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 in Goudhurst Parish Hall on Monday 09 December 2019 at 7.30 pm

PRESENT:  Councillors Antony Harris (Chairman), David Boniface, Craig Broom, Chris Ditton, Alan Foster, Philip Kirkby, David Knight, Barry Noakes, Mrs Caroline Richards, Mrs Jayne Russell, Guy Sutton and Peter Wood.

Mrs Laura Freear and Mrs Emily McKay, Advisers to the Youth Committee. 

Anthony Farnfield, Clerk and Mrs Claire Reed, Assistant Clerk. 

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE  

298/19 were accepted from County Cllr Seán Holden.

DISCLOSURES OF INTEREST

299/19 Cllr Mrs Jayne Russell declared an interest in discussions relating to the Back Lane Play Area (Minute 330/19 et seq) and left the meeting during that time.  

MINUTES OF THE LAST MEETING

300/19 It was resolved that the Minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on 11 November 2019, copies of which had been previously distributed to Members, be signed by the Chairman as a correct record. 

Visiting Speaker.  Mrs Louise Vickerman briefed Council on the work of The Weald Family Hub. 

QUESTIONS AND STATEMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC AND THE PRESS

301/19 There were none.

REPORTS FROM COUNTY AND BOROUGH COUNCILLORS

302/19 Borough Cllr Barry Noakes reported that because of the forthcoming General Election on 12 December 2019, the Borough Council is in purdah and there was nothing significant to report.

No report was received from Borough Cllr Dr Linda Hall.  

AMENITIES COMMITTEE

The Chairman of the Amenities Committee reported:

303/19 The Village Green (the Upper Glebe Field) Renovation.  Following Minute 252/19.  It was noted that the contractor has informed Council that the ground cannot be grass seeded until the coming Spring as the ground is now too cold for the seed to take. It was further noted that some members of the public are concerned about the fitness of the Village Green to accommodate the Goudhurst Village Fete in June 2020. It was agreed that the matter should be reviewed by Council in February 2020. Action: Clerks to add to the agenda for Council Meeting 10 February 20

304/19 Hedge, gates and fencing on the south side of the Village Green. Following Minute 253/19.  It was noted that the hedge has been reduced to the height of the foot gate in the south west corner of the Village Green and will be maintained at this height, being cut four times a year by our contractor. The existing foot gate has been replaced and two, 3 metre lengths of Palisade fencing have been installed; an additional foot gate has been installed further along the hedge.

305/19 Top Glebe (Village Green) additional gate. Some members of the public asked Council to consider establishing a gate in the north east corner of the field to improve safety. Action: The Clerks will obtain quotations.

306/19 Benches on the Top Glebe (Village Green). Following Council Minute 259/19, it was noted that the ‘In Memory of Norma Neal’ bench in the Back Lane children’s play area will be moved to the Village Green.  Furthermore, another Norma Neal bench, presently at the Primary School, will also be moved to the Village Green.  One will be situated at the west end of the Green facing east; the second one on the north side of the Green facing south. Action: Cllr Mrs Jayne Russell is arranging for the benches to be moved. The Clerks will arrange for quotes to establish appropriate secure bases for the benches.  

307/19 Tree Survey.  Following Council Minutes 010/19 and 082/19, it was noted that some Members attended a meeting on 08 November 2019 with our arboreal adviser and contractor. The contractor has tagged trees on our estate.  Council needs to consider priorities for the needed tree work against available budget expenditure. The Clerks will liaise with Chairman, Amenities Committee on this. Assistant Clerk has started to accurately map on our mapping software the trees for which Council has responsibility. 

308/19 Royal Mail letterboxes.  It was noted that, subsequent to this meeting, Assistant Clerk had once again written to the Royal Mail asking that the letter box removed from the A262 Cranbrook Road, opposite the Goudhurst Inn, to the Taywell Farm shop some 250 yards to the east be moved again to a site offered by Mr Donald Sargeant at the Weald Service Station forecourt. This position would be much more convenient for local residents in that area. Action: Clerks to follow up.

309/19 Goudhurst in Bloom. It was agreed that the Asst Clerk will use social media in the search for a volunteer to take over the running of Goudhurst in Bloom. Action: Clerks.

