WATERINGBURY PARISH COUNCIL
Minutes of Parish Council Meeting
Tuesday 6th October 2020 7.30pm
Held via Zoom
Cllr M Wells (Chairman)
Cllr R Tripp
Cllr D Marks
Cllr F Fielding
Cllr L Simons
Mrs S Cockburn – Clerk to the Council
Cllr M Balfour – Kent County Councillor
Cllr S Hudson – Tonbridge & Malling Borough Councillor
Mrs C Byron – Rostrum Correspondent
3 Members of the Public
The Chairman opened the meeting by stating the meeting would be recorded to assist the Clerk in taking the Minutes
19/144 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
19/145 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST/DISPENSATIONS
The Interactive Speed Limit Sign was now up and working at Canon Lane
Progress on the Parish Council’s new website was being monitored and almost all the information on the present site had been migrated. Once this has been completed and the site agreed it would go live.
19/147 REPORT FROM COUNTY COUNCILLOR
Cllr Balfour stressed to make sure the new website is secure by the provider as there had been many reports of websites being attacked.
Planning Green Paper – Cllr Balfour said KCC had serious concerns as to its validity to Government and other MP’s, as it seems that the algorithm that is being used to calculate the number of houses coming out of the Borough is completely wrong.
The Evolution & Devolution Paper has been put back until next year.
Covid- Kent is safe, at the moment
Schools – The Kent test will go ahead and would be well monitored to ensure cheating is avoided.
Cycle Lanes – The question of cycle lanes is very much under review. Some have been successful but some have certainly not.
Brexit – we are desperately trying to ensure Kent stays open. The Government seems to be behind the times in bringing this forward.
KCC Budget – This is an absolute nightmare. It is thought that probably this financial year will have a balanced budget, but next year is extremely questionable with many cuts to services and KCC is doing all it can to make it as few as possible.
Cllr Marks stated he read the KCC response to the Green Paper and thought it well considered as it draws attention to the fact that the exemplary performance in terms of housing supply over the last few years has now become the standard on which to improve. Cllr Marks had seen the initial response and felt it looked a bit short on terms but it was very well argued and could do with a lot more back up, and assumed this would come with further discussions but Cllr Marks felt it was a good response.
Cllr Marks said the Council was concerned about what looks like we are being left out of the loop in respect of meetings relating to highway matters and said the Chairman had contacted Cllr Balfour and asked for clarification and was there anything Cllr Balfour could tell Council now because it is something the Parish council had tried to be involved in. Cllr Marks asked Cllr Balfour if any decisions has been made by KCC engineers.
Cllr Balfour said there was nothing further to report but assured Cllr Marks the Parish Council was not being left out of the loop and all that had been desired had been taken into account. This was specific to the western end of the village and speed reductions which you have discussed ad nausea over the years.
Green Paper – it would be quite wrong for an authority like Kent to be belligerent towards the Government. We need to point out the fact it is deeply unfair the South East of England and in particular Kent, and in particular Tonbridge & Malling should be required to take vastly increased housing numbers whereas many authorities have simply not built over the years. The question is how calculations are made that this is what we are arguing about.
Cllr Marks said we don’t want to, as a Borough, suffer if that was the calculation used.
Highway – Cllr Marks was pleased that Cllr Balfour recognized the Parish Council had tried to get thing done and to move things on and it was just a question of the recognition. The fact that anything we wanted had to be run past the engineers on what could and couldn’t be done, and it did seem as though a movement was taking place almost as a result that we were not involved. This may not be the case, but it was refreshing to hear Cllr Balfour recognized that over the years we have tried to do an awful lot. Cllr Marks welcomed the statement.
The Chairman said the Council were doing well with a 20mph limit in Bow Road. We had an excellent report from Ian Grigor telling us we could in fact, on what the traffic survey had shown, in theory have 600 metres which took from the traffic lights to our boundary at Waterside Mews. Various things could be done such as traffic calming because the 20mph was self-policing. The Chairman said he had recently driven around Tonbridge’s 20mph zones and could not see any form of traffic calming in place. It would have appeared to stop since the site meeting and the Chairman asked Cllr Balfour if he would ask Ian Grigor if it was still to go ahead or what Council had to do to progress it. Residents are asking what has happened to the 20mph zone and as you know Council has been accused of, on many occasions, sitting doing nothing and talking amongst ourselves. The Council has funds in the budget and would like to get on with it. If Cllr Balfour could sort this out it would be appreciated.
