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Hartley Parish Council - Report and Independent Minutes 2005

10 January
7 February
18 March (Annual Parish Meeting)
11 April
9 May
13 June
11 July
12 September
11 October
14 November
12 December

Subject Index
Allotments Oct
Ash Road Mar18, Jul, Oct, Nov
Axton Chase School Mar18
Bonfires Mar18

Burial Ground May, Jul, Sep, Oct
Buses Apr
Castle Hill Jul, Oct, Nov
Chantry Avenue
 - open space Sep, Dec
 - road Dec
Cherry Trees Mar18
Community Grant Scheme Oct
Copse Side Mar18, Apr

Council May
Cricket May, Jun, Sep, Oct, Dec
Donations Dec
Downs Valley Jan
Fairby Lane Jul, Oct, Nov
Finance Mar18 , May

Football May, Jun, Sep, Dec
Global Warming Sep
Gorsewood Sep
Hartley Bottom Road Jan
Hartley Green Dec
Hartley Wood Apr, Jun, Oct, Dec
HAWK Jan, Jul, Oct
Health Mar18
Hemesley's Yard Jan
Longfield Hill Dec
Manor Field Jan , May, Sep, (gate) Sep;
Members' Interests Apr
New Burial Ground Jun, Jul, Sep
Newsletter Nov
Northfield Mar18, Apr , May, Jun, Jul, Oct, Nov
Parish Office Mar18, Jun, Jul, Nov, Dec
Parish Plan (see also Parish Plan website) Mar18, Apr , May
Parking Mar18, Apr
Payphones Jul
Planning (see
Planning page) Playgrounds May, Jun, Oct
Police Mar18
Pond Apr, Jul, Sep
Precept Dec

Railways May, Jul
Rectory Meadow Dec
Roads Mar18, Apr
Round Ash Way Mar18
School Meals Mar18
Springcroft Jul, Sep, Dec
Stoate, Dr Howard (MP) Mar18
The Warrens Mar18, Apr
Transport Mar18
Travellers' Sites Mar18
Website Nov
Wellfield Jan, Sep, Dec
Woodland Avenue
 - gritting Dec
 - youth parking Dec
Youth Jan, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Sep


12 December 2005
Present: Cllrs Gaywood (chairman), Abraham, Alford, Barnett, Mrs Burns, Mrs Coutts, Harris, Mrs Oxtoby, Ramsay, Sewell, Mrs Solman; Cllr Brazier (KCC), Mrs Hoad, 5 members of the public.

1. Apologies
Cllrs Tremain and Ward.  Reasons approved by council.

2. Interests
Cllr Mrs Oxtoby - Hartley Wood (personal and prejudicial)
Cllr Gaywood - Hartley Green and Hartley Wood Risk Survey (personal)
Cllr Ramsay - Hartley Wood Risk Survey (personal)

3. Amenities and Open Spaces
The minutes of the meeting of 17 November 2005 were approved.  This meeting discussed:

  • Football - Hartley De Sales FC said the length of the grass at Manor Field sometimes makes it unplayable and they might have to find an alternative venue.  They agreed to pay £105 for a cut in time for the next match and look at the specifications of the contract when it next comes up.
  • Cricket - Meopham CC said the outfield grass at Longfield Hill was too long at the beginning of last season.  Again they are looking at the timing of cutting.  Meopham have offered to pay for any cuts above the contracted 22.  The club are also concerned about informal football use as attempts to protect the square have not been successful.  They agreed to write to the football club concerned.
  • Rectory Meadow - they accepted a quote for £1,362 from Above the Canopy to take down trees at the end of Banckside in support of a Rail LInk Countryside Initiative grant to secure boundaries, and improve access and information.
  • Chantry Avenue - the owner of an adjoining field has put up a fence but has written, to the council to say if it is damaged by people from their side then they will be responsible for people straying onto their land.
  • Woodland Avenue - they were informed that many of the youths congregating opposite the recycling centre come from Darenth and are the subject of ASBOs.
  • Hartley Green - they are applying to War Memorial Trust for a grant to put up bollards.

4. Burial Ground
The minutes of the meeting of 24 November 2005 were approved.  The meeting only lasted half an hour and made a few minor decisions.

5. Finance and General Purposes Committee
The minutes of the meetings of 19 October and 30 November 2005 were approved.  They decided:

  • That the precept for 2006/7 should rise from £89,000 to £92,000.
  • Longfield Hill Playground - as Longfield and Meopham Parish Councils did not want to contribute, they suggested it be gradually phased out when it failed to meet safety standards.
  • Parish Office - they have renewed the photocopier rental at £162 per quarter with a charge of 0.453p per copy.
  • Donations - £40 to Salvation Army.  At full council the decision not to donate to Victim Support was overturned and £30 given.
  • Registration of land - following a circular from the Land Registry, they decided to register their land at Foxborough Wood and the Burial Ground, and the land they claim at Hartley Green and Hartley Court Green.
  • Hartley Wood - quotations for land surveys of the 3 donated plots were discussed and they asked the Amenities Committee to consider applying for village green status over all the wood.

6. Planning
Minutes of meetings of 29 November and 6 December were approved.

7. Communications
The minutes of the meeting of 6 December 2005 were approved.  The meeting discussed:

  • Letterhead - they adopted a new letterhead.
  • Newsletter - next edition to be March 2006
  • Website - assistant clerk to amend as requested by meeting.

8. Highways
The minutes of the meeting of 7 December 2005 were approved.  The meeting did not seem to have much progress to report on the ongoing issues of Castle Hill, Fairby Lane and the Interactive Sign.  Other matters were:

  • Springcroft - W Kent Highways plan to put linear drainage channels adjacent to the road gullies, but need to hear from utility companies first.  There had been flooding here in November.
  • Chantry Avenue - following complaints about inconsiderate parking outside school, the community warden is issuing notices there.  They requested Sevenoaks send a traffic warden occasionally to here and Cherry Trees.
  • Gritting - Wellfield and Woodland Avenue to be included in schedule.

9. Parish Plan
The council heard a report from the chairman of the steering group, Dr Cramp.  They were pleased with progress and asked the Special Projects Group to look at the issue of Cherry Trees Shops.

10. Payments
Payments of £7,291 were approved.

Meeting closed at 8.35pm

14 November 2005

Present: Cllrs Gaywood (chairman), Barnett, Mrs Burns, Mrs Coutts, Harris, Mrs Oxtoby, Ramsay, Sewell, Mrs Solman, Tremain, Ward; Mrs Hoad (clerk); 6 members of the public

1. Apologies
Cllrs Abraham and Alford - reasons approved by council.

2. Interests
Cllr Oxtoby - Hartley Wood (personal and prejudicial)
Cllr Sewell - Hartley Primary School (personal)

3. Minutes of meeting of 11 October 2005

4. Planning
The minutes of the meetings of 21 October, 1 and 10 November were approved.  See planning page for more details.  Full council also approved a change to the committee's terms of reference.

5. Youth
The minutes of the meeting of 9 November 2005 were approved.

6. Communications Working Group
The minutes of the meeting of 8 November 2005 were approved.  The minutes discussed:

  • Newsletter - to be in colour other than white.
  • Councillor's handbook - under consideration.
  • New Resident's pack - under consideration.
  • Website - they plan to start filling up the "under development" pages

7. Highways Working Group
The minutes of the meeting of 2 November 2005 were approved.  The meeting discussed the following:

  • Castle Hill - people at the meeting mentioned the problems of cars damaging fences and pulling into private drives on the narrow part of the road, and damage to bollards by lorries.  An Old Downs resident were concerned they were not consulted about proposals to open the access from Castle Hill to Old Downs.
  • Fairby Lane - Kent Highways looking at a scheme to close Ash Road end of the road to traffic.
  • Ash Road - KCC will not support siting of interactive sign to south of St John's Lane junction, not wanting a proliferation of inappropriately sited signs.  Speed camera warning signs erected on 28 October 2005, mobile speed unit attended on 1 November, am.

8. Northfield
The minutes of the meeting of 30 September 2005 were noted.  The meeting discussed:

  • Finance - They will ask for £3,000 from each council in 2006/7
  • Horse Riding - insurers are happy with proposals, however committee do not want to allow an entrance opposite the Chapelwood Riding Stables.
  • Fences - the possility of better fencing for boundaries with Court Field and Caling Croft was discussed.
  • Milestone School Entrance - a new entrance for contractors was discussed with issues regarding planning permission and the access licence from KCC raised.

