WATERINGBURY PARISH COUNCIL
Minutes of Parish Council Meeting
Tuesday 2nd February 2021 7.30pm
Held via Zoom
Cllr M Wells (Chairman)
Cllr R Tripp
Cllr D Marks
Cllr F Fielding
Mrs S Cockburn – Clerk to the Council
Cllr S Hudson – Tonbridge & Malling Borough Councillor
Mrs C Byron & Mrs E Bird – Rostrum Correspondents
7 Members of the Public
The Chairman opened the meeting by stating the meeting would be recorded to assist the Clerk in taking the Minutes
19/195 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Cllr L Simons
19/196 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST/DISPENSATIONS
The Chairman stated KCC had advised they will now be looking at Highway Improvement Plans and asked for any additions to our HIP held over from last year.
There will be a Highways & Transportation Committee Meeting on 16th February to discuss this. The plan would be available on the council website prior to the meeting and it would be helpful if any member of the public would like to put anything forward this could emailed to the clerk in advance of the meeting
The Chairman said he would like to appoint Cllr Fielding as Vice Chairman. Cllr Fielding had agreed. Cllr Tripp proposed the appointment and this was seconded by Cllr Marks. All Councillors voted in favour.
19/198 REPORT FROM COUNTY COUNCILLOR
Cllr Balfour was not present
19/199 REPORT FROM BOROUGH COUNCILLOR
Cllr Hudson said the Borough Council had sent a response in the form of a 22 page letter to Central Government regarding its Local Plan. The Angel Centre in Tonbridge would be open shortly as a Covid mass vaccination centre for West Kent and recommended all have regular tests to check they are not Covid positive. The local free testing centres are The Hop Farm and Larkfield Library. Cllr Hudson was working with the relevant departments to tackle the problem of the flooding near the junction of the A26 and The Orpines.
The village sorting office is to close in March. Packages which are unable to be delivered could still be collected from the post office. Mail would come from Snodland so deliveries may be slightly later. The village post office remains up for sale.
19/200 CRIME REPORT
Lodge Close Wednesday 13th January between 8.30pm and 9pm a large amount of Laurel trees had been ripped up and left on the ground
Bow Road – between 6.00pm Saturday 16th January and 11.00am Sunday 17th January someone broke a window of a residential property
Bow Road – Monday 18th January between 12.00pm and 1.00pm a building lock had been stolen
Red Hill – Thursday 28th January between 1.30m and 2.11pm Somebody damaged trees and knocked down a fence post at a farm by driving a 4×4 and an off road bike through it.
19/201 MINUTES OF MEETING HELD ON 5th JANUARY 2021 TO BE APPROVED FOR ACCURACY
The Minutes having been read were approved by Cllr Marks and seconded by Cllr Fielding – all Councillors voted in favour. The Minutes would be signed as a correct record.
19/202 MATTERS ARISING FROM MINUTES HELD ON 5th JANUARY 2021
19/203 STREET LIGHTS
A Resolution was passed at the January meeting that the Parish Council intended to seek an interest free loan from Salix Finance of £12,000 to replace all lights with LED lanterns. Repayments of £2400 over 5 years would not be put on the precept. One of the conditions of the loan was to get public support. It was agreed that an article would go in the Rostrum magazine, on the parish website and on Facebook.
Street Light repairs – Ken Bonner of Streetlights had submitted a Service Inspection Report that listed repairs needed before any new work. The estimated cost would be in the region of £4000/£5000.
£5,000 had been included in the budget for 2021/2022 which had been agreed in January. The repairs had been agreed but Mr Bonner asked if work should start immediately or wait until after the 1st April. Cllr Marks proposed that work should start immediately. This was seconded by Cllr Fielding. All Councillors were in favour
The Chairman said there was some tree/hedging that would need to be removed prior to repairs.
The Brucks – column number 33 is heavily corroded inside plus a hole in the column. The column is dangerous and needs replacing. To do this the supply to the column needed to be disconnected and then reconnected once a new column was in. This would be done by UK Power Networks at a cost of £1032. It was agreed this was necessary and all Councillors voted in favour of accepting the UK Power Networks quote.
