Parish Council - Official Website
Cllr Mrs E Cansdale – Chairman Cllr H Richards
Cllr Mrs U Ainscough Cllr J Rymer Jones
Cllr Mrs J Ashcroft Cllr P Whapham
Cllr N Bell, Ashford BC
Apologies for absence, Cllr Mrs Ashton, Cllr R Brown, Cllr M Conway,
Cllr Mrs Scott, Cllr Mrs Swain.
One parishioner was present.
1 There were no alterations to Members Register of Interests. Cllr Richards reminded all councillors that it was their responsibility not only to check their own Register entries but also to check other members if they felt it was necessary to avoid an inadvertent breach of the rules.
2 There were no items for discussion raised by the parishioner present.
3 The minutes of the meeting held on January 13th were approved subject to,
Para 2. Cllr Richards said it was he and not Mr Carr who advised that ABC planning officers would be willing to address the council.
Cllr Rymer Jones said a reference to the need for co ordination of the various parish Neighbourhood Watch schemes should have been made.
As regards para 9 Cllr Rymer Jones said he did not specifically suggest repaying some of the Public Works Loan Board debt but he was concerned that the council kept excessive funds ie beyond the KAPC recommended levels. Subsequent to the meeting Cllr Mrs Ainscough said she would ask Cllr Rymer Jones to put his concerns in a paper to the council Finance Committee for consideration.
4 Matters arising from January 13th meeting.
Rural Housing Trust meeting and exhibition on January 22nd. It was agreed that this was a successful meeting with about 150 parishioners attending throughout the afternoon and evening. Councillors wished to clarify that any eventual development would be subject to the normal planning permission regulations and parishioners should understand that the scheme presented was only outline at this stage.
Possible Youth Club in the village hall. Michael Humphrey, a Youth Field Officer of the KCC Youth & Community Group explained that Ian Brooks, who is currently running the youth activities at the car park, would be available to organise youth activities for some 6 to 9 months but it must eventually fall to the villagers to manage any subsequent Youth Club. Councillors appreciated this and agreed to facilitate youth meetings in the Old Village Hall for the rest of the winter followed by some "event" to involve parents and others in the long term organisation. Cllr Whapham said he would book the hall for March 11th and 25th and April 8th. Other councillors would be available to help with, say, taking the money and providing refreshments on these days. Mr Humphrey would advise the clerk of any insurance requirements.
Tenterden Tigers update. The Clerk reported that the Tigers were still interested in development at Biddenden but until the access problems were resolved (by them) no further progress was possible.
Quality Parish Councils – discussion postponed until March meeting
5 Ashford Borough Council report by Cllr N Bell.
Cllr Bell reported on the move towards Broadband in the village. BT required 250 expressions of interest to adapt the exchange. So far 201 had been received. He asked that the parish "push the issue" whenever possible.
He reported that he was doing all he could to bring forward the reconstruction of the High Street south side pavement to match the north side but it was a very expensive project and would need special funding outwith the normal Borough pavements budget.
Cllr Bell said the new "flashing" speed sign would soon be installed on the Sissinghurst Road and again reminded parishioners that similar devices would not be permitted on the main Tenterden – Headcorn roads as the length of straight road approaching the signs did not meet statutory requirements. Cllr Whapham commented on the excessive size of the new speed camera sign recently erected near the Jubilee Meadow – it was agreed that its effect would be reviewed when the flashing sign was in operation and maybe a smaller sign would subsequently be more appropriate.
Finally Cllr Bell reported on the Borough budget proposals for 2004/5. He said that Ashford aimed to be amongst the lowest taxed Boroughs, with a rise of just 5%, and its proportion of the total council tax was just 10% - ie £100 of a £1000 Band D tax.
It was important to note that although Ashford Borough costs were rising as the towns development progressed its grant from central government was falling.
6 Reports from lead councillors.
Cllr Mrs Ainscough – nothing to report.
