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Minutes of a meeting of the Biddenden Parish Council
Held on Tuesday 10th April 2001 at 7.30p.m. in the Club House
QUESTIONS FROM THE PUBLIC IN RESPECT OF NON-AGENDA ITEMS
No questions raised.
HOUSING SURVEY RESULTS – PRESENTED BY MRS. J. PASSMORE , AREA PROGRAMME MANAGER FOR THE RURAL HOUSING TRUST.
Mrs. Passmore gave some background information on the Trust and the reasons behind the recent survey. The responses to this survey have now been analysed and a housing need proven, resulting in its recommendation for an additional 10-12 units in Biddenden. Should a new scheme be given the go-ahead it may still take some time to materialise due to the funding procedures. The Chairman thanked Mrs. Passmore for her attendance.
The Parish Council will give consideration to such a scheme at its next meeting. AGREED.
The minutes of the meeting of Tuesday 13 March 2001 were approved and signed.
Website – Some additions have been made to the "links" page however consideration needs to be given to the inclusion of local businesses. The site is now to be made public (details to be displayed at the Annual Parish Meeting, on the noticeboards and in the Parish Magazine). Comments have been received from a local enthusiast who has made suggestions with regard to the "direction" of the site. Further consideration is to be given to the development of the site and will be done after the site ‘launch’ so as to incorporate any additional feedback, which may arise as a result. AGREED.
High Street Pavements - Highways Unit has confirmed that the bid for works to the pavements was successful and that work is programmed to start on 24th September 2001. It will not be full reconditioning though – further details will be provided in due course. The Highways Unit is to be asked to liaise directly with Cllr. Wingham in this respect.
Maintenance of hedges and greenery in the Ashford BC Car Park – No formal response to the Council’s request to take over maintenance has been received but it has been suggested that insurance might be a potential problem. Ashford BC’s contractors will do whatever tidying-up they can a.s.a.p. The contractors have stated that they are restricted in what can be done to this particular hedge due to its type, location in a conservation area and the wildlife it supports. The Council felt that there was still significant scope for general tidying work but that no further action should be taken until the contractors have revisited the site. In the meantime Highways Unit are to be asked to replace the posts missing from the car park end of the verge and outside the rectory. AGREED.
(Cllr. Bell arrived at 8.15p.m.)
ASHFORD BOROUGH COUNCIL REPORT
Cllr. Bell confirmed that any local business with a rateable value below £12,000, which is suffering as a direct result of the Foot & Mouth crisis, might be able to obtain rate relief. Anyone in this category should contact Cllr. Bell.
VILLAGE JUNCTION LAYOUT
The Highways Unit will be carrying out a full detailed design of the new junction before construction commences. It is anticipated that the earliest the design work will start will be in the summer 2001. The promised "gateway" features will however be implemented shortly. Confirmation has also been obtained, with the assistance of Cllr. Bell that a mobile speed indicator device could be provided from either County or Borough Council funds.
It was felt that the decision to proceed with Option 3 further increased the need to slow down traffic entering the village on the Tenterden Road. The Highways Unit is to be asked to:
(Cllr. Bell left the meeting at this point)
Full Council Decisions
ASHFORD BOROUGH COUNCIL DECISIONS were tabled and noted.
The cheques presented at the meeting were approved and signed and receipts noted.
Kent County Playing Fields Association – A donation of £30.00 was AGREED (177) White Horse Wood Project – 4 Trees at £5.00 each are to be donated. AGREED (178)
In pursuance of the power conferred by Section 137 of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended) and being of the opinion that the expenditure satisfies the requirements of that section, the Council approved the payment of the sum of £30.00 in respect of the Kent Playing Fields Association and £20.00 in respect of the KCC White Horse Woods Project.
Kent Men of the Trees: Trees in the Village Competition - An entry is to be made for this year’s competition and authority was given for the payment of the £10.00 entry fee, which includes the provision of a report on the condition of the trees for each village entered (179).
Works on the Village Green – It was reported that a number of residents have expressed an interest in making a financial contribution towards the cost of the plants on the Village Green. Further consideration is to be given to the disposal/use of the remaining chain and the purchase of additional compost for the new flowerbed.
Fidelity Guarantee Insurance – It was agreed that the requirements of the Council’s Insurers were not workable and that the Council is satisfied with its own internal procedures. In light of the clarification received from KAPC, which confirmed that the advice from District Audit to increase cover "had the power of recommendation rather than obligation" and that " it would appear that it remains the duty of each Council to question and review its own procedures", a decision was made to maintain cover at its current level. AGREED. (Cllr. Mrs. Swain left the meeting at this point.)
Account & Audit Regulations – the threshold above which Councils are required to produce Income & Expenditure Accounts is to be raised from £5,000 to £50,000. NOTED.
Ashford BC has confirmed to the Governors of John Mayne School that it will look into the possibility of installing crash barriers at the blind bend, which runs past the school playing fields on the Sissinghurst Road. NOTED.
Regional Planning Guidance for the South-East (RPG9) - the final document has now been published. NOTED.
Electoral Register - Councillors are now entitled to their own copy of the electoral register, although recent changes in law mean that this information must not be given out to the public. Copies will be requested for all Councillors.
Draft Code of Conduct for Parish & District Councillors – Comments should be submitted to Mr. Kirkland, at Ashford BC by 17th April (or directly to DETR by 27th). The Government intends that this Code will be mandatory upon Parish and District Councils and that it will replace the present National Code of Local Government Conduct It is hoped that all Councils within the Ashford Borough will be able to sign up to the same or similar code. NOTED.
Ashford Primary Care Group - action plan and questionnaire. TABLED.
Millennium Beacon – Comments received from a resident of The Weavers were NOTED.
Details relating to the mechanised road sweeper and forthcoming roadworks were NOTED.
Noticeboard - Thanks were given to Mr. R Swain and Cllr. T Richards for erecting the new Noticeboard.
Village Green – A vote of thanks was given to Cllr. Richards for the recent work on the Village Green. Three Greenkeepers from Chart Hills Golf Club, whose services were very kindly offered without charge, erected the new posts. A formal letter of thanks is to be sent to the Club. AGREED.
GORDON JONES PLAYING FIELD
Work on the Children’s Play Area will commence once ground conditions improve. The Council has taken delivery of the new picnic table.
MILLENNIUM FIELD COMMITTEE REPORT
Cllr. Conway had reported (via the Clerk) that KAPC currently has no formal decision with regards to holding Village Fetes in light of the Foot & Mouth crisis.
A decision on whether the 16th June Event should proceed will be made on 30th April. However due to timescales the application for the occasional licence will be made immediately. AGREED
KAPC REPORT – No report
MATTERS FOR FUTURE CONSIDERATION
Give consideration to supporting an additional Local Needs Housing Scheme, disposal/re-use of surplus chain, new Chairman (Cllr. Farris confirmed that he would be standing down as Chairman at the next meeting)
DATE OF NEXT MEETING
The next meeting of the Council will be the Statutory Annual Meeting, which will take place on Tuesday 8th May 2001 at 7.30p.m.in the Club House.
(The Annual Parish Meeting takes place on Tuesday 24th April 7.30pm in the Club House)
The meeting closed at 9.25p.m