Goudhurst, Kent. A Wealden hill village

Council News February

MINUTES OF A MEETING OF GOUDHURST PARISH COUNCIL
Parish Council Logo

at The Jessel Room in Goudhurst Parish Hall on Monday 11 February 2019 at 7.30 pm

PRESENT:  Councillors Antony Harris (Chairman), Mrs Angela Broom, Christopher Ditton, Alan Foster, David Boniface, Philip Kirkby, Susan Newsam, Barry Noakes  and Stephen Wickham.  County Cllr Seán Holden until 7.45 pm.      1 Member of the Public.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE  

372/18 were accepted from Cllrs Mrs Caroline Richards and Guy Sutton.           

DISCLOSURES OF INTEREST

373/18 Cllr Stephen Wickham declared an interest in the item relating to the Weed Control contract and Cllr Phil Kirkby declared an interest in Council’s proposed lease on new offices at the Hop Bine. 

MINUTES OF THE LAST MEETING

374/18 It was resolved that the Minutes of the meeting held on 14 January 2019, copies of which had been previously distributed to Members, be signed by the Chairman as a correct record. 

QUESTIONS AND STATEMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC AND THE PRESS

There were none.

REPORTS FROM COUNTY AND BOROUGH COUNCILLORS

375/18 County Cllr Seán Holden briefed Council on the cuts to the KCC Budget for 2019/20.  Details will be published after their Council meeting on 14 February.  He mentioned that KCC is developing plans to counter overnight parking of HGVs in lay-byes across the County.

AMENITIES COMMITTEE

The Chairman of the Amenities Committee reported:

376/18 Balcombes Hill Public Toilets – Walgate Ltd Contract.  It was resolved to agree expenditure of £3,470.80 + VAT to purchase and install one new ‘thrii’ model handwash unit in the men’s toilet to replace 2 x 25 years old handwash units there.  Wallgate is no longer able to service the old units due to the lack of spare parts.  This proposal replicates the ladies toilet where 1 new unit was installed to replace 2 old ones in 2017.

It was further resolved to agree the 12 month service contract for April 2019 to March 2020 for the 1 handwash unit in the ladies toilet.

377/18 Balcombes Hill Toilet block cleaning contract.  It was resolved to agree an increase of  2.3% to our contractor’s contract for April 2019 to March 2019 over the previous year.

378/18 Land at Chequer Field.  Two local residents whose properties back onto Chequer Field have both submitted requests to purchase the same parcel of land in the north west corner of Chequer Field.  It was resolved to decline both requests on the grounds that Council has no pressing need to sell and would prefer not to set any precedents on the sale of its land. 

379/18 Back Lane Play Area.  It was agreed that this is essentially a Youth Committee item and will rest better with the Youth Committee from now on.  Following Minute 301/18 the committee had received some quotes through our advisers.  Some were considered to be very high.  It was noted that further quotes are being sought.  Members noted that our advisers (mothers with young children) are doing a good job in researching options..

380/18 Back Lane Play Area storage shed. Borough Cllr Barry Noakes has confirmed though the TWBC Planning Department that the proposed replacement storage shed including seating in the Play Area and used by the Goudhurst Village Pre-School does not require planning permission under permitted development rights.

381/18 The letter box that has been moved.   It was noted that Council had received a number of complaints about this.  The letter box that stood on the south side of Cranbrook Road opposite the Goudhurst Inn for as long as anyone can remember has been moved recently to the entrance to the Farm Shop some 250 yards to the east.  Whereas elderly people could walk with reasonable safety to the previous site of the letter box, it is clear that walking to the new position is dangerous.  There is no footway along the heavily trafficked Cranbrook Road.  It was agreed that the Clerk will take up the matter with the Royal Mail.

382/18 The notice board by Kilndown Quarry Centre.  This fell recently due to its supporting legs being rotten.  It was fortunate that David Denton, attempting to put up notices at the time, just avoided being seriously hurt.  The Clerk has asked Richard Greenaway for a quote to replace the legs and, whilst about it, to sand it down for a coat of Danish oil.  It was resolved to agree agreed expenditure of £300.00 for this project.

