Hever Residents Association

"To preserve, protect and, if possible, improve the local environment"

If you have a news item that you would like to see published here, please contact the with the details, and we'll see what we can do...

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Hever Residents Association present:

The BYG Big Band

at its annual Summer Event to be held at Hever Village Hall on Saturday, 24th September 2011 from 7.30 p.m.

The BYG Big Band are a jazz big band formed in 2009 and have a six strong saxophone section, three trumpet players, three trombonists, a double bass, guitar, drums and keyboard player.

The band age ranges from 18 to 86 with experienced players from all walks of life. They are constantly adding to their repertoire to make sure that those favourite and so well known (not to mention frequently requested) swing numbers are there.

Do come and join us for a great night of jazz and swing music at your annual Summer Event.

Tickets are £10.00 per person and include entrance and a delicious buffet; to book your place please ring 07973 818927. A fully stocked bar will be available.

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Local RNLI Secures Sponsorship Package...

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution Edenbridge & District Branch has secured a sponsorship package with local business Easistore Self Storage based in Enterprise Way, Edenbridge.

During the annual garden party held in July in the beautiful grounds of Beaumonts, Four Elms branch chair, John Proctor, announced Easistore’s generous sponsorship support and said, “We are very fortunate to have found a local business sponsor who, combined with the unstinting generosity of the people of Edenbridge and villages beyond, will help us continue to provide financial support for this wonderful charity.” Mr. Proctor also thanked the many organisers and guests for helping make the event a great success.

The combined 2011 fundraising total from the street & house to house collections, garden party and sponsorship came to a staggering £2788, which will go towards the work of the 4,500 volunteer crew members across the country saving lives at sea.

Jason Chatfield, Easistore Assistant Manager said, "We are delighted to be associated with such a worthy cause and being able to provide sponsorship at a local level makes our support even more satisfying."

If you would like further information about the work of the RNLI or the Edenbridge & District Branch please contact Alan Townsend on 07973 818927 and he will be pleased to send you details.

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The Parish Plan …… coming your way soon

A Parish Plan is a document setting out how we, the residents, want to see the area develop over the next few years. It can cover a range of issues, and gives us a recognised voice. Communities of any size can produce a Parish Plan – to date around 3,000 have been published. The Parish Plan documents the socio-economic and environmental issues of a community and its proposed remedies and actions.

Parish plans are evolving documents, outlining how a community would like to develop over the next 10 years. It will include a vision for the future, an expression of the residents’ views and an action plan detailing how these developments can be achieved. It will outline how the parishioners, the Parish Council, Government (at all levels) and local service providers can act to deliver the plan addressing the residents’ wishes. Well researched and structured parish plans with actions highlighting how the parish priorities fit with wider government priorities (including housing needs), are more effective at engaging their mainstream providers (local authorities) than those focused purely on a local audience.

See here for more info.

Parish Plan Questionnaire distribution meeting …… 12 September

Please come to a meeting in Hever Village Hall at 8pm on 12th. The meeting is to:

Wine and tea/ coffee will be served!

The plan is to post the Questionnaires out on about 15th, but if anyone can hand deliver that would be great. Then they can be returned by post, by hand to an address in your village or completed on line via www.hever.org by 19th October.

We need a 70% return to make the data valuable so we are asking you to help by collecting from households which have not returned a Questionnaire by then (from a few neighbours, or more if you feel able).

We are distributing to each household, to businesses and to people on the Church electoral roll. If a household wants to complete more than one that would be excellent, indeed we really want to know what young people want and will particularly welcome responses from them.

The process will only work if you get involved. So please join in and have your say!

Please contact Joanna Wade if you have any queries: 07958 919631.

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Antiques Roadshow is coming to Hever!

Antiques Roadshow

The world famous BBC Antiques Roadshow is being hosted by Hever Castle on Thursday, 16th June 2011 when visitors will have an opportunity to bring in their antiques for the experts to see and value.

The Antiques Roadshow records programmes across the UK, throughout the year, with some of Britain’s leading antiques and fine art specialists. At the recordings, the specialists are on hand to offer free advice and valuations to visitors who are invited to search their attics and bring along their family heirlooms, household treasurers and car boot bargains for inspection.

