Minutes – 12th September 2011

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Minutes of the Blean Parish Council Meeting held at the Village Hall, School Lane, Blean on Monday 12th September 2011.
Those Present:    Cllrs: W. Leetham (Chairman); H. Samuelson (Vice-Chairman);
G King; C. Dunster; C. Sturgeon; P. Hutt; C. Harris; and B. Flack.
Ward Cllr. Mrs H. McCabe, CountyCllr. J. Simmonds and 3 members of the public.
Apologies:      Ward Cllr. J. Gilbey.
The Chairman opened the meeting by welcoming everyone to the meeting.
1.         Changes to the Register of Members’ Interests and Declarations of Interest in Matters to be discussed.
No changes were declared and no Declarations of Interest were registered.
2.         Matters raised by the public
Mrs Letts made reference to the hedge in Vicarage Lane which she had first complained about to the Parish Council in March. She asked what the Parish Council intended to do about it as she regarded it as not being cut back far enough as it was still two feet over the pavement.
Cllr. Leetham said that, following a request from the Parish Council, the resident had cut it back twice, he had since been to look at it, and, on behalf of the Parish Council, took the decision that the Council were satisfied that it had been cut back sufficiently. Cllr. Samuelson offered to look at the hedge with Mrs Letts on the following day.
2.1       Reports from Ward and CountyCouncillors
Ward Cllr. McCabe in her report said that while she was canvassing for the election residents mentioned to her about the length of footway between Lucketts Lane and 47 Blean Hill which they considered extremely dangerous. Cllr. McCabe had contacted Kent Highway Services who said that they had no record of personal injury occurring and that pedestrians could always cross the road. Cllr. McCabe said that it was not a good place to cross as there are long bends in both directions.
Cllr. McCabe also referred to the notification of a diversion of the footpath behind Lilac Cottage, Tyler Hill Road, in which she could see no problem and had replied to that effect.
CountyCllr. Simmonds gave his report in which he said that he was delighted that the footpath at the school had been completed. There had been complaints about the removal of the hawthorn hedge but this is due to be replaced in October/November.
He also reported that the design work had all been done for the 30mph signs and once the costs for Rough Common Road were done it would be signed off by him.
Thanks were given to Cllr. Simmonds.
Regarding the pavement reported by Cllr McCabe, Cllr. Simmonds said that he would have a look at it although there are scarce funds.
He also made reference to a new pilot scheme in which highway workers would work for a parish doing minor repairs, repointing signs etc, to the sum of £2000 – £3000 and the costs would be split between the Parish Council and the CountyCllr. This would cost approx. £600 – £700 per day.
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The Parish Council thought this would be worth exploring and would have to draw up a long list of jobs to be done.
Cllr. Samuelson then asked Cllr Simmonds, although it isn’t in Blean Parish but could have an effect on the village, what the position was regarding the proposal of yellow lining in Oaks Park, Rough Common and also on the issue of residents parking on the pavement. Cllr. McCabe is to look into it.
2.2       NHW Report
Cllr. King gave his report in which he said that it had been a very quiet period on the local crime scene since his last report in July with a theft of a mobile phone in the Hare and hounds being the only local item reported. A wide range of advisory and warning notices had been received from Kent Police, 103 in total, which had been publicised through the usual outlets within the village. Cllr. King said that, although the annual grant of £240 was now due, for the fifth year running he was happy to report that the grant can be reduced to £200 and that he was willing to continue as co-ordinator should the Council wish.
A proposal was made for a grant of £200 for NHW expenses.
Proposed by Cllr. Leetham, seconded by Cllr. Harris, all present agreed.
Cllr. Sturgeon thanked Cllr. King for informing her of an oak tree in Denstroude Lane that had become unsafe due to the high winds and KHS had been informed.
3.         Minutes of the last Meeting – were approved and accepted as a true record of the meeting and signed as such by the Chairman.
Proposed by Cllr. King, seconded by Cllr. Flack, all present agreed.
4.         Minutes of the Extraordinary Meeting held on 1st August 2011     were approved and accepted as a true record of the meeting and signed as such by the Chairman.