Cllr Balfour agreed and said he did not know all the 20mph zones being put in. Cllr Balfour suggested Council watch the KCC Scrutiny Committee Meeting held that morning when Michael Payne explained in detail the pressure the Government are putting on. Cllr Balfour said he would check with Ian Grigor and come back. Cllr Balfour said it would be useful if he could have what estimates the council had for various road schemes
The Chairman stated there were no costings, as yet, as Council were waiting to hear back from Ian Grigor, and asked Cllr Balfour to let the Clerk have any update as soon as possible.
The Chairman thanked Cllr Balfour who left the meeting at 7.45pm
19/148 REPORT FROM BOROUGH COUNCILLOR
Cllr Hudson said there had been a number of meetings predominantly to do with the Planning White Paper. An Extraordinary Meeting of Planning Advisory Board resulted in a very robust letter being sent on 1st October from Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council to Robert Jenrick MP critising the Planning White Paper with the sentiment that Tonbridge & Malling had been penalised with the algorithm they intend to use. As a borough we have always built more houses – as many houses as we could which is greater on a par with what we should be doing, and as a result they want us to increase housing by 244% which is clearly unstainable and unachievable.
The Chairman referred to TMBC’s letter and said it was on our Agenda for discussion that evening. Cllr Hudson was not aware of that.
A meeting on a climate change programme at which the air quality at Wateringbury crossroads was discussed. TMBC don’t have a plan of any kind to reduce the bad air. Only car sharing was suggested, which during Covid times was not feasible and Wateringbury was not an end destination but a drive through. Cllr Hudson was disappointed there was no grand scheme. The air quality machine would remain in the village hall for the foreseeable future. The machine in Tonbridge was in Macdonalds which had closed and the only other place it could go was in Borough Green but it was not connected to electricity.
Also discussed was waste bins and the poor performance of Urbaser who are slowly improving the failed number of collections and TMBC are getting fewer complaints which is positive. Because of lockdown and home working etc., behaviour had changed considerably to the extent that carboard packing, due to shopping online, is up something like 54% in terms of recycling which is a lot of extra carboard. Food waste sadly is also up and disappointing. We need to learn to use food in a far more pragmatic way so we don’t throw out in the quantities we have been. Recycling rates are up significantly. The new scheme has now been in operation for one year and everyone is happy it has come about.
The last area of living wall has been planted.
The Community Fridge is still running on a Friday
The Chairman thanked Cllr Hudson.
19/149 CRIME REPORT
There had been two reports. 2 burglaries 2 assault without injury
Tonbridge & Malling Police Community Safety Newsletter which reported on parish updates including a series of shed and garage burglaries in West Malling area and items stolen from a garage in Wateringbury and attempt to break into a lock up
19/150 MINUTES OF MEETING HELD ON 1st SEPTEMBER 2020 TO BE APPROVED FOR ACCURACY
The Minutes having been read were approved by Cllr Simons and seconded by Cllr Fielding and would be signed as a correct record.
19/151 MATTERS ARISING FROM MINUTES HELD ON 1st SEPTEMBER 2020
Business Support Grant – the Parish Council has applied for and received £10,000 for the cemetery.
The Annual Return had been completed and sent to the Auditor.
19/152 REPORTS FROM COMMITTEES AND OTHER BODIES
Finance & General Purposes – Next meeting 17th November. The Chairman would meet with the Clerk to discuss the first draft of the budget for 2020/2021 for the meeting.
The Chairman reminded Councilors of the meeting held back in March with Streetlights on a report which showed a large number of street lights in need of repair and grants were available. Due to Covid this had been put on the back burner and all Councillors agreed Streetlights be contacted again to reopen discussions
Speedwatch – 138 observations of speeding vehicles. A total of 1108 vehicles monitored. 9 letters sent to repeat (twice or more) offenders 2 letters to high end offenders (45+mph in 30mh) 3 vehicles being driven without valid road tax although once since rectified. David Merry had an interview on Radio Kent. Some residents of Lodge Close also spoke of the problem of speeding traffic. The Chairman had listened to the radio report and said David had done the parish proud.
Cemetery – the Chairman reported on a meeting held with Evergreen Rabbit Control who pointed out four large burrows. This would be discussed further by the Council.
Village Warden – no report received
19/153 FINANCIAL STATEMENT AND CHEQUES FOR PAYMENT
The Financial Statement was approved by Cllr Marks and seconded by Cllr Tripp and all cheques would be signed.
19/154 PUBLIC DISCUSSION
Cllr Hudson said the Chairman had failed to mention she was also included in the interview with Radio Kent The Chairman said he had been referring to Speedwatch
Cllr Hudson was asked for help concerning increasing amounts of waste being left on land in Boorman’s Mews. Cllr Marks said this was now attracting rats and residents had been unable to get the Borough Council to deal with it. Cllr Hudson agreed to follow it up.
There being no further business the Chairman thanked everyone for coming and closed the meeting at 8.05pm