This Blog contains contributions from members of Eynsford Parish Council. Any opinions expressed are their own.
Previous posts (up to December 2014) were made by ex-Chairman, Clive Stanyon, and were his own views, not necessarily the views of all councillors.
Author: Theresa Durrant | Date: 24th September 2018
The potential development of the Pedham Place site, has been without doubt one of the most talked about subjects over recent weeks, but it does not look like the conversation will end anytime soon, as the final version of the Local Plan is not set to be formally adopted by Sevenoaks District Council until late 2019.
After attending one of the recent consultation meetings, held at both Eynsford and Farningham's village halls, I was staggered by the number of residents who attended to either provide their support or voice their objections over the proposed development of this site. Whilst I admired the way the Sevenoaks District Council representatives remained relatively calm, under what was at times ferocious questioning by members of the public, I was disappointed by the lack of information to hand. Any line of questioning I pursued about the development with the representatives, was met with reference to one of many online consultation documents that weren't available at the meeting. In my personal opinion, I feel that more could have been done by Sevenoaks District Council to raise awareness about the consultation much earlier in the process, particularly given that a large proportion of our residents do not have access to social media, thereby giving them more time to consider the proposals in more detail for what is a significantly large development proposal with far reaching impact on the surrounding area.
It would also seem that Sevenoaks District Council are struggling under the volume of comments and concerns being raised by residents and various organisations, as despite the draft consultation being closed on their website, they are still processing comments made prior to the deadline date.
Now that the consultation has closed, I have taken some time to read through many of the comments online, and it would appear that the vast majority of residents who responded are against the site being considered for development. Organisations that have also voiced their objections include; Swanley Town Council, Kent Downs AONB and many of the surrounding parish councils, of which Eynsford is one of them. Many of you objected against the potential loss of AONB land; that the land did not fit the green belt 'exceptional circumstances' criteria, along with concerns over the detrimental impact on infrastructure, such as; medical and social care services, emergency services, schools, traffic and road congestion and the lack of adequate utilities, which was also raised as a major concern by Thames Water.
Unfortunately, the fate of Pedham Place is far from being decided yet, as the Planning Policy Team at Sevenoaks District Council, will now spend the next few months considering all comments, with the aim of publishing the final version of the Local Plan by the end of 2018, which will in turn be submitted to the Governmentís Planning Inspector around Spring 2019.
It will be down to the Planning Policy Team to decide if the final version of the plan, may or may not include the Pedham Place site. If they do decide that the site should remain in the final version of the plan, then there will be further opportunity for members of the public and developers to have their say, during a public examination and a further six week consultation period, details of which will be available on the Sevenoaks District Council website closer to the examination date.
Author: Theresa Durrant | Date: 1st May 2018
Data Protection and privacy laws have hit the headlines recently, following the controversy surrounding Facebook and Cambridge Analytica and how they have used and sold personal data. Up until now GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) is something that people may have heard about, but don't necessarily understand how or why it is one of the most significant changes that has happened around data privacy since 1998.
The original Data Protection Act came into play before the internet become what it is today and long before social media. Ownership of personal data very much belonged with the entity collecting the data, and in a nutshell, the new legislation aims to protect individuals and put the power of how personal data is used back into the hands of us, the data subject.
As the data subject your rights include;
Plus organisations must now ensure that any data that is no longer required, must automatically be deleted in line with their retention polices.
For those of you who may have read our recent newsletter, you will already know the parish council has been working towards ensuring they are fully compliant with GDPR. However, GDPR does not stop at putting a few processes in place, it is an ongoing mission to protect the personal data that we hold on individuals and to ensure that we are collecting it in a completely lawful manner, whilst preventing against data loss and breach.
The parish council may only hold limited amounts of personal data. Much of which is held to help the parish council fulfill its legal obligations, such as with tenants, or because it is in the public interest, but regardless of this, the parish council will still take the processing of personal data very seriously. Complacency towards data is not acceptable, and with this in mind, we aim to be fully transparent about the data that we may hold, along with with the purpose for holding it, all of which is reflected in our new Privacy Notice.
Behind the scenes all of the parish councils employees, councillor's and role holders will be undergoing training on data protection, as the responsibility for protecting data does not stop with the council it stops with the individuals working for and serving the council. And to add an additional layer of security, all councillor's will be adopting a professional email address.
If you have any questions or concerns about how your data is being used, you can contact the Parish Council at any time.
