Minutes of the January 2018 Executive Committee

Minutes of the 286th Executive Committee meeting held on Saturday 6 January 2018 at CPRE Protect Kent offices in Charing

Present: Jessamy Blanford (WKPS); Crispin Davies (Hythe); Christine Furminger (Rochester and KFAS Secretary); Philip Robinson (Associate member and Hon. Treasurer); Alastair Tod (Tunbridge Wells); and, John Walker (Canterbury, Ramsgate and KFAS Chairman).

Apologies: None.

1        Minutes of 285th Executive Committee on 4 November 2017 – These had been previously circulated, were agreed and signed by the Chairman.

2        Matters Arising:

2.1     Large Increase in House Extensions in Tunbridge Wells - AT reported that there had been a large increase in planning applications for house extensions as a result of recent changes to Stamp Duty which made house moving even more expensive.

3        Chairman’s Report – JVW commented on the continuing need to build up the capacity of the Executive Committee by recruiting pro-active people to take on roles such as a Communications Manager, a Website Manager, a Membership Recruiter, etc. During discussion it was felt that one way to spot and recruit such people was to look at those who attended KFAS events.

It was emphasised that, at the 2018 AGM, there should be an item that encouraged those attending to identify the pressing issues in their individual societies such as “Is the Green Belt sufficiently protected?”, “Are too many houses being built in your area?”, “How would you change and improve the planning system so that it meets the aspirations of your society?”  It was agreed that this item should be emphasised in the AGM agenda. ACTION: CD.

4        Actions Taken in between Meetings – None.

5        Events Programme:

5.1     Margate Society and Civic Voice Event – The Margate Society is hosting a community engagement event at the Turner Centre around the anniversary of the TS Eliot poem “The Waste Land”.  JVW reported that Civic Voice did not have the resources to contribute to this event.

5.2     Annual Meeting 2018 – This has been arranged for Saturday 19 May 2018 at Harrietsham Village Hall.  Because this date now clashed with both a royal wedding and the FA cup final it was agreed to change the date. The Chairman and the Acting Secretary were asked to identify an appropriate alternative date.  It was agreed to invite Philip Whitbourn or, in his absence, Bernard Gambrill, to preside over the election of officers. ACTION: CD It was also agreed to invite Ian Harvey, from Civic Voice, to lead the discussion on common issues affecting societies. ACTION: JVW (NB: the 2018 AGM will now be held in Lenham Community Centre on Saturday 26 May 2018.) 

5.3     Communications Workshop – The workshop will be held as part of the 2018 AGM at Lenham Community Centre.  (NB: David White, Chairman of the Deal Society, who will be running the workshop as confirmed his availability on 26 May 2018.)

5.4     President’s Lunch – This has been arranged in conjunction with the President for Friday 13 July 2018 at the aBode Hotel in Canterbury.

5.5     Woolford Lecture 2018 – The President, Laura Sandys, has agreed to give the Woolford Lecture on 13 July 2018 as part of the event.  

6        Treasurer’s Report – An income and expenditure summary for the year to the 31 December 2017 had been circulated in advance of the meeting showing a deficit of £578 for the year to date.  The report was noted.

The payment of £100.00 for web hosting for 2018 was noted.  It was agreed to subscribe to the London Green Belt Council for 2018.  ACTION: PR   

It was agreed to send the subscription invitation to potential member societies by mid-March 2018 for the year commencing 1 April 2018. ACTION: CD

It was agreed to check any age limitation on the KFAS insurance for events. ACTION: PR

7       County and Local Issues:

7.1     Maidstone Local Plan – The Inspector proposed a higher housing target than allocated land.  This caused quite some controversy and local MPs called Government for a review of the Local Plan but this was not granted.

7.2     Canterbury Local Plan – JVW reported that the Inspector did not make any significant changes despite over 2000 objections.  The Inspector increased the housing numbers.

7.3     Canterbury Community Vision – Following the Inspector’s Report into the Local Plan the Canterbury Community Vision is to be revised with the central question being “Can sustainable growth be achieved?”

7.4     Shepway Local Plan – CD reported that the submission draft, expected before Christmas, has been delayed.

7.5     Otterpool Garden Town – CD reported that SDC has received a second tranche of Government funding (£155k) to assist work towards a planning application and that a non-binding “Otterpool Charter” was published in early December as the Council’s vision of the proposed development.

