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These minutes are subject to approval at the Council meeting on April 12th
Minutes of the Extraordinary Meeting held on March 21st 2005 in the New Village Hall
Cllr Mrs E Cansdale-Chairman Cllr Mr M Conway
Cllr Mrs G Scott-Vice Chairman Cllr Mr H Richards
Cllr Mrs U Ainscough Cllr Mrs B Swain
Cllr Mrs J Ashcroft Cllr Mr J Rymer Jones
Cllr Mrs R Ashton Cllr Mr P Whapham
Cllr Mr R Brown
Cllr N Bell, Ashford Borough Council. 12 parishioners were present.
1 The minutes of the Extraordinary Meeting held on March 11th were approved.
(These minutes were taken by Cllr Mrs Ainscough)
2 Post Office
Cllr R Brown declared an interest and remained at the meeting. Cllr Mrs Ashton
declared an interest and left the room.
Cllr Brown stated that he felt the Council was being held to ransom by a small number of villagers who were opposed to the Post Office plans to date. As the vast majority of the parishioners were anxious that a new Post Office be provided he felt it was the duty of the Council to act on behalf of this majority “and get on with the new building.”
The Chairman asked Cllr Scott (Chairman of the Post Office Liaison Group) to update the meeting on progress since March 11th. (It was firstly noted that Mr Churton had resigned from his voluntary role of progressing the project.) She asked Cllr Bell to report on his meeting with the High Street traders on the 20th.
Cllr Bell said the outcome of his meeting was a general consensus that the right option for a new Post Office building was to convert the existing toilets as a Post Office and construct a new(smaller)toilet block – this should ideally be adjoining the converted building. Cllr Bell was getting written confirmation from the various traders that they supported this.
Cllr Bell had also approached Ashford Borough Council for legal support in progressing the project.
The Clerk reported that he had written to ABC to establish whether they would be willing to transfer the car park and toilets to the Parish Council.
The Chairman closed the meeting and asked Mr Greensted to report on his investigation into possible grants available for the project. He said that that the DeFRA Rural Enterprise Scheme, SEEDA and Brett Enviromental were possible sources. (Cllr Rymer Jones thought that the latter was not likely) Mr Greensted agreed to follow up these possibilities. The Chairman reopened the meeting.
Cllr Conway wished to record the fact that he had recommended seeking grants some 18 months ago and now would probably be too late to meet the April 2006 date for the new Post Office.
Cllr Mrs Scott said the Council had now got to the point where it must make up its mind whether it wished to pursue the option of converting the toilets although this was likely to be more expensive than the original plan to construct a new building. All Councillors signified that they were in favour of this option although Cllrs Mrs Ainscough, Rymer Jones and Whapham were in favour of a separate toilet block rather than an adjoining one.
Cllr H Richards then proposed that the Council formally agrees to the option of converting the toilets and ideally attaching new toilets to the conversion. Cllr Mrs Ainscough seconded this and all Councillors were in favour except Cllr Conway who abstained.
There was then some discussion as to whether the Council should finance the work or whether the offer by a developer to fund (and then own) the building was preferable.
Cllr H Richards proposed that the Council should fund and own the building. This was seconded by Cllr Mrs Swain and all agreed except Cllrs Conway and Whapham who abstained.
Cllr Mrs Ashton then rejoined the meeting.
Three planning items were considered and will be recorded at the April 12th meeting.
4 Replacement of the Parish Clerks computer.
The Clerk reported that his own personal computer, which had been used for Council business since he was appointed, had failed and a new machine was necessary. As some 75% of computer use was for Council business the Council agreed to fund a replacement and authorised the Clerk to spend up to £700 to include call out charges for the original failure and setting up costs for the new machine.
Graham Smith 01622 890596