Minutes of the Annual Parish Assembly Meeting for the Parish of Blean which was held at the Village Hall, School Lane, Blean at 7.30pm on Monday 15th April 2013.
Present: Cllrs: W Leetham (Chairman); H Samuelson (Vice-Chairman); C Harris; C Dunster; C Sturgeon; G King; B Flack; P Hutt and C Goldstein.
Also present: Ward Cllr. John Gilbey; Ward Cllr Ben Fitter; County Cllr. John Simmonds; PCSO Mike Bradbury and three members of the public.
The Chairman opened the meeting by welcoming the public to the meeting and explaining the fire drill and location of the fire exits and toilets. The fire exit in the back corridor is not in use due to the building work.
1. Apologies – None.
2. Minutes of the 2012 Meeting – were distributed to attendees.
The minutes were approved as a true record of the meeting. Proposed by Cllr. Harris and seconded by Cllr. King. All present agreed.
Ref: 6.1 Cllr. Sturgeon raised the matter that the roof at Seapier Morgan Stud is still higher than the plans. Cllr. Gilbey will check.
3. Matters Arising
3.1 Mrs Letts raised the matter of parking on the pavement opposite the shops and said that bollards had been spoken about over previous years. She asked whether notices could be put up as they have at Rough Common. Cllr. Simmonds said that he will look into it and see if it is viable. It was established that it is illegal to park on the pavement but very difficult to enforce.
3.2 Mrs Letts reported that CB25 is very overgrown and impassable. She thought that the hedge belonged to the school.
4. Chairman’s Report
4.1 The chairman had distributed the Blean Parish News April 2013 giving a précis of the work of the Parish Council throughout the year. There were no questions arising from the report. The report will be put on the Parish Council website.
Full report is at the end of these minutes.
5. NHW Report
5.1. Godfrey King, NHW co-ordinator, gave his report in which he said that the local scheme had been in place for approximately twenty years and he has been co-ordinator for fifteen years of that time. In addition, he has been responsible for nearby Tyler Hill village until he trained a temporary replacement. That village now has a permanent co-ordinator.
The scheme in Blean is operated through a large network of street contact persons, full list in the Parish Office. In addition, both the public houses in the village act as contacts, display notices and inform customers.
The information network through the street contacts consists of Godfrey informing them of any issues, which they pass to the neighbour either side of their address, who in turn pass it on to the next neighbour until the whole of their patch is covered. They also receive notices from him which are displayed in the relevant areas. In addition to this, he displays notices on the five public notice boards in the village and also in the village post office and shop. An additional source of information is the parish council website, which has a section dedicated to Blean NHW notices and is visited by hundreds of people each year. As the local correspondent for the local newspaper, he publicises warnings from both Kent Police and Trading Standards. This in turn generates many phone calls to him with information or concerns from the public. Godfrey is happy with this extra work, because it adds considerably to the security of the village.
He carries out speed checks with the local PCSO or police constables on occasions, and accompanies them on patrols around the village whenever possible, as his local knowledge can be of assistance to them, particularly when new officers are appointed to the area.
When he first became co-ordinator, an annual fee was collected from each householder who wished to join the scheme, to cover expenses of printing, phone calls etc, but this was very cumbersome, so he approached the Parish Council for financial assistance. At their meeting on 11th December 2000 it was agreed to make an annual grant of £240 to cover the whole cost of our local scheme. For the past three years Godfrey has been able to reduce the amount claimed by about £40 each year, and still maintain a viable financial base.
Godfrey receives approximately 500 messages each year from Kent Police by email or from the NHW office, together with a number of printed papers and reports. Some of these are helpful advisory messages, with a substantial number of warning reports which inform the community and make it a safer place in which to live.
Although, Godfrey is now 83 years of age, it is his intention to continue in the post all the while he is able and the community wish him to do so.
6.1 The clerk reported that there had been fifty planning applications received in the last year all of which had been granted so far.
