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BMRA Newsletter - February 2017
Two falls of snow so far and a cold spell. Kent Highways grit the main roads but not our local roads, so take care on icy days. There are salt bins at 4 places on the Mount; salt has to be paid for by the Parish Council (which means you) as the roads are not owned by Sevenoaks, so use it carefully as required. This salt is intended for the communal roads, not your back garden path!
SEVENOAKS DISTRICT COUNCIL LONG TERM HOUSING PLAN
Sevenoaks District Council (SDC) has begun to develop their plan for housing needs until 2035. There are a number of stages to this, and the plan will not be finalised until 2019. Work to date:
Call for sites: Land owners offer sites they think may be suitable for development, but this does not necessarily mean that it will be accepted and built on. Over 250 sites were initially put forward, including four in Badgers Mount: opposite Parish Field in Badgers Road; F M Conways Depot; the Calcutta Club site and Polhill Business Centre south of this. The Call for Sites is still open, and so far more than 50 additional sites have been added. The only one of these in Badgers Mount Parish is the ‘Meers’ site to the North of the Calcutta Club alongside the A224.
Housing needs survey: The initial report has suggested that significantly more houses will be required than are in the original plan. This could mean that a larger number of the submitted sites will be required and/or that housing density will be at the top end of the preferred value.
Green Belt review: Over 90% of land around Sevenoaks falls within the Green Belt. Because the available Brownfield land (sites that have been developed previously) may not be enough to satisfy the housing requirements, SDC commissioned a review of the local Green Belt by consultants Arup. The aim of the Review was to identify possible areas throughout the district which were largely irrelevant to the Green Belt aims of providing clear green space to separate communities and to provide accessible, good quality open countryside. The report suggested that 31 areas throughout the SDC district are performing weakly and could be removed from the Green Belt. This “long list” will be reduced to a “short list” before being included in the Plan when it goes to public consultation in the summer. In Badgers Mount, the area of Green Belt north of F M Conway Ltd woodland as far as Badgers Road is included in the list.
Arup report 186 pages - the pages which particularly affect us are 100 (Fort Halstead) 101 & 102, 135 (FH) & 136, 151 & 158 - 160. Some of the other general sections also make interesting reading.
The Chief Planning Officer’s report to the recent Planning Advisory Committee meeting said “Before considering any Green Belt options … brownfield land will always be more preferable for development than utilising Greenfield land, which is all Green Belt land within this District”. F M Conway Ltd site and the sites near the top of Polhill are listed as brownfield land. SDC has recently asked Parish Councils if there are any other brownfield sites within their area which can be added to the list.
Planning Officer’s Report – 14 page summary of Arup Report:
Our Parish Council will be monitoring this and may have discussions with SDC in order to minimise any local problems.
Following a series of articles in previous Newsletters seeking volunteers to come forward in order to resurrect the NHW scheme, we regret to have to report that the response has been disappointing with only 4 residents actually putting themselves forward. At the May 2016 AGM appetite for the scheme seemed in evidence but in the absence of sufficient volunteers putting themselves forward, this idea is now destined to be shelved.
As explained in previous issues the scheme is one of communication within the community and dealing with community specific issues.
- keep an eye out for your neighbours especially the more vulnerable and frail.
- report (anonymously if you wish ) any unusual or suspicious activities (eg fly tipping etc)
- monitoring the E- WATCH Newsletter (see below) for crime e.g. burglaries and spreading the word to your local contacts about potential local threats.
- encouraging all residence to adopt good neighbourly practice and communication.
Kent Neighbourhood Watch Association publish a weekly list of offences and warnings on e-mail. This covers all of Kent over a number of pages and the parts relevant to Badgers Mount are usually small.
You can register at: http://e-watch.co//register.php
- What it definitely does NOT encourage is confrontation with any individuals or groups of individuals - just report what you see.
- The Chairman is in close contact with the Police and will have regular meetings with the local PCSO
- It does not involve the collection of any monies or subscriptions.
- It does however require attendance at a couple of evening meetings per year.
The point of this article is a last gasp attempt to secure a sufficient number of volunteers in order to relaunch the scheme. We could really do with another 10 volunteers as we would prefer to have only around 15 dwellings per volunteer, otherwise we lose the personal touch.
So please have a rethink and give it a go.
Fly-tipping continues to be a particular nuisance in our local area. If you see any dumping taking place, call the police and attempt to gather some identification such as vehicle type, colour, age, number-plate, identifying signs, etc. However, DO NOT put yourself in any risk – some of the dumpers have resorted to violence in order to avoid prosecution.
