WATERINGBURY PARISH COUNCIL

Minutes of Parish Council Meeting
Tuesday 5th January 2021 7.30pm

Held via Zoom 

Present
Cllr M Wells (Chairman)
Cllr R Tripp
Cllr D Marks
Cllr F Fielding
Cllr L Simons

In attendance

Mrs S Cockburn – Clerk to the Council

Cllr S Hudson – Tonbridge & Malling Borough Councillor

Mrs C Byron & Mrs E Bird – Rostrum Correspondents

11 Members of the Public

The Chairman opened the meeting by stating the meeting would be recorded to assist the Clerk in taking the Minutes

 

19/180       ELECTION OF CHAIRMAN

The Chairman announced he would be standing down and asked the Council to vote in Cllr Tripp who had offered to take on the role as Chairman.  3 voted in favour and 1 abstained.  Cllr Tripp said as he did not have the full support of Councillors he withdrew his offer.  Cllr Wells then agreed to continue in the role as Chairman.

Cllr Tripp left the meeting   

19/181       APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

                   None received

19/182       DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST/DISPENSATIONS

                   None

19/183       ANNOUNCEMENTS

                   None

19/184       REPORT FROM COUNTY COUNCILLOR

Cllr Balfour was not present

19/185       REPORT FROM BOROUGH COUNCILLOR

Cllr Hudson had no report

19/186       CRIME REPORT

Phoenix Drive – Saturday 12th November between 11.30am – 8.40pm somebody broke into a residential property, damaged a door to get inside and carried out a messy search            

19/187       MINUTES OF MEETING HELD ON 1st DECEMBER 2020 TO BE APPROVED FOR ACCURACY

                   There was one correction 19/171 – word should read ‘experienced’ The Minutes were approved by Cllr Marks and seconded by Cllr Fielding – all Councillors voted in favour. The Minutes would be signed as a correct record.

19/188       MATTERS ARISING FROM MINUTES HELD ON 1ST DECEMBER 2020

                   19/175 – Play equipment Repairs – Following a ROSPA report and inspection by Cllr Tripp & Cllr Fielding an estimate of repairs had been received from Safeplay. It was felt any repairs to the slide could be left at this time, as there was no risk to users.  Taking this into consideration the estimate was £1890 which had provisionally been included in the 2021/2022 Budget.  This excluded the new goal net at £1048 which had already been included in the budget.

                   Acceptance of the estimate was proposed by Cllr Marks and seconded by Cllr Fielding.  All Councillors voted in favour

19/189       FINAL BUDGET 2021/2022

                   Councillors had copies of the Final Budget. Cllr Marks said the Budget was well controlled, and proposed acceptance and this was seconded by Cllr Simons. All Councillors voted in favour.

19/190       RESOLUTION – WATERINGBURY PARISH COUNCIL INTEND TO SEEK THE APPROVAL OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR HOUSING, COMMUNITIES & LOCAL GOVERNMENT TO APPLY FOR A SALIX FINANCE INTEREST FREE LOAN OF £12,000 OVER A BORROWING TERM OF 5 YEARS TO UPDATE PARISH STREET LIGHTING TO LED LANTERNS.  THE ANNUAL REPAYMENTS WILL COME TO £2400.  IT IS NOT INTENDED TO INCREASE THE COUNCIL TAX FOR THE PURPOSE OF REPAYMENT OF THE LOAN

                   Cllr Wells stated this referred to the parish owned street lights only.

Cllr Marks said changing the lanterns was the way forward, good for the environment, and as the loan repayments did not increase the precept he felt this is something the Parish Council should do.  Cllr Marks proposed the resolution and Cllr Fielding seconded.  All Councillors voted in favour.

19/191       TRAFFIC CALMING PROPOSALS

                   The Chairman said that at present the Council knew very little about proposals in email from Ian Grigor to Cllr Sarah Hudson on proposals discussed at a site meeting at which the Parish council were not invited. One item the Council has been trying to do for the past 5/6 years  was to get the speed limit dropped from Danns Lane to the 30mph limit. The limit mentioned by our County Councillor, Matthew Balfour, in an email was down to 50mph. Cllr Wells said he would like see, and he was sure a lot of people living in the area would like to see, that it was dropped to 40mph.  50mph was however a result after the years of trying.  Another item mentioned was a traffic island on the A26 somewhere in the region of the church. The church had commented on what an island there would cause them with funerals, weddings and people attending the church. There was nothing in writing and no plans drawn up. Ian Grigor was applying for funds. Cllr Simons said anything that interferes with the function of the church would be of concern to the village as a whole, and if any footage was taken away from the layby there, she would be concerned for pallbearers carrying out their duties.  It was hard to comment hypothetically.  Cllr Wells agreed it was hard to make any decision until Council see what is proposed.                