This included an application for two tree houses and zip line at 8 Honey Hill which the Parish Council had objected to.
There were three applications still awaiting decision from Canterbury City Council.
There had been two Appeals which were
Erection of dwelling – 40 School Lane
Certificate of proposed development for a single-storey rear extension – Gorsefield, Giles Lane – Decision – Would Not Be Lawful
Certificate of Existing Lawful use for the use of Hempshall Lodge as a dwelling, Honey Hill – Decision – Was Not Lawful
There had been ten Notices of Works to Trees in a Conservation Area.
7. Charity Report from the Chairman
7.1. Cllr. Leetham reported on the Leggett Charity (number 214061) of which Cllrs. Leetham and Samuelson are Trustees
Total value of assets in the account as at the end of February 2013 stood at £2245.36 following an income of £57.07. Assets increased by £319.28
No charitable disbursements had been made.
8. Financial Report
8.1. The clerk reported that the Annual Return and Annual Governance Statement for year ending 31st March 2012 was approved by Blean Parish Council on 11th June 2012 with the certificate being issued from the Audit Commission in July 2012 with confirmation that the information in the annual return is in accordance with proper practices.
The Precept received for 2012-2013 was £14,500, a reduction of £500 from the previous year, of which the expenditure for the year was £11,983.38.
The Concurrent Funding received for the same period was £8206.37, of which expenditure for the Recreation Ground and external hall repairs came to a total of £10,544.67 – an overspend of £2338.30
£889.04 received – VAT Refund
Reserves funds of £11,000 are set aside for the BVHMC (£10,000 hall extension fund + £1,000 towards BVHMC’s legal fees)
The Precept bid for 2013/2014 has been set by the Parish Council at £15,100, due to the change in the Government way of funding to the District Councils. A portion was now in the form of a grant from the Government (£816.91 this year) but there was no guarantee that this would be available in future years.
The Concurrent Funding bid for 2013/2014 was set at £7038.40. Hall committees now, from this year, put in their own bids for Concurrent Funding for the internal and external repairs of their halls.
9. Hall Management Committee Report
9.1. Cllr. Carol Sturgeon as Chairman of the Village Hall Management Committee gave her report (attached to the minutes).
10. Any Other Business
There were no other matters to discuss and the meeting closed at 8.15pm.
Date ______________________ Signed_______________________________
Blean Parish Council News
Chairman’s annual report
You will have recently received your annual council tax demand. This year you will have noticed a small increase of 4.1%. Although this is above the rate of inflation the Blean precept will this year be lower than it was 5 years ago. The need to increase the council tax has arisen because, following changes implemented by the government to housing benefit, the cushion provided this year for parish councils, is set to be reduced in the ensuring years. We will endeavour to ensure that there is no further rise in Blean’s council tax for the next two years.
Early in 2009 we published The Blean Village Survey and Action Plan 2009/2014. In the action plan we promised to provide an annual newsletter and this is the latest edition. We are looking into the possibility of replacing the village notice board on The Green. Blean School will be replacing the public notice board outside the school in the coming months.
Our action plan for affordable housing has so far failed to deliver any results. However we are continuing to work closely with Canterbury City Council to find a suitable site.
Kent Highways have implemented a 30 mph speed limit from Rough Common Turning to Blean Common. Reminder 30 mph roundels should be appearing on the road surface on Blean Hill in the near future. The 7.5 ton weight restriction introduced as part of the Westgate Towers traffic experiment will remain in force.
The Village Hall Management committee will be commencing work on the extension and improvement of the village hall shortly. The Parish Council will be transferring to the Hall Management Committee the freehold of the Village Hall, and the freehold of the land required for the extension, and a sum of £10,000 plus £1K towards legal fees. This transfer demonstrates the Parish Council’s support for the Hall Management Committees’ in their endeavours to improve the Village Hall.