There is also something very special about the programme, presenter Fiona Bruce says, “The Antiques Roadshow isn’t just about antiques – it’s history, beauty and drama all wrapped up in one.” This will clearly be the case when the show comes to Hever!

The BBC is looking for volunteers on the day to act as stewards. Apparently lunch will be provided and the volunteers will receive a discount in the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow shop.

If anyone is interested, please would they contact the Hever Castle Day Visitor Manager, Sarah Lewis-James on 01732 861711 or email her at slewis-james@hevercastle.co.uk - the steward positions will be allocated on a "first come, first served" basis.

More information about the event will be posted on the Hever Castle website - www.hevercastle.co.uk – see you in June!

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Maintenance of Roadside Ditches...

Kent Highway Services

Who is responsible for the maintenance of roadside ditches?

Maintenance of ordinary watercourses, that is any watercourse or ditch which is not classified as a main river, or an Internal Drainage Board Watercourse, is the responsibility of the adjacent landowner or occupier. Such owners are referred to as 'Riparian Owners''. In the case of roadside ditches, it is rare for the Highway Authority to be responsible, except for example, where the Highway Authority purchased the land for Highway improvements.

Ditches that cross land away from the highway are owned by the landowner(s) across the land which the ditch passes, however the Highway Authority has a prescriptive right to drain the highway to adjoining ditches and this does not affect the riparian owners' responsibility for maintenance.

Statutory responsibilities:

Common law imposes a duty on the riparian owner to maintain ditches, which provide natural drainage for land and/or the highway.

Changes in climate conditions recently have further highlighted the need for riparian owners to maintain ditches regularly to keep them free of silt and other debris in order to reduce the possibility of flooding.

An obstructed ditch not only can cause flooding, but the resulting increase in water table level causes the highway structure to suffer, leading to the rapid deterioration of the highway.

Parish councils or any member of the public can approach the owner to clear the ditch. If this is not successful the local authority has legal powers to enforce action at the ditch owners' expense.

Saying that most local authorities would only take this action if the condition of the ditch is likely to cause flooding; and if more than one person would be adversely affected by any flooding.

Piping or diverting a ditch:

The owner must consult the local authority before any alterations to ditches are undertaken. This is covered by the Public Health Act 1936. Under the Land Drainage Act 1991, an application is also needed to the Environment Agency.

Information provided by:

Kent Highway Services

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New Tree Planted...

The new noticeboard...

Hever Residents Association is pleased to announce that it has commissioned a new tree to celebrate Christmas, which has been recently planted on Hever Parish Field, opposite the Henry VIII public house.

Residents may recall that a similar tree was planted last year, but due to the extremely wet weather it became waterlogged and had to be removed.

David Williams, HRA committee member and owner of Graceful Gardens, sourced both trees and has very generously provided the second tree and carried out the extensive ground work and planting without charge. To avoid this tree becoming affected by the high water table, David and his team has created a raised bed using natural stone, which we hope both residents and visitors will find attractive.

The tree is a Cedrus deodara, better known as a Deodar or Himalayan Cedar, native to the western Himalayas and is widely grown as an ornamental tree in Western Europe for its drooping foliage. The HRA wanted to plant a tree that represented Christmas time, around which residents can sing Carols and enjoy each others company for an hour once a year celebrating the festive season.

We look forward to watching this beautiful tree grow and to celebrating Christmas around it for many years to come.

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New Notice Board Erected...

The new noticeboard...

Hever Residents Association is delighted to announce that it has arranged for a new notice board to be erected, adjacent to the Memorial Oak, where the old notice board stood.

The new board is constructed of substantial oak timbers with traditional cedar shingles on the double sloping roof and as the photograph shows is in complete harmony with the surroundings.

John and Simon Scott of the Scott Partnership based at Polebrook Farm designed, constructed and installed the notice board after the HRA had discussed the subject over some months.

John, a former long serving member of the HRA committee and village stalwart, offered to complete the work and has advised us that the board is to be donated to the village by the Scott Partnership; a most generous contribution to the residents of Hever.

Having examined the structure close-up you can be assured it is of the highest quality and craftsmanship and will be with us for many, many years to come.

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Castle Planning Application...

Some weeks ago a planning application was submitted by Duncan Leslie on behalf of the Castle in relation to surfacing parts of The Paddock and Forge Field with crushed limestone to "make parking easier and safer" (View the Application Online).

