Parish Council - Official Website
Cllr Mrs E Cansdale Chairman Cllr M Conway
Cllr Mrs G Scott Vice Chairman Cllr H Richards*
Cllr Mrs Una Ainscough* Cllr J Rymer-Jones*
Cllr Mrs J Ashcroft* Cllr Mrs B Swain
Cllr Rona Ashton* Cllr P Whapham*
Cllr R Brown*
* Councillors newly elected to the Council at the May election.
4 Parishioners were also present
There were no apologies for absence.
1 Cllr Mrs Cansdale (Vice Chairman of the outgoing Council) took the Chair in that capacity for the first part of the meeting.
2 Cllr Mrs Cansdale then opened the meeting by welcoming all councillors, old and new, and hoped they would all work together for the benefit of the village.
3 Parishioners comments on non agenda items.
Mr Carr welcomed the new council and was confident they would work for the good of the village. He wished to raise the issue of proposed changes to the parliamentary boundaries being suggested by the Boundary Commission under which Biddenden would pass to the Maidstone constituency. He felt this was not appropriate for the village and we should remain with Ashford. Councillors agreed with this and said that if a change was ultimately necessary because of the growth of Ashford then a new Wealden constituency should be formed. The clerk was asked to write to the Commission with these views.
Mrs Marshall raised the problem of litter around the approaches to the village. The Chairman said Mrs C Scales was willing to help organise a tidy up and asked that the councillor responsible (see below) follow this up as soon as possible, reporting progress at the next meeting.
4 Acceptance of Office
All councillors signed the Declaration of Acceptance of Office book and handed their completed Register of Interests form to the clerk. These forms would be sent to Ashford Borough Council and a copy retained by the clerk for public inspection if requested.
5 Election of Chairman for 2003/4.
Cllr Conway nominated, and Cllr Mrs Swain seconded, the appointment of Cllr Mrs E Cansdale. There were no other nominations and the council unanimously supported the appointment. Cllr Mrs Cansdale then took the chair in her new capacity.
6 Election of Vice Chairman for 2003/4.
Cllr Mrs Swain proposed Cllr H Richards and Cllr Mrs Cansdale proposed Cllr Mrs Scott. Cllr Mrs Scott was elected with 7 votes, Cllr Richards receiving 3 votes.
7 Appointment of councillors to various duties.
The clerk had already circulated a proposed list of activities and councillors suggested some additions. Cllr Conway welcomed the idea of such a list and the sharing of the various duties. He personally had undertaken many activities in the past and he emphasised how time consuming they could be and it was therefore essential that they should be shared between all councillors so that one individuals workload did not become too onerous. The following was agreed, the lead councillor being shown in bold type.
* Gordon Jones Field and childrens play area.
Cllr Mrs Swain, Cllr Brown, Cllr Mrs Cansdale. It was agreed a report book be maintained for recording defects, particularly to the play area, that need attention.
* Millennium Field & Jubilee Meadow
Cllr Richards, Cllr Conway, Cllr Mrs Swain, Cllr Whapham
* Village Hall Management Committee representative.
* Pavements, Roads, Street Lights, litter bins etc
Cllr Mrs Ainscough, Cllr Richards (See action required in para 3 above)
* Footpaths. CPRE and countryside matters.
Cllr Whapham. (It was agreed that if ex Cllr M Stokes was willing to assist this would be welcome. Subsequently confirmed he would help)
* Kent Association of Parish Councils
Cllr Rymer-Jones. The clerk.
* Parish Design Statement, Parish Plan and local housing.
* Police meetings
Cllr Mrs Cansdale, Cllr Mrs Ainscough
* Parish Forum
Cllr Richards, Cllr Conway
* Scrutiny of various government reports
Cllr Mrs Ainscough
* Finance Committee
Cllr Mrs Scott, Cllr Mrs Cansdale, Cllr Mrs Ainscough, Cllr Whapham
* Contact with Buchy, France
Cllr Mrs Cansdale, Cllr Mrs Swain Cllr Rona Ashton (Cllr Rymer-Jones wished to record that he was not against friendly relations but would not wish the council to spend any substantial money on this activity.)
* Planning overview of regulations (not monthly planning decisions)
Cllr Mrs Scott, Cllr Mrs Cansdale, Cllr Mrs Ainscough
* Youth issues
Cllr Rona Ashton, Cllr Richards, Cllr Mrs Cansdale
8 Ashford Borough Council Report
Cllr Bell just wished to welcome the new council and advised that the new Ashford Borough Council was now Conservative controlled with a strong showing of Independents in the opposition. He again emphasised that he was happy to be contacted on any matter by email on firstname.lastname@example.org
Cllr Rymer-Jones asked that the new councillors be provided with a copy of the current budget and that a monthly summary of the council finances be tabled at each meeting.
11 Design Statement.
Mr Carr had already circulated his report to all councillors. The final draft was with Ashford BC for final examination.
12 Millennium Field and Jubilee Meadow.
The committee report of May 6th was circulated to all councillors.
13 Post Office
Cllr Mrs Scott reported that the temporary Portacabin Post Office was due in the car park on June 9th and it was planned to be open on June 26th. It was proposed to provide some concrete flower containers around the building to protect against parking cars. At this point Cllr Rona Ashton and Cllr Brown declared an interest and left the meeting. Cllr Mrs Scott noted that the council had budgeted £1000 towards the Post Office relocation costs. £250 had been authorised on February 11th 2003 and a cheque drawn on April 8th 2003. This sum was towards legal fees to allow the Post Office to remain at 24 High Street beyond the termination of lease date. These legal fees actually cost an additional £360 and Cllr Mrs Scott requested this extra sum be funded by the council plus £100 towards the electrical connections to the Portacabin. The council agreed to fund these £460 costs leaving £290 in the budgeted funds. It was agreed that the Post Office Liaison Group continue with Cllr Mrs Scott,
Cllr Mrs Cansdale, Cllr Whapham, Cllr N Bell and Mr Carr as members and Rona Ashton in an advisory capacity but not as a councillor.
14 Kent Association of Parish Councils
Cllr Conway reported on a recent meeting which had concentrated on Ashford expansion. 31,000 new homes and 28,000 new jobs were planned by 2031 and the location and design of these facilities were being examined. There would be a mix of housing with some high density proposals. Some expansion in neighbouring villages was likely and this is where our recently completed Design Statement would help determine location and style if Biddenden was a growth point. Cllr Conway said that two new major retailers were to establish in Ashford and a new town centre high rise development was a possibility.
15 Tom Richards
Cllr Mrs Swain said that as Tom Richards was no longer a member of the council she felt his very many years of dedicated work for the parish should be recognised. All councillors agreed and Mrs Swain and the clerk would organise a celebratory lunch.
16 Next Meeting
June 10th. Would all councillors please be in time to study the planning applications before the meeting.
Graham Smith. Parish Clerk May 16th 2003