The ditches around the recreation ground continue to receive attention. The play equipment is subject to a safety inspection every year and this years inspection will take
place shortly. We are looking to replace and improve some play equipment during 2013. The Parish Council has applied for external funding, but the amounts so far pledged are far below the replacement costs.
The trees and shrubs planted in Keir’s Meadow nature reserve are now well established. The meadow grass is cut after the flowers have seeded and the resulting hay is taken away at no cost to the council. Kentish Stourside Country Project will be providing volunteers this summer to eliminate the ragwort.
We continue to support the Neighbourhood Watch scheme in the village. In general we are fortunate in that we have relatively little crime in the village. However we must all continue to be vigilant. PCSO, Mike Bradbury will be leaving shortly to join the police force and we hope that a replacement PCSO will be appointed to cover Blean, Tyler Hill and the University. Recruitment is currently underway.
We have recently co-opted Councillor Carol Goldstein to fill the vacancy on the Parish Council.
Our village handyman has been busy during the year keeping the village clean and tidy. He also does some minor maintenance jobs on the recreation ground including repainting and varnishing the seats together with looking after the borders near the shop which have just been replanted.
The bus stop at Blean school was moved back towards Canterbury to improve safety. The pavement on the Canterbury bound bus stop at the school has been widened to improve accessibility for passengers. Stagecoach now provide an hourly bus (service 3B – The Hop) between Canterbury and Faversham via Rough Common Turning.
The Parish Council has recently become aware of a proposal to develop the land to the rear of the Royal Oak. We understand that the developers will be arranging a public consultation meeting in the near future.
New double yellow lines, restricting parking have been agreed and will be in place in the near future, at the start of Tyler Hill Road from Blean Common, and the start of Chapel Lane from Blean Common.
Complaints concerning speeding vehicles continue. Unfortunately, effective enforcement can only be undertaken by Kent Police, and they do not have enough resources to undertake on going speed checks. The Parish Council has looked into various suggestions with regard to traffic calming. These are expensive and for these to be implemented they must have a budget from, and the support of Kent Highways. An interactive speed sign is on order for the Canterbury end of the village on the A290.
The Parish Council’s Action Plan covers the period to 2014. We now need to look forward and the time has come to start preparations for the new plan. With this in mind we shall be asking the community to prepare a neighbourhood plan. Once this has been prepared for, and approved by the Parish Council, it is passed on to Canterbury City Council for approval. After approval by both councils it can provide an additional source of income for the Parish Council and help to improve the facilities we have. Please watch out for details of the initial meeting and join in planning for the future of our village.
Our City Councillors John Gilbey and Ben Fitter both regularly attend our parish council meetings and are supportive of the work we undertake. They also actively pursue any problems we highlight that are within their sphere of influence. John Simmonds, councillor for Kent County Council for our area also attends our meetings whenever possible, and likewise is very supportive. He has provided a small grant towards the cost of replacing some play equipment.
The parish council meets 10 times a year normally on the second Monday of each month (except January and August) commencing at 19.30. Members of the public are welcome. Prior to the official business commencing members of the public have the opportunity to ask questions, or make statements, with a 3 minute limit. The minutes of each meeting are displayed on the web page after approval. The date of our next meeting is the 15th April and this will double as our annual parish meeting.
William Leetham – chairman
Should you need to contact the police on a non emergency matter please phone: 101 or
Members of the Parish Council:
William Leetham – chairman
Hugh Samuelson– vice chairperson
Clerk to the Parish Council:
Mrs Denise Horswell
Parish Council Office
4 School Lane
Blean Canterbury CT2 9JA
Telephone: 01227 470200
The office is normally staffed on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Blean Parish Council web site:
Please report any potholes or any other matters that require the attention of the highways department: telephone 08458 247 800. or on the KCC website www.kent.gov.uk
Residents are reminded to park with consideration to other road users and pedestrians
Should anyone be interested in affordable housing in Blean please contact the parish clerk for an application form
Would dog owners kindly ensure that all dog fouling is cleared up and that dogs are kept on the lead whilst on the recreation ground especially as this is a play area for children. Dog fouling on a play area does represent a health hazard to children.