7.6     M20 Lorry Park – CD reported that the judicial review, originally to be heard in June then October and then December was cancelled as Highways England/Government declined to defend the judicial review.  The scheme has been cancelled but a new consultation on dealing with “Operation Stack” will be launched by Highways England in the future.

7.7    Princes Parade, Hythe – CD reported that SDC had submitted the long awaited planning application, contrary to existing policy, for the development of a sensitive site of 17.5 acres between the seafront and the Royal Military Canal (a scheduled ancient monument) owned by SDC.  There are over 760 public comments – mostly against.

8       National Issues:

8.1     New Homes Bonus – It was noted that this ends in 2020.

8.2    Affordable Housing Definition – The national definition of 80% of market value needs redefinition.

8.3     National Planning Policy Framework – A new draft is expected shortly.

9        Secretary’s Report – It was reluctantly agreed to accept CF’s resignation as Secretary and Membership Secretary with immediate effect.  The Committee thanked CF for her work and agreed for CF to remain on the Committee representing The City of Rochester Society.

10      Website – The Chairman and Acting Secretary have obtained access to the website and minor changes and new material is being posted.  ACTION – CD and JVW.

11      Any Other Business – None.

12      Date of Next Meetings – Saturdays 10 March, 12 May (apologies from AT), 7 July, 1 September and 3 November 2018 at the CPRE (Protect Kent) offices in Charing.  (NB: 3 March booked but May onwards to be booked after 1 April 2018.)

The meeting closed at 12.15pm.                                                                           

 

Minutes of the November 2017 Executive Committee

Minutes of the 285th Executive Committee meeting held on Saturday 4 November 2017 at CPRE Protect Kent offices in Charing.

Present: Jessamy Blanford (WKPS); Crispin Davies (Hythe and KFAS Acting Secretary); Philip Robinson (Associate member and Hon. Treasurer); Alastair Tod (Tunbridge Wells); and, John Walker (Canterbury and Ramsgate and KFAS Chairman).

Apologies: Christine Furminger (Rochester and KFAS Secretary).

1          Minutes of 284th Executive Committee meeting on 15 July 2017 – These had been previously circulated, were agreed and signed by the Chairman.

2          Matters Arising:

2.1     Review of National Planning Policy Framework (minute 4.5) – JVW reported that the Historic Cathedral City Network had submitted its concern that cathedral cities were allocated inappropriate and higher housing allocations than the cities could reasonably assimilate without altering their character to DCLG.  JVW also reported that the NPPF review was likely to be launched in early 2018.

There then followed a discussion about the levels of housebuilding and the many factors that affected the speed of housebuilding.  This was not just the level of planning consents that Government believed but the local housing market, skill shortages, material shortages and negotiation with planners over the detailed implementation of planning consents and lengthy discussions over s106 agreements.  Smaller builders were favouring work on house extensions rather than the building of new units. 

3        Chairman’s Report – John Walker reported on the recent Civic Voice annual conference in Wakefield attended by some 160 delegates.  There was much focus on the 50th anniversary of conservation areas.  JVW had personal concerns over the subscription scales that provided about 50% of Civic Voice funding leaving Civic Voice at the mercy of grant or project income for the balance.  Associate members, such as KFAS, will now be charged a £50 annual subscription.  It was agreed to become an associate member of Civic Voice.

4        Actions Taken in between Meetings – CD reported that he and the Chairman had met in late September to progress issues as the Committee had not met as planned earlier in the month. Committee members were circulated with the decisions shortly after the meeting.  The decisions included progressing KFAS activities and steps needed to activate the website.

5        Events Programme:

5.1     Margate Society and Civic Voice Event – The Margate Society has accepted an offer from KFAS to publicise its planned event at the Turner Centre in April 2018.  ACTION – JVW to liaise with the Margate Society.

5.2     Communications Workshop – The workshop has been postponed from 28 October 2017 until Saturday 19 May 2018 at Harrietsham Village Hall.

5.3     Annual Meeting 2018 – This will be included with the event on 19 May 2018 at Harrietsham Village Hall.

5.4       President’s Lunch – This has been arranged in conjunction with the President for Friday 13 July 2018 at the aBode Hotel in Canterbury.

5.5     Woolford Lecture 2018 – The President, Laura Sandys, has agreed to give the Woolford Lecture on 13 July 2018 as part of the Lunch. 

