Minutes of Blean Parish Council Meeting held at the Village Hall, School Lane, Blean on Monday 11th February 2013
Those Present: Cllrs: W. Leetham (Chairman); G King; C. Sturgeon; C. Dunster; B. Flack; P. Hutt; C Goldstein.
Also present: Ward Cllr B. Fitter; Ward Cllr. J. Gilbey; County Cllr. J. Simmonds and seven members of the public.
The Chairman welcomed the Councillors and members of the public to the meeting and explained the fire drill and location of the toilets.
1. Apologies for absence: – Cllr. H. Samuelson (Vice-Chairman) and Cllr. C. Harris.
2. Declarations of Interest and DPI in Matters to be discussed.
Cllr. Flack reported that she has been appointed a Community Governor of Orchard School. She has informed Mark Ellender of the appointment and lodged a Declaration of Interest with the clerk.
Cllrs. Sturgeon and King both declared an interest as Village Hall Management Committee members.
3. Matters raised by the public
No matters were raised by the public.
4. Reports from Ward and County Councillors
4.1 Ward Cllr. Ben Fitter reported that he had attended a RAMP meeting on 14th January. He had provided the Parish Council with an application form for funding for play equipment which had been completed and returned.
He had also received a presentation on rural fuel poverty and had provided contact details for the Home Heat Helpline and Winter Intervention Support to the Parish Council. These had been put on the website and noticeboard.
He also reported on a meeting that he had attended on 17th January regarding road safety by The Royal Oak (full report attached to these minutes).
Residents asked questions following this report:
1. Could islands be done away with and a zebra crossing put in their place?
Cllr. Fitter – A crossing would be difficult as the bus stops would need to be moved and this can’t be done as it is too near the bend in the road.
County Cllr. Simmonds explained that a zebra crossing without proper visibility is highly dangerous.
2. Couldn’t the pavement be made wider?
Cllr. Simmonds said that if the pavement was made wider this would cause more problems by making the road narrower.
If hedges are the problem house occupiers can be asked to cut them back.
3. Would not a better police presence help with the speeding problem?
Cllr. Simmonds explained that police numbers have been cut but that he will talk to Maidstone to get a speed check done.
Ward Cllr. Gilbey also offered to speak to the Chief of Police to get speed checks and follow ups.
Cllr. King explained that, even though he had done speed checks with PCSO Mike Bradbury, PCSO’s have no powers of arrest and can’t even take down registration numbers. He said that the results of their check had been 62mph maximum with 40mph approx. being the common speed.
Cllr. Simmonds said that the damaged speed sign at the Royal Oak has been replaced and the one for the other end of the village is on order.
It was concluded that the design of the village makes it difficult to solve the problems.
Cllr. Goldstein said that it is a sad fact that nothing can be done and she will communicate this back to the residents of Woodlands and the issues should be published on the PC website.
4.2 Ward Cllr. John Gilbey reported that CCC are finalising the Local Plan. The first draft should be ready by 1st May. It has been delayed due to traffic reasons which it is totally dependant on.
The load restriction will remain at St. Dunstans. As a result of the road trial other measures will have to be put in place and maybe looking at traffic lights at Wincheap.
New Bio-diesel buses are to replace the existing buses.
Due to the severely restricted funding from the Government the District Council are looking at ways to reduce costs; numbers of meetings, Councillors etc.
CCC budget meeting is on 21st February and KCC on 14th February.
Cllr. Gilbey also reported of a meeting with himself, as Ward Cllr. not Leader of CCC, Abbotts and Cllr. Leetham at 39 Blean Common following complaints of blocked ditches at the development site. He agreed that it was a mess due to the weather but that all the ditches were flowing. Cllr. King showed him a photo of the ditch behind the houses which is totally blocked.
4.3 County Cllr. John Simmonds reported on the budget meeting to be held on 14th February when the recommendation will be 0% increase in council tax for the third year running.
£270million government funding has been taken out in a three year period and it will be the same next year. A great number of jobs have been cut with more still to go.
£1.5million has to be found for the ‘Find and Fix’ pothole repair programme.
£4.5million is earmarked for funding for the elderly with emphasis on early identification so that people can stay in their own homes longer.
Resident, Mr Gammon, asked about the removing of street lights and suggested it would be more prudent to switch off every other light.
Cllr. Simmonds said that they are operated by computer and safety has to be the important factor. Lights that are being removed are because of metal fatigue and obsolete lights.
5. Approval of the Minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on 10th December 2012
The minutes of 10th December 2012 were approved and accepted as a true record of the meeting.
