Accept and Continue

Cookies on this site

This site uses cookies. For more information, please see our privacy policy.
Skip to main content

Home

Parish Council update: August 2022

Lenham Cross

A lot of work repairing and resurfacing the Lenham Cross has taken place, ready for the event to mark it’s centenary on 6 September.

The parish council would like to thank the band of volunteers who gave their time and effort to bring the Cross back to a state in which we would all wish to see it. It was very hard work, some of it during the heatwave, so heartfelt thanks to all involved.

This moment of rededication will be marked by a small service, at the foot of the Cross attended by the Deputy Lord Lieutenant Sir George Jessel and the Mayor of Maidstone Cllr Derek Mortimer. Invitations are being sent to a number of individuals, local bodies and organisations during August. There will be a separate article in the Focus setting out the details.

In addition to the work to repair the Cross, new steps to the small memorial garden have now been installed as have new gates which, along with other planting and fencing, will help secure the Cross from motorised vehicles. A new interpretation board designed with the help of the Lenham Historical Society has also been created and will be fixed near the Cross so that passers by can better understand its history. All this has been paid for through funds generated by new housing developments.

Sadly, an unrelated fire broke out soon after the work was completed. While the work which had been undertaken at the Cross was not spoiled there was damage to the adjacent field, although the crop on that field had already been harvested.

The Review of the Maidstone Local Plan

We now have a date when the review of Maidstone’s Local Plan will begin: Tuesday 6 September. This information was in an initial letter written by the Independent Inspector, Mr David Spence, to MBC, you can see this here.

The sessions, which run from Tuesday to Friday each week starting at 10:00 each day, will be held in the Town Hall, High Street, Maidstone. The Parish Council plans to be represented at all of the sessions during this Stage One phase of the review of the Local Plan, which focusses on the legal aspects of the proposed plan.

All sessions will be live streamed, full details can be found here: https://localplan.maidstone.gov.uk/home/local-plan-review-examination

The first part, known as Stage One, will be concerned with legal arguments about “soundness” of the plan. This is scheduled to take at least two weeks. 

Through representations made by its legal team the parish council has raised issues of fairness with the independent inspector, similar issues were also raised by the Council for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE), those representations and the independent inspector's responses can be seen here.

In response to our legal representations, Mr Spence, the independent inspector, has indicated that he may seek to create an additional stage, stage 1B, if issues of fairness arise. These issues revolve around the additional policies MBC has been required to create and whether these will be available to everyone in good time.

If the proposed plan navigates examination of the legal requirements, Stage Two is expected to happen later in the year, the Independent Inspector has indicated that he is unlikely to come to a conclusion before the end of the year.

Meeting with Maidstone Borough Council / Homes England

In March this year the parish council received a request to meet with Maidstone Borough Council and its development partner Homes England; the parish council eventually met with representatives from both organisations in July. The details of this meeting are reported in full in the minutes of the July meeting of Lenham Parish Council.

Essentially, the parish council was keen to understand why both parties wanted to meet at this point, just before the independent inspection of the reviewed Maidstone Local Plan and when no offers to meet had been received over the previous two years. We were also keen to understand what benefit the parish council would gain from such a meeting.

After a brief and inconclusive discussion and at the end of the short meeting both questions remained unanswered.

Planning matters and current building activity

The parish council has recently received several “complaints / comments” about issues linked to some of the building work that is happening.

While the parish council is a statutory consultee during the application process for any building, whether this is by individual householders or development companies, once the proposal is approved by the Planning Authority at Maidstone the responsibility for ensuring the works take place as set out in the approved development plan rest with Maidstone Borough Council.

This role is handled by the Planning Enforcement Team, they can be emailed  on: PlanningEnforcement@maidstone.gov.uk or by ‘phone on­ 01622 602809. Any observations or queries relating to developments should be directed to this team as the parish council is not is a position to "enforce" anything once the approved plan is underway.

We do keep all of the activity on active sites under review and make representations ourselves if we feel that something is not proceeding according to the agreed plan.

Hopefully this clears up some of the potential confusion over the parish council’s role in these matters.

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.

LGBCE has now considered all responses and it seems clear that the LGBCE has listened to our representations as their response does not suggest splitting Lenham ward into two. A second consultation setting out the suggestion of the changes that the LGBCE think would be appropriate is now under way, you can see this here

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 here. There is also a map showing the parish's proposals which can be seen here

Parish Council Vacancies

For various and different reasons, three parish councillors stepped down in July.

I’d like to thank Mike and Mic Lowe for their sterling efforts bringing together the magnificent jubilee celebrations and looking after the play areas around the village. I’d also like to thank David Garland for his work in the background ensuring we keep track of the funding we are due from the various sources generated by the development that is happening around the village and his well-received efforts refreshing all the planters and working with the volunteers to ensure the village continues to look at its best. All three will be missed.

The nature of parish councils, as with all volunteer-led structures, is that we go through periods of stability and flex, so this will be an opportunity for people with fresh ideas to join the parish council and help support our communities.

The three vacancies in North Ward (that is north of the railway) will be advertised during August and volunteers will be co-opted until the next election. If you would like to know more about what the parish council does and how you might become involved, please contact the Parish Clerk.

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. 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