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 10 December 2018 at 7.30 pm

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

Borough Cllr Edmund Hastie.    

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE  

297/18 were accepted from County Cllr Seán Holden.          

DISCLOSURES OF INTEREST

298/18 Cllr Guy Sutton declared an interest in the matter of land in Church Road, Kilndown adjacent to Evanden Farm on which a local resident had speculatively raised the possibility of a development of affordable housing through a Community Land Trust.   

MINUTES OF THE LAST MEETING

299/18 It was resolved that the Minutes of the meeting held on 12 November 2018, copies of which had been previously distributed to Members, be signed by the Chairman as a correct record.

The Meeting adjourned for:

QUESTIONS AND STATEMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC AND THE PRESS

Mr Lorne Mitchell briefed Council on the latest situation regarding Broadband in the Parish.  As is well known those who live in central Goudhurst get around 25mb download but our broadband loses power for those over 1 mile away.  Government is no longer financially supporting copper wire broadband.  Some local schemes are being set up with mixed success and there are Kent County Council voucher schemes which clusters of small business can put together to introduce fibre into limited areas through BT and Openreach.  The 1st Friday Group is planning to re-start with meetings at the Star & Eagle on the first Friday of each month at 5.00 pm.  All interested in broadband improvements in the Parish are welcome to attend.

The Meeting reconvened.

REPORTS FROM COUNTY AND BOROUGH COUNCILLORS

300/18 Borough Cllr Edmund Hastie informed members that there might be a change to voting practice in Tunbridge Wells Borough Council where Cllrs were elected as ‘all out’ 4 yearly rather than the current system of electing in tranches of thirds. Goudhurst Parish Council members were invited to contact Cllr Hastie with feedback about this proposed change.  He is planning to raise funds for a defibrilator at Curtisden Green for his charity bike ride next year and he thanked all who had donated so generously towards the Goudhurst defib this year.

Cllr Hastie will not be standing for re-election in May 2019 and that Cllr Dr Hall, the Conservative Borough Cllr for Cranbrook, has been ratified instead as the Conservative Candidate for Goudhurst and Lamberhurst. Cllr Hastie thanked all members present for their support during his tenure as a Borough Cllr.

AMENITIES COMMITTEE

The Chairman of the Amenities Committee reported:

301/18 Children’s Play Area in Back Lane.  Following Minute 270/18.  It was noted that repairs have been carried out to four pieces of play equipment as well as the picnic bench and the bench. Work is in hand to repair holes in the Play Area surface of the ‘spring animals’.  Council is still awaiting a replacement slide for the main climbing frame which is proving difficult to source. Two swing sets have been removed for safety reasons.  A meeting has been arranged with a playground equipment supplier on 13 December 2018 to discuss quotes for replacement swing sets and also advise on a wider revamp of the play area.

It was resolved to agree that the Goudhurst Village Pre-School replace their old storage shed on the Play Area with one of a similar size but better appearance; it will not require planning permission.   It was resolved that the Pre-School can establish a bench in the play area in memory of the late Norma Neal who died recently.  

It was noted that there may be Section 106 monies (or the Community Infrastructure Levy) available from any future housing development in Goudhurst to help finance a new playground.  The Chairman of the Amenities Committee mentioned the helpful and constructive involvement of Mrs Jayne Russell, Mrs Laura Sinfield and Mrs Emily McKay as Advisers to the Committee on Play Area matters. 

302/18 Tourist Information and other Notice Boards.  Following Minute 151/18 of 13 August 2018. Cllr Chris Ditton reported that an Amenities Committee working party had met to discuss various notice boards for the Plain area. He outlined some initial ideas around relocating existing and introducing new boards to cover local history, tourism, the Hop Pickers Line and other matters.  Size, style, content and location are to be decided and possibly include a dedicated paved information board area on the Plain. Resolved that the working party proceeds along these lines and draws up detailed plans including costings to present to Council.

303/18 Goudhurst Parish Hall Trust.  It was resolved to approve a grant of up to £5,000 to Goudhurst Parish Hall Trust towards the legal costs of changing their status to an incorporated organisation. Before the grant is awarded, Goudhurst Parish Council requests that the Parish Hall Trust obtains three quotes for the proposed legal work and also investigates whether the existing trust structure can be retained if liability insurance can be obtained to financially protect trustees.  The Clerk will follow up with the Secretary to the Parish Hall Trustees.

