Biddenden Parish Council - Official Website

12th November 2002



Meetings 2002
10th December 2002
12th November 2002
8th October 2002
10th September 2002
13th August 2002
9th July 2002
11th June 2002
14th May 2002
Annual Parish Meeting
9th April 2002
12th March 2002
12th February 2002
8th January 2002

Minutes of meeting held on Tuesday 12th November 2002

at 7.30 p.m. in the Old Village Hall


Cllr. T Richards Chairman Cllr. G Raffe

Cllr. Mrs E Cansdale Vice Chairman Cllr. Mrs G Scott

Cllr. M Conway Cllr. H M Stokes

Cllr. E Farris Cllr. Mrs B Swain

Cllr. Mrs B Griffiths Cllr. B Wingham

Cllr. D Harrison

Six parishioners were present, also Neil Bell, Borough Councillor,

1. Items not on the Agenda.

A parishioner raised the question as to whether the work currently  under way on the
old Police House in North Street had been approved as the scale of the redevelopment
seemed excessive. The Chairman said the work had received both Parish and Borough
Council approval.

2. There were no alterations to the members Register of Interests.

3. The minutes of the meeting held on October 8 were approved and signed by the
Chairman with one minor alteration i.e. Item 13  where Cllr. Stokes not Cllr Conway had attended the Police meeting.

4. Matters arising from the October minutes.

 Future of Biddenden Post Office

Cllr. Bell said he had contacted Lorne International, the landlords, with a view to their seeking planning permission for partitioning the ground floor for office use which could allow the Post Office to remain if Lorne so wished. No Planning Application had been received to date.

The Chairman briefly adjourned the meeting so that Mr Brown, on behalf of the Postmistress, could emphasise the desirability of the Post Office remaining where it is on the basis that the rent to Lorne International would only rise in line with inflation. He feared that they may seek a substantial rent increase thus forcing the Post Office to leave.

On resuming the meeting Cllr. Mrs Scott emphasised that this was an issue of vital importance to the village and felt that a village "Post Office Liaison Group" should be set up to monitor the situation. It was agreed that Cllrs Mrs Scott and Mrs Cansdale, Cllr N. Bell and parishioners Messrs Carr and Whapham would be the group. They would contact the Post Office officials to ascertain the position and report at the December meeting. The Postmistress would also be asked to attend the Group.

Training Highway

The Clerk advised that the "Taster" courses at the Village School had gone well and it was planned to start the courses proper on November 26 or 27 at the home of Norman Heath, Woodland Lodge, Benenden Road. Mr Heath had kindly offered this facility and Training Highway confirmed it was most suitable. The courses would be fortnightly and all who had attended the "Taster" day would be contacted. Any other interested parishioners should contact the Clerk on 01622 890596.

New litter bins

The clerk advised that locations had been agreed and that the bins should be installed within a week or so.

Replacement school governor

No Parish Councillor wished to take this appointment and it would be advertised locally. Any willing person should contact Mr Carr on 01580 291334

5. Before proceeding to the main agenda for the evening the Chairman offered the condolences of the Council to Mrs Cansdale on the recent death of her husband.

6. "Blue Box" Recycling scheme.

Cllr. Bell introduced Messrs P Jackson, Head of Environmental Services ABC, and D Robinson. Contracts Officer ABC.

Mr Jackson said the Ashford, like all councils, had a statutory duty to increase recycling from the current 7% of waste to 14% by 2004 and 21% by 2006, One way of achieving this was by the "Blue Box" scheme whereby households stored paper, glass and tins that were collected fortnightly by the Council and sorted for recycling .This scheme was already in place in Ashford and Tenterden and the current take up was about 40% of potential households. It was not compulsory.

A core of about 700 properties was required to make a days collection viable and "central" Biddenden met this criterium.

In answer to a question it was confirmed that the village recycling centre would remain as experience indicated that "Blue Box" users tended to be "new" to recycling and were not usual contributors to the recycling centre.

Cllr Conway recommended that Biddenden should join the scheme and this was agreed. The likely implementation date was mid 2003 and the Parish Council would help in any way to promote the idea. Mr Jackson thanked the Council for its support.


Cllr. Bell explained the benefits of this speedier Internet access technology and asked that all parishioners who were interested should register their interest on the BT Broadband website so that demand in Biddenden was seen as sufficient to upgrade the telephone exchange. Currently 39 parishioners have registered.

Village pavement.

Cllr Bell asked the Parish Council to specify exactly what it would like done to the Bethersden marble pavement after the current repairs are completed and this could then be pursued with Ashford Borough Council with the aim of work in 2003/4.

Councillors were very pleased with the quality of the current repairs.

7. E mail data base.

Cllr. Stokes asked that this topic be postponed until the New Year as it would be useful to get input and ideas from the Training Highway courses.

8. Planning.

The Chairman declared an interest in applications 01637 and 01697 (Pullen Barn Farm) and left the room.

The Council objected to 01637 until more details of the proposed storage and likely traffic movements were known.