Cllr Theresa Durrant
Author: Phil Ward | Date: 9th April 2018
On Sunday 25th March, I was fortunate enough to be invited (as a Parish Council rep) to a performance of Darent Valley Youth Music at St Martinís Church, my first full concert experience of the group. I attended with my partner Vanessa and her mum Shirley, who I found at the side of the road in her wheelchair, but thatís another story.
We were treated to various genre of music from classical to Disney (some great numbers there) played by groups of young people of differing musical stages, all with remarkable enthusiasm. I should also mention the dedication offered by the slightly older members who teach, organise and conduct, particularly Duncan Dwinell, Jezz Laing and James Drake; well done chaps.
A really entertaining afternoon of music punctuated by delicious tea and cake. However, the performance was slightly bittersweet as for three of the musicians, it was their last performance with DVYM. They are heading off to university, starting another phase in their lives, but hopefully they will always carry with them the gift of music, inspired and nurtured by DVYM. Good luck to them all.
I now realise what a successful and important organisation DVYM is for the area, deserving support from the whole community. It provides a unique opportunity for our young people to express themselves musically, providing inspiration, building confidence, fostering teamwork and providing an outlet for their undoubted talents.
I would urge you all to support this amazing organisation; go to a concert or three, or if you know of a young person who might want to be involved, get in touch directly https://dvym.org/
In their own words ĎLife without music would B♭' (it took me a moment - B flat)
Author: Ferne Haxby | Date: 16th February 2018
February is a horrible month, Christmas has gone, the nights are still long, Spring seems not to be raising its eyes over the horizon as yet, and the weather is wet, cold and dismal. As you can will tell, not my favourite month!
So, what better time to start a new project, one that can help members of the community and involve people in reaching out to our more vulnerable residents.
Initial discussions took place in the summer of last year with Bluebird Care, Carers FIRST and the Alzheimer's and Dementia Support Services to research what services and support was available generally to people living with Dementia and their carers in Eynsford and Farningham and, indeed, the surrounding villages Whilst these organisations are working with people, to get them together was proving difficult as meeting places, day centres and other groups were based in the towns.
Working together, we were able to put together a plan to bring people living with Dementia, their carers and volunteers from the villages together to have time to chat, share experiences, have some fun and gain advice, information and help from experts.
Of course, funding is always needed for this sort of thing and Sevenoaks District Council and the two Parish Councils of Eynsford and Farningham were happy to help fund the initial set up and first year running of the Cafe.
The first meeting took place on Friday 9th February in Eynsford Village Hall and was a great success. We welcomed both carers and those living with Dementia from the villages and surrounding areas. Bluebird Care, Carers FIRST and the Alzheimer's and Dementia Support Services were all on hand to help with advice and guidance, whilst a group of wonderful volunteers from the village provided refreshments and activities.
A cheese tasting and faces from the past quiz took place which proved very successful - did you know 'Daisy' provides milk to make the cheese or so one of our members said!!!
We look forward to future meetings taking place throughout the year every 2nd Friday of the month (Except August).
Watch out for advertising on notice boards throughout the villages and a monthly following in the Trident and Parish Magazines.
If you would like more information, contact Cllr Ferne Haxby on 07980820216. We look forward to welcoming more people in the future.
Cllr Ferne Haxby
Author: Phil Ward | Date: 20th November 2017
Last week, I attended the remembrance service at Eynsford War Memorial. It always proves a well organised event involving representatives from all sections of the community. Numbers attending seem to increase each year but it remains very respectful and poignant.
On the 4th November, I joined the hundreds of other residents and visitors to watch poor Guy Fawkes meet his fate and marvel at the stunning firework display at Furlongs Farm; it always makes me proud to say I live here. Although the ground was damp, we managed to dodge the earlier rain with the delicious mulled wine warming us on the inside. The only issue was the recurring theme of traffic, which seemed more of a problem this year, mainly due to visitors double parking between the school and the Baptist church. Organisers may want to think about some mitigation for next year.
Sadly, there was a fatal car crash on the A225 last week, our thoughts going to the friends and family of those involved. We donít have any information as to the cause, but will monitor closely to see if there are any lessons for us to consider going forward.
The biggest single village issue Iím involved with is the provision of a new village hall. It may seem that little is happening but be assured there is slow but steady progress. Architectural plans are at an advanced stage and hall users were recently presented with these for comment, with some useful ideas on detail coming forward.
