Welcome to our latest Parish news.

Tiny Talk Baby Signing

22

September 2020

We are excited to annouce we have a new class starting here at Beechen Hall this coming Monday morning 28th September.

Tiny Talk Bay Signing will be joining us for a regular class. The lovely Anna Drywood-Senior can be contacted on 07870 270921 or via email on annad@tinytalk.co.uk to make your booking. We look forward to welcoming Anna and all who attend.

Covid-19 Measures for Beechen Hall

15

September 2020

As the hall is now open for regular classes we would like to remind you that our hall has strict Covid-19 measures in place. To ensure that we keep everyone as safe as possible, could we please ask you to help by adhering to our rules and regulations set out below.

You must not enter if you or anyone in your household has COVID-19 symptoms.

If you develop COVID-19 symptoms within 7 days of visiting these premises alert Test, Track and Trace. Alert the hall cleaner whose number is displayed in the entrance lobby and alert the organiser of the activity you attended.

Maintain 2 metres social distancing as far as possible. Wait behind the marked lines as you go through the entrance hall to your activity and observe the one-way system marked.

Ensure you are wearing your face covering when entering and exiting the building.

Use the hand sanitiser provided on entering the premises. Clean your hands often. Soap and paper towels are provided.

Avoid touching your face, nose and eyes. Clean your hands if you do.

“Catch it, Bin it, Kill it”. Tissues should be disposed of into one of the rubbish bins provided. Then wash your hands.

Check the organisers of your activity have cleaned the door handles, tables, other equipment, sinks and surfaces before you have arrived. Keep them clean. We can not clean in between each hire.

Take turns to use the confined spaces such as corridors, kitchen and toilet area. Standing or sitting next to someone is lower risk than opposite them. Briefly passing another person in a confined space is low risk.

• Keep the hall well ventilated. Close the doors and windows on leaving.

This hall is cleaned regularly.

We look forward to welcoming you all.

Beechen Hall Bookings

14

September 2020

Under the updated Government guidelines we are pleased to announce that Beechen Hall is now able to hold Wakes and Wedding parties for up to a maximum of 30 people. Please do get in touch by emailing assistant-clerk@boxleyparishcouncil.org.uk or calling the Parish Office directly on 01634 861237 to check availability.

Update regarding Garden Waste Collections

08

September 2020


As you are aware Maidstone and Mid Kent operate a subscription based garden waste service. Over the past 6 months, the subscription rate for the service has increased by nearly 2,000 properties in Maidstone, with a total of 6,000 additional subscriptions across the whole of Mid Kent. This is largely due to the closure of the Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) and then the subsequent restrictions and booking system introduced when they reopened.

The rapid increase in the service has resulted in difficulties completing the work within the crew’s legal working hours, despite additional staff and vehicles being deployed. The primary issue is that the additional subscribers are spread across the three Boroughs and therefore the provision of one or two additional vehicles is not sufficient to cover the mileage between properties.

Therefore Biffa are about to implement a re-routing exercise to improve the efficiency of the rounds and enable the services to not only complete the current workload but have more resilience to further growth in the service.

This means that a number of properties will experience changes to DAY and / or collection WEEK for their GARDEN WASTE service. This will NOT affect the refuse, recycling or food waste collections. There are already many properties in the Borough that have a different garden collection day to their refuse and recycling, however this number will grow to enable the subscribed service to operate efficiently.

Some properties will experience a change in week of collection which may result in slightly longer wait between collections during the transitional fortnight. However Biffa will be carrying out additional collections during that fortnight to ensure no one is disadvantaged. Residents affected by this, will be notified of their new collection day and the additional interim collection day on a leaflet accompanying the attached letter. The ‘look-up’ function on the website will be updated next week to ensure that it remains accurate to provide residents’ their next collection date.

The changes are being implemented from Monday 21 September 2020 and the letter and leaflet is due to be sent out this week.

If you have any queries please can you direct them to waste@maidstone.gov.uk so the team can respond.


Beechen Hall Re-opening for Regular Classes

07

September 2020


Dear Residents

Great news!

We are happy to report that Beechen Hall will be re-opening our doors to the public initially just for our Regular Classes only from today.

There are new Covid-19 measures in place, numbers to these classes will be reduced in line with Government guidelines. Our hirers have been briefed and are fully informed of these guidelines and requirements and can update you prior to your arrival. Please ensure contact your class organiser prior to attending.

We are sadly not able to take any bookings for parties at this current time, however we will be reviewing this in October 2020 based on the current government guidelines.

We very much look forward to welcoming you all back.

New Weight Watchers Class at Beechen Hall

04

September 2020

The Parish Council have some exciting news!

Weight Watchers are joining us here at Beechen Hall.

Join Pauline Silk at Walderslade Weight Watchers workshop between 6-7pm every Wednesday evening.

There are full Covid-19 safety guidelines in place and we will run as an express workshop for the time being.

This means that you will need to follow the guidelines such as keeping your shoes on, wearing a face mask and sanitising your hands on arrival.

We have some lovely Weight Watchers goodies to buy, please you can pay by card only as we are cashless.

