Minutes – 15th April 2013

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Minutes of Blean Parish Council Meeting held at the Village Hall, School Lane, Blean on Monday 15th April 2013


Those Present:    Cllrs: W. Leetham (Chairman); H. Samuelson (Vice-Chairman)

G King; C. Sturgeon; C. Harris C. Dunster; B. Flack; P. Hutt; C Goldstein.


Also present: Ward Cllr. J. Gilbey; Ward Cllr. B. Fitter, County Cllr. J. Simmonds, PCSO Mike Bradbury and one member of the public.


The Chairman welcomed the Councillors and member of the public to the meeting and explained the fire drill and location of the toilets.


1. Apologies for absence:  – None


2. Declarations of Interest and DPI in Matters to be discussed.

Cllrs. Sturgeon and King both declared an interest as Village Hall Management Committee members.


3. Matters raised by the public

Mr. Gammon raised concern over the talk of a development behind the Royal Oak and said that residents were concerned. Ward Cllr. Gilbey said that there were no plans for a development, no planning application had been submitted and it was not included in the Local Plan. The Chairman said that if there was any possibility of a development a public meeting would have to be called by the developers.


3.1. Reports from Ward and County Councillors

Ward Cllr. John Gilbey reported that:

The Local Plan is progressing and should be out in early June.
He said that a bill was to go before parliament the next day regarding permitted development rights. This stops people being able to build in their own back gardens.
He reported that he had attended the first Health and Wellbeing Board meeting which has influence on the Medical Board.
He said that Canterbury City Council are drafting a document for the Parish Council Charter which means that there will be four instead of six meetings of the R.A.M.P. Board and two will include Parish Councils.
He said that when the Sheriff had attended the closing of Canterbury Jail the bell was discovered from the Westgate Towers from 1742 which used to toll when a hanging took place.
Within a year it is hoped that the Marlowe Theatre will be breaking even.

Ward Cllr. Ben Fitter had nothing to add to Cllr. Gilbey’s report other than he was pleased to receive emails from Blean Forest residents over any issues he can help with.

County Cllr. John. Simmonds reported that:

KCC have taken over the preventative policies i.e. smoking etc

Troubled families of which there are 2,500 in the area who are taught basic skills.


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PCSO Mike Bradbury gave his report in which he said that he is moving on to become a Police Officer but he has thoroughly enjoyed his time as a PCSO. He said the NHW scheme in Blean is good if not the best in the area.

He had completed a speed check on Monday 8th April at 10.30hrs in the morning.


No. of vehicles checked: 50
No. of vehicles over 40mph: 12
Top speed: 53mph
Lowest speed: 28mph

Average speed: 36.9mph


He said that the speed limit for this road is 40mph, the majority of cars were under the limit which is very rare. He suggests this needs doing again but in the evening.

Of the 12 vehicles over 40mph, most of them were only just over i.e 41,42,43mph.


He was asked whether a replacement PCSO had been allocated for this area and he said that there were sixty new PCSO’s being trained so, hopefully, one will be for this area.


The Chairman wished him well in his new career.


3.2 N.H.W. Report

Cllr. King reported that there had been a break-in at the Hare and Hounds pub and Cllr. Fitter said that there had also been a string of break-ins at Chestfield.

Cllr. King has been at Capel-Le Ferne advising them on setting up a NHW scheme.


4. Approval of the Minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on 11th March  2013

The minutes of the 11th March 2013 were approved and accepted as a true record of the meeting.

Proposed by Cllr. King, seconded by Cllr. Hutt and all Cllrs. present agreed.


Matters Arising from the Minutes

Ref: 8.5 Cllr. Sturgeon said that she had reported the potholes in Denstroude Lane on the KCC website and Highways had come out in a week and walked the lane. The holes had been patched but not of good quality. Cllr. Simmonds asked her to check the condition and report back to him.

Cllr. Leetham said that some potholes had been repaired in Chapel Lane but not others that were close by. Cllr. Simmonds said that the contractors are meant to repair every pothole they see.

Ref: 3 Cllr. Flack said that she had checked with Catching Lives and Porchlight and it was not known that anyone was sleeping rough by the river. However, there is someone in Blean Woods. PCSO said that he had also checked by the river.

Ref: 8.2 Cllr. Leetham and Ken Waddington had accompanied the Wicksteed inspector on his inspection of the play equipment. Ken is to take down the two wooden hurdles and remove the top tyre from the three tier tyre and drill holes in the bottom two to allow the water to escape.


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A board is to be put up on the recreation ground with contact details in case of an emergency.