6        Treasurer’s Report – An income and expenditure summary to the end of September 2017 had been circulated in advance of the meeting showing a deficit of £386 for the year to date.  The report was noted.

7          County and Local Issues:

7.1     Merger of District Councils in Kent – The proposals for mergers in both east and west Kent have been shelved but co-operative delivery of services is continuing.

7.2     Review of Parliamentary Boundaries – The revised proposals from the Boundary Commission for England were made public in mid-October and this second consultation period ends on 11 December 2017.  The major changes are to reduce the total number of MPs from 650 to 600 and to equalise the number of electorate in each constituency.  ACTION – Acting Secretary to inform members via the website.

7.3     Canterbury Local Plan - Canterbury City Council formally adopted its Local Plan in July 2017 despite two judicial reviews yet to be heard.  One result is the formation of a widely based sustainable transport forum with the aim of reducing private car usage. 

7.4     Tunbridge Wells BC Business Plan – AT reported that this has recently been published including the development of a town centre site dependent upon TWBC borrowing £72m to finance the development.

7.5     Tunbridge Wells Cinema Site – AT reported that a planning application for this important central site, vacant for 16 years, has been granted consent.  The proposal is considered unacceptable by the Tunbridge Wells Civic Society.

7.6     110 Bed Hotel in Tunbridge Wells – TWBC is being taken to a judicial review by an adjacent landowner as this consent adversely affects adjacent listed buildings and is contrary to TWBC planning policies.

7.7     Ashford Housing Issues – JB reported on 3 major sites in villages surrounding Ashford where, in the absence of an up to date local plan as the Examination in Public for the revised Local Plan is anticipated in early 2018, have been submitted on a speculative basis.

7.8     Shepway Local Plan – CD reported that the submission draft is expected before Christmas.

7.9     Otterpool Garden Town – CD reported that a second round of public consultation had recently taken place despite the Core Strategy and the revised Local Plan not referring to the proposal for some 12,000 houses and associated development.  SDC has just received a second tranche of Government funding (£155k) to assist work towards a planning application.

7.10    M20 Lorry Park – CD reported that the judicial review, originally to be heard in June then October, has been postponed to December 2017.

7.11    Princes Parade, Hythe – CD reported that SDC had submitted the long awaited planning application, contrary to existing policy, for the development of a sensitive site of 17.5 acres between the seafront and the Royal Military Canal (a scheduled ancient monument) owned by SDC.

8        National Issues:

8.1     Housing Targets – CD referred to a Government consultation paper on “Planning for the Right Homes in the Right Places” issued in September 2017 and with the consultation closing on 9 November 2017.  This includes a revision to the way in which standardised housing targets for each local authority area are calculated resulting in increased targets for all councils in Kent and Medway except one. 

8.2     Airports – CD reported on the recent publication of a revised draft Airports National Policy Statement and a call for evidence from the Transport Select Committee.  The Government consultation closes on 19 December 2017 and the call for evidence on 30 November 2017.  The revision has resulted from further research into aspects of the Davis Commission’s report.  One revision has resulted in an increase in benefit to the national economy of expansion at Gatwick airport.  This will be of interest to societies in west Kent.  ACTION – Acting Secretary to inform members via the website.

9        Secretary’s Report – In the absence of the Secretary there was no report. 

10      Website – The Chairman and Acting Secretary have obtained access to the website and minor changes and new material is being posted.  ACTION – CD and JVW.

11      Lack of Democracy in Reaching Planning Decisions – AT expressed his disquiet at the lack of influence of Councillors in making planning decisions as officers make so many commitments with applicants as part of pre-application discussions that it has become increasingly difficult for Councillors to overturn officer recommendations at Committee.  There was general sympathy with this view particularly with officers using the threat of costs being awarded against planning authorities on appeal.

12      Date of Next Meetings – Saturdays 6 January, 3 March, 12 May (apologies from AT), 7 July, 1 September and 3 November 2018 at the CPRE (Protect Kent) offices in Charing.  ACTION – Acting Secretary to book accommodation.

The meeting closed at 11.55am.    

 

Minutes of the July 2017 Executive Committee

Minutes of the 284th Executive Committee meeting held on Saturday on Saturday 15 July 2017 at CPRE Protect Kent offices in Charing

Present: Jessamy Blanford (WKPS); Crispin Davies (Hythe and KFAS Acting Secretary); Alastair Tod (Tunbridge Wells); and, John Walker (Canterbury and Ramsgate and KFAS Chairman).

