Minutes of the Blean Parish Council Meeting held at the Village Hall, School Lane, Blean on Monday 16th April 2012.
Those Present: Cllrs: W. Leetham (Chairman); H. Samuelson (Vice-Chairman); G King; C. Sturgeon; C. Dunster; P. Hutt; C. Harris; B. Flack
Also present: Ward Cllr. Mrs H. McCabe, County Cllr. John Simmonds, PCSO Mike Bradbury and eight members of the public.
1. Apologies: Ward Cllr. John Gilbey – on holiday.
2. Changes to the Register of Members’ Interests
3. Declarations of Interest in Matters to be discussed.
Cllrs. Sturgeon and King reaffirmed their interest as Hall Management Committee members.
4. Matters raised by the public
a) Mrs Letts commented on the poor lighting at the end of School Lane and Tyler Hill Road.
b) Mrs Letts also raised the matter of speeding which occurs at the junction of School Lane and Tyler Hill Road. She asked whether a flashing sign could be put up or 30mph signs painted on the road. County Cllr. Simmonds said that there are strict guidelines where flashing lights can be positioned, also painted signs on the road.
PCSO Mike Bradbury said that it would not be an ideal place to use a speed gun.
c) Binny from the Londis shop asked about whether they could replace the sign, indicating where the shop is, as it had been stolen. Cllr. Leetham suggested that Binny contacts Chris Moore of KHS for information about the height of signs.
4.1 Reports from Ward and County Councillors
a) Ward Cllr. McCabe had nothing to add.
b) County Cllr. Simmonds gave his report in which he spoke of the ‘Making Kent Quicker’ campaign for faster broadband particularly in the rural areas. There is £10million funding from the Government, £10million from KCC and £23million from providers. Public support is needed and communities are required to register an interest.
4.2 NHW Report
Cllr. King gave his report in which he said that an attempt was made to break into a property on Westfield, with damage to a door and the removal of one panel. No entry was made and no property stolen. Secondly, an Apple iPhone was stolen from a bedroom in a dwelling on The Green. To date, no offender has been identified for either event. There have been forty messages since the last meeting which have been distributed through the usual channels.
PCSO Mike Bradbury spoke in his new role as PCSO for the area which is made up of Blean Forest Ward, St. Stephen’s Ward and the whole of the University. He had previously been PCSO in Thanet for three and a half years.
He said that he has been patrolling in Blean and intends to conduct speed checks in the future with the speed gun. He spoke of an event which is taking place – ‘King of the Road’ event for which he will provide a poster promoting it.
5. Minutes of the last Meeting –
The minutes of 12th March 2012 were approved and accepted as a true record of the meeting.
Proposed by Cllr. Samuelson, Seconded by Cllr. King, all present agreed.
Signed by the Chairman.
6. Matters Arising
Re 6.6 Homeless people camping in Blean Woods Cllr. Flack reported that one gentleman who was sleeping rough in the woods has chosen to leave the area and two have been moved on.
Re 7.19 Village Hall Sign County Cllr. John Simmonds is to chase up.
6.1 Public Paths and Rights of Way – Nothing raised.
6.2 Recreation ground Cllr. Leetham reported that the annual safety inspection had recently been carried out by Wicksteeds. The full report has not yet been received but it has been noted that a lot of equipment has got rust and the rocket climber is near the end of its life. The safety matting needs replacing and the slide will need to be replaced in the future. Cllr. Leetham thought that by the time the play equipment working group obtained quotes and funding the timescale would be tight for this summer so it would be next year before the equipment is changed.
Cllr. Flack asked about the basketball hoop which is stored in the store in the Hall but this cannot be put back up until the surface underneath is replaced.
It was noted that if goal posts are put up the nets cannot be left out because of Health and Safety regulations.
Action: Email Harbledown clerk to find out the cost of their goal posts.
6.3 To approve £100 donation to Annual Sailing Week After discussion it was decided to defer this item to May’s Parish Council meeting to enable the clerk to enquire the costs and the Parish Council may then consider sponsoring a child to attend this event.
6.4 To consider joining services of KCC Parish Council Legal Scheme Cllr. Leetham said that KALC are negotiating with KCC on this matter so no action is required.