On a personal note, I've just returned from a brief but enjoyable cultural visit to Warsaw taking part in a local parkrun - similar to the weekly Lullingstone event - come along it's free!!
Author: Theresa Durrant | Date: 10th October 2017
If Facebook is anything to go by, then no subject is more divisive to a community than 'parking'. It's very easy to point a finger and blame haulage companies, commuters or mum's and dad's at school drop off times, but in reality the issue of parking and congestion is much more wide spread around the village than many residents realise. Except for those living in the affected hot spots that is!
Hot spots such as St Martin's Drive, outside Anthony Roper and the high street are locations that often have people tooting their horns and swapping a few heated words, but the effects of poor parking can be problematic for many reasons, such as; the cost in repairing damaged vehicles; pedestrians and vehicles repeatedly coming into close contact, minor accidents and on the extreme side loss of life if emergency vehicles are not able to navigate through the traffic.
The parish council receives a number of complaints each year from concerned residents and whilst every complaint is treated very seriously and advice sought from Sevenoaks District Council or Kent Highways, the solution isn't always to pop in a few parking restrictions, such as yellow lines or bollards and hope this resolves the problem. The growing population invariably means more cars per household and potentially more school drop offs. A dwindling public transport service and more housing demands across the district means more road users in general, all of which put extra pressure on parking around the village. Any long term parking restriction plans need to be considered very carefully in order not to push the problem to another area of the village, where the affects of congestion may be even more detrimental. The parish council also need to consider that not all residents have access to off street parking and therefore putting in parking restrictions could be rather unfair on them.
So what can we do about the problem?
The parish council is aware that many streets in the village were not designed to accommodate the number of cars currently being parked in them. In the long term, the parish council has set up a parking committee who will be responsible for investigating viable parking initiatives. However, they are under no illusion that both budget constraints and available space for development, could limit these to small scale initiatives. The parish council and the Village Hall trustees are also working closely to ensure that parking is a consideration in the new village hall design should the project get the go ahead.
In the short term, arrangements have been made with the parish council and some of the pubs to open their car parks during school drop off and collection times, so they can be utiltised by parents. Although we would ask parents to vacate the parking space as soon as they have dropped off or collected their children to ensure the space is available for other parents.
We are also urging visitors, commuters and residents to exercise some restraint and take extra care when parking to ensure that the daily commute is more enjoyable and safe for all of us. For example, did you know that a fire engine needs 10ft (3 meters) of clearance to pass safely? Poorly parked cars could be putting the lives of friends, families and neighbours at risk and could make a difference in saving a life or not.
The parish council is also currently pursuing parking restriction initiatives around the village, to ensure that the roads are kept safe for both road users and pedestrians. By reducing parking on both sides of the high street, this will help to improve visibility and prevent narrowing of the road caused by double parking and ensure that vehicles and emergency vehicles can navigate around the village safely. However, these are just small steps towards alleviating what is becoming an increasing and more pressing problem.
How do other villages cope?
Parking issues seem to be a common occurrence across many rural villages and some residents have come up with creative ways to help reduce the problem. For example, some parents have taken to petitioning their school to open up space for designated drop off/pick up points within the school grounds. Other initiatives include a proactive approach to educating road users by training teachers / residents or parents to issue parking tickets through volunteer parking warden schemes.
Other villages approach the parking issue by communicating the importance of walking short journeys wherever possible, which not only has the added health benefits, but can reduce household bills by as much as £50-£100 per month.
Then of course there is the common sense approach, which includes road users not double parking their vehicles, leading to reduced sight lines, but could also mean avoiding a costly trip to the garage to replace wing mirrors; leaving more room at junctions, parking as close to the kerb as possible, leaving pavements clear so wheelchair or pushchairs users don't have to step into the road to pass parked cars and of course using indicators so other road users know your intentions and don't inadvertently block oncoming traffic.
