Parish Council - Official Website
Cllr T Richards – Chairman Cllr D Harrison
Cllr Mrs E Cansdale – Vice Chairman Cllr H Stokes
Cllr M Conway Cllr Mrs B Swain
Cllr E Farris Cllr B Wingham
Cllr Mrs E Griffiths
7 parishioners were also present
Apologies for absence from Cllrs Mrs G Scott & G Raffe also Cllr Bell, Ashford BC
1 Comments from parishioners on non agenda items.
Mr Rymer Jones queried whether it was possible for those seeking election on May 1st to have copies of the Code of Conduct and Register of Interests documentation in advance of the election in case they found these rules unacceptable and may therefore not wish to take office. The clerk explained it was now too late to withdraw from the election and when elected a councillor would have to sign acceptance of office, which in itself included acceptance of the council Code of Conduct. The Register of Interests would have to be completed and signed within 28 days of May 1st and the clerk would see that the new councillors had copies of the documentation before the first meeting of the new council on May 13th.
2 There were no alterations to the members Register of Interests.
3 The minutes of the meeting held on
March 11th were approved and signed by the Chairman. There were no matters
4 Update on the Post Office.
In the absence of Cllr Mrs Scott the Chairman asked Mr Carr, a member of the Post Office Liaison Group, to speak. He referred to and tabled the attached report.
In addition it was noted that legal
arrangements in the form of a 30 day contract for termination of the Post
Office lease had been agreed with Lorne International hence the Post Office
could remain at 24 High Street beyond the original termination of lease date
of May 14th. Hopefully this would mean that the Post Office could move
straight from the High Street to the temporary Portacabin in mid/late June
without a break in customer service.
5 Parish Design Statement.
An (almost) final copy of the Statement had been circulated to all councillors in advance of the meeting. Mr Carr sought councillors views on two key points,The Steering Group felt the map should not show “commercial” sites by name as it may be seen as advertising. Councillors felt such sites should be shown but by activity rather than name eg “Sawmills” rather than British Gates.
Should the pictures have captions? Councillors felt they should have descriptive location captions that tied in with the text and they made the point that any photograph taken from the public highway was “legal” and there could be no objection to such captions.
Mr Carr also said the final cost of publishing the Statement was likely to be £1900 instead of the original budget of £1200 previously revised to £1400. This increase in cost was largely due to the increased content of the Statement to meet village and Borough Council comments. The Chairman said the council would meet these costs and was not surprised by the increase. He, and all councillors, would like to put on record their appreciation of the quality of the work done.
Cllr Conway referred to a Youth
Forum meeting he attended in Ashford which he felt was an excellent example
of what could be done to help young people. It was organised into various
activity groups such as Health, Entertainment and Leisure, Crime and
He also attended a CCTV and Crime Reduction meeting. Amongst other things this demonstrated how effective CCTV was in cutting car park and town centre crime but not surprisingly this tended to push crime to the outskirts of controlled areas.Also he attended a Recycling Meeting which built upon the ever growing need to control the volume of rubbish produced. In the UK each household spent (via taxation) 58p per week to recycle but in Europe the figure was much greater. Our costs were bound to rise as we would have to meet international targets in the next few years. Cllr Conway referred to the recently installed shoe collection box in the village recycling area – this was a small part of the national effort to collect the 25 million shoes thrown away in the UK each week!
Various pamphlets were tabled
following a Police meeting which covered such things as bogus callers and
doorstep sellers who caused distraction whilst a burglary was taking place.
In the Ashford Weald police area some 25 crimes are followed up each hour
and 13 persons are taken into custody each day but burglary is the lowest it
has been for six years. The target is to reduce crime by 10% over the next
7 May 1st Parish Council election.
It was noted that 15 candidates were
standing for the 11 vacancies.
8 Possible twinning with Buchy, France.
Following an invitation from Buchy, Cllr.Mrs Cansdale, Cllr Mr Stokes, Mrs Stokes and the clerk would visit Buchy from April 11th to 13th to establish whether twinning was worth developing. Cllr Stokes would report to the Annual Parish Meeting on April 22nd. The council agreed to pay the Eurotunnel transport costs for the one car and four passengers.
The council agreed to the agenda
tabled. Cllrs Mrs Cansdale and Mrs Griffiths agreed to organise refreshments.
12 Correspondence.Sue Boon had passed a letter to the clerk just before the meeting requesting that flower beds be created on the Village Green to enhance the attractiveness of this key point. It included a request for funding for plants and construction. As this request had been received at very short notice the council agreed in principle but asked that Cllrs Mrs Cansdale, Mrs Swain and Mr Wingham met with Sue Boon to develop agreed plans for the council to endorse either at the next meeting or by special meeting if planting was urgent.
The clerk mentioned the current position concerning the government driven development of Quality Parish Councils and what was involved. It was agreed this would be an item for the new council to take forward.It was noted that Biddenden was Very Highly Commended in the 2002 Kent Men of Trees competition. Papers would be passed to Mrs Sue Daly, the Tree Warden, for 2003.
It was noted that the refurbishing of the childrens play area had been completed but two missing boards were still needed to contain the new chippings. It was also noted that the water and electricity connections to the tennis courts had been completed.
There had been no meeting of the Committee to report. However the Chairman said the Headcorn Air Cadets had done more valuable grass clearing work around some of the young trees and he had carried out some selective pruning to help the correct development of the new oak trees.
Three councillors had attended his funeral at the Parish Church and the clerk was asked to write a letter of condolence to Mrs Stanford. Mr Stanford was a long standing but friendly critic of the council and his correspondence will be missed!
The Chairman said that as this was the last ordinary meeting of the existing council he would like to place on record his appreciation of the contribution made by councillors, some of whom were not standing for re election and some of whom may not be re elected! He particularly thanked Mr Farris who had been involved with the council either as clerk or a member for over 40 years.
Annual Parish Meeting on April 22nd.
Statutory Annual Meeting and first meeting of the new council on May 13th.
If required a planning meeting prior to the Annual Parish Meeting on April 22nd.
Graham Smith, Parish Clerk April 9th 2003