Parish Council - Official Website
Minutes of the Council meeting held in the Old Village Hall on December 10th 2002
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 H Stokes
Cllr Mrs E Griffiths Cllr Mrs B Swain
Also 8 parishioners were present.
Apologies for absence – Cllr B Wingham and Cllr N Bell (Ashford BC)
1. There were no comments from parishioners regarding items not on the agenda.
2. There were no alterations to members Register of Interests.
3. The minutes of the meeting held on November 12th were approved and then signed by the Chairman.
4. Matters arising.
Cllr Mrs Scott reported that several meetings of the Liaison Group had been held and they had considered three scenarios,
In the short term they would like to see the Post Office remain in its present location for as long as possible
In the medium term it may be necessary to use a temporary building and the most likely location for this would be in the car park
In the long term they were examining several possible permanent locations and whilst no firm conclusion could yet be reached one possibility
(favoured by Post Office HQ) was in a section of the Old Village Hall nearest the front doors. The Village Hall Committee would consider this option in January next.
The Chairman queried whether the resultant smaller hall would be adequate for its normal scheduled uses and Cllr Conway asked that the Village Hall Committee seeks the views of all regular hall users before coming to a decision.
Cllr Scott confirmed that any building costs associated with a new location would be borne by the Post Office and any village contribution should be minimal.
Cllr Scott also confirmed that other possible locations had not been ruled out.
The Clerk reported that the initial computer lessons on December 3rd had gone well and feedback from participants had been very positive. Courses would continue every two weeks.
There was still the unresolved problem of where to locate the "free" computer for course members to practise on. Both Turners Stores and the Red Lion had been approached but had insufficient space. Mrs Swain agreed to contact the Doctors practice to see whether their room in the Village Hall would be available on a closely managed basis.
The new bins had been provided by Ashford Borough Council but we are one short of the agreed number. The Clerk would ask ABC to contact Mrs Cansdale.
See page 43 attached. Page 40
See page 44 attached.
7. Budget proposals for 2003/4.
Councillors approved the draft proposals drawn up by the Finance Committee on November 27th with an amendment to the Jubilee Meadow expenditure and income figures which would not actually alter the suggested precept requirement
Also discussed was a possible lump sum to be repaid to the Public Works Loan Board to reduce our debt to them for the purchase of the Millennium and Jubilee fields. This must be repaid by March 2003.
It was agreed this and the final budget decision would be taken at the January meeting.
The Clerk thanked the Finance Committee for its work as this was the first occasion that such a committee had helped prepare the annual budget.
8. Distribution of surplus Jubilee celebrations funds.
A letter had been received from the Golden Jubilee Committee suggesting that the surplus funds (£267) be used to plant a commemorative tree on the Village Green.
There had been an earlier proposal for such a tree to be donated by the Parish Councillors themselves but after discussion it was agreed the surplus funds would be used to,
purchase an English oak
purchase a suitable tree guard to protect it
purchase commemorative plaques for both the new tree and the chestnut tree that had been planted for the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria
replace the poor tree at the west end of the Green
The Council recorded its appreciation of the above gift from the Biddenden Queens Golden Jubilee Committee.
Cllr Mrs Scott said the Committee would arrange all the necessary planting and associated works.
The following items were particularly noted,
a suggestion by Mrs P Stokes that pavement improvements on the north side of the High Street be repeated on the south side was agreed by the Council and would be taken up with the Borough Council. The Council wished to record their appreciation of the excellent work undertaken so far and felt it had provided a smooth walkway without detracting from the visual quality of the pavement.
several letters had been received concerning the Christmas Tree adverts on the Village Green suggesting that they should not be there as they are "commercial". The Chairman said he had agreed to these as trees had been donated to the Village School and to the Church. In future the Council asked that such requests be considered by the full Council.
Kent Highways advised that the main road from St Michaels into Tenterden will be subject to major road works for 22 weeks from 27th January 2003. Delays will be inevitable.
The Clerk was asked to take up with the Borough Council replacement of the "missing" street light near the traffic island foot crossing.
Ashford Borough Council had advised that they would consider a pavement from Woolpack Corner to Dashmonden if the Parish Council felt it was of higher priority than other aspirations. A further suggestion was made of a combined cycle and footpath inside the hedge rather than adjacent to the roadway. This would be examined with the Borough Council and, naturally, with the landowner concerned.
Cllr Wingham had written to draw attention to the poor state of Church Cottages, which are listed buildings, owned by the Borough Council. The Clerk would write to the Borough to ascertain any plans for improvement or sale. It was suggested that the property nearest the church gate (No.1) could be one possible site for a replacement Post Office.
Ashford Borough Council had written concerning a possible "Good Neighbour" scheme for Biddenden. The Council felt this was not really something for the Parish Council to organise and suggested that an advert be placed to see if there was "a volunteer" to co ordinate such a scheme.
10. Gordon Jones Playing Field.
Two estimates had been received for repairs to the childrens play area. It was agreed the Chairman and Clerk would seek further information from the firms concerned before a final choice was made.
11. Millennium Field and Jubilee Meadow.
A report of the Advisory Committee meeting on December 4th was tabled and noted.
It was also noted that the "Grand Fayre" would be on June 14th next year. Cllr Conway reported that he had already secured £1000 Countryside Agency funding towards this event. The Council recorded its appreciation of this.
12. Village Design Statement.
Mr Carr referred to his report of December 4th and said that following discussions with Ashford Borough Council some rewriting would be necessary which would slightly delay publication.
The Chairman said it was important to get the finished Statement "just right" and if the Design Statement committee required a little more time and possibly a little more financial support from the Parish Council this was quite acceptable.
13. School Governor.
Mr Carr said Mr C Tester had expressed interest in the vacant post. The Council gave its support to Mr Tester if he decided to accept the position.
14. Extension of Conservation area.
It was noted that the Jubilee Meadow was in the Conservation Area but that the Millennium Field was not. The Clerk would contact Ashford BC to seek inclusion.
15. Reports of other meetings.
Cllr Conway drew attention to the Ashford Local Plan being drawn up by the Borough and although its target date was 2006 it was not too early for us to input any local views. This would, in effect, become the Ashford Development Plan.
16. Next meeting.
January 14th 2003. It was agreed that if there were planning items that needed resolution before that date the councillors involved would be circulated for views and final endorsement would be at the January meeting.
The meeting closed at 9.50 pm and the Chairman thanked all the Council for their support over the past year and wished them a Happy Christmas.