Hextable Parish Council

Sevenoaks District Council Information

Council invests in Bradbourne Lakes improvement plan
October 18,2018

Sevenoaks District Council's Cabinet has given the go ahead to invest £60,000 to take forward the restoration and improvement of Bradbourne Lakes.

This follows hot on the heels of the Council commissioning leading landscape and leisure experts, Land Use Consultants (LUC), to engage with the community in developing a creative vision from which to work.

This £60k funding boost earmarked for inclusion in next year’s budget would see LUC progress this by commissioning the necessary reports from tree, wildlife and water experts, producing detailed designs for delivering that vision and planning the project delivery before approaching a host of potential funding partners.

Cllr Matthew Dickins, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Direct and Trading Services, says: “The Bradbourne Lakes are a jewel in the Sevenoaks crown and have long been a favourite destination for visitors from both far and wide – but there is lots we’d like to do to polish this gem and really make it sparkle.

“The public consultation earlier this summer, led by renowned experts Land Use Consultants and kindly supported by the Bradbourne Residents’ Association, resulted in the compilation of a creative vision which clearly sets out the community’s ambition for the Bradbourne Lakes.

“I am extremely grateful to all those who took part in this vital work and we’re now determined to see that vision delivered.”

The five ornamental lakes date back to 1740, once forming part of the Bradbourne Estate before they were handed to Sevenoaks Urban Council in 1935. Over the years, the Council and community have worked together to maintain the much-loved park, including investing in new fencing, gates and benches. The Council is now seeking to undertake the most major overhaul of the Lakes since they were built to secure their future for generations to come.

The Council’s Cabinet agreed to the funding at its meeting on Thursday 11 November 2018.

Parking Charges Frozen Again 
October 09,2018

Sevenoaks District Council is again proposing to freeze all its parking charges in its town centre car parks for the fourth-year running.

Most commuter car park charges are also frozen with the exception of the new Bradbourne car park serving Sevenoaks station, where a moderate increase is proposed to the daily and season ticket fees.

Bradbourne car park reopened in April 2017 after an eight million-pound investment. The car park provides mostly covered parking, comprehensive CCTV coverage, regular patrols, the coveted ‘Park Mark’ status, flexible payment options and a host of environmentally friendly features.

The proposed charges, the first change in three years at this car park, will help to ensure Bradbourne car park remains commercially and competitively priced while remaining better value than the other commuter car parks close to Sevenoaks rail station.

The Council will continue to offer free parking in its Westerham car parks for the first three hours and there will be no increases in any town centre car parks or on-street in Sevenoaks, Swanley, Westerham or Knockholt.

Despite increases in operational costs, such as business rates, insurance and general maintenance, the Council continues to reinvest in its car parks. Over the past few years, the Council has made improvements including the installation of new safety barriers, increasing capacity, resurfacing, renewing drainage and upgrading lighting.

Cllr Matthew Dickins, the Council’s Cabinet Member for parking, says: “I am proud that Sevenoaks District Council is once again setting itself apart from other local authorities by proposing to continue freezing parking charges in its town centres.

“We’ve worked hard over the past few years, investing over £10m in our car parks, increasing capacity and improving the facilities to meet demand. At the same time, we’ve been freezing charges, simplifying tariffs and ensuring there is something for everyone.

“This careful approach to the management of parking is reaping dividends, with the District boasting one of the most vibrant local economies in the country.”

The proposed changes are being considered by the Direct and Trading Advisory Committee on 9 October and will be finalised by Cabinet on 11 October. If approved, the new parking charges would take effect in April 2019.

Grab your community grant of up to £5,000
October 01,2018

Sevenoaks District Council is now offering grants of up to £5,000 to local voluntary and charity organisations to provide vital services that benefit the most vulnerable residents in the District.

The main aim of the Council’s Community Grant Scheme is to support volunteer-led projects that boost the health and wellbeing of people who live in the District.

Cllr Roddy Hogarth, Sevenoaks District Council Cabinet Member for Community Grants, says: “Our community grants have enabled voluntary and charitable groups the chance to improve the quality of life for many, especially our vulnerable, older and younger residents.”

“I urge you to take advantage of this opportunity. If you are interested, or need extra advice, please do not hesitate to contact us.”