310/19 S106 Funding. It was agreed to draw up some costed schemes so that, should the possibility arise, Council could bid for S106 or Community Infrastructure Levy monies from local developers should appropriate schemes come to pass.   Examples put forward:

  1. An outdoor gymnasium equipment at the Village Green or elsewhere;
  2. To create a ‘hoggin’ path along south side of the A262 Station Road from the junction of Ranters Lane to the area of the junction with Blue Coats Lane.  Thought to be circa £25k.
  3. A play area for Lurkins Rise (Hillier’s Field).  Action: Cllr Chris Ditton

BUSINESS & COMMUNICATIONS COMMITTEE

The Chairman of the Business & Communications Committee reported:

311/19 Engagement in village activities: It was noted that businesses would like the opportunity to engage in community events and it was agreed that the Christmas fair was an event where businesses could add value with better engagement. The Committee Chairman to liaise with Friends of St Mary’s concerning business engagement in the 2020 Christmas fair. Action: Cllr Craig Broom

312/19 Objectives of the Business & Communications committee: It was agreed that a wider meeting with businesses will be arranged in the new year to discuss the objectives of the committee and how it can facilitate and support adding value to business in the parish. Action: Cllr Craig Broom

313/19 Broadband Update: It was noted that there were now six schemes in the Parish with the project in Summer Hill due to go live on the 5th Dec. It was further noted that the lack of coordination made moving the process from quote to delivery much more complex. George Chandler from Kent County Council is concerned about the number of schemes in Goudhurst. It was agreed that a coordinated approach is needed. Action: Cllr Antony Harris will contact George Chandler about improving coordination.

314/19 Improving Communications: Cllr Craig Broom outlined the process for building a consensus around Goudhurst Parish Council’s key goals and strategies and for communicating this to the Parish. It was noted that following minute 273/19 of 11 November, Council to agree when and where the event is to be held. It was agreed that Cllr Broom will contact Jim Boot for suggested dates in the new year. Action: Cllr Craig Broom

POLICY COMMITTEE

The Chairman of the Policy Committee reported:

315/19 Asset Register: This was reviewed in detail. The only query related to the risk on the Electric Vehicle Charging Equipment at Balcombes Hill car park. It was noted that the equipment had been largely donated by Tesla. It was felt that it would be difficult to put a value on the charging units if they were damaged or stolen. Action: The Clerks will seek advice from our insurers.

316/19 Insurance Cover: This was reviewed in detail and compared with the Asset Register but Members were satisfied with the cover we have noting that the premium is good value on a long term agreement.

317/19 Risk Assessment: This was reviewed and Members did not seek any changes.

318/19 Banking: The Clerk briefed Members on the changes since last year. Council now has an account with Unity Trust Bank (UTB) and we are now making all payments electronically.  About UTB: Unity Trust Bank plc (‘the Bank’) is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. The Bank is entered in the Financial Services Register number 204570. Registered office: Four Brindley Place, Birmingham, B1 2JB. Registered in England and Wales no. 1713124.

The Clerk inputs the details of payments into the UTB system and any two of our four approved ‘signatories’ approve each payment electronically via the UTB website. The Clerk reported that he has found the system easier to use with practice; initially some submitted payments were not paid due to failure to follow the UTB on-screen procedures exactly.  

319/19 Bank Signatories: It was resolved to increase the number of signatories from 4 to 7. This will assist the Clerk in that more Members will be available to authorise payments without delay and it will have the benefit of engaging more Members into the working of Council’s accounts. Cllrs Antony Harris, Craig Broom and David Knight volunteered. Action: Clerks will take the necessary action with UTB.

320/19 NatWest Bank: Council has closed the NatWest Business Reserve account but maintains the NatWest current account – we need to ensure our funds are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). The CCLA Public Sector Deposit Fund account continues unchanged.

321/19 Audit: It was resolved to invite Mr David Buckett to carry out the internal audit of Council’s 2019/2020 accounts. Action: Clerks

322/19 Standing Orders: These were reviewed with no amendments needed.

323/19 Financial Regulations: The Clerk introduced the Financial Regulations that were updated in July 2019. It was resolved that the amounts detailed in 11.1.h be changed from £3000 to £4000 and from £100 to £500. Action: Clerks.