This newsletter has been printed for, and published by Blean Parish Council 4 School Lane Blean Canterbury CT2 9JA. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained herein is correct, the Parish Council cannot accept any responsibility for any inaccuracies. Hard copies are available from the Parish Office and will be available at the annual parish meeting.
BVHMC report for the Annual Parish Assembly on Monday 15h April 13 – read out by Carol Sturgeon.
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 our community. The calendar of organised events provided a range of inclusive, socially based and interesting events/occasions every single month, with H.M. the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee lunch in June 2012, when over 350 people came together to celebrate, particularly memorable; followed by the fete, music festival and November’s Christmas Fair which drew in large numbers of supporters.
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 and more people come along and join in which is very heartening.
Their effort and commitment offers the community many things to do, as well as safeguarding the future of the village hall by the hiring and fundraising achieved every single month towards Phase 1 extension and refurbishment project. This started last week with the revamping of the kitchen into a kitchenette, and external work starting today. Steve Cook a local builder, was awarded the contract from 5 tenders submitted, he will use other locally based and professionally qualified sub-contractors and suppliers.
Decisions from applications made to grant holders and appeals made over past months and weeks are expected soon. Fund raising will continue to meet costs of the building project and Hall Management are confident that the full cost will be met, aiming for a completion date of 30th August. Any small deficit, if needed, will be raised by loans offered from Blean individuals, total funding secured to date: £218.000.000.
The hall will operate as usual during the building work up to 24th July (end of school term) when it will close permanently to the public to enable the builder to take the building over and complete all the internal work to achieve the re-opening by 2nd September – the start of the school term, a 19 week timescale.
We await the final outcome of the agreement and transfer process for the freehold of the Hall from the Parish Council to the BVHMC, which will be a positive move for us all.
In August 2012 the working party gave the village hall an internal make-over which took them 10 days with the help of over 50 volunteers, all ages, all skills and a lot of very hard work which really made a difference.
Blean won Action with Communities in Rural Kent – Rural Community of the Year 2012 Romanian judges’ award £100 prize which we shared equally with the John Graham Centre who bought a bench and tree for their students, and we bought a Blean village hall sign, to remember the Romanian visitors.
P Cllr Godfrey King, set up the Blean Heritage Museum group who have donated £5000 in full payment of their pledge to the building project. This special collection and space as a museum will accommodate Godfrey’s unique and very popular Blean based collection of archive materials and photographs which will be generously donated to Blean residents. This forms a 40 year collection and is welcomed by all. It will be catalogued, stored in acetates and scanned onto a computer, with an exhibition display space for community and visitor interest.
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 awarded Level 1 Hallmark Award in 2012 and Level 2 application is now completed, which will be submitted when the Phase 1 project is completed.
I offer my sincere thanks to all hall management committee members, without whom, the workload and practical tasks of the hall would be impossible to manage; two new members joined recently which brings our total to 11 Trustees. Hall rents were raised in April 2012 for the first time in 6 years by 50p an hour to meet increased utility and energy cost, Blean hall remains the most well used, and cost effective in this locality, to hire. Annual review of rent will be undertaken before this year’s AGM in October when the Treasurer sets the 2014-15 budget based on current income and projected costs.
The official web site: www.bleanvillagehall.co.uk contains the Hall’s history, R+R events and news, information, pictures and information of past and future social events. I’d like to thank Denise for putting our events (and links) onto the Blean and Tyler Hill Parish Council websites for information.
The DOE Gold Award students have finished their year of volunteering, but remain RtheR volunteers until they go to university in September, their help with the digital switchover and home visits in May 2012, was invaluable. We still miss Cllr Hazel McCabe who sadly passed away last year, she was such a strength and huge supporter and would have been so proud to have witnessed the start of Phase 1 project to extend and refurbish Blean Village Hall.