The deadline for applications for grants between £100 and £5000 is Friday 23 November. Successful applicants will receive their funding in April 2019.

Application packs are available on request by emailing grants@sevenoaks.gov.uk
or by calling 01732 227000.

Council drops Swanley centre appeal
October 01,2018

Sevenoaks District Council has reluctantly decided not to contest an appeal against its refusal of a planning application to redevelop Swanley Centre after the Government changed national planning policy.

The planning application was lodged with Sevenoaks District Council in 2017 by landowners U+I. Their proposal was to demolish the existing centre and replace it with seven tower blocks ranging from three to 11 stories high providing 303 new homes and 4,318 square metres of commercial and retail space.

Within their submission, the landowners accepted the towers could block natural sunlight to some nearby homes. In addition, the Council’s Development Control Committee had concerns about car parking arrangements, the height, scale and bulk of the proposals, believing they were out-of-keeping with the area, and that no affordable housing was proposed and refused the application at its meeting on 16 November 2017. The following April, the landowners appealed to the Government’s Planning Inspector against the Council’s decision.

However, in July 2018, the Government changed national planning policy putting a greater emphasis on the delivery of homes, making the best use of land, increasing densities and a flexible approach to planning policies that would otherwise hinder the efficient use of a site, such as the impact of the loss of daylight.

The Council sought external legal advice and it was told it would no longer be wise to contest the appeal and if it did so, it could have acted unreasonably. If this was the case, the Council could be liable for significant costs that would be payable to the landowner.

Cllr Gary Williamson, the Council’s Chairman of the Development Control Committee, says: “The Committee refused this application as we had serious concerns about the impact on neighbours and the wider town. But landowners can appeal to the Bristol-based Planning Inspectorate and thanks in part to recent changes to national planning policy, it became clear it would no longer be right to contest the appeal.

“It is genuinely frustrating and we feel strongly we had made the right local decision. But the final say would have been taken out of our hands hundreds of miles away from Swanley and if our decision was overturned, local tax payers could have been landed with a substantial bill.”

Sevenoaks District Council is now talking with the Planning Inspector and the landowner about what should happen next.

Council takes public health work to world stage
October 01,2018

Sevenoaks District Council is set to showcase its public health work to the world with an appearance at the World Health Organisation International Healthy Cities Conference in Belfast from 1-4 October.

The Council’s Cabinet for Housing and Health, Cllr Michelle Lowe, will be giving a speech on the Council’s ‘Wellbeing Starts At Home’ approach to Public Health as almost 100 cities and 20 national networks come together.

Over 500 delegates will be in attendance at the conference. Cllr Lowe will be speaking in auditorium of Belfast’s Waterfront during Parallel A setting out how the council's innovative work to bring housing and health together.

Cllr Michelle Lowe, says: “It’s so exciting to be able to tell our public health story on such an important world stage.

“The basis of our strategy is simple: if your home is over-crowded, under-occupied and not well maintained, isolated, unaffordable, cold or damp, your health will suffer. Our housing strategy aims to tackle these ills so all our residents live in suitable accommodation.

“We are also taking a health in all policies approach to the rest of our tools: Planning, Licensing, Leisure, Environmental Health, Community Safety and Economic Development to create an environment that is conducive to wellbeing the moment people step out of their front door.

“The Healthy Cities conference is a great opportunity for different areas to learn best practice from each other so we can improve the wellbeing of residents from across the globe. I am particularly looking forward to learning more about how we can better support older people to live independently and more about innovative supported housing for people living with dementia, improving mental health and tackling obesity. I will bring these ideas back to make an even bigger difference to the wellbeing of our residents here in Sevenoaks.”

Sevenoaks District Community Plan Consultation Survey
September 17,2018

You Me & Dementia: Stag Theatre, Sevenoaks 3 Novemeber
September 12,2018

The Riverside Players are showcasing two theatre productions which address real life situations faced by people diagnosed with, living with and coping with Dementia as a family.  (Information on the plays below)   This theatre production is sponsored by Sevenoaks District Council and Sevenoaks Area Dementia Friendly Community Forum and has been organised to raise money for the Eynsford dementia café.