383/18 The single bar gate to the Quarry Pond area by the Quarry Centre.  This is in very poor condition due to its age.  The Clerk is seeking advice on its replacement – with costs.

384/18 Red telephone ‘box’ for a Defibrillator.  Following Council Minute 346/18.  Cllr Mrs Susan Newsam reported that the red telephone box, ex Dunnington, was delivered to Goudhurst in the first week in February.  In the meantime BT has informed the Clerk that they have no plans to remove the ‘modern style’ phone box opposite Goudhurst War Memorial.  Cllr Mrs Newsam is investigating with others alternative sites where Council might establish the red phone box as a suitable defibrillator point in central Goudhurst.

385/18 Goudhurst Pond De-silting.  Following Minute 307/18.  It was resolved to approve the final invoice for £3,000.00 + VAT from White Land Solutions Ltd for applying the silt at Broadoak Farm, Goudhurst.  This project has been successfully completed.

BURIAL BOARD

386/18 St Mary’s Churchyard, Cemetery and Burial Grounds maintenance contract.  It was resolved to agree the renewal of this contract to cover 2019, 2020 and 2021with Groundscare & General Services at a 10% increase over their 2016, 2017 and 2018 rate.

387/18 Complete Weed Control.  It was resolved to agree the proposed 2019 contract for weed control at St Mary’s Churchyard, Cemetery and Burial Grounds together with Christ Church Kilndown at a nil increase over their 2018 contract.

HIGHWAYS & FOOTPATHS COMMITTEE

388/18 The re-classification of A262.   It was noted that Council will be meeting Mr Neil Edwards, Kent Highways Traffic Manager and Mr Tim Read, Transportation Manager, KCC on Wednesday 27 February in the Jessel Room for discussions on Council’s proposal that the A262 should be reclassified to a B class road. 

389/18 Electronic vehicle charging points.  Following Minute 356/18.   It was resolved to agree the proposal that a charging point be established at the 2 parking slots in the north side of the Balcombes Hill toilet block.  The energy for this will be taken from the 3 phase supply at Goudhurst Parish Hall. This will mean  running the cable on the outside wall, with a short length of trenching required across the rear of the car park area near to the back of the Parish Hall and then down the steep bank to the charging point site. The cost of the electrical work, installation and groundwork/trenching will be £4,080 + VAT (a significant reduction over previous quotes) and there will be further minor expenditure for painting the car park surface, a suitable notice and wiring at the Parish Hall etc.  It was noted that a local resident claims ownership to the steep bank and the area where the recharging point will stand but in discussions he has agreed to Council’s proposal relating to the use of the land.  The Clerk will put that in writing to him. 

On the question of the cost of vehicle recharging, it was noted that the Tesla approved electrician (Conetics) will install a separate ‘check meter’ in the Parish Hall which will indicate the amount of electricity used by the EV charge points. The Parish Hall Trustees can then let the Parish Council know the amount due for reimbursement. 

Council has carried out some research on costs with two other Destination Charge Point locations.  The feedback is that the charge points have bought good business to the areas and that it had made little difference to their electricity bills. For a car to recharge fully (from empty) it would be a approximately between £2.20 – £3.00.  It was noted that these figures are IF someone is charging from empty, which is very unlikely.  Members agreed that most people visiting Goudhurst with electric vehicles would be over the weekends, rather than every day. If, for example, over one weekend  there are 4 vehicles charging from half full (@ £1.50) it would give an overall weekend charge bill of £6.00. Therefore with x 52 weeks in the year, this would give a total spend to Council of approximately £312.00 per annum.  It was resolved that Council accepts this situation as being reasonable but the costs will be reviewed over time and bought to the attention of Council for a possible review of policy on this issue.

POLICE AND NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH

The Chairman of the Police and Neighbourhood Watch Committee reported:

390/18 CCTV and the Balcombes Hill public toilets and car park.   Following Minute 357/18.  It was noted that within days of the introduction of the cameras the fly-tipping of asbestos was recorded next to the glass recycling bins.  That incident has been reported to TWBC.

PLANNING COMMITTEE   

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

391/18 DECISIONS

18/03422 Kent House Cranbrook Road Goudhurst

Erection of a two storey front extension, two storey side/rear extension, single storey rear extension and external alterations.