Proposed by Cllr. Sturgeon, Seconded by Cllr.King and all other Cllrs. present agreed.
Minutes signed by the Chairman.
Matters Arising from the Minutes
5.1 Ref: 13.1 Cllr. Leetham explained that due to the change in the benefit system and the Government giving the District Council a fixed sum, the precept bid, on advice from CCC, had been set at £15,100. he said this would be an agenda item for the March PC meeting after the CCC budget meeting had been had.
5.2 Ref: 9.3 Cllr. Goldstein asked if the road safety measures that have been addressed have been publicised by the clerk and Cllr. King.
6. N.H.W. Report
Cllr. King gave his report in which he said that he had received 77 reports from Kent Police and Trading Standards since his last report, which have been circulated as necessary through the village notice boards, the PC website and the street link persons.
There has been one reported theft of equipment from the gas compound on Honey Hill which has been targeted on previous occasions.
He reported that two weeks ago he had been contacted by Kent Police who were concerned about the welfare and safety of a vulnerable person in Canterbury who had not been seen for some time and whose house was in darkness with milk left outside. Through local contacts and knowledge he was able to locate the person, visit and speak with her and confirm that she was safe and well.
The Divisional Office has identified that Blean Neighbourhood Watch area is the largest and most efficient scheme in the division with nineteen street links and the publicity system which includes the local press community news section which he writes. Cllr. King has been invited to meet the Police Commissioner, Anne Barnes, on 9th March to discuss the village’s scheme, a report of which has been submitted for the annual conference.
Congratulations were given to Cllr. King on his NHW work.
He reported that ample money is in hand to meet all the commitments and that all link persons have signified their willingness to continue in post as necessary.
7. Village Hall Report
Cllr. Sturgeon gave the BVHMC report (attached to these minutes).
Arising from the report the clerk gave an update on the transfer of the freehold which is in the hands of the solicitors and reported that the back outside light bulb has been replaced by Southgates.
Cllr. King showed an example of a photo which will be displayed at the photo exhibition on 23rd February.
8. Matters Arising including
8.1 Public Paths and Rights of Way
No problems have been reported.
8.2 Recreation Ground including play equipment – Recreation ground Health and Safety Audit
Cllr. Flack reported that five applications for funds for new play equipment have now been submitted. Copies are in the parish office.
Cllr. Simmonds has offered a small amount of Members Fund money.
Cllr. Leetham reported that Richard Meadows has offered to do a Health and Safety audit on the recreation ground. Saturday mornings are convenient for him and as many Parish Councillors as possible are welcome to attend. Cllr. Flack suggested that it might be wise to leave it until after Wicksteeds have conducted the play equipment annual inspection. It was agreed to leave it until the next PC meeting to decide a date.
8.3 Road Safety Measures – Annual Parking Review 2012
Two recommendations have been put forward in the Annual Parking Review,
1) double yellow lines at the junction of Tyler Hill Road and Blean Common
2) double yellow lines at the junction of Blean Common and Chapel Lane.
Both of these proposals were agreed by the Parish Council.
8.4 Neighbourhood Plan
Copies of a discussion paper, prepared by Cllr. Flack, on preparing a neighbourhood plan had been circulated to all members. Cllr. Flack said that this gives an idea on what is involved and gives the Parish Council and community a statement to work to.
Cllr. Leetham said that it needs involvement by the whole community and will take eighteen months to two years to complete.
Cllr. Flack proposed that a public meeting be held to inform people and to see if they want to be involved.
Cllr. Gilbey said that it is very important that it conforms with the Local Plan and he suggested asking CCC Adrian Verrall to give a talk.
The Chairman thanked Cllr. Flack for the report.
8.5 Fire Hydrants
Cllr. Leetham explained that Kent Fire and Rescue Service used to check the hydrants every year but now it is only every five years so, Parish Councils are now being asked to inspect them but not to tamper with them in any way.
It is purely to make people aware where the fire hydrants are and to keep an eye on them. Maps have been circulated by KALC, however, Blean’s one is not available yet.
9. Councillors’ Reports
9.1 Cllr. Dunster said that all the pavements she has walked are clear.
9.2 Cllr. Flack said that she has contacted Mr Firmin who said that a new map will be ready as soon as we are in a position to proceed. Following on from that Cllr. Flack asked what is happening as regards new noticeboards. It was noted that the school one is down and will be replaced soon. Cllr. Leetham said that he will chase up the one for The Green from Abbotts.