Proposed by Cllr. Harris, seconded by Cllr. Samuelson, all present agreed.
5.         Matters Arising
No matters arising from the minutes.
5.1       Public Paths and Rights of Way
Matters relating to these had been dealt with already in the meeting.
5.2       Recreation Ground including repair of play equipment
Cllr. Flack reported that she had sourced numerous funding opportunities for new play equipment. She is going to attend a seminar on 10th October at WhitstableCastle by Timberplay who specialise in wooden play equipment.
She said that there are two ways forward which are to either apply for small funding to replace only 1 or 2 pieces or to apply for larger funding and completely replace the whole play equipment area including the safety surfaces which due to legislation now has to be of a different material.
Cllr. Hutt reported that he is still looking at the costings of goal posts.
Cllr. Leetham said that the climber had now been taken down and disposed of but that the concrete posts and approx 120 rubber mats had still to be taken away. Clearers South East had been contacted and had given a quote of £200 + vat.
Proposed by Cllr. Sturgeon, seconded by Cllr. Flack all present agreed.
6.         Transfer of the Hall Lease
Cllr. Sturgeon referred to the content of the letter which had been sent by the Parish Council to Mark Ellender, CCC Head of Legal Services, in which the question of the
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Parish Council employing their own architect in relation to the proposed extension was asked and the matter of BVHMC being charged for this. Cllr. Leetham replied that it depended on what BVHMC wanted to do. Cllr. Sturgeon relied that she questioned why the Parish Council deemed it necessary. Cllr. Leetham said that if the Parish Council were to take over the maintenance of the proposed extension exterior an independent person would need to look at the plans.
On the question of the Parish Council being Custodian Trustees of the Hall the Clerk said that, on request of Cllr. Sturgeon, she had sought advice from Jenny Bradbury who said that the Parish Council are not the Custodian Trustees.
Cllr. Sturgeon said that the £10,000 being offered by BPC to BVHMC, if the offer of the transfer of the lease is taken up, does not show on the accounts as being set aside for building repairs. She referred to the matter, as suggested previously by Cllr. Cover (who is no longer a Blean Parish Councillor), of £20,000 being raised in the Precept in two yearly amounts by the Parish Council and donated to BVHMC. Cllr. Leetham said that since then that matter had not been discussed.
 Reports including Village Hall
6.1 Cllr. Sturgeon reported that the Management Committee is looking very carefully into the proposed lease transfer and is awaiting a reply from the Charity Commission after seeking advice.
Full Village Hall report attached to these minutes.
            Cllr. Samuelson asked if Ken Waddington can be asked to take down the sign at the rear of the hall which is thought to warn of anti-climbing paint but has had the letters removed or re-arranged. Also to remove or paint over the graffiti that is underneath the slide.
            Cllr. Hutt said that although it is good that the new speed limit on part of the A290 is to be reduced to 30mph it will not be enforced by the police as the present 40mph is not enforced. Cllr. Simmonds replied that the police needed to be present at the start of the new enforcement. Cllr. Sturgeon said that the problem with parking at the school does result in natural slowing down of passing traffic.
            Cllr. King reported that the plinth and commemorative plaque of the village sign is cracking. Ken Waddington will be asked to have a look.
Cllr. King also reported on the fact that when the buses are early they wait at the bus stop opposite Tyler Hill Road which causes congestion and difficulties for traffic coming out of Tyler Hill Road and will be even worse when the new development is built at 39 Blean Common. After discussion it was decided to ask the clerk to write to Stagecoach to ask if this waiting time can be changed to the bus stop opposite the Royal Oak.
Cllr. King referred to the matter of the pond in the Nature Reserve which is always empty and he circulated photos which he had taken which showed a drainage pipe on the bottom of the pond which had been smashed to pieces when the pond was dug out. Clerk to write to John Shelton, KSCP, to ask for his advice.
            Cllr. Dunster reported that she attended the site meeting at 8 Honey Hill but left before the planning officer had spoken.