Apologies: Christine Furminger (Rochester and KFAS Secretary) and Philip Robinson (Associate member and Hon. Treasurer).

1          Minutes of 283rd Executive Committee Meeting on 13 May 2017 – These had been previously circulated, were agreed and signed by the Chairman.

2          Matters Arising – There were no matters arising not elsewhere on the agenda.

3        Minutes of the 53rd Annual General Meeting held on 13 May 2017 – These had been previously circulated, were agreed and signed by the Chairman.  There were no matters arising not elsewhere on the agenda for the Executive Committee.

4        Chairman’s Report – John Walker reported that:

4.1     Civic Voice Design Awards – The judging had taken place the previous evening with the chapel at Winchester University being with winning entry.   The 2018 Awards will be launched at the 2017 AGM in October 2017.  It was agreed to have this as a specific item on the November agenda.  ACTION – Acting Secretary.

4.2     Local Plans – It was becoming increasingly obvious that there is too much reliance placed on the Inspectors’ reports and too little reliance on local views – “localism in reverse!”

4.3     No Civic Voice Manifesto for the June 2017 General Election – Consideration should be given to a “rolling manifesto” as there was insufficient time to prepare such a document.  It was agreed to write to Civic Voice to this effect.  ACTION – Chairman.

4.4     Historic Cathedral City Network – A paper outlining the concerns of the network’s societies is to be submitted to Historic England.  A draft has been discussed with Historic England which suggested a final report could be accompanied with an application for funding.

4.5     Review of the National Planning Policy Framework – This is to be reviewed in the autumn.  After discussion it was agreed to ask KFAS member societies to endorse about half a dozen issues to be submitted to DCLG in advance of the review.  ACTION – Chairman and Acting Secretary. 

5        Public Realm Art – JB spoke of the selection process for public art at the entrance to the new development of 5,000 houses at Chilmington Green.

6        Events Programme:

6.1     President’s Lunch – It was agreed to ask the Canterbury Society to host the annual Lunch in late September or early October 2017.  The Chairman agreed to talk to the President to agree a date.  ACTION – Chairman.

6.2     Communications Workshop – The Acting Secretary reported on a meeting with the Chairman and David White of the Deal Society following the idea at the AGM in May.  A programme had been agreed but accommodation in central Kent with wi-fi was proving elusive with both Lenham and Egerton being unavailable on Saturday 28 October 2017.  (NB: Following the meeting Harrietsham Village Hall has been booked)  ACTION – Acting Secretary and Chairman. 

7        Treasurer’s Report – This will be circulated by email.  ACTION – Chairman.  It was agreed that the 2017/18 subscription invitation be circulated soon.  ACTION – Chairman and Acting Secretary.

8          County and Local Issues: 

8.1     Canterbury Local Plan - Canterbury City Council has formally adopted its controversial planning blueprint which envisages 16,000 homes built across the district in the next 14 years as suggested by the Inspector.  It includes massive housing developments on the edge of urban areas - most notably the 4,000-house Mountfield Park scheme on farmland south of Canterbury.  A local developed has recently suggested he will build the much needed new hospital so long as he obtains planning consent for housing on land not allocated in the Local Plan.

8.2     Ashford Local Plan – JB reported that members would receive an officer report next week.

8.3     Shepway Local Plan – CD reported that the submission draft is to be received by Cabinet next week.

8.4     Otterpool Garden Town – CD reported that a second round of public consultation had recently taken place despite the Core Strategy and the revised Local Plan (see 8.3 above) ret referring to the proposal for some 12,000 houses and associated development.

8.5     M20 Lorry Park – CD reported that the judicial review, originally to be heard in June, has been postponed to October.  (NB: Since the meeting the date has been put back to December)

8.5     Tunbridge Wells Transport – AT reported that KCC has now accepted the principle of a modal split for traffic in Tunbridge Wells town centre.

8.6     Tunbridge Wells Cinema Site – AT reported that a planning application for this important central site, vacant for 16 years, has been submitted to the Borough Council.  The proposal is considered to be unacceptable by the Tunbridge Wells Society.

