Parish Council - Official Website
Cllr Mrs E Cansdale – Chairman Cllr M Conway
Cllr Mrs G Scott –Vice Chairman Cllr H Richards
Cllr Mrs U Ainscough Cllr J Rymer Jones
Cllr Mrs J Ashcroft Cllr Mrs B Swain
Cllr Mrs R Ashton Cllr P Whapham
Cllr R Brown
Apology for absence from Cllr N Bell, Ashford Borough Council.
2 parishioners were present.
1 Before the meeting formally opened the Chairman welcomed Mrs Alison Thompson, Area Programme Manager of the Rural Housing Trust who had agreed to address the council on the Trusts work. She explained the following key points,
The Trust was established in 1976 as a charity to provide affordable homes in rural areas that are either rented or offered on the basis of shared ownership.
So far some 2500 homes have been built around the country.
The Trust always works with Parish Councils and initially surveys the needs for additional housing. Potential occupiers must have a close connection with the parish ie.must have lived in the parish for at least five years, work full time in the parish or have close family ties.
The properties will always remain available for village people as they can never be sold outright to an occupier.
The Trust properties are built on “exception land” ie. land that would not normally be permitted for development and hence costs are minimised.
The most recent survey indicated a need for some 24 additional homes and whilst finances would not permit such a large development the Trust was seeking funding for some 12 new homes.
If funding was secured in the September bid the housing would be built as an extension to the Cheeselands site. Normal planning permission procedures would be followed and the design would take account of the soon to be published Village Design Statement.
A village information day and exhibition would be sought as soon as the funding bid was known to be successful. The Council agreed to help with this.
The actual allocation of homes is carried out by the Trust, not the Parish Council, although the Council is asked to confirm applicants are eligible.
Although still open to change the current plans are for 6 x 2 bedroom and
6 x 3 bedroom properties.
Although the Trust has been responsible for building the properties the rented dwellings have been subsequently controlled by the Southern Housing Group, although they should follow the same village connection rules in allocating properties.
It was confirmed that only the Cheeselands site had been considered at this time as it was available but other offers of sites would be appreciated by the Trust! They preferred several small locations rather than one big estate.
Councillors thanked Mrs Thompson for a most interesting presentation.
2 The Chairman then formally opened the meeting.
3 There were no alterations to the Members Register of Interests.
4 The minutes of July 8th were approved and signed by the Chairman.
5 Matters arising,
Cllr Mrs Scott asked that a further Broadband poster be displayed on the village notice board to help our efforts to get Broadband in Biddenden.
Cllr Whapham reported that the Village Hall Management Committee had decided at their last meeting that it was not their responsibility to “drive” youth issues in the village but would willingly help in any Parish Council run scheme. He also reported that the VHMC would be willing to explain to any new Post Office Liaison Group the difficulties of accommodating a Post Office in the village hall, to avoid potential abortive planning.
6 Reports from lead councillors,
Cllr Mrs Ainscough had studied a paper on “Indemnities for members” but felt it was a “legal” issue that KAPC should deal with on behalf of all parishes. The clerk would consult with KAPC.
Cllr Mrs Ashcroft had no specific road issues to report apart from drawing attention to the abandoned car on the pavement near the old station. Cllr Conway reported it was to be removed this week. As a roads issue the Chairman reported that ABC had agreed to supply black sacks and gloves for a village “litter pick” and would loan us pick up tongs – we would have to supply our own high visibility vests. She said Mrs Scales was helping organise the work and a meeting of volunteers was planned for mid September. The clerk would display on the notice boards any publicity provided by Mrs Scales. Mrs Scales had agreed to check any insurance implications and would contact the clerk if necessary to arrange cover. Subsequently the clerk established that the Council insurers would offer daily cover at no charge. Also Cllr Rymer Jones obtained CASK funding for 12 tongs at £35 each. The clerk ordered them from Ashford Borough Council.
Cllr Mrs Ashton (on youth matters) reported that a junior squash club had been formed by Messrs Finnan and Tester and was going well, a junior tennis club may follow. The Council agreed to fund the purchase of junior squash rackets at a cost in the order of £50/£60.
The Tenterden Detached Youth Project had run a series of 6 evening sessions at the Gordon Jones car park. These had been greatly appreciated by the young participants and the council would endeavour to get further sessions organised. The clerk was asked to invite the leader (Mr Ian Brooks) to address a future council meeting. Subsequently the clerk arranged this for October 14th and was advised that the Project would restart at Biddenden on September 16th.
Cllr Mrs Swain reported that there were some “old youth club” funds still held in a bank account and she would liaise with Cllrs Mrs Ashton, Mrs Cansdale and Richards to see how these funds could be used for youth issues.
Cllr Mrs Cansdale reported on a Police meeting she and the clerk attended at Ashford where the “do it yourself” speed monitoring was explained. Suitably trained local volunteers would record speed with a speed gun and road users doing excessive speed would receive a written warning from the police. If offenders were persistent the police would follow up with possible prosecution. Experience in other localities had proved very successful. It was agreed that the council would discuss the issue at an open meeting in the Autumn.