Cllr. Dunster also referred to the hedge on the corner of School Lane but it was decided not to contact the resident concerned as the hedge had been recently cut.
            Cllr. Harris said that he was glad that potholes had been filled in at Bourne Lodge Close.
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Cllr. Flack reported that the old police house had been sold.
            Cllr. Leetham spoke of a site in School Lane which had been turned down for affordable housing due to problems with access. Carol Wrate had written to KHS
who are looking at it again. Cllr. McCabe said that there were problems with drainage and that it has to be social housing and has to be for people with connections to the village. Cllr. Leetham said that it is in the hands of Carol Wrate, CCC Enablement Officer, who is looking for any site. Cllr. Sturgeon asked if Tessa O’Sullivan of ACRE would be contacted regarding this matter and Cllr. Leetham replied that it is out of the Parish Council’s hands.
            In his absence, Cllr. Leetham read out a report from Ward Cllr. Gilbey in which he said that the Executive Committee will be meeting next week and will be recommending the Corporate Plan to Council following amendment as a result of the successful consultation. Also the Local Development Framework will soon be wound up although there are difficulties because of housing proposals in the countryside. Cllr. Leetham added that he is against development outside the village envelope.
7.         Correspondence
All correspondence had been previously circulated to all Cllrs.
Proposed Diversion of Public Footpath CB15 (part) at St Cosmus & St Damian in the Blean
Divert the footpath for reasons of security & privacy – consultation ends 4th Oct.
Email from Sarah Gourlay – PC support for village hall
Letter from Residents of 126 Blean Common objecting to planning application at 128 Blean Common
KALC – Notice of Finance Conference 2011 – 7th October – Lenham Community Centre
Consultation on KCC’s Countryside Access Improvement Plan – review 2012
Letter from BPC – Overgrown vegetation – 10 The Green
Letter from BPC – thanks to Mr Macleod, Blean Machine Hire Ltd – digging up concrete posts – climber – no charge
Letter to District Commander, Kent Police – Blean Police House – affordable housing
Letter from Mr & Mrs Whalley – 8 Honey Hill – supporting restriction being lifted.
8.         Planning
Planning Applications
1. Erection of detached building for use as a holiday let – 8 Honey HillObjection
2. Conservatory to front of dwelling – 34 Whitstable Road – No Objection
3. First Floor side & rear extension – 128 Blean Common – No Objection
4. Erection of office block (class B1 use) – Pean Hill Park – No Objection although points raised – affordable housing, increase in parking by 17 whereas only 11 additional positions, little regard for green transport, hopefully local employment not long distance commuting, improved screening for adjacent residential properties.
5. Erection of a terrace of 3 dwellings & a block of flats (outline application) – Lane rear of shops, Tyler Hill Road – No objection in principle – concerns – disposal of surface water & affordable housing needs.
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6. Single-storey rear extension – 2 Mount PleasantBPC not yet responded
      Alleged Breach – Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended)
7. Unauthorised building works – 88 Blean Common – CCC reply – visit – fully investigated – loft conversion which includes the extension of the roof at the rear by
altering the hipped roof to a gable end construction. Owners of the property did contact the CCC before commencing to inquire if the work required a planning application. CCC confirms that the work does not require planning permission under Town & Country Planning Legislation as it is a permitted development.
Planning Decision Notices
8. Extension to side of dwelling – Land rear of 68 Blean Common – GRANTED
9. Extension of time limit – extension to church hall – St Cosmos & St Damian church – GRANTED
10. Extension to existing vehicular crossover – 31 Tile Kiln Hill – GRANTED
11. Variation of condition 02relating to occupation between 15th January & 15th March in any year – 8 Honey Hill – GRANTED
12. Construction of covered equine exercise & training area – Seapier Morgan Stud, Denstroude LaneGRANTED
13. Single-storey extension with balcony over & erection of detached garage – 41 Blean Hill – GRANTED
14. Conservatory to front of dwelling – 34 Whitstable RoadREFUSED
15. Maintenance work to the existing woodland track – Ellenden Wood, Denstroude Lane – Farmimg – Approval of Details Required
      Notice of proposed Work to Trees in a Conservation Area
13. Remove 2 conifers from the front of the car park – Hare & Hounds
Cllr. Leetham voiced concern over the granting of the planning application for Seapier Morgan Stud against the advice of the Parish Council. Cllr. McCabe replied that the applicants had produced plans which were half the height of the previous plans and fitted in with the surrounding area. One of the conditions was that they had to put in trees as landscaping and there was to be no outside lighting.
