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Hartley Parish Council - Report and Independent Minutes 2007

8 January 2007
5 February 2007
12 March 2007
16 April 2007
14 May 2007
25 May 2007 (Annual Parish Meeting)
11 June 2007
10 September 2007
15 October 2007
12 November 2007


Subject Index
Alford, Cllr May
Allotments Mar
Ash Road Mar

Billings Hill Shaw May

Burial Ground Feb, Apr, Sep
 - Manor Field Sep

Buses Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, Nov
Chairman's annual report May2
Chantry Avenue Apr, Nov
Cherry Trees Feb, Apr1, Apr2, Sep, Nov
Church Road Nov
Code of Conduct Sep
Committees May
Conifer Avenue Sep
Donations Mar, Sep, Nov
Drains May2
Fairby Lane Mar, Sep

 - Dartford BC support for PCs Jan
 - Precept 2008/9 Nov
 - Procurement Jan
 - Caxton Close to Gorsewood Rd Sep
 - Stocks Farm to Grange Way Jan
Foxborough Wood Nov
Freedom of Information Nov
Gas Pipeline Sep
Gorsewood Apr1, Apr2, May, Nov
Hartley Court Green Jan
Hartley Primary School Sep
Hartley Wood
 - Adverse Possession claim Jan, Apr
 - Motorbike barrier Jun
 - Village Green application Feb, Apr
 - Works Mar, Sep
HAWK Youth Jan, Feb, Apr
Interests of members
 - Cllr Barnett Mar
 - dual hatted members May
Kent County Council Jun
Library Feb, May2
Local Boards May2
Longfield Hill Apr, Jun, Sep
Manor Drive Feb, Mar, Apr, Sep
Manor Field
 - Cricket Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Sep
 - Gate Mar
 - Maintenance Jun
 - Parking Feb
 - Pavilion Jan, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Sep, Nov
 - Scouts' paper collection Nov
Newsletter Feb
Northfield Mar, Apr, May, Sep
 - Football Nov
 - Trim Trail Nov
 - Wind turbine Sep
Oast Way Sep
Our Lady of Hartley RC School Sep
Parish Office Sep
Parking May2
Playgrounds Jan, May, Nov
Police May2
Polling Stations Sep

Pond Jan, Feb, Mar, Jun, Sep
Post Office Mar, May, May2, Nov
Publicity Apr
Quakers Close Feb
Rectory Meadow Apr, May, Jun
Round Ash Way Feb
Rubbish Collection May2
Skateboarding Feb, Mar, May, Jun
Springcroft Mar, Apr, May2, Sep, Nov
Stack Lane Feb, Apr, May2, Sep, Nov
Stoate, Dr Howard MP May2, Sep
URC Church Sep
Village Design Statement Apr
Website Feb, Apr, Jun, Nov
WI Hall Sep, Nov
Wind Turbines May
Youth Jun
 - Survey Feb
Woodland Avenue Feb, Apr, May, May2, Nov


12 November 2007
Cllrs Gaywood, Barnett, Mrs Burns, Mrs Cole, Gaywood (chairman), Graeme, Granger, Harris, Minns, Oxtoby, Ramsay, Sewell

Mrs Hoad (clerk), Cllr Brazier (KCC), 13 members of the public

1. Interests

2. Minutes of meeting of 10 September 2007

3. Public Questions
Cllr Ramsay said Sevenoaks plan to cut £1 million from its budget in 2008/9

Several local residents said a new wall and gate at Oak Lodge, Church Road was causing traffic difficulties, particularly for farm machinery.

Mrs Sharp asked whether the £5,400 left in the KCC member's yearly fund would be lost if not spent soon.

Dr Cramp asked that KCC be informed of the location of the sewer in front of the Cherry Trees shops, when considering improvements.

4. Amenities and Open Spaces
The minutes of the meeting of 6 November 2007 were agreed.  It discussed:

  • Manor Field - (a) a new cleaning schedule for the pavilion was agreed, which involves additional work; (b) the scouts want to use the carpark for their paper collection, because Hemesley's Yard will no longer be available.  After concerns raised at by the public at the meeting, they decided to ask the scouts if they had tried elsewhere and also what the neighbouring two properties thought of this.
  • Playgounds - they dealt with the risks identified in the quarterly report, which included glass under roundabouts in Woodland Avenue and Chantry Avenue and a protruding bolt.  They were unhappy with "unauthorised" nets on the goal posts at Woodland Avenue.
  • Gorsewood - after the risks identified in the arboricultural survey, they will be seeking quotations.
  • Hartley Wood - a private owner said they were having difficulty getting public liability insurance, council to see if they can be covered on the council's insurance.
  • Foxborough Wood - council to pay to find out where the boundary of their land is.
  • Allotments - £116 to deal with rat infestation

5. Communications
The minutes of the meeting of 29 October were approved.  It discussed:

  • Annual report - quotation of £554 for printing and delivery from Ash Printing and Setting agreed.
  • Information Pack for new residents to be investigated.
  • Website - monthly highways spreadsheet to be added if KCC agree.

6. Finance
The minutes of the meeting of 24 October 2007 were agreed.  It discussed:

  • Precept - they recommended to raise the precept from £96,000 to £100,000 in 2008/9 with a number of expenditure items being met from reserves.
  • Donations - £100 to Scouts
  • Post offices - letter of objection to be written on proposed closures.

7. Highways
The minutes of the meeting of 18 October 2007 were agreed.  It discussed:

  • Springcroft - disagreement between KCC and HPC over cause of flooding.  HPC blame surface run off from Manor Lane, KCC say it is silt and leaves from Manor Drive run off.  Both agree that the monthly gully clearance of leaves in Manor Lane and Springcroft by SDC is insufficient in leaf fall period.
  • Stack Lane - KCC have spoken to the school, who say they try to stop parents blocking drives.  KCC agree state of road is poor.  They propose levelling and finishing with tarmac, the school will contribute a small sum and KCC may be able to contribute something, but so too will the other frontagers.  If agreeable it would be done in August 2008.
  • Buses - (a) Earlier bus to Darent Valley Hospital requested, and an end to the gap between 0730 and 1030 when no bus runs from Hartley to New Ash Green; (b) Bus Shelters - to be investigated further, but no funding sources identified.
  • Interactive sign - still not working.

8. Planning
The minutes of the meetings of 17 & 31 October were approved.  For details see planning page.  

9. Northfield
The minutes of the meeting of 19 October 2007 were noted.  It discussed:

  • Horse riding - the mowing of the track to separate it from walkers appears to be working.
  • Trim Trail - more quotations to be sought.
  • Football - there are doubts as to whether they still have planning permisssion for this.  Ash members want football, Hartley say there is no proven need, pointing to the available pitch at Manor Field.  They did agree to let New Ash Green Junior FC use the play area until the end of the season, with temporary markings and goalposts to be removed after the match.
  • Barnett's Wood - they agreed to pay Independent Woodland Management £1,950 for pruning.

10.  WI Hall
The council want to do a structural survey, while the WI want the council to pay their legal costs and an agreement that the Evening and Afternoon WIs will be able to use the hall free of charge for monthly and birthday meetings.

At full council they agreed to spend £500 with Hook Consultancy for a building inspection.

11.  Freedom of Information
Council agreed to charge 10p per A4 copy and 40p per A3 copy, but no charge if total less than £2.

12.  Payments
Payments of £6,959 for November were agreed.

10 September 2007

Cllrs Mrs Oxtoby, Mrs Cole, Granger, Sewell, Ramsay, Gaywood (chairman), Harris, Barnett, Graeme, Abraham

Mrs Hoad (clerk), 10 members of the public

Cllrs Alford, Minns, Mrs Burns, whose reasons were approved by the council.