19/204 REPORTS FROM COMMITTEES AND OTHER BODIES
Finance & General Purposes – no meeting. Andrew French Fencing had been asked to inspect all the chestnut fencing along the track at the playing fields, parts are leaning over towards the track and new posts are needed. Also, a stile near the pavilion had collapsed due to rotting timber. A quote for supply and fit around 25 new chestnut posts and one replacement timber stile £535 plus VAT. Cllr Tripp proposed acceptance and this was seconded by Cllr Fielding all Councillors agreed
An amended quote had been received from Safeplay for repairs to play equipment. This put the amount up from £1890 to £2094.05. All councillors agreed. The Chairman thanked Cllr Tripp and Cllr Fielding for carrying out an inspection and making recommendations
Birkby Construction had been asked to inspect the pot holes in the track leading to the playing fields, but there had been no contact to date. Cllr Marks agreed to contact Bikby Construction
Speedwatch – Due to the team being grounded there was no report
Cemetery – The seat removed by James Woolley for refurbishment has been put back in the cemetery
Allotments – There are 6 people on the waiting list. All have come on since the lockdown last March up until recently. Some existing holders have been identified as having done or little or no work on their allotments over the past 12 months+ showing no interest and leaving them overgrown. This is a breach of their tenancy agreement and unfair to those who work hard and keep their plots in good condition.
The Clerk would like to establish information of each plot and then to write to those identified as not having worked their plots over a long period stating renewal from the 1st April would not be offered. All Councillors agreed
Village Warden – very little to report other than the grounds are very wet due to the recent heavy rain
19/205 FINANCIAL STATEMENT AND CHEQUES FOR PAYMENT
The Financial Statement was approved by Cllr Fielding and seconded by Cllr Marks and all cheques would be signed.
19/206 PUBLIC DISCUSSION
The Reverend Gary Townsend introduced himself as the new Vicar to Wateringbury and said he wanted to come along to the meeting to see what issues there are at the moment and he hoped to play a full part in the village community. The Chairman welcomed the Reverend Townsend
Mrs Byron said she would be happy to identify the owners of trees that overhung street lights in Canon Lane and Mr Ockenden said he would also be happy to identify those in Fields Lane, Cobbs Close and The Brucks
Cllr Hudson said a CCTV sign was still in place on the wall of the village hall by the ramp and needed to be removed and replaced with new sign that showed the village hall were responsible for the camera on the ramp.
Cllr Marks said he had previously removed two other signs, but was unaware of a third sign. The Chairman said the council would look into it.
Mr Verity asked for clarification of the meeting previous mentioned with KCC on the 16th February. The Chairman said it was the Parish Council that was holding the meeting to discuss the Highways Improvement Plan. The Council had been campaigning for the last six years with our County Councillor Matthew Balfour, and writing direct to KCC about the speed of vehicles going through Wateringbury on the A26 and nothing has been done. There was one site meeting with KCC in July last year at which the Parish Council was not consulted and it is understood KCC have applied for funds but the outcome won’t be known until KCC have finalised their budget which may not be until the end March so what the Councill will discuss is their Highways Improvement Plan.
Cllr Hudson referred to issues going on the Council website and in Rostrum but said people read on the go and she had spoken in the past about using social media which she believed the Parish Council could use to achieve to get people to respond to specific issues such as street lighting. It was really important to get a greater engagement with the electorate which the Parish Council represents. Nothing has happened on the council’s Facebook page for sometime and nothing placed on the village Facebook page from the Parish Council. Cllr Hudson said she put Parish Council meetings on Facebook asking people to contact the Clerk and she was pushing to get people more engaged to care about their environment and community and that the Parish Council would benefit from it too.
Cllr Fielding agreed it as one way of getting comments quickly particularly on the street lights issue.
Cllr Hudson said she would push the Highway Improvement Plan to get people more engaged. Cllr Hudson said she was more than happy to do that on behalf of the Parish Council.
The Chairman said the council would look into it and Cllr Fielding said she would liaise with Cllr Hudson on the street lights.
There being no further business the Chairman closed the meeting at 8.20pm