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Parish Council update: July 2022

I hope everyone enjoyed the amazing celebrations the parish council created for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. We now start to prepare for the centenary of the Lenham Cross, which occurs on 5 September. More details of what will be taking place to mark this historic milestone in August. 

In the meantime the Cross has been refreshed with the help of a group of volunteers brought together by Cllr Andy Ratcliffe and the proposal is that this group will undertake regular maintenance activities at the Cross to ensure it is kept in the manner we would all wish to see it.

The parish council is very grateful for the efforts of all the volunteers who undertook the work, the Lenham Cross looks so much better as a result of their efforts!

Planning matters and current building activity

The parish council has recently received several “complaints / comments” about issues linked to some of the building work that is happening.

While the parish council is a statutory consultee during the application process for any building, whether this is by individual householders or development companies, once the proposal is approved by the Planning Authority at Maidstone the responsibility for ensuring the works take place as set out in the approved development plan rest with Maidstone Borough Council.

This role is handled by the Planning Enforcement Team, they can be emailed  on: PlanningEnforcement@maidstone.gov.uk or by ‘phone on­ 01622 602809. Any observations or queries relating to developments should be directed to this team as the parish council is not is a position to "enforce" anything once the approved plan is underway.

We do keep all of the activity on active sites under review and make representations ourselves if we feel that something is not proceeding according to the agreed plan.

Hopefully this clears up some of the potential confusion over the parish council’s role in these matters.

The Review of the Maidstone Local Plan

We now have a date when the review of Maidstone’s Local Plan will begin: Tuesday 6 September. This information was in an initial letter written by the Independent Inspector, Mr David Spence, to MBC, you can see this here.

The review of the local plan will take place in the Town Hall, in Maidstone, we do not have the detail of the agenda yet, that will be set this month now that MBC has satisfied the Independent Inspector they have a time table to provide the responses to the issues set out in his initial letter to them.

The first part, known as Stage One, will be concerned with legal arguments about “soundness” of the plan. This is expected to take at least two weeks. If the proposed plan navigates examination of the legal requirements, Stage Two is expected to happen later in the year, the Independent Inspector has indicated that he is unlikely to come to a conclusion before the end of the year.

The parish council continues to liaise with a host of other parties interested in the outcome of the proposals within the Local Plan. such as neighbouring parishes and CPRE. Along with those other parties we will be taking legal advice and will be professionally represented throughout stages one and two.

Planned work across the parish

The upgrade of the public toilets has moved a stage nearer as the parish council has put a bid for Community Infrastructure Levy funds to MBC, which holds those funds generated by all the building work happening across the borough. The window for these bids have been extended to 15 July, we hope to hear whether we have been successful by October.

KCC is also progressing the 20mph zone application, we will soon know more details about when this can be brought forward and implemented.

Proposed Electoral Boundary (Ward) Changes: Local Government Boundary Commission (England) consultation

The parish council submitted a response to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England’s (LGBCE) consultation on the restructure of the electoral wards in Maidstone. This was a reaction to MBC’s suggestion that Lenham was split into two with everything south of the railway being attached to Headcorn. Contact was made with the LGBCE to understand the process and it transpires that there had been nearly 90 responses to Maidstone’s proposal, with over half of those mentioning Lenham, so well done everyone who wrote to express their views!

The parish council also reached out to our neighbouring parishes and I am pleased to report that all of these (Harrietsham, Boughton Malherbe and Headcorn) understood and supported our view that this was a ridiculous and ill thought out proposal. These councils have made their views known to the LGBCE.

LGBCE has now considered all responses and it seems clear that the LGBCE has listened to our representations as their response does not suggest splitting Lenham ward into two. A second consultation setting out the suggestion of the changes that the LGBCE think would be appropriate is now under way, you can see this here

Whatever is decided will come into force from May 2024.

The proposals from Lenham Parish Council to counter those made by MBC which can be seen hereThere is also a map showing the parish's proposals which can be seen here

Cllr John Britt (Lenham South)

Chair: Lenham Parish Council

Parish Council Office

The Parish Council office is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10:00h – 13:00h.

Published agendas will be available here

What does Lenham Parish Council do?

Parish Councils are the tier of local government closest to the people. They are not linked to the church in any way. All parish councillors are volunteers who dedicate their free time to enhancing their parish as best they can by utilising their individual skills and experience.

Those putting themselves forward to serve as a parish councillor have to submit to the regular election process, or, if filling a vacancy mid term, can be co-opted for the remainder of that electoral term. Electoral terms are four years. The elections for a parish council will only go to a public vote if there are more nominations than there are spaces on the parish council. Lenham parish is currently represented by 13 parish councillors: four representing South Ward (everything south of the railway) and nine representing North Ward (everything north of the railway). All parish councillors have to agree to abide by the Nolan Principles of Public Office. Parish councillors receive no remuneration for their time.

The responsibilities of Lenham Parish Council include looking after open spaces, such as the William Pitt field and Cemetery, maintaining playgrounds and other amenities, providing Maidstone Borough Council with a view on planning applications within the Parish and undertaking projects to benefit the Parish. Lenham Parish Council also has a Neighbourhood Plan which was adopted as part of the Maidstone Local Plan in July 2021. This Neighbourhood Plan is active until 2031. For more details of the Lenham Neighbourhood Plan please refer to the information tab "Lenham Neighbourhood Plan" on this website.

In addition to holding a full council meeting monthly, Lenham Parish Council has two specific sub committees which also meet monthly: Finance and General Purposes (F&GP) and Planning and (Neighbourhood Plan ) Implementation (P&I). Both these sub committees focus on specific issues of work and in some cases do the detail which is then referred back to full council as recommendations to be discussed and agreed.