1 Interests
Cllr Gaywood - chairman's allowance.

2. Minutes of meeting of 9 July 2007
These were agreed without amendment.

3. Adjournment
Soil Association - Dr Roberts asked why they paid £500 to join?  Cllr Gaywood told her to write in to the Northfield Management Committee.

Treatment of member of public - Mrs Sharp said following the last meeting she checked, and there was a hotel sold by Swanley council, but the proceeds are only for people of Swanley and Hextable.  She said she felt she had been badly treated by the council.  Cllr Gaywood apologised if she felt that, but didn't think that was the case.

Buses - Mr Mayer asked whether the council had done anything about the cuts in buses from Longfield to New Ash Green in the morning, where there is now almost a 3 hour gap.  The council said they were unaware of this and Cllr Harris promised to reply. (shortly after the meeting Mr Mayer received a full reply from Cllr Harris)

3 Hartley Primary School
The headteacher Mrs Hollingworth and the chairman of the governors, Mrs Narramore, were both present.  Mrs Hollingworth explained that for years the school had suffered from underinvestment and that there was a long catalogue of things to be done:

  • Screen separating new hall from old hall needs repair.  Hall contravenes fire regulations
  • Poor state of classrooms - peeling paint, 30 year old curtains, rotting wooden partitions, doors that need replacing, broken tables and chairs,
  • Poor state of paths and car park
  • Inadequate playground provision for size of school
  • No alarm or CCTV
  • Unsanitary toilets
  • Inadequate power supply, computer suite has to be run on batteries.
  • Staff room too small for 45 staff

However thanks to writing this letter to everyone, she had positive news to report, that she had a 2½ hour meeting with KCC on 24 July and they have started 6 projects in the summer holidays.  She thanked council for their support.  Cllr Gaywood said "we can nag people day and night", which the council is good at.  Cllr Harris said "tongue in cheek" that KCC had spent £48,000 to improve their "brand".

4. Amenities and Open Spaces
The minutes of the meeting of 18 July 2007 were approved.  It discussed:

  • Cricket - committee recommended allowing the club to install a net by the proposed burial ground at Manor Field (approved by full council 9-0).  They deferred a decision on whether to spend £1,800 on a new electricity supply for the field at Longfield Hill.
  • Pond - the committee recorded its disappointment with the council's refusal to uphold its earlier recommendation at the meeting of 5 June.  They have heard from the Friends of the Pond informing them of progress.  They decided to press ahead with an adverse possession claim on the land.
  • Hartley Wood - they felled 3 dead cherry trees near Pippins, Gorsewood Road, which were on their land at a cost of £426.  Insurers confirm they are happy with current work, and will cover HPC's woodland up to £5 million public liability.
  • Gorse Wood - KCC have written to say the footpath from Caxton Close to Gorsewood Road is now an official right of way.
  • Manor Field - (a) they accepted a quote of £950 from Kevin Abraham to redecorate the outside of the pavilion.  (b) They accepted a quote of £350 from B Ballard to cut hedge on northern boundary.

5. Burial Grounds
The minutes of the meeting of 4 September 2007 were approved.  It discussed:

  • Budget 2008/9 - they bid for £7,525 (2007/8 - £6,475)
  • Car Park fees - they recommended continuing to charge £25 for the use of the Manor Field carpark for weddings, funerals and christenings (approved by full council 9-0).
  • Garden of Remembrance - they decided to pay £300 for bark to improve the appearance.
  • All Saints' Churchyard - they met with the PCC representatives, who explained their plans to create a new road level entrance when the extension is built.  They suggested the council may like to reduce the hump in the existing path to the burial ground.  The council did not like the hole made by the archaeological dig so the PCC agreed to slope the sides.
  • New Burial Ground - they accepted a quotation from S Judd for £2,355 to plant a hedge (approved by full council 9-0).  At full council Cllr Graeme asked whether there was any provision for the contractor to replace any plants that died, in reply Cllr Barnett said there was not.

6. Communications
The minutes of the meeting of 30 July 2007 were approved.  It decided to continue using Ash Setting and Printing for their newsletter.

7. Finance
The minutes of the meeting of 18 July 2007 were approved, as were all recommendations by 9 votes to 0.  It discussed:

  • Personnel - Cllr Ramsay was elected chairman and Cllr Abraham vice chairman.
  • Internal Audit - the council are satisfied with arrangements.
  • Parish Office - (a) they recommended buying a new computer and anti-power surge systems from Wrotham Computer Care Ltd for £400 + £89.  (b) As there were delays realising they had 1571 phone messages, they would look at equipment provision.
  • Donations - they recommended the following - Kenward Trust (£50), Swanley Volunteer Centre (£50) and nothing for Vitalise, Open Spaces Society, Children's Trust and West Kent Mediation.
  • Wind Generator - in reply to correspondence received they recommended not constructing one on Northfield as they said it was too expensive for the council (it is not clear whether the writer expected the council to build one or just allow one there).

8. Highways
The minutes of the meetings of 2 August 2007 and 6 September 2007 were approved.  They discussed:

  • Fairby Lane - 6 residents of Conifer Avenue and Oast Way say they have used the newly blocked road by right for 20 years.  Referred to Kent County Council.
  • Springcroft - flooded again on 20 July.  Work at the Manor Drive / Manor Lane junction to try to alleviate the problem, but council doubt efficiacy.
  • Cherry Trees - they will send parking proposals to KCC which include the removal of the island.
  • Stack Lane - 4 residents from the eastern end of Stack Lane complained about the state of the road, made worse they said by volume of cars and deliveries associated with the school.  Committee agreed to write to KCC and the school to inform them of the situation.  KCC replied that road improvements would be up to the residents.
  • Buses - (a) Minor changes to Sunday service noted; (b) They are going to write to KCC to see if any funding is available for bus shelters at Wellfield; (c) Following a request from Cllr Harris, our MP Dr Stoate has contacted the bus company who say they hope to increase the frequency of the 423 to every half hour from the end of October, and he is also asking KCC to install bus time indicators in Hartley. (public question)
  • Ash Road - they recommended a cycle route from New Ash Green, which would improve safety for schoolchildren.  The scheme proposed works well elsewhere in Kent.  Approved by full council 9-0.

10 Planning
The minutes of the meetings of 25 July, 2 & 22 August were approved.  For details see planning page.  

11 Standing Orders and Model Code of Conduct
Council agreed 8-0 (Cllr Cole appeared to abstain) to adopt revised standing orders and the new model code of conduct.

12 Northfield
The minutes of the meeting of 27 July 2007 were noted.  It discussed:

  • Play Area - fertilising of grass and weedkilling to cost £358.
  • Horse Riding - continued vandalism of route
  • New House Shaw - damage to log barrier, and broken glass
  • Single Payment Scheme - they have been accepted for Entry Level Scheme status, giving them £788 pa.  Some discussion as to whether it was worth going for organic status, Cllr Glover said they might not be able to spray ragwort if they did.  They decided to join the soil association anyway at £425 pa. (public question)
  • Boundary with Courtfield and Cavan - agreement reached with landowners to share the cost of two strand barbed wire.

13 Our Lady of Hartley RC School
They have told the council they no longer want a councillor on their governing body, as they decided on a new constitution and have all the governors they need.

14 Farningham to Hadlow Gas Pipeline
This goes no nearer than Fawkham, but they may use Ash Road for construction vehicles. They agreed to write for the Environmental Impact Assessment (suggested by Cllr Granger) and for more details of the effect on Hartley.

15 Gardening for wildlife scheme
They agreed to sponsor a £30 prize as they did last year.

16 Polling Stations
Sevenoaks Council asked if they thought the location of any should be changed in Hartley, but they agreed 9-0 to leave them as they were.

