Councillors Present

Cllr K Kelly – Chairman

Cllr J Burrell

Cllr L Canham

Cllr P Cutler

Cllr J Fukes

Cllr K Grehan

Cllr J Hoadley

Cllr L Howes

Cllr J McQueen

Cllr C Pearce

Cllr S Thredgle – Vice Chairman

 

In Attendance

J Thomas – Parish Clerk

E Shrubsole – Responsible Finance Officer

L McLean – Council Administrator

 

Visitors

Cllr P Cole – Kent County Council representative

 

The Chairman began the meeting with some very sad news. Lizzie Barnes, a friend and colleague at the Council offices, passed away this morning after her recent battle with cancer. Everyone who worked with Lizzie described her as a beautiful person, inside and out. All of our thoughts and sympathies go out to her partner and their two young girls. The Chairman asked those present to observe a minute silence to remember Lizzie.

 

16/11/20CL: TO RECEIVE APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Apologies for absence were received from Cllr M Mitchell

17/11/20CL: TO RECEIVE DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

No declarations of interest were received

 

18/11/20CL: QUESTIONS FROM THE PUBLIC

There were no questions from the public

19/11/20CL: TO APPROVE THE MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD WEDNESDAY 26 AUGUST 2020

The minutes of the Annual meeting of the Council held Wednesday 26 August were approved.

20/11/20CL: TO RECEIVE REPORTS FROM OUTSIDE ORGANISATIONS AND AGENCIES

  1. Kent Police

Members received a written report from PCSO S Keers and noted the crime statistics.

  1. Kent County Councillor’s Report

Members received a written report from Cllr P Cole who was in attendance.

 

Cllr Cole noted the steps taken by Kent County Council as a response to the coronavirus pandemic. This included the purchase of millions of items of PPE some of which was donated to care homes, surgeries, pharmacists and the voluntary sector.

Waste recycling centres closed over the first lockdown to be reopened with a booking system 4 months later.

The education department of KCC ensured all schools were given the support required and praised teachers for managing to send work home to children.

A huge amount of pothole repairs and resurfacing work was completed over lockdown.

KCC is now very focused on the threat of climate change. Grants have been offered to plant trees across the county and a cabinet member for the Environment has been appointed. There are also initiatives to roll out Electric Vehicle charging points and tackling poor air quality hotspots.

The first Kent Plan Bee conference was held on Monday which was attended (virtually) by nearly 200 people. This introduced the KCC’s Pollinator Action Plan.

 

 

Members noted the report and thanked Cllr P Cole.

 

  1. Dartford Borough Councillor’s Reports

 

Members received a written report from Cllr T Oliver who was unable to attend.

 

Cllr T Oliver noted that the pandemic had been a scary and unsettling period. He noted that many residents have benefited from the advice and support provided by Dartford Borough Council’s ‘Dartford Together’ initiative.

 

The Dartford Borough Council’s climate change working group, which Cllr Oliver is a part of plans to develop a new community orchard in Alamein Gardens. This was put on hold by the pandemic but they are hopeful to share news on this soon.

 

Cllr Oliver is working with the MP, Cllr P Cole and Stone Lodge School to ensure pedestrian safety is improved on Cotton Lane and has been investigating the traffic and parking problems on St John’s Road. The road will be a pilot for the new parking scheme guidance that has been adopted by the council.

 

He thanked key workers as well as public sector workers for their work during the pandemic.

 

Members noted Cllr T Oliver’s report.

 

 

21/11/20CL: STRATEGIC PLANNING & DEVELOPMENT

  1. To receive progress update regarding development at Cotton Lane

Members were able to see photos of the site of the planned Claire Tiltman Centre at Cotton Lane. With internal walls to be constructed soon along with the roofing, the centre is starting to take shape.

The scheme is set to complete on 23rd May 2021.

 

Members noted the update and the Chairman noted that this was an exciting project for the Council and that the site was looking to be very impressive. He thanked the Clerk and the former Chairman for their hard work over the years in helping progress this project.

 

 

  1. To note final drawings and imminent submission of the planning application for the Stone Recreation Ground masterplan

 

The Chairman introduced the final version of the Stone Recreation Ground Masterplan, which members were requested to note ahead of formal submission of the planning application.

 

He expressed his delight at the final scheme, which outlines a number of new features and improvements to create a valuable ‘central park’ for the parish.

 

Members discussed how important the Recreation Ground had been shown to be during the recent lockdown periods. The impact of Covid-19 has meant that people have significantly valued local green space and the use of the facility has been extremely high, with approximately 400 people visiting at weekends. With many residents not having access to a garden, the recreation ground has provided an area for people to benefit from the green space and exercise facilities. The Masterplan seeks to upgrade a number of features such as new children’s playground, public toilets, café, CCTV and lighting, as well as improve  the number of trees and planting and make the area easier to traverse through new footpath and cycle routes.