This is clearly a problem that is set to be around for a while yet, but the parish council and parking committee welcome any ideas and collaboration to reduce the parking impact on the village. In the meantime, if you are experiencing problems with parking around the village, you can find more information about reporting nuisance parking here: http://www.kent.gov.uk/
Author: Sarah Boyle | Date: 26th May 2016
Great Day on Tuesday when I was invited to participate in the visit of year 5 children (and associated parents etc) from our twin village of Camphin to the Anthony Roper school. After a morning working with the Gold medal winning Eynsford South East in Bloom Group (preparing the war memorial for summer bedding), I hurriedly changed and joined the parents and other Twinning Committee members at the Riverside Tearooms for a convivial sandwich and soup lunch where our Rector (Gary) aroused both admiration and amusement in his attempts to speak french. I must admit that my french is non existant but luckily Bruno (Camphin Chairman of the Twinning Committee) is fluent in English and we had a happy time generally reminiscing about the most recent trips and establishing that William Alexander in his costume as High Sheriff of Kent had made a lasting impression on the female citizens of Camphin!. I was happy to hear too that the Twinning Committee meeting, held that morning in the Parish Office, had been very constructive before joining Gill (Eynsford Chairman) and the others at Anthony Roper School. Here we heard about the joint morning activities, saw some enthusiastic games of rounders and enjoyed a small concert by the children while parents and children enjoyed some lovely afternoon tea before waving our visitors off about 3.30pm. Many thanks to all at Anthony Roper school and on the Twinning Committee for a very successful and enjoyable day.
Author: Phil Ward | Date: 3rd November 2015
Councillor Phil Ward Blogs!!
The council has agreed to pursue a Neighbourhood Plan Ė a tool to allow us to develop a development plan for the parish which has a legal basis.
Lullingstone parkrun has been going for 6 months. Itís arguably one of the toughest courses but certainly one of the most picturesque. Get involved http://www.parkrun.org.uk/lullingstone/
Kent County Council are currently reviewing the best way of delivering country park services and Lullingstone falls into the review. The status quo is the preferred option but other models are being considered such as handing management to a trust organisation. A decision is expected in December.
Tonight Iím joining the other councillors for our annual budget meeting where we decide how best to balance our income and spend for the year.
And this coming weekend Iím off to parkrun in Gdansk, Poland!
Author: Clive Stanyon | Date: 3rd December 2014
Today I resigned from the chairmanship of Eynsford Parish Council, after approaching 8 years as its chairman. I had planned to remain as the chairman until the elections in May. However, after careful thought, I decided that it was better all round were I to go now.
Today, Jan and I also completed the purchase of a house in Elham, near Canterbury, and will be moving there on 9th December. Although this will not make it impossible to chair Eynsford Parish Council, it will make it difficult and, perhaps, not appropriate. Also, on balance, I felt that it would be good to get a new chairman/chairwoman on board before the May elections.
In order to prevent the need to get another councillor on board before the elections, I will be remaining as a councillor until then. If necessary, I will be able to dial into meetings from Elham, rather than travel up. At least it will give me that option, which I would not really have as chairman.
When I complete this term of office, I will have been a parish councillor for twenty years, which at 10 hours a week, will equate to about 10,400 hours of my time. To say that it has been a major part of my life would, therefore, not be an exaggeration. I hope that, in that time, I have been able to contribute positively to life in Eynsford. I have taken a great deal of pleasure from the work, as well as some pain, so there will be a mixed bag of memories.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank our current clerks, Holly Ivaldi and Naomi Wolfe, for the great support that they have given me as chairman over the last 8 years, and to wish them well for the future. Also to thank our county councillor, Roger Gough, and our district councillor, Michael Horwood, with whom I have worked very harmoniously over the years. Finally, I would like to thank all councillors and clerks, both past and present, many of whom have come to become good friends. I shall miss them all, and I shall miss Eynsford.
As vice-chairman, Nick Rodway will be in temporary charge until 18th December, when a new chairman/chairwoman will be elected, preferably from someone who intends to re-stand for election in May. Given the temporary nature of Nick's position, it may be that there are no further Chairman's Blogs between now and 18th December.
May I finish by wishing all parishioners a very happy Christmas and a prosperous new year.
Author: Clive Stanyon | Date: 1st December 2014
Attended the monthly Planning, and Highways & Transportation Committees, when the main item for discussion, other than three planning applications, was the potential impact of the Thames Gateway developments, including the London Paramount Project. It was agreed that development in the Thames Gateway area would likely bring significant visitor pressures to the Darent Valley, as well as traffic movements, both inside and nearby the Darent Valley. It was agreed to write to both Kent County Council and Sevenoaks District Council requesting what thought had put into the visitor and traffic pressures to be expected, and what mitigation is being planned.