17 Payments
Payments for September of £5,524 were agreed.

18 Special Projects
The minutes of the meeting were approved, it discussed:

  • URC church - they offered it to the council to rent at £12,000 pa for a restricted use or £16,800 pa for unrestricted, with the council responsible for repairs and outgoings.  They decided it would be too expensive.  Otherwise the church has proposed either 8 x 2 bed units or 6 x 1 bed units with community hall.  Council decided they supported housing proposed.
  • WI Hall - they have offered the hall to the council.  The president said the hall was in good condition and lettings gave a healthy income, but they were suffering from declining numbers and now was a good time to donate it to the community.  Committee was in favour of entering negotiations.  At full council Cllr Ramsay said it was a generous offer, while Mrs Hoad reported the WI had voted 51-4 in favour.  They decided to set up a committee of Cllrs Harris, Ramsay and Abraham to look into it.
  • New Burial Ground - discussions about the covenants on the land but the public were excluded from both meetings.

9 July 2007


1. Interests
Cllr Ramsay - item 11 of payments; Hoselands Green (personal as member of Sevenoaks Cabinet)
Cllr Gaywood - parking enforcement in rural areas

2. Minutes of meeting of 11 June 2007
These were approved.

3. Adjournment
Mr Cramp referred to the plans to rearrange the parking spaces at Cherry Trees, and asked why there was no reference to the sewers there?

Mr Spratt raised late night disturbance at Porchester Close.  The police are aware.

4. Burial Grounds
The minutes of the meeting of 18 June 2007 were approved.  It discussed:

  • Chairman to be Mrs Oxtoby, Cllr Barnett to be vice Chairman
  • Fees - they recommended (a) there should be no charge for approval of a memorial for a child under 12 years (no provision previously); (b) the Church should be asked about use of car park to see if £25 pa fee should be raised.
  • New garden of remembrance - they agreed to pay £120 to Lewis Solomons for a 13 x 2½ inch bronze plaque.  They recommended forbidding the burial of caskets.  It was also reported that a rope had been stolen from there.
  • Closed churchyard - the Church had suggested extending the water main to the Parish Council's burial ground.
  • Insurance - the insurers will extend £5 million public liability insurance provided the parish council carried out and recorded regular inspections, the relatives are responsible for their headstones when possible, if council removes a stone it should be by their employees.

5. Highways
The minutes of the meeting of 13 June 2007 were approved.  It discussed:

  • Chairman - Cllr Harris; Vice Chairman - Cllr Granger
  • Manor Drive - restricted byway signs to be installed in next few weeks.
  • Fairby Lane - Kent Highways agreed to support closure of the Ash Road entrance by the residents, on the basis of safety and that the road had not been established as a public highway.  One resident said they had a private right of way in their title deeds.
  • Cherry Trees - Kent Highways can't fund any works and will need a plan from the parish council of proposals to remove the traffic island.
  • Parking enforcement - they recommended that Cherry Trees, the area around the schools and Hartley Green be identified as areas of problem parking.
  • The Parade, Ash Road - following a complaint about litter, they recommended asking Sevenoaks Council for a litter bin.
  • Ash Road - they heard from Cllr Glover of Ash Council, proposing a cycle route from New Ash Green, who emphasised road safety answered their concerns.  He pointed out 65% of children either walked or cycled to Hartley school.  They agreed to look at it further.
  • Woodland Avenue - complaints about speeding.

11 June 2007

Cllrs Mrs Burns, Sewell, Abraham, Granger, Mrs Cole, Mrs Oxtoby, Barnett, Harris, Gaywood, Graeme

Cllr Brazier (Kent County Council), Mrs Hoad, 11 members of the public

Cllrs Ramsay and Minns, Mr Alford

1. Interests
Cllr Sewell - Pond (personal and prejudicial)
Cllr Mrs Cole - Skateboard Park (personal and prejudicial)
Cllr Mrs Oxtoby - Hartley Wood (personal and prejudicial)

2. Minutes of meeting of 14 May 2007
They were agreed with some amendments as to who is on which committee.

The minutes of the APM of 25 May 2007 were noted.

3. Adjournment
Cllr Brazier reported about the on-line broadcasting of council meetings to begin in September.  He says viewing figures will be small but it will cost £800,000 - "I'm sure you think it's an excellent use of your money".  He said it was a noble effort to communicate in different ways, but it is up to people to judge.

Cllr Gaywood said he had met the Duke of Kent at Dunton Green, where the meat processing plant there was getting the Queen's Award.

Mrs Sharp deplored the treatment Cllr Burns had received at the recent Youth meeting, she felt the behaviour of many members of the public there was appalling to say the least.  Cllr Gaywood "totally agreed" with her and felt that he had put a put a stop to it.  It is unacceptable, but unfortunately that is what people are like.  (see also Youth Committee below)

Mr Mayer raised again the question of grafiti at Rectory Meadow.  Dr Roberts said some had been cleaned, Cllr Gaywood assured him that the rest was "in hand".

4. Amenities
The minutes of the meeting of 5 June 2007 were noted.  It discussed:

  • Cricket - they agreed to meet with NAG & Hartley CC to discuss installing a cricket net at Manor Field.  Meopham CC had asked for a contribution to the £1,500 - £1,800 cost of installing electricity at Longfield Hill.  The committee were in favour in principle but wanted more details.
  • Pond - Mr Williams had written on behalf of local residents (Friends of the Pond) with an offer to renovate the pond.  He had stressed that this would be mostly a pond and not a bog garden as had been suggested by the council.  The committee had agreed to recommend rescission of that motion, accept the offer of the Friends to reovate the pond, and to investigate who owns it.  At full council, Cllr Burns was very supportive, saying it was nice that residents had taken an interest.  However Cllr Gaywood raised a number of objections and wanted the decision deferred (even though the chairman of the pond committee was present in the audience, he did not ask him to speak).  Cllr Gaywood asked questions about title and financial planning.  Cllr Abraham seconded the motion.  Cllr Oxtoby said they were looking a gift horse in the mouth and as they didn't own the pond, they couldn't stop the friends going ahead and doing it anyway.  Cllr Graeme reiterated this point, but felt that some details hadn't been resolved in his mind.  Cllr Burns queried why the council is now so keen to block the project when a few meetings ago they were prepared to spend council money on it?  Cllr Cole said the Friends had enough money and were prepared to spend their own money.  Cllr Granger asked about cost of labour, Cllr Oxtoby said it was all donated.  Cllr Harris said he supported Cllr Gaywood but didn't want a long deferrment.  Cllr Brazier was asked to speak, he said he wouldn't give any of his £10,000 unless the parish council ran it.  Cllr Burns said deferral would lose all the good weather, the time to fight for it was now.  Deferral was agreed 5 - 3 (for - Cllrs Granger, Barnett, Harris, Graeme, Abraham; against - Cllrs Burns, Oxtoby, Cole).
  • Hartley Wood - they recommended investigating the installation of a motor-cycle barrier at Beechlands Close.  At full council it was agreed up to a ceiling of £500.
  • Gorse Wood - dead tree by Oaklands, Gorsewood Road, felled at cost of £150
  • Manor Field - (a) Quote of £240 pa to clean shower heads in pavilion, conduct water temperature tests etc accepted. (b) Quotations of £115 from Mr Munday to clear bramble, (c) £260 from Westcut Mowing to fertilise field and mow orchard, accepted.
  • Rectory Meadow - new bylaws adopted by council.

At full council Cllr Gaywood criticised the resident who had complained to the Standards Board about Cllr Barnett.

