Minutes Published: Minutes of the Directors of stone Parish Neighbourhood Plan meeting held on Wednesday 29 April 2015


Minutes of the Stone Parish Neighbourhood Plan Directors Meeting held on Wednesday 29 April 2015, 7.30pm at The Boardroom, Stone Pavilion, Hayes Road, Stone DA9 9DS

DIRECTORS PRESENT:     J Bassett, J Burrell, G Johnson, K Kelly, J Mote, C Olney, J Schofield, W Sexton, J Thilman, J Thomas, S Thredgle, P Winchester and V Winchester

IN ATTENDANCE:               E Mote – Council Coordinator for Stone Parish Council

VISITORS:                             L Stelfox – Reception Administrator for Stone Parish Council                          


Self-nomination from KR for the role of Chairman had been withdrawn prior to the meeting.  PW was nominated, duly elected and accepted the position of Chairman.

02/04/15NP:    APOLOGIES

Apologies for absence were received from CP and KR.


No declarations of interest were received.

04/04/15NP:   PROCEDURE

  • Appointment of Secretary

Following discussion, it was agreed that Council officers would provide administrative support for meetings in order to maintain continuity and two-way communication between the Committee, Council and members of the public. As there were some concerns about the long-term resource demand this might represent, it was agreed that a log of administration time provided to Neighbourhood Plan activities would be maintained for future review.

  • Appointment of Finance Coordinator

It was noted that money received through successful funding applications would be paid directly to the council and accounted for through usual council finance administration practice, with the Neighbourhood Plan Project clearly identified in an individual cost centre. However, despite this, it was felt beneficial by all members that an independent Director acts as Finance Coordinator providing an appropriate layer of transparency and audit for the project. As such, WS volunteered for the role. The meeting duly upheld the proposal and the position of Finance Coordinator confirmed.

  • Adoption of Terms of Reference

After some discussion, directors proposed the following amendments to the Terms of Reference:

          Sections 3.2 & 4.5 – Members wished to clarify the situation regarding council officers or elected councillors not forming a majority of the total number of directors.  With four elected councillors in post plus the Parish Clerk out of 15 Directors, it was agreed that this criteria was met.  However, members were keen to ensure that this was reflected in terms regarding the required quorum for a meeting, to prescribe that attendance by council officers/members did not constitute a quorum unless the balance was still maintained by a majority of non-council Directors. Members resolved the Terms of Reference be amended to reflect this.

          Section 5.1 – JS noted that the role of Bridging Coordinator had not appeared on the agenda as a role for election.  JT proposed that, as the most natural link between the two bodies, she absorb the general duties of role as this was easily integrated into normal council agenda preparation but considered that as the plan progresses, there may be times when it would be more appropriate for a member with specific remit or expertise to report findings or information to the council.

          Section 7 – As newly elected Finance Coordinator, WS welcomed discussion from the committee regarding proposed Terms. Members all felt there should be a resolved policy regarding volunteer expenses to prevent ambiguity or over-expenditure of the budget.

          Section 9 – JT explained that conclusion of current Neighbourhood Plan activities does not automatically result in dissolution of the Directors, as an implementation phase would follow for which it might be felt advantageous to retain the Committee rather than see dissolution of it. It was also explained that future revisions to the plan can be made using the prescribed process as necessary, for which Directors would be required.

  • To confirm proposed calendar of meetings

The meeting proposed to confirm the calendar for the ensuing three months then review future dates at the July 2015 meeting.


  • To discuss results of preliminary community survey

The group summed-up initial key public observations as: wishing to restrict further development; wanting more access to valuable green open spaces; tackling parking and traffic issues, and an immediate need for more public amenities such as doctor’s surgeries, school places etc.

It was suggested that results of the initial survey appeared to indicate satisfaction of living in the parish was derived from a sense of convenience, due to aspects such as Bluewater and the proximity to major road and transport links, rather than because of a sense of place, the attractiveness of the landscape or character or heritage of the parish. It was felt that this might also be due to the pace of development that has been seen in recent years, with the recent increase in the parish population derived from many people who had moved into the parish because of the ability to commute easily to Central London as one of the main factors.