Author: Clive Stanyon | Date: 27th November 2014
Chaired a meeting of the School Run Safety Campaign Committee, for which there was a very good turn-out, including two new members, Suzie Murfet and Vikki Rimmer. Tania Birch and Ali Carter reported that there had been a high-visibility jacket, swap and buy, session at the school, and that this had been very satisfactory. Roger Gough reported that the proposed highway scheme was now being given detailed costing by Kent Highways. After that, of course, funding will still need to be found, so we must not get too excited at this point. Naomi Wolfe reported that work is now in hand to create a new gate at the Edwards Hall site, this to separate pedestrian and vehicle movements, and to pave the way for a pilot, school-run parking scheme on the site. The scout group have said that they will be willing to try out a pilot scheme, when the highway changes are made. Two new ideas were put forward: matching people with drives with people who need to drive to school, this from Vikki; and car-sharing, this from Suzie. It was agreed to pursue both of these possibilities.
Author: Clive Stanyon | Date: 23rd November 2014
Reviewed my own parish council priorities, which now include: rescheduling a meeting with PCSO Darling; liaising with Michael Horwood regarding Speed Watch; and continuing to review the Sevenoaks District Council Allocations & Development Management Plan.
Author: Clive Stanyon | Date: 20th November 2014
Chaired a full council meeting. It was agreed to seek some quotations from professional tree service companies to survey the condition of trees on parish council land, mainly to ensure that they are all safe. It was noted that a response had been received from Network Rail regarding the timing of lighting at the railway station. The response was that the lights are on from dusk until dawn. We will be writing back to ask for the lighting to be turned off 15 minutes after the last train has passed through. A written report was received from Theresa Durrant on the recent meeting of the consortium of local parish councils. It was agreed to seek a meeting with Rick Bayne, from the Darent Valley Landscape Partnership, recently awarded £2.3m, to talk about possible improvements that could be made within the Eynsford stretch of the valley. Phil Ward gave a report on London Paramount, a huge leisure complex being proposed for Swanscombe. It was noted that Malcolm Richardson will be meeting representatives from South Eastern on 10th December to discuss the installation of cycle racks at the parish council's expense. District Councillor, Michael Horwood, reported that a grant of £1,500 from Sevenoaks District Council, as well as use of £500 from Michael's own allowance, will enable Speed Watch equipment to be published for Eynsford. This will make Speed Watch sessions much easier, there no longer being a need to collect and return the equipment. A report was received from PCSO Tim Darling on recent police matters within the village. It was agreed not to pursue Christmas lights for the village, given the lack of any positive responses to the idea. Andrea Cornwell reported on an NHS meeting that she had attended, the main thrust of which was to get health delivery agencies to work more holistically to enable people to recover in their own homes. It was agreed to pay £220 to the North West Countryside Project to do some clearance work on the Castlefield Nature Area. It was agreed to purchase 4 new waste bins for the Common Meadow, at a cost of circa £500. as well as to purchase a new gate for the cricket pavilion end of the Common Meadow fence, at £450.
Author: Clive Stanyon | Date: 19th November 2014
Prepared for the full council meeting tomorrow evening. There will be some interesting reports on: the recent consortium meeting of parish councils, attended by Theresa Durrant and myself; a London Paramount exhibition, attended by Phil Ward; and an NHS event, attended by Andrea Cornwell and Theresa Durrant. We may agree to spend £220 to open up a footpath at the Castlefield Nature Area, to allow for more public enjoyment; to purchase some new litter bins for the Common Meadow, the old wooden ones in place being well past their best; and to spend £450 on replacing the Common Meadow gate at the cricket pavilion end, which is also in a poor state of repair. Why not pop along at 20:00 tomorrow evening to see how it all works, and remember that we may well need a few new councillors in May!
Author: Clive Stanyon | Date: 17th November 2014
Chaired the annual budget meeting, when a draft budget was produced for the 2015-16 financial year, starting April 2015. This budget will be presented to the full council meeting on 18th December for approval, and so may be altered. The headline, as far as the council tax is concerned is that the council is proposing to increase the precept from £67,800 to £68,800, a small increase of just under 1%, following no increase between 2013-14 and 2014-15. This amount, combined with an estimated carried forward figure of circa £84,700 and £3,500 in expected income, brings the total budget for 2015/16 to circa £157,000.