5. Communications
The minutes of the meeting of 21 May 2007 were approved.  Cllr Burns said that due to a computer crash, the next newsletter will not be until June.  The website will include Northfield agendas and minutes, and a picture gallery in future.

6. Planning
The minutes of the meetings of 23 May and 7 June were approved.  For details see planning page.  At the meeting of 23 May it was reported that the council said they wanted Sevenoaks to contact them in future if they do not receive a reply to a consultation.  This was after the parish council failed to answer a letter from Sevenoaks about an application to fell a tree at The Bungalow, Quakers Close.

7. Youth
The minutes of the meeting of 4 June 2007 were approved.  It discussed:

  • Skateboarding - a spokesman said that, following the "browbeating by the geriatric hooligan element", they have had to cancel proposals for a skate park at Woodland Avenue.
  • Youth worker - reported on Snowboarding course being run at present.  He hoped to organise paintballing and weekend residential excursions.
  • Youth Zone - to visit Woodland Avenue on 7 August.
  • Charlton Athletic - at full council Cllr Sewell reported they will be at Woodland Avenue doing training on 6 Wednesday evenings, although residents may complain.

8. Payments
Payments of £8,428 for June were agreed.

Meeting closed at 9.12 pm

25 May 2007 - Annual Parish Meeting
Cllrs Gaywood, Abraham, Sewell, Minns, Ramsay
Cllr Brazier (KCC), Dr Stoate (MP), Community Warden & about 41 members of the public.

Cllr Gaywood apologised for the lack of councillors attending.

1. Prayer
The Rector, Rev Richard Worssam, gave a brief address where he reminded people that once these meetings would have been convened by the Churchwardens, so Cllr Gaywood is like a successor to them.  Prayer and Lord's Prayer.

2. Dr Howard Stoate, MP for Dartford
He said he had just arrived back from the US, where the Health Select Committee had gone to see the electronic patient record.  He said that the recent tragic case in the news might have been avoided, had doctors known their past medical history, rather than believing they were a new patient.

He gave a review of things he has been involved in:

  • Dartford Crossing - he has won argument for 90% reduction for local area, but details need to be worked out.
  • Green Manifesto for Dartford - he has published this and had copies for distribution at the meeting, it is a series of suggestions for debate.
  • Out of hospital care - he has published a paper for the Fabian Society ("Challenging the Citadel") saying there is too much of a preoccupation with hospitals.  He would like to see more community "poly-clinics", open 24 hours a day.  He also wants to see more nurses in schools to deal with health problems, teenage type 2 diabetes didn't exist when he was a medical student.  He stressed health is more than just about hospitals, it is housing and jobs etc too.
  • Thames Lightermen - he has helped to ensure they are the best qualified and that licensing is of the highest standard.
  • Cheap Alcohol - he is concerned some supermarkets sell a litre for as little as 40p, which is irresponsible.  The price of alcohol has fallen in real terms and social problems ensue.  Mr Jones asked where can you buy beer for 40p! Dr Stoate replied he'd tell him afterwards! Cllr Sewell said practically every shop in Hartley sells booze and they're told they can't object.  Dr Stoate replied councils can refuse licenses, if they make daft decisions, hold them to account.  He hoped Hartley's district councillors would take note.
  • Copraxomol - he is trying to stop it being phased out for the small group of people, whom it benefits.
  • Chronic Pain Service - he called for improvements, saying it is essential but overstretched.
  • Fat Traps - 1,000 tons of fat are poured into sewers annually, which causes problems.  If businesses used fat traps, much of the sewer flooding would cease.  Mrs Sharp said nappies were a problem too, they had caused a flood in her garden.  Mr Gronow agreed with Dr Stoate, but added some of the problems in New Ash Green are inherent, and go back to when the sewer was first built.  Mr Cass put the problem down to the lack of sewer cleaning these days, Dr Stoate agreed that was a fair point.
  • Post Office - Cllr Sewell raised the potential closure of post offices.  Dr Stoate outlined the problems of the £2-3 million per week losses in the network, which he said can't go on.  It is a radical programme, but they are not being used.  Mrs Adams pointed out that the government hadn't helped by taking services away from the Post Office.  Dr Stoate said the costs were higher and paying benefits into banks has reduced fraud and theft.  As society changes so do services.
  • Rubbish Collection - Mrs Solman asked whether he was in favour of a fortnightly collection.  He said he favoured weekly but people will have to learn to recycle more if they want to reduce the 60-70% of rubbish that goes into landfill.

Cllr Gaywood thanked Dr Stoate for an informative talk, which was appreciated.

3. Inspector Payne (West Kent Police)
He said Hartley is part of the Swanley area with 2 sergeants, 8 constables and 8 PCSOs, PC Alison Roberts covers Hartley, he said she was very good and very proactive, for example she is beginning to run monthly surgeries.  He said Sevenoaks district is the safest in Kent with a 35% fall in crime over the past year, however the fall in Hartley was 6½%.  They have spent £399,000 on Swanley Police Station, which will enable them to get out to calls sooner.  The government has funded 300 Police Community Support Officers for Kent and Hartley is near the top of the queue.  He expected there to be one in August or September.  PCSOs are to bring policing to the community, to allow PCs to tackle the more serious crime.

Mrs Philpot raised the problem of parking on pavements - why should pedestrians have to walk on the roads?  He said offences do exist, but people have to be reasonable and take account of time of day or footfall of area.  People are unlikely to get a PC out to deal with this.

Mrs Brooks asked whether PC Roberts was mainly in New Ash Green? PC Roberts confirmed she was.

Mrs Sharp asked whether they liase with Hartley's very good community warden Adam.  PC Roberts said he reports to her.  Mrs Sharp also raised the problems in Woodland Avenue.

Mr Glover said he rarely sees the police now they have changed from Gravesend to Tonbridge.  He had a good liason with the Meopham police, but now he only sees the Community Wardens who are doing a great deal of good.  He asked that the police don't spend all their time in New Ash Green.  Inspector Payne said he could say "authoritatively" that there are more officers in Swanley now, than when it was part of North Kent.

Rev Worssam asked what was the difference between a Community Warden and a PCSO?  Insp Payne said Wardens were employed by KCC to work with the community on community issues.  PCSOs are more police based, who deal with minor Anti-social behaviour etc.

Inspector Payne was thanked by Cllr Gaywood.

4. Parish Plan
Mr Cramp, the chairman of the Parish Plan Committee, gave a report on the progress of the Parish Plan and Village Design Statement, that were available for people to read at the meeting.  There were no questions.

Break 8.45 - 9.05 pm

5. Report of Parish Council Chairman
Cllr Gaywood highlighted the following matters:

  • Council united against inappropriate development.  Many turned down which he is personally happy about, because he doesn't like development in Hartley
  • Amenities - new burial ground has legal obstacles to overcome.
  • Rectory Meadow - now a local nature reserve
  • Northfield - the new riding route, in the main people are happy with it
  • Woodland Avenue - a potential skateboard park will be discussed at the next Youth committee meeting
  • Pond - he thanked the community wardens who cleared it, and there has been an offer from a resident to improve it which will be discussed, but is very encouraging
  • Committees - work hard to bring new ideas, he wished the 4 new councillors a rewarding term of office.

5. Finance
Cllr Ramsay said the chairman of the committee was not here, so he is giving report.  He said "you lucky people", as he claimed the council had cut the precept in their first year of office and had "only" increased it £2,000 in 4 years.  He thought they spent "sensibly and wisely".

6. Kent County Councillor
Cllr Brazier said he was glad to "come home" having previously represented Darent Valley where he didn't live.  He is now lead cabinet member for finance, and responsible for the KCC land portfolio.  He said the increase in council tax was due to less funding from the government.  He added KCC is a 4 star council according to the Audit Commission.