9. Parish Office
They agreed to pay £102 for a sign with the Q(uality Parish) logo.

10. Payments
Payments of £10,296 were agreed.

11 October 2005

Present: the following parish councillors - Cllrs Gaywood (chairman), Alford, Barnett, Mrs Burns, Mrs Oxtoby, Ramsay, Sewell, Mrs Solman, Tremain; Mrs Hoad (clerk), Cllr David Brazier (Kent County Council); 9 members of the public

1. Apologies
To receive and approve, if necessary, any apologies for absence.

2. Interests
Cllr Oxtoby (Hartley Wood - lives near)
Cllr Sewell (Hartley Primary School - governor)
Cllr Barnett (Allotments - rents one)

3. Minutes
The minutes of the Meeting of the Council of 12th September 2005 were approved

4. County Councillor Reports
Cllr Brazier highlighted the following items:

  • Fairby Lane - KCC legal people say that the council has no obligation to maintain the road, but there is a record of usage which would make it very difficult to close.  However they reckon they can still ultimately close it to all but bicycles.
  • Council - Paul Carter is new leader.  The election was "amusing".
  • Ash Road - not aware of the basis for the Kent on Sunday story that the Speed Cameras have been shelved

5. Land at Hartley Wood
Martin Tollhurst (the council's solicitors) have written to say that the Land Registry propose to exclude some of the land conveyed to them in Hartley wood because it is already registered to someone else.  While they could apply to rectify these titles in their favour, Martin Tollhurst think that inadvisable.

Cllr Gaywood said the solicitors have confirmed that Mr Mainprize also owns the roadway on the plan, and is willing to gift that to the council also.  In view of this the Registry will now register that, but there would be an extra cost in maintaining the path and looking at the trees.  They need to come to a decision quickly.  Mrs Hoad said they had asked the Land Registry for a time extension, but it is unlikely that will be for more than 20 days.  Cllr Gaywood said he didn't like being railroaded over this.

There was considerable debate on the roadway and their potential liabilities in this regard.  Mrs Hoad reminded them that Dulce Domum had proved vehicular rights to their property.  In public questions later, Mr Tucker claimed that KCC lawyers thought they didn't have vehicular rights but decided not to challenge this.

They decided 7-0 not to apply for rectification of the title (Cllrs Solman, Burns and Abraham apparently abstained, Cllr Oxtoby was out of the room for this item); and they decided 8-0 to accept the roadway (Cllr Abraham abstained).

6. Amenities and Open Spaces Committee
The minutes of the meeting of 21st September 2005 were approved.  This meeting disussed:

  • Cricket - New Ash Green Cricket Club say they do want to continue for next season, but are unable to pay the £975 costs of end of season work.  They propose the council pay for this and then they will pay £1,600 to hire Manor Field next season, which proposal was "favoured" by the committee.  Hextable CC will not need Manor Field next season, but might possibly want to hire it for one off matches.  At full council they agreed 10-0 after some debate to pay for the repairs to the square and the 2006 fees for the cricket club.  Apparently the Cricket Club now have a lower quote from Landscape Services for £864, so splitting the difference means the 2006 fee will now be £1,595.  Councillors considered whether they would get more money letting the pavilion but decided it would be only £200-300 at most.
  • Budget - they submitted a budget of £31,000 for 2006/7, up £5,500 from this year, citing large expenditure on the plots gifted to them in Hartley Wood.
  • Playgrounds - RoSPA survey found no areas of high risk, but some of medium risk.
  • Manor Field - (a) Container put on Seveonaks grafiti clean up list, SDC also to offer grafiti removal kit to council.  (b) Beech hedge to be reduced to 7 feet in height (£175).  (c) Pavilion to get Small Business Rate Relief worth £536.
  • Rectory Meadow - the council has got the delegated powers from Sevenoaks to declare it a nature reserve, action the clerk.  North West Kent Countryside Partnership to build fence to Ash Road with Railink grant money.
  • Allotments - to be only let for Hartley residents in future; rents up 3% next year.  At full council this was agreed 9-0.  Cllr Harris asked what this meant in real terms?  About 40p a year was the answer!  Cllr Abraham asked whether this was "real inflation or Gordon Brown's inflation?"
  • Chantry Avenue - more issues on boundary fences.
  • Football - Hartley De Sales FC will now not be fielding an under 14 team.

7. Burial Ground and Garden of Remembrance Committee
The minutes of the meeting of 6th October 2005 were approved.

7(b) Fees were agreed 9-1 (Cllr Abraham voted against because he thinks burials of children should be free up to the age of 16, and not just 12 as proposed).  Cllr Harris asked whether Hartley Churchgoers can be buried there, Cllr Oxtoby said yes, but they would have to pay double if they didn't live in Hartley.  Restrictions on burial of ashes in the new Garden of Remembrance to parishioners and churchgoers in Hartley were approved 10-0.

8. Planning Committee
The minutes of the meetings of
22nd September 2005 and 6th October 2005 were approved - see planning page for details.

9. Communications Working Group
They agreed the members should be the same as those of the Newsletter, Website and Quality Parish committees.  Cllr Sewell said they might as well let Quality Parish committee continue as its work is almost finished, but this was refused.  Cllr Sewell then said he'd rather stand down, so the committee will be Cllrs Abraham, Alford, Burns, Harris and Oxtoby.  During the debate one councillor expressed disappointment with the last newsletter from the council, saying they should "do better".

10. Northfield Management Committee
The minutes of the meeting of 30th September 2005 were approved

At the Ash-cum-Ridley Parish Council meeting held on 15th September 2005, Councillor Stephen Glover proposed that the ancient woodland on Northfield be named New House Shaw . The Northfield Management Committee was informed of this proposal at its meeting held on 30th September 2005 and it was agreed that consideration of the proposal be deferred to allow Hartley Parish Council the opportunity to consider the matter. The Council is requested to consider the proposal.

11. Highway Working Group
The minutes of the meeting of 15th September 2005 were approved.  This meeting discussed:

  • Castle Hill - West Kent Transport officer said they would look at replies to council.  Kent Highways representative said they were glad people didn't want one-way system; speed humps are out because it would need 6 or 7 at £2,000 each, and the whole budget for Sevenoaks rural roads is only £50,000.  Will look at overhanging trees.
  • Ash Road - the proposed interactive sign must be 60-200m from a change in speed limit (Chapelwood Roundabout), and there is no point in putting it 200m north of there as traffic doesn't speed there.  Kent County Council Central Team against placing it near Fariby Lane, as the accident statistics do not justify it being there.  The 2006-11 Transport Plan for Kent envisages more streetlighting for Ash Road.
  • Fairby Lane - A local resident said up to 200 cars use the private road section.  KCC are seeking legal advice on this.

12. HAWK Youth Partnership Project
The minutes of the meeting of 6th September 2005 were approved.  The meeting heard:

  • Summer Programme - Youth worker said it was successful, but asked for statistics on involvement from Hartley Youth.
  • New Ash Green - police say not many problems here, but did seize one motorbike.  Planning approval for youth shelter, but some local oppositon.
  • Youth Zone - 1,300 attended across Sevenoaks Borough.
  • They have drafted new HAWK Partnership Agreement

13. Parish Plan Steering Committee
The minutes of the meetings of 22nd August and 8th September 2005 were noted.  

14. Kent County Council Member Community Grant scheme
There were three alternative schemes (a) Skateboard Park at Woodland Avenue (£10,000 contribution); (b) Speedwatch (£3,000); (c) Restoration of Village Pond.

15. Quality Parish Status
To receive a report on the Council s application seeking Quality Parish Status.

16. Payments
Payments of £14,807 for October 2005 were approved.

17. Public Question Time

12 September 2005

Present: the following parish councillors - Cllrs Gaywood (chairman), Alford, Barnett, Mrs Burns, Mrs Oxtoby, Ramsay, Sewell, Mrs Solman, Tremain; Mrs Hoad (clerk), Cllr David Brazier (Kent County Council); 9 members of the public

1. Apologies
Cllrs Abraham, Harris, Ward

2. Declarations of Interest/Register of Interests
Cllr Tremain - Gorsewood (Personal and Prejudicial)
Cllr Sewell - Governor of Hartley Primary School (Wildlife Gardening below)

3. Minutes
The minutes of the Meeting of 11th July 2005 were approved 9-0.

4. County Councillor Report and Public Questions
Cllr Brazier reported (i) Sandy Bruce-Lockart had resigned as leader of the council; (ii) Springcroft works to start in October, the engineers think the problem is that water descends so fast it doesn't get caught in existing traps; (iii) Fairby Lane - no-one knows if the residents can block the entrance to Ash Road themselves, KCC are going to take legal advice.  Mr Mayer said that as far as he recalls the residents of Merton Avenue did the same, and Sevenoaks's legal advice was they were perfectly entitled to do so.

Mr Roles raised a number of concerns about the way Hartley Parish Council deal with planning matters, in particular how he was told there was no redress through the council.  He asked why reports to councils aren't checked for accuracy.  Cllr Gaywood told him to write in.

Mrs Brudenell asked about the list of correspondence which was used to be attached to the agenda, and which the council stopped by claiming it infringed the Data Protection Act.  She had phoned the Information Commissioner and they said there is no problem in publishing a list of non-private individuals.  She has concerns as to how councillors know what was going on.  Cllr Alford said they could look at the letters, but how asked Mrs Brudenell, can they ask for what they don't know exists?  Cllr Gaywood told her to ask the clerk for a list.

