Christmas Lights / Winter planters
First, huge thanks go to the Christmas lights teams, both old and new, for a fabulous show!
We were pleased to be able to support a group of volunteers to pick up the creating of the Christmas lights in the village at fairly short notice. We were very grateful to the Lenham Focus for their help with this – team-work is the dream-work I am told!
The parish council would also like to thank the volunteers who have been out in this chilly weather to refresh the planters around the village with winter flowers.
Well done to everyone involved.
Changes to the service at Lenham Post Office
Along with everyone else, we learned about the changes to the sorting arrangements at Lenham Post Office via the Focus. Clearly this is an unsettling situation and we will raise it at the November meeting of our full council, along with our Borough Councillors, Tom and Janetta Sams. Some early enquiries with other parishes in the Maidstone area revealed that Lenham was one of the last to retain the sorting facility. Headcorn had that facility removed a couple of years ago and it has never been available in Harrietsham. Nevertheless, we will be writing to Royal Mail to express our concern and I raised it with my meeting with our MP, Helen Whately, when we met in November to discuss areas of concern.
My real concern would be for the viability of our Post Office and I would encourage everyone to write to Royal Mail expressing their individual concerns. It seems the only address available is: Royal Mail Bircholt Road, Parkwood Industrial Estate, Maidstone, ME15 9EE.
Pavement improvements to the High Street
The parish council has reached an agreement with KCC, as the Highways Authority, and MBC to make a small change to the pavement at the top end of the High Street.
The improvements will see the pavement extended where it presently disappears between the Chinese and the Hairdressers and will mean that people walking at that end of the High Street will no longer have to squeeze between parked cars. There is also a new disabled parking bay.
The improvements are being funded from S106 money, generated by the building of new homes in the parish, as well as a generous contribution from the Almshouses.
Maidstone Local Plan Review
Contrary to some "rumours" that are circulating, the proposal at Heathlands is not "a done deal", in fact the review of the local plan is still very much in the “waiting” phase: the independent Inspector, Mr Spencer, has accepted some additional information on water treatment, submitted by an organisation called Fish Legal, which may raise significant issues which are yet to be resolved - if at all.
Maidstone Borough Council finally published a consultation on the Major Modifications to the proposed Local Plan at 17:00h on 29 September 2023, these are the things which were noted during the process of Stages one and two of the review, . This is so that the Inspector can see what sort of reaction there is to these initial changes before he makes his final assessment.
These modifications are lengthy and technical, and the detail is hidden in the hundreds of pages, so we have been busy reviewing them all to see exactly what is now being proposed.
The response which was submitted by the parish council can be seen here..
The parish council remains firmly opposed to the potential for a new town at Lenham Heath and we will also continue to work with Save Our Heath Lands (SOHL) and others to scrutinise all the documentation related to this proposal and take action to defend the village against this proposal for what amounts to a new town.
SOHL and the parish council would like to thank those who have already supported this effort, without that help the fight against a new town would not be possible.
If you feel you could support SOHL’s efforts, please get in touch with SOHL via the Go Fund Me page: https://www.gofundme.com/f/save-our-heath-lands
Throughout this process the parish council has taken, and continues to take, legal and professional advice so this is very much a situation of “The fight goes on!”
Final section of Maidstone Road / Ham Lane foot path
The work to address the final section of the Maidstone Road / Ham Lane footpath has been agreed, we are waiting for a date when the contractor can undertake the work. This has been a complex repair and while the final section is being completed the surface on the middle section will also be addressed.
We would like to thank everyone for their patience. Organising public works like this has to follow a process and sometimes that can delay things happening as fast as we would wish.
Would you be able to give our community some time?
Much of what we do relies on people volunteering their time and skills. The parish councillors are all volunteers who give up what time they have to keep things going, but there are lots of little ways that you could help which would not involve that level of commitment.
If you would like to find out more please contact Lisa Westcott, the Parish Clerk.
Cllr John Britt (Lenham South)
Chair: Lenham Parish Council
Published agendas will be available here
What does Lenham Parish Council do?
Parish Councils are the tier of local government closest to the people. Although the parish council covers the Parish of Lenham it is 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 open to the 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 subcommittee 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 subcommittee 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; maintaining and upgrading 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 subcommittee 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 subcommittee 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 subcommittee are referred to the next full meeting of the parish council for ratification. The subcommittee 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.
Parish Clerk: Lisa Westcott
Contact details Email: email@example.com 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: firstname.lastname@example.org