Goudhurst, Kent. A Wealden hill village

Council News November

GOUDHURST PARISH COUNCIL
Local Government for Goudhurst, Kilndown and Curtisden Green

MINUTES OF A  MEETING OF GOUDHURST PARISH COUNCIL

at The Jessel Room, Goudhurst Parish Hall on Monday 11 November 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, and Peter Wood.

County Cllr Seán Holden for Item 251/19. 

Anthony Farnfield, Clerk and Mrs Claire Reed Assistant Clerk. 

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE  

242/19 were accepted from Cllr Guy Sutton (Holiday overseas).   

DISCLOSURES OF INTEREST

243/19 Cllr Antony Harris declared an interest in the Item relating to Paperless Meetings due to a close family connection, and left the meeting room during discussions on that subject.  

MINUTES OF THE LAST MEETING

244/19 It was resolved that the Minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on 14 October 2019, copies of which had been previously distributed to Members, be signed by the Chairman as a correct record. 

Visiting Speaker.  Mr John Musgrave, the General Manager of the National Trust property at Scotney

spoke about the current success of Scotney in terms of increasing visitor numbers.  This is something of a difficulty as it is placing a strain on the facilities.  However, the National Trust plans to increase the parking areas without detracting from the attraction of the site as well as improving the shop and the catering arrangements.  Mr Musgrave is keen to maintain contact with the local parishes.

QUESTIONS AND STATEMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC AND THE PRESS

245/19 The Top Glebe (The Village Green)   One local resident asked why the work to level the Village Green had started before the much needed refurbishment of the equipment at the Play Area.  Council explained that the Village Green needed to be levelled so as to improve the facility for the public generally and especially for the junior footballers. It had been made clear to the Council that if the Village green surface was not improved that some of the young footballers would move their activities to another parish.  50% of the cost of the work is being covered by grant funding.  Futhermore expert advice is that the best time of the year to carry out the work is over the winter months when the grass seed can produce good turf for the spring.

246/19 Back Lane Childrens’ Play Area. With regard to the Play Area, Council had only completed the lease arrangement with the Diocese of Canterbury in August 2018.  The state of the equipment was rated poor by a qualified inspector at that time and some items that were dangerous were quickly removed.  The Parish Council committee responsible for the project has co-opted 2 mothers of young children.  They have been carrying out surveys of what new equipment the users would like to see introduced.  Fund raising activities are planned since the Parish Council can not fund in any one year the £30k or so that is needed to fully bring the Play Area up to a modern standard.  Some money is being budgeted so that equipment can be purchased progressively in the next 2 or 3 years.  There may be some Section 106 funding from developers for the Play Area but that will not be made available for, probably, the next 2 years at least. 

247/19 The Village Green levelling project and the Goudhurst Fete 2020.  A local resident noted that the levelling work had apparently stopped; if the re-seeding is not done soon so that the area can be used next spring, what will happen to the Goudhurst Fete 2020 that is due to be held on the 2nd Saturday in June 2020. The Parish Council noted that the unforeseen current heavy rain has delayed the work and that situation is out of the Council’s control.  Some thought will be given to a Plan B if the Village Green can not be seeded within the next week or so.

248/19 Council Minutes not on the website.  A resident observed that the Minutes of the September and October 2019 meetings could not be found on the website.  The Council said they would look into the matter.

249/19 Litter Bin to be established at the Lurkins Rise Recreation Area (Hillier’s Field).  A local resident asked Council to add a litter bin at the Lurkins Rise Recreation Area.  The Council acknowledged the request; it will be evaluated with a view to making a budget provision.

250/19 Borough Councillor Representation.  A local resident asked for clarification as to who represents Goudhurst Parish at Tunbridge Wells Borough Council.  It was confirmed that Borough Cllr Barry Noakes represents Goudhurst and that Borough Cllr Dr Linda Hall represents Lamberhurst by agreement between the two of them.  

REPORTS FROM COUNTY AND BOROUGH COUNCILLORS

251/19 County Cllr Seán Holden reported that Cllr Paul Carter CBE is retiring as Leader of Kent County Council, a post that he has held since 2005.  