324/19 Council’s Policies: These were reviewed without any changes being suggested.    

325/19 Annual Grants: It was resolved that in 2020/21 the annual grants to:

Kilndown Village Hall and the Kilndown Millennium Green Trust be increased from £500 to £550; 

Kilndown Quarry Centre be increased by £50 to £300; 

The Citizens Advice Bureau be increased by £100 to 500; and

The Samaritans be increased by £50 to £300. 

It was resolved that an additional annual grant of £300 be made to the Weald Family Hub for the next three years i.e. 2019/20, 2020/2021 and 2021/22.  Action: Clerks.

326/19 Committees Responsibilities and Membership: It was noted that this Standing Order was reviewed by the Policy Committee and the following changes made; the Youth Committee is responsible for the Children’s Play Area in Back Lane and responsibility for the establishment of a Shelter on the Top Glebe (Village Green) is to be passed from the Youth Committee to the Amenities Committee. Action: Clerks.

327/19 Budget and Precept 2020/21 and 2021/22: It was unanimously resolved that Council’s Budget and Precept should be set at £194,610. This represents a 7.15% increase over the 2019/2020 Budget and Precept. In terms of Council Tax bills, this would increase the Goudhurst Band D Equivalent of £134.69 in 2019-20 to £143.02 in 2020/21, an increase of 6.2%. That is £8.33 a year or 16p a week. Action: Clerks

328/19 Clerk’s Contracted Salary: For 2019/20 the Clerk is established on Step 31 of the National Scales = £33,800 annum. The Clerk has suggested for 2020/21 this should be Step 32 (experience and performance) plus a 2.9% RPI cost of living. This be effective from April 2020 to March 2021. It was noted that the 2020/21 scales will not be published until sometime towards the end of the current financial year. There are no proposed changes to the Clerk’s Terms and Conditions or Job Description.

329/19 Assistant Clerk’s Contracted Salary: Assistant Clerk joined Council on 23 July 2019 on an 18 hour working week at an FTE of £28,000 annum. This was increased to £28,500 from 23 October 2019 on the completion of her probation period. In discussion with the Clerk, the proposal is that her salary rises by 1 step on the National Scales from April 2020 with a 2.9% RPI cost of living for the period April 2020 to March 2021.

YOUTH COMMITTEE   

The Chairman of the Youth Committee reported:

330/19 Back Lane Play Area: It was resolved to accept the quotation from Wicksteed of £35,753 for the renovation and introduction of new play equipment in the Play Area. 

331/19 Drug dealing in Goudhurst. It was noted that local residents had raised concerns about possible drug taking by children and drug dealing in the centre of Goudhurst, and specifically in Back Lane. It was agreed that Clerk should write to Kent Police to make them aware of the situation and to request a more visible police presence in the area also to contact the local PCSO, Dave Jenkins. Action: Clerks

332/19 Back Lane Play Area Surface: It was noted that work has been started to repair the damaged tiles in the play area but was not yet complete. Action: It was agreed that Clerks should follow up with the contractor. 

PLANNING COMMITTEE   

Council noted the following Decisions from TWBC published in November 2019:  

333/19 DECISIONS

19/02093 Forge Farm, Bedgebury Road, Goudhurst

Improvements to existing road access to agricultural buildings

Granted permission

19/01795 Goudhurst Veterinary Surgery, Bedgebury Road, Goudhurst

Provision of extractor unit.

Granted permission

19/02261 Forstal Wood House, Jarvis Lane, Goudhurst

Erection of a solar panel array within the domestic curtilage.

Granted permission

19/02290 Combwell Priory, London Road, Flimwell

Replacement of existing flat roof with pitched roof to accommodate two bedrooms and bathrooms, with associated internal alternations. 

Granted permission

19/02560 Barn 30m North of Curtisden Green Farmhouse, Curtisden Green Lane

Conversion of two barns to residential dwelling including the demolition of an existing structure and erection of link section.

Application Withdrawn

19/02126 Bridge House, Summerhill, Goudhurst

Single storey side extension.

Granted permission

19/02991 Ladham Oasthouse, Ladham Road, Goudhurst

Two single storey side extensions.