Highways were bad when the district councils ran them, but now under KCC control they were turning the corner, and there is money to solve the Springcroft flooding - his "personal mission".

He said he had helped constituents and attended all Parish Council meetings.

7. Sevenoaks District Councillors
Cllr Ramsay said Cllr Gaywood is the new chairman of the council (Cllr Gaywood added his main fear was he wouldn't get re-elected so he could take up the post). The other bit of "good news" is that he has been in charge of finance at Sevenoaks for 2 years.  He has reduced the budget and reduced the number of staff by 180.  He refused to fund Stag Theatre which went bust and now the annual grant to the new body is £60,000 instead of £360,000 as previously.  He will keep weekly rubbish collections ("hear, hear" from parts of the audience). The council has a good report from the Audit Commission.

8. Public Questions
Stack Lane - Mr Cass asked the council to make the restrictions on traffic in Stack Lane public, it is often ignored and the road is damaged. Mr Jones said it was a battlefield with holes in it where people had broken their hip in the past, and wondered what had happened to proposals for a pavement.  Cllr Gaywood said he will discuss the matter with the clerk.

Springcroft - a resident said she had been told it would go ahead, but was still concerned because she had lived there 40 years and so many promises had not materialised.  Cllr Brazier said he was confident that Cllr Ferrin's promise was true.

Woodland Avenue - Mrs McMahon asked whether anything could be done to stop speeding in Woodland Avenue?  Cllr Brazier said the problem was caused by inconsiderate drivers and would cost a 4 figure sum.  KCC have dealt with the problem by ignoring it, he feared it would take a serious accident for this to change.  Adam the Community Warden said local residents can participate in "Speedwatch", where a camera is supplied by the police and they send letters to anyone the residents catch.

Local Boards - Mrs Sharp reported from a visit to a local board meeting in Longfield.  She had found the Dartford County Councillors had £10,000 a year each for them to allocate.  She wanted to know how the Sevenoaks members spent their money.  Some debate followed, when it emerged that money allocated by former county councillor Tucker for an interactive sign for Hartley, was lost because it was not spent in time.  Cllr Brazier also promised to have details of spending via this scheme sent to Mrs Sharp.

Libraries - Mr Cramp raised concerns that the local history collections are no longer being maintained because of cuts in funding.  Cllr Brazier said if there was a decline in local history service, it was not a wilful policy.  Mr Gronow spoke of how things like the pond, the Post Office and the Library are fundamental to the fabric of the village.

Meeting closed at 9.50pm

14 May 2007
Cllrs Gaywood (chairman), Ramsay, Mrs Oxtoby, Sewell, Barnett, Abraham, Graeme, Minns, Mrs Cole, Grainger

Mrs Hoad (clerk), Cllr Brazier (KCC), 8 members of the public. 

Apologies were received from Cllrs Alford, Mrs Burns and Harris.

Cllr Gaywood welcomed the new members and hoped they would have an enjoyable time.

1. Election of chairman
Cllr Gaywood was elected unopposed (Proposed - Cllr Oxtoby, seconded Cllr Ramsay).

2. Declarations of acceptance of office
Because Cllr Alford will not be back until July, the council agreed to postpone his declaration until then, to prevent him ceasing to be a councillor.

3. Election of vice chairman
Cllr Abraham proposed Cllr Oxtoby, but she declined to stand.  Cllr Harris was re-elected unopposed (Prop Cllr Sewell, Sec Cllr Minns).

4. Declaration of interests

5. Minutes of meeting of 16 April 2007

6. Bank account signatories
Cllrs Ramsay, Barnett, Harris (as before)

7. Committee Membership
The councillors were appointed to the following Committees:

Abraham (Communications, Finance, Planning)
Alford (Finance, planning)
Barnett (Amenities, burial, finance)
Burns (Burial, communications, finance, youth)
Cole (Amenities, finance, planning)
Gaywood (all ex officio)
Granger (Amenities, finance?, highways)
Graeme (Amenities, communications, highways)
Harris (all ex officio)
Minns (Burial, highways, planning)
Oxtoby (Amenities, burial, communications, planning)
Ramsay (Finance, planning, youth)
Sewell (Amenities, finance, highways, youth)

There was lengthy discussion on who should be on the Special Projects committee.  It was decided to be the chairman and vice chairman and the chairmen of finance, amenities, burial and planning.  An amendment to add the chairman of the youth committee was lost 3 votes (Cllrs Oxtoby, Sewell, Minns) to 4 (cllrs Abraham, Graeme, Barnett, Ramsay).  However Cllr Gaywood promised Cllr Sewell that the issue of the skateboard park would not be referred to any other committee, Cllr Sewell requested the clerk that this be minuted.


Abraham (Kent Assn of Parish Councils, Age Concern)
Barnett (Northfield, Action with Communities in Rural Kent, Tree Warden)
Burns (HAWK, Governor Our Lady of Hartley RC school)
Gaywood (Northfield)
Graeme (Parish Plan)
Richard Jones (Footpaths - non councillor.  Cllr Gaywood said he was "a mine of information")
Minns (Parish Plan)
Oxtoby (Northfield, Governor Hartley Primary School)
Sewell (HAWK)

The only opposed election was for Northfield where there were 3 candidates for the 2 remaining places: Cllr Barnett (9 votes), Cllr Oxtoby (5), Cllr Ramsay (4 - Gaywood, Abrham, Ramsay, Graeme?).  No-one wanted to serve on the crime prevention panel.

8. Council Meetings
To be 11 June, 9 July, 10 September, 15 October, 12 November, 10 December, 14 January 2008, 11 February, 10 March, 14 April and 12 May.

9. Adjournment
Mrs Sharp welcomed new councillors, said she hoped they would support youth.  She said she had seen the new skateboard park at Shoreham, which Cllr Alison Cook of Sevenoaks thinks will reduce crime.

Mrs Brudenell asked whether councillors would but party or Hartley first in making decisions?  Cllr Gaywood said they had never voted against Hartley Parish Council.  Mr Mayer reminded him the parish council voted to oppose the abolition of pensioner bus passes, that all Hartley's Sevenoaks councillors supported.  Cllr Gaywood said it was "ancient history".

10. Amenities and Open Spaces
The minutes of the meeting of 24 April were approved.  It discussed:

  • Cricket - fee for New Ash Green CC to be increased to £900 for 2007 and 2008 seasons.
  • Playgrounds - minor repairs expected to cost about £250.
  • Woodland Avenue - Charlton FC have cancelled the football skills course.
  • Gorsewood - 3 trees made safe after high winds (£250).
  • Rectory Meadow - quote of £650 from Gary Hawkins accepted for grass cutting.
  • Billings Hill Shaw - residents call for dog free area due to excessive fouling.  Council decide instead to put up posters and inform dog warden.
  • Manor Field Pavilion - recommendation to be offered free of charge for charity walk on 29 April.  After discussion at full council as to whether it would set a precedent, Cllr Abraham offered to pay for it himself.
  • Routine Maintenance Contract - only quote from Mr Munday for £5,970 for 2007/8 accepted.

11. Finance
The minutes of the meeting of 18 April 2007 were approved.  It discussed:

  • Accounts - the 2006/7 accounts were agreed and published.
  • Post Office - Dr Stoate had replied he would not support closure if it left people without access.