5. Amenities and Open Spaces Committee
The minutes of the meeting of the Committee meeting of 20th July 2005 were approved. The meeting discussed the following:

  • Football - Hartley De Sales will be fielding the following teams (with fees in brackets) - 2 x U18 (£560); U16 (£280); U13 (£250) and U12 (£250). Pitch layout agreed. At full council, Cllr Gaywood asked the reason for differential pricing.  Cllr Barnett said it was to encourage younger players.
  • Cricket - NAG CC likely to fold or merge and will not need Manor Field next year,
  • Manor Field Pavilion - proposal for hearing loop rejected.
  • Chantry Avenue - council will not repair fence until adjoining owner agrees with their claim that it isn't their responsibility. They will write to say they are aware of trespass on his property.
  • Pond - they won't spend any money on it. Local resident said they had 180 signature petition requesting action.

At full council, Cllr Alford called for all Hartley Wood to be part of the village green application, not just the Southwark land.

6. Burial Ground and Garden of Remembrance Committee
The minutes of the meetings of 21 July and 30 August 2005 were approved. The meetings discussed:
  • (21/7) Four graves to be turfed.
  • (21/7) Horticultural Society's scheme for garden of remembrance accepted in principle
  • (30/8) Storage of soil from archaeological dig discussed.  Full council agreed to proposals 8-0 with (I believe) an abstention from Cllr Sewell, who was unhappy that the Archaeological Group had refused to attend the Youth Day.
7. Planning Committee
The minutes of the Committee of 15 & 28 July, 12 August and 1 September were approved. For details see our Planning page.

8. Youth Committee
The minutes of the meetings of 27th July and 1st September 2005 were approved. The meetings discussed:

  • (27/7) Youth worker said 6 week snowboarding course a success, and now two 14-17 year olds will have the opportunity to go to activity centre in North Wales. Some Hartley youth now attending NAG Youth Centre.
  • (27/7) They have now decided they do want CCTV for youth shelter.
  • (1/9) Wellfield 8-12 club (see Community Facilities below) - they recommended HPC give £1,006 grant to scheme.  At full council, Cllrs Sewell and Oxtoby spoke strongly in favour of the scheme, but at the suggestion of Cllr Alford any question of finance was deferred until the 2006/7 budget.
  • (1/9) Youth Committee requested budget for 2006/7 of £5,000 as they want to press ahead with a skateboard park for Woodlands Ave.  At full council Cllr Alford asked for justification of increase.
9. Community Facilities Working Group
The minutes of the meeting Working Group of 16th August 2005 were approved 9-0. The meeting discussed:
  • West Kent Housing said their survey had identified lack of facilities for 8-12 year olds. So they have set up a Friday club for 20 from Jan 2006 in the OAP Lounge. It will run from 6-8pm with two paid workers and parental help. There will be 2 internet PCs in the lounge for use by the children and OAPs. They said some OAPs had expressed concern about youth congregating afterward, but they said it wouldn't happen. They have £10,000 grant from Sevenoaks, but need more money. Council to consider request.
10. Special Projects Working Group
The minutes of the meeting of 4th August 2005 were approved. It discussed:
  • Manor Field - they have changed their mind and decided they do want to buy the farm access strips after all. They say it is not for access to the proposed burial ground but to maintain the fence? At full council they discussed a letter from the owners of the farm access strips, which reminded them of the council's obligations under the 1975 conveyance.  Cllr Alford said the issue of purchasing the strips was "now dead", and claimed to be uncertain of the meaning of the letter and wanted the council to write back.  (One of the audience said they hadn't read the letter properly), Cllr Sewell didn't want to pay any money for the land.
  • Manor Field Gate - following correspondence they now admit that they are responsible for the gate, which they acknowledge is in a dangerous state and will be replaced. At full council, Cllr Alford said existing gate was "unsightly and dangerous", he thought it was arguable they shouldn't have a gate at all, but put one there to prevent travellers.
  • Gorsewood - they will ask the Probation Service to clear rubbish, but they will have to pay for a skip. They are going to write to West Kent Housing Association to complain about misuse of wood. Agreed at full council 9-0.  At full council Cllr Barnett noted the cost would be cheaper than in the past, Cllr Sewell asked if Dartford Council can have CCTV for these problems why can't Sevenoaks?  Cllr Ramsay suggested empowering officer to levy on the spot fines.
11. Communications Working Group
They agreed to merge the website and newsletter committees to the new group. Approved by full council 9-0, number of committee to be 5.

12. Northfield Management Committee
They noted the minutes of the meeting of 29 July 2005

13. Parish Plan Steering Committee
They noted the minutes of 27 June, and 1 August 2005

14. Sustainable Energy Partnership
A member of the public had submitted a request from th
e Sustainable Energy Partnership had to support its campaign to move a closure motion to end the debate on the Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Bill and Management of Energy in Buildings Bill scheduled to take place in Parliament on 11th November 2005.

This caused lengthy debate and all councillors spoke, and there was procedural issues raised.  Cllr Tremain proposed and Cllr Sewell seconded the motion to support the declaration.  Cllr Tremain said it was something we ought to be doing (one member of the audience was heard to say that he was the only sensible councillor!).  Cllr Sewell pointed to more violent weather globally in recent years as a reason we should act now.  Cllr Alford also spoke in favour, saying it is something we should be doing, but he wanted to delete the clauses relating to making some energy conservation schemes permitted development.  Cllr Solman also thought we ought to be doing anything we can.  Against Cllr Ramsay proposed what he called a "spoiling amendment" not to support declaration, but ask Dr Stoate to attend debate.  He thought the declaration was motivated by desire to sell products.  He was particularly against the small wind turbines suggestion.  Cllr Gaywood was "not enthusiastic", and Cllr Burns said HPC should be on the sidelines.

Put to the vote, Cllr Tremain's motion to support was lost 4 votes (Cllrs Tremain, Sewell, Alford, Solman) to 5 (Cllrs Gaywood, Barnett, Ramsay, Burns, Oxtoby).  Cllr Sewell asked for the vote to be recorded.  Cllr Ramsay's motion was passed 9-0.

15. Wildlife Gardening Celebration Evening
The council was
invited to attend the Wildlife Gardening Celebration Evening on Thursday 29th September at Sevenoaks Community Centre to celebrate the success of the Go Wild in the Garden.  They agreed to donate £30.

17. Payments
They approved payments of £13,363

11 July 2005

Present: the following parish councillors - Cllrs Gaywood (chairman), Abraham, Alford, Barnett, Mrs Burns, Mrs Oxtoby, Ramsay, Sewell, Mrs Solman, Ward; Mrs Hoad (clerk), 6 members of the public

1. Apologies
Mrs Coutts, Harris, Tremain

2. Declarations of Interest and Register of Interests
Cllr Barnett - "My wood" (Northfield) (personal)
Cllr Sewell - Governor Hartley Primary School (personal)

3. Minutes
The minutes of the meeting of the Council of13th June 2005 were approved 10-0 after Mrs Solman's name was corrected

4. Councillors' Reports; Public Questions
Sevenoaks - (a) Cllr Ramsay asked for people's comments on the police to be given to the clerk to pass on to Sevenoaks's Social Affairs Committee. (b) Cllr Gaywood said he was sorry the KCC councillor was not there so he could raise his dissatisfaction with KCC's response on the issue of Springcroft flooding.

Dr Roberts asked as they had done nothing about the pond, were they planning to fill it in?  Cllr Gaywood said the decision was to do nothing, as councillors said money spent was to no avail.  He didn't see that filling it in necessarily followed, although Cllr Abraham said they might as well fill it in.  Members of the public thought KCC's digging out of the pond in the 1960s was the cause of the current problems.  Cllr Barnett then gave his recollections, while Mrs Delf said she could not remember it ever running out of water in the 1930s.  Dr Roberts said that with propert maintenance it could look quite attractive, and Mrs Sharp said there was a lot of support and offers of help to do this.

Mrs Sharp asked whether Hartley was going to do something like the successful Longfield festival.  Cllr Gaywood said they weren't even going to think of organising it, and it was done by Cllr Kite as a Dartford borough councillor (Dr Roberts then reminded him that Cllr Kite is chairman of Longfield parish council).  Cllr Gaywood said if Mrs Sharp wanted to organise one and provide the committee, the council might support it.

5. Burial Ground and Garden of Remembrance Committee
The minutes of the meeting of 14th June 2005 were agreed 10-0.  It discussed:

  • It recommended changes to its terms of reference (approved 10-0 by full council)
  • The next full safety audit of gravestones will be January 2008, with weekly visual inspections.
  • The layout of the new garden of remembrance was agreed, including "Gravshore" walkways because of the high watertable.
  • They agreed to buy a handrail for the sloping path in the churchyard.
  • They are getting quotations for a new beech hedge by the proposed new burial ground

6. Planning Committee
The minutes of the meetings of 10th June and
1st July 2005 were approved 10-0.  For details see the Planning page.