Granted permission

18/03427 31 Lurkins Rise Goudhurst

Erection of an outbuilding within rear garden (Retrospective)

Granted permission

18/03433 Nursery House Bedgebury Road Goudhurst

Demolition of existing buildings and dwelling and erection of single dwelling with detached garage and stable block

Refused permission

18/03451 Smugley Farm Bedgebury Road Goudhurst

Demolition of existing buildings including the Gamekeepers Cottage and removal

of mobile home with erection of two replacement dwellings with associated landscaping

Granted permission

18/03794 Well House Cranbrook Road Goudhurst

Single storey rear extension and installation of rooflights

Granted permission

392/18 APPLICATIONS considered by the Parish Council Planning Committee in January 2019 with representations here approved by Council:

18/03520 Land north of Peasley Lane Goudhurst

Conversion of an outbuilding into a holiday let and change of use of land for the stationing of two glamping pods (for two self-contained holiday lets).

Recommend approval of the hoppers’ huts.

a. Recommend approval of the conversion of the hoppers huts to bring them into use. However Goudhurst Parish Council (GPC) takes the view that car parking should be established well clear of the adjacent ancient woodland;

b. Recommend refusal of two glamping pods.  GPC, whilst being supportive of tourism development in the Parish, is concerned that that this could be the start of development on the ‘virgin’ field in question thus reducing the Amenity in the AONB. To allow this glamping application could create a precedent elsewhere. GPC assumes that glamping pods could be considered as development outside the Limits to Built Development.  

18/03552 Shear Farm The Barn North Road Goudhurst

Demolition of existing structures and erection of new detached dwelling

Recommend refusal

Goudhurst Parish Council believes this is no longer an extension of or an upgrading of the original barn.  The proposal appears to be far more visually  intrusive in the landscape.  From the plans it seems there will be an overlooking problem with a neighbouring property.

18/03794 Well House Cranbrook Road Goudhurst

Single storey rear extension and installation of rooflights

Recommend approval

Goudhurst Parish Council takes the view that this proposal improves the amenity of the 

property.  Why is the siting of the parking space so distant from the holiday-let which it serves?   If approved the lighting should be movement activated rather than on timers, in order to comply with the NDP dark skies policy.

18/03617 Brandfold Barn Cottage North Road Goudhurst

Single storey rear extension and alterations including insertion of two south facing french windows

Recommend approval 

The impact of this proposal on the location and the AONB will be minimal, as it is lower than, and set behind, the existing dwelling which is well-screened by the roadside fence.   Subject to the volume increase complying with TWBC policy, Goudhurst Parish Council is consent that approval is granted.

18/03874 Quince Cottage Church Road Kilndown

Proposed demolition, replacement and conversion of existing outbuildings

Recommend approval

Despite its larger size, the impact of this proposal on the location and the AONB will be minimal, as the materials on the elevation which faces the road are appropriate.   Goudhurst Parish Council (GPC) is content that approval is granted.

(GPC is unclear as to whether this proposal should be treated as an extension to the cottage, and therefore comply with the appropriate volume increase guidance.)

18/03776 Barns at New Finchurst Farm Summerhill Goudhurst

Retrospective application for alteration of ground levels to land west of Barns at New Finchurst Farm

Insufficient information to make a recommendation

Goudhurst Parish Council is concerned that there is no explanation as to the purpose of the alteration to the levels.   In particular, is the levelled ground to be included as domestic curtilage of the 2 converted buildings, or is agricultural use intended.

NEIGHBOURHOOD DEVELOPMENT PLAN

393/18 Goudhurst Parish NDP.  Mr Craig Broom reported that TWBC has reviewed the Goudhurst Parish Neighbourhood Development Plan with members of the Goudhurst NDP team.  It was well received by TWBC with only minor changes to some of the words being recommended. Generally the Goudhurst NDP is ‘in step’ with the TWBC Local plan.