Cllr. Hutt voiced concern over the proposed new office development at PeanHillPark which will encroach behind two neighbouring houses. He thought that it had not been well planned out and is concerned if there is to be security lighting at night. Cllr. Hutt will look to see if there is security lighting on the existing office blocks and will let Cllr. McCabe know.
Cllr. Leetham said that the Parish Council objected to the first block and since then four or five further blocks have been built.
Cllr. Leetham asked if any Cllr. could attend the CCC planning meeting on 20th September as he was not available – Cllr. Samuelson said that he would attend.
9.         Approval for invoice payments and signing of cheques
Banking details for July 2011
Cheques signed since last meeting
Chq. 002220 – KCC – 1st payment – Grounds Maintenance                       £ 891.50
Chq. 002221 – K Waddington – Handyman wages July 2011                     £ 141.73
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Chq. 002222 – Mrs D Horswell – Clerks salary July 2011                         £ 649.16
Chq. 002222 – Petty Cash July 2011                                                            £   36.50
Chq. 002223 – HMRC – PAYE & NIC July 2011                                       £   81.82
Chq. 002224 – Garden Care Landscapes – Top Soil                                   £   74.40
Total                                                                                                               £1875.11
Banking details for August 2011
Chq. 002225 – F I Day Centres Ltd – Ditch clearance                                £ 325.00
Chq. 002226 – K Waddington – Handyman wages August 2011               £ 315.53         
Chq. 002227 – Mrs D Horswell – Clerks salary August 2011                    £ 649.16
Chq. 002228 – Petty Cash August 2011                                                       £   43.70
Chq. 002229 – HMRC – PAYE & NIC August 2011                                  £ 105.02
Chq. 002230 – Audit Commission – Annual Return 2010/2011                   £ 342.00
Chq. 002231 – Serco – Waste Cleareance June 2011                                 £   26.30                                 
Total                                                                                                               £1806.71
Received in
HMRC – VAT Refund                                                                                  £1552.69
Bank Balance as at 12th September 2011
Current Account – £2000
Reserve Account – £38,023.01
9.1 It was noted that, following the submission of the Annual Return, the report had been received from the Audit Commission stating that the accounts were in order and no comments received.
10.       Any other business   
10.1 Cllr. Dunster said that she had noticed that there are areas of the City wall that are falling down. Cllr. McCabe asked where the areas are.
10.2 Cllr. Samuelson commented that the Heritage weekend in Canterbury was fantastic.
10.3 Cllr. Flack referred to the previous offer by local resident, Mr Laker, of a Christmas tree and asked if the Parish Council intended to take the offer up and, if so, where would it be positioned. Cllr. Sturgeon said that she would check with him whether it was still on offer or whether he had already chopped it down.
10.4 Cllr. Sturgeon referred to the matter of providing community allotments as discussed previously. Cllr. Leetham said that he had spoken recently to Peter Firmin about a piece of his land but he is not interested now. Cllr. King said that he had put it in the Gazette previously requesting suitable land but had had no response. Cllr. McCabe said that it was quite an undertaking if Parish Councils provide allotments and that garden sharing is a better idea. There may be elderly residents who would welcome a part of their garden being looked after by someone else. Cllr. King will mention it in the Gazette column.
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10.5 Cllr. Sturgeon said that BVHMC have entered the ‘Village of the Year’ competition.
10.6 Cllr. King asked what the Parish Council’s response was to Sarah Gourlay’s email. Cllr. Leetham replied that BPC are anxious to work together with BVHMC in the future.
Next meeting is on Monday 10th October 2011.