7. Youth Committee
The minutes of the meeting of 27th June 2005
were approved 10-0.  This meeting discussed:

  • Youth shelter - this has been ordered and there was discussion on location and rules of use.
  • Youth Day - 14 groups plan to attend.  Arrangements were discussed.
  • Skateboard ramp - they recommended the council request the KCC member to spend his allocation on one for Hartley.  (at full council this was deferred 10-0.  Cllr Gaywood said this was to give other committees time to come up with bids, Cllr Alford didn't want to do anything until the Youth Shelter proved itself.  Cllr Sewell requested Mrs Hoad minute his disappointment about vandalism).

8. New Burial Ground Working Group
The minutes of the meeting of 5th July 2005 were approved 10-0.  It discussed:

  • They agreed terms of reference (approved by full council)
  • The committee agreed they didn't need the farming access strips.  Funeral director said they would carry coffins on a trolley from the car park.  This would require a 6 feet wide path, possibly tarmaced.  Any spoil would be moved to the existing ground.  They have asked Mr Munday to supply and install chestnut posts to mark the extent of the council's land.
  • The position and type of new gate was discussed

9. Highway Working Group
The minutes of the meeting of 30th June 2005 were approved 10-0.  It discussed:

  • They recommended new terms of reference and decided to coopt the county councillor (agreed by full council 10-0)
  • Fairby Lane - following a 57 signature petition, they recommend closing the Ash Road entrance to the road (agreed by full council 10-0, but Cllr Abraham did have reservations about emergency access).
  • Springcroft - a report saying the soakaways were "irredeemably blocked" was noted.  Three options to solve this: (a) new soakaways; (b) intercepting chambers for silt; (c) new bore holes to drain surface water down the valley.
  • Ash Road - funding for interactive sign is in place, locations are now being sought.
  • Castle Hill - one resident attended to give their concerns.  Committee recommends consulting with residents on speed and congestion there.  (agreed by full council 10-0.  It was reported Cllr Brazier had suggested upgrading and widening Castle Hill, Cllr Alford thought upgrading of roads from Fawkham Valley was a "useful solution".  Cllr Gaywood thought the road didn't lend itself to widening, while Cllr Ramsay expressed surprise at the suggestion.)
  • County Lengthsman - Mrs Hoad has been appointed Hartley's representative to deal with small highway problems.

10. Northfield Management Committee
The minutes of the meeting of 17th June 2005 were noted.  The meeting discussed the following:

  • Noticeboards - repairs to damaged boards at Ash Road and Milestone School to cost £200
  • Gates - wooden Milestone gate constantly vandalised, so metal one to be bought for £350.
  • Motorbikes - again a problem, although section 59 notices have been served on some.
  • "Barnetts Wood" - the committee proposed naming the new woodland after Cllr Barnett, in recognition of his work.  Several councillors offered to second motion.  Cllr Burns queried the lack of apostrophe.  Cllr Barnett  said it was an incredible offer.  It was a project he'd thoroughly enjoyed, and when he became tree warden, he scarsely thought he'd be planting 6,000 trees.

11. HAWK Youth Partnership Project
The minutes of the meeting of 7th June 2005 were approved.  They have produced an annual report, which highlighted the following activities in Hartley:

  • Grafiti wall at Hartley Primary School by 2 known grafiti artists, one promised to only do legal grafiti in future.
  • 3 Mile Project at Youth Day - prizes for the best rap artists included a microphone and a hoody.
  • Charlton FC coaching at Longfield for youth from Hartley and Longfield
  • Youth Snowboarding project for Wellfield, where there is lack of youth facilities

12. Parish Plan Steering Committee
The minutes of the meeting of 19
th May 2005 were noted - see parish plan website

13. Parish Office
They agreed to buy a screen for the skylight, a glazed door with Hartley PC sign, filing cabinet, desks, and chairs.

14. Payphone provision in Hartley
BT wrote on 21st June 2005 to say they propose converting the phone boxes at the Social Club and Stocks Hill to cards only.
They decided to object

15. Station Ticket Opening
South Eastern rail propose greatly reducing the opening hours of the Longfield ticket office, the council agreed to support Dartford Borough Council's objections.  Cllr Gaywood said it was always closed anyway when he's visited, and tends to use Dartford in preference to Longfield.  Cllr Burns said it didn't matter so long as there are people there on the station.

16. Payments
Payments of £3,859.26 were agreed.

Meeting closed 8.55pm

13 June 2005

Present: the following parish councillors - Cllrs Gaywood (chairman), Alford, Mrs Burns, Harris, Mrs Oxtoby, Ramsay, Sewell, Mrs Solman, Tremain, Mrs Coutts (arr 7.33pm); Mrs Hoad (clerk), Cllr Brazier (KCC); 12 members of the public

1. Apologies
Not noted

2. Declarations of Interest and Register of Interests
Cllr Tremain - Cricket (personal and prejudicial)
Cllr Sewell - Governor Hartley Primary School

3. Minutes
The minutes of the meeting of the Council of 9 May 2005 were approved.

4. Councillors' Reports; Public Questions
Kent - Cllr Brazier said everything was still new after the election at Kent and people were still devising "novel ways to stab each other in the back" (laughter).  He said he has the "keys to the till" of £10,000 community funding in his gift.  Mrs Sharp asked if it could be for the pond, he said it was a very good idea.

Sevenoaks - Cllr Ramsay reported (a) Cllr Gaywood is now chairman of Overview and Scrutiny Board; (b) Springcroft Flooding would be on agenda of Environment committee; (c) Hartley Bottom Car Breakers housing appeal refused.

Dr Roberts asked why they are spending money on a new burial ground when they are under no statutory duty to do so.  "Because we've decided" said Cllr Gaywood.

5. Amenities Committee
The minutes of the meeting of 25 May and 2 June 2005 were agreed 9-0.  They discussed:

  • (25/5) NAG Cricket Club requested a reduction in fees from the £1,275 charged by the council, in view of the money they had spent.  They recommended a reduction to £858 (agreed by full council 9-0; Cllr Coutts thought it was quite a lot to pay, but Cllr Sewell said Hartley are charging £39/game, when Harvel charges £70.  Cllr Harris said it also blocks letting the pavilion at £7.50/hr, so "let's be fair", they're getting a good deal)
  • (2/6) Football - Hartley De Sales say they will have 5/6 teams next season.  The footballers to be reminded not to drive onto the field or leave litter, following comments from the public.
  • Cricket - cost of broken window waived.
  • Gorsewood - tree house has to go, according to insurers, but already demolished by persons unknown.  Problems of misuse to be passed to New Burial Ground Working Group (agreed by full council 9-0).
  • Playgrounds - they agreed quotes of £1,596 each by Park Leisure for safety surface renewal of the swing at Woodlands Park, and the swing and slide at Longfield Hill.
  • Hartley Wood - the insurers have said to be insured the council must have a maintenance and inspection programme and professional tree inspection.  They decided they will need a land surveyor to mark the plots they own.
  • Manor Field Pavilion - they decided they do not need a premises drinks license, but hirers could apply for a Temporary Events Notice.
  • Woodland Avenue - new kissing gates ordered, one big enough for wheelchairs.

6. Planning Committee
The minutes of the meetings of 12th and 26th May 2005 were approved.  For details see the Planning page.

7. Youth Committee
The minutes of the meeting of 8th June 2005
were approved.  This meeting discussed:

  • They elected Cllr Sewell and chairman and Cllr Mrs Burns as vice-chairman.
  • Terms of Reference - they recommended amending these from "work with" other groups to "liaise".  Approved by council 10-0.
  • Youth Shelter - They recommended accepting quote of £5,547 to install from Park Leisure and to accept grant of £2,500 from Kent People's Trust.  Approved by full council 10-0.

8. New Burial Ground Working Group
See also public question
The minutes of the meeting of 6 June 2005 were approved. It discussed:

  • They decided the Manor Field orchard was the only suitable burial ground.
  • They recommended replacing the entrance gate.  Approved by full council 10-0.
  • Access to the orchard was discussed

9. Quality Parish Status Working Group
The minutes of the meeting of 23 May 2005 were approved.  The meeting discussed terms of reference and production of the annual report.

10. Northfield Management Committee
The minutes of the meeting of 6 May 2005 were noted.  The meeting discussed the following:

  • Meadow cutting - a £500 quote to cut the meadow for silage was accepted.
  • Woodland - 400 to 500 tree shelters had been removed and would be recycled by the North West Kent Countryside Project.

11. Parish Office
Mrs Hoad said it had more or less been completed and they could move in next week.  She circulated a report on using the office by the new Community Warden for Hartley.

12. Highways
Kent County Council had written asking the parish to nominate a "lengthsman" to liaise with them when minor repairs are needed.  They voted 10-0 to appoint Mrs Hoad.

Payments of £25,022 were agreed 10-0.