12. Planning
The minutes of the meetings of 17 April and 1 May were approved.  For details see planning page. 

13. Northfield
The minutes of the meeting of 13 April 2007 were noted.  It discussed:

  • Accounts - 2006/7 accounts were agreed.
  • Horse Riding - open weekend of 17/18 March led to 18 people joining up.  However an apparently concerted campaign of vandalism had occurred with posts being removed.  Notices had been torn up and posted through the VA's door.  Police now examining them for fingerprints.  Committee agreed on new markings and publicity.
  • BMX track - committee turned down VA's suggestion for BMX at New House Shaw.
  • Boundaries - log barrier with Cavan was vandalised, causing concern to landowner, committee agreed to repair it.
  • Substation - they agreed to grant a sub-lease to EDF energy.
  • Wind generator - they turned down a suggestion to site a turbine on Northfield.

14. Payments
Payments of £9,926 for May were agreed.

Meeting closed at 9.06pm

16 April 2007

Cllrs Gaywood (chairman), Alford, Ramsay, Ward, Mrs Coutts, Mrs Solman, Mrs Oxtoby, Sewell, Barnett, Harris, Tremain, Abraham, Mrs Burns

Mrs Hoad (clerk), Cllr Brazier (KCC), 30 members of the public.

1. Interests
Cllr Oxtoby - Hartley Wood (personal)
Cllr Barnett - Allotments (personal & prejudicial)
Cllr Harris - Planning item 4 of 13.3.07 and 7 of 3.4.07 (personal)

2. Minutes of meeting of 12 March 2007

3. Adjournment
Cllr Ramsay claimed that under his stewardship the Sevenoaks Council budget was back on track.  It had got a good rating from the Audit Commission for value for money.  As well as Hoselands Green, the council had had 35 other expressions of interest to take over land.

Dr Cramp asked whether the council had considered the sewer pipe at Cherry Trees, which had collapsed before.  Cllr Gaywood said it wasn't a matter for the parish council.

Dr Roberts asked why Cllrs Sewell and Burns were made to do a survey for a skateboard park, when there were none for the pond or horse riding?  It is typical of the council to be inconsistent.  Cllr Gaywood said he wasn't prepared to answer it now.

Mrs Sharp said it was wrong to use ratepayers' money to tidy Cherry Trees, which was the responsibility of the landowner.

Mr Roles asked whether the finance reports were right.

Mr McMahon asked why local residents were not consulted on the skateboard park before the decision was taken.  Cllr Gaywood said no decision had been but consultation had been done.  Mr McMahon said the Village Advertiser had been dumped in the woods and the council would be hearing a lot more.  He called for a public meeting, Cllr Gaywood said that would be "premature"

Another resident asked why they were considering a skateboard park at Woodland Avenue?  It is "disgusting", children play there, there is glass from the bottle banks, the site is too small.  Cllr Gaywood said "one or two councillors" thought they should consider it.  Woodland Avenue is the only suitable site.

Another resident said they lived opposite the park.  They claimed 6 councils had to remove skateboard facilities because of noise and anti-social behaviour.  Cllr Burns said they had consulted other councils.

Mr Mayer asked for the grafiti on the entrance board to Rectory Meadow to be removed.  Cllr Gaywood said he didn't know about it but it would be removed.

Another resident said the HAWK website doesn't work.  Glen the Youth Worker said it did but the server had been temporarily down recently.  

Mrs Brudenell said had the number of outings for deprived youth in Hartley been reduced following the cut in the council's youth budget?  Cllr Gaywood said they hadn't spent it.  Cllr Burns replied that was ages before the end of the financial year.  It could have been used on children's outings rather than cutting grass.

Referring to the fact that several members of the public were standing or sitting on the floor, Mr Gibbons asked what happened to the 60 chairs bought when he was chairman? (applause)  Cllr Gaywood said he didn't know.

Mrs Sharp asked if they take over Hoselands Green, will Sevenoaks pay towards the grass cutting?

Glen Walsh the Youth Worker asked to be able to speak about the proposed skateboard park.  Cllr Gaywood said no.  Several audience members called for him to be allowed to speak, Cllr Burns reminded Cllr Gaywood he had allowed negative comments, it was typical that if they doesn't like something, they don't allow people to speak.

4. Amenities and Open Spaces
The minutes of the meeting of 13 March 2007 were agreed.  It discussed:

  • Chantry Avenue - a quotation of £360 from Safeplay to repair the roundabout, and a quotation of £190 from ASAP to repair the gate there, were accepted.
  • Longfield Hill - a quotation of £186 from Safeplay to repair the gate there was accepted.
  • Woodland Avenue - Charlton FC to run football skills courses one night a week in May and August
  • Cricket - sight screens from New Ash Green to be resited at Manor Field.  A practice net to be erected, and a dip in the outfield repaired.
  • Gorse Wood - they accepted quotation from Quaife Woodlands of £650 to undertake a tree risk assessment.
  • Rectory Meadow - motorbikes reported there.
  • Manor Field Pavilion - they recommended letting it to Manor Artists and Yoga Groups at reduced fee of £6.50 an hour (agreed 13-0).  At full council Cllr Harris asked whether this applied to all block bookings, the reply was yes.
  • Pond - they decided clearing the pond can go ahead, but their bog garden could not at present.  Kent Highways say that they are happy with works so long as level of water is below outfall pipes, they do have concerns about bog garden though.
  • Hartley Wood - the Land Registry have refused their adverse possession claim to part of the wood.  At full council, Cllr Alford mentioned motorbikes in the wood.  The Community Warden explained the procedure for dealing with them, but said Sevenoaks were not as vigorous as Dartford in dealing with the problem.

5. Burial Ground
The minutes of the meeting of 27 March were approved.  It discussed:

  • Churchyard - concerns about overhanging branch from Hartley Court.  They demanded the archaeological spoil be removed.  They recommended that Manor Field be open on Sundays as Church parking (agreed 13-0).  At full council Cllr Harris asked the clerk to check that they are covered by insurance for this.
  • Garden of Rememberance - 2 new shrubs donated.
  • New garden of remembrance - they accepted quotation of £630 from DS Carpentry & Construction for new plinth, and now seek quotes for bronze plaque.

6. Communications
The minutes of the meeting of 15 March 2007 were approved.  It discussed:

  • Annual Report - they accepted quotes of £550 from Orchard Publishing and £120.60 from Ash Setting and Printing to print and distribute respectively.  At full council Cllr Burns expressed concerns about distribution.
  • Website - Dr Cramp's history text be uploaded to the website.

7. Highways
The minutes of the meeting of 28 March 2007 were approved.  It discussed:

  • Stack Lane and Manor Drive - these have been classified as "Restricted Byways" which means there is only private vehicular access.  County to maintain them to byway standard (horse/cycle)
  • Springcroft - subject to a successful hydrological survey, KCC will install soakaway, and silt traps in Manor Drive, his financial year.
  • Cherry Trees - council still pressing to remove traffic island.  They have also reported car without tax disc in car park.
  • Buses - Cllr Brazier has said he might use the Member's Community Grant for bus shelter.  Arriva to be asked which is the busiest stop.

8. Planning
The minutes of the meetings of 13 March and 3 April were approved.  For details see
planning page.

9. Special Projects
The minutes of the meeting of 3 April were approved.  It discussed:

  • Hartley Wood - committee claimed Southwark had supported public access in the wood in the past.  They recommended proceeding with the village green application.  Cllr Burns was concerned about the costs, and said they shouldn't spend any more money on it.  Agreed 11-2 (Cllrs Burns and Sewell)
  • Cherry Trees - they recommended spending money litter picking on the private land there.
  • Gorsewood - they considered plans to use part of the woodland for housing development by West Kent Housing Association.

