Goudhurst, Kent. A Wealden hill village

Highways and Footpaths Committee October 2017

HIGHWAYS & FOOTPATHS COMMITTEE

Minutes of a Meeting held on 24 October 2017 at the Jessel Room

Present: Cllrs David Boniface (Chairman), Alan Foster, Chris Ditton, and Mrs Susan Newsam.

Apologies were accepted from: Cllr Mrs Angela Broom, Antony Harris and Guy Sutton.

Declarations of Interest.  None.

Footpaths – PROW

Goudhurst Parish map for the Jessel Room.  It was agreed that a map, perhaps 1:10,000 should be introduced into the Jessel Room and this was recommended to Council.  The Clerk will follow up.

Footpaths Maintenance Log.  This was reviewed.

WC20. Hedge overgrowing the line of the path.  Council wrote to the landowner 07 October.

WT343. Broken stile reported to Clerk at Horsmonden.

WC3. Wobbly stile north of Stone Bridge.  Clerk to brief Pete Watkins.

Footways

Footway on A262 Station Road from Ranters Lane  junction to Bluecoats Lane Junction.

The Clerk had put some suggested dates for a meeting with the landowners of the swale but had no response. Chairman H&F Committee to give the Clerk his future availability for this meeting. Meanwhile the Clerk has contacted a KCC recommended contractor for advice and a quote to construct steps and a broad walk through the swale.

The status of the proposed footway has yet to be clarified with Kent Highways.

Grass cutting on the verge of the south side of Station Road.  The Clerk will obtain the cutting schedule from Kent Highways. He will the brief our contractor to give three cuts in 2018 in late March/early April, mid July and mid September so as not to clash with KCC’s cutting dates.

Highways and Parking

HGV problems in Kent.  It was noted that Council expects to receive a report from KALC on progress being made by Helen Grant MP.

Hawkhurst severe traffic problems.  It was noted that that there had been a report in the Kent Messenger regarding a Kent Highways recommendation that there should be no further house building permissions granted due to the severe traffic problems there.  Members expressed the view that perhaps the same might apply to Goudhurst.  It was agreed that Cllr Boniface will raise the matter with Cllr Seán Holden.

Village Gateways.   The Chairman drew the Meeting’s attention to the collapsible plastic versions that are now available. Some Members queried where such a gateway could be established at the west end of the A262 entry into Goudhurst where there is a lack of wide verges.  Members recalled the farce in 2009/10 when Highways approved a scheme and the wooden gateways were manufactured only for Highways to withdraw their approval.  The Chairman may submit a provision in the 2018/19 budget.  

Peasley Lane.  A local resident had complained about the ‘haunches’ in the roadside at the Ranters Lane end.  There are also 50 mph speed limit signs at the junction of Peasley Lane with Bedgebury Road and these should have been changed to 40 mph. Both matters have been reported to Highways.

Electric Vehicle Charging Points.  Cllr Mrs Susan Newsam reported that Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) has £2.5million available which is earmarked for residential use electric charging points. But under the right circumstances, this money can be used in public places. Cllr Newsam will pursue this with TWBC and if they are not willing to obtain a grant, the Clerk will follow up.

Speed Indicator Device (SID).  The Chairman urged the Clerk to go ahead soonest with the order through Kent Highways at a cost of £7,072.17 for an advanced Westcotec device with a date collection facility.  It was noted that the Clerk raised concerns about who should be appointed to move the SID from time to time from pole to pole and at what cost. It was noted that the SID has a 10-12 week lead time from the order date.  Failing the initial availability of a contractor to move the SID, Chair suggested a volunteer arrangement where the SID remained entirely on the pole on the A262 located near Goudhurst & Kilndown Primary School –but volunteers from the group (including Chairman H&F Committee) to turn the sign around on a weekly basis and swap the batteries, avoiding thereby having to take down the SID and re-locate it on a different pole.

Proposal to obtain the downgrading of A262 to a B class road.   Recommend to Council that the Clerk with Cllr Guy Sutton is to formally apply for this downgrading.

Speed limit reduction from 60 mph to 50 mph on A262 Cranbrook Road east of Goudhurst. This has been put aside for the time being (Minute 187/17) due to the complexities and costs with Kent Highways devolving the work to be done to the Parish Council.  Cllr Boniface reported on the 2011 Jacob’s Survey of the A262 from the A21 to the Wilsley Roundabout. This confirmed 60mph as far as Goudhurst, suggested that 30mph would be desirable or appropriate around the Green Cross Inn area and confirmed that 40mph up the hill to Goudhurst village, confirmed 30mph through Goudhurst village and confirmed 60mph thereafter until Four Wents. We could consider therefore asking for 30mph limit around the double bends at Goudhurst Service Station (Hope Mill) site which is currently 40mph.

Kent Highways Seminar held at Hadlow on 20 October 2017.  This was attended by Clerk and Cllr Broom. The overwhelming feature was the extent of the cuts to staff and budgets and the consequent reduction to services being provided.  The policy now is ‘Intervention & Safety Measure only’: potholes less that 50mm deep will not be filled. Among the questions asked was why doesn’t Kent Highways hand responsibility for tasks such as verge cutting to Parishes. Another question is how is Kent Highways going to cope with massive numbers of new houses given the extent of the cuts?

Hop Pickers Line.

It was noted that publicity about the work of the group has appeared in the Hawkhurst, Cranbrook and Tunbridge Wells Borough Council magazines.

Funding for Goudhurst information panels will be investigated by Cllr Mrs Newsam when given the go ahead by the Chairman of this group.

There are plans to hold a presentation about the work of the Group at the Goudhurst Annual Parish Meeting 17 April 2018.

Cllrs Mrs Newsam and Boniface will meet Mr Lou Lizzi, the owner of the Green Cross Inn owner to discuss the location of one of the Goudhurst information panels.

The meeting closed at 8.45 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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