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Parish Council update: October 2020

It has been a very busy month, no doubt many of you will have seen items on various television news channels and in the Downsmail and KM trying to raise the temperature around the proposals Maidstone Borough Council has for Lenham Heath. The Parish Council is on record in its opposition to this proposed development and will continue to use any means to advertise that opposition in parallel with Save Our Heath Lands (SOHL). The parish has also put on record its opposition to any additional sites, other than those already within the Neighbourhood Plan, coming forward for development.

The time table of the Maidstone Local Plan has been accelerated by the government’s proposition to alter the entire planning system in terms of the way that permission for all developments, and specifically housing, might be dealt with.

While we support MBC in their push back against these propositions we will be reminding them, when they consider the potential local development sites which came forward in the recent exercise, that we have a Neighbourhood Plan and we will resist any additional housing over and above the numbers we have already been required to accommodate. You can see the final version of the plan on the Lenham Neighbourhood Plan tab on this website.

A new Parish Office

The Parish Council, as part of the local government structure, is required to have a registered office from which it operates. For many years this has been a mobile affair with successive Parish Clerks accommodating this need in various ways, however there has been a long-held ambition to acquire a permanent parish office. The opportunity has presented itself in the form of 1A High Street Lenham.

At the meeting of the full Parish Council on 7 October 2020, the council resolved to purchase this property using a low interest loan from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. Such “Public Works” loans have long been the way in which bodies, such as parish councils, have funded capital acquisitions at advantageous interest rates.

So that the parish’s finances are not marginalised in any way the council’s proposals for a loan are set out in the business plan, which can be viewed here.

The council wishes to make clear that taking on this loan will not require additional financial support through the Parish Precept. The funding will come from the reduction of non-recurring costs and cost savings we have been able to make. The monthly cost will be less than renting an equivalent property with the advantage that at the end of the term, or before if funds become available, the parish will have an asset.

This is an exciting opportunity to enhance the links between the Parish Council and the parishioners. It could also mean that a proper tourist information service can be created, bringing more business into the parish. There will also be community space and once the property is secured there will be a working group set up to oversee its development.

If anyone has any views on this I would be pleased to hear them, I can be contacted on my email: john@lenhamparishcouncil.org.uk or you can contact the Parish Clerk in the usual way.

Electronic meetings

At the Parish Council meeting on 7 October 2020 the council agreed to alter its operating procedures to adopt the option of holding electronic meetings. This formal change means that the council can now use electronic meeting formats should the need arise. It is intended that all the while face to face meetings can still be held they will continue to do so. If it is felt appropriate to hold a meeting electronically the “joining instructions” to ensure we maintain public visibility will be published with that meeting’s agenda. We will still take and publish written minutes.

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. 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.

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.

 

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.

 

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 Committee member. Neighbourhood Plan Group member. Hamlets, Health & Welfare, Emergency Plan / Co-ordination, Communications, Youth Work Liaison, Cross maintenance.

Cllr. Alastair Walmsley (North ward)

Tel. 01622 859032 

alastair@lenhamparishcouncil.org.uk

Vice Chairman of the Parish Council.

Chairman of Planning Committee. Finance & General Purposes member. Neighbourhood Plan Group member. Highways & Speed Indicator. FC & Sports liaison. 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 Committee member. Finance & General Purposes member. Neighbourhood Plan Group member. Meadows Trust, CPRE Representative. Web-site co-ordinator. Communications.

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. Kate Hammond (South Ward)

Mob. 07925 606236 

kate@lenhamparishcouncil.org.uk

KALC Maidstone Area Representative. Hamlets, Save our Heathlands (SOHL) Representative.

Cllr Steve Heeley (South Ward)

Mob: 07791 694073

steve@lenhamparishcouncil.org.uk 

Hamlets, Save Our Heathlands (SOHL) Rep.

Cllr. Mike Lowe (North Ward)

Mob. 07841123123 

mike.lowe@lenhamparishcouncil.org.uk

Play facilities risk assessment & maintenance / installation of new play equipment.

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 member. Neighbourhood Plan Group member. Picnic site, Nursery project, Cross maintenance, Christmas Lighting. Lenham Meadows Trust.

Cllr. Andy Ratcliffe (South Ward)

andy@lenhamparishcouncil.org.uk

Planning Committee member. Neighbourhood Plan Group member. Hamlets, Nursery project, Parking, Representative. WCs project. Communications.

Cllr. Paul Scrivens (North Ward)

Tel. 01622 853546 Mob. 07841 611201

Highways, Speed Indicator Device & Parking Representative. Maidstone Road Car Park Representative. Lock Up key holder.

Council Officers:

Parish Clerk: Mrs Margo McFarlane 

Contact details Email: hello@lenhamparish.org.uk              Telephone 01622 859682

Responsible Financial Officer: Mr James Bate

Contact details Email: rfo@lenhamparishcouncil.org.uk