6.5 To consider letter from BVHMC regarding emergency outdoor lighting, village hall signs and power supply for outside events The parish Council had received a letter from BVHMC regarding the Health and Safety guidelines, as a result of the Hallmark inspection, requesting that the Parish Council install the necessary emergency backup outside lighting. Directional signs to the hall are also requested and a sign on the Hall. It was decided to seek estimates for the lights plus advice on whether planning permission is required for a sign on the hall and for the lights.
As regards the key for the parish office, for when outdoor events are taking place, it was agreed that Cllr. Leetham would unlock the office and leave the key with Cllr. Sturgeon to lock up.
6.6 Repair and Renewal of village noticeboards and map After discussion about the noticeboards in the village it was mentioned that Abbotts had repaired the one on The Green in the past. The noticeboard outside the school was now looked after by the school, the one opposite the Royal Oak is fine, Cllr. King is to have a word with the householders on the main road who have a noticeboard in their garden to ask if they mind it being replaced for one of the same size. It was agreed that the map of the village needs replacing.
6.7 Permission for playgroup to store items in the football area There was no objection to this as long as they realised it was their responsibility to secure the items. Proposed by Cllr. Sturgeon, seconded by Cllr. King, all present agreed.
6.8 Agreement for Parish Records to be stored at Canterbury Cathedral Archives Signed by the Chairman.
6.9 For signature – letter to Nat West bank for removal of Deed Boxes Signed by Cllr. King and to be signed by Cllr. Leetham at the bank when the boxes are collected. These will then be stored at the Cathedral Archives with the Parish Records already there.
7. Reports including Village Hall
7.1 Cllr. Sturgeon gave the village hall report – attached to these minutes.
7.2 Cllr. Leetham announced that there is to be a litter pick on Sunday at 2pm.
7.3 Cllr. Leetham had heard from the Housing Officer CCC who said that the University won’t sell any land for affordable housing except at market rates. The Housing Officer along with two Housing Associations are currently investigating a plot of land in Giles Lane for this purpose.
Cllr. King commented on the brilliant new development in Bridge.
All correspondence and emails received had been previously circulated to Cllrs. These included:
Letter of Congratulations for awards to Londis shop from BPC
Notification of Concurrent Funding award – £8206.37
Agenda – Development Management Committee – National Planning Policy
Framework – 3rd April
KSCP – opening of The Big Blean Walk – 4th May
Diamond Jubilee mementoes
ACRK – Oast to Coast – Spring 2012
Request for £100 donation to Annual Sailing Week – Agenda Item
KCC – Make Kent Quicker – Faster Broadband leaflet
KALC – Membership Information Pack 2012/2013
KCC – Parish Council Legal Scheme Details
SE Water – Restrictions on water use
ACRK – Rural News
Southern Water – Water Restrictions in Southern Water’s Supply Area
KALC – Planning Conference 2012
SE Water Drought Plan
Clerks & Councils Direct – March 2012
Application for the Proposed Kentish Flats Wind Farm Extension, Kent
Correction to above letter.
The Clerk Magazine – March 2012
The Kent Men of the Trees ‘Trees in the Village Competition 2012’
Letter from BVHMC to BPC – outside lighting, village hall sign & power supply
for outside events from Parish Office – Agenda item
Date & Agenda for Parish Forum meeting – 21st April – Herne Community Centre
9. Planning Applications – The following applications had been received and circulated to all Cllrs.
1. CA/12/00198/FUL – Erection of two pairs of 3 bed semi-detached houses – Land rear of shops, Tyler Hill Road – No objection in principle – it will help to provide some new modest housing in village. Concerns regarding the extra vehicular movements at the junction of Tyler Hill Rd by the shop. PC recommend parking restrictions outside shop & contractors’ vehicles parked on site.
2. CA/12/00368/FUL – Two-storey side extension – 16 Mount Pleasant – No objections
3. CA/12/00225/FUL – Application for a new planning permission to replace planning permission CA/07/1726/FUL for the erection of detached dwelling in order to extend the time limit for implementation – Land adjacent to 6 Chestnut Avenue – As there is no change to the proposal and the original planning application was granted on appeal there is no objection to extending the time limit.
