Council - Official Website
Thursday 6 December 2001 in the Club House
Additional Land Purchase
Background – Cllr. Richards
One of the initial aims of the Millennium Field was to involve the local children but earlier plans for direct access from the school to the field proved unsuccessful. However a recent enquiry to the landowner resulted in him offering to sell the field and despite receiving another offer he expressed his wish to sell only to the Parish Council.
The field is an important part of the visual approach to the village and hence planning permission has been refused in the past.
The Parish Council now has the opportunity to purchase this for the benefit of the village. In addition to resolving the access problem for the school children the site has enormous potential i.e. as an environmental site or an opportunity for further sporting facilities, should the Parish Council and Village feel it appropriate. However it is an opportunity that may never arise again.
Finance – Cllr. Conway
With the pressure on Ashford Borough to build new houses development will spread into the villages. Buying this land will protect it for years to come.
There is a future opportunity to obtain grant funding for an environmental centre, but unfortunately none identified that will assist with the purchase. Also, as grant funding takes time, the Council was using the meeting to announce to the public its need for other sources of funding/donations.
The Council may be able to borrow up to £47,500, subject to a revised valuation, leaving a shortfall of £2,500 (on the current valuation of £37,500 the shortfall is £12,500). Additional funds raised would also enable any loan to be repaid earlier.
The Chairman closed the meeting at 7.42pm to allow the Open Public Session to commence.
At the suggestion of the public a show of hands in support of the proposals was made – All present in favour. (Post meeting note: one letter of objection received)
Date of next meeting – The next full meeting of the Council will take place at 7.30pm on Tuesday 11 December 2001 in the Club House.
Summary of questions raised:
Q. If the Council had so much land could the Borough Council compulsorily purchase from us?
A. This is always a danger but the Parish would have more say.
Q. Public donations – should PC consider charitable status?
A. Entrust may require a trust to be formed – this could then be used for other donations.
Q. Is the Council prepared for long-term loan repayments and the effect on the precept?
A. Loan repayment figures have been considered in the budgets. Budgets and precepts will be discussed at the next full meeting of the Council.
Q. Might one future use of the land be as a graveyard?
A. Church has no money available for this purpose.
Q. Will the land be registered under the new Open Spaces Act (as previously suggested for the Millennium Field?
A. This matter is to be referred to the land purchase committee for consideration.
Additional comments from the public:
Development will come to Biddenden, hence agreement with the proposals.
Mobile phone companies have funding for such projects – Cllr. Conway will investigate.
A list containing 40 names of residents in support of the land purchase was handed to the Clerk. Most of these residents were unable to attend, as they were unaware of the meeting until the last moment. The Chairman confirmed that the details had been posted on the noticeboard and website for the required time and explained that due to the timescales involved a notice in the Parish Magazine had not proved possible.