The council is proposing to put another £4,000 into a fund for the village hall Rescue and Renewal Project, to bring this fund up to £59,000. The next biggest budget item is for the clerks salaries, plus PAYE/NIC and pension contributions, which amounts to £28,200. The playground replacement fund has been increased by a further £1,500 and will stand at £8,700. Street lighting repairs and replacements will attract £6,400, this for the replacement of all lanterns in Old Mill Close. Other items over £3,000 include our car park maintenance fund, increased to £3,200, office running costs, at £3,900, and street lighting energy, at £3,100. In terms of completely new items, we have set aside £500 to put in some cycle racks at the railway station, subject to permission being granted, £1,000 to contribute next year to the Darent Valley Landscape Partnership, who have many exciting plans, and web site maintenance, at £250.
Author: Clive Stanyon | Date: 15th November 2014
Reviewed my own parish council priorities, which now include: meeting PCSO Tim Darling on Monday evening; continuing to review the SDC Allocations and Development Management Plan; and speaking to District Councillor, Michael Horwood about getting some momentum into Speed Watch.
Author: Clive Stanyon | Date: 13th November 2014
Attended a Darent Valley Consortium Meeting, with Theresa Durrant, when representatives of Farningham, Horton Kirby & South Darenth, Otford and Shoreham were present.
First, we discussed Speed Watch, and the difficulty that there appears to be in finding volunteers. Three, or preferably four, people are needed to man the equipment, one to read the speed, one to note the type of car, and one/two to record the registration number. All parish councils are very disappointed in the lack of volunteers, when we are being told that traffic speeding is a big issue. It was agreed that we would have a joint push in trying to find new recruits. However, if people do not come forward, this will be a clear indication that speeding traffic is an issue to be complained about, but not important enough to take any action. Your parish needs you, so if you have the occasional two hours, and are prepared to have an evening's training, then please do come forward.
Next, we discussed the Community Warden Consultation, mentioned by me in an earlier blog. It was agreed that, in the event of the community warden service being whittled down to such an extent that it becomes fairly useless, we would consider funding a warden between many local parish councils, provided that we could then have control over how they are used.
Another subject of discussion was Home Based Kent, a programme to help people who run a business from home with funding, advice and guidance. If you are the owner of a home based business and need a business boost, then this may well be worth having a look at. Their web site is www.homebasedkent.biz and their telephone number is 0300 0309660. Why not give the number a call. It will cost you very little and may help you a lot: nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Other topics of discussion were defribillators, the AONB Valley of Visions, and the SDC Tourism Focus Group.
Author: Clive Stanyon | Date: 12th November 2014
Did a partial review of this new web site, and fed back to the clerks some suggested improvements, for incorporation. The main changes suggested were to flesh out the information on planning, and how we have a, Government, National Planning Policy Framework and a, Sevenoaks District Council, Local Development Framework that takes us through to 2026. Also to clarify the place in planning of the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), protected for its landscape value, the London Metropolitan Green Belt, protected for its openness, and the Eynsford Conservation Area, protected for its local character setting. Finally, I suggested a note about listed buildings and the need for listed building consent.
Author: Clive Stanyon | Date: 9th November 2014
Attended the remembrance gathering at the war memorial, and placed a wreath on behalf of the parish council. There was a great turn-out of people to remember those who had given their lives for our benefit, and it was very heartening to see such numbers. It was also a proud moment for me to see that the stone the parish council had laid more recently provides an outlet of remembrance for the families of those more recently taken from us. In contrast, it was also a sad moment for me, knowing that this will be my last Remembrance Sunday as chairman of the parish council, as plans to move to Elham accelerate. The nation seems to be embracing these occasions of remembrance more and more each year, and I am very glad that I took the opportunity to visit the wonderful poppy installation at the Tower of London. Long may we remember the sacrifices made, and be thankful for our freedoms and opportunities.
Author: Clive Stanyon | Date: 8th November 2014
Reviewed my own priorities, which now include: attending the consortium of local parish councils meeting, in Shoreham, on 13th November; making sure that there is a Tree Works Sub-committee meeting held shortly; and continuing my review of the Allocations and Development Management Plan.
Author: Clive Stanyon | Date: 6th November 2014
Continued to review the Allocations and Development Management Plan (ADMP), part of the Local Development Framework (LDF), which will go some way to replacing it. I have noticed three additional items that may give rise to concern. The first is that there appears to be nothing said about the protection of specimen trees. The second is that there appears to be no mention of protection of the best quality agricultural land. However, there is mention of this in the National Planning Policy Framework, and so that may suffice. The third is that there appears to be no mention of lawfully protected species. It may well be that there is no need to mention these as the law may always win over planning. I have referred these three items to our planning chairman, Phil Ward, to consider.