Directors felt that the Neighbourhood Plan provided an excellent opportunity to address areas which residents felt the parish was lacking or seek improvements to the physical landscape through future planning applications to enhance a perceived deficit of character or attractiveness,

However, Directors felt encouraged that many survey respondents have experienced a real sense of community spirit and felt this was partly due to an increased number of community activities over recent years.

The group agreed respondent’s views of the Neighbourhood Plan process seemed to demonstrate expectations beyond what is prescribed for in Neighbourhood Plan legislation, which is designed to shape and enhance delivery of local development in response to local need rather than restrict or conflict with it. As such, many hoping to thwart planned development through the process could be easily disappointed by a perceived lack of influence or power. Directors felt it was a real priority in the early stages to address such expectations to highlight achievable benefits and outcomes to avoid disappointment or disaffection at later stages.

  • To resolve key themes and plan priorities

In order to resolve priorities and key areas for the plan to address, it was agreed to begin reviewing areas of concern raised by the public in the survey. JT confirmed that development of a dedicated Neighbourhood Plan website was underway and would feature an interactive map containing historic, current and future planning information for various sites within the parish. It was hoped that this resource would dispel any local ‘myth or rumour’ regarding planning intentions for specific sites and provide a comprehensive directory of information, which could be used as both an education and heritage resource later on.

Directors noted their remit would not enable fundamental changes to strategic infrastructure or plans as this is outside of a Neighbourhood Plan remit but agreed that significant local improvements can be brought about through enhancement of open spaces, parks and gardens and installation of local services to effectively balance and offset future development and population growth and that this benefit should not be underestimated.

It was also noted that the Neighbourhood Plan would generate additional local investment through an increase in Community Infrastructure payments to the council, up scaled from 15% to 25% upon adoption of the plan.

In order to make progress, Directors were appointed to be responsible for initial research and review into key areas to define existing local policy and current situation:

  • Transport and Infrastructure – W Sexton, J Burrell and J Bassett.
  • Parks and Open Spaces – G Johnson and C Olney
  • Housing and Development – J Bassett and J Mote
  • Communications Strategy – J Thomas and J Mote
  • To resolve project timeline and agree necessary actions

Members would be provided with electronic copies of the project timeline and discuss necessary actions at the next meeting.

  • To resolve project aims for Stone Fete exhibition

Four key areas identified by the committee would form the basis for exhibition material for Stone Fete. Directors will seek to identify questions on key issues for a potential ‘poll’, along with other activities designed to engage and encourage feedback from the 18-25 age group.       


  • Adoption of draft communications strategy

Members felt information on the template Communications Strategy was not entirely up-to-date and as such needed further review before adoption. As such, this item was deferred until the next meeting.

Directors agreed to delegate responsibility to JM and JT to review the communications strategy.              

  • To note current position regarding development of website and other communications materials

With imminent production of the stand-alone website, inclusive of an interactive mapping page, the public would shortly be able to access details relating to Neighbourhood Plan activities.  It was hoped that a two-week time frame should see a basic-level site up and running.         

  • To resolve key communications objectives and engagement activities

It was agreed that key communications objectives and engagement activities would be resolved at the next meeting.

07/04/15NP:   FINANCE

  • To note details of expenditure of existing grant funding

Directors were presented and agreed to note, the overview of funding received and expenditure incurred to date.

  • To resolve funding requirements to support subsequent funding application

This item will be discussed at the May meeting once Directors have a better understanding of required activities to further progress the plan.


  • To adopt Terms of Reference as amended at April’s meeting.
  • To receive feedback presentations from the four topic groups.
  • Discussion of likely funding requirements to support required activities to resolve subsequent funding application.

There being no further business The Chairman closed the meeting at 8:51pm.



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