Concern was raised by some residents in relation to the application and the HRA was contacted. In essence the concerns related to creeping urbanisation within the village, impending increased use of Forge Field for car parking, potential future applications and lack of engagement by the Castle in seeking the views of those residents living in the immediate area and most affected by planning application.

As a result of this contact Adrian Maurice and I met Duncan Leslie to discuss the planning application and raise the concerns of residents. The meeting took place on 11th November 2010 and it was agreed that Duncan would write an 'open letter' setting out the exact nature of the planning application and hopefully pave the way for greater understanding between the Castle and residents of Hever.

To read the 'open letter' click here.

In addition Duncan has agreed to attend one or two meetings per year in future to update residents on what the Castle is proposing to do and to listen to any concerns the residents may have.

Alan Townsend,
Hever Residents Association.

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Station Parking...

The following notice is now posted at Hever Station. HRA has no knowledge of what the post-resurfacing situation will be.


Please be aware that Documents Plus Limited ("DPL") have arranged, at its expense, for the Station forecourt and approach road to be resurfaced.

The re-surfacing works will be carried out from the above date.

Regrettably it will be necessary to suspend the courtesy parking facilities hitherto made available by DPL and we must ask that until further notice you make alternative parking arrangements elsewhere.

In the meantime, we would respectfully remind you that use of the courtesy parking at the Station remains entirely at your own risk.

Pedestrian access to the Station platforms will be preserved but strictly at users own risk.

In the longer term DPL are in discussion with Network Rail and Southern Railway to explore the possibility of reinstating car parking facilities and agreeing a formal car parking arrangement on site for rail users. We shall issue information as appropriate from time to time to keep you informed.

HRA's comments (from the chair) on the situation may be found here...

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RNLI Honour Cowden Resident...

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution honoured Cowden resident, Mr. Roland Smoult, when he was presented with the Institutes Silver Badge for long service at the Edenbridge & District Branch annual garden party held at Beaumonts, Four Elms

Louanne Purdy, RNLI South East Region Fund Raising Manager, said Roland had loyally served the branch as Treasurer for seventeen years, helped organise the annual garden party and that it was an honour to present him with his award and certificate. Roland said, "I would like to thank everyone for supporting me over the years and the RNLI for giving me this award."

For the first time, the annual garden party was held in the beautiful grounds of Beaumonts, following the death of Mrs. Jill Wright of Waystrode Manor where the event had been held for twenty years. Under a clear sky and without rain, the guests raised a staggering £976, which will go towards the work of lifeboat crews around the country saving lives at sea.

Branch chair, John Proctor thanked the many organisers and guests for helping make the event a great success and paid particular tribute to the people of Edenbridge and surrounding villages who were so generous in making donations during the street and house to house collections.

If you would like further information about the work of the RNLI or the Edenbridge & District Branch please contact Alan Townsend on 07973 818927 and he will be pleased to send you details, or to email Alan, .

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Kent's Boleyn Girl...

Click here for a larger view

Kent tourist attractions including Knole, Penshurst Place and Dover Castle took centre stage in the new film The Other Boleyn Girl starring Hollywood actresses Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson.

To celebrate its release and the locations that were used in the film, Kent Film Office and Visit Kent in association with Universal, National Trust, English Heritage, Penshurst Place and Hever Castle have released a movie map to highlight the Kent locations to the world.

The Other Boleyn Girl was shot on location throughout November and December 2006. For more information about The Other Boleyn Girl and the Kent filming locations visit www.visitkent.co.uk/boleyn

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Hever Summer Party - 8th September 2007

Click here for a larger view

A great time was had by those Heverites and non-Heverites who came to the annual HRA Summer Party at the Village Hall on 8 September. In honour of John Scott's birthday it was entitled "A Farmer's Party" and so it was - complete with hay bales, local country music band "The Skinners' Rats", glorious sunshine and warm weather combining to a perfect backdrop. A beautifully set up marquee, well-stocked (and well visited!) bar with Larkins on tap, a colourful and delicious hot and cold buffet prepared by various local wenchens from organic local produce and free range meats, delicious breads from Groombridge bakers and a BBQ deftly and expertly dished out Allman's burgers and bangers all combined to providing everyone with "A Summer Party with style".

