Minutes of Hartley Parish Council 9 February 2004
This report is compiled from contemporaneous notes made by members of the public present at the meeting and the council's agenda.

Agendas and Minutes
Ash Road
Burial Ground
Bus Passes
Chantry Avenue
Councillors' Allowances
County Court action against Parish Council
Hoselands Hill
Longfield Hill
Manor Field
Parish Office
Parish Plan
Rectory Meadow

Present: Cllrs Gaywood *(chairman), Barnett, Abraham, Mrs Burns, Coutts, Harris, Mrs Oxtoby, Ramsay*, Sewell, Mrs Solman, Tremain, Ward (arrived 7.35) (* also Sevenoaks Councillor)

Also Mrs Hoad (clerk), John M Kent Tucker (Kent County Councillor), 9 members of the public.

1. Apologies
Apologies were received from Cllr Alford and Cllr Garwood (SDC councillor)..

2. Minutes of meeting held on 14 January 2004
Approved 11-0.

3. Declarations of Interest
Before this item Cllr Gaywood read out a letter he had got from the Monitoring Officer at Sevenoaks District Council about the item on Pensioners' Bus Passes. She said if you were eligible for a pass you had a personal interest, but it was up to them to decide whether it was prejudicial. Some debate followed over this. Cllrs Ramsay, Tremain, Coutts, Barnett declared personal interests; Cllr Harris declared a prejudicial interest. Cllr Gaywood asked Mrs Solman, who replied she was not that old. Cllr Abraham asked for that to be noted!

4. Planning
They agreed 12-0 to back the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England's objections to the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Bill.

Meeting of 14 January 2004 discussed the following:

5. Finance and General Purposes Committee
Meeting of 13 January 2004 discussed the following:

6. Amenities and Open Spaces Committee
Meeting of 3 February 2004 discussed the following:

7. Burial Ground and Garden of Remembrance Committee
Meeting of committee on 21 January 2004 discussed the following:

(public question)

8. Youth Committee
Meeting of 14 January 2004 discussed the following:

9. Website Working Group
Meeting held on 4 February 2004 recommended giving the contract to set up a website to Claridge Consultancy for 540 (alternative quote from Simon Goodwin was for 1,800). They decided on www.hartleyparishcouncil.org.uk as domain name. (agreed by full council 11-0, Cllr Harris said cost was 260 for consultancy, 175 for Microsoft Frontpage, and 100 for hosting and registration, hopes it will be ready in 4 weeks' time)

10. Parish Plan
They agreed 11-0 to set up committee and allow cooption of residents.

11. Payments
Agreed 11-0.

12. Correspondence
Cllr Alford wished the list of correspondence received to be removed from the agenda for "reducing the workload of the clerk" (although it will continue to be kept). As he was not present Cllr Gaywood proposed it instead. Agreed 11-0. (public question)

13. Memorial Plaque
The council was asked to approve a permanent memorial on a bench on Hoselands Hill, near where the accident occurred, which had been agreed with the family. Some councillors expressed surprise that they were being asked to pay for it, when they had already donated 100 to the family. They were concerned it might set a precedent and pointed out the council did not do this in the case of other fatal accidents on the road. However the majority were in favour and it was approved 9-2.

14. Parish Office
They accepted quote of 750 from Broad Manges Design for architect's work in planning for new office at library 11-0. Other quote was for 1,800.

15. Concessionary bus passes
Cllr Harris left the room.

Cllr Tremain proposed: "Hartley Parish Council write to Sevenoaks District Council to express its support for retaining the 20p bus pass that is currently available to Senior Citizens and the disabled within the parish." Cllr Ramsay circulated papers he had got from Sevenoaks. He outlined all the committees that had discussed this, he took it that no-one had bothered to turn up to them. He was horrified that Sevenoaks subsidised bus services. He said there was a minibus at Bramblings. Cllrs Abraham and Coutts pointed out that the minibus doesn't give freedom of choice of where and when to go. Cllr Sewell said it was a donation to Age Concern and has to cover their whole area. Cllr Abraham said 185 people in Hartley had the bus passes this year and 198 last year. He was elected to do the best for the people of Hartley, not Sevenoaks District Council. They could pay for them if they cut councillors' allowances there. Cllr Solman said the public bus service gives valued independence. Cllr Coutts that people should be entitled to it. Cllr Burns thought it should be free. Cllr Sewell said cutting this was the thin end of the wedge, he will support subsidised buses. Cllr Gaywood said he would abstain as he had a conflict of interest (he is a Conservative Councillor at Sevenoaks).

Cllr Tremain said the minibus was good but was for only specialised needs. 185 people have chosen this pass and that's what they want. He doesn't want them to lose it. He was elected to represent the views of his parishioners, not that of Sevenoaks Council. He is concerned Sevenoaks has not heard the voice of Hartley Parish Council. Even at this late stage and it was probably too late, they should make their views known.

Motion was approved 8 votes to 0, Cllrs Gaywood, Ramsay and Barnett (all Conservatives) abstained.

16 Public Question Time

Cllr John M Kent Tucker (KCC) reported work should start on the traffic island in Ash Road soon. That the Parliamentary Boundary Commission will report on 27 April on whether Hartley should be in Dartford or Sevenoaks constituency. He also said Arriva Buses have cut the 8.24 school bus to Longfield. Mr Mayer reminded him that afternoon buses had been axed too and now there was no bus from New Ash Green to Gravesend on a weekday between 2pm and 6pm. Mr Tucker said he knew Arriva's reasons but would tell the chairman in private after the meeting.

Mrs Delf said she was sorry to hear they were not going to proceed with the standpipe. She said the Church's one cost 500 to install.

Mrs Roberts asked whether Mrs Hoad had got a receipt for the letter she said she had sent to Gravesend County Court? - no. After a previous important letter went astray, she remembers the council agreed to send them by recorded delivery. Mrs Hoad said she sent it by first class post. She alleged the clerk of the court had told her the judge had it in the papers put before him.

Mr Mayer suggested that if the Ash Road committee is extended to deal with all highways, they ought to have public transport as part of its remit. Cllr Gaywood refused, claiming it was not a parish council responsibility. Mrs Brudenell reminded him that in the past the parish council had concerned itself with the needs of public transport users - Mr Hitchin used to do the job.

Mrs Brudenell asked for the Sevenoaks minutes and agendas the council gets to be put in the library. Mrs Hoad said the library had refused to display them.

Mrs Grindal asked whether they find question time helpful. Sometimes said Cllr Gaywood. If that is so, why do they not allow questions at Northfield meetings? Cllr Gaywood said they could ask them at council meetings. He also confirmed that councillors do not receive all Northfield correspondence.

17. Legal Action in the Small Claims Court

The council has now received an order for payment of the sum claimed by Mr Modell. In a closed session to which the public were not allowed to attend they voted to pay 100 to the London solicitors Mayer, Brown, Rowe and Maw to write to the court (over a sum of 15). (public question)