County Cllr Holden continues to campaign at County level to resolve the problem of HGVs through Goudhurst. “HGVs through Goudhurst really does matter.”

It was noted that the introduction by TWBC of new residential recycling and bin emptying procedures had failed to meet expected standards. 

AMENITIES COMMITTEE

The Chairman of the Amenities Committee reported:

252/19 The Village Green (the Upper Glebe Field) Renovation.  Following Minute 208/19.  It was noted that the contractor had started the work to renovate and level a large part of the Village Green in mid October.  However, the subsequent heavy rain has seriously hampered progress. 

253/19 Hedge along the south side of the Village Green. Following Minute 214/19.  It was resolved to accept the quote of  £1,109.90 for a new footgate be established with 2 lengths of Palisade fencing be installed once the agreed lengths of hedge have been grubbed out. .  The justification is that safety will be improved by improving sightlines.  There will be a reduction in risk of conflict between pedestrians and vehicles on the approach to the Vicarage. 

254/19 Grubbing out part of the hedge on the south side of the Village Green.  It was resolved to accept the quote of £520.00 + VAT for grubbing out 2 x 3 metres of hedge and the disposal of arisings.

255/19 Maintaining the height of the hedge on the south side of the Village Green. It was resolved to accept the quote of £720.00 + VAT for the contractor to maintain the height of the hedge by cutting 4 times a year in April, June, August and October and the disposal of arisings.

256/19 Path round the Village Green – Flooding.  It was resolved to accept the quote of £480.00 + VAT to remedy flooding on the path in the north east corner of the field by raining the level of the path and cutting tranches to aid the runoff. 

257/19 Glebe Field (the Village Green) – Notices to inform the public of statutory closures.  Following Minute 209/19. It was noted that the signs are now in position at the entrances to the field.

258/19 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.

259/19 Benches on the Top Glebe (Village Green).  Council confirmed that there is a possibility of introducing 2 benches on the Village Green.

260/19 Litter bins at the Village Green and at Lurkins Rise Play Area (Hillier’s Field).  Following Minute 215/19. Council is considering requests for additional litter bins but first an arrangement needs to be made with a contractor to service them at regular intervals since TWBC has declined to increase the number of litter bins they service in the Parish.  This matter will be progressed further

261/19 Top Glebe Field (Village Green)  Notices to inform the public of statutory closures. Following Minute 209/19.  The notices have been displayed at the 3 entrances to the Village Green.

262/19 Defibrillators. Following Minute 210/19.  It was noted that the successful inauguration of Goudhurst’s 3rd defibrillator took place at the old red phone kiosk in Goudhurst High St on 09 November 2019 with about 30 members of the public attending.

263/19 Royal Mail letterboxes. Following Minute 212/19.  It was noted that since nothing further has been heard from Royal Mail, Council will write again.  

264/19 Replacement fencing on the south side of Goudhurst Pond.  Following Minute 217/19.  It was noted that Council is awaiting a quote for the proposed work.

265/19 Goudhurst in Bloom.  Having organised the annual Goudhurst in bloom competition for the past several years, Mrs Angela has decided to step down to follow other interests.  Council noted her enthusiasm and good work and thanked her for all that she had bought to the success of this annual event.

BURIAL BOARD

266/19 Yew Trees in the Old Cemetery south of Back Lane and Cherry Trees on the South side of St Mary’s Church.  Following Minute 221/19.  A successful and informative site meeting was held  with our Tree contractor, The Living Forest, on  08 November 2019. St Mary’s PCC is obtaining the necessary permissions from the Diocese to carry out the works.  Asst Clerk has been invited to visit The Living Forest offices to learn how we can integrate their digital mapping of trees with Council’s mapping software. 

267/19 Application for an oversize Memorial Headstone at Goudhurst Burial Grounds.  It was resolved to accept the Burial Board’s recommendation to turn down the application from a bereaved family with comment that the published Regulations should be followed so as to be fair to all bereaved families.  Council noted that no convincing reason was given with the request.  The Clerk will inform the applicant accordingly.