This is a fantastic opportunity for the public and healthcare professionals to gain valuable insight into a family’s journey, how to support people living with dementia and what community support services are available.

To book your ticket please visit www.stagsevenoaks.co.uk or call 01732 450175, (Adult - £10 and Concession £7)

Chocolate Muffins - Written by Naomi Morgan
"My Granddad always had that knowing look in his eyes whenever I asked him anything.  His reply was always quick and always right.  I used to ask "Granddad, how do you know all these things?" and he would say, well Champ, I am your Granddad and Granddad's know everything".  But sadly he doesn't say that anymore".

Chocolate Muffins is a short play that follows Oscar as he tries to understand and come to terms with his Granddad's Dementia & Alzheimer's.  As he sees his hero lose his way and become less and less of his big strong always right Granddad.  Oscar has to remember his Granddad as the person who made him laugh so much that he use to wee his pants and not this shell of a man who is broken by Dementia.

Bothered and Bewildered - Written by Gail Young
"Look at your hands Darling, just look at them.  Look at all those little lifelines etched into the palms of your hands and tell me they can't tell a story, a great story! Everyone has a great story in them Darling.  You've just got to wring it out of your heart and squeeze it through your fingertips onto the paper".

Bothered and Bewildered is a comic drama that follows Irene and her two daughters Louise and Beth as they begin a long journey in which the girls lose their mum in spirit but not in body.  As her family struggle to come to terms with her Alzheimer's, Irene's past passion for romantic fiction blurs with reality.  She discusses with her unseen and witty companion Barbara Cartland (Irene's favourite and now deceased world famous romantic novelist) how best to write her 'memory book' disclosing to Barbara long kept family secrets that she would never reveal to anyone else.

Rogue Traders and Bogus Callers
August 12, 2018

Bogus Callers & Rogue Traders

Sevenoaks District Community Safety Partnership’s CSU based at the Council Offices and are working together with Police, KCC Trading Services, KCC Community Wardens, Housing Associations and Nat West Bank to educate and protect all residents from bogus callers and rogue traders.  We will be looking at further education within the community, schools and local groups.  We will be identifying traits of traders who are online as well as visiting homes within the District.

We have an action plan and have received funding from the Police and Crime Commissioner and match funded by Sevenoaks District Council to help deliver these actions to help residents against all types of fraud.  For more information please e-mail us community.safety@sevenoaks.gov.uk or call 01732 227000.  Below is advice from Kent Police and Action Fraud.

Bogus Callers

Most people who call at your home will be genuine. But sometimes people can try to trick their way into your home to steal your valuables and money. They are known as 'distraction burglars' or 'bogus callers'.

Are you expecting anyone?

Be cautious; people from water, gas and electric companies rarely visit without appointments. If there's a real emergency, police and fire-fighters are likely to be there.  On rare occasions, people may pose as members of the emergency services or armed forces to gain access to someone's home. If you're unsure, follow the tips below.

Rogue Traders

A rogue trader is someone who comes to your house without invitation (cold calling), offering services or goods and overcharging for them. 

This includes overcharging for unnecessary work, damaging property deliberately to get money, leaving work unfinished and intimidating someone to get money.

Sign up to Kent Trading Standard's email alert system at www.kent.gov.uk to receive rogue trader and fraud updates direct to your inbox.

Remember traders must give you written notice of your right to 14 days cancellation when agreeing to do work at your home, including work gained from a cold call

If in doubt, don’t agree to services or goods from doorstep callers. Go to www.kentpolice.uk for their top tips.

Online Fraud

Cyber crime is any criminal act dealing with computers and networks (called hacking). Additionally, cyber crime also includes traditional crimes conducted through the Internet.  Some fraudsters rely on the internet to commit their crimes. Learn about some different types of internet frauds that and how to protect yourself and get safe online.  Online frauds can include:

To find out more on all the fraud/scam types or to report a fraud go to Action Fraud www.actionfraud.police.uk

Kent Police: How to Report Crime
August 08, 2018

Information on the various ways you can report crime to Kent Police and follow them on social media can be found here 

More drop-in sessions arranged for Local Plan consultations
August 06, 2018

Three more drop-in sessions are planned for August where residents can find out more about the draft Local Plan.

