Challock Parish Council Annual Meeting Minutes
Tuesday 14th June 2016, 7.30pm
Members of public present: approximately 30
Michael Fisher (Chairman), Dianne Sandy (Clerk), Trevor Smith, Annabel Burden (Vice Chairman), John Ramsden, Max Thomas, Emma Fox & Anthony Aitken.
ABC Ward Councillor Larry Krause
KCC Ward Councillor Charlie Simkins
The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting and introduced and ABC Ward Councillor Larry Krause.
Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting 29th September 2015
The minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting 29th September 2015 signed by the Chairman Mick Fisher as accurate and correct.
Cllr Mick Fisher reported on the following:
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.
Thank you for coming to this evening’s Annual Parish Meeting and thank you all for your support.
Report from Charlie Simkins KCC Councillor for Ashford Rural for the year to April 2016
Max Thomas read out report on KCC’s current activities.
Whilst it is well known that the financial environment for local government remains difficult it is encouraging to report that the £500 million of savings which KCC has made over the past five years has been achieved by restructuring, commissioning services to outside organizations and reducing overheads whilst maintaining front line services. Central government continues to reduce its degree of financial assistance to local government with the ongoing reduction in the Regional Support Grant and its eventual elimination by 2020. KCC has managed once again to balance the Budget for the current year but will have to find another £50 million of savings for 2017/2018. The rise in Council Tax of 3.99% in the current year has included a specific 2% rise for adult social care which has been agreed by central government and is an example of the increasing shift in the burden of taxation.
Devolution is a subject on everyone’s minds and the new government in Westminster is keen to accelerate the pace of change. Agreements are already in train with northern cities such as Manchester and it is important that the counties do not get left behind. Areas such as health, social care integration, education and Infrastructure must all be high on the Agenda. The announcement by the chancellor in the Budget of the government’s plans to transfer the governance of all schools to academies by 2022 is a highly ambitious and radical objective which would involve substantial changes in the new dividing lines of responsibilities, many of which currently lie with KCC. Thus there are many areas of devolution to be debated whilst Westminster’s proposal for directly elected Mayors does not appear to find favour with public opinion.
At the Council Meeting in February it was agreed that a contract should be awarded to Bouygues E & S Infrastructure UK to convert all street lights to LED and to optimise all night lighting through a centralised management system. The programme began in the urban area of Ashford in March and will be rolled out throughout Kent over the next 18 months. It replaces energy hungry lights and reduces carbon emissions. The new system requires low maintenance and will result in an annual saving of £5.2m at today’s prices thereby paying for itself in under eight years. I would ask that when it is introduced in your area you encourage your residents to become familiar with the change before registering concern. However if these prevail over a period Parish Councils will be able to register them with the Joint Transportation Board. Arrangements can then be made to adjust the lighting if appropriate.
It will be apparent that there continue to be important and necessary changes underway at KCC, with the new legislative measures likely to be imposed by central Government creating further challenges. I continue to serve on a number of committees, ranging from the environment, health, waste and planning through to economic growth, regulation and superannuation. However the responsibility to my constituents lies at the top of my agenda, part of which is conducted through your parish councillors. In this regard I am planning another forum for parish council chairmen in late May when they will be encouraged to bring local issues to the table for discussion. I am also pleased to be able to encourage the development of local activities through contributions from my members grant and I encourage you to spread the word to your parishioners to apply for these.
Mr Shirley commenced talking about a matter regarding the easements. It was agreed this was not the forum to discuss and that it has been concluded through the court system.
Vicky Martin from Moonbeams After School Club offered to assist with fund raising activities for the play park. It is much used by the children both the play park and the cricket ground. It would be great to see a bigger slide/activity for the junior children and perhaps removing the see-saw and canopy.
The Parish Council asked the parishioners on their thoughts on the location of the skate park. The two options for consideration were near the cricket pavilion or at the bottom left of the cricket ground near Buck Street. The latter location was considered too close to Buck Street and concerns of safety. It was suggested an alternative location at the top of the cricket ground near the Youth Shelter. The Parish Council to make enquiries with the cricket club for feasibility and to consider residents living adjacent to the cricket ground.
Open Forum for Village Clubs & Organisations
Badminton is held in the memorial hall every Thursday and new members are most welcome. John Saunders can be contacted on 740526 for further details.
Ray Loftus from the Challock & Molash Gardeners Society are looking for new members and would be most welcome to join. The gardeners’ society meets in Molash Village Hall. They are affiliated to the Royal Horticultural Society and Kent Federation Horticultural Society. Mr John Mitchell has recently retired as Chairman and we wish him well and will still be an active member. There are currently 46 members. Membership costs £4 per annum. There is a growing committee of 5 members. There is a number of organized events throughout the year which includes the spring show, curry evening and wine tasting evening. There is also visits to RHS Wisley, a 2 night stay in Holland visiting Amsterdam Gardens containing over 2 million bulbs, an exclusive visit to John Lewis Water Garden and Salutation Gardens at Sandwich. During the winter months the Gardeners Society hold talks on interesting topics most recently Richard Goodenough from Charlton Vineyards gave a great presentation. For more details visit website at www.molashpc.kentparishes.gov.uk.
Roaring Twenties are looking for new members and would be most welcome to join.
The club meets at the Challock Methodist Hall on the Lees on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday, 2 pm – 4 pm. For information contact Edna Morgan on 01233 740500.
Any Other Business
Chairman thanked everyone for attending.
Meeting closed at 9.15pm.
Next Annual Parish Meeting to take place 2017 date to be confirmed.