 

The Masterplan is set to be a huge improvement for the parish at a time when it is cruically needed.

 

Once the planning permission has been submitted,  work can begin to obtain costings, determine phasing stages and produce tender packs. Members noted that they are very keen that the new playground icomprises part of the first phase to enable newer and more accessible play equipment that allows everybody to enjoy it.

 

Members felt that new features such as the proposed running track, low level lighting and CCTV would also increase the level of safety, particularly after dark, following feedback from residents in the recent parish survey

 

One member raised the question of funding for the scheme and how this may restrict how much can be delivered at any one time. Officer confirmed that indicative costings for various aspects of the scheme would be shortly available and would form part of the discussions at the forthcoming workshop to enable appropriate scheduling of delivery within the imminent strategic plan.

 

 

Members resolved to note the proposed site plan for the Stone Recreation Ground Masterplan and looked forward to the next steps towards bringing these improvements to the parish.

22/11/20CL: SERVICES & FACILITIES

  1. To note Kent County Council’s decision regarding funding of electric vehicle charging points

With the forthcoming draft 5-year strategic plan set to address environmental enhancements, members previously resolved to apply for the Kent County Council grant for Electric Vehicle Charging Points.

Members were glad to hear provision had been approved by KCC and that we would be looking to have charging points installed at Stone Pavilion and potentially at the Claire Tiltman Centre on Cotton Lane, once the development is completed.

 

Members noted the decision.

 

  1. To note review of Allotments Service and resolve revised Allotment Tenancy Agreement

Members were requested to note the recent review of the council’s allotment service. Since the council is preparing a 5-year strategic plan, it was felt timely to undertake a full review of the Allotments service to ensure that any proposed changes or capital improvement can be included in the plan.

 

Members were also requested to resolve a revised rental agreement. The Agreement seeks to resolve any ambiguity or omissions the previous agreement had.

Members noted that certain aspects of the allotments review were ongoing and would be commenced as COVID restrictions ease.

Members resolved to adopt the revised Allotment Tenancy Agreement, to be in place from 1 January 2021 for allotment renewals.

 

  1. To note COVID-safe, council events/activities

Members noted the Christmas Card Competition that was underway.

 

Members also noted the online Remembrance service that was posted to the Council’s social media. The Chairman, Vice-Chairman and local Reverend Kenneth Clark appeared in a video service to commemorate Remembrance Day safely.

 

Cllr S Thredgle asked that Council events co-ordinator Laura Stelfox-Reeves be congratulated on putting together these events and managing to adapt during Covid.

 

  1. To Resolve the installation of a memorial bench to commemorate those who fought and were lost to COVID-19

Cllr S Thredgle proposed this item to the members.

 

The Coronavirus pandemic has had an untold effect on the world and we have all seen the impact. With people being lost to the virus and many people unable to attend funerals of their loved ones, it was felt that a memorial bench could be placed on the recreation ground near the war memorial to commemorate those key workers in the fight against Covid-19 and those lost to the virus. It would act as a place for people to remember those we have lost.

 

The approximate cost for the bench is around £1500.

 

Members echoed their support for this idea and voted unanimously to resolve the purchase and installation of the bench.

 

23/11/20CL: FINANCE & AUDIT

  1. To note the budget monitoring report & summary of COVID losses

Members noted the budget monitoring report for the period ending 31 October 2020.

 

Members were advised of the scale of income losses due to COVID-19 and the mitigation measures that have been instated to manage these losses.

 

Members were pleased to note the mitigation measures were going a long way to assist in helping to balance the budget and congratulated the Parish Clerk and Responsible Finance Officer for responding effectively to the current pandemic to minimise the detrimental impact to the council.

 

  1. To authorise payments

Full details of payments are provided for member’s approval

Members resolved to authorise the list of payments.

 

  1. To note the renewal of Council Insurance

Members noted the renewal of the Council Insurance for 2020-2021

 

  1. To give consideration to further funding contribution to local groups in support of Covid-19 response

Members discussed the importance of the foodbanks during these difficult times and felt that the second lockdown period warranted a further donation to provide assistance. Members felt that a donation of £500 to the Mary’s Child project was appropriate to help those in need through the ‘Parish Pantries’ which the project provides.

 

With Christmas approaching, Stone Parish Council also agreed that it was more important than ever that thought was given to local children, in particular disadvantaged children who may receive very little for Christmas. Members also felt a donation of £500 to the Dartford Toy Appeal would be an appropriate gesture. Every year the Dartford Deeds Not Words Foundation help collect toys and distribute them to children. With many of the usual drop off points unable to open this year, members felt it important to provide help where they can.

 

It was suggested that funding to local groups during the COVID pandemic would form an item for consideration on each agenda to enable further donations to be made to appropriate local groups.