Cllr Mrs Ashcroft reported on a highways meeting she and the Chairman had with ABC on January 27th when they highlighted all the local road "faults and failures". She was impressed that Ashford was aware of most of these and remedial action had already been taken at some locations.
Cllr Mrs Cansdale referred to a brochure she had received on the Police "County Eye" scheme and would report later following the next police liaison meeting. It was noted that any Eye proposals should pay attention to the Neighbourhood Watch too.
Cllr Richards reported on the receipt of £3054.30 Stewardship grant for the Millennium Field and Jubilee Meadows. He also stated that the Millennium Field sign would be reinstated soon with microflex to avoid further vandal damage to the glass.
Cllr Rymer Jones reported on the latest KAPC meeting. It too included the "County Eye" proposals and he suggested that their Paul Brosnan be asked to co ordinate our various Neighbourhood Watch schemes.
He also mentioned the continuing confusion surrounding councillors allowances and expenses – we must await definitive answers but councillors reconfirmed that they did not wish to receive allowances only any legitimate expenses.
Parish Plans had been discussed and Cllr Rymer Jones said that in our Plan process we should consider co ordination with neighbouring parishes where appropriate.
Cllr Whapham said that as he was attending a Village Hall Management meeting next week he would like clarification of the council view on the Gordon Jones Field water bills of some £800 per annum and who should pay these charges. He was asked to see if the VHMC could say who used most water and in the light of this the council would consider the matter further. It had no wish to just pass the whole expense to the VHMC.
7 Parish Plan.
Cllr Richards reported that at the meeting on January 24th some 25 interested helpers attended from which a core Steering Group of 8 was appointed led by Richard Greensted. They planned to meet on the first Thursday of each month and had a target to complete the Plan in two years. Other attendees would help on specific aspects as required.
Cllr Richards said the initial "wish list" had been prepared (this had been circulated to all councillors) and the council agreed that this should go forward to ABC subject to the covering letter stating that any housing expansion in the village should be of a small scale.
Cllr Bell was supportive of the "wish list" but was very firm that if the village wished to avoid large scale residential expansion then it must say so now and he agreed that if the covering letter emphasised this then that would be appropriate.
The Council would receive updates on Plan progress at its monthly meetings from the council representative on the Group.
8 Planning – see below
On the general point of planning applications Cllr Bell said it was the responsibility of the Parish Council to make its views known and as the Borough councillor he may not necessarily agree with the parish, but if the parish wished him to take forward particular issues then he would be pleased to do so. He felt a visit by the Borough planning officers to explain the current "planning rules" would be useful.
9 Finance – see below
10 Appointment of new Lengthsman
Councillors agreed to the appointment of John Mannouch to replace John Beeken from February 10th 2004.
All councillors were very appreciative of Mr Beekens work over the last 17 years or so and the clerk was asked to organise a suitable monetary "thank you" after checking any tax liabilities with the Revenue. Councillors would have the opportunity of being associated with this "thank you".
11 Annual Parish Meeting. Agreed that this will be on April 28th at 8pm
The clerk referred to a KAPC planning information day to be held on March 13th and Cllrs Richards, Mrs Ashcroft and Mrs Scott would check if they could attend.
It was agreed that ROSPA be asked to extend their playground inspection to cover the Millennium Field ponds and other facilities.
The clerk had received details of the Kent Village of the Year competition. No councillor was willing to manage this but if a parishioner wished to progress then the council would give its support. (Details from the clerk)
It was noted that the Tenterden Citizens Advice Bureau would close on February 29th but would continue operation as a branch of the Ashford CAB – customers would notice little or no change.
13 Other matters
It was agreed that a maximum of £200 would be made available for flowers on the village green.
It was also agreed that the War Memorial could be cleaned with water only.
Mr Rymer Jones to progress. It was noted that the war memorial flower beds were to remain.
Cllr Richards agreed to check details of who last repainted the village sign which is in need of attention.
Mr Keeler be asked to replace the missing posts on the verges near the Rectory.
