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July 2024

Freedom of the parish to the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME)

What a wonderful celebration the awarding of the Freedom of the Parish to the REME at the end of June proved to be!

Through that event, the publicity leading up to it and social media afterwards many of you will have learned for the first time of the sad fate of the 52 soldiers killed by a “doodle-bug” around 07:00 on 24 June 1944 and who re buried in Lenham cemetery.

We must offer our sincere thanks to the Commanding Officer at the REME for all the support and to Cllr Andy Ratcliff for his tireless organisation along with his band of hard-working volunteers for supporting the event! Thanks too to the Band of the Coldstream Guards for bringing a huge amount of sound and colour to the proceedings. Lenham community at its very best – even the sun shone!

Once we have collated all the pictures taken from the event the intention is to publish the best of those - more news on that soon!

SOHL Public meeting

Many of you will have attended the public meeting which was organised by Save Our Heath Lands (SOHL) at the community centre on 27 June.

The main purpose was to update everyone on the situation regarding the challenge to the adoption of the Local Plan which SOHL has mounted at the High Court. SOHL now intends applying for an in-person appeal to a judge to convince them to accept the outline of the challenge.

We wait to see the outcome of that with particular interest and continue to support SOHL in its action to shine a light on the adoption of the plan, which includes the proposal for the creation of Heathlands.

In the meanwhile, the new administration at Maidstone Borough Council has announced its plans for the next four years. These include proposals to review the local plan. The parish council has offered to be actively involved in that process.

It is hoped that this time around, in terms of meeting the borough’s housing requirement, the borough council will seek to work with the parishes not against them, as the previous administration frequently did. 

Speedwatch

The parish council frequently receives complaints about speeding through the village. While we can do very little about those people who deliberately choose to drive badly and without consideration for others, we are keen to restart the local Speedwatch scheme to have a visible presence in and around the village.

To achieve that we need volunteers to come forward to be trained in how to do this safely.

Training is available through Kent Police and is free.

The training is initially online and once completed you will be invited to join the local Speedwatch volunteers and take part in sessions.

It is likely that volunteers would be asked to devote a few hours a month, around the village at various locations (each of these would be sense and safety checked by the Police). The purpose of the scheme is to remind drivers that there are speed limits and people are making sure these are being adhered to.

If you are able to volunteer a few hours a month please contact the Parish Clerk, Lisa, either by calling in to the Parish Office or via email: clerk@lenhamparishcouncil.org.uk

Building works, Old Ham Lane road closure – May to July

The company working on behalf of Countryside Homes, the building company developing the 136 new homes off Old Ham Lane (strategic site 5 in the Lenham Neighbourhood Plan), will begin work during the last week of March.

This means Old Ham Lane will be closed to all traffic at the junction with Ham Lane, from 25 March until around 22 July to allow the road to be widened and services laid.

Access to William Pit Field will be maintained during this time and access to the properties at the top end of Old Ham Lane will be via the junction with Sandway Road.

It may be possible to allow access through Old Ham Lane during this period if the works reach a point where the road surface can be reinstated. This will entirely depend on progress and cannot be guaranteed.

Once the works are complete there will be a revised and wider access to the development site west of Old Ham Lane and a new, temporary junction to this road just north of the railway bridge.

New Deputy Parish Clerk

We're pleased to welcome Sarah Newell to the parish office.

Sarah has joined to provide additional resource to our growing parish functions and is already getting stuck in to her new role - we wish her well!

… and finally

There will be no parish council meeting in August, although the planning and finance committees will go ahead, as usual, to ensure the business of the parish moves forward uninterrupted. The Parish Office will also be closed on some additional days due to annual leave.

 

Cllr John Britt

Chair, Lenham Parish Council - (Lenham South ward)

 

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.

 

‚ÄčCouncil 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