10. Northfield
The minutes of the meeting of 2 March 2007 were noted.  It discussed:

  • Meadow rolling - they accepted a quotation of £400 from HF & JH Glover for heavy rolling (other £570)
  • Horseriding - there appear to be some issues with the Village Association over the terms of their consent to the route.  
  • Fun run - they agreed to a request for a fun run from Mrs H Smith, who will provide dates and a risk assessment.
  • Boundaries - quotation of £562 from Mr Munday for 35m of stock fencing by Court Field accepted (other quote £663).  Same contractor's quote for £107 to repair Ash Road fencing also accepted.
  • Woodland - they accepted the quotation of £585 from Andy Ball Specialist Tree Services for risk assessment of New House Shaw.  They also agreed to pay £300 for an additional cut of the grass at Barnett's Wood.
  • Single Farm Payment - likely to be £500 for 2005.

11. HAWK Youth Committee
The minutes of the meeting of 5 December 2006 were noted.  It discussed:

  • Admin costs - following a review by Ash Council of their costs of providing admin, it was agreed to increase the payment to Ash from £1,000 to £3,600 for 2007/8.
  • Youth Worker's report - Drugs education programme hoped to be extended to Hartley in new year.

12. Parish Plan
Dr Cramp gave an update.  Cllr Burns asked whether Mrs Sharp's youth survey had found overwhelming support for BMX and skateboarding.  Mrs Sharp said it had.  They agreed 13-0 to adopt the Village Design Statement.

13. Payments
Payments of £9,399 for April were agreed. 

12 March 2007
All councillors (Cllrs Ramsay and Gaywood arrived at 8.45pm after a meeting at Sevenoaks) - Cllr Harris chaired meeting
Cllr Brazier (KCC), Mrs Hoad (clerk), 10 members of the public.

1. Interests
Cllr Barnett - Allotments (prejudicial)

2. Minutes of meeting of 5 February 2007
Approved 11-0.

3. Adjournment
Cllr Brazier said he is as confident as he can be that there is progress on the Springcroft flooding.  More funds have been allocated to drainage, and a survey is being conducted to make sure that the soakaway weill work.  He has delivered letters to locals by hand.

Mr Roles asked if the council owned the land by Manor Field gate.  Cllr Harris said it was linked to ownership of the pond, the latest evidence they could find (with the help of Mr Mayer) was 1937 when it belonged to Hartley Manor.  Mrs Sharp reported ducks had settled on the pond to the delight of the neighbours.

4. Amenities
The minutes of the meetings of 6 and 28 February were approved.  It discussed:

  • Manor Field - they are going to write to the Cricket Club about the condition of the sight screen, which may be hazardous.  They turned down a request from Longfield Tigers FC for a Under 10 football pitch there because there wasn't space.
  • Pavilion - council agreed to make the chairman the responsible person for fire safety when not in use, and adopted an emergency plan.
  • Allotments - new rules were agreed.  Cllr Abraham thought they needed to list hazardous chemicals for the fire brigade, Cllr Sewell thought not if they were small amounts.  They decided to look into this matter further.  They paid £120 to cut down brambles.
  • Hartley Wood - they agreed to pay Above the Canopy £2,872 for treework at the back of Malvern, viz remove dead wood and ivy, but they rejected the option of recoppicing.
  • Pond - they had commissioned a survey of the pond at a cost of £400.  She had claimed it wasn't a pond but a drainage ditch.  This was disputed by Cllrs Harris and Sewell.  Cllr Sewell said it was the same as Broadditch Pond in Southfleet only smaller.  Having been given a number of options they decided to reduce the size of the pond, with the remainder becoming marshland.  The Community Wardens have offered to do the work, all they would need is a skip and some of the tools, total cost £1,000 maximum.  Cllr Barnett said he was generally opposed to spending money on the pond, but would support this.  Cllr Alford questioned whether they should spend the money on a "roadside ditch".  Cllr Abraham said it would be throwing good money after bad.  Cllr Burns said this hasn't been tried before and meets everyone's desires, she thought they should follow the advice received.  Cllr Harris said it is a mess, but he has spoken to people and they want it to stay there.  Cllr Solman said doing nothing was not an option as it is an eyesore at present.  Council agreed 7 votes to 1 (Cllr Sewell, who wanted a different scheme to save the pond) with Cllr Alford abstaining.  They all agreed to apply for a grant to buy an interpretive board.

5. Finance and General Purposes
The minutes of the meeting of 5 February 2007 were approved.  It discussed:

  • Donation of £100 to Kent Wildlife Trust.  Cllr Burns observed that they always seem to be giving money to them.
  • Post Office - council to write to MP to ask for his opposition to any threat to Hartley Post Office.  Some members refered to the recent newspaper reports, but Cllr Harris reminded them that it wasn't a post office document.
  • Wind Turbine - they agreed to refer a suggestion for a wind turbine on Northfield to the management committee.  Comment from councillors at parish council was generally hostile to the idea.

6. Highways
The minutes of the meeting of 28 February were agreed.  It discussed:

  • Manor Drive - a local resident expressed concern about the state of the road, but KCC councillor thought it would be deemed sufficient for its purpose as a restricted byway.
  • Fairby Lane - KCC say they don't have authority to issue a stopping up order as that section is not adopted.  They say residents could do it at their own risk.
  • Ash Road - interactive sign to be installed by end of March.
  • Buses - Arriva acknowledged problems over 423 and will be monitoring the situation.  A meeting was held with SDC and Adshel about providing a bus shelter.

7 Planning
The minutes of the meeting of 8 & 27 February were approved.  See planning webpage. 

8 Youth
The minutes of the meeting of 21 February 2007 were agreed.  It discussed:

  • Skateboarding - a decision on the big lottery grant application was expected in December.  They did not want a joint facility with New Ash Green as it is too far away for most youth.  They agreed on the text of a consultation letter and decided to ask if the Post Office and Costcutters would have boxes for their return.

9 Payments
Payments of £10,301 were agreed.

Meeting closed at 8.55pm

5 February 2007

Cllrs Gaywood (chairman), Ramsay, Mrs Oxtoby, Mrs Burns, Mrs Coutts, Alford, Tremain, Abraham, Barnett, Harris.
Cllr Brazier (KCC), Mrs Hoad (clerk), 7 members of the public.

1. Interests
None were declared.

2. Minutes of meeting of 8 January 2007

3. Adjournment
Cllr Brazier warned of impending redundancies of 42 senior librarians to save £580,000.  This will go through if people don't complain before the meeting of the 22nd.  He said Unison union would provide "rentamob" but doesn't blame them, but government for constant "dumbing down".  Looking ahead two libraries in Sevenoaks district may close but not Hartley.

Cllr Ramsay said Sevenoaks council had collected £500,000 in back tax recently, and that the head of planning had been interviewed and told what to do by council.

Mrs Delf said the tap at the churchyard needs lagging as it froze again.  Cllr Gaywood said it shouldn't be a problem.

Mr Senneck asked when the pond would be filled in to provide more parking spaces.  Cllr Gaywood said the suggestion would be taken on board.

Mrs Sharp said she needed a place to put two donated nesting boxes.

Dr Roberts asked why they are only applying for village green status on the land in Hartley Wood owned by Southwark Council.  Cllr Barnett said that access for the rest of the wood was permissive and so they can't claim it.  

4. Burial Ground
The minutes of the meeting of 16 January were approved.  It discussed:

  • Charges - some fees raised 5-7%
  • All Saints' Churchyard - they want the excess spoil from the archaeological dig removed in the near future.  Hedge by lychgate to be lowered 2 feet, cost £50.
  • Parking - they agreed to cut back overhanging hedge, which is said to be blocking access.  Committee to see if footballers and cricketers don't mind church using car park at service times.  Cllr Alford said church shouldn't be charged, which got general sympathy.
  • New Burial Ground - a planting scheme for the planning permission was agreed.