4. CA/12/00607/FUL – Retention of touring caravan – 34 Hillside Paddocks, Blean Hill – No objection
10. Approval for invoice payments and signing of cheques
Chq. 002251 – KALC – Annual Membership £509.70
Chq. 002252 – Mr K Waddington – Handyman’s Wages Mar 2012 £ 97.13
Chq. 002253 – Mrs D Horswell – Clerks Salary Mar 2012 £649.16
Chq. 002254 – Mrs D Horswell – Petty Cash Mar 2012 £ 23.27
Chq. 002255 – HMRC – PAYE & NIC Mar 2012 £ 50.42
Chq. 002256 – Donation to Annual Sailing Week 2012 Cancelled
Chq. 002257 – Dean & Chapter – Parish Records Storage Annual Fee £ 25.00
Chq. 002258 – Wicksteed – Annual Risk Inspection £ 98.40
Chq. 002259 – KT Fire Protection Ltd – Fire Extinguisher service £ 46.80
Chq. 002260 – BVHMC – Hall Rent March 2012 £ 10.00
Chq. 002261 – BVHMC – Re-imbursement for door lock & handles £112.00
DD – Serco – Waste Collection Feb 2012 £ 26.30
DD – Serco – Waste Collection March 2012 £ 26.30
DD – BT – Telephone & Broadband £190.93
Money Received in
CCC – Concurrent Funding 2012/2013 £8206.37
Bank Statement as at 31st March 2012
Current Account – £2000
Business Reserve Account £26,259.17
11. Any other business
11.1 Cllr. Flack suggested that the outside doors of the hall are painted when the car parking markings are done. An estimate is to be sought.
11.2 Next meeting is the Annual meeting on 14th May 2012.
There being no further business the meeting closed at 9.29pm.
Date _______________ Signature ______________________________
BVHMC report for the Annual Parish Assembly on Monday 16th April 12.
I am pleased to report that the Hall Management Committee continues to work together with the hall users, the working party volunteers and other local groups to strengthen the community base by providing a range of interests and social events via fundraising, a mutual benefit to fulfil their needs and for the future of the village hall.
A lot has happened over the past year with the systematic and extensive public consultation process within the community base via open meetings, to elicit their views and needs, which culminated in drawings agreed by all, and planning consent granted by the local authority in January this year, for Phase 1 and Phase 2.
The Parish Council offered £10,000 from their reserve/contingency fund (letter August 2011) + enough land to build both projects and sufficient car parking, with an additional £1,000 towards legal costs, if the BVHMC take over the freehold of the hall which would automatically lapse their outstanding 27 year lease.
The BVHMC responded formally to the Parish Council in February 2012, with a statement of intent letter outlining this offer, with their terms and conditions in respect of timing in order to take over the freehold of the hall. As stated, it would not be possible until we have secured all the funding for Phase 1 to begin the building project, therefore, the BVHMC will take over the freehold, at this point.
As Trustees, we consider it could financially compromise the Charity to take over the freehold beforehand, until funding is confirmed. Timing is imperative to a successful outcome for extending the village hall as we’re mindful and respectful that it’s held in Trust for the greater good of the village community. The security of our current lease offers the BVHMC time to raise sufficient finance, to cover the capital building project costs.
External funding has become increasingly difficult to secure as National Grant Bodies have focussed their funds on specific geographical areas in the UK and have limited grant funding to those considered most in need, inner cities and areas of deprivation.
The architect is currently working on building regulation specifications before going out to tender to 3 builders for their estimates of the cost for Phase 1.
The fund raising group continues to work very hard by offering an annual programme and calendar of inclusive to all community events which are very popular and attract much interest, more people come along and join in which is very heartening.
Without the commitment, determination and sheer hard work of the volunteers, (over 50 local people working actively for Raise the Roof), and collaborative events with FOBC and others, we would not have been able to reap the benefit of their efforts and generosity. The Village Knit and Natter collaboration with FOBC resulted in £260 donated in sponsorship money, for each fund.
More people have joined the information list which sends out regular messages about what’s going on in Blean and includes messages from a comprehensive range of other groups, all working together for the greater good of the Blean community and beyond.