Meeting closed 8.10pm

9 May 2005

Present: the following parish councillors - Cllrs Gaywood (chairman), Abraham, Alford, Barnett, Mrs Burns, Mrs Coutts, Harris, Mrs Oxtoby, Ramsay, Sewell, Mrs Solman, Tremain; Mrs Hoad (clerk), 8 members of the public

1. Apologies

Apologies were received from Cllr Ward.

2. Election of Chairman for 2005/6

Cllr Gaywood was the only candidate, proposed by Cllr Alford and seconded by Cllr Mrs Solman, and elected 11-0. Cllr Barnett was the only nomination for vice chairman, by Cllrs Abraham and Mrs Coutts, and also elected 11-0.

3. Interests

The following interests were declared:

(a) Cllr Tremain - Cricket (member of club) - prejudicial

(b) Cllr Barnett - Allotments - prejudicial

4. Minutes

The minutes of the meeting of 11 April 2005 were approved without amendment.

5. Committees

The members of all committees were reelected en bloc with the exception of (a) the newsletter working group, where Cllr Mrs Solman stood down to be replaced by Cllr Mrs Oxtoby; and (b) Parish Plan working group (dissolved). However Cllr Sewell, supported by Mrs Burns, was very unhappy with the way the HAWK youth committee was run, saying they need a meeting to sort this out. He said it was run by Cllr Brown and New Ash Green, and that he felt the constitution was not always adhered to. Cllr Gaywood agreed to write a letter to Mike Brown of Ash PC.

They voted to set up and New Burial Group Working Group of Cllrs Gaywood, Barnett, Alford, Tremain, and Mrs Oxtoby.

6. Schedule of Council Meetings 2005/6

This was agreed but the date of the 2006 Annual Parish Meeting was deferred because they need to synchronise this with the report they have to write, if they want to apply for "Quality" Council status.

7. Public Questions

Cllr Brazier, the new county councillor was not present. Cllr Gaywood said they hadn't been able to contact him.

(a) Northfield - Dr Roberts was very concerned about illegal motorcycling there. She said they needed to secure the boundaries to the field, citing a broken gate at Milestone School and the entrance at Court Field. She felt something needed to be done to encourage responsible adults to go there. Cllr Gaywood said he would like security fences. Cllr Alford said he didn't see them in the morning, but Mrs Brudenell said it was early evening that was the problem - the noise caused her horses to bolt. She said people were frightened to walk on Northfield. Cllr Harris said something should be done to strengthen the boundaries, especially as they have enough money in the kitty. Wooden fences he felt were inadequate. Mrs Brudenell queried why Cllr Brown said they wouldn't fence private land, when they already have done so in part. Cllr Gaywood said Court Field should fence the boundary, to which Dr Roberts reminded him that the farmer gets any motorcyclists off Court Field very quickly.

On another matter Mrs Sharp asked for news about the trim trail. Cllr Sewell said New Generation Gym was doing a report for him.

She also asked why the Northfield Management Committee did not accept the cheapest quote for meadow cutting? Had they got something against the Glovers? Cllr Gaywood said maybe, but refused to answer further. He didn't want the contract to be given to a councillor.

(b) Council Finances - Mr Mayer asked why the council's reserves have risen so much in the last 2 years? Cllr Alford said last year they would have overspent had the new office bills come in. The previous year was due to the court case. Some members of the audience called for that money to be returned. Cllr Gaywood said this had been mentioned at the Annual Meeting.

8. Planning

The minutes of the meetings of 11 April 2005 and 28 April 2005 were unanimously agreed. The following properties were discussed:

  • 11 April - 50 Springcroft; Greystones, Church Road; Georgia, Gresham Avenue; Hasleholt, Ash Road; The Lodge, Manor Drive; Applewood, Gorse Way; The Shaw, Ash Road; Orchard House, Ash Road
  • 28 April - The Laurels, Woodland Avenue; Cheslyne, Manor Drive; St Margaret's, Church Road; Dulce Domum, Gorsewood Road
9. Finance & General Purposes Committee

The mintues of the meeting of 26 April 2005 were noted and recommendations agreed. Matters discussed included:

  • They agreed the 2004/5 accounts. Greater audit will be needed now the council's income exceeds £100,000.
  • Manor Field Gate - They have received advice from their solicitor that they are probably responsible for the gate to Manor Field. However they deferred decision on this.
  • Railways - they have been consulted by one of the bidders. They had no comment on rail services locally, except they think the facilities at Longfield Station could be better.
  • Donations - they agreed to give donations to Elleanor Foundation (£75); Lions Hospice (£75); Rural Age Concern Darent Valley (£100); Kenward Trust (£50); West Kent Mediation Service (£50). Cllr Alford said only one hospice had asked for money but they decided to give to both.
10. Amenities

The minutes of the meeting of 28 April 2005 were noted. Matters discussed included:

  • Routine Maintenance Contract - they voted 12-0 to give this to Mr Munday for £5,293.
  • Cricket - Agreed 11-0 to charge New Ash Green and Hartley CC £1,275 for 3 teams and colts, and Hextable £425. Cllr Barnett said NAG had spent an "enormous" amount of money preparing the pitch.
  • Playgrounds - they have been told by their insurers they must do an annual safety survey and action recommendations within 60 days. Cllr Alford said he didn't want to reduce inspections to annual ones, he said they can't take risks with children's safety and the risks outweighed the benefits. Cllr Barnett said the present system of checks was causing problems, and said they do weekly inspections also. Cllr Abraham said surely 6 monthly inspections would prove "due diligence" if it ever went to court. However it appears no amendment was moved.
  • Football - Cllr Sewell wanted the Manor Field goalposts moved to Northfield.
11. Burial Ground

The minutes of the meeting of 14 April were approved 12-0. This meeting discussed:

  • They are satisfied they have taken reasonable steps to ensure public safety of the burial ground, and so will not have to make another survey until 2008. Approved by full council 12-0. New monuments have to meet Association of Burial Authority standards.
  • A risk assessment has been conducted, which ws approved by full council 12-0.
  • They are investigating buying a temporary walkway for the garden of rememberance when wet, at a cost of up to £162.
12. Youth

The minutes of the meeting of 26 April were approved. This meeting discussed:

  • Graffiti project at Hartley Primary School - they paid £140 for professional artist.
  • Youth Questionnaire - disappointing response, replies to be discussed later.
  • Youth Shelter - West Kent Community Trust to contribute £1,500, they now have grants of £3,500 of the £4,700 + installation cost.
13 Northfield

The minutes of the meeting of 15 April 2005 were noted. This meeting discussed:

  • They approved the 2004/5 accounts. Cllr Glover queried the large reserves and thought the contribution from each council could be less.
  • New woodland - 3,000 tree shelters and stakes will have to be removed.
  • Cutting meadow for silage - in spite of advertisement the only bid received was from Cllr Glover's firm, which they would not proceed with. (Cllr Glover left meeting at this point)
  • Ragwort removal to cost in the region of £600.
  • Fencing boundary with Courtfield - Cllr Barnett had no seconder for his proposal to erect 4 feet stock fencing. Cllr Brown said he was "fundamentally" opposed to this, claiming it would set a precedent.

    See also public questions

14 Parish Plan

The minutes of the meeting of 4 May were noted. Cllr Alford was happy with progress, but Cllr Abraham was unhappy with a couple of things, including the prize draw number on the questionnaire. Cllr Harris assured the meeting that no information relating to a single reply would ever be published.

Meeting closed 9pm

11 April 2005

Present: the following parish councillors - Cllrs Gaywood (chairman), Barnett, Mrs Coutts, Harris, Ramsay, Sewell, Tremain; Cllr JMK Tucker (Kent County Council), Mrs Hoad (clerk), 4 members of the public

1. Apologies

Apologies were received from Cllrs Abraham, Alford, Mrs Oxtoby, Mrs Solman, Ward.

2. Interests

The following interests were declared:

(a) Cllr Sewell - Woodside, Ash Road (party has done work on his house) - prejudicial

(b) Cllr Harris - Orchard Lea, Church Road (lives near there) - personal

3. Minutes

The minutes of the meeting of 14 March 2005 were approved without amendment. The minutes of the annual parish meeting of 18 March 2005 were noted, after Mrs Hoad reported that it had been brought to her attention that the minutes should be formally approved at the next APM.

4. County Councillor

Cllr Tucker did not have much to report, but Cllr Gaywood said as it was Cllr Tucker's last meeting as KCC councillor, he thanked him for his help, and wished him a "non-political" future. Cllr Tucker thanked him in return but said he was not necessarily retiring from politics, and technically he is chairman of KCC until their annual meeting on 26 May.

5. Public Questions

(a) Church Road Pond: Mrs Delf asked whether there was any news on cleaning and tidying the pond, and reported that mallards had been seen there in the last couple of weeks. Cllr Gaywood said the costs were prohibitive, so they have "backed off a bit". Cllr Barnett said they were waiting to hear from their lottery grant application. Mrs Delf thanked them but added the water is quite horrible at present.