CENTRAL GOUDHURST (TRAFFIC & PARKING) COMMITTEE

The Chairman of the Traffic & Parking Committee reported: 

268/19 Parking and Traffic in Goudhurst.  It was resolved to commission a consultant with the required knowledge and experience to carry out a formal report of Council’s options on solutions to the parking congestion.        

BUSINESS & COMMUNICATIONS COMMITTEE

The Chairman of the Business & Communications Committee reported:

269/19 Broadband in the Parish:  Update.  It was noted that there are now 5 registered schemes in the Parish all at various stages.  The Priors Heath scheme had been delayed as the set up costs would not be by the ‘credit vouchers’.  The Curtisden Green scheme is to be reassessed as a number of extra properties have been added by BT thus increasing the costs.

270/19 Communications Plan.  The committee has agreed that communications need to be improved with the whole community, not just sections of it.  The committee is working on an improvement plan and will report further.

271/19 Website.  It was agreed that the Chairman of this committee and the Clerks will meet our webmaster, Mr Michael Bennett, to review how the website can play a part in the proposed Communications Plan.  Mr Bennett will surely have some positive thoughts on the future.

272/19 Facebook.  It was agreed that Council will continue to post to the newly established Goudhurst Parish Council Facebook page with the administration of the page being transferred from the Assistant Clerk’s personal profile to that of ‘Clerk Goudhurst’. It was agreed that content on the page would be in the form of general, relevant information; meeting dates which should include information from the Standing Orders on each committee’s responsibilities; a copy of the Parish Magazine article and relevant information from third party sites for example Tunbridge Wells Borough Council or Kent Fire and Rescue which could be shared to the page. It was agreed to delegate responsibility for the page content to the Assistant Clerk and that responses to individual posts should not be made; a new post can be created to address and respond to an issue that has arisen.

273/19 Next Steps. It was agreed to recommend to Council that a workshop be held for all Parish Councillors to discuss and agree on a mission statement together with goals and objectives of this council. Clerk to add to the Agenda for Parish Council 09 December 2019 for approval. 

274/19 Business Communications Plan. It was noted that the Business Communications Plan could not be moved forward until the workshop had taken place.

FOOTPATHS COMMITTEE

The Chairman of the Footpaths Committee reported:

275/19 1st Meeting. T was noted that the newly established Footpaths Committee met for the first time just before this meeting of Council and the Minutes of that first meeting will be presented to Council on 11 November 2019.

276/19 The Task and Resources. It was noted that the Parish of Goudhurst has 39 miles of established Public Rights of Way.  

277/19 Responsibilities for Maintenance.  Whilst it is the responsibility of Kent County Council (KCC) as the Authority to maintain the paths, in reality they have insufficient resources to carry out that duty fully.  In some cases, the local landowner over which a PROW runs has a responsibility for its maintenance.  Some are very good at this; others less so.

278/19 Resources.  For many years Goudhurst Parish Council has provided some limited finance and labour to keep our PROW in reasonable order (It was noted much better than many other parishes). However, where a task is beyond our local means, we can ask KCC to step in.  Our resources in recent times have been few.  For many years we have mostly asked a local contractor to carry out minor repairs and cutting back of undergrowth. However, he is finding it increasingly difficult to attend sites far from a road where he sometimes has to carry tools and perhaps heavy pieces of timber.  

279/19 Reporting and rectifying Faults and Problems. It was noted that in recent years Council has relied to a large extent on Cllr David Boniface reporting faults when leading walks of the local walking group.  We hope that this service will continue.  Council also receives occasional feedback on the condition of footpaths from local residents.  

It was agreed that Cllr Mrs Caroline Richards will divide the Goudhurst Parish footpaths map into 4 areas (roughly north-west, north-east, south-east and south-west). Committee Members and our Advisers will each have a responsibility for monitoring the paths in their allocated areas.   

