Chairman’s Report to the Annual Parish Meeting on 14th June 2016
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. Gavin Spiers stepped down as Councillor in January and thanked him for his support. We welcomed Tony Aitken as a new Councillor.
Finances have maintained good order however; all levels of local government have 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. There have been savings made with amalgamating the role of Parish Clerk and Assistant Clerk.
With the loss of recycling revenue £8,750 the Parish Council need to be cautious with our future spending and projects and cannot rely on grants we have traditionally received.
Speeding issues have been a particular concern in the Village. Our efforts to date have including encouraging the Police to be active in speed monitoring. Charlie Simkins KCC Ward Councillor has also been very supportive and organized speed monitoring survey. Recently I attended a Speed Awareness Conference and which the Parish Council are looking to set up a small team of volunteers to assist in monitoring the speed through the village and to work with another village in purchasing speed monitoring equipment.
The Parish Council will be purchasing an additional salt bin to be located at the top of the Lees at the junction Church Lane and Blind Lane. A salt spreader will also be purchased to salt the paths along Church Lane and Cosmos Close during icy conditions. The cost was met through funding obtained from KCC Ward Councillor Charlie Simkins.
The pot holes 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. The Parish Council will continue to preserve the Lees and its amenities.
An annual safety inspection of the play equipment is undertaken for the Parish Council. Some of the play equipment in particular slide and assault activity is in need of repair and showing signs of ‘wear and tear’. The bark is also starting to compact and flatten its anticipated that the new bark will be added in late summer.
Overall the village is kept clean and tidy and the groundsman continues to do a splendid job in maintaining the Lees track and pathways. An additional dog waste bin for the bottom of the cricket ground has been installed.
Publicity & Community Events
Community events in the village have notably declined with the absence of the Challock Goose Fair. The Goose Fair has been a great success over the years and a lot of community groups have benefited from the proceeds. Understandably the committee and organisers wanted to step down and have a break. The Parish Council have over the past year still received a number of enquiries about the Goose Fair and why it is not continuing. We have had offers of help from outside the village to operate a Goose Fair. The Parish Council have declined these offers as it was felt that event such as the Goose Fair should be run by the village itself and all proceeds to benefit the village.
The Parish Council recently held a family picnic on the Lees to celebrate the Queen’s 90th Birthday. Like to take this opportunity to thank Annabelle Burden for organizing this lovely event and would like to thank Alan Ovenden for providing the music, John Harvey giving free portraits, Samantha Langiano for loan of marquee, Pam Elderkin & family and everyone who helped along the way and on the day. Would also like to thank the Methodist Chapel for allowing use of their facilities.
The Primary School, Methodist Church and Challock Church all make a real difference to the community we have. The Church are still looking to fill 2 vacancies for Church Warden.
Publicity is circulated via Notice Boards, KM Roundabout, Forester, Challock Website and Challock Chatter. 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 stands as of April 2016 £3,457.65.
The confines project took place during 2012/13 and in 2014 Ashford Borough Council gave its approval for the boundary changes to take place. A surge of planning applications have come forward during 2015. It is expected a total of 71 properties will be built in the village during the course of the next 2 to 3 years. The majority of these dwellings are 4 bedrooms. . A feedback workshop on the Confines was carried out in November 2015 and the minutes of the feedback session are available to view on the table to view along with the confines map. It has been a bit of a roller coaster ride with planning and the S106’s Developer Contributions. With the absence of S106 Developer Contributions during 2015 many planning applications were added to the planning portal. At the start of this year the S106 Developer Contributions were re-introduced and the Parish Council were requested by Ashford Borough Council to outline projects that the S106 could be applied too. It was recognized by Ashford Borough Council that the village has less than adequate outdoor play space for children and teenagers and therefore the S106 Developer Contributions can be applied to the Skate Park and Play Area Upgrade. Two Sub-Committees were formed S106 Developer Contributions and Outdoor Play Space. Consultation has recently taking place on the Skate Park and Play Area Upgrade involving the Pre-School, Primary School, and Youth Club and through the Forester. During the consultation the skate park is still very much wanted by the young people. The location of the skate park has been suggested at the top end of the cricket ground near to the pavilion where currently 2 storage containers are. It is anticipated the storage containers will eventually be relocated to the top far corner of the cricket pitch. The bottom left of the cricket ground has been suggested by the cricket club as an alternative location for the skate park. The Parish Council would like to hear the views of parishioners on where they would like to see the skate park located. Details of the consultation are available to be viewed on the table in the hall.
Unfortunately recent developments involving a court case has led to the S106 developer contributions only being applied to 6 – 10 properties and not individual dwellings as previously. This means we have lost funding for the play park upgrade. The Skate Park is still at the forefront as funding is almost complete. Going forward with the play park upgrade the Clerk will endeavor to secure funding through other avenues. The consultation of new play equipment for the play park and other outdoor play space is still ongoing and the Parish Council would welcome further comments from parishioners regarding the type of equipment they would like to see in the play park. Details of the consultation are available to be viewed on the table in the hall. The Parish Council would welcome comments regarding outdoor play space and in particular the play area upgrade.
Village Broadband Service
At last the village has now got improved broadband service with the introduction of new cabinet and equipment upgrade of existing cabinet. Parishioners can now access faster broadband.
- Skate Park with the expected target date of installation commencing autumn 2017.
- To continue to identify Outdoor Play Space Projects, including the upgrade of the play park and secure funding
- Play Park Bark replacement to commence late Summer 2016
- Set up a community speed watch group
- To review the footways in the village and to look to at campaigning for new footways to be added in particular Faversham Road.
- To adopt the village telephone box. To paint it and to install a defibrillator.
- To commence planning for the commemorative of the end of the First World War 2018.
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.