Application Withdrawn

19/02731 Mayfield House, Maypole Lane, Goudhurst

Proposed extension to existing garage.

Granted permission

19/02645 Brandfold Terrace Cottage, North Road, Goudhurst

Variation of Conditions 2 (Approved Plans), 3 (External Materials), 5 (Hard and Soft Landscaping) and 6 (Arboricultural Method Statement) of Planning Permission 18/02528/FULL – (Minor Material Amendment in relation to planning permission 17/01251/FULL

Granted permission

334/19 APPLICATIONS considered by the Parish Council Planning Committee in November 2019 with the representations here approved by Council:

19/02586 Oak Tree Cottage, Chicks Lane, Kilndown

Erection of wooden fence (retrospective)

Recommend approval

Goudhurst Parish Council (GPC) believe that this is an acceptable proposal, provided that hedging is planted between the fence and the road.

19/03021 Amberfield Cottage, Peasley Lane, Goudhurst

Two storey side and rear extensions and rear canopy; Loft conversion to include 3 No. dormers; detached home office/annex to replace existing shed; new porch/front canopy; alterations to fenestration.

Recommend refusal

GPC believes that the proposed side extension, because of its considerable mass, will have a substantial negative impact on the location, where homes are generally modest in scale.

19/02991 Ladham Oasthouse, Ladham Road, Goudhurst

Two single storey side extensions

Recommend refusal

GPC believes that the extension to the east, because of its size and materials, will have a damaging impact on the pleasing symmetry of this traditional Oast house.

19/02405 Combewell Meadow Farm, Rogers Rough Road, Kilndown

Retention of and extension to existing mobile home (Part Retrospective)

Recommend part approval/part refusal

GPC believes that the woodland management that the applicant carries out justifies the retention of the original mobile home. GPC cannot, however, support the proposed extension, which is of excessive size and alien materials, and will have a damaging impact on the location and the AONB.

19/03161 Station Villa, Station Road, Goudhurst

Variation of Condition 2 of 19/00995

Recommend Approval

The proposed changes are nearly all superficial details which will have minimal impact on the location and the AONB.

19/02997 Sunnyside, Church Road, Goudhurst

Two storey side extension.

Recommend approval

Due to the high hedge to the east of the house, the impact of this proposal on the locality and the conservation area will be limited. Subject to the volume increase complying with TWBC policy, GPC is content that the application is approved.

19/00036 Forge Farm Bedgebury Road Goudhurst 

Retrospective planning application for retention of 10 storage containers.

Recommend refusal

The submitted application gives no information on the use to which these containers are being put. It is not therefore possible to judge whether such use will lead to an increase in traffic generation on the access road, which serves several other properties, and whether such increase will be acceptable.

It appears that a small copse has been removed to facilitate the placement of these containers. Were these trees protected? GPC believes that this application should not be determined until these issues are clarified.

KALC AGM

335/19 Council received a verbal report from Cllr David Knight who attended the KALC 72nd Annual General Meeting held on Saturday 30 November 2019 at Ditton.  

ACCOUNTS 

336/19 It was resolved unanimously that the following payments be made:

U113 RJ&L Hillier Hop Bine Rent December 19 £400.00

U114 Tunbridge Wells Borough Council NNDR Public Lavatories Dec £104.00

U115 Capel Ground Care Grounds maint contract Nov £1,374.72

U116 Capel Ground Care Village Green path flood repair £240.00

U117 John Fermor Landscapes Grounds maint contract Nov £200.00

U118 Tenterden Twilight Cleaning Services Nov 19 £806.45

U119 Pearsons Landscapes The Plain Grounds maint Nov £111.60

U120 Microshade Business Consultants Citrix invoice 12530 Nov £122.28

U121 HP Inc UK Ltd (AVBF) Printer cartridges £96.99

U122 Collingwood Batchellor (AVBF) Minor items for Hop Bine £29.00

U123 Lakeland (AVBF) Minor items for Hop Bine £19.96

U124 Stationery Express Office rubber stamp £1976.