If you find new fly-tipping, that has already taken place, please let Sevenoaks Council know on 01732 227000; this is their general switchboard and they will pass you on to the relevant person. They will want to know the location of the tipping and whether it is a current hazard to traffic – some recent tips have included concrete fence-posts which could have caused serious damage if hit by a vehicle at speed. If it is a road hazard, they will pass the location to Kent Highways department who will arrange for it to be cleared as a matter of urgency. The same process also applies to other road obstructions – some of the recent high winds have blown down trees and blocked some of the minor roads.
The Parish Council has agreed to fund the provision of a defibrillator in the coming Financial Year. It will probably be situated in the Memorial Hall.
KCC COUNCILLOR ROGER GOUGH
The Boundary Commission has changed the areas covered by County Councillors in Kent to make the number of electors served by each Councillor more equal, and reduce the total number of councillors on KCC. This has resulted in Badgers Mount being moved from the Darenth Valley area to Sevenoaks West. Roger Gough is aiming to retain Darenth Valley at the elections on 4th May so we will no longer be part of his constituency. Roger has been very supportive of Badgers Mount, particularly with our campaign against the proposals for the Minerals & Waste Plan and the road safety review. There are still some items from the road safety review outstanding which Roger has said he will pass on to our new County Councillor for ongoing action. We thank Roger for his support and help in the past and wish him well for the future.
F M CONWAYS
The past year has been a very quiet one regarding complaints and we have not had any need to meet with them.
We recently had a case where someone – not necessarily from Badgers Mount – dumped some rubbish including an old lawn chair onto Conway’s land opposite the Memorial Hall. We do not appreciate anyone Dumping Rubbish in this way as it becomes rather embarrassing when asking for F M Conways consideration if individuals abuse the neighbouring woodland.
BADGERS MOUNT PARISH COUNCIL
Councillor Noel Wills has resigned from the Parish Council; they are now looking for someone to fill this ‘Casual Vacancy’. See the Parish Council Newsletter and/or contact any member of the Parish Council or the Parish Clerk. Badgers Mount Parish Council meets on the first Thursday of each month in the Memorial Hall from 7:30 pm. for the full Council meeting, and also a planning committee meeting if there are any applications to consider. There may also be a second planning committee meeting on the third Thursday if there are planning applications which need to be commented on before the next full meeting date. Everyone is welcome to attend the meetings, and there is always a time set aside for questions from members of the public, either at a set time during the meeting or, more usually, at the end, when you can ask questions or comment on appropriate matters. Do please go along and take an interest in the work the Parish Council is doing.
Badgers Mount Parish Council has set up a sub-committee to begin work. More information will be given in future Newsletters.
Rambles: The Neighbourhood Rambles have been suspended over the Winter because of the weather, but will resume soon. For more information, please contact Will at email@example.com.
Wine Tasting: So did we know Lidl from Laithwaites.
26 people attended the wine tasting evening in November. With 12 different wines to sample; 3 sparkling, 3 rose, 3 white and 3 red, in each category there was a £5 bottle and £10 bottle and a £15 bottle, however due to some half price bargains most of the £15 bottles would have actually have cost £30. The evening started well with 3 examples of sparkling wines / champagne. Lidl got off to a good start and the £5 bottle of fizz beat the £30 bottle of champagne. The white wines split the crowd, however it was interesting that no one spotted that they were all from the same grape. Next to the rose -again a split decision;, and then finally the red, a unanimous vote for the £5 Lidl with the £30 bottle coming last.
There was a platter of bread and cheeses to go with the wines and some interesting facts and quizzes to entertain the wine tasters between each sampling.
This was a excellent evening allowing the community of Badgers Mount to come together for something different. I am sure we will want to repeat the event next year.
Christmas Carols: We had a jolly evening with keyboard accompaniment. Come again in 2017!
New Year’s Eve: Sadly due to lack of interest there was no New Year's Eve party. It is important that we do make opportunities to get to know our neighbours and if you have ideas for future events that you would like me to run please get in touch
Easter-Egg Hunt: One of the well-attended events is the Easter Egg hunt for children, which this year will be held on Sunday 9th of April. This is an opportunity for families to walk around Badgers Mount looking for cues and answering questions. I promise a new set of questions this year! The starting point will be the green in Johnson's Avenue, come along and collect a quiz sheet between 2pm and 3pm, £1.00 entry and a prize for everyone.
Events co-ordinator Zena Belton firstname.lastname@example.org
Subscriptions are due now for the Badgers Mount Residents association. These are:
£2 per person up to a MAXIMUM of £4 per household.
This covers the cost of printing 4 Newsletters a year and distributing them to all residents, and provides a float for funding events designed to bring the local community together. It also funds our general administration and provides a nucleus should the local community wish to take action on local happenings such as unwanted developments.
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