9        National Issues:

9.1     Airports – CD referred to a newly released privately funded scheme, led by the Arora Group and Bechtel, to build the third runway at some £6.7bn less cost.  The Government has postponed its decision on the final Airports National Policy Statement until the first half of 2018 following the draft policy consultation ending on 25 May 2017.  CD also reported a recent spate of publicity by Gatwick Airport for the building of a second runway.

10      Secretary’s Report – In the absence of the Secretary there was no report.  CD offered to collect CF from Ashford Station, if helpful, for future meetings. 

11      Website – No progress has been made on updating the website recently and no additional administrators’ passwords have been received from the website builder.  After discussion it was agreed to ask CF for her log-in details.  ACTION - Acting Secretary. 

12      Joan Clark-Hall, a long serving member of the WKPS and KFAS, has been publically thanked for her involvement by WKPS.  

Date of next meeting – Saturday 2 September 2017 at the CPRE (Protect Kent) offices in Charing.  Also 4 November 2017.

The meeting closed at 12 noon.                                                                        

 

Chairman's Report to the 2017 Annual Meeting

KFAS Chairman Report 2017

Main points:

1. The KFAS Executive Committee has met 6 times during the year.

2. Some of the main issues discussed have included:

The ongoing effect of central government cut backs to local authority funding and services.

The new Homes Bonus is driving Local Plans beyond what is sustainable in the long term.

There is a lack of investment in the public realm.

Uncertainty over Local government reorganisation in Kent. District Councils in East Kent, Mid Kent and West Kent are all looking at various forms of joint working or different models including merging into larger district councils (EK4). KCC are also considering a proposal to the Secretary of State for a Kent Unitary Authority. We can expect further progress on these options after the General Election in June 2017.

The ongoing need for a level playing field in planning and for the introduction of a Community Right of Appeal. (As distinct from a general third party right of Appeal.)

General acceptance that since 2011 Localism For Real has failed to materialise as central government led by The Treasury seeks to strengthen its hold in every area of decision making.

 

Continued uncertainty over the long term solution to Operation Stack in the light of two current JR’s and the unintended consequences of the Brexit Referendum.

3.  KFAS regarding itself as a networking organisation whose main role is to bring together civic societies to discus and exchange views of common concern. In maintaining this role we have during the year organised a number of well attended events including:

3.1. A very successful Presidents Lunch in Canterbury at which our President Laura Sandys encouraged civic societies to make their voices heard to politicians and policy makers both locally and nationally.

3.2. A conference on 28th Feb organised jointly with KALC attended by 100 representatives of Kent Civic Societies and Parish Councils to consider the implications of local government reorganisation and the devolution of services to town and parish councils. The Conference was addressed by Paul Carter Leader of KCC, Chris Wells Leader of Thanet District Council representing EK4 and Leaders of both Sevenoaks and Swale District Councils

3.3 On 20th May the Woolford lecture will be delivered by Tom Crew whose article “The Strange Death of Municipal England” caused a considerable stir when it was published a few months ago in The London Review of Books.  The lecture at Sessions House Christchurch University Canterbury will chart the rise and fall of local government in England and explore possible options for the future.

4. During the year many civic and amenity societies in Kent have been very active:

4.1. Canterbury has formed the Historic Cathedral Cities Alliance which has brought to gather 30 Historic Cathedral Cities to help achieve a balance between Heritage and Growth.

4.2. Ramsgate has been awarded Heritage Action Zone Status by Historic England. This is a five year programme in which HE is investing time and money.

4.3. Rochester has been campaigning to achieve its own Town Council.

4.4. Working with Dover District Council Deal has undertaken a review of its Conservation Areas.

4.5. The Weald of Kent Protection Society through its excellent network of village representatives continues to maintain a watchful eye on planning and development matters in the Wealden Villages.

4.6. Tunbridge Wells have campaigned on a number of issues including the redevelopment of the Cinema Site, the proposed Culture Hub and the Town Hall and for more investment in the public realm.

And there are many examples of the work that civic societies do in their local communities.

5. Looking ahead KFAS, along with other civic societies is facing a number of issues:

The need to recruit new pro active officers and committee members to the executive committee.

The need to adapt to changes in Local Government that are being forced on us by the so called austerities.  

How are we going to promote the values of civic societies to our local communities?

The need for KFAS to communicate better with its members via email, website and the now dormant KFAS quarterly bulletin. d)

Minutes of the May 2017 Annual Meeting

MINUTES of the 53rd ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING on Saturday 13 May 2017 at the Offices of CPRE Protect Kent, Ashford Road, Charing.