Author: Clive Stanyon | Date: 3rd November 2014
Attended the Planning and Community & Environment Committees, at the Parish Office, chaired respectively by Phil Ward and Andrea Cornwell. It was particularly pleasing to see a full set of eight councillors present, as well as four non-councillor co-optees, making it a bit of a squeeze!
There were two planning applications for review, for 7 St Martin's Drive and 3 Elizabeth Cottages, and we did not object to either.
There was a discussion about the possibility of producing a Neighbourhood Plan, and it was agreed that Phil would set up a small team to consider what sites in the village might be suitable for inclusion in such a plan. The purpose of a Neighbourhood Plan is not to oppose development, rather it is to direct development in a way that meets local needs, as opposed to what a developer might want to build. A Neighbourhood Plan needs to have the backing of the local community, via a referendum, and if accepted by Sevenoaks District Council, becomes planning policy against which planning applications are then judged.
As the parish council had received a consultation, from Kent County Council, on the community warden service, this was discussed. Kent County Council wish to save over £1.2m on this service, and are proposing to cut down on the number of community wardens from 79 to 40, as well as to get these community wardens to cover villages that currently do not have one. Logically, this indicates that a community warden would have to cover at least double the number of villages that each currently covers, when they are already spread fairly thinly. In addition it is suggested in the consultation that the wardens would not have dedicated parishes. Councillors agreed that if the community wardens are both spread more thinly and not dedicated to an area then the service becomes fairly pointless. The council, therefore, objected to the proposals. We shall keep a keen eye on this, and discuss it with other local parish councils at a forthcoming consortium meeting.
Tourism was next discussed, and whether we would want to do something in the way of encouraging more tourism and supporting the local tourist attractions. It was agreed that most parishioners would not want to see any encouragement that generates more traffic in the village on sunny weekends in particular. However, it was discussed that we could perhaps do something to encourage the use of trains, perhaps by negotiating discounts with local attractions and pubs, to those that travel by train. This was just an idea. It was agreed that Andrea would set up a small team to give this some more thought.
The format of the next Annual Parish Meeting was the next topic, when it was agreed that the more informal approach of last year should be repeated, but that the event should be made to look a little more like a parish council event, and perhaps to include some short, formal business. It was also agreed that we would seek views on whether a Friday evening is a good time to hold it.
Finally, Andrea reported on a site meeting that she had attended with the North West Kent Countryside Project, at the Castlefield Nature Area, when it was agreed that a footpath, open to members of the public, would be a positive move. As a result, we will be proceeding with path clearance between the High Street access, to the boundary of the allotments, for which we had already agreed a cost of £500.
Author: Clive Stanyon | Date: 2nd November 2014
Completed my review of the policies in the Sevenoaks District Local Plan which I had not so far reviewed. Started to review the Allocations and Development Management Plan (ADMP), part of the Local Development Framework (LDF), which will go some way to replacing it. I have noticed three potential items so far that may give rise to concern. The first is that there is no mention of tandem development, ie development behind an existing road frontage, such as Station Road. I would be concerned if the plan opened up such development possibilities. The second is that there appears to be no mention of vehicle parking standards for domestic property extensions, although new developments are covered, and this would be a worry given the existing parking problems in the village. The third is that there appears to be little mention of the protection of wildlife sites, bearing in mind that the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) expects local authorities to '... set criteria based policies against which proposals for any development on or affecting protected wildlife or geodiversity sites or landscape areas will be judged'. I will ask Phil Ward, our Planning Committee chairman to double check these points, and then seek clarification from Sevenoaks District Council should he agree that there is a concern.
Author: Clive Stanyon | Date: 31st October 2014
Continued to look at the policies in the Sevenoaks District Local Plan (SDLP), this time for Population & Housing and Employment. This I am doing with a view to identifying any policy references, important to Eynsford, that ought to be covered in the Allocations and Development Management Plan (ADMP), within the Local Development Framework LDF). The ADMP substantially replaces the SDLP.
Author: Clive Stanyon | Date: 29th October 2014
Continued to look at the policies in the Sevenoaks District Plan, this time for Transportation and Vehicle Parking.
Author: Holly Ivaldi | Date: 27th October 2014
Continued to look at the policies in the Sevenoaks District Plan, this time for Natural Resources and Green Belt.
Author: Holly Ivaldi | Date: 25th October 2014
Attended a parish council surgery morning, when the opportunity was taken to have a site meeting at the Castlefield Nature Area.
