Parish Council

Welcome to the Parish Council page. The members of the Council are listed below. Visit the Contact Page to find out how to reach them.
Visit the PC Notes Page to catch up on the latest PC news. Also on this website you can read about the many aspects of the Parish Council's activities (see list on the left of this page) including the minutes of the last meetings or the Statement of Accounts.

Parish Councillor register of interests.


TOM BURNHAM - Chairman and Member of Planning Committee and Allotments, Churchyard Liaison, Communications, Finance & Strategy, Local Transport, Neighbourhood Plan Monitoring, Playscheme, River Beult Catchment Improvement, Staplehurst Library Users & Surrenden Playing Field Groups

I moved to Staplehurst in 2000, having driven through it many times over the previous 25 years on the way to the Kent & East Sussex Railway. My children have attended Staplehurst school, and I use our train service regularly to commute to my job with NICE. I am a member of Staplehurst United Reformed Church and the Churches Together in Staplehurst committee. I was co-opted to the Parish Council in May 2007 and was elected as its Vice-Chairman in May 2010. I expect that the Parish Council will have to take over responsibility for more local services in the next few years. It will be a challenge to do this in a way that is both affordable and responsive to residents' needs, but I hope that all sections of our community will eventually enjoy improved amenities.

PATRICK RIORDAN - Vice-Chairman and Member of Planning Committee and Communications, Finance & Strategy, Jubilee Field Management & Users, Staplehurst Fireworks, Staplehurst Merit Award, SPPG, Staplehurst Primary School Liaison & Wimpey Field Nature Park Groups

I have recently joined the Parish Council because, as a long time resident in the village, I would like to assist as much as possible in all the good work that is in progress.
There are many issues that are going on at the present time in our village, including; new housing, public transport, traffic & parking problems, litter, new green area's etc.
There are also many groups that are set up to enhance the amenities within the village. As a new Councillor I am hoping to help with many of these matters and use my local knowledge to push things forward in a positive manner.

MARGARET ASHBY – Member of Planning Committee and Communications, River Beult Catchment Improvement & Staplehurst Village Centre Trust Groups

I move into my second term as a Parish Councillor with a little more confidence now that I actually know what I am doing but with some apprehension for the challenges ahead. As a member of the Planning committee managing the inevitable growth is going to be a major task in the coming years and I aim to keep the “village” feel we still have intact. Personally my life will be changing as my husband retires and we move into a new phase, managing council/life balance could make the next year interesting. I intend to continue on the Publicity and Website committee and firmly believe that connecting with parishioners through web sites and social media is very important. I remain optimistic for the future of Staplehurst and hope to see it thrive over the next few years.

JOAN BULLER - Member of Planning Committee and Allotments, Employment, McCabe Day Centre, Neighbourhood Plan Monitoring, Neighbourhood Watch, Playscheme, Speed Watch, Staplehurst Library Users & SPPG Groups

I have been a member of the Parish Council for 34 years. As part of my planning role, I regularly represent the Council at the Maidstone Borough Planning Committee and at Appeals. I am trying to ensure that our Neighbourhood Plan policies are taken into account. I am the Lead Councillor of a small group seeking to improve our station area. I am involved with many projects, which include the Allotment Team, Play Scheme Group, organising volunteers to distribute the Update (our Parish Council newsletter), the Staplehurst Emergency Help Team and heading up Speed Watch. As a Councillor, I also work with Age Concern running the CHAT afternoon, am Treasurer of Neighbourhood Watch and represent the council on the McCabe Day Centre Committee and the Patient Participation Group. I organise the Village Clean Ups with Councillor Burnham. I have two further dreams – to make Staplehurst a litter-free area and to promote our community as a good place to visit as well as live. I enjoy walking round the parish, meeting and listening to what parishioners think and need. With my husband I run Staplehurst Interest Group and do voluntary work in the library. I love being part of Staplehurst’s welcoming, friendly and caring community.

CHRIS CLARIDGE – Member of Communications & Wimpey Field Nature Park Groups

A Financial Services sector professional with business interests in Asia, Middle East and Europe who is also a husband, father, grandfather, golfer, sailor, gardener and chef. Previous experience also includes Chairman roles for Chambers of Commerce, Business Awards events, international golf tournaments plus membership of various policy, action and organising committees.