The Local Plan is an important planning policy that says what can be built and where and what should be protected up to 2035 and includes the Government’s requirement to provide new homes.

At the drop in sessions, residents can find out about proposals for new homes in their area, improved town centres and new facilities, including schools and medical centres.

The additional drop-in sessions are taking place at the following locations:
• Eynsford Village Hall (DA4 0AA) - Monday 13 August, 5pm to 8pm
• Halstead Pavilion (Recreation Ground, Station Road TN14 7DH) Monday 13 August, 5.30pm to 7.30pm
• Halstead Pavilion (Recreation Ground, Station Road TN14 7DH), Thursday 16 August, 10am to 2pm.

The other remaining drop-in sessions are taking place at these locations:
• Waitrose in Edenbridge (TN8 5LN) – Tuesday 14 August, 2pm to 8pm
• Swanley Link (BR8 7AE) – Wednesday 29 August, 2pm to 8pm
• Sevenoaks District Council (TN13 1HG) – Wednesday 5 September, 2pm to 8pm

Residents can also view the draft Local Plan, and use an interactive map to see what is proposed near them, by visiting www.sevenoaks.gov.uk/draftlocalplan.

Cllr Robert Piper, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning, says: “The new Local Plan is really important - it gives us a once in a generation opportunity to improve retail and local infrastructure and provide new schools, medical facilities and much needed new homes for our children and grandchildren in the years to come.

“We’re keen to hear what everyone thinks – whether they support the proposals for new homes or if they have comments on the possible sites for new developments.

“I would urge residents to read the Plan and make their views known before the consultation closes on 10 September.”

Local Plan background

The Local Plan includes proposals to meet the Government requirement to provide nearly 14,000 homes between 2015 and 2035 to meet local need.

The Local Plan prioritises land that has already been built, but to meet the Government requirements, it includes some green-field sites in the Green Belt. Despite the pressure for new homes, the draft Local Plan proposes to protect more than 99% of the District’s Green Belt and the rural nature of the District.

The Council will publish a final version of the Plan later this year, taking account of the comments from the consultation. This version of the Local Plan will be submitted to the Government and considered by the Planning Inspector at a public examination in 2019 when there will be another opportunity for residents to raise further comments.

If approved by the Government, the Local Plan could be adopted and used by the Council later in 2019.

Save the date to defibrillate with free training event
August 06, 2018

Residents across the Sevenoaks District will have the opportunity to become life-saving experts with a free training event that offers defibrillator and first aid training. 

The training session has been organised by Sevenoaks District Council and will take place on Saturday 29 September at 9.30am at the Council offices on Argyle Road, Sevenoaks.


The session will be delivered by Sevenoaks Community First Responders who provide basic everyday first aid training on CPR, choking, allergic reactions and diabetic emergencies

The training also covers how to use Automated External Defibrillator, with around 60 of these installed across the District.


Cllr Michelle Lowe, Sevenoaks Cabinet Member for Health and Leisure, says: “Ultimately, this training could save a life. Cardiac arrest is a leading killer in the UK so it is vital that more people are trained because you never know when you or someone you love will need it”.


Places can be reserved free of charge by calling Sevenoaks District Council 01732 227000 or by emailing healthyliving@sevenoaks.gov.uk


It is advised that residents make sure they can commit to the day before reserving due to limited places. Residents will be charged a cancellation fee of £30 if they book and do not attend.


Residents can find the locations of their nearest defibrillator by going to www.heartsafe.org.uk

Planning Inspector protects Vine Waste for future generations
July 31, 2018

The Government Planning Inspectorate has ruled out any form of development on the Vine Waste in Sevenoaks, giving the land greater protection in the future.

Sevenoaks District Council had considered using the Sevenoaks Town Council owned site for temporary parking during the decking of the Buckhurst 2 Car Park. It was one of a number of sites under consideration as it is used extensively throughout the summer for parking in connection with cricket and other events at the Vine.

However, after local residents had expressed concerns about the possible use of the Vine Waste as a temporary car park during building works, Sevenoaks District Council found alternative parking for its Buckhurst 2 customers at the end of last year. This included the Morewood temporary car park by Sevenoaks Magistrates’ Court and running a subsidised bus service into town.