280/19 Fault reporting. The Parish Council encourages walkers to report any matters on the PROW that need attention.  Call the Parish Council:  01580 212552 or e-mail:

281/19 Fixing PROW problems.  It was agreed to recommend to Council  that an established contractor be engaged  on an occasional, as required, basis to carry out maintenance tasks.  Cllr Mrs Richards will approach a contractor known to her to check their interest.

282/19 Goudhurst & Kilndown Millennium walk.  It was noted that Mr Kevin Cockram, with Mr Richard Hillier had carried out a survey of the marker posts and general condition of the Goudhurst & Kilndown Millennium Walk. It was noted that there is some follow up work to be done on this.

283/19 High Weald Landscape Trail.  One Member reported that the High Weald Landscape Trail that runs, in part, through this Parish needs to be inspected with a view to clearing any problems.

284/19 QR Codes. The suggestion that we should set up QR codes at waymarker posts was accepted.  Assistant Clerk will investigate the practicalities and report.

HIGHWAYS COMMITTEE

The Chairman of the Highways Committee reported verbally:

285/19 A21 campaign to lower the speed limit and reduce collision frequency.  Following Minute 229/19.  It was noted that little satisfactory progress had been made with Highways England (HE) on matters that Council had raised relating to the cutting back of vegetation on verges including Japanese Knotweed treatment and recent collision reports.  It was noted that the Parish Council will continue to support Mr Ted Bennett in his quest to get the speed limit reduced on that part of the A21 which runs through the Parish of Goudhurst.

286/19 Setting up a Lorry Watch involving the Goudhurst Traffic Action Group (GTAG).  It was noted that GTAG had obtained from Kent Highways details of how to set up a scheme. One of the requirements is that the Parish Council should provide written confirmation that Lorry Watch can operate under the Public Liability Insurance of the Parish Council. The Clerk reported that Council’s insurers had declined to agree this.  The Council is not in charge of the project and nor are any Members of the Council.  

287/19 Junction of B2084 Chequers Road and B2079 North Road at Lidwells Corner.  It was noted that local residents have reported frequent crashes at this point.  A solution previously proposed was turned down by Highways approximately 3 years ago. The proposal is to build out the verge on the northeast side of the junction to force vehicles approaching southbound from Marden on B2079 North Rd intending turning left into B2084 Chequers Road to slow down.  This matter will be raised again with Kent Highways by the Clerk, probably through the Highway Improvement Plan.

PLANNING COMMITTEE   

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

288/19 DECISIONS

18/02775 The Vine High Street Goudhurst

Retrospective: levelling of front garden, construction of timber retaining wall, chestnut hurdle fencing and erection of hop poles with low voltage lighting.

Granted Permission

19/01865 8 John Stacy Heights High Ridge Goudhurst

Change of use from overnight carers accommodation to office accommodation.

Granted Permission

19/01684 The Old Vicarage Rogers Rough Road Kilndown

Addition to existing single storey rear extension, with alterations to finishes of wall and roof materials on whole extension and addition of roof lights; alterations to areas of roof on ground floor projections and change in external materials; replacement windows and fenestration alterations; landscaping of garden and provision of decked areas. 

Granted Permission

19/01735 Delaware Beresford Road Goudhurst

Erection of log cabin.

Granted Permission

19/02194 Beech House North Road Goudhurst

Provision of white painted weatherboard to front first floor elevation.

Granted Permission

19/01864 Bakers Oast Ladham Road Goudhurst

Single storey rear extension, internal alternations and remodelling and the addition of roof lights to existing roof pitches; alternation to fenestration.

Granted Permission

19/02173 Nursery House Bedgebury Road Goudhurst

The conversion (change of use) and extension of existing barn, following the demolition of the single storey dwelling and lean-to- structure and the creation of ancillary parking and amenity space.

Granted Permission

19/01731 5 Cliffe Cottages North Road Goudhurst

LBC – Replacement of modern floor of concrete and slab to damp proof membrane, insulation, screed and underfloor heating with engineered oak flooring above.

Granted Permission

19/02070 Glendoon Colliers Green Road Cranbrook

Demolition of existing stables and store, and erection

of two stable buildings and proposed extensions to the existing dwelling, including addition of first floor, and one and half story side extension.