Cllr Marks agreed and said that without any details and the possible removal of the VAS sign, council would have to consider the safety of the village and if an alternative to removing the sign is something council could support, but without any details we can’t comment.

Cllr Marks said that having tried to get so much done over the years, it is useful that things are basically proposed but if the village would welcome them Council couldn’t say.

Cllrs Wells said he lived about 50/60 metres from the A26 and he can hear the sound of the traffic. A gentleman who lived nearby had complained for some time of the safety of the corner of Pizien Well Road. One of Cllr Simons neighbours had written in about damage to his property from large lorries going past in the night, with items falling down inside his house.  It was a very emotive subject and he hoped people realised Council have been trying for a long time, and the situation is getting worse.

Cllr Wells proposed that Councillors wait until we get something concrete to look at and put to the people in the village.

19/192       REPORTS FROM COMMITTEES AND OTHER BODIES

Finance & General Purposes  – no meeting
 Speedwatch –  The report was read out
Cemetery – none
Village Warden – nothing to report

19/193       FINANCIAL STATEMENT AND CHEQUES FOR PAYMENT

The Financial Statement was approved by Cllr Marks and seconded by Cllr Fielding and all cheques would be signed.

19/194       PUBLIC DISCUSSION

                   A number of residents commented on problems experience on Tonbridge Road

Mr Jessop spoke of the need for speed cameras which were only considered on the number of fatalities. He felt the speed limit from Danns Lane to the 30mph limit should be 40mph as at present at Pizien Well Road, although these were only advisory not statutory.

Mr Edmunds referred to the double yellow lines at the entrance to Glebe Meadow which were being ignored, also waste bins being left out on pavements. Mr Edmunds thanked the PC for the improvements to the gardens at the crossroad.  The Chairman said the Parish Council were not responsible and his thanks should go to Cllr Sarah Hudson

Mr Osborne & Mr Verity who had lived in the village for 33years the traffic and speed was getting worse and worse. Their house shakes and makes noises and they were worried about the foundations of the house.  Various comments about this have been made to the County Council and Borough Council and have been told that if we wanted a speed camera then someone had to be killed, and that you cannot have repeater speed limit signs in the village because of lampposts.  Other villages have lampposts with fixed repeater signs, and why is Wateringbury not getting the attention that many other villages are.  It was appreciated people worked very hard for the village but it did seem the County Council and some Borough Council members, although Cllr Hudson works hard for the village, are just sitting with things happening to us and we don’t seem to have any redress on this. When trying to pull into our drive we have abuse shouted. Sometimes waiting for minutes to get out of the drive because traffic comes hurtling around the bend and with the big lorries when they meet each other by our wall and the wall of the estate they have to stop and gradually grind past each other because the road is not wide enough The pavement along the wall of the estate is so narrow with only room for a single file it is felt school children aren’t always safe

The Chairman said on the email mentioned earlier did mention work being carried out on that footpath from Danns Lane down to the church.  There is no room for it to be widened. Cllr Fielding said it was the camber of the road that was being talked about not widening it.

A resident mentioned the fatality of the young boy, when the father had said on radio the boy was doing a paper round and was knocked off his bike at Canon Lane. There had been numerous accidents, some reported and some not, and to be told to have speed camera you need fatalities, well there had been

It was felt KCC should make sure people knew it is a 30mph and that a speed camera is the only answer.

Ms Davis who lives in Canon Lane said she had two young children who catch the bus to Maidstone every day, and they are scared of getting knocked over crossing the road every day.  If you get off at the church rather than at Old Road, because the corner is dangerous and they are not allowed to get off there, getting off opposite the church cars come around the corner, pick up speed and vehicles honk at them because they haven’t got across quick enough. It is frightening during the dark evenings.  Using the narrow pavement they could get clipped by a lorry or wing mirror.  The proposals mentioned a possible crossing at the Old Road junction would be welcome.

The Chairman said it was not long ago that a cyclist coming from Pizien Well Road was knocked off his bike by a lorry.  Luckily he was ok as he had his crash helmet on otherwise it could have been fatal. Pictures were taken of the helmet which showed it cracked right through.

The Chairman said the council was fully aware of problems and over the past 6 years have been on and on about the speed particularly in the A26 coming east into the village.