There being no further business the meeting closed at 9.05pm.
Date     _______________                 Signature     ______________________________ 
BVHMC report for the Blean Parish Council meeting 12,th September 2011.
In brief
The Parish Council meeting on 11th July raised many issues about the possibility of the Parish Council transferring the leasehold of the hall to the BVHMC.
A proposal was carried by a majority of P Cllrs that a letter is sent to Mark Ellender CCC Legal Advisor (from the Parish Council as Landlord) to seek his advice and guidance on the above matter.
An open meeting with Jenny Bradbury (ACRE Community Hall Advisor) was arranged on 25th July in the hall to explain the terms of the current lease to the audience and the options available to the BVHMC and the Parish Council. A question and answer session followed which was generated by the audience on the above matter.
An extraordinary Parish Council meeting was called for Monday 1st August and two proposals were carried as Agenda and Minutes detailed. 
Hall plans were submitted to CCC Pre-Planning for their advice, they advise the architect look at the roof mass for Phase 2 – extension again. A meeting of the building & research group with him is planned to investigate and satisfy their query. Formal planning permission will be submitted and sought when appropriate.
I wrote to the Charity Commission on 24th August to seek advice: with a query about transferring the freehold of the village hall for the proposed extension to the BVHMC, as Jenny Bradbury advised me that “the leasehold interest has been vested in the Official Custodian of Charities, so the Parish Council are not Custodian Trustees”. I await their response.
The BVHMC completed their annual village hall reserves document for the CCC and this was submitted with the Parish Council’s concurrent funding application, as last year.
I’d like to thank Denise (Parish Clerk) for her help and assistance with this task. At my request, she clarified with Mella White that the BVHMC are permitted to apply for CCC concurrent funding for certain parts of our annual costs and planned expenses for 2012-13. 
We were unaware that this was a facility open to us, and according to enquiries that I have made since, the BVHMC haven’t made a claim for concurrent funding before, as apparently this financial avenue was an unknown factor to previous hall management committees.
It was due to Denise’s good advice, experience and information shared with me about the concurrent funding process that confirmed that it is open to the BVHMC to apply for certain outgoings. Our list has been included on the Parish Council’s concurrent funding application for consideration by CCC from their 2012-13 Budget.
Over the past two months many fund raising community events have taken place since the fete/music festival which raised £2825.00 profit, Quiz night £123.00, Chicory Tip concert by kind invitation of Jenny & Alex raised £785.10. Coffee mornings, Blean archive exhibitions and book sales in the hall in July and August raised approx. £800.00 in total. Gift aid forms are well supported.
Our focus remains on fund raising from our inclusive community events, and when planning permission is confirmed we will apply for grants with the help and advice from the funding buddy.
A new member was co-opted as a BVHMC Trustee at our last meeting on 5th September due to a resignation from the existing committee. A statement of our accounts up to end of July is required by CCC to confirm our financial reserves. The auditor has kindly agreed to provide this as our accounts and financial year runs 1st Oct 2010-30th Sept 2011. BVHMC AGM is an open meeting and will be held on Monday 17th October 2011 @ 7.30pm in the hall and all are welcome to attend.
The Building & Research group (B&RG) have been asked by the BVHMC to explore the options, benefits or detriments of the Parish Council offer to transfer the freehold of the hall to the BVHMC with a sum of £10,000 grant representing their hall maintenance fund, as the group are very thorough. The B&RG will consider the information stated in Mr John Lett’s paper on the subject and his comments on the existing lease, they will undertake a financial assessment of the future situation and obtain advice from significant others. I will report their findings back to the Parish Council when the BVHMC have discussed their conclusions and have reached a decision on the offer made. 
Next fund raising event is Saturday 24th September 9am-12 midday, featuring Blean School photo exhibition, coffee morning, home-made cakes, bargain book sale and much more (preserves, fresh produce on offer). At 11am a kick around on the recreation ground led by Campbell for the children is on offer, weather permitting. Look out for the posters for further information and come along and join us if you can.
Carol Sturgeon
Chairman BVHMC