Hartley Parish Council Meeting at Manor Field Pavilion 14 November 2011
All councillors; KCC councillor Brazier, the clerk, 6 members of the public
(a) Cllr Burns - Hartley Primary School (governor)
(b) Cllr Coates - Payments
3. Minutes of meeting of 10 October 2011
Approved without amendment.
4. District and County Council Reports
(a) KCC -
(i) Cllr Brazier had nothing to report.
(ii) Cllr Ramsay said he had heard the new bollards outside the Post Office had been named "Brian's Bollards" (he hoped they were being complimentary), but it was really thanks to grant from Cllr Brazier.
(iii) Cllr Ramsay also congratulated KCC on the state of the country roads to Sevenoaks. Cllr Abraham said he hadn't gone via South Ash Road then.
Cllr Ramsay said they still have problems with Housing Benefits. The government has added £45,000 in administration costs and they were only able to recruit one new apprentice, when they'd advertised for 8. The government wants a 10% cut in council tax benefit in 2013, but to pay benefit in full to pensioners and the disabled - 91% of all SDC's claimants, thus making a 10% cut impossible and introducing "postcode lottery".
5. Burial Grounds
The committee met on 31 October. It discussed:
(a) Charges - all but one to rise by £5 (4-8%)
(b) All Saints' Churchyard - they have told the church that leaves in the layby are a slip hazard, and they would like a memorial for the reburied remains from the archaeological dig.
(c) New burial ground - they have accepted the terms of the covenant owner of the land, limiting development to a graveyard, shed and lychgate and no other buildings. Recommendation approved 13-0 by full council.
The committee met on 9 November. It discussed:
(a) Budget 2012/13 - the precept will rise from £112,000 to £114,700 (2.4%). Extra money to go to computer software (£2k), youth (£0.5K) and Diamond Jubilee (£2K). Recommendation approved 13-0 by full council.
(b) Public Loans Work Board - full council agreed 13-0 with the recommendation not to pay them off. These relate to loans for land purchase going back to the 1960s, but they have early redemption penalties. Cllr Ramsay said it was split vote in committee, Cllr Abraham said he'd changed his mind since then because of the penalties. Cllr Coates wondered if it were better to pay them off when interest on the reserves is so low. Cllr Alford thought ir reserves were used it would "reduce flexibility".
(c) Donations - they recommended not to give money to Victim Support, because they didn't know anyone in Hartley who'd benefitted. Cllr Burns said she knew of someone. Recommendation approved full council with 11 votes in favour.
(a) Applications - See planning webpage.
(b) Gravesend Plan - they decided to object to building on the green belt.
The committee met on 3 October 2011. It discussed:
(a) Anti-social behaviour - (i) Hay crop has been harvested but youths had tried to start 6 fires; (ii) warning signs banning motorbikes to be bought
(b) Ragwort - spraying to remove it to cost £150.
(c) Woodland - NAG Woodlands group has planted 1,750 bulbs in Barnetts Wood.
9. Queen's Diamond Jubilee
Cllr Oxtoby was keen to do something and suggested a beacon on Manor Field, as part of a national chain. They are inviting other groups to a meeting on December 15th. Cllr Brazier said he should be able to offer funding from KCC.
10. Hartley Primary School
The school has written to the council to say they plan to convert to academy status and then be taken over by the Leigh Academy. Many councillors appeared to be against the change. Cllrs Oxtoby and Sewell thought it was money led and that they won't have local governors. Cllr Alford said it looked unaccountable. Cllr Abraham questioned whether it would result in better education. Cllr Cole said she was a governor of the Leigh and claimed they had better buying power and can call other schools to assist. Cllr Burns replied this already happens at Hartley. They decided to write to register their concerns that Hartley will be less of a local school.
11. Councillor Standards
Sevenoaks Council have written to all parish councils about the forthcoming abolition of the Standards Board. They asked if the parish council wanted to pay for a standards service. HPC decided to do nothing at present.
12. KCC Winter Service Policy Statement
Cllr Oxtoby said the roads they had requested to be on KCC's clearance list (Caxton Close, Church Road, St John's Lane) are unlikely to meet the criteria. They asked Cllr Brazier if he would fund more salt bins. He said yes and that the cost had fallen to £300 now, but it's filling them that is the problem. He recommended they talk with the local farmer about storing and delivering salt.
Payments of £8,600 for December were agreed.
Meeting closed at 8.34pm