Mrs Ashcroft would write to KCC concerning the lack of salting during the recent cold snap.
Cllr Rymer Jones reminded councillors that they would be profiled in turn in the Parish Magazine council insert.
14 Next meeting – March 9th 2004.
Graham Smith, Parish Clerk, February 11th 2004
Decisions received from Ashford Borough Council.
02/00881 1a Little Acres, Woolpack Corner. Stationing of five mobile homes.
Appeal against refusal of permission by ABC. Appeal dismissed.
03/01173 Bargate Field, Fosten Lane. Stationing additional caravan as sleeping accommodation. Permission granted for three years only.
03/01694 9 Glebelands. Patio deck. (retrospective) Refused. (overlooks neighbours)
03/01878 Court Reed Farmhouse, High Halden Rd. Single storey extension etc.
03/02084/5 Henden Cottage. Rebuilding and conversion of garage.
Permission granted. (not to be used for habitable purposes)
LE/DS26/0477 Tree Preservation Order placed on a birch tree at 7 High Street.
The following were considered by Cllrs Mrs Cansdale, Mrs Ainscough, Mrs Ashton and Mr Conway.
03/03908/10 Field Cottage, Tenterden Rd. Timber framed conservatory & porch.
04/00024 Laurenden, Cranbrook Rd. Swimming Pool room extension. No objections
04/00059 7-11 High Street. Erection of new garage. No objections.
The following are for consideration by the full council.
04/00121 Great Batchelors, Sissinghurst Rd. Addition of new boiler room etc.
04/00160 Great Omenden Farm, Pook Lane. New farm bungalow.
04/00176 Townland Farm, North Street. Demolition of existing buildings and erection of new dwelling and garage. (Cllr Richards abstained from voting.)
04/00179 Mannering Farm House, Benenden Road. Rooflights to garage.
04/00180 Milepost Cottage, Benenden Road. Extension and conversion of garage to living accommodation. Object. Overdevelopment of site and dangerous access.
£241.75 J Beeken, Lengthsman, Wages
£393.25 G Smith, Clerk, Salary
£36.00 Biddenden Club House. Hire of Village Hall for Council meetings.
£86.00 Biddenden Club House. Hire of Village Hall for computer courses.
£29.99 Staples. Stationery (Ink cartridge)
£340.00 Biddenden Bowls Club. Donation towards new clubhouse roof.
Agreed at January 13th meeting.
£1850.63 D Brightling. Grass cutting 2002 season. (Late submission of account despite reminders) £275.63 VAT recoverable.
£1944.63 D Brightling. Grass cutting 2003 season. £289.63 VAT recoverable.
The following monies have been received.
£1600.00 Ashford Borough Council. Street Cleansing Grant for 2002/3
£3054.30 Countryside Stewardship Scheme
At the December 9th 2003 meeting it was noted that Mr Beeken had expressed a wish to retire and subsequently the clerk advertised the vacancy on the village notice boards and in the Wealden Advertiser. There were seven expressions of interest but only two candidates attended to see the clerk and Mr Beeken, to examine the duties required, at a meeting on January 18th. Following that meeting and with the agreement of the Chairman the clerk appointed Mr John Mannouch who is also the current lengthsman at Smarden. (The clerk at Smarden has recommended Mr Mannouch.)
Mr Beeken ceased his duties on February 10th although he and Mr Mannouch have worked together for two weeks to "learn the job".
Mr Beeken has been paid at the rate of £5.93 per hour for a 12 hour week and the Council is asked to agree that this rate be paid to the new lengthsman. Mr Beeken was subject to Income Tax (deducted and paid by the clerk to the Inland Revenue) but subject to confirmation Mr Mannouch will not be liable to tax and will be paid gross by the council ie road sweeping costs will rise but tax payments will fall.
Assuming the council endorse the above a Contract of Employment will be prepared.
Councillors are asked if they wish to mark Mr Beekens retirement in some way.
(Agreed – see minutes)