Biddenden Parish Council - Official Website

Annual Parish Meeting



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



TUESDAY APRIL 23rd 2002 AT 19.30 HOURS.


Cllr. B Wingham (Chairman) Cllr. D Harrison

Cllr. Mrs E Cansdale Cllr. G Raffe

Cllr. M Conway Cllr. I Richards

Cllr. E Farris Cllr. H Stokes

Cllr. Mrs E Griffiths

Cllr. N Bell (Ashford Borough Council) Cllr. M Hill (KCC, Tenterden)

Also 19 parishioners signed as present plus about 6 unsigned.

Apologies for absence from Cllrs Mrs G Scott and Mrs B Swain

Prior to the main business of the meeting a presentation was given on


Ms Norley explained that the basis of the service offered was a van equipped with various youth activity items that would visit a location to an agreed schedule.

A hall was required to set up the equipment (The Village Hall would be suitable) and the Centre would provide two helpers with the village providing two additional adult helpers.

The activities are geared for the 12 to 20 year old range as below 12 various legal constraints apply.

The equipment was very varied and included an "inflatable", computers, play stations, camcorder, music centre, various arts and crafts, board games and indoor ball games.

The cost to the village would be £15 for a two hour session.

During discussion some parishioners felt the service offered was not really what the village youth required - their clear demand was for a skate park (Estimated cost £16 - £20 k ) Ms Norley accepted the desire for a skate park but emphasised that her experience, nevertheless, showed that the service her Centre offered was much appreciated by the users.

The Chairman thanked Ms Norley for an interesting presentation and said the Parish Council would consider using the service. As regards the skate park the Parish Council would support this idea if a group of parishioners would develop and manage the project. Mr Martin Finnan plus two others agreed to help.


The Chairman reported that repairs to the play ground equipment had been completed and that the Bowls Club car park had received attention to the surface.


The Chairman outlined the work of the Council over the past year and highlighted the following points.

The widened pavement by the car park would be reviewed by the Borough Council later in the year as part of a general traffic survey. Repairs to the pavement on the north side of the village were awaiting water pipe renewal before work could commence.

Recent Police speed checks in the village had resulted in 36 fixed penalties being issued - 60% of which were to local people!

A steady flow of Planning Applications had been considered by the Council with comments passed to the Borough Council who make the final decisions.

The Council was anxious to recruit a "Man Friday" for any minor Parish repair works. The new statutory local government ĎCode of Conduct" was adopted by the Council to take effect from May 1 .

Thanks were expressed to BEST for their blaze and Christmas lights work.

Thanks were also due to Mrs Carolyn Greasley who ceased to be Parish Clerk from today and Mr Graham Smith (also a Headcorn resident) was welcomed as the new clerk to this meeting as his first duty.


Mr Carr explained the background to the need for a Design Statement as flowing from the Governmentís intention to generally speed up the whole planning process. Once the Statement is approved by the Borough then it becomes planning guidance for the village. To receive approval it must be demonstrated that the village has been closely involved in its preparation and to this end some 12 helpers have assisted, including two Parish Councillors. A monthly report is given at the Parish Council meeting and open meetings are planned for April 24 and 27 when it is hoped many parishioners will attend.

The Chairman thanked Mr Carr and strongly supported the work being undertaken.


Cllr Bell explained that the unpopular rise in Council Tax of some 9% had been forced on the Borough as a result of changes in Central Government support. This was despite efficiency reductions in annual expenditure by the Borough of some £ I .5 m.

The Borough Council was increasing its recycling doorstep collections to include paper and glass.

The Borough was very aware of the concerns of the village about speeding traffic and this would be considered later in the year as part of the Sissinghurst road junction review.

in reply to parishioners ClIr Bell explained that a "30 mph flashing speed sign" would not be permitted on the Tenterden - Headcorn road as insufficient straight approach road was available to meet design criteria. It was possible that one would be considered on the Sissinghurst road as this met the design criteria.

Whilst some of the parishioners present favoured a traffic light controlled pedestrian crossing in the village Cllr. Bell did not consider that this was the view of the majority of the village in view of the urban impact" this would have in a conservation area.

The Chairman thanked Cllr Bell for his report and for answering searching questions.


ClIr Hill welcomed the opportunity to speak in the village as he was a new KCC member after a career in the army. Like
Cllr. Bell he explained the unfortunate need for the rise in Council Tax.

He explained the importance of the Structure Plan for Kent for the next 20 years and how the county must adapt to the Government requirement for more housing in a sympathetic way for the countryside.

He hoped that the county framework would remain in the SE of England despite the call for Regional Assemblies in some parts of the country

The County agreed that the roads were often in a poor state and after years of under investment the County was adding £2m expenditure in 2002.

Overall in the County crime was falling and to help with this trend 12 experimental community wardens were being appointed to assist the police - the nearest experiment was in Charing.


Cllr Richards summarised some of the work recently completed and in hand including.

New tree planting, the construction of steps to the pond, the placing of wood chippings, new trees around the old pond site and yellow willows to the north side of the pond.

The Nature Trail is almost complete and the village school has been involved in the placing of bird boxes.

Any villagers willing to help in the maintenance and improvement of the Field would be welcome at the regular Working Parties.


The Chairman reported that purchase was completed three weeks ago with, currently, £7.3k donations from the village and a loan from the Public Works Loan Board to be repaid over the next 21 years. Any further village fundraising would reduce the sum to be repaid to the Loan Board.

There was some discussion from the floor that the monies involved were a long term burden to the village hut the Chairman said the Parish Council had no doubts in agreeing to the purchase, at a very reasonable price, for the benefit and enhancement of the village for many decades ahead. He felt certain that future generations would be appreciative of the Councilís far- sightedness.


The accounts were tabled. It was noted that Mr Deacon had retired after 20 years as a Trustee and that new Trustees are now in place.

The Charity was able to distribute to 65 persons in the past year.

The Old Workhouse was structurally sound and some repairs had been undertaken in the year to December 200 I.


There was much discussion from the parishioners about the future positioning of the Millennium Beacon which had been stored locally. Those present felt strongly that the beacon should be put back on its original site as per the Millennium celebrations and they could not understand the Parish Councilís reluctance to do this.

Whilst the Parish Council may be persuaded to adopt the beacon it was not "technically" their property having been ordered by the Millennium Field committee. One problem the Council had with the original site was that it would lead to damage to the field when a tractor or JCB was necessary to load the beacon - this part of the field was wet in winter conditions. A possible location was on the new field but those present did not favour this. The Chairman said the Council would reconsider the whole matter at its May meeting and hopefully a decision could be made in time for the Jubilee celebrations.

On a separate issue Mr Churton raised the point that he considered one of the councillors present (no name was given) had been spending the parish funds without the proper authority of the council - this was of course a serious offence and would be illegal. The Chairman agreed that this was a most grievous allegation and if Mr Churton cared to put the matter in writing, giving details of the evidence available, the Clerk would pursue the matter through the proper channels.

Before the meeting closed at 22.20 thanks were noted to Mrs. Clair Bell fur the maintenance of the Council website and again from the floor to Carolyn for her excellent work as a diligent clerk over the past three years.

Graham Smith, Parish Clerk

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