5. Communications
The minutes of the meeting of 1 February were approved.  It discussed:

  • Advertising - agreed they would not include this in newsletter.
  • Website - they have decided not to proceed with the forum page.

6. Highways
The minutes of the meeting of 10 January were approved.  It discussed:

  • Springcroft Flooding - KCC had told a resident that they might not be able to pump out flooding in future, due to limited resources
  • Quaker's Close - someone had asked for residents' gates, but was not possible because it is a public highway.
  • Round Ash Way - headteacher of school said she was not prepared to risk staff safety enforcing parking restrictions outside school.
  • Cherry Trees - committee called for island to be removed and parking rotated 90° to accommodate more cars.
  • Stack Lane and Manor Drive - KCC said they had reclassified them as restricted byways (definition).  They would be maintainable at public expense, but they won't maintain them to standard suitable for motorised vehicles.
  • Buses - complaint to be made to Arriva for recent poor service on route 423, including missed hospital appointments.  They also want to look at bus shelters for Cherry Trees and Wellfield (supported 11-0 at full council).

7. Planning
The minutes of the meeting of 9 & 23 January were approved.  
See planning webpage.

8. Youth
The minutes of the meeting of 17 January were approved.   It discussed:

  • Skateboarding - they have applied to the Big Lottery for a park at Woodland Avenue.  They heard it might not need planning permission, but decided to consult local residents.  There was some debate on this recommendation in full council.  Cllr Ramsay said skateboarding was not asked for by youth, but what they want trips to facilities outside Hartley.  In reply Cllr Harris read a list of facilities requested in the parish plan survey, which featured swimming and skateboarding very high, Cllr Burns added the SDC survey didn't allow them to choose skateboarding.  She personally doubted any young people wanted nature trails locally.  Cllrs Gaywood, Alford and Ramsay wanted any consultation to go back to council for approval.  Cllr Burns asked whether that meant they didn't trust the committee?  Did they want to approve every newsletter too? Eventually they voted 10-0 to adopt Cllr Harris's suggestion that all councillors should merely view the consultation document beforehand.
  • Youth Report - a meeting with youth on 14.12.06 found they complained there was nowhere locally to go or meet, no lights for football or the youth shelter, and no nets in the goals.  They wanted the following activities - paintballing, snowboarding, football tournament, sponsored parachute jump, go to Premiership football or Charlton Community Football Progamme.
  • HAWK - Ash PC to increase charge for use of office from £1,000 to £3,657, following a review of costs.

9. Northfield
The minutes of the meeting of 12 January were noted.  It discussed: 

10. Payments
Payments of £7,007 were approved.

8 January 2007
Cllrs Gaywood (chairman), Harris, Barnett, Mrs Oxtoby, Mrs Burns, Sewell, Ward, Ramsay, Mrs Coutts
Cllr Brazier (KCC), Mrs Hoad (clerk), 6 members of the public.

1. Interests
Cllr Oxtoby - Hartley Wood (personal and prejudicial)
Cllr Sewell - Shirley Abraham plaque (neighbour)

2. Minutes of meeting of 11 December 2006
Agreed without amendment

3. Adjournment
(i) Sevenoaks District Council
Cllr Ramsay said (a) the government grant for Sevenoaks Council had been increased by 2%; (b) following the "fiasco" of the last election, they had bought the equipment for postal votes to be scrutinized electronically in May; (c) a complaint against him and Cllr Gaywood had been dismissed.

(ii) Stocks Farm - Grange Way footpath
Mrs Delf said the path behind the Old Orchard is very muddy and the bridge at Witzies is difficult to walk over.  Cllr Gaywood promised the council would write to the footpaths representative to investigate.

(iii) Bus passes
Dr Roberts asked how much the bus pass scheme they complained about cost, compared with councillor's allowances?  Cllr Ramsay said both cost £¼ million.  So aren't passes for 9,000 people good value for money? replied Dr Roberts.  Cllr Ramsay claimed his concern was that the government had promised to finance all the cost.

(iv) Dartford Council
Mr Mayer asked whether the council were aware that, were Hartley to be in Dartford borough, their funding formula for parishes would mean an additional £10,000 a year for the parish council, and yet their council tax was the same or less than Sevenoaks?  Cllr Gaywood was not aware, Cllr Ramsay said the situations weren't comparable.  He said Dartford was classed as deprived.

(v) URC Church
Mr Senneck asked whether the rumour he had heard that it is for sale was true?  Neither Cllr Gaywood nor Cllr Harris had heard this, Cllr Harris did say the rumour of a JCB at the back turned out to be at the garage.

(vi) Council procurement policy
Mrs Brudenell asked questions about the tender exercise for tree work at Hartley Wood.  Apparently the two that arrived on time had been opened, but now they are waiting for a third.  Mrs Hoad said they had opened them because they wanted to get some idea of what they were going to pay.

(vii) Pond
Mrs Sharp asked whether Kent County Council money were still available? Cllr Brazier said he can't pay the money to an individual, they need a sponsor.  It turned out that Mrs Sharp is still waiting for a reply from the council to her request for them to sponsor it.

4. Amenities and Open Spaces
The minutes of the meeting of 3 January 2007 were approved.  It discussed:

  • Playgrounds - the cost of inspections with Craigdene Ltd is likely to be £772.50 in 2007, this will be reviewed in October.
  • Manor Field Pavilion - the following action points were referred by a fire risk assessment, which the committee dealt with: (1) Kitchen - faulty self closer, redundant empty extinguisher, fire action sign inappropriate; (2) All areas - emergency lighting should be regularly tested, no means of warning of fire, no guidance on fire safety, no responsible person nominated (council did not resolve this last issue)
  • Hartley Wood - the Land Registry has rejected the current adverse possession claim, they decided to write in with further evidence.  Cllr Barnett claimed that several plots had not been sold by the Fawkham Development Company and therefore he thought they had no owner.  Cllr Ramsay said he was surprised the Registry had said no, Cllr Gaywood said the draft letter needed "editing" before despatch.  Cllr Harris sought assurances they were not paying for treework on land they don't own, Cllr Barnett said the money spent was on their land.  They had received 2 quotes for treework, but deferred to await a third quote.

5. Planning
planning webpage.

The meeting of 5 December discussed:

  • Funding - the administration costs would be increased from £1,000 to £3,600 in the year 2007/8, as most of this charge is falling on Ash parish council at present.
  • 8-12s club - starting in New Ash Green in January 2007.
  • Skateboard Park - a group called the Grungers are collecting names for a bid.  Ash Parish Council "progressing" this.
  • Trip to Thorpe Park - a success

7. Hartley Court Green
This provoked some debate.  A local resident had offered to put a plaque on the tree, in memory of Shirley Abraham, the wife of Cllr Abraham.

This was opposed by Cllrs Oxtoby and Ramsay.  Cllr Oxtoby said it was a kind thought but the proposed recipient was not that special to Hartley as a village.  Cllr Coutts said she was well known.  Cllr Barnett said the place for trees and plaques was Northfield.  Cllr Harris said he had considered the issue long and hard and decided to vote against because of the precedent it sets, and people might trip over it.  Cllr Burns said the council had already set a precedent by putting a plaque on Hoselands Hill for someone who wasn't from Hartley, and as for tripping over wouldn't people do that on the plaques in Northfield too?  The donor who was in the audience said it was not that sort of plaque and that you couldn't trip over it.  Put to the vote 0 votes for and 5 against (Cllrs Ramsay, Ward, Oxtoby, Barnett, Harris).  Cllr Burns said she had abstained because no-one had said what Cllr Abraham's views were.

8. Payments
Payments of £6,657 for January were agreed.

Meeting closed at 8.45pm.