9.3 Cllr. Leetham spoke of the problem with retrieving the remaining Deed box from Nat West bank. The bank has it lodged under PCC instead of PC so it remains
a problem to get it out as the bank will only accept signatories from the PCC. Cllr. Flack offered to speak to Rev. Stephen Laird about the problem.
County Cllr. Simmonds left the meeting at 8.40pm.
9.4 Cllr. Leetham said that Richard Meadows has said that the paint for the painting of the yellow lines outside the hall will be £40. It was agreed to go ahead with the purchase.
9.5 Cllr. Leetham is to attend the street monitors meeting on Wednesday.
9.6 An email from Helen Bennington regarding work done by Community Payback was noted and the Chairman asked for any suggestions of any work that they could do in the village.
9.7 It was noted that Tyler Hill Road from Blean Common to School Lane is to be re-surfaced on 9th April and the remainder of Tyler Hill Road through to Calais Hill is to have patching work done on 4th March for five days and micro surfacing work on 4th April for four days.
Cllr. King suggested that the village shop should be advised of these dates.
9.8 Cllr. Leetham said that there are to be extra buses on the triangle route and a 3B bus will run from Giles Lane to Faversham.
All correspondence had been circulated to members:
Oast to Coast – Winter 2012
SE Water Resources Update – Winter 2012
CPRE – Fieldwork – Winter 2012
Letter – re – Blean Village Hall
CCC – Agenda – Joint meeting of the N & S Area Member Panel – 14th January 2013
KCC – Kent Lane Rental Scheme – coming into effect 28th May
KALC – Canterbury Area Committee Minutes – 9th January 2013
KALC – Notice of Legal and Finance Conference – 2nd February 2013 – Tunbridge
Rural News – Issue 125
KALC – Kent Fire & Rescue Service – Fire Hydrant Inspections
KALC – Community Infrastructure Levy & Neighbourhood Planning
Email from Tracey Miller – Highway Steward for the Canterbury District.
Street Monitors meeting minutes
KALC – Parish News
Kent Police – Ann Barnes's first Police and Crime Plan
CCC – Agenda – Development Control Committee meeting – 5th February
Clerks & Councils Direct – January 2013
Kent Police – News in Kent
Annual Parking Review 2012
LGA/NALC Publication: Modelling Devolution – Working Together to Deliver
DCLG Neighbourhood Planning Bulletin Edition Three
Helen Bennington – Community Payback scheme
Boundary Commission for England – Parliamentary constituency boundary review
postponed until 2018
Tyler Hill Road Resurfacing – 9th April
11. Planning Applications – The following applications have been received and circulated to all Cllrs. for comment.
1. CA/12/02255/FUL – Demolition of existing workshop and erection of replacement machinery bays, workshop and office – Land adjacent Blean Nature Reserve, Whitstable Road – No objection by PC.
2. CA/13/00058/FUL – Change of use from residential bungalow to tea room and minor alterations – 44 Honey Hill – No objection by PC.
3. CA/13/00072/FUL – Two-storey extension and increasing height of pitched roof incorporating loft conversion – The Willows, Pean Hill – No objection by PC.
4. CA/13/00124/FUL – Extension to dwelling and erection of outbuilding – Little Springfield, 110 Blean Common – in circulation
5. CA/13/00103/FUL – Demolition of glasshouse and replacement with a steel clad extension – Meadow Grange Nursery, Honey Hill – in circulation
Notice of Appeal
CA/12/01474/LUE – Hempshall Lodge, Honey Hill
1. CA/12/02068/FUL – Single storey entrance area – Jennison Building, UKC – GRANTED
2. CA/12/01539/FUL – Erection of Two-storey modular office and seminar block – Land at Research and Development Centre – UKC – GRANTED
3. CA/12/02012/FUL – Construction of a paved path – St Cosmos and St Damians church – GRANTED
4. CA/12/02099/FUL – Erection of 2 tree houses and 1 zip line – 8 Honey Hill – GRANTED
5. CA/12/02086/FUL – Erection of detached single-storey dwelling – Land adjacent to 120 Blean Common – GRANTED
11.1 Cllr. Goldstein asked whether the CCC planning department write to the Parish Council to explain the reasons when they go against the comments and objections raised by the Parish Council on planning applications. Cllr. Gilbey explained that decisions are made by the planning officers’ recommendations and that to write to each consultee as to why the decision had been reached would be too costly.