Present: Jessamy Blanford (WKPS); Crispin Davies (Hythe); Jean Mayton (Ramsgate); Philip Robinson (Associate); Catherine and Keith Stephenson (Rochester); John Walker (Canterbury and Ramsgate); and David White (Deal).

Apologies: Christine Furminger (Rochester), Rosemary Kirk (Rochester) and Alastair Tod (Tunbridge Wells).

1      Introduction - The Chairman of the Executive Committee, John Walker, took the chair.  He advised that the annual meeting was inquorate but, after a brief discussion, it was agreed to continueThe Chairman reported that the Hon Secretary was unable to attend but that Crispin Davies would act as Hon Secretary for the meeting.

2       Minutes of the 52nd Annual Meeting held on Saturday 23 June 2016 – The tabled minutes were agreed and signed by the Chairman. 

3      Matters Arising – There were no matters arising.

4        Chairman’s Report – The Chairman, John Walker, gave a brief report on the year’s activities.  There was a discussion on the impact of the continuing reduction of Government grant to local authorities, how this may affect local communities and what role civic societies could play in this changing world.  This report was accepted and a copy is attached to these minutes for information.

During a discussion on “looking ahead” it was suggested that David White may wish to lead a KFAS workshop on “communications” as the Deal Society appeared to be engaging with its community in a multitude of ways.  This was agreed.

5      Treasurer’s Report – Philip Robinson reported on a year of deficit of some £500 due to a decision to host the President’s Lunch at no cost to those attending.  He commented that the room hire cost in 2016/17 had been waived.  The financial statement at 31 March 2017 was accepted and is attached to these minutes.

6        Election of Officers - The following Officers were elected for one year:

Chairman – John Walker (Canterbury and Ramsgate Societies)

Vice Chairman – Vacancy

Hon Secretary – Christine Furminger (City of Rochester Society)

Hon Membership Secretary – Christine Furminger (City of Rochester Society)

Hon Treasurer – Philip Robinson (Associate Member)

Hon Editor – Vacancy

7        Executive Committee – in addition to the officers the following persons were elected to the Committee:

Jessamy Blanford (Weald of Kent Protection Society)

Crispin Davies (Hythe Civic Society)

Alastair Tod (Royal Tunbridge Wells Civic Society)

8      Other Issues Raised by Members – None.

There being no other business, the Chairman closed the meeting at 11.20am

Minutes of the May 2017 Executive Committee

Minutes of the 283rd Executive Committee meeting held on Saturday on Saturday 13 May 2017 at CPRE Protect Kent offices in Charing

This meeting followed immediately after the Annual General Meeting.

Present: Jessamy Blanford (WKPS); Crispin Davies (Hythe); Jean Mayton(Ramsgate); Philip Robinson (Associate); Catherine and Keith Stephenson (Rochester); John Walker (Canterbury and Ramsgate); and David White (Deal).

 Apologies: Christine Furminger (Rochester), Rosemary Kirk (Rochester) and Alastair Tod(Tunbridge Wells).

1        Minutes of 282nd Executive Committee meeting on 1 April 2017 – These were unavailable and were deferred until the next meeting.

2        Matters Arising – Any matters arising were deferred to the next meeting.

3        Chairman’s Report – John Walker reported that Civic Voice has just moved from Liverpool to Birmingham.  He also he reported that Civic Voice has secured core funding of £70k per annum from Historic England for 3 years following an external review of its first 7 years.

4        Local Plans and 5 Years Land Supply – John Walker reported on a recent decision by the Supreme Court that appeared to indicate that land with national designations, such as AONB or Green Belt, was no longer protected if there was not an agreed 5 year supply of land for housing.  He agreed to circulate the decision.

5        Conservation Area Appraisals – David White reported on the undertaking of appraisals by the Deal Society in co-operation with Dover District Council.   The Society used a shortened version of the Oxford Character Assessment Toolkit for appraising conservation areas.  The Deal Society is currently working with Historic England to firm up the shortened version and this will be launched at a national meeting in the first week of October 2017 in Canterbury.

6        Local Listing – Crispin Davies asked if any society has created, or was in the process of creating, a “local list” that has featured in the Civic Voices “Updates” recently.  This used to be the non-statutory Grade III list from Historic England.  It was suggested that this topic could be added to the national meeting to be held by Historic England in October in Canterbury.