Granted Permission

289/19  APPLICATIONS considered by the Parish Council Planning Committee in October 2019 with the  representations here approved by Council:

19/02317 Etchinghill Farmyard, Gore Lane, Goudhurst 

Conversion of building from use for storage of vehicles (Class B8 of Schedule to Use Classes Order) to a dwelling and demolition of redundant buildings and detached garage.

Recommend approval

Goudhurst Parish Council supports this alternative proposal for the re-use of this former farm building.

19/02618 Stream Farm House, Summerhill, Goudhurst

Variation to approved landscaping and parking provision and alterations to existing vehicular access. 

Recommend approval

The setting back of the fencing between the 2 entrances will considerably improve the sight lines for vehicles exiting the site. This will be safer for residents at the site and other traffic using the public highway.

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

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

Recommend refusal

GPC has several concerns regarding this application:

a. Whilst agreeing that barn B has no architectural merit and is not worthy of conversion it is well screened by native species and populated by several bird species;

b. Replacing B with a new link which will be considerably larger than 50% of the final volume and have a major impact on the location, which is outside the limits to build, is not supported by any planning policy;

c. There are 2 protected oaks in the immediate vicinity of the proposal which will be severely affected by the execution of this scheme, and if they survive will be under constant threat of trimming in order to prevent shading and damage to the new building;

d. Goudhurst Parish Council understands that to the immediate south of the site there is a pond (not shown on the submitted plans) which is occupied by a number of protected species, included Great Crested Newts.

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 (Replacement of existing dwelling (alternative to 14/504374)). Changes to approved drawings: re-location of front door; re-arrangement of internal living/bedroom spaces and lower ground floor storage area; alterations to fenestration; addition of external staircases; increase in height of retaining wall; minor change to position of garage/store. Provision of mitigation and enhancement survey for biodiversity and protected species (condition 9)) – Condition 2 (Replacement plans), 3 (Re wording), 5 (Re wording) and 6 (Re wording).

Recommend approval

The proposed changes are superficial and, in this very well-screened location, will have negligible impact on the location or the AONB.

19/02731      Mayfield House, Maypole Lane, Goudhurst

Proposed extension to existing garage.

Recommend approval

In this very well-screened location, the proposed extension will have almost no impact on the locality or the AONB

19/02869 3 The Old School, Goudhurst

Erection of conservatory extension and relocation of side gate

Recommend approval

This very modest proposal will have virtually no impact on the location or the Conservation Area. The only visible difference will be the new location of the gate.

19/02325 Paynetts Farm Cranbrook Road Goudhurst 

Proposed single storey kitchen extension. 

Recommend approval

As this extension appears to be totally enclosed within the existing form of the dwelling, it will have no impact on the location or the AONB.

19/02911 Lidwells Lodge Nursery, Lidwells Lane, Goudhurst

Removal of agricultural occupancy condition of  81/01238/REM (Erection of agricultural workers dwelling)

Recommend refusal

This application raises a number of questions which are not answered:

a. What does the applicant propose to do with the land (some 4.5 acres) which is included in the holding;

b. The application refers to a planning statement (Question 5) which is not available, but is essential to the proper consideration of the application.

Without this information, the application should be refused.

NEIGHBOURHOOD DEVELOPMENT PLAN

290/19 It was noted that there will be a review by the Neighbourhood Development Plan Group on 12 November 2019 in the Jessel Room immediately after the Planning Committee meeting.   Members will approve our Neighbourhood Development Plan and move to the next stage which is another public consultation hosted by TWBC.  All of the files can now be found on our website http://ndp.goudhurst.co.uk/ndp-plan-documents/    The plan document is ‘Draft Plan 1.9’ and there is a summary document which contains policies and policy intent which is maybe more accessible.