12. Approval for invoice payments and signing of cheques
Banking details for December 2012
Chq. 002332 – BVHMC – Hall Rent – Dec 2012 £ 11.00
Chq. 002333 – KCC 2nd half yearly payment £953.62
Chq. 002334 – Mr K Waddington – Handyman’s Wages Dec 2012 £119.53
Chq. 002335 – Mrs D Horswell – Clerks Salary Dec 2012 £661.20
Chq. 002336 – HMRC – PAYE & NIC Dec 2012 £ 39.15
DD – Serco – Waste Collection – December 2012 £ 32.88
DD BT – Telephone & Broadband 28/9/12 – 30/12/12 £182.31
Total out £1999.69
UK Power Networks £39.00
Total in £39.00
Banking details for January 2013
Cheques for Approval and Signature
Chq. 002337 – Mr K Waddington – Handyman’s Wages Jan 2013 £ 96.93
Chq. 002338 – Mrs D Horswell – Clerks Salary Jan 2013 £661.20
Chq. 002339 – Mrs D Horswell – Petty Cash Dec 2012 & Jan 2013 £ 42.89
Chq. 002340 – HMRC – PAYE & NIC Jan 2013 £ 33.75
Chq. 002341 – Cutters Garden Services £140.00
Chq. 002342 – CPRE – Annual Subscription £ 30.00
Total out £1004.77
HPC – SLCC Membership 50% payment £ 72.50
Total in £72.50
Bank Statement as at 11th February
Current Account – £2000
Business Reserve Account – £30,798.15
(Interest bearing account used to feed Current Account, when needed, to maintain a balance of £2000. Includes anticipated expenditure up to 31st March 2013
Reserves funds of £11,000 earmarked for the BVHMC)
13. Date of next meeting
The date of the next meeting is 11th March.
14. Cllr. Goldstein asked whether a newletter had ever been considered. Cllr. Leetham said that he writes an annual newsletter.
Agenda item for next meeting.
There being no further business the meeting closed at 9.07pm..
Date _______________ Signature ______________________________
Blean PC 11/02/2012 Ward Councillor Ben Fitter’s Report
On the 17th January Street I had a street meeting with Cllr. Goldstein and two Westfields residents outside The Oak
– It was a successful meeting covering issues with the current configuration of bus stops, pedestrian refuge island, and narrow pavements.
– I have been corresponding with Highways via Cllr. Simmonds to see what, if any, changes are possible.
– To conclude briefly, in terms of the road layout, the current configuration of bus stops appears to be optimal. Moving the Canterbury-bound stop away from the bend would result in it being too close to the Whitstable-bound stop, creating new pedestrian safety and traffic management issues.
– The existing refuge island is also considered optimal. Upgrading it to a zebra crossing would require both bus stops to be moved at least an additional 10 metres further apart to maintain minimum safe visibility distances. This would be prohibitively expensive and there is little scope for moving the stops anyway as I just mentioned. Without moving the bus stop, I think it's likely pedestrians would to continue to cross on the bend as they do now.
– Finally, widening the narrow pavements Canterbury-bound from Blean Common would cost in excess of £50,000, with little additional width available due to the requirement for the carriageway to be 3.5m across. It may be possible in the future to widen certain sections that are particularly problematic.
– None of the improvement works discussed qualify for funding under safety scheme budgets. The best if not only opportunity for funding continues to be the Kent County Councillor's Member Highway Fund.
– Blean has already benefitted significantly from Cllr. Simmonds Member Highway Fund, with the footpath to the school, flashing signs, and new 30 limit all being recent improvements he has funded. As such I'd like to give my thanks to Cllr. Simmonds for his continued efforts to secure improvements to Blean's highways and for his assistance in obtaining the information I have reported tonight.
– I will continue to explore alternative improvements and modifications and am open to views and suggestions if there are particular avenues that the PC would like me to explore.
BVHMC report for the Blean Parish Council meeting 11th February 2013.
The transfer of the freehold of the hall from the Parish Council to BVHMC is on-going and I have no further information to offer at this stage from the BVHMC Solicitor.
In December the Blean Initiative officially confirmed their partnership commitment and will identify and use the village hall as their hub, when Phase 1 is built. A replacement “smart” thermostat has been installed in the main hall to accommodate daily user/regular sessions and their heating needs to match the one in the small hall, instruction sheet(s) on display. If anyone needs help with the heating system please contact Richard Meadows (Hall Responsible Person) direct – his details are in the hall foyer.