Click here for a larger view

With so much genuine local effort by both visible and invisible local unsung heroes who year after year work behind the scenes to plan, set up and organise, not to mention clean up the day after!) it was a pity that not more local folks turned up. The Summer Party is, after all, a local event for local people and the effort put in, and the result achieved deserved more local turnout.

Do let us know what you think, do let us have your suggestions and constructive comments and most of all - do come and support your local events - after all this is your village!

Jeanette Fahlbusch

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Latin Fever in Hever!

Some 75 people packed into Hever Village Hall on Saturday 21 April for a Latin night with live band Más Y Más, who quickly got plenty of foot-stomping and hand-clapping response to their Latin/Afro-Cuban/Flamenco rhythmic beats.

An unexpected gorgeous Salsa teachers' group, which had "infiltrated" from Tunbridge Wells, delighted the surprised audience with some eye-popping salsa performances and soon got everyone up dancing. Fine musicianship coupled with a great sense of fun and their sheer energy made Más Y Más instantly into one of those bands that people remembered with a smile - a wonderful and exhilarating evening. As Nick Dent was famously overheard saying: "Gosh, there is so much going on, I think I have to close one eye"!

Very many thanks to all those of you who helped to make this into the great evening it was, it was very much appreciated.

Jeanette Fahlbusch

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Have you seen...
The Hever Brook Bus Shelter?

If you haven't, you should go and take a look, the transformation is amazing...

After much "umming and arring" at committee meetings, waiting for KCC Highways / Southern Water / East Surrey Water to get the flooding problems sorted out etc, the committee finally decided that enough was enough - something needed to be done, and done soon!

Working parties hit the site, rubbish was removed, weeds were treated and the place was generally tidied up - ready for the real work to begin...

Cue "Kevin Agate and crew" - the guys moved-in big time, tree-felling, ditching, hedge-laying, planting, turfing, you name it they did it!

As for the results - you should really go and see for yourself...

We'd like to say a BIG THANK-YOU to: -

Note: the more astute of you may have noticed the mention of bulbs earlier on, just wait till the spring...

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Hever Village Questionnaire...
The Results are in.

At long last here are the results of the Hever Village Questionnaire, which you may recall went out early this year to canvass local opinion on how people feel about our village. We asked you what you liked about your village and what you would perhaps like to see changed. We asked you about your interests and whether you would wish to see some new activity groups to share your interests or hobbies with like-minded souls, making use of local facilities?

We did have a surprisingly good response to the Questionnaire. Firstly, we asked your opinion on local events. By far the most popular event, with the highest vote, is the Annual Fireworks Party - and judging by the yearly turnout and high praise afterwards, no surprise really. Both the Summer Event and the Christmas Party received equal votes. The votes on the Summer Event were based on last year's event, with some of you suggesting that although this was very popular, perhaps a little change of format was required. We listened to you and tried something different this year - we believe with great success - by having live music and dance. A new suggestion, voiced by a number of residents, was to organise an annual May Day Celebration, this ranked in popularity right behind the Summer Event and Christmas Party. There was also a suggestion for a St George's Night. We regret to say, there were no takers for a Valentines Do!

Secondly, we asked you about your interests in local activities. Listed in order of priority based on percentage votes, the feedback you gave as is as follows (some sharing the same place in the league):

  1. Wine Tasting and Sourcing
  2. Dance (Modern, Barn, Ballroom), Social including Bridge
  3. Walking Group, Gourmet Food Club, Reading Groups
  4. Quiz, Live Music (contemporary and classical), Fitness Club
  5. Bird Watching, Film Club, Amateur Dramatics
  6. Parents and Toddlers
  7. Art Workshops

Some of you indicated an interest to become actively involved in helping or even organising groups that may take off. If you are interested in helping set up a new group, or are prepared to assist - or simply would wish to participate - then please contact us: -

Either on our web site www.hever-ra.org.uk (but then you knew that anyway!), Or call Jeanette Flockhart on 01732 - 700066

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Hever Women Walk...
The Ladies pull it off with fund raising "Pink Walk"

Click here for a larger image.