7        Relationships with District Councils – During this discussion it was agreed that strong points in favour of civic societies were that they were non-political in nature and had the ability to be a “critical friend” of the local authority.  With the increasingly reduced finances of local authorities it was thought that a body of volunteers could complement the work of local authorities.  Catherine Stephenson spoke about the difficulties that the Rochester Society was having in progressing the request for a Town Council with the unitary Council.   Nicely in my back yard rather than not in my back yard!

8        Date of next meeting – Saturday 1 July 2017 at the CPRE (Protect Kent) offices in Charing.  (since re-arranged for Saturday 15 July 2017)

The meeting closed at 12 noon.                                                                            

Minutes of the January 2017 Executive Committee

Minutes of the 281st Executive Committee meeting held on Saturday on Saturday 7 January 2017 at CPRE Protect Kent offices in Charing

Present:           John Walker (Chairman) (JW), Jessamy Blanford (JB), Christine Furminger (CF), Philip Robinson (Hon Treasurer) (PR) and Alastair Todd (AT).

1          Apologies for absence were received from Crispin Davies (CD).

2          Minutes of Previous Executive Committee Meeting on 8 November 2016 - The minutes were deferred until the next meeting.

3          Matters arising - Matters arising were also left until the next meeting.

4          Chairman’s Report:

JVW reported that the East Kent merger would not be proceeding and Simon Cook (Canterbury CC) had said if this the case, Canterbury would not go ahead either.  KCC proposing a free conference centred in Maidstone on 28 February, which would be looking at Kent.  KALC considered a conference a good idea – were we still keen?   

A general discussion then took place.  It was suggested that an abridged form of “Strange Death of Municipal England” could be circulated to generate interest: this is a crisis waiting to happen.  Conference speakers might suggest different models of progress, also as to how local authorities might increase income.  Perhaps reviewing West/East Kent situation.  Speakers: Ray Evison (KALC), Paul Carter (KCC), Gerry Clarkson (Leader for Ashford) and Simon Cook.

Local authority finances depleting – what will happen in the future?  Delegates were being invited to participate in this discussion.  Crisis of representation as opposed to a crisis of spending.

It was pointed out that the Prince’s Foundation Report was discussing question of cost of houses and a better distribution of monies which go to the Land Registry.  Landowners have more responsibility than they realise - selling to the highest bidder is not good.  Should be insistence on quality, more control and a design brief.  In larger schemes, the builder should have more control and get involved in design.  Developers look to increase their own profits – should not be ruled by this.

The point was made that the extent to which local councils are tied to legal restrictions is exaggerated.  Under localism, their powers are wider and they can act.  Tunbridge Wells not using compulsory purchase, for example, and consider their input should be merely a management one.  Local plan thinking is inside the box rather than creatively.  The requirement for a five year supply of land, which needed constant topping up, meant that sites previously considered unsuitable should be looked at again.

5          Events Programme:

The AGM would take place on 20 May at Lenham Community Hall.  It was suggested that Philip Whitbourn could speak on conservation areas.  English Heritage?  AT would check.

Arrangements to be discussed with CD: 9.30 am for 10 am start, finishing at 2 pm.  Sandwich lunch.  Numbers to be given a week before – 40 hoped for.

A possible autumn event would be discussed at a later date.

6          Secretary/Membership Secretary’s Report - The Secretary regretted lack of progress due to her recent move.

7          Treasurer’s Report - There were no receipts from member societies during this period.

8          Society Issues:

Concern was voiced as to how much was being spent by KCC on roads and repairs.  Expenditure was supposed to be large on pot holes.  There was confusion as to responsibility between local authorities and County Council.  Both Canterbury and Tunbridge Wells were not managing with the present system: rubbish was appalling.  Responsibility for roundabouts differs from place to place.

The question of pollution was raised.  Levels are not good in Tunbridge Wells and they exceeded safe levels around Canterbury and Ashford.  The only suggestion for a solution to the problem of heavy traffic was a model shift.

9          Any Other Business - There was nothing further to report.

10         Date of Next Meeting - 4 March 2017 at 10 a.m. in CPRE (Protect Kent) offices in Charing.

The meeting closed at 12.15 p.m.