304/18 Balcombes Hill Public Toilets.  Following several recent incidents of vandalism at the public toilets, Amenities Committee recommend to Council that Cllr Phil Kirkby researches a stand-alone CCTV system in and around the toilet premises, taking into account current legislation and good practice in relation to surveillance around public toilets. It was resolved to approve expenditure of up to £1,200 for appropriate legal CCTV equipment and it was noted that this project needs to be finalised urgently.   A recommendation to Council to proceed with a feasibility study to convert the toilet block into Parish Council offices whilst still retaining a minimal public toilet area was not agreed.

305/18 Red telephone ‘box’ for a Defibrillator.  A proposal to purchase an original red telephone kiosk from Dunnington Parish Council in Yorkshire, the current owners, to house a defibrillator in the centre of Goudhurst on the site of the present (little used?) modern style BT kiosk was recommended for refusal by Council.  However, Cllr Mrs Susan Newsam presented a strong case, with costs, for Council to approve this project.  It was noted that the cost of the Dunnington PC kiosk, which they say is in sound condition, is no greater than current market prices.  There is some hear say evidence that local residents would support a traditional red kiosk on the site of the current modern style BT one opposite Goudhurst War Memorial housing a defibrillator. It was resolved to approve expenditure of £1,300 to purchase the Dunnington kiosk and £490.00 for it to be transported to Goudhurst.   It was resolved that Council will now approach BT to have the current modern telephone kiosk removed.  The Clerk will take appropriate action.

306/18 Lost Words – the Kent campaign for Books in Schools.  It was resolved to approve a grant of £50.00 for this project.

307/18 Goudhurst Pond De-silting.   Following Minute 204/18.  It was resolved to approve for payment an invoice of £1,905.60 from White Land Solutions for removing litter and rubbish following the spreading of the silt on a local farm. 

HIGHWAYS & FOOTPATHS COMMITTEE

The Chairman of the Highways & Footpaths Committee reported verbally:

308/18 Council’s meeting with Highways Officers.  It was noted that the Highways & Footpaths Committee is meeting the Schemes Project Manager Kent Highways and the Schemes Programme Manager (West) on 18 December 2018 in the Jessel Room, Goudhurst Parish Hall. The aim is to discuss the feasibility of 9 Highways projects in the Parish which have been variously on ‘the wish list’ for several years.

PLANNING COMMITTEE   

Council noted the following Decisions from TWBC published in November 2018:  

309/18 DECISIONS

18/02313 Toll Cottage Curtisden Green Lane Goudhurst

Demolition of existing timber stables and replacement with new stable building for the keeping and management of alpacas

Granted permission

18/02715 White Hatch Balcombes Hill Goudhurst

Erection of an open porch to the front of the house and balcony to existing rear dormer

Granted permission

18/02821 Cottage at Stream Farm Summerhill Goudhurst

Unrestricted residential use of an existing holiday let/annex permitted under 

reference 17/03285/FUL (resubmission of 18/01821/FUL)

Granted permission

18/02880 2 Combourne Cottages Jarvis Lane Goudhurst

Erection of a rear porch (Retrospective)

Granted permission

18/02880 2 Combourne Cottages Jarvis Lane Goudhurst

Listed Building Consent: Erection of a rear porch (Work Commenced)

Granted permission

18/03019 The Barn Flimwell House Farm London Road Flimwell

Change of use to mixed use of micro-brewery including tap room

Granted permission

310/18 APPLICATIONS considered by the Parish Council Planning Committee in November 2018 with representations here approved by Council

18/02313 Toll Cottage Curtisden Green Lane Goudhurst

Demolition of existing timber stables and replacement with new stable building for the keeping and management of alpacas

Recommend approval

Subject to officers being satisfied that there is sufficient space between the proposed building and the hedge for the hedge to be properly maintained, Goudhurst Parish Council (GPC) is satisfied that the application may be approved

18/02978 The Old Farm Shop North Road Goudhurst

Single storey rear extension; Installation of dormer windows at first floor; Conversion of garage/workshop to living accommodation whilst retaining an integrated garage

Recommend approval

On the understanding that the advice received from officers has been properly incorporated in the submitted plans, Goudhurst Parish Council is content that the application is approved

18/03002 Cloud Cottage North Road Goudhurst

Demolition of detached garage and erection of detached outbuilding with pitched roof

Recommend refusal

This new application does not overcome Goudhurst Parish Council’s (GPC) concerns regarding highway safety.   Whilst the impact of this proposal on the locality and the AONB would seem to be minimal, GPC is concerned that it will lead to an increase in vehicle movements and stationing which will lead to a risk of vehicles reversing onto North Road.   Even allowing for the presence of the 40mph speed limit, this would be a dangerous manoeuvre since the driver would not see approaching traffic until his vehicle was several feet into the road.