P Cllr Godfrey King, set up the Blean Heritage Museum group which has donated £1500 since the beginning of 2012 to the building project and has pledged £5,000 in total. Their contribution towards a dedicated place in Phase 1 as a museum to accommodate Godfrey’s unique and personal Blean based collection of archive material and photographs which will be generously donated to Blean residents has been collected by him over many years, and is welcomed by all. It will take the form of a dedicated, catalogued and exhibition space in the village hall for community and visitor interest, held in perpetuity as Blean Village history, a local, accessible resource for all.
Godfrey also manages press liaison and releases, publicity and promotion of events via his local correspondent’s column in the Kentish Gazette, with the assistance of our individual volunteers/supporters who produce posters, flyers and generate much valued ideas for the community to join in.
Hall Management continues to ask for, and receive, advice from, Jenny Bradbury, the Village Hall Advisor from Rural Kent and other colleagues who offered guidance and support through formal processes concerning the hall.
The Hall was recently assessed for Level 1 Hallmark Award and the two Rural Kent Visitors spent 2 hours here in the building looking at the range of BVHMC paper work, our working policies, financial statements, Health & Safety standards employed, licences held, and above all, the condition of the hall, inside and out, amongst a long list of checks made.
The BVHMC immediately instituted a raft of priority and remedial measures to address the shortfalls in the guidance given by the Visitors, which include securing PRS/PPL licences, installation of sani-bins in hall toilets to accommodate and dispose of feminine hygiene products, nappies and incontinence pads, by an authorised contractor, which we as a public building, need to do. These necessary changes will clearly incur additional costs to the BVHMC and to the running costs of the hall.
The BVHMC were awarded Level 1 (subject to actions taken and guidance received), and relevant issues for action concerning the Parish Council’s responsibilities, were passed on to them for their attention. The Hall is managed by Trustees, all volunteers and without their commitment, expertise and time it wouldn’t be possible to maintain the standards of the hall and run it so effectively. I offer my sincere thanks to all hall management committee members, without whom, this workload would be impossible to manage.
Therefore, hall charges are currently under urgent review especially as no rise in rental charges has been instigated since 2006, and this will need to change. The energy, utility and maintenance costs rose dramatically over the past 6 years by approx. 100%, as have other repair costs, as you’ll appreciate and know, from your own domestic usage.
We need to make significant changes to the hall rents ASAP, and will review rental charges again before our AGM in October, to assess the outcome of measures taken in the near future. This is imperative to reflect the reality and current costs of maintaining the hall as a cost effective amenity and enterprise, as the hourly charge currently set and received for hourly rent does not cover costs incurred, and income generated by rents must rise.
The Treasurer is currently setting a budget based on current income and projected costs; this will be presented at our next meeting for discussion and decision, in May.
The official web site: www.bleanvillagehall.co.uk contains Blean Parish Hall history, R+R news, information, pictures and information of past and future social events. It also incorporates news from FOBC and Parish Church events to support their fund raising appeal and we are mutually supportive. I’d like to thank Denise for putting our events (and links) onto the Blean and Tyler Hill Parish Council websites as information.
The DOE Award volunteers have been very busy since January helping at social events, they’ve offered their time and expertise to assist the community with Digital Retuning in June and will be at the next coffee morning on Sat 28th April together with Kim Fletcher from Rural Kent, who will be on hand to advise and inform residents. Posters advertising their presence and their service will be going on boards tomorrow.
Stewart Ross will be presenting a cheque to BVHMC for £1,000 on the same morning as the first instalment of his pledge of £4,000 from the sales of Hello Eiffel – his special Blean based book produced in Dec 2011 written to raise funds for the hall project.
The Blean Pre-School are undertaking targeted fund raising for £5,000 towards the building project and recently had a reading by Stewart to the children, of the above book, which resulted in many more sales.
The Londis shop which came first in the nationwide community shops award section and beat 800 others, continues to support Raise the Roof and is generous to other groups who use the hall for meetings/social events, by donating raffle prizes/wine, and actively supports Kent Air Ambulance.
Binny kindly gave the BVHMC and the Blean Heritage Museum a cheque for £100 each last week; out of the prize money awarded for being the best shop, his commitment to supporting our community is much appreciated. The Building and Research Focus Group continue to support the BVHMC and undertake research, information when the need arises.
