Biddenden Parish Council - Official Website

11th May 2004




Meetings 2004
13th January 2004
10th February 2004
9th March 2004
13th April 2004
11th May 2004
8th June 2004
13th July 2004
10th August 2004
14th September 2004
12th October 2004
9th November 2004
14th December 2004

These minutes are subject to approval at the Council meeting on June 8th 2004

Minutes of the Statutory Annual Meeting held in the Old Village Hall on Tuesday May 11th 2004


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

 Cllr N Bell, Ashford Borough Council, attended to give his report.

 Two parishioners were present

 1   There were no alterations to members Register of Interests.


2   There were no items for discussion raised by parishioners present.


3   The Chairman closed the meeting at this point and welcomed Lucy Northwood, Senior Planning Officer, from Ashford Borough Council who had been invited to give a presentation to the Council on “Planning”. She was accompanied by Mr Llywelyn Lloyd, Planning Assistant.

She opened by explaining that the Borough divided its planning between major issues (eg development at Ashford) and more minor issues in the rural parishes. She was involved in the latter.

The purpose of “planning” is to control development and there are three basic levels of control,

  • Planning Policy Guidance from central government
  • A Development Plan for the county prepared by the County Council
  • A District or Borough Plan produced by the local council, eg Ashford
  • There can be a series of “Supplementary Planning Guidance” papers produced by the local council to cover particular issues like barn conversions or shop fronts. Village Design Statements also qualify in this category

Lucy explained that the council had to work within the above guidelines and the target was to determine applications within eight weeks of receipt. All applications are subject to consultation with appropriate bodies (including parish councils) but only neighbours with adjacent boundaries to a proposed development need, by law, to be consulted. Ashford does, in fact, consult more widely.

Planning Officers now determine some 90% of applications, the other 10% going to full Council Planning Committee. If both the local ward member and the parish council wished an application to go to full committee then they could request this.

It was emphasised that there was clear guidance as to the reasons an application could be refused and the Planning Officers had to work to these guidelines. Lucy gave the clerk a copy for reference.

Cllr Rymer Jones asked how the 10% that go to Planning Committee are selected and Lucy replied that this was usually on size (eg a large housing development) or sensitivity of the site.

Cllr Whapham asked about the quality of plans accompanying applications and Lucy said that provided they met basic requirements they were deemed to be acceptable. They must be to scale in metric.

Cllr Brown asked about the approval of the mobile home at Ashenden Farm and Lucy explained the background to the decision.

The Chairman thanked Lucy for an excellent presentation that has been very enlightening to councillors and then reopened the meeting.

  4   Cllr Bell gave his report for Ashford Borough Council which covered three main topics,

  • The allocation of £64,000 by KCC for safety improvements to Castletons Oak crossroads
  • The new local area conservation officer (Hannah Walker) is considering the options for improvements to the south side pavement in Biddenden High Street. (At this point the clerk said he had received an expression of interest from Mid Kent Water who undertook such relaying work and it was agreed that representatives from the parish council would meet Mid Kent to discuss the options.)
  • £1.5 million had been assigned for the affordable housing proposals at Biddenden as explained at the Rural Housing Trust meeting in the village on January 22nd. A planning application would follow in the normal way.

 5   Next came the election of council officers for the 2004/5 year.

Cllr Richards proposed and Cllrs Mrs Ainscough seconded that Cllr Mrs Cansdale be elected Chairman. This was approved unanimously.

Cllr Mrs Ainscough proposed and Cllr Whapham seconded Cllr Mrs Scott as Vice Chairman. Cllr Mrs Ashcroft proposed and Cllr Mrs Swain seconded Cllr Richards as Vice Chairman. Cllr Mrs Scott was elected by six votes to five.

All councillors agreed to continue with their existing specific responsibilities apart from the ABC Parish Forum meetings which passed to Cllr Rymer Jones from Cllr Richards.

 6   The minutes of the council meeting of April 13th were approved and signed by the Chairman.

 7   Matters arising.

     Youth Club. It was noted that the New Hall had been booked for May 11th (Mrs Ashcroft) and 26th (Mrs Ashton) also June 9th (Mrs Ainscough) and 23rd (P Whapham). Councillors shown in brackets agreed to attend on the evening shown. It was envisaged that the Club would then move to the playing field for the summer. Cllr Ashton emphasised that for the coming winter season some parents must volunteer as helpers and a note would be sent home via the Club participants.

The clerk read a letter received from the Chairman of the Village Hall Management Committee which expressed serious concern that it had been reported at the previous council meeting that the New Hall was not available for youth activities. He was concerned that such a “rumour” could  be reported as fact when this was not the policy of the VHMC and he wished to place on record that each hall was available to any hirer subject, of course, to due care being taken.

·      Speed signs. Cllr Richards reported that the flashing sign on the Sissinghurst Road was to be moved a few feet before being brought into use. As regards handheld speed recorders advice from the police was now that we should not consider this option as there were serious “road rage” implications. Cllr Richards would report later regarding portable “flashing signs” which the parish may choose to purchase for use around the village at police approved sites.

      Annual Parish Meeting May 18th. The clerk would produce an agenda. All councillors were asked to attend to be able to speak, if necessary, on their particular responsibilities.