18/03149 Rootes Cottage West Road Goudhurst

Erection of a gate

Recommend approval

The impact of this proposal on the conservation area will be minimal, while safety of children and pets will be enhanced.

18/03156 Laurel Cottage Ladham Road Goudhurst

Two storey rear/side extension with associated demolition of conservatory

Recommend approval

Subject to officers confirming that the volume increase is compliant with policy, Goudhurst Parish Council is content that the application is approved.   The symmetry of the rear of the dwelling will be considerably enhanced by this proposal.

18/03179 Etchinghill Gore Lane Goudhurst

Part demolition of existing outbuilding and re-construction to form parking facilities

Recommend approval

Goudhurst Parish Council supports this proposal which will facilitate the use of the building considerably, without having a material impact on the location.

18/03238 Little Trottenden Lidwells Lane Goudhurst

Proposed demolition of the existing single storey rear extension and detached garage and the erection of a two-storey side extension, single storey rear extension, rear terrace and replacement detached garage together with associated external alterations and works.

Recommend approval

The impact of this proposal on the locality and the AONB will be minimal.   Subject officers being satisfied that the volume increase is compliant with TWBC policy, Goudhurst Parish Council is content that the application is approved

18/02775 The Vine High Street Goudhurst

Retrospective: levelling of front garden, construction of timber retaining wall, chestnut hurdle fencing on North road elevation, timber posts connected by coir ropes and erection of hop poles around the perimeter with low voltage festoon lighting

Neutral

Goudhurst Parish Council (GPC) understands that there is considerable support for this development from patrons of the premises.   GPC would, however, ask that officers consider the following issues when determining this application:

• Since these alterations have taken place delivery vehicles are regularly parking on the High Street which makes visibility at the crossroads very difficult, particularly for vehicles approaching from North Road.   Could a modification to the timber retaining wall be made which would allow delivery vehicles to park on the applicant premises rather than on the public highway?

• GPC recognizes that there are mixed views regarding the erection of the used hop poles and the lights which hang from them and that they detract from the simple discreetly illuminated white frontage of the pub.   GPC would request that officers negotiate with the applicant to see if a more discreet form of lighting at a lower level might be agreed.

18/03078 3 West Road Goudhurst

Change of use of garden studio to B&B

Recommend approval

The alterations to effect this change are minimal and will have no serious impact on the locality or the conservation area.   Goudhurst Parish Council understood that a single B & B unit in a property did not require planning consent.

18/03451 Smugley Farm Bedgebury Road Goudhurst

Demolition of existing buildings including Gamekeepers Cottage and removal of mobile home with erection of two replacement dwellings with associated landscaping

Recommend approval

Goudhurst Parish Council understands that the larger of the 2 dwellings shown on the plans already has consent.   The additional dwelling is of an appropriate rural style construction.   The removal of the mobile home and several other dilapidated structures will lead to a substantial improvement in the locality and the amenity of neighbours.

NEIGHBOURHOOD DEVELOPMENT PLAN

311/18 Goudhurst Parish NDP.  Following Minute 291/18.  There is to be a meeting at the Town Hall on 17 December 2018 to clarify various matters included in the Goudhurst Parish NDP.

312/18 Land at Church Road, Kilndown.  It was noted that a local resident had put forward a tentative proposal relating to some land in Church Road involving affordable housing and a Community Land Trust.  It was agreed that this should be dealt with as a separate issue apart from the NDP.      

TRAINING 

313/18 The Clerk and Cllr Chris Ditton had attended the Kent Highways seminar at Hadlow on 05 November 2018. 