SAM LAIN-ROSE - Member of Carnival & Fete, Communications, Employment, Finance & Strategy, Jubilee Field Management & Users, KALC Area Committee, Staplehurst Emergency Help Team, Staplehurst Fireworks, Staplehurst Merit Award, Staplehurst Primary School Liaison, Staplehurst Youth Parish Council, Wimpey Field Nature Park & Youth Club Groups

Joining the Parish Council in May 2011 as a co-opted member, I am a keen and enthusiastic member of the Parish Council. I sit on many groups of the Parish Council including the Finance, Publicity & Website, Staplehurst Village Centre Development and Strategy & Policy Groups. As the ‘baby’ of the Council, being in my early 20's, I am a keen challenger – ensuring the Parish Council acts in the best interests of the residents of this rural village, not just for this generation, but for future generations. I have lived in the village the entirety of my life, and live in the same property my grandparents did when the purchased it in the 1960s. I have experience in many areas – working in the public sector, at West Kent College, as well as the private sector, where I am current Food Service Manager for A.F. Blakemore & Sons Ltd. In addition to my career, I have managed a number of enterprises since I was I still in education, the first being Kent’s Talent was purely charitable, raising funds for cancer charities. Then in 2011, I formed LAIN AND ROSE Community Interest Company and from this success I incorporated The LAIN & ROSE Group Limited in April 2015. My knowledge and experience spans a wide-range of specialities including; Human Resources, Service Management, Social Enterprise, Public Administration, Business Finance, Retail and Business Management. I am a bit of a work-a-holic and enjoy a challenge, but when I do take the time to unwind, I enjoy spending time with friends, going for walks across the Kent countryside and going to festivals.

BARRETT MANNING - Member of Allotments, Carnival & Fete, Employment, Headcorn Aerodrome Consultative Committee, Knoxbridge/A229 Residents', Local Transport, Police/Parish Liaison, Staplehurst Library Users, Staplehurst Primary School Liaison, Staplehurst Remembrance Day, Surrenden Playing Field & Wimpey Field Nature Park Groups

I am a retired senior local government officer with 49 years' service with the Corporation of London responsible for administering the Corporation's interests and estates in the City and Northern Ireland. National Service interrupted my career by 3 years whilst serving in Libya. My wife and I have resided in Staplehurst since 1962 and both my son and daughter attended the local primary school under the Headmaster, Mr Yates Smith prior to university. After retirement in 1994 I served as an independent Custody Visitor for the Kent Police Authority and a councillor for the Soldier, Sailor, and Air Force Family help Association (SSAFA). I spent 10 years as an advisor with Maidstone Citizens Advice Bureau and was appointed Chairman for a five year term. My interests include grandchildren, cricket, gardening, bowls, golf and photography. I am currently a member of the Allotment Group, Carnival & Fete Committee, Knoxbridge/A229, Police/Liaison Committee, Staff Group, Staplehurst Library Users Group (SLUG), Local Transport Group, Staplehurst Primary School Liaison, Surrenden Playing Field and Oliver Road Open Space. Despite continuous meetings with Arriva there are still problems affecting students travelling on the number 5 bus route. My concern is to avoid students arriving late for school and missing their classes and experiencing another winter left waiting in the dark in foul weather on their homeward journey .

JOHN PERRY - Member of Employment, Finance & Strategy, Headcorn Aerodrome Consultative Committee, Jubilee Field Management & Users, KALC Area Committee, Neighbourhood Plan Monitoring, River Beult Catchment Improvement, Sobell Cheshire Home, SPPG, & Youth Club Groups

I am a Fellow of the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants and have an MBA from Henley Management College/ Brunel University although my original degree was in classics and history. I run my own economic/financial consultancy and have acted as adviser to government organisations both in the UK and abroad. I have represented the UK on United Nations Panels and at international conferences and have extensive experience of working with the European Commission and other European organisations. I currently chair a committee in Brussels, which supervises the system that is the principal source of financing for air navigation services in Europe covering over 40 European States.
I was Chairman of Staplehurst Parish Council from 2010 until 2014 when I was elected as a Ward Member for Staplehurst at Maidstone Borough Council. I was appointed Cabinet Member for Community and Leisure Services and remained in that position until the Council went over to the committee system. I support and promote rural issues and led the revamping of the Parish Charter, which sets out the relationship between Maidstone Borough Council and its Parish Councils. I am a member of the Rural Affairs Group at Maidstone Borough Council as well as being appointed the Council’s Parish Champion.