As the site is a public common, the Planning Inspector had to consider if the Vine Waste could be used for temporary parking.

The Planning Inspector, in their judgement, said that whilst the Vine Waste was used for parking in connection with events, Sevenoaks District Council had already found alternative parking for Buckhurst 2 customers so it was no longer required and the works would not improve commons for the wider community.

The Council's clean, green parking machine
July 29, 2018

Sevenoaks District Council is helping the District to go green after it bought its first electric vehicle.?

Sevenoaks District Council is helping the District to go green after it bought its first electric vehicle.

The Council has invested in a BMW i3 for its Parking Wardens. It’s the authority’s first ever electric car and boasts zero emissions as well as being cheaper to run.

Cllr Matthew Dickins, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Direct and Trading Services, says: “Sevenoaks District Council is going electric for a cleaner greener future. It’s much better for the environment than its diesel predecessor and benefits from lower running costs, costing less than a fiver for a ‘full tank’.

“This is joining our electric bicycles which help improve not just air quality but congestion and health too, easing our staff from four wheels to two. It’s a healthier way to travel and a popular choice for Council officers attending meetings around the town.”

As part of the Council’s green thinking, it has also been plugging away on a rollout of electric charging points, which are already available in the recently decked Bradbourne Car Park. The new Buckhurst 2 Car Park will have them too when it reopens early in 2019.

Parking Warden Bob Purssord and Cllr Matthew Dickins

Residents asked to comment on proposed changes to Council Tax Support scheme
July 24, 2018

Local people are being asked for their views on proposed changes to the Council Tax Support scheme that helps working age people on low incomes to pay their Council Tax. 

From April, the Council is recommending a number of changes to simplify the scheme for all working age claimants as part of its preparations for the introduction of Universal Credit Full Service across the District. 

The changes would make the scheme easier for claimants to understand as well as helping to simplify the application process. It would also be cheaper for the Council to administer and therefore more cost efficient than the current scheme. 

The Council is not proposing to reduce the amount it currently spends on its Council Tax Reduction. 

Sevenoaks District Council is keen to hear the views of its residents and organisations before it takes a final decision in late November and is running a short survey from Monday 23 July to Sunday 16 September 2018. 

The survey is available at www.sevenoaks.gov.uk/ctsurvey or by calling the Council on 01732 227000 to request a paper copy of the survey. 

Cllr John Scholey, Sevenoaks District Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance, says: “The introduction of Universal Credit in the District from November will bring a number of challenges for the Council. We are therefore proposing to make changes to our Council Tax Support scheme to make it easier for claimants to understand as well as making the scheme easier for our staff to administer.”

Get into Gear this Summer with Free Cycle Rides
July 02, 2018

Free, professionally-led cycle rides return the Sevenoaks District this summer. 
The Sevenoaks District Council organised rides are aimed at people who may be new to cycling or have not been on a bike in a while or just lack confidence. They are also open to all, especially families with small children. 

Rides are taking place in ‘spoketacular’ Knole Park offering a 90 minute, gentle paced ride with breaks and traffic free paths in the stunning ancient deer park and at the world famous Brands Hatch racing track providing an opportunity to ride on the renowned racing circuit that hosted Formula 1 racing.

Rides take place on the following days: 

Sunday 22 July, 10.30am – Knole Park 
Sunday 12 August, 10.30am – Knole Park 
Tuesday 28 August, 10.30am – Brands Hatch 
Tuesday 28 August, 2pm – Brands Hatch 
Wednesday 29 August, 10.30am – Brands Hatch 
Wednesday 29 August, 2pm – Brands Hatch 
Sunday 2 September, 10.30am – Knole 
Sunday 16 September, 10.30am – Knole 

Places must be booked in advance by calling the Council on 01732 227000 or emailing communities@sevenoaks.gov.uk 

Cllr Michelle Lowe, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Health, says: “These rides were so popular last summer we just had to bring them back again this year. Cycling with others is not only great for physical health, but exercise and meeting new people is also good for mental health. 

“Knole Park provides beautiful scenery to be enjoyed on the rides and cycling on the world famous Brands Hatch for free is always incredibly popular so residents better get off the mark quick to book their place.”