Chairman’s Annual Report April 2014

Blean Parish Council News

April 2014


Chairman’s annual report


Once again it is my pleasure to present my annual report to you.


This has been a busy year for the Parish Council and the high light has been the transfer of the freehold of the village hall to Blean Village Hall Management Committee.  This is a local charity, which manages, and operates the village hall on behalf of the community.  The transfer included the car parking area and the land required for the phase two extension, plus a sum of ten thousand pounds towards the now completed extension and improvements.  The parish office has been leased back to the Parish Council for 999 years on a peppercorn rent.  The transfer was not without drama with the final paperwork completed and signed at almost the ‘eleventh hour’ in order to secure some vital substantial funding for the building work.  The funding would have been lost if the deadline had not been achieved.  The effort has proved worthwhile with a quality improved and extended village hall.  The Blean Village Hall Management Committee and their helpers are to be congratulated on all their efforts and the hall has a good future in safe hands.


The recreation ground has seen some changes.  A mound has appeared for the children to climb on and run around.  Adjacent to the mound we now have a wooden fort.  Further additions to the fort will be added when outside funding has been secured.  A picnic table will shortly be placed nearby generously funded by our KCC Councillor John Simmonds to whom we are grateful.  Some of the older play equipment is nearing the end of its useful life and suitable replacements will be sourced at the right time funding permitting.

An annual safety inspection of the play equipment is undertaken for the Parish Council.


The Parish Council was disappointed that the premature ending of the Westgate Tower traffic experiment resulted in the HGV ban being lifted.  This has resulted in increased HGV movements but we have been assured that the HGV ban will be reinstated.  The 30mph roundels mentioned in my report last year have not appeared, as regulations do not permit them!


The Parish Council continues to financially support the neighbourhood watch scheme.  Although there are a few incidents of crime in the village, we are fortunate that the crime rate is low.  A new PCSO has been appointed, but with a large area to cover, including the University, his visibility has been marginal.


From your recently received council tax demand, you will have noticed a small reduction in your Parish Council council tax bill for the year 2014/15.  Although the total precept raised has remained the same there have been a few new properties in Blean, which has resulted in the reduction.


The Parish Council has approved a plan to revamp the notice board on the Green. Our village handyman will be working on this during the coming months together with other items of maintenance.


The Parish Council’s Action Plan for the five years to 2014 is about to expire.  A new committee made up of residents and two Parish Councillors has been set up by the Parish Council to consult and prepare a new five year plan for 2015 onwards.  Once the new plan has been published it will be up to the Parish Council to implement the findings together with CCC and KCC.


The Parish Council has continued to search for a site for affordable housing without success.  With increasing house prices and rentals the need for affordable housing is becoming more pressing.


Inconsiderate parking outside the School, outside the village hall and shop continue to be brought to the attention of the Parish Council.  Last year new double yellow lines have been provided at the School Lane/Tyler Hill Road junction, and School Lane/Chestnut Avenue junction.  However the Parish Council has no powers to dissuade drivers from their anti social behaviour.  The same applies to speeding traffic which is also a major concern to residents.  Pot holes on the side roads following the extreme wet weather this winter will be receiving attention.   The major investment in road resurfacing along the A290 a few years ago, has proved its worth.  A short stretch of the Crab & Winkle Way in Clowes Wood near the Winding Pond was tarmaced last summer to improve safety.


Following a complaint to Kent Highways regarding the poor state of the pavement in Chestnut Avenue from the roots of the chestnut trees, we have had a meeting with representatives of Kent Highways.  Some trees in a poor state of health will be removed, but this will be kept to a minimum.  A proposal from Kent Highways is awaited.


During the year Carol Goldstein resigned from the Parish Council.  After many years as our elder statesman Charles Harris has also resigned from the Parish Council, and we are now two councillors short of our full strength.  We are anxious to recruit two new members and we would like to hear from anyone who would be interested in serving the community in this way.  I have been pleased that this year Councillor Barbara Flack has taken on the role of vice chairperson, and she has proved to be a very proactive and valued vice chair.


Denise Horswell has worked tirelessly during the year, especially in her efforts to ensure the smooth transition of the ownership of the hall.  I thank Denise for her work and devotion.  Ken Waddington, our village handyman works hard on the maintenance of the equipment on the recreation ground, his weekly litter picks in the village and flower planting.  Thank you Ken for all you do for us.


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.


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 14th April and this will double as our annual parish meeting.  The meetings are held in the committee room of the village hall.


William Leetham – chairman




Members of the Parish Council:

William Leetham – chairman

Barbara Flack– vice chairperson

Christine Dunster

Phil Hutt

Godfrey King

Carol Sturgeon

Hugh Samuelson


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



Residents are reminded to park with consideration to other road users and pedestrians.  Please be aware of the rules in the Highway Code when parking.


Affordable housing

Should anyone be interested in affordable housing in Blean please contact the parish clerk for an application form. We can then place on the waiting list for when affordable housing becomes available.


Dog fouling

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.  The recreation ground is a dog control area.  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.