JOHN REARDON - Member of Communications, Staplehurst Primary School Liaison, Staplehurst Remembrance Day & Surrenden Playing Field Groups

I have missed various Monday evening meetings due to work commitments; I work a 24/7 shift pattern. However, this does mean I am in the village more often. I have attended various Highways meetings with Kent Highways to discuss their maintenance programs. I am involved with the Surrenden Field improvements, organising new paths once the lease is extended. Running the Parish Council website and monitoring the Facebook page is a constant source of work, but with the improvements to smartphones, broadband and 4G mobile data it can be done almost anywhere.

ADELE SHARP - Chairman of Planning Committee and Member of Carnival & Fete, Neighbourhood Plan Monitoring, Police/Parish Liaison, Staplehurst Merit Award, SPPG, Surrenden Playing Field & Wimpey Field Nature Park Groups

I have lived my whole life in Staplehurst, and although I love to travel, I always return home; to Staplehurst. I have worked in insurance and banking and have currently been teaching for thirteen years. As a councillor I enjoy helping our community and want to see Staplehurst flourish with suitable amenities, without overdevelopment. Staplehurst has a great community atmosphere, being town sized but keeping its Village feel and ethics. I believe that it’s important to ensure that our community’s best interests are kept in mind when facing the future whether it is issues about public toilets, education or housing plans.

RORY SILKIN - Member of Planning Committee and Employment, Finance & Strategy, KALC Area Committee, Staplehurst Emergency Help Team, SPPG, Staplehurst Surface Water Management Plan & Staplehurst Village Centre Trust Groups

I have chaired Parish Council meetings throughout the year together with meetings of the Finance and Strategy Groups; always a refreshing challenge! I have sat on the Planning Committee which has been particularly active this year and have represented the Council at Maidstone Area meetings of KALC as well as at Borough planning meetings when necessary. I also chair the Trustees of the Friends of the Staplehurst Health Centre organising health related presentations and supplying items to the Centre that the NHS doesn’t supply, such as textbooks and additional kit.

GILLIAN SMITH - Member of Planning Committee and Local Transport, Neighbourhood Plan Monitoring, Playscheme & Sobell Cheshire Home Groups

I have lived in Staplehurst for 35 years, having moved here from West London. One of the reasons my husband and I chose Staplehurst was its communication links to London, and for many years we commuted daily. Staplehurst provided a wonderful environment for us to bring up our two daughters, and I am pleased that the community spirit in Staplehurst is still as strong as ever. I worked as a Business Analyst for London Transport until I took up a career in Education, spending the last 25 years teaching in local primary schools. The provision of good quality Transport and Education services in our rural community is a particular interest for me. Undoubtedly Staplehurst has changed over the years and faces significant challenges ahead, but I am very keen that we strive to maintain the special character of the village. Becoming a member of the Parish Council gives me the opportunity to play a part in achieving this.

PETER SPEARINK - Member of Churchyard Liaison, Knoxbridge/A229 Residents', River Beult Catchment Improvement, Sobell Cheshire Home, Staplehurst Merit Award & Wimpey Field Nature Park Groups