Both of these sub committees are public and can be attended by all parish councillors, however, while all nominated attendees and visiting parish councillors can participate in the discussions only those parish councillors nominated as attendees to that sub committee are able to vote on recommendations that will go forward to the full parish council meeting for discussion and agreement.

Finance and General Purposes Committee (F&GP)

The F&GP sub committee consists of six nominated parish councillors and addresses the financial issues which the parish council is responsible for, dealing with contracts for maintenance of open space, play equipment and other financial matters as and when these arise. The committee oversees the preparation of the annual budget and also discusses all other non-expenditure related matters and makes a recommendation to the full parish council for discussion and agreement. The sub committee is quorate when at least four parish councillors, including the Chair, are present.

Planning and (Neighbourhood Plan) Implementation (P&I)

The P&I sub committee consists of six nominated parish councillors as well as three members of the public (who are non-voting) and the parish's planning consultant (also non voting). The sub committee carries out two important functions: it is a statutory consultee for all planning applications in the parish and it is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Lenham Neighbourhood Plan ensuring that the parameters and policies within the plan are actioned and reflected in the parish responses to planning applications. All recommendations from the sub committee are referred to the next full meeting of the parish council for ratification. The sub committee is quorate when at least four parish councillors, including the Chair, are present.

Our Mission Statement 

The Lenham Parish Council (LPC) is dedicated to enhancing the lives of all the residents of Lenham and its surrounding hamlets. LPC aims to maintain and protect the Parish environment and amenities. LPC strives to be pro-active in identifying and completing projects, large and small, that will benefit the Parish as a whole, with value for money always being sought. LPC aims to help keep Lenham Parish a unique and special place for residents and visitors alike as the world around us changes.

 

Meet Our Councillors

Councillor Personal Details Responsibilities

Cllr. John Britt (South Ward)

Tel.07973 207521

john@lenhamparishcouncil.org.uk

Parish Council Chairman Chairman of Finance & General Purposes. Planning and Implementation Committee member. Hamlets, Health & Welfare, Emergency Plan / Co-ordination, Communications, Youth Work Liaison, Cross maintenance, Forestry England rep.

Cllr. Alastair Walmsley (North ward)

Tel. 01622 859032 

alastair@lenhamparishcouncil.org.uk

Vice Chairman of the Parish Council.

Chairman of Planning and Implementation Committee. Finance & General Purposes Committee member. Highways & Speed Indicator. Allotment liaison.

Cllr. Michael Ballard (North Ward)

Tel. 01622 851409 Mob. 07780 665996 

michael@lenhamparishcouncil.org.uk

Douglas Alms Houses Trustee. Transport South East trains. WCs project.

Cllr. Michael Cockett (North Ward)

Tel. 01622 858422 

mike@lenhamparishcouncil.org.uk

Planning and Implementation Committee member. Finance & General Purposes Committee member. Lenham Meadows Trust. CPRE Representative. Web-site co-ordinator. Communications.

Cllr Paul Culver (North Ward)

paul@lenhamparishcouncil.org.uk

Open space maintenance records

Cllr. Kate Hammond (South Ward)

Mob. 07925 606236 

kate@lenhamparishcouncil.org.uk

KALC & KALC Maidstone Area Representative. Hamlets, Save Our Heathlands (SOHL) Rep. Lenham Heath 30mph zone project. Lenham Community Centre trustee

 

Cllr Steve Heeley (South Ward)

Mob: 07791 694073

steve@lenhamparishcouncil.org.uk 

Hamlets, Save Our Heathlands (SOHL) Rep, Lenham Heath 30mph zone project, Highways (Lenham Heath area)

 

Cllr David Garland (North Ward)

david@lenhamparishcouncil.org.uk 

Mob: 07801371004

Finance and General Purposes Committee member, S106/CIL monies Representative, Maidstone Road car park, WC project.

Cllr Mic D Lowe (North Ward)

mic.d.lowe@lenhamparishcouncil.org.uk

Tourism, Sports and Recreation working group, Highways 

 

Cllr. Mike Lowe (North Ward)

Mob. 07841123123 

mike.lowe@lenhamparishcouncil.org.uk

Planning & Implementation Committee member. Sports and Recreation sites lead, William Pitt Field liaison

 

Cllr. Marino Michaelas (North Ward)

Tel 01622 850658 Mob. 07827 016534 

marino@lenhamparishcouncil.org.uk

CCTV, Parking, Business Link Representative. Speed watch & CCTV equipment keeper. WCs Project

Cllr. Nick Osborne (North Ward)

Tel. 01622 859069 Mob. 07900 585733 

nick@lenhamparishcouncil.org.uk

Finance & General Purposes Committee member. Planning and Implementation Committee member. Picnic site, Nursery project, Cross maintenance, Christmas Lighting. Lenham Meadows Trust.

Cllr. Andy Ratcliffe (South Ward)

andy@lenhamparishcouncil.org.uk

Finance & General Purposes Committee member. Planning and Implementation Committee Member. Hamlets, Nursery project, Parking, Representative. WCs project. Communications.

Council Officers:

Parish Clerk: Lisa Westcott

Contact details Email: clerk@lenhamparishcouncil.org.uk            Telephone: 01622 829034

Registered office: 1A High Street, Lenham, Kent ME17 2QD Open: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 10:00h - 13:00h.

Responsible Financial Officer: Mr James Bate

Contact details Email: rfo@lenhamparishcouncil.org.uk