It was agreed to pursue a path in three possible stages:
It would have to be made clear that:
The preference would be that the path be as natural as possible and complement the surroundings, whilst enabling poeple in wheelchairs or with buggies to access the area. A regime would need to be put in place to maintain path accessibility, but this could probably be done through a contract, in the same way as we have a contract with the litter warden.
Author: Holly Ivaldi | Date: 25th October 2014
Alongside Sarah Boyle, Theresa Durrant and Phil Ward, did an inspection of the Harrow Meadow Changing Rooms, this to ensure that they are being properly looked after by the football teams. A number of jobs that need to be done were noted, none of which were associated with misuse of the facilities, and the clerks will be asked to get these jobs done.
Author: Holly Ivaldi | Date: 23rd October 2014
Reviewed my own parish council priorities, which now include: Getting out the quarterly newsletter; getting a tree works sub-committee meeting organised; and continuing a review of the Sevenoaks District Council Allocations and Development Management Plan. Reviewed the minutes of the last full council meeting and agreed amendments with the Parish Clerk.
Chaired a meeting of the School Run Satefy Campaign committee. As the new school term begins there will be sessions to enable the swapping, and buying, of high-visibility jackets. The committee is pleased at the number of jackets that were returned last term by school leavers. The highways scheme, drawn up last year by Kent Highways had been put on hold because of lack of funding. However, our county councillor, Roger Gough, is going to pursue the possibility of a phased implementation, at least from a financial perspective, to help make this happen. In the meantime, the parish council is going to firm up on costs for a pedestrian gate at the Edwards Hall site, so that the site may be made available at school run times on a trial basis, when the highway scheme is implemented.
Author: Holly Ivaldi | Date: 21st October 2014
Reviewed the spreadsheet of parish council owned property, to identify the items of high priority, and asked the clerks to update me on how the work is progressing.
Finished reading the National Planning Framework. This document is the Government's 59-page planning policy document. There were no particular surprises, it being written at a very strategic level. Of course, this makes it all the more important to scrutinise the local plans coming out of Sevenoaks District Council.
Author: Holly Ivaldi | Date: 20th October 2014
Started to look at the policies in the Sevenoaks District Plan, due to be replaced shortly by the Allocations and Development Management Plan, in conjuction with the, already approved, Core Strategy. Made a note of the key issues which should be covered in the Allocations and Development Management Plan, in order, eventually, to be able to highlight anything that has been lost, despite our representations in the past. Hopefully, there will be very few, if any, of these key issues missing, as the parish council's impression is that the Allocations and Development Plan looks pretty sound.
Author: Holly Ivaldi | Date: 16th October 2014
Chaired a full council meeting. Both of the clerks were congratulated on having passed their Working With Your Council course work.
Budget adjustments for the current financial year were agreed, ostensibly to deal with a higher than expected carry forward figure, and outstanding payments, from the last financial year. One beneficiary was the fund to do something about the old, concrete, playground bases in Harrow Meadow, the budget for which had been removed, but has now been restored with £1,000. Another beneficiary was the proposed footpath through the Castlefield Nature Area, which received an extra £250.
It was noted that a road closure had been arranged for Remembrance Sunday.
Malcolm Richardson reported on a survey that he had done of the signage at Riverside. He recommended that some cleaning be done, but that there was no need for any rationalisation of signage. A few, minor, remedial works were agreed, consisting of the removal of a rusting post in the village car park, and the repair of that car park fence, plus the reinstatement of some granite sets outside the Riverside Club.
Our county councillor, Roger Gough, agreed to try to pursue a phased approach to the proposed highway scheme for the area around the school, given the lack of available funding to implement the proposed scheme in one go.
Nominations had been received for a Kent Association of Parish Council award for contribution to village life. Following a vote, a recipient for the award was agreed, and a presentation will be arranged for the next Annual Parish Meeting.
It was agreed to pay up to £500 for an initial path to be created in the Castlefield Nature Area, following consultation with the North West Kent Countryside Project. A donation of £250 was agreed for the WI.
Author: Holly Ivaldi | Date: 15th October 2014
Wrote an article on the next elections, in May 2015, for the Autumn quarterly newsletter, to encourage people to consider standing for election to the parish council at that time, bearing in mind that the three most experienced councillors, John Harris, Nick Rodway and myself are likely not to be re-standing at that time. This will be the end of an era, but also an opportunity for change and a fresh outlook. So please give this some thought.