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Minutes of a meeting of the Biddenden Parish Council
Held on Tuesday 12th June 2001 at 7.30p.m. in the Club House
QUESTIONS FROM THE PUBLIC IN RESPECT OF NON-AGENDA ITEMS
After receiving comments from a parishioner the Chairman commenced the business of the Council as follows:
The minutes of the meeting of Tuesday 8 May 2001 were approved and signed.
Maintenance of hedges and greenery in the Ashford BC Car Park – The Borough Council has declined the Council’s offer to take over maintenance. Further planting to strengthen the hedge will take place in the autumn, in the meantime wire and posts have been erected to prevent pedestrians walking through the gaps. NOTED.
High Street Pavements - Cllr. Wingham reported that work on the road edges had commenced although there is still no news regarding the pieces of Bethersden Marble removed from outside Turner’s Stores. The budget for the refurbishment works, due to commence in September 2001, is £10,000. The Highways Unit believes this will enable it to replace slabs on the North side with an appropriate material (to be approved) with the remainder covering the re-pointing of the south side. Cllr. Wingham will investigate the possibility of grant funding to provide additional finance. Jamie Watson, Highways engineer wishes to meet with the Parish Council before work commences. NOTED.
Village Green Maintenance – A total of £70 has been donated by three residents to-date, a sum which was received with the thanks of the Council. The Chairman apologised to Cllr. Richards for any awkwardness he may have experienced as a result of being asked to pursue this matter. Although no further direct approaches are to be made, any further donations would be gratefully received. AGREED.
High Street Parking Restrictions – A village trader has suggested the idea of a 1-hour parking restriction in the High Street. After lengthy discussions it was agreed to contact Ashford BC to establish the feasibility of such a proposal before discussing the matter further. AGREED.
(Cllr. Bell arrived at 7.55p.m.)
ASHFORD BOROUGH COUNCIL REPORT
Cllr. Bell reported on the personnel changes resulting from the recent election and the temporary changes at Ashford BC brought about by the Chief Executive’s ill-health. NOTED.
VILLAGE JUNCTION LAYOUT
The Highways Unit has commissioned a design team to start work on the detailed design of the junction. This should take a couple of weeks to complete plus a further couple for safety auditing. Andy Corcoran will arrange to meet with the Parish Council once the audit is complete. The red surfacing at the 30mph terminals should have been completed by now but the Highways Unit was let down by its contractors and it is the process of making new arrangements for this work.
Cllr. Bell has also reminded the Highways Unit of the speed indicator device offered by Richard King (KCC).
(Cllr. Bell left the meeting at this point)
Planning Committee Decisions: Meeting held on 21st May 2001 at Henden Hall - attended by GS/BW/EF/EC/EG
Full Council Decisions
ASHFORD BOROUGH COUNCIL DECISIONS were tabled and noted.
The cheques presented were approved and signed and the receipts noted.
Transfer between funds - £1,000.00 was transferred from the Business Reserve Account to the Millennium Field Account on 15th May representing the first half of the Council’s agreed contribution for this financial year.
Annual Audit – The books have been deposited with the District Auditor and the Clerk will attend a meeting at the Civic Centre on Monday 18th June to discuss their findings.
Village Hall repairs – The Management Committee will shortly be applying to the Parish Council for the payment of the agreed contribution towards the improvement works.
All Saints PCC - Permission was granted for signs to be erected on the Village Green to advertise this year’s Church Fete. AGREED.
The following items of correspondence were NOTED:
Foot & Mouth - Most Kent Footpaths re-opened in May. However, all footpaths and bridleways crossing land which is grazed, likely to be grazed, or has been grazed within the previous 28 days remain closed for the time being. People are asked to keep to the new "Code of Practice for walking on Public Rights of Way".
Ashford Weald Housing has provided a programme of works for housing maintenance for the current financial year. (Tabled).
New Sign at Entrance to Playing Field – The sign has been erected. Iden Signs has confirmed that the removable blocks, originally requested for ease of updating, had proved unnecessary. The hyphen in "Gordon-Jones" is to be removed at the request of Cllr. Harrison. AGREED.
17 Cheeselands – This vacancy has been re-allocated.
31 Cheeselands - Concern was expressed by residents when this property went up "for sale". Individuals with local connection have subsequently purchased it via the Rural Housing Trust.
Periodic Electoral Review of Ashford - The Final Recommendations. The Local Government Commission is recommending that the Borough has 43 Councillors representing 35 wards, with some changes to ward boundaries. Biddenden is unaffected.
An application for a transfer of licence at the Three Chimneys’ will be heard on 3rd July.
Ashford BC has published its Budget Document for 2001-02. (Tabled).
A resident of North Street has written regarding various matters affecting the village.
The following items have been reported to the relevant departments:
Black sacks outside Church Cottages.
Smashed glass by the recycling bins. (The boxes of glass in front of the bins were reported post-meeting).
Overfull dog-waste bin in Cheeselands.
Problems with unmaintained fences around several rented properties in Cheeselands.
STRUCTURE OF COMMITTEES – EXISTING AND FUTURE
The idea of a separate Planning Committee – to reduce the length of Council Meetings and increase the amount of time available to consider plans - was discussed. There was a feeling that time has been less of an issue since deciding to display applications prior to the meeting. The point was also made that a separate committee would not have the benefit of the whole Council’s background knowledge, as it the case at present. It was agreed to leave things as they stand at the moment with further investigations being made into the procedures for applications which fall between meetings.
The Gordon Jones Playing Field representatives do not constitute a committee. AGREED.
The structure of the Millennium Field Advisory Committee was discussed in light of information received from KAPC. Again, it was felt that further enquiries should be made before implementing any changes. AGREED.
VILLAGE DESIGN STATEMENT
Cllr. Richards reported on the VDS Workshop held on 8th June, which stressed the importance of maximum contact with the community, local organisations and the Borough Council.
Richard Carr addressed the meeting and asked for clarification regarding the anticipated line of contact between the VDS Group and the Parish Council. He also sought clarification as to the purpose of the Parish Meeting. In light of the discussions that followed it was decided that the Parish Meeting planned for Tuesday 26th June be postponed until Tuesday 25th September 2001. The interim period will be used to formulate an approach to generate maximum interest, as well as considering the other issues raised by Mr. Carr. AGREED.
GORDON JONES PLAYING FIELD
The missing posts by the car park have been replaced. Cllr. Farris agreed to inspect the recently completed works at the children’s play area.
MILLENNIUM FIELD COMMITTEE REPORT
Cllr. Richards reported on the minutes of the meeting held on 22nd May 2001, which included the following points:
British Gates is to quote for the noticeboard
Spraying around the trees will be carried out next week
The paths have been mowed.
A Cheese & Wine Evening will be held on Saturday 14th July at The Malt House to raise funds. (Date changed post meeting as per Mrs. Conway)
The next meeting of the Committee will take place at 7.30pm on Wednesday 27th June 2001 at Wealden, Cot Lane.
16th June Event - A rota of stewards has been set up. The marquee will be used to host the teas, Website and photographic displays.
KAPC REPORT – No report
MATTERS FOR FUTURE CONSIDERATION
Cllr. Raffe commented that the Noticeboard outside Turner’s Stores needs re-painting.
The Chairman wishes to attend a KAPC Councillors Information Day on 28th July. A cheque will be presented to the Council for authorisation at the next meeting.
(Post meeting note: July agenda – consider salaries of Clerk & Lengthsman)
DATE OF NEXT MEETING
The next meeting of the Council will take place on Tuesday 10 July 2001 at 7.30p.m.in the Club House.
The meeting closed at 9.17p.m