The Parish Council's email address has changed to [email protected], please amend your records accordingly.
Parish Council Elections 2024
Maidstone Borough Council has now moved to all out elections every four years, which means that the Parish Council is due to be contested again on Thursday 2nd May 2024.
If anyone would like to know more about the role the Parish Council has within the Community, then do please get in touch with the Parish Clerk ([email protected]) who will be able to assist you further.
Nomination Papers can be downloaded from the Electoral Commission website and Electoral Services have requested that they are printed off on yellow paper to distinguish them from the Borough Ward papers. Please ensure that you include the Local Government Act 1972 pages 2 to 7, as these are part of the nomination paper.
To download a copy, please use the following link: Nomination papers
If any residents are interested in being elected to become a Parish Councillor in Harrietsham, nomination papers would need to be submitted to Maidstone Borough Council by hand. Please attend Maidstone House Reception (NOT THE LINK) between the the hours of 10am and 4pm, any day from Monday 25 March 2024 up to and including Friday 5 April 2024.
As there are 22 Wards and 35 Parishes up for election this year, the Borough Council will be running a booking system to help with the flow and reduce the waiting time. It would be in your best interest to make an appointment with the Electoral Services Team.
Please call 01622 602007 or email [email protected] to make an appointment.
****Appeal for Information****
Message from Kent Police
Local CSU intend to tackle the issue of nuisance bikes in the area of Lenham and Harrietsham. We are looking to collate information to work out which days/times are the best to organise a day of action and at which locations to act on resident's concerns and reports. Any information submitted will be appreciated and used to work out where and when to target.
If residents have information which would assist, please either contact Kent Police directly on 101 or email the Parish Clerk ([email protected]) who can pass on any intelligence.
January 2024 Update – Shellina Prendergast
Maidstone Rural East – Kent County Council
As we start a new year, some reflections on the work at County Hall during the last 12 months – a year which, like for so many people in Kent, has been difficult for Kent County Council.
Like others across the country, KCC is facing some significant financial challenges – challenges that the Council has been open about and is facing head-on. The current financial position is not one that has come about because of recklessness with public finances but as a direct result of the of the increased costs and demands on services over the last few years.
There is no doubt that times are exceedingly tough - these increased costs and demands have meant that KCC has had to face some very hard budgetary decisions. In Kent we have specific issues, such as travel disruption at our ports, and the response to migration and unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. Despite what we shoulder, central government funding has fallen far short of what is needed.
After developing the Securing Kent’s Future plan in the autumn, which KCC is working every day with this as our roadmap and navigating towards what will be a balanced budget for this financial year, something we are legally obliged to deliver. The plan will also serve as a robust guide over the medium and longer term. The Council’s draft budget – to be decided by full Council on 24th February – can be found through the following link: draft budget
Across the country, some councils have headed into effective bankruptcy – KCC continue to keep that wolf from the door; at the same time, continuing to change and innovate, while delivering good services to the people of Kent.
Looking back on 2023, there have been some notable moments, some of which have seen KCC rising to support our residents through shock after shock, not least the cost-of-living crisis and helping people in the most difficult circumstances. This is something that remains an absolute priority.
The Council’s solid collaboration with the NHS has seen some excellent work on seasonal campaigns and the development of the Integrated Care Strategy. The task in 2024 will be to start turning this into practical delivery across Kent and into our communities.
RAAC (reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete) entered the common vernacular in 2023. KCC’s front-foot action following the change of national rules, helped in no small part by the rapid flexibility of our school community, kept disruption to a minimum.
KCC is a central plank of the Kent Resilience Forum, responding to the pressures on Kent’s extensive and much-travelled road network, at the same time as working behind the scenes as a group of organisations and agencies to be ready for a crisis. At the front line, highways and other staff respond to emergencies in all weathers.
The Council has a proud and exceptional record in responding to the diverse issues of asylum, migration and resettlement, including responding (across many parts of our organisation) to the referral of more than 2,000 unaccompanied asylum-seeking children into our service in the last year, and working with district and borough colleagues in response to the requirement to empty the Afghan bridging hotels in the late summer.
KCC is committed to the environment, balancing everything we consider with nature’s voice and its unrivalled positive impact on health and wellbeing, and preserving the enduring appeal of the Garden of England.
These could be viewed as the ‘big ticket items’ and are only a small selection of the services that KCC provides. All of us at KCC are incredibly proud that some of the greatest effects of our work can be felt in the quiet, often unseen, interactions full of kindness, compassion and thoughtfulness from across all of our teams.
I remain, as ever, committed to working with residents, businesses and elected representatives at parish and borough councils – whether on an individual or strategic basis - to ensure the best possible outcomes for all. Please do get in touch if there is anything I can help with – [email protected]
Which leaves me to wish you all a belated but very best wishes for a healthy and successful 2024!
A message from the Chairman of Harrietsham Parish Council
The time is fast approaching when Harrietsham Parish Council needs to decide on a course of action regarding the plans to build 5,000 new homes in Lenham, which is known as the 'Heathlands Garden Settlement'.
The Parish Council’s concerns relate to the development's general impact on Harrietsham (mainly highway related) and the lack of infrastructure. The Government Planning Inspector’s report is due at the end of January 2024.
At that stage there will only have a six week period to decide if we want to escalate our argument through the courts, in the form of a Judicial Review.