9. Finance.

The payments listed on page 39 were approved after the Council agreed to a donation of to Tenterden Citizens Advice Bureau.

The clerk explained that the 200 1/2002 Parish accounts had never been formally approved (although informally noted) and asked for formal approval as this was a requirement of the Audit regulations. This was agreed.

It was noted that the Council Finance Committee would meet at 10.30 on November 27 at the Chairmans house to suggest the 2003/4 budget for full Council approval at the December meeting. The Committee comprises Cllrs Richards and Wingham and Cllrs Mrs Cansdale and Scott plus the Clerk. Any other councillor would be welcome to attend.

10. Jubilee celebrations distribution of surplus.

Clir Mrs Scott said that a final surplus of "a few hundred s" would be likely as a result of individual donations and that rather than distribute a very small sum to all village organisation she suggested that all the organisations I groups I clubs be contacted and asked to briefly write why they would like the whole sum and to what use it would be put. In the light of the replies a successful applicant would be chosen,

Cllr. Conway felt that as the Parish Council had contributed a substantial sum to the Jubilee fund it should receive a share of the surplus. Cllr. Mrs Scott said the Parish Council input was specifically for the hire of the marquee and there were many other individual donations to the fund. She did not feel the Parish Council should have any priority over these other donors.

The Council agreed to Cllr Scotts proposals for distribution of the final surplus and she would report progress at the December meeting.

Cllr Scott reminded the Council that mugs had been given to the village schoolchildren as part of the Jubilee celebrations.


11 Correspondence.

The Clerk drew attention to the items received. The following were particularly noted. a. All Councillors were entitled to a copy of the new Electoral Register, on application and the clerk would forward applications from those councillors interested,

b. Water supply to Tennis Courts. The Chairman said this issue would with by the Club House Management Committee at their next meeting. Clerk to advise Mrs Sawl.

c.Suggested pavement from Woolpack Corner to Dashmonden. The Council felt this would be very expensive but nevertheless was a good idea and the Clerk was asked to put the proposal to the Borough Council for their reaction.

d.Repairs to the childrens playground. Councillors had previously agreed that these areas were in urgent need of removal of the thistle infestation and replacement of the bark chippings plus repairs to the fencing. The Clerk had received a preliminary estimate of 3550 for this work and councillors felt this was reasonable but asked that a further estimate be obtained.

e. Council supported a Southern Housing Group permission for the resident of 34 Cheeselands to provide a boxed area for their domestic rubbish.

f. Council noted the Rural Housing Trust application for funding for 12 "local needs" housing units in Biddenden. We will be fully involved if funding is secured.

g. The clerk drew attention to the first 2001 Census results for the Ashford Borough area,

h. The Clerk had received guidance from the Countryside Agency on Parish Plans and also advice of a Workshop on November 23rd. Whilst Biddenden did not currently intend to produce a Parish Plan councillors were aware that this may be necessary in the not too distant future and would keep the matter under review.

i. Copies of correspondence between Mr Stanford of "Mansion House" North Street and Messrs R J Kingsland was noted.

j. The Clerk was asked to write to Mrs S Drake to thank her for the excellent work in keeping the War Memorial in such good order.

12. Millennium Field and Jubilee Meadow.

There was no meeting of the Committee to report but the final contract with DEFRA for us to manage the field had been received. Cllr Conway had studied the contract and recommended the Council should sign. This was approved.

The Chairman said that James Seymour would personally supervise the proposed ditch works and will take part in the initial educational visits which are a key part of the DEFRA agreement.

The Chairman referred to the previously agreed posts around the car park and said that one would now need to be removable for access to the playing field. This may incur a small additional cost. The Council agreed to this.

13. Village Design Statement.

Mr Carr said the Open Meeting on October 9 had been very successful and comments received were being input to the revised draft of the Statement, Also Ashford Borough Council had given their informal comments for consideration. 500 had been received from KRCC and 600 from Ashford Borough Council towards the overall costs of the work.


Cllr. Conway said he would give a full report at the December meeting but drew attention to two important issues discussed ie the County waste strategy (see 6 above) and the likely review of the Code of Conduct regulations.

Cllr. Conway had also attended two Parish Forums where items discussed included a "Strategy for Community Safety" which covered items such as rural CCTV, vandalism, drug abuse and anti social behaviour.

Also the planned growth for Ashford was examined with the attendant problem of how the infrastructure would cope. Parish Plans (see Ii .h above) would be an important input to this work.

A Police meeting emphasised the point that many crimes went unreported due to the difficulty of contacting the Police! There will be more speed cameras in Kent and Biddenden may get a Warden patrol from 2003.

15. Matters for future consideration.

Cllr. Raffe asked that the extension of the Conservation Area to include the Jubilee

Meadow be put on the agenda of the December meeting.

16. Next meeting.

December 10 and if required a planning meeting on November 26 to be attended by the Chairman, Vice Chairman and Cllrs Mrs Cansdale, Mrs Swain and Conway.

The meeting closed at 10.05 pm

Graham Smith, Parish Clerk, November 15th 2002