(b) Members' Interests: Mrs Sharp asked for her question to be minuted, but this was turned down by Cllr Gaywood. She is concerned about the Conservation Area proposed for Hartley Green, she phoned Sevenoaks who say there is no area fixed, but Cllr Gaywood had said "7 acres". Doesn't this mean he has a prejudicial interest, given the previous plans for development by his next door neighbour? Cllr Gaywood said he would consider it if it came up.

(c) Axton Chase School: Dr Cramp asked them if they were aware the proposed new school site is between two Roman sites? Cllr Gaywood said it would be noted.

(d) Buses: Mr Mayer asked if they had heard whether the 18.08 bus from Gravesend was being withdrawn? They delegated Cllr Harris to investigate.

6. Planning

The following applications were considered:

  • Axton Chase School, Longfield - at the full council meeting, Cllr Ramsay proposed a motion which was passed 8-0 to deplore the building of 150 houses on the site of the current school, and saying it was no justification for KCC to fund the new school this way. He said they had made a lot of money from school sales in Gravesend. They heard that both Longfield Parish Council and Dr Stoate, our MP, were against the housing development too. Cllr Harris was concerned, but thought it impractical and too disruptive of children's education to rebuild on the same site.
  • See also public question
  • Woodside, Ash Road
  • Orchard Lea, Church Road
  • 28 Chantry Avenue
  • South View, Church Road
  • The Shaw, Ash Road
  • 12 Springcroft
7. Youth

The mintues of the meeting of 15 March 2005 were noted. Matters discussed included:

  • Youth shelter - they have been told planning permission is not necessary, and they have decided it should not have solar lighting to discourage the youth being there later in the evening.
  • Youth questionnaire - they are pleased with the response, but no further details.
8. Northfield Management Committee

The minutes of the meeting of 11 March 2005 were noted. Matters discussed included:

  • Trees - the planting scheme of Cllr Barnett was agreed.
  • Wildflower Meadow - they accepted a quote of £633 from Independent Woodland Management to spray the clover there.
  • Meadow cutting - no local farmer is interested in cutting the grass for silage (normally this is because of the risk of dog mess being in it).
  • Single Payment Scheme - they decided to apply.
9. Hartley Wood

The clerk circulated a report.

Mr Mainprize's solicitor is now offering the 3 plots free of charge. Martin Tollhursts (the council's solicitor) say they would charge £530 for the conveyancing, and pointed out a possible legal problem on access to one of the plots.

Martin Tollhursts also advised on the council's proposed adverse possession (squatter's rights) claim to other parts of the wood. The cost would be in the region of £800 and they pointed out the Land Registry would require evidence of being "in occupation", which may be difficult in the circumstances. If they cannot establish a claim to satisfy the Land Registry "from previous experience the Registry will have no hesitation in rejecting the application". They recommend adding the land to the council's public liability insurance, but believe the chances of a successful claim against the council were small.

At the meeting Cllr Barnett said they had no intention of using adverse possession against any land where they knew the owner, and that fencing was not always appropriate in these circumstances - they are in control of this land and have a good case for the Registry. Cllr Ramsay said they could lose £800, but it is worth the risk. Cllr Barnett said they are also trying to make the Southwark land a village green.

They agreed 8-0 to take the three plots. Cllr Ramsay said it would be churlish to refuse (but see minutes of meeting of 9 February 2004 in regard to an offer to donate woodland at Rectory Meadow). Cllr Barnett said a risk assessment would be necessary and Cllr Gaywood wanted the plots marked out.

10. Parish Plan

The minutes of the meetings of 3 and 22 March were noted. Mrs Hoad said they will be using the council's freepost address at their expense for the return of the questionnaires. Cllr Ramsay said the questionnaire was excellent, and said Sevenoaks Council had offered to collate the replies.

11 Parking Restrictions at The Warrens and Copse Side

The proposed Kent County Council (Various Roads in the District of Sevenoaks) (Prohibition and restriction of waiting, disabled persons parking places and on street parking places) (amendment no 8) Order 2005 (!) were circulated by Sevenoaks Council for comment. This will introduce double yellow lines round and opposite the Church Hall in Ash Road, and peak hours parking restrictions at the entrance to Copse Side. Cllr Ramsay said residents had requested this and they can't wait for them to come into effect. However several councillors had concerns about enforcement, or the lack of it. They agreed they have no objection.

12 Payments

Payments of £8,091 for March were agreed.

Meeting closed 8.30pm

18 March 2005 - Annual Parish Meeting

Present: the following parish councillors - Cllrs Gaywood, Mrs Burns, Mrs Coutts, Harris, Mrs Oxtoby, Ramsay, Sewell, Mrs Solman, Tremain; all district councillors, the county councillor and MP and about 60 members of the public,

1. Apologies

Several apologies were received.

2. Presentaton by Dr Howard Stoate, MP for Dartford

He listed some of the things he has been involved in recently:

  • Health: (a) a 40 bed treatment unit, costing £9 million, will open at the Darent Valley Hospital later this year, this will do 3,500 operations annually but no emergencies, so there shouldn't be any cancelled operations; (b) a 100 bed hospital is to be built at Gravesend; (c) a new cardiac unit will open at DVH next year, meaning fewer people will have to go to London for treatment; (d) he has campaigned against expensive 0870 numbers for doctors' surgeries, and he is pleased to announce the minister has banned the practice; (e) he is campaigning for aortic aneurism scanning, and brought a scanner to the House of Commons as part of his campaign; (f) he and others have set up a national obesity institute, to raise it up the agenda.
  • Transport: (a) he campaigned against the cuts in services from Farningham Road station, they have won some concessions, but the fight goes on; (b) Dartford Toll Crossing - he is urging more money to come back to Kent. So far £1 million has been allocated, and the government will spend £15 million on the Dartford - Gravesend Fastrack Scheme; (c) he is pleased the Chancellor has finally listened to the campaign for free OAP transport (Dr Stoate has been campaigning for this since last year, see News page)
  • Police: Neighbourhood policing teams will be set up by 2008, meaning more police presence locally. Since 2002 the numbers of police in NW Kent up 17%, and 17 Community Support Officers appointed.
  • Axton Chase School: As a result of a survey he sent to every household in Longfield and the 150 replies received, he has discovered that residents are unhappy with the plans to build a new school on Green Belt land and 150 houses on the existing site, so he is taking action to support them. However he appreciates a new school building is required.
  • Clean Neighbourhood Bill: he is campaigning to get the polluter to pay the cost of clean up.
He then took questions from the public.

One person whose mother had been in the hospital for some time raised concerns about the cleanliness of the wards he'd seen with the risk of MRSA, he said the DVH has one of the highest rates of MRSA in the country; and the high carparking charges (£40 per week), he had requested a reduction from the trust as they were having to visit every day for months, but they refused. Dr Stoate said the main cause of MRSA is by touch, so the most effective way not to spread it, is for health workers to remember to wash their hands between seeing each patient. On parking charges he said he believed there shouldn't be charges, but all hospitals do. Mr R Jones said according to the Guardian 8 of the MRSA cases in the DVH were already contracted before the patient arrived. Dr Stoate said he doesn't read the Guardian and so hadn't heard that.

Mr D Turvey (Chairman of the Governors of Hartley Primary School) asked whether the campaign on obesity is like shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted? Dr Stoate agreed that stopping children being conditioned to like the wrong food was very important. He cited the case of turkey twizzlers, which he would personally ban. He appreciated it is difficult to provide healthy school dinners for 37p, but said the local authority could spend more if they wished.

3. Presentation by Chief Inspector Neil Jenkins

He described the set up local policing with Hartley being covered by the Longfield and New Ash Green PCs and the two Community Support Officers. He ended with a plea for people not to leave their car keys by the front door, as there have been many cases of theives hooking them out through the letter box, as in modern cars it is the only way they can be stolen.

Mr R Jones asked how many police in his area? The answer was 302, Mr Jones said he'd read 316 in Dr Stoate's letter (I am uncertain what letter was being referred to). Mrs W Brooks said she often walks around Hartley but never sees a policeman. PC Owen said that they do about 50% of patrols on foot, but it is a large area for the two of them to cover, and they tend to concentrate on areas where policing is most needed. Ch Insp Jenkins said visibility was an issue for him. Mr R Jones said he'd heard one of our PCs had to cover Istead Rise. Ch Insp Jenkins said that may have happened for operational reasons, but cases such as that are rare. To a question from Mr B Cass about cover for leave, he said they do their best. One person asked him whether they were concerned about "lenient" sentances? He replied that sometimes they are, he cited one case where a drug addict had stolen 70-80 handbags from cars only to get a 12 month sentance, and they were released almost immediately because of time spent on remand. The next questionner asked him what crimes are currently causing concern? He said criminal damage, anti-social behaviour and burglaries to steal cars. He was also asked whether drugs was a major issue. He said drugs raids are carried out, but usually wrapped up with other operations. Mrs J Philpott raised concerns about cars parked on pavements, blocking parents with buggies. He said he is one of those parents with a buggy! Let the police know of specific problems, and they will ticket the drivers.