A spontaneous idea to organise a small group of local women walkers to "wear it pink and walk" to raise funds for Breast Cancer charities during October's "Breast Cancer Awareness Month" quickly spread, resulting in a fantastic turnout on Sunday morning, 29th October, when woman after woman arrived outside 'The Leicester Arms Hotel' in Penshurst. Eventually 32 women, children and teenage girls plus 13 dogs - all wearing various shades of pink (including the dogs of course) - set off in glorious sunshine on a 2 hour Penshurst Estate fundraising walk. The enormous goodwill and support from all those present (including a donation from 'The Leicester Arms Hotel') raised a staggering £1,025 (against a planned target of £300) which demonstrates how much people do care about a disease which kills over 1,000 women every month in the UK alone.

The funds will be distributed between Breast Cancer Campaign, the only UK charity specialising in funding independent breast cancer research in the UK and The Mid-Kent Breast Cancer Research Appeal - a local Kent charity which provides high tech equipment for the early detection and treatment of breast cancer. The Peggy Wood Breast Care Centre was opened in Maidstone in 2004 with substantial funding from the Mid-Kent Breast Cancer Research Appeal.

Plans are currently under way for an information sheet for women who are about to undergo an operation or treatment for Breast Cancer, written by women who have been through this personal experience and who, by sharing, can hopefully take away some of the concerns and fears of those facing the prospect of entering hospital.

Anyone who would like to participate by sharing their experience, or who would like to receive more information on this subject, please contact Jeanette Flockhart on 01959 561 511, or email jf@abbottlegal.com.

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Down The Road...
An update on the maintenance of Hever's Footpaths, Lanes, and Roads.

Believe it or not, Sevenoaks District Council is not the Authority responsible for the maintenance and repair of roads, lanes and footpaths in our area. Kent Highways (part of KCC) are. They are also responsible for the clearing and cleaning of ditches and gullies, maintaining verges and cutting grass. The western division of Kent Highways (KHS) is based in - wait for it - Gravesend! Nice and local to Hever then, they'll know where the blocked up ditches and gullies are!

However, KHS have (re) introduced the "County Lengthsman Scheme". The origins of a lengthsman date back to the 19 th Century, when a local man was employed to maintain the Highways and Byways. With increased mechanisation and centralisation, this once familiar figure with his shovel and hook, disappeared from our rural roads.

The service has been re-introduced to enable Parish Councils to have greater control on the day-to-day minor highway maintenance within their Parishes.

Each Council was to appoint a representative; the clerk or a Councillor (Hever PC has two Councillor representatives, one for Hever/Markbeech and one for Four Elms). The representative(s) would receive requests from local people for minor highway maintenance. The representative(s) would decide what work they would like the lengthsman to do, contact the highway inspector to agree the work, and then monitor what work got done.

Sounds Idyllic doesn't it? Well before we start cheering, let's have a look at the logistics. KHS have allocated £300,000 annual budget for the whole of Kent. Each lengthsman crew comprises two men and a truck. Their job is to tour the County on a planned rota, carrying out planned maintenance work from the lists provided in advance by the PC If every Parish in the county were to avail themselves of the service, each would have the use of one crew for approximately three days per year! - (and remember, Hever PC serves three villages!)

The sort of work the lengthsmen can do is limited by the plant and equipment carried by the vehicle, but includes:

The sort of work they cannot do includes:

To be fair to KHS, the lengthsmen's efforts are in addition to general maintenance work identified and prioritised by KHS's local highway inspector.

The memo from KHS outlining the lengthman scheme ends: -

"...every Parish and Town Council can look forward to a more responsive service in the coming months..."

KHS have scheduled work at both Four Elms and Cowden Crossroads and plan to improvesight liness and road surfaces at both (thank goodness). They have also scheduled to install a "positive drainage system" and "repair gullies" at Hever bus shelter area, but in my view the priority given to the Hever work is too low and I am battling with KHS to get it improved.

Consultants Jacobs Babtie have produced a 31 page report on the situation at Cowden Cross, Cowden Pound Cross (The Queen's Arms) and Stick Hill. Peter Lake, the Parish Council, KHS and I are due to discuss the report, which covers signage, sight lines, double white line extension and speed limits, on the27 thh March. Watch this space...

Parish Council Roads Representatives
Hever and Mark Beech John Scott 07768-300002
Four Elms Alan Miller 01732-700205
Kent Highways
Sevenoaks Area Sue Ireland 01474-544076
Local Inspector Allan Gibbons 01474-544015

If you would like to discuss the state of the roads, footpaths etc. on-line a good place to start would be here!...

Gerry Ryan