Please ensure you have your valid workshop/digital pass either as a photo or via your ww app.

If you need to rejoin, it will save time (and there are some great offers) via our website - sign up to workshop & digital.

If you would like further details please contact Pauline Silk via email: psilk@ww.com

Covid-19 - Difficult Times

Boxley Parish Council

24

March 2020

Dear Residents 

This is an alert for those deemed vulnerable in our community. Join a local Facebook group if you are able, you will then be able to post a message and if you need help with anything people will respond. 

Alternatively you can put a green piece of paper in your window if you are fine and do not need help and a red piece of paper if you need assistance with anything. Someone will then put a note through your letterbox with their phone number to call and then help you with anything you need. 

These are difficult times and it’s important to help each other where we are able to do so. 

Regards
Daniela Baylis
Clerk

Covid-19 - Beechen Hall Closure

Beechen Hall

23

March 2020

Following the Government Directive on Friday afternoon Beechen Hall is now closed until further notice. Bookings up until and including the 19th April 2020 are being cancelled or rearranged for later in the year. Bookings from 20th April might be able to go ahead and are currently on hold. All cancelled bookings will get a full refund with no costs incurred.

The telephone and emails are still being answered if anyone needs any further information.

Stay safe and take care. 

Regards
Daniela Baylis
Parish Clerk

Covid-19

Boxley Parish Council

18

March 2020

Regular Hirers

If you need to cancel your regular bookings on Government advice then your slot will be kept open and you will not incur any charges.

If the Government declares the closure of all public buildings, then all bookings will be cancelled until such time as we can reopen. In this instance your booked slot will remain reserved and you will not incur any charges.

Casual Hirers

Your booking can still go ahead if you would like it to. If we receive a Government directive advising to close all public buildings, then we will need to cancel your booking and all money will be refunded with no administration charges incurred.

If you would like to cancel or postpone your event then please let us know as soon as possible. Due to the extraordinary circumstances in this instance you will receive a full refund with no administration charges.

Christmas Opening Hours

Boxley Parish Council

10

December 2019

Our offices will be closing at midday on Tuesday 24th December and re-opening on Thursday 2nd January 2020.

The Parish Council would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Website issues

Boxley Parish Council

11

July 2019

The parish council is currently experiencing difficulties with its website and apologies for any inconvenience caused.

Currently it is not possible to display the Audit information and Annual Return and attempts are being made to reinstate the relevant document folders. Please bear with us.

Residents wishing to have a personal copy supplied to them please contact the parish office.

Planning decisions Popes Field

Boxley Parish Council

26

April 2019

From Bob Hinder Chairman Boxley Parish Council

Dear residents and councillors,

Last night’s decision by the Maidstone Planning Committee was utterly devastating for all involved and the community, it leaves a bitter taste in everyone’s mouths.

It surprized nearly all of us that the Legal Officer’s recommendation, to drop the two planning applications from the agenda, was rejected by the committee so I must thank the many residents who had turned up on the off chance that the applications would be heard. As it had looked like the two applications would be dropped from the agenda many residents who may have attended choose not to do so and the decision to permit both applications will be a great shock and upset to many, many people. The meeting was recorded and is available on the MBC website but as it was an emotionally charged meeting I have asked the Clerk to produce a factual summary of what happened, see below. This information is not going to lessen the anger and frustration many residents, Parish and Borough Councillors will be feeling, infact it may increase it, but I hope it helps residents to understand how this sorry state of affairs played out.

Clerk’s notes concerning Maidstone Borough Council Meeting 25 April 2019

Planning Applications 18/506656 and 18/506609

Borough Councillor Clive English, Chairman of the Planning Committee (PC) opened the discussion with an explanation of why he was thought that the Legal Officer’s recommendation should not be followed. He spoke of the independence, from politics, of the PC and the need that its members took a decision on the two items at that meeting rather than defer them. He put forward a proposal that the committee should consider the planning applications.

Prior to taking a vote he allowed a committee member to make a comment. The member stated that it was a shame that the Legal Officer’s recommendation had been put forward as he felt it had stopped many residents who may have planned to come to the meeting from attending.

The members voted to proceed with the two planning applications.

18/506656 Application for the two schools.

The Planning Officer gave a summary of the planning application.

The Chairman called for the speakers:

Mr Richard Coward Resident

Mrs Pauline Bowdery Parish Clerk on behalf of Boxley Parish Council

Cllr Fabienne Hughes Bearsted Parish Councillor

A speaker on behalf of the applicant.

