1 – APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE 

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor J Burrell. 

 Relevant Legislation: Local Government Act 1972, s 85. 

 

 2 – DISCLOSURE OF PECUNIARY INTERESTS 

There were no disclosures of pecuniary interests. 

Relevant Legislation: Localism Act 2011, s 31. 

 

3 – PUBLIC PARTICIPATION 

No member of the public wished to speak at the meeting. 

Relevant Legislation: Local Government Act, s 100. 

 

 4 – APPROVAL OF MINUTES 

The minutes of the Meeting of the Council held Wednesday 23 November 2022 were approved. Councillor Thredgle asked that their concerns over the increase in traffic between London Road and Watling Street be added to the minutes for the Special Meeting of the Council held Wednesday 7 December 2022.

Relevant Legislation: Local Government Act 1972, Sch 12, para 41 (1).  

 

 5 – REPORTS FROM OUTSIDE ORGANISATIONS 

  1. Kent Police 

 PCSO Keers advised that the number of PCSO’s in Dartford has been reduced to 4 full time PCSO’s so there would be less time available to provide crime statistics to the Council in the future. It was agreed that these would be found online by the Council Administrator and provided to the members. 

 PCSO Keers advised that it had been a quieter period recently and that the Crossways Boulevard racing issue appeared to have finally stopped. He advised that should anyone want to report something to the PCSO’s, this could be done using the My Community Voice application, which would email the report directly to them. 

 Members thanked PCSO Keers and resolved to note his report.

2. Kent County Council 

Cllr P Cole provided members with a written report informing members of the KCC draft budget report 2023-34. The draft budget currently forecasts overspends of £64m which has arisen from a combination of higher prices and higher demand. The aftershocks of Covid and the war in Ukraine has caused inflation to rise and market instability. Councillor Cole explained the difficult situation that the Council finds themselves in with their statutory duty to provide a balanced budget. 

 The draft budget for KCC includes a 4.995% proposed increase in Council Tax charge for 2023-34. This would increase the county share of the bill for a typical Band ‘D’ household by £1.40 per week (£72.99 per year). 

 Substantial savings will still need to be found. Councillor Cole explained that KCC are currently consulting on closing a range of buildings in the whole of the County, predominantly Children’s Centres and some Youth Hubs. However, Councillor Cole explained that closing buildings would not mean that the services would stop but would be undertaken in a different way to suit each community. 

 The Clerk questioned Councillor Cole on the current standing of the planned medical centre on King Edwards Road. Councillor Cole confirmed that the planning application will be going in imminently providing the planning officers are happy that it conforms to appropriate standards. 

 It was questioned whether a medical centre could be purchased using CIL funding as this could solve the issue of rental being not financially viable to the NHS. Councillor Cole was not able to confirm if this was a possibility in this case as CIL was a remit of the Borough Council. It was confirmed that this question would be put to the CIL officer at Dartford Borough Council to see if it was a hypothetical possibility. 

Members asked how the provision of Youth services in the area was affected by the budgetary constraints. Councillor Cole said that there is still a statutory duty to provide youth services and that the consultation was ongoing. Councillor Cole agreed to look into it and report back once the consultation was finished and report back to members.  

 Members thanked Councillor Cole and resolved to note her report. 

 

6 – COUNCIL BUDGET 2023-24 

Members were requested to resolve the annual precept request for 2023-24. A draft budget proposal was presented to members which proposed an annual charge of £114.51 for a Band D property, representing an annual increase of £5 to Parish Residents. 

Members discussed the proposal. Due to the current Cost of Living crisis, members felt that although this increase only represented £5 per year to residents, any amount of saving would be preferable.  

Members discussed where in the budget cuts could be made to allow them to not increase the precept. 

Members voted on whether to approve the proposed budget or to make an amendment prior to approval.  

Members voted 10 to 1 in favour of amending the budget prior to approval. 

It was recommended that the apprenticeship scheme be removed from the budget for one year. 

The budget proposes a precept sum of £472,342. 

The council tax base for 2023-24 is confirmed as 4,255.88. The Council Tax Support Grant is confirmed at £7,021, unchanged from 2022-23. 

 Taking into account the respective sums, the proposed budget maintains an annual charge of £110.99 for a Band D property, representing an increase of £1.48 or 1.35% to Parish Residents. 

 Members resolved to confirm the precept request as outlined. 

 

7 – COMMUNITY GRANT AWARD 

Members were presented with an application for grant funding by Spirits Rest Horse & Animal Sanctuary. It was noted that they rescue a large number of horses in and around the Parish and do very good work. 

Members confirmed that they would be willing to grant more funding if needed and would advise Spirits Rest to reapply in March. 

 Members resolved to approve the grant funding of £300 to Spirits Rest Horse & Animal Sanctuary. 

 

8 – STONE RECREATION GROUND MASTERPLAN 

 Since the council approved the masterplan design in October 2022, the team has been working on finalising submission of reserved matters applications. This has involved consultation with the Secure by Design team at Kent Police to ensure the scheme effectively considers the impact on crime and disorder and honing the layout to reflect this, as well as optimisation of positioning for best operational use. 

 Members were presented with the updated layout showing the changes that have been made. 

 Members resolved to note the update regarding the submission of reserved planning applications for the Stone Recreation Ground Masterplan. 

 9 – EVENTS 

Members were presented with a written report on the Events Calendar for 2023. This included a description of each event and the proposed budget for each one. 

Members noted that the responses to the recent consultation on potential Coronation events had been low. It was suggested that Council staff would find out whether there is sufficient desire for an event prior to this being planned. 

Members resolved to note the update on events for 2023. 

 

10 – AUTHORISATION OF PAYMENTS 

 Members resolved to approve the schedule of supplier payments. 

 

 11 – PLANNING APPLICATIONS 

To resolve observations to Major Planning Applications affecting the parish
Relevant legislation: Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

22/01365/COU – Rear Of 82 London Road Stone DA2 6AN

Change of use of ancillary storage buildings associated with 82 London Road to self contained storage facility (Class B8) (retrospective application) 

The Council objected to a previous planning application last year 21/01461/COU and there are several responses from local residents objecting to this application.  

 Members resolved to object to this application on the same grounds as before as this represented an oversaturation of use on this site. 

 

There being no further business, the Chairperson closed meeting at 20.45pm.