ACCOUNTS 

314/18 It was resolved unanimously that the following payments be made:

DD TWBC NNDR Balcombes Hill toilets £102.00

4520 AVB Farnfield Clerk’s Pay & expenses Nov 18 £2,501.70

4521 HM Revenue & Customs Clerk PAYE & NI Nov 18 £921.09

4522 Capel Groundcare Chequer Field etc grounds maint Nov £1,187.86

4523 John Fermor Landscapes Christ Church & Quarry Pond maint Nov £190.00

4524 Tenterden Twilight Toilet block cleaning Nov £585.16

4525 Pearsons Landscapes The Pond & Plain grounds maint Nov £111.60

4526 Microshade Business Consult Citrix Inv 11291 £61.14

4527 Paul & Eileen Landon War Mem’l garden and Water Trough Nov £42.00

4528 Complete Weed Control (Kent) St Mary’s & Christ Church weed control £396.00

4529 Iden Signs Village Green ‘Do Not Park’ sign £36.00

4530 Viking Filing trolley £61.76

4531 Chatha Hygiene Balcombes Hill toilets hygiene £19.76

4532 Paul & Eileen Landon War Mem’l Garden/Water Trough Sep-Oct £25.00

4533 PCC Goudhurst Room hire – Hop Pickers Line group £12.60

4534 David Boniface Step ladded for SID moving £30.06

4535 HP Inc UK Ltd (Pay AVBF) Printer cartridges colour printer £124.70

4536 Richard Vinton Armistice Day fireworks £300.00

4537 Viking Stationery £111.85

4538 The Wealden Group Neighbourhood Dev Plan printing £1,660.00

4539 The Wealden Group Neigh Dev Plan envelope printing £252.00

4540 Goudhurst Parish Hall Meeting Room Hire Oct 19 – Mar 19 £375.00

4541 Soc of Local Council Clerks Membership 2019 £247.00

4542 Homeleigh Timber (Pay R Greenaway)  Play area repair material £116.24

4543 Richard Greenaway Play area repair labour £183.20

4544 White Land Solutions Goudhurst Pond de-silt follow up £2,286.72

4545 Dunnington Parish Council Red phone box purchase £1,300.00

4546 Lost Words Kent Grant for School books £50.00

4547 Npower Ltd Balcombes Hill toilets energy £559.09

4548 C B Noakes Christmas Tree Goudhurst High St £100.00

DD Castle Water Balcombes Hill water Jul – Dec 18 £443.83

DD Veolia Environmental Services Burial Grounds bin Nov 18 £140.40

315/18 Receipts in November 2018      

Burial Board £130.00

G&K CE Primary School use of Chequer Field £500.00

Dynamos Juniors FC £850.00

Fishing Club membership £30.00

St Mary’s PCC grant to re-lay a brick path £1,000.00

HMRC reclaim of VAT Apr – Sep 18 £10,231.04

NatWest Business Reserve interest £11.53

CCLA dividend £12.89

316/18  Bank reconciliation.  Resolved to accept the Clerk’s explanation of the reconciliation of accounts to the end of November 2018 and noted that Council’s cash book balance was:

Nat West Current a/c£4,129.62

Nat West Business Reserve£72,745.51

CCLA Public Sector Deposit Fund£20.330.43

£97,205.56

AUDIT

317/18 Audit of Council’s Annual Accounts 2017/18.  It was noted that the 2017/18 Accounts have been signed off without comment by the external auditor PKF Littlejohn LLP appointed by Smaller Authorities Audit Appointments Ltd (SAAA).  Details have been posted to the notice board at The Plain and to Council’s website  https://goudhurst.co.uk as required.  Any local resident who wishes to inspect the Accounts can do so by contacting the Clerk on 01580 212552.

POLICY AND STAFF COMMITTEE

318/18 Budget and Precept for 2019/2020.  It was unanimously resolved that Council’s Budget and Precept should be set at £181,629.  This represents a 19% over the 2018/19 Budget and Precept.

319/18 Goudhurst Parish Tax Base.  It was noted that with the tax base set at £1,348.53 for 2019/20 the Goudhurst Parish element of a Band D property will rise from £114.25 in 2018/19 to 

£134.69 annum in 2019/20, an increase of £20.44 a year or 39p a week.

320/18 Asset Register.  It was noted that the Upper and Lower Glebe fields at no value have been added as the lease with the Diocese has now been signed and registered at the Land Registry.  Also the Back Lane Children’s Play area is at a low insurance value due to the poor condition of the equipment that Council has taken over.  Added are the new gates at the Upper Glebe (Village Green) and the field gate at the south end of the Lower Glebe as well as the new defibrillator part funded by Council at the G&K CE Primary School.