POLICY AND STAFF COMMITTEE

291/19 Paperless Meetings.  The Clerks have been discussing ways of increasing efficiency and improving communications with Members particularly in ways of dealing with the paperwork associated with meetings – Agendas and Minutes etc.  They recognise that Council supports a move to more efficient working practices that have not changed for over 20 years. It was noted that there is a company that is offering a software package which would drastically reduce the amount of paper we use as well as saving on printing.  It will allow Members to quickly access a wide range of Parish Council information electronically through a secure app. 

Members will attend meetings and have right up to date documents available on their laptops, tablets etc.  Minutes of meetings will be available to Members much quicker than they are at present. 

The company concerned is willing to agree a 12 month trial agreement with a 6 month break clause at a nominal cost of £100.00 a month. It was resolved to agree to proceed with this proposal.

ACCOUNTS 

292/19 It was resolved unanimously that the following payments be made:

U088 AVB Farnfield Clerk’s pay & expenses October pay £2,264.18

U089 HM Revenue & Customs Clerk’s PAYE & NI Oct £563.20

U090 RJ&L Hillier Hop Bine Rent November 19 £400.00

U091 Grounds Care & General Services Grounds maint contract Oct £1,325.28

U092 Capel Ground Care Grounds maint contract Oct £1,668.72

U093 John Fermor Landscapes Grounds maint contract Oct £400.00

U094 Tenterden Twilight Cleaning Services Oct 19 £806.45

U095 Pearsons Landscapes The Plain Grounds maint Oct £111.60

U096 Microshade Business Consultants Citrix invoice 12326 Sep £122.28

U097 Microshade Business Consultants Citrix invoice 12433 Oct £122.28

U098 Butch Krombholz Painting gold crowns red phone kiosk £60.00

U099 Land Search and Data (AVBF) Mapping re Old Parsonage £77.82

U100 Richard Greenaway Misc small maintenance jobs £203.25

U101 David Buckett Audit 2018-19 Accounts £479.25

U102 Capel Ground Care Village Green path flood repairs £576.00

U103 Iden Signs No Dog Fouling signs £117.00

U104 Goudhurst RBL – Poppy Appeal Poppy wreaths G’hurst & K’down (S137) £50.00

U105 P F Cusack Ltd (pay EJR Bates) Traffic cones £35.93

U106 Tunbridge Wells Borough Council Election Costs 02 May 19 £3,543.70

U107 Moore Hospitality Ltd Defibrillator inauguration reception £198.00

U109 KG Plumbing Ltd Chequer pavilion showers maint £546.00

U110 JM Surface renovations Red phone kiosk refurbish £382.60

U111 CL Reed Salary & expenses Nov 19 £1,080.44

U112 HM Revenue & Customs Reed NI contribs Nov 19 £135.19

293/19 Payment U104.  It was resolved that this Council, in accordance with its powers under sections 137 and 139 of the Local Government Act 1972, should incur this expenditure.  In the opinion of this Council it is in the interests of the inhabitants of the Parish of Goudhurst and will benefit them in a manner commensurate with the expenditure of £50.00 to purchase two poppy wreaths for the 2019 Remembrance Day services at St Mary’s Goudhurst and Christ Church Kilndown.

294/19 Receipts in November 2019      

Burial Board £660.00

CCLA dividend £12.14

Kilndown Fishing Club £10.00

295/19  Bank reconciliation.  It was noted that, due to a Broadband fault at The Hop Bine lasting 6 days leading up to this meeting, the Responsible Financial Officer was unable to present a detailed reconciliation of Accounts to the end of September.  However, it was noted that Council’s cash book balance at 31 October 2019 was:

Unity trust Current a/c £121,109.64

Nat West Current a/c £2,901.03

CCLA Public Sector Deposit Fund £12.45

Total £124,023.12

KENT ASSOCIATION OF LOCAL COUNCILS

296/19 Cllrs Antony Harris and David Knight attended the KALC 72nd Annual General Meeting held on Saturday 30 November 2019 at Ditton.  

NEXT PARISH COUNCIL MEETING

297/19 13 January 2020.   Parish Council Meeting in the Jessel Room at 7.30 pm.  

The meeting closed at 10.00 pm

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

Clerk to the Parish Council

Anthony Farnfield MBE


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