Borough (and Parish) Councillor Bob Hinder

Borough (and Parish) Councillor Wendy Hinder

Cllr Mike Cuming Borough Councillor also speaking on behalf of Cllr Val Springett and Cllr Nick De-Wiggondene

Members of the Committee then debated the planning application it was not an easy debate with much frustration coming from members some of whom felt that their independence as a Local Planning Authority was being squashed/undermined by Government regulations. The following issues were raised:

  • MBC had previously lost two similar applications at Appeal because the Government guidance that schools had to be built meant the Planning Inspector always decided for the schools.
  • Decisions at Appeal nearly always meant that conditions negotiated or imposed by the LPA were not supported by the Planning Inspector and so the development went ahead with fewer mitigation measures. Clerk’s note: the two applications mentioned did not include the STEM school application. A statement was made that typically Planning Inspectors remove Planning Conditions, the experience of the Parish Council is that this sadly is a correct statement of fact.
  • Whether the decision to change the boundary of the education areas, made by KCC recently, was actually done for the right reason. Whether the North Education Area was actually a ‘fair’ area and were the boundaries actually correct.
  • Whether the KCC Education Department should be challenged on its statements concerning school needs etc. Whether this application could be deferred to allow this challenge. Clerk’s note: The Chairman notified the member that as KCC was the Education Authority if the application went to Appeal then the Inspector would question by MBC thought it knew better

Then the KCC Education Department which was the professional body. Unless MBC could come up with clear evidence of misinformation then the Planning Inspector would not consider this as evidence.

  • Whether it was right for members of the Planning Committee to state/think that they had no choice but to allow the application because they would lose at Appeal.
  • Whether the risk of losing mitigating conditions was worth the gamble, one many members felt they would lose, on an Appeal decision.
  • The lack of KCC engagement at the Local Plan stage that meant that MBC was not asked to identify possible school sites.
  • The need for school places.
  • Better landscaping was needed.
  • Whether condition 19 (Highway changes at and to the East of Gidds Pond Cottages) was needed as pupils would not be walked from Bearsted along Bearsted Road but would use the footpaths in the estates. Clerk’s note: there was some suggestion that this be removed but the KCC Highway Officer said it could not be or KCC would have to object to the planning application. This removal did not seem to be part of the final vote.
  • The car park being insufficient and unable to cope with the traffic. Clerk’s note. The Planning Officer notified the committee that the applicant had offered, at the loss of some landscaping, an extra 6 spaces.Strong statements were made by members, along the lines of this parking is inadequate and isn’t going to work.
  • Involving Ward Borough Councillors and Parish Councils in the discussions relating to the draft travel plan (Condition 18).

Officers were consulted at various stages during the debate.

Many members voiced that they were unhappy with the situation and felt that they had no choice

The vote was 7 for and 5 against, so the application was permitted.

……………………..

18/506609 Change of Use planning application.

The Planning Officer gave a summary of the planning application.

The Chairman called for the speakers:

Mr Keith Clark Resident

Cllr James Willmott Boxley Parish Councillor

Cllr Fabienne Hughes Bearsted Parish Councillor

Borough (and Parish) Councillor Bob Hinder also speaking on behalf of Cllr Wendy Hinder

Cllr Mike Cuming Borough Councillor also speaking on behalf of Cllr Val Springett and Cllr Nick De-Wiggondene

The Chairman tried to explain that failure to approve the planning application, as the schools had been permitted, could result in a loss at Appeal and no replacement site being identified. Clerk’s note: I’m not sure many of those sitting in the public section may have picked this up.It was a very emotion introduction as the Chairman was extremely frustrated/angry that the situation had got to this and was insisting that this should never happen again.

Members of the Committee then debated the planning application and many expressed their frustration/anger that:

  • The original condition supplying the LNR had been insufficient to ensure a) it was built and b) ownership remained with the landowner.
  • Further conditions should be tighter requiring such sites to be developed as soon as other development work started.
  • The Local Plan was being ignored.
  • The site being offered was smaller and not compatible.
  • It wasn’t a gain but a net loss of biodiversity.
  • Unless it came into public ownership the substituted NR land could be put forward for development in the future.
  • The new site was tiny and had fragile habitats that would suffer from public use, dogs etc. and unsympathetic management. The suggested management plan, with mown areas and the site being open to the public, was totally unacceptable. Clerk’s note: the current site would not have been open to the public.

Clerk’s note: The Planning Officer was challenged about a statement that was made that the term Local Nature Reserve in the Local Plan didn’t actually mean LNR and that MBC couldn’t designate LNR.

Criticism of previous decisions made by MBC were strongly voiced and the issue is to be reported to an MBC committee for investigation.

Permitted subject to negotiations to get the land into MBC ownership so it can never be developed. Clerk’s note; might have been 8 for, 1 against and 2 abstentions.

Clerk’s note: MBC’s decisions are now quasi legal, they will go ahead. There is no right of Appeal by objectors, the only course of action is a request to the Secretary of State that the decisions are called in but as the Secretary of State is the body demanding new schools be supported and built and as the schools application is supported by the Department of Education, KCC Education, KCC Highways, the local MP and the Local Planning Authority (MBC) then it is certain not to be successful. The Secretary of State rarely intervenes.

Village Green Stautus Petition

Boxley Parish Council

17

April 2019

The resident who started the petition to get MBC to place Weavering Heath into voluntary village green status has asked that residents be reminded of the e-petition existence.

So far there are 134 signatures but he understands that some people are finding it a bit difficult to engage with the MBC site but asks that you be patient and if you can’t get on using a tablet or smart phone would you consider using your computer if you have one.

ePetition - Village Green status for Weavering Heath