text, the updated shape and style of a new board and its position.  One resident supported the current multi-language edition.  He noted that the older style boards on the western front where he visits frequently are more popular that new ones.  Another resident finds it very attractive and used to direct tourist visitors to it in its previous position.   The Parish Council wishes to replace the current board with one with bigger text.  The addition of QR codes is an option.  Whilst the current board may look attractive it is not very modern and it lacks appeal for younger people.  Council has no intention to put the current board back into it original position because it detracts from the view from the Paris Hall towards the Social Club.  The local resident who was involved in establishing the board by the Pond at the Millennium indicated that she will not release the copywrite as it is held by her late husband.  She demanded to know from Council when an alternative text will be produced for consideration. The Committee Chairman   put the following proposal to the Committee: “That the existing board be left at its present position by the Parish Hall until such time as a decision is made as to what to be done.”  On a show of hands, 6 agreed and none were against. The matter will be referred to the Parish Council.

Chequer Field.  No progress to report.  The matter is with TWBC.

Play Area in Back Lane by the Church Room.  Council Minute 045/18.  A local resident in North Road with young children has volunteered her help in future discussions on the renovation of the area.  The Clerk is in touch with her.

Litter bin in Back Lane by the Vicarage Driveway.   In reply to a question from a local resident, Amenities Committee confirmed that the ‘too small’ litter bin is to be replaced by a larger one in this financial year.

Goudhurst in Bloom 2018.  Prizegiving will be at the Star and Eagle on 30 August.  Mrs Gill Wallis-Hosken will give the prizes.   Committee members thanked Cllr Mrs Angela Broom for her good work in organising this year’s event.

Kilndown Fishing Club.  It was noted that Mr Graham Booth can no longer continue to run the Club.  Cllr Chris Ditton has kindly volunteered to take it over..  Membership application forms, republishing the Rules, Insurance and a liaison meeting with Mr David Denton will be implemented by Cllr Ditton in conjunction with Chairman Amenities Committee and the Clerk.

Lower Glebe Field.  Members to read a report by Rebekah Bibby of the Kent High Weald Partnership dated July 2018. 

The meeting closed at   9.20 pm

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