 

Members resolved unanimously to donate £500 to the Mary’s Child Project and £500 to the Dartford Deeds Not Words Foundation.

24/11/20CL: Planning Applications

To consider new planning applications and prepare observation responses to the Local Planning Authority.

20/01157/CDNA – Stonepit 2 (London Road Access Only) St James Lane Horns Cross Greenhithe Kent
Submission of details of new junction from London Road and associated infrastructure pursuant to conditions 1, 22 & 26 of planning permission DA/19/01280/VCON for redevelopment of the site

Members discussed the application for the new junction at Stone Pit II and noted the concerns raised in relation to conflict with the Stone Neighbourhood Plan that seeks to create a cohesive network of footpaths and cycle paths to encourage sustainable travel in the parish.

As such, the council resolved to  OBJECT to this application and make the following observations:

In line with objectives in the formally submitted Stone Parish Neighbourhood Plan, we feel this design misses huge opportunities to create safer, cleaner pedestrian and cycle routes in the parish, felt to be much needed along an Air Quality Management route.

Supporting documents in the Neighbourhood Plan, namely the ‘Proposed Green Corridor’ report (Dec 2018 LHLA) outline a series of aspirations to create a green buffer between cars and a pedestrian/cycle route along London Road to both improve air quality and protect pedestrians (in particular small children in buggies at the height of exhaust pipes) from noxious gasses.

The stretch of path connecting the development site with Stone Recreation Ground is currently very narrow, but the development site provides ample opportunity for the footpath to be widened at this point to permit delivery of plan objectives.

The current design proposes to end the cycle route at an illogical point for any cyclists that wish to visit Stone Recreation Ground. Provision should be made for the path to be widened at this section to enable the footpath and cycle path to continue to the entrance of the Recreation Ground, where it can connect into the proposed parish footpath/cycle path network.

Widening the path at this section would also enable planting of a green buffer between the road and pedestrians and cyclists. Following feedback in plan consultations regarding sustainable travel, it is the council’s view that implementation of a series of green buffers along London Road, as well as improved and enlarged footpath and cycle paths, will increase the number of people traveling sustainably around the parish.

As such, we would expect any development sites, particularly major schemes such as this, to contribute heavily towards enabling these proposed improvements to the local infrastructure.

Although detail is yet unavailable for other reserved matters for this scheme, the council is aware from earlier S106 agreements of the proposal for commercial/community amenities to be included as part of the first phase, which may even include the possibility of a primary school.

As such, we feel that this junction is a key component to both ensuring that people can access the site and public amenities in a safe and clean manner, but also that opportunities that exist to maximise air quality and green improvements are exploited.

The Stone Parish Neighbourhood Plan Policy HW3 states that any planning applications for development should protect or improve the network of walking and cycling routes. We believe that this would include connecting the cycle path from the development to the Recreation Ground entrance, as well as enabling proposed green corridor aspirations.

With the above in mind, we wish to OBJECT to this application on the grounds that it does not sufficiently support the aspirations of the Neighbourhood Plan in the way that should be expected from such a major development scheme.

We would request that this design is revisited to explore a more effective layout that upholds the spirit of the Neighbourhood Plan objectives in respect of implementing a sustainable parish network of footpath and cycle paths, as well as contributing to associated air quality enhancements.

 

25/11/20CL: CONSULTATIONS

To resolve the Council’s response to the KCC Highways consultation regarding a One-Way Order for Hill House Road.

Members discussed the issues with the traffic on Hill House Road that have been ongoing for many years. There are daily situations where cars are unable to pass/navigate the road due to the parked cars and congestion. Members could not see any other solution to these issues.

Members resolved unanimously to respond in support of the One-Way Order on Hill House Road.

 

26/11/20CL: EXCLUSION OF PRESS & PUBLIC

Members resolved, pursuant to section 1 (2) of the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960, that because of the confidential nature of the business to be transacted, the public and the press leave the meeting during consideration of the following items.

Members of the press and public were asked to leave.

27/11/20CL: To resolve St Mary’s pre-school rent review

Members noted the arrival of the 5-year rent review for the preschool facility. The difficult timing of any prospective increase was also acknowledged, but members equally felt they had a duty to keep rents at an appropriate market rate to ensure the council was receiving an adequate return from its assets.

As such, members resolved to commission a local surveyor to assess the prevailing market rates to present for consideration at a subsequent Full Council Meeting.

28/11/20CL: To receive update regarding Atlas Park development scheme

Members noted the update regarding the Atlas Park development scheme, which highlighted potential difficulties in securing the proposed medical centre facility.

Members noted the vast benefits that the scheme was set to provide, most notably the significant green space that was in desperate need for the parish following a high level of development.

Members agreed all efforts should be made to discuss these issues with the respective bodies to ensure a high level of awareness and acknowledgement is created regarding the potential loss of community benefits.

The Parish Clerk will correspond with all stakeholders to ensure this.