Married with two grown up children, I have lived in Kent since 1973 and in Staplehurst since 1983. Now retired, I have more time for daytime Council affairs. I have been active in the field of disability disadvantage, local transport matters and the Staplehurst Emergency Help Team. I believe that Staplehurst should be more forward looking and accept that it is now a town not a village. I also believe that we should work more closely with MBC and adjacent parishes. This past year seems to have been busier than ever as the Parish Council expands its work into areas that it has never covered before. We are one of if not the most active Parish Councils in the borough and take our responsibilities very seriously. For a number of years we have tried to engage with MBC and other parishes with varying degrees of success. Many of the activities that we engage in we still find that we are the only parish taking an active interest. A prime example is the Destination Management Plan for the borough, which is about encouraging more tourists and shoppers to visit the borough as a whole and not just the town. I was personally invited to attend the inaugural event by MBC because of my previous involvement in such things. Following on from this meeting and one other I joined the Countryside Working Group section of the scheme and was joined by Cllr Perry as our Borough Councillor. We are the only parish who send a representative from both parish and borough. The work so far has been in collating a list of places and businesses such as Frankies Farm Shop and the new Pet Hotel at Greenworld. The idea being that the tourist dept at MBC can devise itineraries for prospective tourists who have indicated an interest in a particular subject and with all parishes involved, a full day out can be worked out for them. Along these lines I organised the Mayor's Charity day in Staplehurst for the second year. This year he had nearly 30 Mayors and Mayoresses from all over the county join him for lunch at Frankies followed by a visit to Hush Heath for a tour and tasting event. I also had the honour of organising his private visit to the Parish for the second year, where he officially opened the new DK Holdings factory accompanied by several members of the PC. He went on to visit Laineys Care Farm and was extremely impressed by what he saw there. I was invited to attend the Mayor Making ceremony in the town Hall last year which is not something that Parishes usually get and invited to, which is a sign of the recognition that MBC now give to our Parish as an important part of the borough. I was made our spokesperson on any Economic Development opportunities that may come to the parish. This is more of a support and encouragement role than anything practical but 'we do know a man that does' in most cases. I continue to attend SEHT meetings and have just agreed to be Vice Chair for the coming year. Although we have quite a few members, more are always welcome. One area where I am quite heavily involved is the River Beult and any plans for work on it over the next few years. I belong along with Cllr Perry to the Beult Catchment Improvement Group and by involvement with it manage to keep fully abreast of what is being planned for the Leigh Barrier and any potential allied work along the Beult. This puts us in a position to quash any rumours that may start to spread when the plans are, hopefully, announced later this year. I was put in the position of becoming the representative on the Surface Water Drainage group earlier this year when Cllr Kemp left the parish. I was his substitute and have recently attended my first meeting but found it just a bit too technical for me so will look to find a replacement member. I continue to work closely with Helen Grant in a non political way to bring local groups and charities to her attention. I was invited to visit the Sensational Kids club at the free church by some of the member families and was so impressed that I arranged for her to visit. Going on from this Cllr Perry and Cllr Manning accompanied me on a visit to Five Acre Wood School in Loose where many of the children at the club attend and we were truly astonished at the work they do for many of our children. So much so that the Parish Council has donated £500 to their amenity fund to help them buy very specialised equipment that they need. As a result of this we managed to get Mrs Grant to visit the school as well. Work on the Transport Accessibility Group continues for an eighth year. Cllr Manning and myself attend all meetings and have had some successes over the years but the No5 route is still giving cause for concern at times. I have been working with several other members and parishioners on plans to take over the Wimpey fields later this year with a view to making it a special place where nature can thrive but people can enjoy as well. I was also involved again in the Maidstone Riverside Run which many Staplehurst people support and take part in, again supported by Cllr Perry. My work on the Planning Committee gets more complex all the time with so much going on on large scale developments as well as smaller ones. I have maintained my 100% attendance record again and in fact of the 225 possible attendances during my 9 years on the council I have attended 223. Finally I would like to pay tribute to the help I have received from Borough Councillor Brice during the year, whose energy and enthusiasm knows no equal.

Other contacts associated with Staplehurst

MAIDSTONE BOROUGH COUNCIL - Staplehurst Ward (Staplehurst Parish)

Councillor John Perry (Conservative)
Couchman Green Barn
Couchman Green Lane
Kent TN12 0RR
Telephone: 07770 734741

MAIDSTONE BOROUGH COUNCIL - Staplehurst Ward (Staplehurst Parish)

Councillor Louise Brice (Conservative)
2 Further Field
Kent TN12 0SX
Telephone: 01580 892141
Mobile: 07817 362860

KENT COUNTY COUNCIL - Maidstone Rural South (Boughton Monchelsea, Langley, Marden & Staplehurst Wards)

Councillor Eric Hotson (Conservative)
White Willows
High Street
Kent TN12 0BL
Telephone: (01580) 892312

MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT - Maidstone & The Weald Constituency

Helen Grant MP
Telephone: 02072197107
Please contact the Constituency Office for Surgery dates and venues.


See details at: