Parish Council minutes – July 2016



Present: John Lowings, Jocelyn Craig, Gill Bromley, Pete Watts, Brian Bristow, John Atkins, and Catherine Stanley (Clerk). 

5 parishioners present.

1.         APOLOGIES

Geraldine Dyer, Cliff Ridley, Mark Wilson and Sarah Ellison (for part)




The minutes of the meeting of 13th June 2016 were agreed and signed by the Chairman and publication on the website agreed


It was agreed to delete from future agendas the reference to Emergency Planning and replacing it with Community Asset Register.

5.         PLANNING  

Application No. 16/00895

Proposal: Prior approval for associated operational development in accordance with prior approval 15/01654 (Prior approval for the change of use of agricultural building and land within its curtilage to one single dwelling)

Location: Wagon Lodge at Romden Farm, Romden Road, Smarden

Comments: No Comment

Application No. 16/00726

Proposal: Notification for Prior approval for a proposed change of use – conversion from storage (B8) to residential dwelling (C3)

Location: Millworth House, Pluckley Road, Smarden, Kent TN27 8RG

Comments: Object – only just had change of use for keeping of materials associated with owners business.

Application No. 16/00884

Proposal: Prior approval for change of use from agricultural barn including land within its curtilage to one dwelling house.

Location: Agricultural building at Dering Wood Lodge, Pluckley Road, Smarden

Comments: Object – not persuaded it is an agricultural building.

Additional items:

Appeal no. 15/3006583

Field at Grid Reference 587945/140639 located south of Omenden Lane, Smarden.

Conditions as imposed by Inspector in February 2016 have not yet been adhered to.  ABC aware and have received a phone call from owner who says they will be provided shortly.  SPC asked ABC for timescales.                                              

Application No: 16/00872

Proposal: Two storey rear extension 2 no rooflights to rear elevation, 2 no chimneys, changes to external elevations vertical clay tile hanging, changes to fenestration, hip to gable extension on west elevation of main dwellings, single storey link extension from main house to garage, front extension of garage and formation of cellar under garage.

Location: Little Smarden House, Pluckley Road, Smarden TN27 8NB

Comments: Object on size and scale, over intensification of site.

6.         BURIAL GROUND  

Nothing to report.


Catherine was asked to advice once she knew what the new costs were to be for running the EIS website.


Pete confirmed that he was happy to liaise with a representative of Landscape Services to meet on site to discuss the grass cutting.

Gill enquired about the cutting of the hedge on The Minnis. It was noted that Cliff is liaising with a contractor to undertake this work.

9.         HIGHWAYS

Jocelyn reported that she has been in contact with the Speedwatch co-ordinator who has advised that a minimum of 6 volunteers. The points of concern need to be identified. A risk assessment needs to be carried out. The equipment costs approximately £2300 however it may be possible to obtain match funding from KCC.

Ashford Borough Council have 1 device which can be brought once the risk assessment has been carried out.

There would need to be 2/3 individuals at each Speedwatch session. Each individual would need to attend a 90 minute safety awareness course.

John thanked Jocelyn for her work.

It was agreed to put an item in the forthcoming Parish Magazine to spread awareness of Speedwatch.

Brian reported that an email has been sent by KCC regarding possible extra funding for highways issues.


John reported that there is a proposed Electoral Review of Ashford. It was agreed that this would need to be kept under review. Gill suggested that whilst it did not affect Smarden it would be worthwhile sending a reply to say that the Parish is content with the status quo.

Neighbourhood Watch, it was noted that the local group wishes to join Maidstone NHW. It was agreed to support this.

11.       FINANCE

11.1     Accounts – Catherine presented the monthly statement and the items of expenditure for July which were approved.

11.2     Application for grants –



Items for the Parish Magazine were agreed.


John is due to attend a forthcoming KALC meeting.


John Atkins reported that the School has recently had a recent Inspection. It was noted that the School has achieved good results. Smarden School is now the second highest primary school within TKAT.

Stephanie Atkins is due to retire as Chairman of the Governors and as a Governor at Christmas.

The School is fully subscribed and there is a waiting list for the lower years.

It is understood that Headcorn School is due to double in size from 210 pupils to 420. If the Gladman application is successful it is understood that children from the new development would attend Biddenden School.

John thanked John.

Jocelyn presented a photo collage she had prepared showing the difficult ‘S’ bends in the village together with an aerial photo. It was thought that it may be helpful to present this at the Committee Meeting on 20th July.

It was agreed that the coach would meet at 5.45pm in the Charter Hall car park on 22nd July.

John advised that he has received a request from a student who would like to undertake work to assist the Parish Council. It was suggested that she may wish to assist by removing the weed growth in the Minnis hedge.


Pete advised that he has received complaints about the lack of dog waste bins.


There being no further business the meeting closed at 9pm.


Smarden Parish Council Planning Meeting  25th July 2016

Present: John Lowings, John Atkins, Gill Bromley, Jocelyn Craig, Peter Watts,

Sarah Ellison, Geraldine Dyer

Gladman Developments:

John Atkins proposed a vote of thanks to all that helped arrange and speak at the Council hearing on Wednesday 20th July at which Smarden Parish Council were delighted to report that they managed to get the Planning Application for 50 houses on the site adjacent to the Charter Hall refused on the night.  The decision by the Councillors was unanimous on the night.  In excess of 90 Parishioners were in attendance which was a fantastic turnout.  Should Gladman decide to appeal the decision –  the fight will go on.  There is considerable support from other Parishes in the same situation and around the country.  It is clear that people have had enough of this form of speculative planning applications which are driven purely by money and without thought of the consequences.

The Local Plan

A discussion took place as to the Parish Council’s response to the emerging Local Plan.  Comments must be with ABC before the 10th August.   It was unanimously agreed that following the Planning Committee Meeting on 20th July, that Smarden Parish Council would continue to support the democratically agreed Local Plan.  The consultation process which began some two years ago identified the site adjacent to the Village Hall as a site suitable for a small amount of housing and the Parish Council are agreed that up to 25 houses, which are sympathetically designed in line with the Parish Design Statement, and include houses as identified in the Consultation was acceptable.  Councillor Clarkson made a very powerful speech on Wednesday 20th which confirmed that the Local Plan was a document which all Parishes and Towns had participated in and would form the backbone of planning in the Borough until 2030. 

A discussion took place on whether we should or should not support the Local Plan but it was unanimously agreed bearing in mind the current situation that we would continue the fight against 50 houses on the site and the Local Plan which is a powerful tool in this fight should be supported.  Smarden PC have received support from many villages and towns around the UK who are fighting the same battles against speculative developments.

SE agreed that letters should be written to Damian Green and the Government Ministers regarding speculative developments which are not plan and design lead and simply driven by money.

It was also agreed that SPC would strongly support the inclusion of a local green space adjacent to the village hall and extending the other side of the ‘pond’ and behind the Charter Hall to provide a green barrier between any development of up to 25 houses and the Charter Hall and surrounding homes.

SE would also write to ABC and voice concern over the lack of Gypsy and Traveller Sites in the Borough and the reliance on Windfall sites.

SE would also confirm that SPC are supportive of the ENV3 Landscape Character and Design but it should also be extended to Conservation and adjacent areas in villages and parishes which have intrinsic special qualities which should be preserved for future generations.

SE would draft an announcement for the Parish on the above which Gill Bromley will put out on all the Parish News Channels.