U125 Chata Hygiene Ltd Toilet Block nappy bin £479.25

U126 Community Heartbeat Trust Red phone kiosk plaque £42.50

U127 Kent Assoc Local Councils Burial Law training Reed Feb 20 £72.00

U128 npowerLtd Energy outstanding balance due Toilet block £90.74

U129 Pearsons Landscapes Tattlebury Triangle leaves clearance £311.46

U130 AVB Farnfield Clerk’s pay & expenses Nov 19 £2,279.94

U131 HM Revenue & Customs Clerk’s PAYE & NI Nov 19 £852.87

U132 CL Reed Asst Clerk’s pay & expenses Dec 19 £1,089.44

U133 HM Revenue & Customs Asst Clerk’s PAYE & NI Dec 19 £135.19

DD Southern Electric Energy Chequer Pavilion Qtr 3 2019 £111.34

DD Southern Electric Energy Toilet block Qtr 3 2019 £416.64

U134 Capel Ground Care Top Glebe south side hedge cut £456.00

U135 Capel Ground Care Top Glebe grub out part hedge £624.00

U136 Capel Ground Care Top Glebe progress payment rotovate etc £3,834.86

U137 Simon Russell Play Area tiles replace/repair £330.00

U138 Board Intelligence Board Intelligence software licence 1 year £1,440.00

337/19 Receipts in November 2019      

Burial Board£660.00

CCLA dividend £12.14

Kilndown Fishing Club £10.00

338/19 Bank reconciliation.  It was resolved to accept the Clerk’s explanation of the reconciliation of accounts to the end of November 2019 and it was noted that Council’s cash book balance was:

Unity trust Current a/c £105,914.30

Nat West Current a/c £2,501.19

CCLA Public Sector Deposit Fund £20,483.37

Total £128,898.86

NEXT PARISH COUNCIL MEETING

339/19 13 January 2020. Parish Council Meeting in the Jessel Room at 7.30 pm.  

The meeting closed at 9.30 pm

Anthony Farnfield, Clerk

Claire Reed, Assistant Clerk

 

ACTIONS

Minute  Item Action Who Deadline
303/19 Use of Village Green for fete To be added to the Agenda. Clerks 10 Feb 20
305/19 Additional gate in NE corner of Village Green Obtain quotes for the work. Clerks Asap
306/19 Benches for the Village Green Arrange for ‘Norma Neal’ benches to be moved from the Play Area and school to Village Green. Cllr Jayne Russell Asap
Seek quotes for appropriate secure bases for the benches. Clerks/ Cllr Jayne Russell Asap
307/19 Tree Survey and related works Prioritise works to be carried out. Clerks/ CD Asap
Map trees on the Council’s Estate. Clerks Feb 2020
308/19 Royal Mail post box Follow up with Royal Mail. Clerks Mar 2020
309/19 Goudhurst in Bloom Use social media to search for a volunteer organiser. Clerks Jan 2020
311/19 Business engagement in village activities To liaise with the Friends of St. Mary’s re: 2020 Christmas fair. Cllr Craig Broom Jan 2020
312/19 Objectives of Business & Communications Cttee Arrange a meeting with businesses to discuss objectives. Cllr Craig Broom Jan 2020
313/19 Broadband Arrange meeting with George Chandler (KCC). Cllr Antony Harris Asap
314/19 Improving communications Contact Jim Boot for possible workshop dates in the New Year. Cllr Craig Broom Dec 2019
315/19 Asset Register – value of replacing Tesla equipment Seek advice from our insurer regarding the unknown value of replacing the Tesla equipment. Clerks Asap
319/19 Bank Signatories Complete necessary procedures to add AH, CB and DK. Clerks Asap
321/19 Audit To re-engage Mr David Buckett as internal auditor for 2019/2020 accounts. Clerks Dec 2019
323/19 Financial Regulations To amend amounts detailed in 11.1.h. Clerks Dec 2019
325/19 Annual Grants To increase grants as agreed. Clerks Jan 2020
326/19 Committee responsibilities and membership To amend document as agreed. Clerks Jan 2020
331/19 Suspected drug taking  Write to local Police Inspector and contact Dave Jenkins (PCSO). Clerks Dec 2019
332/19 Back Lane Play Area surface Ascertain expected completion date from contractor.  Clerks Dec 2019

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