Chairman’s Report to the Annual Parish Meeting
on 19th May 2020
Challock Parish Council
As Chairman I am pleased to report on the highlights of the activities of Challock Parish Council during the past year. I am privileged to have a hardworking committed team of Parish Councillors and to report on the considerable work carried out by them. My thanks to you all for your support during the past year. Annabel Burden and Trevor Smith stood down as Councillor during November last year. Wished to thank both Annabel & Trevor for their support and wish them well for the future. Tracy Brown and Duncan Hardie was successfully co-opted on to the Parish Council.
Finances have maintained good order; however, all levels of local government have had to operate under severe financial constraints and Challock Parish Council need to be mindful of this. The Parish Council continues to look at maintaining costs to a minimum. The Parish Council need to be cautious with our future spending and projects and cannot rely on grants we have traditionally received.
Speeding issues continue to be a concern in the Village. Our efforts to date have included encouraging the Police to be active in speed monitoring. Funding for a new footpath along Faversham Road has been secured and is will be undergoing design assessment during 2020. The Parish Council have received offers of help to operate speed watch from parishioners and will be looking to implement this during 2020/21. Badlesmere, Leaveland & Sheldwich Parish Council have kindly offered to loan their speed watch equipment.
We have formed a collective alliance with Badlesmere, Leaveland & Sheldwich and Boughton Aluph Parish Councils to improve road safety along the A251. A couple of meetings with KCC Highways and KCC Ward Councillor Andrew Bowls have taken place to date. Parish Councils have been tasked with providing a Highways Improvement Plan. The plan involves carrying out speed monitoring via the police and speed watch volunteers which in turn will provide statistics. Road safety assessments and proposed safety improvement measures i.e. gated entrances, lower speed limits. KCC Highways have some funds available but the Parish Councils would also need to contribute and look towards other funding avenues. PC’s will work collectively where possible and savings can be made on some of the works/surveys.
A252 Safer Roads Fund Scheme consultation funded by Road Safety Foundation for proposals for safety improvements along A252 between the villages of Chilham and Charing commenced in 2019. In our response to Highways we stated in Challock we have a 40MPH speed limit and large red SLOW on the road approaching the 40MPH area, we also have traffic islands.
We however there are still several vehicles and motorcycles drivers who do not adhere to this and do 60MPH plus. The Parish Council has requested consideration for the installation of speed cameras through residential areas. We are currently at the finalization stage of the scheme and the Parish Council are pleased to announce that the village will have 30 mph signage at the entrances to the roundabout. There will be gated appearances through the village and the traffic islands will have localized widening influencing drivers to take greater care. The works are due to commence 2020/21.
During 2019 the foot way along Canterbury Road, adjacent to Green Lane and Post Office entrance has been repaired and the overgrown vegetation cut back allowing the foot way to be its proper width, improving safety for parishioners travelling on foot.
The potholes on the Lees track have been maintained regularly as well as the odd fallen trees/shrub by the grounds man. Landscapes are contracted to carry out the grass cutting as per schedule for 2020. The smaller areas are carried out by the grounds man. The Parish Council will continue to preserve the Lees and its amenities. Tree maintenance is currently being undertaken as a recent survey has showed up ash dieback and some trees suffering with decay. Sadly, these trees have had to be removed. During the winter and inclement weather, several trees have fallen and have had to be removed. A donated tree for Freda Cantle has been planted on the Lees and a memorial seat for Puff Miller has been placed in the church grounds. Ashford Borough Council kindly donated 15 tree saplings to be placed around the village. The tree saplings have been planted in various areas of the Lees.
An annual safety inspection of the play equipment is undertaken for the Parish Council. The junior and toddler swing will require replacing sometime this year.
Overall, the village is kept clean and tidy and the grounds man continues to do an excellent job in maintaining the Lees track and pathways.
The village litter pick organized in conjunction with ABC Kent Clean Campaign has been postponed until September due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The Parish Council wishes to thank parishioners ‘unsung heroes’ who take it upon themselves to do the occasional litter pick, trim and tidy areas around the village.
Publicity & Community Events
Community events in the village have notably declined with the absence of the Challock Goose Fair.
Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus pandemic many of forthcoming events has had to be either cancelled or postponed. It is hoped the Country Fayre organized by the Church and Cricket Club will be able to go ahead in September.
The Primary School, Methodist Chapel and Challock Church all make a real difference to the community we have. The Church is still looking to fill 2 vacancies for Church Warden. The Friends of Challock Church hold many events throughout the year and the Parish Council wishes to thank them for raising much needed funds for the church and giving great community spirit and bringing in visitors to our village. It is great to see Kings Wood Players returning with their Annual Pantomime. The Parish Council wishes to thank the cricket club for holding a bonfire firework display for the village.
Publicity is circulated via Notice Boards, KM Roundabout, Forester, Challock Website and Challock Chatter. The Parish Council wish to thank the parishioners who distribute and deliver the Forester Magazines.
Challock Parish Council will continue and endeavor to improve communications via these forms of media.
William Oure Trust
This trust originates from William Oure whose 2 acres of land in Pested Lane known as the Poor Field and its annual rent, the proceeds of which would be distributed by the church at Christmas time to the poor people of the Parish. The trust operates differently in these times and is registered with the Charity Commission. From time to time a request is made to the Parish Council to assist a parishioner who is in need. The funds in the trust stand as of May 2020 at £3945.85.
Clock house Green phrase 2 for 19 dwellings was approved by ABC cabinet in December 2019. With the approval of Clock House Green phrase 2 has led to S106 contributions available to the skate park project, MUGA project, play park improvements and the Lees (for outdoor furniture and improve access).
The final village confines map was adopted at ABC Cabinet Meeting on the 19th December which is now part of planning policy. At the Cabinet Meeting Councillor Jaques read out the following.
“Though it was discussed at the Public Consultation Meeting in October 2018, HOU3a & HOU5 under the modifications there was still ambiguity where Challock fits in. The impact of HOU5 had not been made clear with many parishioners and the Parish Council. It is through the meeting with Daniel demonstrating the possible effect of the original confines when applying the HOU5 policy it became more evident. The Parish Council is disappointed that we have missed the opportunity to challenge the allocation of HOU5. To continue with the original confines, we would have best been suited to HOU3a only. The whole process since the Cabinet approved the village confines in 2015 has declined into disappointment with changes to the local plan with the omission sites and then the modifications has in fact altered what the confines project set out to do. By placing Challock in HOU5 has put us in the position for possible large-scale developments which the confines project was preventing. Now that we have been allocated HOU3a & HOU5 the Parish Council are still concerned that we may be open to further large scale development and hope the new agreed village confines map which has made the line tighter will limit this and protect our green spaces.”
Earlier this year a public consultation meeting for High Tree Lodge for 26 dwellings took place. Overall consensus is to object to the application. The Parish Council will challenge the application at ABC planning committee meeting due in May/June 2020.
We now facing unprecedent times with the rapid immergence of the coronavirus pandemic.
Everyone has come together and are supporting each other through this challenging period.
There are major adjustments ahead as we continue along this unknown path and hope that one day village life will return to normal and vibrant self.
The Parish Council wishes to thank parishioners for staying at home and alert and for taking care of their families, friends and neighbours.
The Parish Council would like to thank Andrew and his staff at the Post Office and Paul and his staff at the Barn Shop for staying open and especially helping with delivery of essentials to our vulnerable parishioners.
The Parish Council will endeavor to assist our parishioners and community groups through these challenging times and help restore village life as it was before the pandemic and to help keep our parishioners safe.
- Skate Park with the expected target date of installation commencing autumn 2020/21.
- MUGA project
- To continue to identify Outdoor Play Space Projects, including further upgrade of the play park and secure funding. Installation of junior and toddler swings.
- To continue to campaign for reduce speed limit and road safety measures around the village.
- To review the footways in the village and to look to continue campaigning for new footways.
- Install footpath swing gates cricket ground.
- Lees track residents’ consultation.
The Parish Council are keen to know the projects residents would like to see the Council working on along with dealing with issues, requests for grants and support. Residents are welcomed to attend Parish Meetings, contact through email or mail to c/o Post Office.
Thank you all for your support.