Parish Council - Official Website
Minutes of the meeting of Biddenden Parish Council held on October 8 in the
Old Village Hall at 7.3Opm
Cllr. T Richards — Chairman Cllr. D Harrison
Cllr. Mrs E Cansdale — Vice Chairman Cllr. G Raffe
Cllr. M Conway Cllr. Mrs G Scott
Cllr. E Farris Cllr Mrs B Swain
Cllr. Mrs E Griffiths Cllr. B Wingham
Apology for absence from Cllr. H M Stokes.
18 parishioners were present for the Post Office discussion and five thereafter.
1. Before the meeting commenced Mr H Richards apologised for the omission of handbill delivery, concerning the September 18 Jubilee Meadow open meeting, to some houses in North Street. This was an oversight for which he was sorry.
2. There were no alterations to the members Register of Interests.
3. The Chairman suspended the formal meeting for the next item-so parishioners could comment and ask questions.
FUTURE OF B1DDENDEN POST OFFICE.
Peter Wilkinson, a Post Office manager responsible for Kent rural offices, said that despite the Post Office having to change to meet new competitive circumstances it had no intention of reducing rural offices and indeed had a record of opening new rural offices.
He said that he and KRCC (see below) were working very closely together to secure the future of the Post Office in Biddenden and although at this stage he could not say what the answer may be he was confident that Biddenden would not lose its Post Office.
Sean Carter, KRCC Rural Retail Consultant, confirmed that they were working with the Post Office to see that the facility remained and were considering all possible site options eg. a temporary Portacabin, the Village Hall, the "pub", the village store etc. but no decisions had been taken so far.
Neil Bell (Borough Councillor) said it was possible the Post Office could remain in its present location if planning constraints were addressed by the office owner and in any event the Borough Council would be supportive of any new location. The Chairman said the Parish Council had a duty to abide by planning regulations in reaching any decisions.
A parishioner suggested that the public toilet could be modified as the Post Office and a new toilet constructed elsewhere. Messrs Wilkinson and Carter confirmed that all options were worthy of investigation and would welcome any others.
This item closed with the parishioners warmly thanking the visitors for their positive approach to this local issue.
4. The Chairman formally reopened the meeting at this point.
The minutes of the meeting held on September 10 and the special meeting held onSeptember 1 8 were approved and signed by the Chairman.
5. Matters arising.
The Clerk referred to the very successful introductory meeting of the Training Highway computer classes held on October 2 which was attended by 24 parishioners. Subject to final confirmation the classes would go ahead in the Village School commencing with a "taster class" on October 28 All those who attended the initial meeting would be contacted plus others who had advised the Parish Clerk (on 01622 890596) of their interest.
Following the Parish Councils investigation into the requirement for new litter bins it had been decided five new bins were needed and the Borough Council recommended design was accepted. The clerk would arrange purchase and supply. Cllr.Mrs Cansdale would liaise with the Borough on exact locations and the Borough would then supply and fix.
At the September Council meeting it was recommended that a firm decision be given to Mr Furner as regards his request for access via the Jubilee Meadow to "the Barn" on his property. After due consideration the Council felt it could not grant this access request at this time.
The decisions are recorded separately
7. Borough Council Report
Cllr. Bell said he had no specific issues to raise other than the Post Office (already discussed) and he asked that the "blue box" recycling scheme presentation be delayed until the November meeting.
The Chairman asked that he "keep the pressure on" the Borough concerning repairs to the pavements in Biddenden High Street and the Clerk asked that he also check progress on the replacement of the safety chevrons on the main road corner by the Three Chimneys. Cllr. Bell agreed and would report progress at the next meeting.
It was noted that the new Internal Auditor had paid an initial visit to the Clerk and his report was awaited.
Cllr. Mrs Scott asked when a meeting of the Finance Committee would be called. It was agreed this would be done in November in time to present the 2003 budget to the Council for approval at the December meeting.
Council members considered the letter from Mr Rymer Jones concerning the Jubilee Meadow, One point was covered in para. 1 above. As regards the proposal to consider part of the Meadow for sheltered housing the Council rejected this suggestion as it was not in line with the wishes of the village as demonstrated at the September 18 meeting and would be contrary to the DEFRA field management agreement.
Mr Churton's request to be able to train his gun dog in the Jubilee Meadow was rejected as such a privilege could not be accorded to one person only.
Cllr. Conway had asked for tree surgery on a "council" tree adjoining his property. it was agreed Cllr Conway would put this in hand and the Council would meet the necessary cost.
It was agreed that Cllr. Conway would be the representative at the KAPC AGM on November 2’ The clerk would confirm the booking to KAPC.
The Clerk had received details of the forthcoming requirements for the "Freedom of Information" Act whereby the Council had to specify what information it regularly produced for public inspection. The Clerk would keep councillors up to date on this.
Under this "Correspondence" heading the Chairman raised the question as to whether the Village Hall should have a telephone line installed. There would be an initial cost of £100 plus a quarterly rental. Councillors were asked to consider this for discussion at a future meeting.
Also Mr Carr had raised the need for a Parish Council replacement for Mrs Swain who had resigned as a school governor. The Chairman said this would be considered at the November meeting.
10. Gordon Jones Playing Field
The Clerk said he had followed up the action required for any ROSPA safety recommendations to the play equipment but that the general tidying of the site, especially removal of thistles, needed the attention of a good "handyman". The Clerk would pursue this matter as quickly as possible.
11. Millennium Field and Jubilee Meadow Committee.
The Committee report of October l was accepted. The Clerk would write to DEFRA stating that the Parish Council accepted the Meadow stewardship arrangements already received. A formal agreement would then be sent for our signature.
12. Village Design Statement
The report of 27th September was noted. The Chairman hoped that many parishioners would attend the Design Statement presentation tomorrow, October 9 as it was vital the village was fully "involved" in this important matter.
Cllr. Conway asked that his KAPC and Parish Forums reports be held over until November when he will have the formal minutes available.
He had attended the first of a new thrice yearly Police presentation attended this time by the Chief Constable himself
Not surprisingly most delegates complained about the problems of speeding, traffic volume and control and the lack of police presence particularly in rural areas. Also the poor response to telephone calls.
The Police were pleased with the reduction in theft and burglary but were concerned about the rise in violent crime — usually of a domestic nature.
It was interesting that some 70% of persons jailed were previously unemployed and some 50% illiterate.
14, Matters for future consideration.
Apart from items mentioned above Cllr Bell asked that "Broadband" IT connection for the parish be discussed. Also the carried over "e mail data base" proposal sponsored by CIlr Stokes.
15. Next meeting.
November 12 and, if required, a Planning Meeting on October 22 attended by the Chairman, Vice Chairman and Cllrs Farris, Wingham and Mrs Scott.
16. Remuneration for the Clerk and Lengthsman.
The Chairman closed the meeting to the public at this point and the Clerk left the discussion.
The Council agreed to pay the Clerk the revised NALC salary scales as set out in the NALC recommendations. They also agreed to increase the Lengthsmans wages by 4% forthwith.
The meeting closed at 9.35pm.
Graham Smith, Parish Clerk. October 9 2002.