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Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting held in the Old Village Hall on Friday April 29th 2005
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
Also present - Cllr N Bell, Ashford Borough Council and Cllr M Hill, KCC.
14 parishioners attended.
Apologies for absence were received from Mrs Raffe, Mrs Rymer Jones and Mr Dearing
1 The Chairman welcomed the parishioners and asked the clerk to read the minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting held on May 18th 2004. These minutes had been approved by the Council at its meeting on June 8th 2004.
2 The Chairman then read her annual report of the councils activities over the past year.
3 Cllr N Bell, Ashford Borough Council, then gave his report which covered the following topics,
KCC was seeking a contribution from the developers towards their education budget but Cllr Bell was trying to resolve this as it is basically a social housing scheme rather than a normal commercial development.
4 Post Office
Cllr Mrs G Scott, Chairman of the Post Office Liaison Committee, outlined the progress of this Council Committee (and previously informal Group) in seeking to meet the clear public demand for retention of the Post Office facility as demonstrated by the public meeting on May 6th 2004 and subsequently in the recently completed Parish Plan.
The current scheme is to convert the existing toilets in the car park as a building suitable for a Post Office and build new smaller toilets adjoining. Informal discussions with Ashford Borough planning department would take place very shortly prior to submitting a formal planning application. Early indications are that the scheme is broadly acceptable.
5 Millennium Field and Jubilee Meadow
Cllr H Richards, Chairman of the Field Committee said no major new works had been undertaken in the past year but a shallow “scrape” pond would be created near the school for the childrens study purposes. The proposed new footpath from the Millennium Field car park to the school for “peak period” school use only had been approved by DeFRA and work would start shortly. The path would be controlled by the school.
Parishioners would always be welcome at the Field working parties! Please contact Cllr Richards.
6 Millennium Field fete.
Cllr Conway said the fete this year would be on June 4th commencing at 12.30. He outlined all the items expected which included Morris Dancers, a Jazz Band, tractor rides, “dog and duck” racing and a Dog Show.
The fete would cost about £1,500 to set up but it was hoped that village organisations would raise £3,000 to £4,000 between them.
7 KAPC and Parish Forum
Cllr Rymer Jones, the Council representative on these bodies, explained their roles. The former was a coordinating body offering all types of help and guidance to parish councils and the latter a Borough Council initiative covering topics important to Ashford. Recently this had included presentations on speeding, traffic calming, policing, safe disposal of syringes and, in contrast, the possible major expansion of Lydd Airport to accept jet aircraft – perhaps the Luton airport of the south!
Cllr Rymer Jones also drew attention to news about the Parish Council distributed four times a year via 1000 copies of the Parish Magazine rather than the normal circulation of 350. He wished to record his thanks to his delivery people. The Magazine would always appreciate input from parishioners on any interesting topic.
8 Cllr M Hill, KCC
Cllr Hill explained he was the KCC member responsible for Youth matters, Community safety, Community Wardens and the Police Authority.
9 Cllr Mrs Ashcroft said that her report on road matters had been largely covered by Cllr Hill but she just added that she had regularly reported pot holes for repair and now hoped the new emphasis on road maintenance would result in less pot holes!
10 Cllr Mrs Swain advised that the fencing around the childrens play area was in urgent need of repair as were some of the equipment seats. Repairs had, in fact, been put in hand
11 Cllr Whapham reminded the meeting that he was the Council representative on the Village Hall Management Committee and that the (public) annual meeting of the Hall Trustees was on May 19th. He suggested that if parishioners had views on the Hall and Sports Field management they should come along.
12 Cllr Conway updated the meeting on the current police arrangements for the village and advised that a PC Toby Burns was now “our”officer. A revised local HQ was being set up and we would no longer be managed from Cranbrook – we are not aware of the new location yet.
Last year we had hoped to introduce hand held speed cameras on the main approaches to the village but Police advice meant that they could not be used until certain legal matters were settled – we are still waiting.
13 Parish Plan
Mr Greensted said the plan was complete and was now with Ashford Borough Council. The Parish Council would need to set up a monitoring group to secure progress on the plan. Copies were available for parishioners on request from Mr Greensted or the Clerk.
The Chairman thanked Mr Greensted on behalf of the Council for his, and his teams, dedicated work in carrying out the task.
14 Biddenden Consolidated Charity
Mr Dearing, Treasurer and Trustee, had sent his apologies but the Clerk read his report and advised that copies of both the report and accounts were available on request.
15 After a refreshment break the following questions/comments were raised by parishioners in discussion.
16 The meeting closed at 9.30pm. Graham Smith, Parish Clerk 01622 890596
CHAIRMANS ANNUAL REPORT APRIL 29TH 2005
Good evening ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the Councils Annual Parish Meeting which is our opportunity to report to you, the parishioners, on our activities over the past 12 months and in turn an opportunity for you to ask us questions and suggest things you would like us to pursue over the coming year.
Firstly let me introduce the councillors to you in case some of you are not sure who is who. (Introduce going round the table and mention Mr Hill of KCC who may be late)
I will not be giving you a long speech but rather an overview of what has occupied the past 12 months and then ask some of the councillors to speak to you on their special responsibilities.
· Not surprisingly the major topic over the past year has been the future of the Post Office and although the vast majority of the villagers clearly want the facility retained it has generated some strong views on whether it should be supported and also about the best location. I will ask Georgina Scott who is Chairman of our Post Office Liaison Committee to update you on just where we are with the project but suffice to remind you all that the temporary planning permission for the Portacabin Post Office has just a year left before the building must be removed. In brief we must get on with it!
· The Council is required to comment on all Planning applications concerning the parish and in the last year we have considered 87 items. Whilst we can make our views known we cannot actually approve or refuse an application – the ultimate decision rests with the Borough Council. Perhaps three schemes are worthy of particular mention,
1 The development at Mill Corner which is now going ahead. The Parish Council did not object to this but did insist on a traffic slowing scheme on the approach from Tenterden. This is now a planning requirement.
2 The proposed extension to the PK produce warehouse in North Street which
we objected to largely on noise and traffic grounds. This has been turned down by Ashford and there is now a proposal for residential development which we believe most parishioners would welcome.
3 The proposal for a low cost housing development at Cheeselands. We
support this but there are issues to be resolved about the “smell levels” from the sewerage plant and of course looking after the resident newt population!
We hope both these issues will be resolved shortly.
· The Millennium Field and Jubilee Meadow are of course a huge village asset giving us a permanent “green heart” but I will ask Hugh Richards, Chairman of the Millennium Field Committee to tell us what has happened over the past year including the recent proposal for a childrens only footpath from the Millennium Field car park to the school to avoid congestion in the High Street. I will also leave Michael Conway to say a few words about the coming summer fete on the Millennium Field.
· The Childrens play area is in need of some attention and Brenda Swain will update you on this.
· John Rymer Jones is our representative on the KAPC and Parish Forum bodies and he will tell you what these bodies do on behalf of Biddenden and all parishes in the county.
Your councillors do work hard on your account but perhaps do not please all of you all the time however I would like to thank them myself and on your behalf.