4. Presentation by Mr N. Bateman, Manager, West Kent Highways

He explained the reorganisation that takes place on 1 April. His office, initially in Gravesend, will cover the boroughs of Dartford, Gravesend, Sevenoaks and Tonbridge and Malling. The current team at Sevenoaks will move there, but you can still phone them on the same number, and Hartley will still be the responsibility of Barry Frost. One positive sign is that the Public Utilities have expressed an interest in being involved in this unit; under the new Traffic Management Act, the county will have a much greater say when utilities dig up roads, except in the case of emergencies. He cited an example of good traffic management in Maidstone, where after consultation with the community, road works on a key road were done at night, but the noisy work contained in the 8-10pm slot, they were also able to get a nurse out of her drive over an excavation at 3am.

He was asked whether there is any more money? He said they would repair 500km (300 miles) of roads this year. The questioner said the state of the roads was "abyssmal", Church Road is being repaired none too soon, as they could see cracks in the surface. Another person asked whether he thought the traffic calming scheme in Ash Road had gone well? Mr Bateman replied that they still had to paint the 30mph roundels and install an anti-skid surface at the Wellfield junction next week. He said Ash Road had had 2 crashes in 3 years, but a mini-roundabout on average sees 3 crashes in the same time. Another member of the public raised concerns about speeding coaches on Ash Road, he said he was told to phone the coach company when he contacted the police.

5. Presentation by Dr Gerald Cramp, Chairman of the Parish Plan Steering Committee

Dr Cramp outlined the background to the parish plan, how Hartley last conducted one in 1979, and how this is a common phenomenon throughout the country. They would be looking at both the human and built aspects of the community, and the form of future development in a design statement that will be subsidiary to the district plan. The only way to do that is to consult everyone, hence everyone will receive a questionnaire. Any volunteers to deliver it?!! He reminded people of how effective Dr Stoate's Longfield questionnaire had been in backing up the representations he was making about development there.

Mr R Glover asked about finance for the plan. Dr Cramp said it would cost in the region of £3-5,000 and the committee has a dedicated fundraiser. They have an initial grant of £750, plus £100 from the parish council and an offer of a £50 donation. They are also applying to Awards for All, but it is a very difficult application form. Someone else asked who will take any notice? Dr Cramp replied that the usual form is to produce a list of action points and their 'owners'.

(break for refreshments)

6. Chairman's report

Cllr Gaywood said most council work is done by committees, and referred to the reports in their last newsletter. He highlighted:

  • Ash Road - the "attempt" at traffic calming. KCC have approved an interactive sign which he "believes" will be effective.
  • Planning - he is "happy" with the committee, and claimed several successes.
  • Members' Surgery - will be less frequent because of poor response.
  • Youth shelter - to be built
  • Burial Ground - he said they had withdrawn from negotiations for access land, and will look for another site.
He ended by thanking his fellow councillors and clerk.

7. Finance Chairman's report

Cllr Alford, the finance chairman being absent, his report was read by Cllr Ramsay, his deputy. He said expenditure had been kept within budgets. The precept was "reduced" last year, and frozen this year, but he thought services would not be reduced. He mentioned the audit fee and said that in future audit fees for questions from parishioners would have to be met by the parish at £80 per hour.

(Note: the way the council has achieved this goes back 2 years ago when the precept was £94,000. Then the council said in their newsletter that but for the court case it would have been £79,000. The following year with the court case over and the windfall of £5,000 costs the council only reduced the precept to £89,000. This was so excessive that they were able to pay £15,000 into reserves, hence the ability to "freeze" the precept this year).

8. Report by Cllr Tucker (Kent County Council)

He said the council tax from the county would rise 3.7% next year, which he said was comparatively low with other counties. The county council has also been rated as "excellent" by the Audit Commission. He also highlighted the Ash Road Interactive Sign, KCC taking over Lullingstone Park Visitor Centre but at the price of parking charges, the reopening of Hartley Bottom Bridge and the lease of the parish office to the Parish Council.

9. Report by Sevenoaks Councillors

Cllr Garwood emphasised partnership with other councils. He and his colleagues have been "promoted" to the Scrutiny Committee. He finds the "urban" description of Hartley sad, but is happy that the government is now promoting his campaign for a 20mph speed limit around schools. He mentioned that Sevenoaks may adopt Bromley Council's plastic baskets for rubbish collection. He "assured" people of the continued support of district councillors to raise Hartley at SDC.

Cllr Ramsay said the council had made £2.9 million budget cuts, but claimed that it would not affect services. Although he said the council tax had gone up by 3.8%, he later said "I've got £25 off your council tax" (presumably a claim based on what the tax would have been). He highlighted a number of planning decisions and announced the Downs Valley telephone mast public enquiry will be held at All Saints' Hall on 17 January 2006. He alleged it was thanks to councillors that it would be held in Hartley, but in later questions Mrs I Sharp congratulated the efforts of Mrs Swift and all the other local residents. Cllr Ramsay also mentioned (a) 7 low cost houses in Wellfield on "redundant land"; (b) parking restrictions in The Warrens and Copse Side; and (c) 20mph speed limit in Round Ash Way and Conifer Avenue if they want it.

10. General Questions

Mr B Cass was concerned about pedestrian safety in Ash Road (wall being pushed down by tree) and Church Road (barbed wire). Cllr Coutts said barbed wire is not allowed, she knew police were there, but perhaps they didn't know the landowner.

Another person raised the shabbiness of the Cherry Trees parade, saying it looked "horrible", can't the council do anything about it? Cllr Gaywood said they would look into it, but it is private land. Dr Cramp confirmed both car parks there are private land, but didn't Sevenoaks Council look into buying it some years ago? Cllr Gaywood hadn't heard of that. Another question was raised on whether the yellow lines there are ever enforced. Cllr Gaywood said the police don't like ticketing people.

A resident raised the issue of foul smelling bonfires in the Billings Hill Shaw area during the day, the council just keep telling him to keep a diary. Cllr Gaywood suggested talking to a councillor, Cllr Tucker suggested the Environment Agency.

Messrs D Turvey and R Glover raised the cost of the parish office. Cllr Gaywood admitted the total cost is not £15,000, but more like £20,000. They have a 5 year guarantee by KCC on the office, which means they would get some of their investment back if the county closed the library. He is assured by KCC, and by Cllr Tucker himself, it is not going to happen, but can't get that in writing. It will be their office "for the foreseeable future". Cllr Sewell suggested if the library closed, they should buy the site as a youth centre.

Mrs I Sharp advocated the council get on with providing a trim trail and something for the young on Northfield. Cllr Gaywood said these things take time. Mrs Sharp said it takes too long. Cllr Gaywood thought the security of the field would not be breached. Mrs Sharp said she hoped they were right.

Mrs I Sharp said she was also glad to see the bus passes will be back next year. She urged more buses in Hartley, especially in the evenings, and concessionary fares for the youth like Dartford. Cllr Gaywood said he would monitor it "very carefully".

Mrs J Brudenell said the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister had asked councils to find sites for travellers, and she had heard a rumour that Sevenoaks were considering sites in the Northern Parishes. Cllr Tucker said there was a KCC survey, which only identified a site in the south of the borough, where he was given "a little bit of a bloody nose" over that.

Meeting closed 9.58pm

7 February 2005

Cllrs Gaywood (chairman), Barnett, Mrs Coutts, Mrs Oxtoby, Ramsay, Mrs Solman, Sewell
Cllr J Tucker (KCC); Mrs Hoad (clerk); 6 members of the public.

1. Apologies
Cllrs Abraham, Alford, Harris, Ward

2. Interests
Cllr Sewell declared a personal and prejudicial interest in the planning application for
Woodside, Ash Road. And an interest as governor of Hartley Primary School.
Cllr Gaywood declared a personal interest only in the proposed Hartley Green Conservation Area.

3. Minutes
The minutes of the meeting of 10 January 2005 were agreed 7-0.

4. Public Questions
Cllr Tucker reported that the Hartley Bottom Road bridge had reopened. Mr Cramp said it is now very narrow, his car got across only with difficulty. Cllr Tucker thought there was just enough of a passing place. Apparently the bridge is wholly in Longfield parish.
Mrs Roberts asked what criteria does Sevenoaks council apply for conservation areas? Cllr Gaywood said it would be discussed later, but they don't know. Mrs Roberts then asked whether it would stop building at Hartley Green. Cllr Gaywood said it would be nice if it were so. He would like all of Hartley to be a conservation area.
Mrs Brudenell asked what strips of land do the council propose to buy in Manor Field? Cllr Gaywood said they were 20 feet wide strips on the southern and western sides. Mrs Brudenell then questioned why they are spending public money on a strip they don't need for access to the burial ground. Cllr Gaywood said it would be "comfortable to own it all" and they are continuing negotiations, he said he thought the proposed price to be too high. Mrs Brudenell also asked when did it become a public open space, as it was conveyed for organised sport only? Cllr Gaywood said it would be investigated.
Mrs Sharp asked Cllr Gaywood whether he had written personally to request the Downs Valley public enquiry to be in Hartley. He said that he had. Cllr Ramsay said he had written "as a Sevenoaks Councillor", and had replied to a constituent who had written to him on this issue.
Mr Cramp raised concerns about the proposals to park over the sewer pipe at Cherry Trees, his neighbour already has problem of sewage backed up to his garage. Cllr Sewell said the pipe could be bridged.