ACCOUNTS 

394/18 It was resolved unanimously that the following payments be made:

4567 D&M Hiab & Haulage Transport red phone box from Yorkshire £490.00

4568 AVB Farnfield Clerk’s Pay & expenses Jan 19 £2,426.68

4569 HM Revenue & Customs Clerk PAYE & NI Jan 19 £920.89

4570 White Land Solutions Ltd Pond silt spreading Aug 18 £3,600.00

4571 Capel Groundcare Chequer Field etc grounds maint Jan 19 £1,163.86

4572 Tenterden Twilight Toilet block cleaning Jan £585.16

4573 Pearsons Landscapes The Pond & Plain grounds maint Jan £111.60

4574 Microshade Business Consult Citrix Inv 11478 £61.14

4575 Cllr Alan Foster Public Toilet Block – extra key cutting £20.40

4576 Wallgate Ltd Handwash unit service contract 2019 £511.20

4577 KALC Clerk CiLCA refresher £216.00

4578 KALC Cllr Alan Foster training £72.00

4579 KALC Richard Bushrod training £72.00

4580 Richard Greenaway Back Lane Play Area equipt repairs £23.56

4581 RJ&L Hillier GPC new office rent Feb 19 £400.00

4582 RJ&L Hillier GPC new office rent Mar 19 £400.00

4583 Goudhurst Parish Council Unity Trust Bank opening account £500.00

DD South East Water Chequer Field pavilion water £74.22

DD Veolia Environmental Services Burial Grounds bin Jan 19 £152.35

395/18 Receipts in January 2019      

Burial Board £1,390.00

KCC Grant to WC31 repair £6,000.00

NatWest Business Reserve interest £9.88

CCLA dividend £12.84

396/18  Bank reconciliation.  Resolved to accept the Clerk’s explanation of the reconciliation of accounts to the end of January 2019 and noted that Council’s cash book balance was:

Nat West Current a/c£4,979.01

Nat West Business Reserve£52,766.29

CCLA Public Sector Deposit Fund£20.355.39

£78,100.69

UNITY TRUST BANK

397/18 Goudhurst Parish Council to open a current account at Unity Trust Bank (UTB). 

Following Minute 366/18.  The Clerk confirmed that he has submitted an electronic application to Unity Trust Bank to open a current account and has sent the requested supporting paperwork (evidence of our NatWest accounts and Council’s Standing Orders).  He has also submitted a cheque (4583) for £500.00 to open the account

POLICY and STAFF COMMITTEE

398/18 New Office Accommodation.  The Clerk presented a written proposal which had been distributed to Members with the Agenda for this meeting.  Key points are that the Clerk, together with the Chairman, has agreed verbally with the landlord  that the lease on Council’s new office at Risebridge, known as The Hop Bine, will run from 01 February 2019.  The rent will be £400 a month on a 3 year agreement and then 3 months notice by either party thereafter.   Included in the rent are business rates, water, sewerage and electricity.  Council will contribute 20% of the cost of heating oil for the main Risebridge Health & Sports Club buildings which are adjacent to our office.  The landlord will redecorate the interior of the premises before we move in.

Council has already deposited some office furniture in the building.  

It was resolved to accept quotations:

a. B&K Electrical Contractors for the installation of extra power points and some improved lighting £1,862.50 + VAT;

b. Butler House Carpets, Cranbrook for replacement carpet tiles £784.00 + VAT (to be reimbursed by the landlord)

c. Infinity Group for modern and improved telephone/broadband equipment £770.00 + VAT

and monthly rental of £111.50 +VAT;

It was resolved to agree a rental of £400.00 a month (plus the share of the cost of heating oil) on a 3 year agreement from 01 February 2019 and then 3 months notice by either party thereafter.  

The target date for moving into the new office premises is the second half of March 2019.  

399/18 Recruitment of a Clerk (Designate). Minute 369/18.  Members had received a copy of the proposed text of the vacancy advertisement.  It was agreed that this should be placed in the Wealden Advertiser, in the Parish Magazine, and on the Goudhurst website.  The Kent & Sussex Courier and the Times of Tunbridge Wells could be considered if the response is less than expected.

NEXT PARISH COUNCIL MEETING

400/18 11 March 2019.    Jessel Room, Goudhurst Parish Hall.  7.30 pm.  

ITEMS FOR INFORMATION

The meeting closed at 9.30 pm

Anthony Farnfield, Clerk

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

Clerk to the Parish Council

Anthony Farnfield MBE

copyright © 2017 Goudhurst Parish Council