- Our founding and anniversary event as R+R fund raisers will be repeated, by kind invitation of Cllr Hazel McCabe with our 3rd apple blossom walk and afternoon teas with homemade cakes, at Little Well Farm, Tyler Hill on Sunday 13th May 2pm-4pm, please come and join us at this very special and lovely event.
- On Sunday 3rd June we will be hosting a celebration of H M The Queen’s Jubilee with a community lunch on the recreation ground, with tents (funded by a local resident) to accommodate 250-300 people. Mid-day onwards a repeat of the informal community street party when people bring their own food and sit together. All are welcome to join us, home-made cakes, drinks, trifles, ice creams available to buy. DOE lads are organising intergenerational rounder’s and cricket games for all to play, (depending on the weather) they’ll be make a crown for a pound craft tables for the children, live music and possibly a beer tent & Pimms.
- A diamond jubilee inspired quilt is being made by local women to raffle on the day + cushions with additional quilting blocks. This communal venture has been so successful and inspirational undertaking craft together that a new evening craft group will be set up soon, making and designing articles to sell for the building project.
- Following this the annual village fete and 3rd Music Festival will take place on Saturday 30th June mid-day – 4pm for the fete, 6.00- 10.30pm for the festival, on the recreation ground weather permitting. This very popular village event goes from strength to strength and one member of BBC2’s winner of the Folk Duo of the year award – Brendon Power world class harmonica player is giving his time and talent, with other musicians for the Blean Festival & RtheR project.
The Hall continues to be heavily used daily all week, by regular groups, organisations, and private hires , this provides income for its upkeep and makes demands on or maintenance costs, it also reveals the urgent need for more recreational space, as we have to turn hirers away due to over subscription of lettings available.
The external and internal maintenance, repair cost(s) are funded by the Parish Council and the Hall Management Committee, to ensure that the hall remains safe and financially viable for the benefits of the users and community. KCC Cllr John Simmonds kindly helped with a community engagement grant of £5,000 towards architect’s fees, for which we were most grateful.
Internal redecoration is planned this summer to re-decorate the disabled toilet, sand and re-seal both hall floors, this is money which has been applied from CCC concurrent funding and will be undertaken by the labour task force volunteers. The front lock and handle on the main door needed replacement recently and new keys have been issued to regular groups/organisations.
A lot of additional and expensive electrical work was necessary in the hall after our annual inspection to ensure that all internal electrics/appliances fulfil new standards and complied with regulations. All the internal equipment has been PAT labelled. The hall costs have risen radically throughout 2011-12 to meet these and other Health & Safety requirements, necessary for a public place.
The BVHMC would like to thank Sheila Waddington for her commitment and care in cleaning the hall since 2008, she’s decided to resign at the end of this month and take a well-earned rest. D & S Cleaners, who we’ve used in the past to cover Sheila’s work, will take over the task of cleaning the hall on a weekly basis from May.
I would like to remind regular users, groups and organisations that they’re welcome to appoint their own representative as a member of the BVHMC. We currently have 10 Trustees and 20 named users who use this hall regularly. This would enable them to attend the regular bi-monthly meetings, contribute their thoughts and ideas, and above all, take part in the planning and future of our village hall by working together with the Blean Parish Council, us, our community volunteer group in the exciting building and development project that lies ahead of us.
Our building fund reserve account total is £42,000 net, evidence of the financial support shown by our community, by the Londis shop and other locally based organisations, companies and individuals who have generously made financial contributions and donate to the Blean Parish Hall Charity. Our annual audited accounts for 2010-11 can be viewed on the Charity Commission website. Our fund raising income gross amount is higher, but clearly we have had to pay for local authority planning fees, specialist reports, and on-going architect fees which total £10,000+, and will continue.
The Charity registered for HMR&C Gift Aid, benefits from this scheme, so please consider this option if you wish to make a donation as Blean Parish Hall would benefit from a further 20% or more, in reclaimed tax. I’d like to thank Hugh Samuelson for agreeing to be our honorary nominee for this purpose. BVHMC will apply to CCC for capital grant funding this year for the building project.
Today I received a letter from Mark Reeves KCC External Funding Officer to confirm that a £50,000 Village and Community Hall Grant has been awarded to Blean Parish Hall, for which we are delighted.
Carol Sturgeon Chairman BVHMC 16th April 2012