As with any legal challenges, there will be cost implications which will become more evident over coming weeks.
Transition period for XL Bully owners begins
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has announced that further legislation to ban XL Bully type dogs has come into effect today (14 November), as the transition period for owners to apply for an exemption scheme begins.
During the transition period, which runs from now until 31 January 2024, owners who wish to keep their dogs must apply to an exemption scheme. Applications for exemption certificates are now open.
After the transition period, owners without a Certificate of Exemption could receive a criminal record and an unlimited fine if they are found to be in possession of an XL Bully type.
During the transition period, owners who no longer wish to keep their dogs and who arrange for a vet to euthanise them may apply for compensation towards this. Owners and their vets will need to complete a form in order to make a claim
Asian Hornet (Vespa Velutina)
Asian Hornets are an invasive non-native hornet, originally from Asia, which is a highly aggressive predator. This poses a significant threat to honey bees and other pollinators. There have been sightings of the hornet in Kent and residents are being asked to report any sightings immediately. Further details can be found in the attached leaflet (above).
Report by email: [email protected]
(or) Online: www.nonnativespecies.org/alerts/asianhornet
Petrol Pumps in West Street
The Parish Council has received the following message from Southern Lightning Engineers Ltd, who are based in West Street:
"As I’m sure you know, we have two of the oldest petrol pumps just outside our building, which we love and are very much part of the village. We have decided to have them professional restored, as they are becoming a little rusted, not surprisingly after 75 years. So, in the next few weeks, they will disappear and make their way to Devon, where they will be lovingly and fully restored to their former glory by two very enthusiastic restorers; before being reinstalled in the same place.
There will be a complete book on the process which anyone will be welcome to come and look at, once the process is finalised. We need to keep these landmarks safe and in good condition as part of the Harrietsham heritage."
The Company has said that anyone who wishes to, is most welcome to take photos of the pumps before they are removed.
The Parish Council would like to give each child in the village, aged 11 and under (in Yr 6 or below), a coin to commemorate the Coronation of King Charles III. Most children will receive these through Harrietsham Primary School or either of the two pre-schools in the village. If you have a child in this age group, who does not attend any of these settings, then please contact the Parish Clerk by email ([email protected]) to arrange for one to be set aside.
When emailing, please use the subject heading 'Coronation Coin' and include your contact details, address, child's name and age.
Parish.UK Network Website
It has come to the attention of Parish Clerks in the country that a website has been set up by Parish.UK Network, which implies it is working in conjunction with Parish Councils. The information on the website is inaccurate and is not linked in anyway to Local Government offices. It has been reported that, in some areas, the site requests users to sign up to their directory, which can entail costs, thinking that the money will go to their local Parish Council. This is not the case and we would ask that the site is not accessed (and no payments made) to protect residents in the village.
Parish.UK Network is a fraudulent website, which is being investigated by the National Trading Standards E-Crime Team.
This website is the only one used by the Parish Council and all information is kept as up to date as possible. If you have any concerns, then please contact the Parish Clerk ([email protected])
Advice regarding E-Scooters
The following was copied from the Kent Police Website;
Electric scooter owners in Maidstone are reminded to comply with the law and be considerate of other road users.
The warning is issued after police community support officers seized an e-scooter from a child after he was seen riding it in a dangerous manner in Plains Avenue, on Wednesday 2 December 2020. The boy had been advised by the same officers regarding a similar incident a few days earlier. His parent was asked to attend the police station to retrieve it and they received guidance regarding their son's conduct.
Inspector Stephen Kent of Maidstone's Community Safety Unit said: 'In the town centre and surrounding housing estates we have been receiving reports of the antisocial and dangerous use of e-scooters.
'Owners should be aware that these currently fall under the same laws and regulations that apply to all motor vehicles. This means for use on a public road the user requires insurance, vehicle tax, a driving licence and registration.'
The use of e-scooters on pavements, in cycle lanes and in pedestrian-only areas is illegal and, in general, they should only be used on private land with the landowner’s permission.
Inspector Kent continued: 'Our officers will be stopping and giving words of advice to e-scooter users and will seize the equipment where offences have been committed. Where appropriate, persistent offenders or dangerous riders can be issued with a fixed penalty notice or receive a traffic offence report.'
The following is a summary copied from the .gov.uk website.
“Powered transporters” is a term used to cover a variety of novel and emerging personal transport devices which are powered by a motor, including e-scooters.
Given how powered transporters are motorised and designed, they fall within the legal definition of a “motor vehicle”. Therefore the laws that apply to motor vehicles apply to powered transporters.
It is illegal to use a powered transporter:
- on a public road without complying with a number of legal requirements, which potential users will find very difficult
- in spaces that are set aside for use by pedestrians, cyclists, and horse-riders; this includes on the pavement and in cycle lanes
Any person who uses a powered transporter on a public road or other prohibited space in breach of the law is committing a criminal offence and can be prosecuted.
It is legal to use a powered transporter:
- on private land with the permission of the land owner
Please specifically note the following;
“If the user of a powered transporter could meet these requirements, it might in principle be lawful for them to use public roads. However, it is likely that they will find it very difficult to comply with all of these requirements, meaning that it would be a criminal offence to use them on the road.”
The term “powered transporters” does not include electrically assisted pedal cycles (EAPCs), which have their own regulatory framework.