Mr Bird said there were concerns on west bound traffic which speeds up from The Lodge and would have personally liked to have seen a pedestrian crossing near the junction of the Love Lane which would act as a slowly device for traffic.  The Chairman said the Speedwatch team would fully back that. Most of the reports on speeding, apart from Red Hill are on vehicles travelling west.  KCC did have a look at putting a crossing somewhere hear Love Lane and the Borough Councillor also looked into it with one proposal to get Wateringbury Place to alter their wall to make the pavement wide enough, but KCC subsequently said there was no space for a crossing, and it was not their policy to narrow an A road.  A resident said he had spoken to the council saying Brasted have road narrowing where vehicles slow down to get round, but was subsequently told they did not exist.  The Chairman said Hadlow also have them and council had been told as there are no properties from Pizien Well to Manor Farm  KCC will not put anything that would narrow the road

Cllr Hudson said there had been complaints on waste bins being left on the pavements making it difficult for pedestrians, particularly those using buggies, causing an obstruction, and if a general message could go out to residents asking them not to block pavements.  Cllr Hudson said she had spoken to the house owners at 212 Tonbridge Road about the ivy and holly overhanging the path as it is necessary to move out into the road to get past. This vegetation hung over the Pill Box, which has been cut back but not all was done as the resident said they were too busy.

Cllr Hudson emailed Michael Payne KCC Highways & Transport Cabinet member on the 13th August and emailed again twice in October and still had not had a response, only an acknowledgement of receipt of an email.  It was regarding the A26 because in an earlier email he had advised the need for through traffic must be balanced against the quality of life for the residents and sited the A26 as a strategic route. On an Ordnance Survey map the A26 is not designated a strategic route i.e. administered by Highways England,  it is simply any other A road shown red on a map.

Furthermore, there is a recommendation for lorries not to use the A26 as a route into Maidstone from the west with a sign just before Mereworth roundabout towards the A228. Given the A26 route is shorter drivers take no notice of the advice, they are most likely to follow their satnav as pure habit.  If this advice was made mandatory it would reduce traffic from that direction and footpath safely would be enhanced as lorries are the most intimidating vehicles to a pedestrian. Cllr Hudson suggested they did a similar thing at All Saints Church in the centre of Maidstone all the traffic would come up Hermitage Lane and turn right so again Teston, Barming & Wateringbury would benefit from a reduction in pollution and congestion and the air pollution and traffic density at the crossroads would also be reduced.  So far still no response from that.  With that in mind, and the fact that since being elected coming up to two years, in all of that time despite sending emails to our County Councillor, Matthew Balfour, he has yet to respond to one email sent him.  As a consequence, Cllr Hudson did stand against him as candidate for KCC elections in May and was successful.  Cllr Hudson hopes that if she is successful, after the 6th May Waterinbury will get far more traction in County Hall and have needs better addressed and have some acknowledgement of the issues being experienced. Cllr Hudson said she had been campaigning for speed reductions, traffic islands and crossings in the last 15/18 years since joining the Parish Council so have gone a long way and whilst the suggestions Ian Grigor has put forward may not come to fruition if no funding available, as a large number of parishes seeking funding for the same small pot of money and all saying their traffic problems are more important than anyone else.  There are compromises to be made by everyone and hope we can find the right solutions that helps everyone in the village

The Chairman said he hoped so, as we keep trying and wait and see what Ian comes up with.  Cllr Hudson asked if there was anything on the 20mph.  The Chairman stated that is on the council’s Highway Improvement Plan.  When Ian looked at the traffic speed survey we had on Bow Road he said what the survey said we could have 600mtrs of 20mph from the traffic lights down to the bottom of Bow Road.  Traffic calming has to be self-policing as the police will not monitor it, Council did ask what kind of traffic calming and what cost as there was money in the budget for it. It was then we were told KCC could not respond as they were busy on other government work and would not be able to look at it again until March and there was no need to contact them again.

Mrs Byron spoke of a possible small pavement near The Beck, and felt it would be highly dangerous to put a tiny bit of pavement on the other side of the road.  If money was available and the council had funds then the best thing is speed cameras because unless people know they are going to be caught is a waste of time.  Speed cameras in Scotland have reduced the accident rate markedly.

The Chairman said the council had asked about speed cameras and cameras at the traffic lights to catch red light jumpers and were told it was not an accident black spot with only one accident there ten years ago.  The police have to agree to speed cameras and they would not back it.

Mr Jessop said last summer he accompanied Cllr Hudson to the police offices and were categorically told that if there is a mandatory speed limit in the village they will enforce it. Cllr Hudson said she spoke to Mr Scott who said if that had been said at the meeting, they would do it.

There being no further business the Chairman thanked everyone for attending and closed the meeting at 8.20pm