5. Planning
The minutes of the meetings of 11 January, 18 January and 1 February were approved. They agreed on a recommendation to have one or more councillors to attend the Orchard Lea, Church Road planning enquiry.

They also agreed on new guidelines which will limit the public's ability to comment on applications at meetings. Cllr Oxtoby asked was there a problem? No said Cllr Ramsay, but they are reflecting Sevenoaks's practice. Cllr Oxtoby said she would be concerned if it was strictly adhered to.

Cllr Sewell said he was pleased the council will oppose the justices' licence application for the paper shop. If allowed he said it would mean half of shops in Harltey would have liquor licences.

The following planning applications were discussed:

6. Finance
The minutes of the meeting of 2 February 2005 were adopted. The meeting discussed the following:

  • Buses: At the request of Cllr Harris they will write to KCC to request they do not axe the K14/K15 buses from Hartley
  • Parish Office: they accepted a quote from C H Construction Services South East Ltd of £16,650 for works at the new parish office and £278 to KCC to move their computer equipment from the affected area. (approved by council 7-0)
  • Printer: council agreed 7-0 to buy a new laser printer up to £300.
  • Manor Field: the council want to buy two pieces of land for £10,000, but are only prepared to grant right of way over one of them. At the full council Cllr Gaywood stated that if this didn't happen they would go to Plan B "whatever it is". Cllr Sewell thought the price too much and abstained in the vote, which was won 6-0.
  • Clerk's Salary: they agreed to increase it to point 30 on the Local Government Scale, rising annually to point 34. Agreed by full council 7-0

7. Amenities
The minutes of the meeting of 26 January 2005 were adopted. This meeting discussed the following:

  • Billings Hill Shaw: KCC have told them they need to cut back certain trees overhanging the highway.
  • Chantry Avenue: Repairs to swing.
  • Manor Field (football): Hartley De Sales FC say long grass, earth clods and dog faeces were all problems, but line marking good.
  • Manor Field (cricket): Kent League told NAG & Hartley CC they were concerned about long grass and a depression in the outfield (to be filled in by cricket club). Hextable CC will only play 9 matches here in 2005 and there is talk of whether they will continue in the long term.
  • Manor Field (pavilion): no asbestos found.
  • Risk Assessments: have been carried out for the open spaces. An access audit has also been conducted for Manor Field and pavilion.

8. Burial Ground
The minutes of the meeting of 19 January 2005 were received. The meeting discussed the following:

  • They are satisfied that all memorials are now stable, but will monitor situation
  • They will ask the Horticultural Society members to donate plants to the Garden of Remembrance
  • Council agreed the proposed list of charges to the new garden of remembrance (same as other one)
  • They plan to erect a 8 feet long handrail beside the sloping path of the closed churchyard.
  • New Burial Ground - they rejected the proposal to use part of the Manor Field Carpark instead.

9. Youth
The minutes of the meeting of 20 January 2005 were approved. They discussed:

  • Youth worker said the alternative names for snowboarding suggested by a resident would not be acceptable, because they were not "socially excluded". He denied that the scheme rewards bad behaviour. Both he and the committee were concerned that he is not permitted to work in Longfield, even though that is where Hartley youth goes. He has funding for the grafiti wall but needs a site.
  • Questionnaire - a youth questionnaire will be circulated with March's Village Advertiser
  • Youth Shelter - they propose putting in a planning application for a solar powered youth shelter at Woodland Avenue. At the council meeting Cllr Sewell praised the constructive attitude of "certain people", who had had trouble in the past.

10 January 2005


Cllrs Gaywood; Abraham, Barnett, Mrs Burns, Mrs Coutt, Harris, Mrs Oxtoby, Ramsay, Sewell, Mrs Solman, Ward; KCC Councillor Tucker; Mrs Hoad (clerk) and 8 members of the public.

1. Apologies

Cllrs Alford and Tremain.

2. Interests


3. Minutes

The minutes of the council meeting of 13 December 2004 were approved.

4. County Councillor's Report

Cllr Tucker said the work on Hartley Bottom Road bridge was "reasonably well advanced". There is evidence of subsidence in the SW corner, but that is a matter for Railtrack (sic).

5. Sale of Land at Manor Field

Mrs Hoad said there was nothing to report. The District Valuer said they had not heard back from the land agent. Cllr Gaywood proposed a working party of himself, and Cllrs Ramsay, Barnett, Oxtoby and Tremain - he said he had ideas and he wants to expand them. Agreed 11-0.

6. Parish Plan

The minutes of the meeting of 30 November 2004 were noted.

7. Planning Committee

The minutes of the meetings of 14 and 20 December were adopted, Cllr Coutts said she was at the 14th December meeting, but not at the 20th to correct the error.

(a) At the meeting of 14 December 2004 the committee had no objection to the applications at Manor Farm, Manor Road; 15 St John's Lane; 29 Brambledown and Hemesley's Stables.

(b) At the meeting of 20 December 2004, Cllr Ramsay let it be known he had voted against the Hemmesley's Stables application. Cllr Gaywood attacked the committee, saying it had been "ill considered, ill founded and completely at odds with the local plan policy GB2" and told them to familiarise themselves with the district plan. He denied it was essential and thought conditions were impossible to enforce.

They had no objection to the application at Carill, Church Road.

(c) Sevenoaks Council have now said they will request a public enquiry over the Downs Valley mast application. Mrs Hoad said she had heard nothing more from Sevenoaks on this. (See also public question)

8. Community Facilities Working Group

The minutes of 10th November 2004 were noted. Cllr Burns said it was nice to have the public at the meeting and welcomed their feedback. She was interested to hear of the "huge majority" against a play area.

The minutes discussed the following:

  • Nine members of the public turned up to give their views on the planning application for land adjacent to 72 Caxton Close. They spoke against a children's play area, fearing anti-social behaviour, and voiced concerns about the bin store. The West Kend Housing Association stressed the need for anti-social behaviour to be reported, which it is not at present.
  • Sevenoaks council are agreed in principle to a Benefits Outreach Surgery, if their IT requirements can be met
  • The owner of Down Ampney, Gorsewood Road, now wants to put up 2 blocks of 6 x 2 bedroom flats, which would involve an access road to Caxton Close. This would mean the plans for land adjoining 72 Caxton Close would have to be altered.
See also public question.


The minutes of the meeting of the meeting of 7 December 2004 were noted. These included the following matters:

  • The Youth Worker said the graffiti project and MC nights in New Ash Green were getting up to 60 attending. But in Hartley the group chosen for snowboarding classes didn't turn up and it now may be offered to younger children if the original group do not want to participate.
  • In NAG the skateboard/BMX survey found an overwhelming majority in favour, and a youth worker would consult young people on its design. It will be at the rear of the North Square Car Park.
  • The West Kingsdown clerk said how well the scheme was working. At the full council meeting Cllrs Burns and Sewell begged to differ, and Cllr Gaywood told them to put it on the agenda.
10. Payments

Payments of £4,492 were approved.

11 Public Questions

Mrs Sharp asked for more publicity for the Community Facilities meetings. Mrs Hoad said they are on the Library noticeboard and the internet, but Mrs Sharp said she did not have a computer.

Mrs Brudenell raised inconsistencies in what applications Sevenoaks asks to go to public enquiry. She referred to one for velux windows in Church Road, which was ardently pursued against the advice of the officers. On this one the council has lost the appeal and had costs awarded against it. Haven't they got their priorities wrong when Downs Valley mast will affect far more people? Cllr Gaywood claimed it wasn't just about windows, and that it was voted by a majority at Sevenoaks including other parties to do this. They changed their minds on Downs Valley because residents asked them to. He then said it was a district council matter and wouldn't discuss it further. Mrs Brudenell then asked when can district councillors be questioned, as they don't allow the public to do this at Sevenoaks?

Mrs Swift asked what they had received in writing from Sevenoaks about the mast application. Mrs Hoad and Cllr Gaywood both promised to pass on the paperwork they had got. She said a neighbour was worried about selling a house because of the appeal. Cllr Gaywood said that was why the council originally asked for a written appeal. However Dr Roberts then said that it makes little difference - on average written appeals are taking 50 weeks and public enquiries 52 weeks.

Mrs Delf asked whether the council would fill in the potholes in Church Road, as they are a problem for people who walk along the road. Cllr Gaywood told her to write to Cllr Tucker of KCC.