Working party volunteers attached the external Blean village hall sign to the building in December, funded from the Romanian Rural Village award 2012, prize money. They also undertook internal minor hall repairs/painting at the same time. Richard is liaising with Denise regarding sourcing yellow paint to mark out the external hatch and car parking spaces, repairs to the exterior light to the rear of the building which has failed, and dates to meet with P Cllrs for the risk assessment for the recreation ground and Hallmark Level 2 application.
The fundraising has reached £210.000+ total to date, BVHMC are in a positive position to start the Phase 1 project in the spring. Tenders and dates were sent out by the architect to 5 builders last week; full plans have been given a notice of conditional passing as compliance with the Building Regs, by CCC Building Control Manager.
Viridor Credits granted BVHMC – a £65.000 award in December following a re-application in August. A cheque for £6,632.60 was repaid to Viridor from funds held on deposit to meet BVHMC’s 10% third party contribution to Landfill Credit Tax, and registration of the project with Entrust.
CCC capital grant application of £5,000 was approved in December, subject to CCC budget setting process this month and has been included in the fund raising total.
Single gateway grant application for 2013-14 and 2014-15 was also approved on 17th January, subject to above, to meet essential core costs, and an additional programme of necessary internal, exterior and planned building maintenance work.
Fund raisers organised a range of very successful events during January and early February, including last Saturday’s French night, which transformed the hall into an authentic Parisian café dining experience.
The 2013 Calendar of Social events was circulated to supporters with full details & updates available on the bleanvillagehall.co.uk website.
The Village appeal for Phase 1 project raised over £2.000 via the local giving site with further donations received by cheque and cash, gift aid will be claimed. Additional monthly standing orders/direct debits with regular amounts committed (UFN) were also set up via the appeal. Thank you letters were sent to all who contributed via the appeal and we truly appreciate the community support and their generous response. We continue to fund raise and await decisions on grant applications submitted, with further grant applications and submissions prepared to secure all the funding required (approx. £20,000 needed) and are confident that this is achievable.
The 2011-12 annual accounts were agreed and returned by the Hon Auditor in time for BVHMC meeting last week, they were included in the minutes, signed and adopted by all Trustees and will be logged onto the Charity Commission website as our annual return, requirement.
The committee would like to address openly the anonymous letter sent to BPC last month by a writer regarding an opinion and view: that the hall has been taken over by the minority for outside business interests and that the majority of local people and regular groups are marginalised and unsupportive of the extension/refurbishment plans. You’ll remember that the BVHMC undertook 18 months of open & public consultation from May 2010 – December 2011, with meetings, exhibitions and discussions with all interested parties, the community and user groups, and this, to our knowledge is the only “opposing” letter received to date.
The “What’s going on in Blean Hall guide” published openly and on the website clearly shows evidence that the majority of established user groups are non-profit making and are locally based . The hall’s letting policy and constitution reflects it’s inclusivity to all, (and with the exception of 18 yrs. old birthday parties as we can’t guarantee safety concerns), everyone else is welcome to hire and use the hall.
BVHMC regret we’re unable to respond direct, as the writer didn’t sign or address their letter. However, as the BVHMC are a progressive group, at the last meeting Steve Reith and Andy Burgis were appointed as hall liaison officers. They have kindly offered to meet with individuals, group reps or attend group meetings/AGMs if invited to fulfil an independent role to listen and try to resolve concerns. They’ll then feedback their opinion, recommendations and remedies for discussion at BVHMC meetings.
A notice will be displayed and a note included in the rent envelopes at the end of this month with their contact details. An updated and live spread-sheet/weekly rota: showing hall users, days, times, which hall used will also be publically displayed on the main hall board with rental charges at current prices, updated as necessary, to promote communication and prevent misunderstandings which may arise.
I’d like to thank all of the BVHMC, who together with our very active working party/fund raising volunteers and community supporters, many of whom come along to events we offer to strengthen our community and give so generously of their time, expertise and money. New hall user groups and supporters continue to show interest, we welcomed Canterbury Art Society last month as regular hall hirers, Reflexology are returning monthly in April to hire as a regular group, various therapists are planning to use the hall on some Sundays as a regular session to accommodate the demands and needs of the community.
Next event is Sat 23rd Feb with Beautiful Blean photo exhibition and home-made coffee morning. See posters for details.
Saturday 2nd March features the annual Raise the Roof Barn dance and Ceilidh in Blean School Hall hosted by the Deal Hoodeners, with Bill calling – 7.30pm onwards – Adults £5.00 accompanied children and under 18s £2.00 – bring your own food and drink. Tickets available to buy from Blean Londis shop, on the night or book your party and table via email: email@example.com