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Parish Council update: May 2022

Annual Parish Assembly

I would like to thank all those who participated in and attended the recent Annual Parish Assembly (28 April) at the Lenham Community Centre. We tried out a different format this year which proved very successful so we will be developing further ideas in the same way next year.

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.

The next stage in this consultation will be that the LGBCE will consider all responses and there will be a second consultation later in the year which will set out the suggestion of the changes that the LGBCE think would be appropriate. We will await that next step. 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.

MBC Local Plan Review

An Independent Planning Inspector, Mr David Spence, has now been appointed to start the formal, public assessment of MBC’s review of the Maidstone Local Plan, which includes the creation of a so-called Garden Community at Lenham Heath. The parish council has begun the process of detailed briefings with a legal team to make sure that our well-publicised views on this are presented in a robust and technically sound way at the formal public inspection.

There is no timetable for this public inspection yet. The responsibility for setting the timetable sits with the Independent Inspector, not MBC. If this follows the pattern set elsewhere it is possible that some work may start in late July ("housekeeping") with the main examination starting in September. If the Independent Inspector requires more information from MBC then the timetable may well shift to later in the year. 

We cannot guarantee that we will succeed in our representation, the stakes are very high: however, if this or any part of the MBC proposal is found “unsound” then the borough council could well be forced to go back to the beginning and start the process again. Clearly this will be very awkward and politically embarrassing for the borough council if this were to be the outcome.

Getting this proposal overturned is not beyond the realms of possibility: in the last six months equally over-ambitious plans for housing, including some so-called "Garden Communities", that have been submitted for independent planning inspection by Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge and Malling and Sevenoaks councils have been rejected at the public examination stage because they didn't stack up. We will be doing our utmost to ensure that a similar upset happens here as well.

Preparations for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee - June 2-5

In the meanwhile, we can all look forward to the Jubilee Celebrations from 2-5 June, which will be made all the richer by the refresh of the village planters with colourful summer plants. 

We are really grateful to all the volunteers who give so generously of their time to keep our village looking so good.

The Jubilee programme will be on this website, in the Lenham Focus and Downs Mail – have a great month!

 

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