321/18 Insurance Cover. This was reviewed in detail.  It was noted that Council has a 5 year long term agreement effective from June 2016 and this reduces the premium.  It was noted that the Back Lane Children’s Play Area was professionally inspected in April 2018 by Craigdene. It was also agreed that Council should ensure that all public and other liability insurance be confirmed in view of our new responsibilities for the play area.

322/18 Risk Assessments.  These were reviewed in detail and it was agreed that no changes are required.

323/18 Council’s Bank Accounts and payment signatories.  It was noted that the Clerk as Responsible Finance Officer 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. 

324/18 Bank charges. NatWest provides a satisfactory day to day banking service but have given notice that they will apply charges should Council’s turnover be more than £100k in any one year.

325/18 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. 

326/18 Unity Trust Bank offers a two signature electronic account tailored for the public sector.   It was agreed that the Clerk will obtain the necessary paperwork to open a Goudhurst Parish Council account with Unity Trust Bank and Cllrs Guy Sutton and Stephen Wickham will check the detail of this project to ensure Council’s interests, particularly the security of funds, is protected.

327/18 Bank Signatories.  It was resolved that Cllrs Noakes, Boniface, Kirkby and Wickham will continue to be Council’s bank signatories.  The Clerk is also a signatory for administration purposes as laid down in Council’s Financial Regulations paragraph 6.7.

328/18 Appointment of an Internal Auditor.  It was resolved that Mr David Buckett CPFA DMS be appointed as Council’s auditor for the 2019/20 accounts.

329/18 Standing Orders with Financial Regulations.  These were reviewed in detail. 

Standing Orders.  No amendments needed.

Financial Regulations.  No amendments needed.

330/18 Council’s Policies.  Documents relating to Policies on Awarding Grants, Burial Board procedures, Chequer Field use, Complaints procedure, Data Protection and GDPR, Freedom of Information, Grievance Procedures, Health & Safety, Internal Audit check sheet, Lone and Home Workers, Neighbourhood Development Plan terms of reference, Planning Committee delegated authority and Press & Media were reviewed without change.

331/18 The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).  Members noted the Clerk’s written report on Council’s implementation of GDPR.  Council had agreed to appoint GDPR-info Ltd (Minute 063/18 of 14 May 2018).  They had carried out an Audit of Council’s data and procedures.  They found that of 19 areas covered by the Audit, Council is already complying with 14 of them. 

332/18 Annual Grant Payments, Memberships and Subscriptions and Direct Debit arrangements.  These were reviewed and left unchanged..  It was noted that all payments are reported to Council when made.

333/18 Committees and Responsibilities.  It was resolved that the Glebe Field Committee that had been formed to negotiate the lease agreement be dissolved as the agreement has been successfully negotiated and signed. 

It was resolved that all Members of the Council will be members of the Policy and Staff Committee in future.

334/18 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 2019 and since no information has been received from NALC on a cost of living increase, a provision of a 2% uplift has been included in the 2019/20 budget.  

335/18 Clerk’s Pension Scheme.  It was resolved that the Clerk should work on establishing a ‘retirement fund’ before the end of the 2018/19 financial year and report for Council’s approval so that the provision of £5,000 in the 2018/19 budget can be paid into that fund.  

336/18 Future Staffing and Office Accommodation.  It was resolved that, following discussions on the 2019/20 Budget,  a part-time Assistant Clerk should be recruited to assist with the Clerk’s increasing workload.  This will lead to the need to take a lease on larger office space since the current Parish Council office is not adequate for more than one employee.  It was resolved that negotiations should be held with the owner of suitable premises at Risebridge Farm which are available at a cost below £500.00 a month including services.  It was noted that 2019/20 Budget provision has been made for both a part-time Assistant Clerk and larger office premises.

NEXT PARISH COUNCIL MEETING

337/18 14 January 2018.    Jessel Room, Goudhurst Parish Hall.  7.30 pm.  

ITEMS FOR INFORMATION

338/18 It was noted that the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice day on 11 November had been a success with very good attendances at St Mary’s Church and on the top Glebe (the Village Green) in the evening when the beacon was lit and all were entertained by a notable firework display.

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

Clerk to the Parish Council

Anthony Farnfield MBE

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