Goudhurst, Kent. A Wealden hill village

Burial Board July

Local Government for Goudhurst, Kilndown and Curtisden Green

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Minutes of a Meeting held on Tuesday 16 July 2019 at St Mary’s Church Goudhurst 

Present:  Cllrs Mrs Caroline Richards (Chairman), Phil Kirkby, Antony Harris and Barry Noakes.   

Also Mr David Nichol (Adviser and Representative of the Friends of St Mary’s) and Mrs Claire Reed. 

Apologies were accepted from: None were offered. 

Declarations of Interest.  There were none.

Prior to the start of the Meeting, Members and the Clerk carried out a walk round inspection of St Mary’s Churchyard, the Burial Grounds and the Victorian Cemetery at 7.00 pm.  

General maintenance.

The Ashes plots on the north side of St Mary’s.  Members were pleased to note that the plots were neat and tidy having been recently been edge trimmed by our contractor, Groundscare & General Maintenance. 

The gateway to the Churchyard on the north side.  A trip risk had been identified with the step close to the footgate under the old yew tree.  Clerk had arranged for some luminous tape to be installed on the flat surface of the step.  Members were of the opinion this could be improved by adding further luminous tape to the vertical part of the step.  For action by the Clerk.

Excess ivy on graves and trees at the east end of the Churchyard.  The Clerk will ensure this is checked; it could be a job for The Friends of St Mary’s on one of their tidy up days or it could be dealt with on the general volunteers’ clean-up day on 19 October 2019. 

The ‘top’ Ashes area in the Burial Grounds.  It was noted that Mr Richard Greenaway had done a good job on turfing the edge of the area which had previously become rather untidy.

The footgate at the bottom of the Burial Grounds.  The Clerk confirmed that Mr Greenaway has been briefed to re-hang the gate and generally tidy the area.

The Yews in the Victorian Cemetery. Following Council Minute 272/18 of 12 November 2018. It was noted that one Yew had been heavily pruned in May 2019 as a demonstration of the work that is going to be required to reshape all the Yews in the Cemetery.  That which has been heavily pruned will be 

checked periodically by our Contractor, The Living Forest Ltd.  The project to re-shape all the Yews progressively will take several years.  It was agreed that the Clerk will organise a meeting of a representative from The Living Forest with the Chairman of the Burial Board, the Chairman of the Parish Council, a Church Warden and the Clerk so that all understand the aim of the project, the time scales involved and the costs.

The flowering cherry trees on the south side of St Mary’s.  It was noted that the recent tree inspection had identified these trees as being badly diseased.  The recommendation is that they should be felled.  The Clerk confirmed that he is in touch with the Church Warden who is obtaining the necessary authority from the Arch Deacon. The matter of how the roots should be dealt with is being followed up by the Clerk.

No parking signs on the bank by Back Lane steps.  The Clerk has it in hand to have them replaced by more robust signs which will be cemented into the ground so that they become less attractive to potential vandals.  

The broken slab on the path near Back Lane steps. It was noted that it has been replaced. 

The puddle that forms by the Bathurst enclosure adjacent to the St Mary’s west door.  The puddle has been eradicated by our contractor, Mr Tracey Smith, who has introduced a small land drain alongside this path.  Council Minute 408/18 refers.  The Church Warden has expressed her delight to the Clerk at this solution.

The Mortuary Door.  Members inspected it at the invitation of The Clerk.  It does not lock at present ‘as it moves with the weather’ and it was left that The Clerk should investigate possible solutions.   


2018/19 Actual expenditure against Budget.  It was noted that expenditure was largely in line with the Budget except for the unbudgeted expenditure on the relaying of the St Mary’s Churchyard brick path.  However grant funding of £6,000 from KCC and £1,000 from St Mary’s PCC had been received.  Burial Board fees were £3,230 in excess of budget.  

Rules, Regulations and Fees.  

Mechanical digging of Graves.  The Clerk briefed Members on Council Minute 017/19 of 08 April 2019 when it was resolved that not to allow mechanical digging at Goudhurst Burial Grounds.  

Fees for 2019/2020.  It was agreed to recommend to Council an increase in the Grant of Exclusive Right of Burial in an earthen grave from £1,200 to £1,400. Also an increase in the Grant of Exclusive Right of Burial in the ashes section from £1,000 to £1,100.  All other fees to remain unchanged.

Clean Up Day.

Clean Up Day at St Mary’s.  It was reconfirmed that this will be held on 19 October 2019.  

Next Meeting.

22 October 2019 at Kilndown Quarry Centre

The meeting closed at  8.05 pm

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