Chairman’s Report to the Annual Parish Meeting
on 13th June 2017
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. There have been no changes to the board of Councillors.
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. 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 meeting with Damian Green MP regarding a new footpath along Buck Street/Faversham Road and speeding through the village; Damian was very encouraging and said he can’t promise anything but will be take it up with KCC Highways after the general election.
The Parish Council have purchased and installed an additional salt bin located at the top of the Lees at the junction Church Lane and Blind Lane. A salt spreader has also been 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. Aspire are contracted to carry out the grass cutting as per schedule. The smaller areas are carried out by the grounds man. 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 were in need of repair and showing signs of ‘wear and tear’. The toddler slide has now been replaced and the assault activity has had replacement parts. 22 bulk bags of play bark was added to the play area and a further 12 bags will be topped up this month.
Overall the village is kept clean and tidy and the groundsman continues to do a splendid job in maintaining the Lees track and pathways. Clerk has recently requested a dog bin to be installed at the Beech Court gardens end of the Lees. However, it is anticipated due to ABC financial restrictions that funding will need to be sought.
In April the village litter pick was organized in conjunction with ABC Kent Clean Campaign.
11 adults and children picked litter around the village; the recreation ground, Blind Lane, Church Lane and the Lees. The Parish Council wishes to thank those who took part. The Parish Council also wishes to thank parishioners ‘unsung heroes’ who take it upon themselves to do the occasional litter pick, trim and tidy areas around the village and to thank volunteers who distribute and deliver the Forester Magazines.
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 has 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. January of this year Sue & Mick Maidens offered to look to restarting the goose fair and commenced a couple of meetings to gauge support and help.
Last year the Parish Council held a family picnic on the Lees to celebrate the Queen’s 90th Birthday. Commemorative coins were issued to children of the parish and senior citizens who were in their ninetieth year.
Challock Parish Council has organized a poetry competition in centenary celebration of Good Old Challock poem by Leonard Winter.
The Methodist Chapel has held their annual boot fair. There are 2 spaces available for community groups in the village who wish to hold a boot fair to raise funds.
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.
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 stand as of May 2017 at £3,614.91. Mr Peter Nightingale has recently informed the parish council he wishes to no longer continue to rent the poor field; the Parish Council has received an offer from a local farmer to rent the poor field. The poor field operates as an apple orchard.
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 number of planning applications have come forward during 2015. It is expected a total of 71 properties will be built in the village in the coming years. The majority of these dwellings are 4 bedrooms. Currently 9 houses have been completed and 26 houses are under construction.
Last year a court case led to the S106 developer contributions only being applied to 6 – 10 properties and not individual dwellings which meant we had lost funding for the play park upgrade. The Skate Park is still at the forefront as funding is almost complete and will be looking to move forward with this project commencing autumn 2017. Going forward with the play park upgrade the Clerk will endeavor to secure funding through other avenues. The Parish Council would welcome comments regarding outdoor play space and in particular the play area upgrade.
Last October the Parish Council held an Omissions Site Meeting to gauge parishioner’s opinions on the inclusion of proposed omission sites to the Local Plan. Sites included land at Squids Gate Lane, Pony Park and Orchard Lane. The outcome of the meeting was that the Parish Council would not support applications for further developments and felt Challock had contributed enough through the village confines.
Ashford Borough Council have approached Challock Parish Council and explained that due to a new update on projected population figures and unsuccessful planning applications for developments at Tenterden, Smarden and Brabourne means they have had to consider other options including the Omission Sites added to the Local Plan. Ashford Borough Council intends to put forward to ABC Cabinet Committee for the inclusion of Omission Site at Orchard Lane for the development of 15 dwellings to the Local Plan. Under the Open Forum the Parish Council wishes to discuss this with parishioners to gauge opinion.
During April 2017 Challock Parish Council received a scoping opinion Hegdale Quarry application on proposals to change use of inert waste to asbestos type materials. This has received an enormous amount of opposition and a Scoping Opinion Hegdale Quarry Sub-Committee was formed to assist the Parish Council in commenting on the Scoping Opinion. A campaign group has also been established.
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.
Village Telephone Box
The village telephone box was adopted by the Parish Council and is currently being renovated to hold a defibrillator and should be completed by the end of June. It is hoped to hold a training session on using a defibrillator in the near future.
- Skate Park with the expected target date of installation commencing autumn 2017.
- To continue to identify Outdoor Play Space Projects, including further upgrade of the play park and secure funding
- Top up of play Park Bark to commence June 2017
- Set up a community speed watch group
- To review the footways in the village and to look to continue campaigning for new footways to be added in particular Faversham Road.
- To consider having a memory garden installed on the section of the Lees.
- To commence planning for the commemorative of the end of the First World War 2018. Parish Council are considering lighting a bonfire on the Lees to mark the event.
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.