Cllr Conway explained the June 14th Millennium Field fete accounts and gave all councillors a copy. The overall profit was in excess of £2000. Councillors expressed their appreciation of the good work by all concerned.
Cllr Richards reported that following insurance advice it would be necessary to place “No Swimming” signs at the Millennium Field ponds. He was authorised to arrange such purchase and fitting. Also the “illegal” ropes used for swinging over the ponds must be removed. Cllr Richards also reported he was now our liaison person with the High Weald AONB body and would attend meetings when possible. (We already receive their reports.)
A copy of the Millennium Field/Jubilee Meadow budget was passed to all councillors.
Cllr Richards had received a request to plant a few fruit trees (probably apple) on the Millennium Field – this was agreed.
Cllr Mrs Cansdale had received a request for a private “marriage ceremony” to be performed on the Millennium Field on May Day 2004. A donation would be made for the facility. This was agreed.
Cllr Rymer Jones said Mr Carr could not be present but the latest on the Design Statement was that it was now accepted by Ashford BC and would be printed in September. In response to a Design Statement funding query from Cllr Rymer Jones it was noted the Council had agreed to offer financial support for any “reasonable sum” - see min.5 of April 8th 2003.
At the recent KAPC meeting he had attended the main issue raised by Supt. West, the guest speaker, was speeding and some 90% of speeding offenders were local people!
Cllr Rymer Jones had met Kathy Bugden of KRCC concerning the preparation of a Parish Plan and he suggested a parish meeting be held early in the New Year to drive this forward as an accepted Parish Plan could help avoid unwanted planning and development issues being forced on the parish.
Cllr Mrs Scott reported on the final costs of relocating the Post Office to the car park (£8676.03) plus the donated Portacabin itself. Allowing for various Post Office grants (and £610 from the Parish Council and £651 from villagers) the Post Office Liaison Group had balanced the books with £33.97 left in their account. All councillors felt the group had done a good job on behalf of the village. Cllr Mrs Scott was pleased to return £100 to the Council as it was not required for helping fund the electrical connections to the Portacabin.
A new Post Office Liaison Group will be formed in September to take forward the finding of a permanent site.
Cllr Whapham reported that footpaths crossing fields were now likely to be ploughed over with autumn ploughing but should be restored afterwards. The council would wish to learn of any problems.
It was noted that some parishes had been replacing footpath signs (and road signs) with attractive oak posts – the clerk was asked to find out details.
Mr Brown had received some quotes for replacing the posts between the car park and the Gordon Jones playing field. The clerk was asked to get three comparative quotes before a decision could be made.
The clerk was also asked to see whether Playdale, who supplied the original playground equipment, could repair or replace any worn items. Subsequently it was confirmed the company is still in business and will send a catalogue of current products.
7 Finance – see attached.
The clerk was asked to obtain firm figures from the Public Works Loan Board as to the results of repaying £5000 to either the Millennium Field or Jubilee Meadow loans.
The clerk was also asked to write to Drummond Randall to formally thank him for the generous donation arising from his garden railway open day on July 12th. All councillors felt it was a magnificent gesture.
The clerk was asked to set up an interest bearing account for the Millennium Field monies which were presently held in a current account.
8 Planning – see attached.
9 Quality Parish Councils
One of the requirements of this status is good communication with parishioners and
Cllr Rymer Jones reported that the Parish Magazine was willing to have a Parish Council insert in the December issue, delivered to all homes, at a cost of £350 to the Parish Council. If this was done four times a year then the cost would be £1400.
Councillors expressed various views as to whether they would prefer a council only publication, and how often it should be produced. Cllr Mrs Scott agreed to obtain more details concerning the Cranbrook publication of which she tabled an example.
It was clear from the discussion that no individual councillor was prepared to take on the preparation of a newsletter and the subject needed further consideration. It would be raised again at the September meeting.
Cllr Mrs Scott felt that to give parishioners more interest in the monthly meetings they should be allocated an agenda slot to raise any item of concern to them. This was agreed as a good idea and would be tried at the September meeting.
10 War memorial
The proposal to infill the flower beds with granite slabs was rejected and it was agreed the school would be approached to see whether they would be willing to plant and maintain the flower beds as part of their study into the second world war. The Council would supply the plants.
It was agreed the memorial needed professional cleaning and the clerk would obtain details of possible contractors. The clerk would also write to Mr Hewitt at the Red Lion to thank him for his keen interest in the cleaning and maintenance issues.
11 Parish Church
Cllr Rymer Jones reported that toilet and kitchen facilities are to be installed and an appeal for funds will be forthcoming. The Council would be asked to contribute.
Cllr Richards felt the Council would consider such a request but at its meeting on June 10th he recalled there was discussion as to the extent of donations and how limited they should be.