 ·        Post Office. Cllr Mrs Scott reported on the meeting in the Village Hall on May 6th when some 140+ parishioners expressed their firm wish for a Post Office to remain in the village and for the Post Office Liaison Group to continue the development of the proposals. It was agreed at the meeting that three sites, all in the village car park, be examined,

                   1          a new building against the fence at the west of the car park

                   2          a new building against the south wall of the toilet block

                   3          convert the existing toilets into a Post Office and build new toilets adjacent

             A possible site by the Weavers bus stop was not to be examined further.

 8  Reports from lead councillors,

Cllr Mrs Ainscough had read the SE Regional Waste Management Strategy and whilst there was not anything specific to our area she felt we should be alert to any waste disposal projects – like already proposed at Pluckley.

Cllr Conway reported on a Police meeting where it had been noted that reported crime in Biddenden was lower than last year. He also gave all councillors a copy of the minutes of the Millennium Field & J M committee of May 6th.

Cllr Whapham reported the appreciation of the VHMC of the council agreeing to pay the first £500 per annum of the Gordon Jones Field water rates.

 In addition Cllr Rymer Jones reported a large pot hole in the Gordon Jones car park and Cllr Conway reported on the poor state of the recent grass cutting by our contractor. The clerk would follow up both issues.

9   Parish Plan. Cllr Conway had organised a meeting of local “opinion formers” for June 16th. Cllr Richards reported that the first draft of a village questionnaire had been produced with the aim of having it distributed by September.

 10   Planning – see below.  Cllr Mrs Scott asked that the formation of a Planning Committee be considered at the next meeting.

 11   Finance – see below.

      Cllr Rymer Jones said he had passed some items to Cllr Mrs Scott for attention at her Finance Committee meeting on May 14th.

 12  Village Gateways

Cllr Conway said he would get some designs (Cllr Mrs Scott said she had some from a previous investigation) and would present them in due course.

 13   Newsletters

Cllr Rymer Jones said inserts in the Parish Magazine would continue until September but thereafter the Council must consider what form it wished newsletters to take.

 14   War Memorial. The Chairman and the Lengthsman had cleared the flower beds and it was agreed the Chairman could purchase replacement plants.


15   Next meetings.             Annual Parish Meeting  May 18th

  Normal council meeting June 8th

Graham Smith, Parish Clerk, May 12th 2004.          01622 890596

Planning items considered at the meeting on May 11th 2004

Decisions received from Ashford Borough Council:

03/00596   1 and 2, The Old Workhouse, Sissinghurst Rd. Replacement of sole plate and defective post.  Consent granted.

03/00819   Priory Wood, Tenterden Rd. Appeal by Mr Beaney against ABC refusal of permission for dwelling house etc already built. Hearing at Ashford on May 18th.

04/00234   Hare Plain Farm, Hareplain Road. Construction of riding sand school.

Permission granted for owners use only – not commercial.

04/00255   Weeksland Farmhouse, Weeks Lane. Garage drive and access.

Permission granted.

04/00266   Park Farm Oast, Cranbrook Rd, Fosten Green. Front extension & garage.

Permission granted.

04/00286   Yew Trees Cottage, Fosten Green. Replace garage with double garage.

Permission granted.

04/00324   Summers Motors, Headcorn Rd. First floor addition to office.

Permission granted but parking for two additional vehicles must be provided.

04/00429 & 432   Stede Court, High Halden Rd. Extension/conversion of outbuildings for additional living accommodation. Permission granted. 

04/00330   Ashenden Farm, Bell Lane. Replacement poultry building.

Permission granted.

04/00336  3 Chulkhurst, Biddenden.  Two storey side and rear extension.

Permission granted.

04/00521  Willow Tree Cottage, Tenterden Rd. New conservatory.

Permission granted.

TP04/00047  The Old Coach House, High Street. Various tree works.

Consent granted.

The following were considered by the full council:

04/00656   Smarden Business Park. (Actually in Smarden PC). New dwelling.

No objections.

04/00712  74 North Street. Removal of hedge and erection of fence and gate.

Object. Contrary to Design Statement.

04/00740   Dashmonden Court, Tenterden Rd. Detached double garage.

No objections.

04/00744 & 45  Weeksland Farmhouse, Weeks Lane. Extension etc. Resubmission.

Object. Over development of site.

04/00752 & 3   Weeksland Farmhouse, Weeks Lane.  Dormer windows etc.

Object. Over development of site.

04/00769  Court Reed Farmhouse, High Halden Rd. Extension (amended scheme)

No objections. (4 councillors abstained)

04/00771   Townland Farm, Townland Close. Use of land for residential curtilage in association with dwelling granted permission under 04/00176.

No objections. (Cllr Richards abstained)

04/00809  Woodland, Cot Lane. Side extension and loft conversion.

No objections. (Cllr Richards abstained.

TC04/00059  Mill Field, Tenterden Rd. Fell one willow tree causing subsidence.

No objections.


The Council approved the following payments at its meeting on May 11th 2004

£269.10           J Mannouch, Lengthsman, Wages         457

£412.55           G Smith, Clerk, Salary              458

£1,122.54        Annual insurance premium                     459     

£48.18             Iden  Signs. Dog litter signs                   460

£46.80             Staples, stationery                                 461

£28.20             Turners Stores, refuse sacks                 462

£35.34             British Gates. Posts and rails                 161

£13.12             British Gates. Creosote etc                   162



The first half of the Annual Precept has been received - £16224.49

Woodland Grant has been received from the Forestry Commission - £283.50

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