 

Minutes of the November 2016 Executive Committee

 

Minutes of the 280th Executive Committee meeting held on Saturday 5 November 2016 at CPRE Protect Kent offices in Charing

Present: John Walker (Chairman) (JW), Jessamy Blanford (JB), Christine Furminger (CF), Philip Robinson (Hon Treasurer) (PR) and Alastair Todd (AT).

1 Apologies for absence were received from Crispin Davies (CD).

2 Minutes of previous Executive committee meeting on 3 September 2016

The minutes had been circulated with the agenda. They were agreed and signed by the Chairman.

3 Matters arising

There were none.

4 Chairman’s report

The Chairman, Jan Pahl and Alan Moss were Kent’s delegates at Civic Voice’s Annual Conference in October. It was noted that the organisation had done remarkably well and was performing effectively at national level. £150,000 had been raised annually from projects. Current market challenging and income from subscriptions provided only a third of running costs. The structural deficit must be addressed. While the largest number of members came from the south east, the new board was predominantly northern and there was concern it would focus on northern issues.

The President’s Lunch in Canterbury had proved a most successful event.

5 Events programme

Possible speakers, particularly for the Woolford Lecture, to accompany the AGM, were discussed. Bernard Gambrill would be requested to talk on HS1, although perhaps not available until autumn. He was at the forefront of this project and dealt with negotiations at the time. There had been much concern about the route and opposition - this topic of great interest in view of HS2.

An alternative topic might be Conservation Areas (CAs). Heritage was taking a much higher profile, Civic Voice and Historic England were working together and there was a role for civic societies in drawing attention to CAs. It was noted that a review had begun with a view to reduce CAs.

It was noted that the conversation regarding merging local authorities was proceeding apace and this could provide the subject for an interesting conference. KALC active in this area. Terry Martin keen and Ray Evison. Feasibility report on local partnerships commissioned; would focus on financial implications. Many issues. Report expected just after Christmas, with decision mid to end February. Ray Evison or Paul Carter, Head of Association of Local Councils? KCC being bypassed and unitary authorities a concern. Another suggestion was Richard King (CPRE and KALC)?

There could be a representative speaker from each of the various levels – how it all might work. Parish councils might take over local services. The role of district and county councils. West Kent appeared to be proceeding apace, whereas East Kent were taking a more democratic stance.

Invitations could go from KALC to towns and parishes, and from KFAS to societies and the conference run from 9.30 until 1.00, with a coffee break. To include a presentation on Civic Day?

The availability of Lenham Community Hall to be checked, and booked for 20 May if possible. CD would be consulted. JW agreed to consider speakers.

6 Secretary/Membership Secretary’s report

A membership list was being worked on when time permitted.

7 Treasurer’s report

The President’s lunch had proved quite expensive. There was currently a deficit.

It was noted that Becket and Bean Parish Council had become recent members of KFAS. Page 2 of 2 Executive committee minutes - 3 September 2016

8 Society issues

Tunbridge Wells. 98% of planning decisions taken by officers and in fact the remaining 2% taken by them too, resulting in the planning committee being redundant. There were no answers from individuals and 100% agreement with the officers’ advice.

Ashford. The Local Plan was out for consultation. Not enough allocation of sites for housing. Continued delay, say three to six months. The five-year housing supply was based on previous completion rates, market signals and assessed housing needs. Policy not working. New houses needed. As regards affordable housing, 40% of cost of construction is in the land. Developers try to overdevelop. The duty to co-operate does not work and it is left up to local people to work it out.

Canterbury. Adjoining authorities agree that housing needs to stop at the boundary.

Thanet. Workshops being held – airport is a problem. Craig Mackinley MP looking at mixed use development area, consultants appointed as to whether this is viable. Report adopted but real estate company making waves. The present marketing strategy is for "cargo hub". Developers have an application in.

Ramsgate. Discussion on permitted development taking place. Bretts concrete plant. Environment input.

9 Any other business

There was nothing further to report. Updates had been discussed during the meeting.

10 Date of next meeting

7 January 2017 at 10 a.m. in CPRE (Protect Kent) offices in Charing.

The meeting closed at 12.15 p.m.

Signed (Chairman)………………………………….…………………. Date: …………………….

Christine Furminger, Secretary, 14 The Close, Rye, East Sussex TN31 7BS

Telephone: 01797 721056 e-mail: christinefurminger@sky.com

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