Apart from some specific items passed to lead councillors the only item for attention of all councillors was a letter from KCC explaining their policy on “illegal” advertising of events on council verges. They would remove all such signs unless permission was sought. (The clerk has details of how to do this.)
The meeting closed at 11.15 pm!
13 Next meeting
September 9th 2003
Graham Smith, Parish Clerk, August 14th 2003 Page 86
Planning items to be considered at the meeting on August 12th
The following decisions have been received from Ashford Borough Council
98/01094 Ellison Court Equestrian Centre, Sissinghurst Road. Retrospective application for loose boxes etc. Withdrawn.
02/1105059 Site of Old Beer Garden rear of 30 High Street. Additional office for Builders Direct.
Appeal against refusal by Ashford BC dismissed.
03/00080 School House, High Street. Use of building as dwelling house separate to John Mayne
school. Use declared lawful.
03/00765 Proposed garage/store, Bettmans Oast, Hare Plain Road. Withdrawn.
03/00827 Visitor car parking area, Rats Castle, Cranbrook Rd. Permission granted.
03/00857 Tree Tops, Mockbeggar Lane. Two storey addition. Refused.
03/00869 Lashenden Farm, Headcorn Road. Renewal of 1997 application for conversion of existing buildings to dwellings. Permission granted.
03/00890 Laurenden, Cranbrook Rd. Pool room extension. Refused.
03/00904 Omenden, Cot Lane. Tractor shed and store. Refused.
03/00930 Oast House, Hare Plain Road. New front wall. Permission granted.
03/00956 Land adjacent to Stede Qtr. Farm. Hay/machinery store.
Permission to be sought in usual way.
T150 Tree works at 1 The Weavers by Ashford Borough Council. For information only.
The following four items have been considered by Councillors Mrs Cansdale,
H Richards and Mrs Scott and are for full council approval.
03/00062 1 Mansion House Close, Various tree works. No objections.
03/01095 Frogs Hole Farm, Sissinghurst Rd. New farmhouse, garage and drainage system.
03/01157 11 High Street. Oak framed rear addition. No objections.
03/01158 As above but Listed Building Consent. No objections.
03/01171 Priory Mead, Tenterden Road. Conservatory extension. No objections.
(Considered by Councillors Mrs Ainscough, Mrs Ashcroft and Mrs Cansdale.)
03/01173 Bargate Field, Fosten Green. Caravan for additional sleeping accommodation.
No objections for temporary family use only. Considered by Cllrs Mrs Ashton, Brown & Conway
03/01177 20 High Street. Double garage on site of two singles. No objection.
(Considered by Cllrs Mrs Ashton, Brown & Conway)
03/01232 29 North Street. Additional garage. No objections.
(Considered by Cllrs Mrs Ainscough, Mrs Cansdale and Mrs Swain)
03/00067 School House, High Street. Various tree works. No objections.
(Considered by Cllr Mrs Swain, and Cllrs Richards and Rymer Jones)
The following are for approval at the meeting.
03/01245 Dashmonden Coach House, High Halden Road. Single storey rear extension.
03/01247 & 8 Henden Hall. Demolition and rebuilding of defective section of front wall.
No objections. (Cllr Mrs Scott declared an interest and took no part in the discussion)
03/01255 & 6 Great Batchelors, Sissinghurst Road New double garage & conservatory and conversion of existing garage to gym, studio and home office.
Site visit required
03/01276 Hill Crest, Sissinghurst Road. Roof alterations to provide loft conversion.
03/01282 The Old School House, High Street Alterations and extension.
03/01301 Little Mockbeggar, Mockbeggar Lane. Conversion of barn into holiday let.
Site visit required
Biddenden Parish Council
The Council approved the following payments at its meeting on August 12th 2003
£241.75 J Beeken, Lengthsman – Wages 387
£393.48 G Smith, Clerk – Salary 388
£508.27 Inland Revenue. Tax and National Insurance. (Already paid to meet due date – cheque agreed by Cllrs Mrs Ainscough and Cansdale) 386
£60.45 Ye Maydes restaurant – guests account for T Richards luncheon.
(all other councillors met their own expenses) 389
£36.00 Biddenden Club House. Hire of village hall for PC meetings. 390
£247.50 Biddenden Club House. Hire of village hall for 18 computer course sessions at £13.75 each. 391
£102.23 McVeigh Parker – fencing for Millennium Field/Jubilee Meadow 151
The following monies have been received by the Council.
£237.86 Balance of funds from Millennium Field fete
£43.10 From PCC for Millennium Field fete
£1347.72 Donation for Millennium Field/Jubilee Meadow from Drummond Randall from Birchley Railway Open Day July 12th.
The 2002/3 annual accounts are still awaiting audit. I have contacted our internal auditor who advises that he should not undertake the audit until the Audit Commission send the appropriate forms as he has to fill in parts and sign them. – these are sent anytime between May and September. (Internal audit subsequently arranged for September 2nd.)
Graham Smith, Parish Clerk