5.2 Cllr. Leetham has spoken to Steve Cook and obtained a quote for £2779 + vat for making a play mound out of the spoil from the building works. He has suggested obtaining advice from HSE. During building works TH football club are still able to use the ground for practice nights.


6. Village Hall Report

Cllr. Sturgeon gave the BVHMC report (attached to these minutes).


6.1  Councillors’ Reports

Cllr. Dunster asked for thanks to be given to Ken Waddington for clearing the litter from the hedge at the Hare and Hounds pub.

Cllr. King said that buses are using their waiting time at the end of Tyler Hill Road again. It was thought that this could be due to work being done on Rough Common Road.

Cllr. Harris raised concern over a sump which is full of surface water at 16 Bourne Lodge Close. Cllr. Fitter will contact the relevant person. Cllr. Harris also questioned what is happening to the two houses in Chapel Lane that have been sold and are standing empty.

Cllr. Sturgeon asked if Ken could spray weedkiller in the front of the hall to get rid of the weeds.

Cllr. Leetham said that the computer in the parish office is very slow. Cllr. Hutt agreed to look at it.

Cllr. Leetham also reported that CCC Housing Enabling Officer, Carol Wrate, is leaving at the end of May. He said that has always been very helpful.

Cllr. Leetham spoke of his concern at the route of the Stagecoach buses now that the Westgate Towers had reopened to traffic. Buses are not allowed to fold in their wing mirrors to enable them to go through the Towers.


7. Correspondence

All correspondence had been circulated to members:


Oast to Coast  – Spring 2013

ACRK – Certificate of Membership – 2013/2014

Kentish Stour – Newsletter and notification of change of address and Tel nos

PROW – Changes to the management of public rights of way in Kent

Audit Commission – Annual Return y/e 31st March 2013

Serco – Notice of proposed price increases from 1st May and change of pricing

structure to ‘payment in advance’ method

Remittance advice – Precept 2013/2014 – £15,100

PROW Rights of Way Vegetation Clearance Contracts

Notice of KCC Election

Rural News

CCC – Rural Area Members Panel opportunities Fund

KALC – Canterbury Area Committee minutes



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8. Planning Applications – The following applications have been received and circulated to all Cllrs. for comment.

Planning Applications

1. CA/13/00420/FUL – Demolition of existing workshop and erection of replacement machinery bays, workshop and office – Blean National Nature Reserve, land rear of 77 Blean Common – No objection by the PC

2. CA/13/00289/FUL – Change of use and development of a crematorium with associated parking, access and landscaping including memorial gardens for the scattering of ashes – Land at Little Hall Farm, St. Stephen’s Hill, Hackington

3. CA/13/00466/FUL – Refurbishment of existing lean-to, new conservation pattern metal laylights, re-pointing, refurbishing main roof, re-instatement of original windows, addition of insulation – Honey Hill Farm, 11 Honey Hill – No objection by the PC


Decision Notices

1. CA/13/00245/FUL – Roof Alterations – Estates Buildings Office UKC – GRANTED

2. CA/13/00124/FUL – Extension to dwelling and erection of outbuilding – Little Springfield, 110 Blean Common – GRANTED

3. CA/13/00103/FUL – Demolition of a glasshouse and replacement with a steel clad extension – Meadow Grange Nursery – GRANTED

4. CA/13/00280/FUL – Addition to side and rear to form entrance lobby, kitchen, shower room and W.C. Internal alterations – 36 School Lane – GRANTED

5. CA/13/00271/FUL – Rear and side two-storey extension – 42 School Lane – GRANTED


Proposed Works to Trees in a Conservation Area
 1. Fell two conifers in poor condition at end of row – Courtlands, Vicarage Lane

9. Approval for invoice payments and signing of cheques

Banking details for March 2013


Cheques for Approval and Signature

Chq. 002351 – Southgate Electrical – Office PAT Testing                       £ 37.80

Chq. 002352 –            KT Fire Protection Ltd – Fire Extinguisher inspection     £ 46.80

Chq. 002353 – HMRC – PAYE & NIC Mar 2013                                     £ 39.15

Chq. 002354 – Mr K Waddington – Handyman’s Wages Mar 2013        £119.53

Chq. 002355 – Mrs D Horswell – Clerks Salary Mar 2013 + Petty cash  £663.20

Chq. 002356 – BVHMC – Rent for hall – March 2013                             £  11.00

Chq. 002357 – Wicksteed Leisure Ltd – Play Equipment inspection       £103.20

Chq. 002358 – CCC – Fee for Registration of Hall for transfer              £400.00         


DD – Serco – Waste Collection – February 2013                                       £  26.30

DD – BT – Telephone and Broadband                                                       £200.79



Total out        £1647.77

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Received in

BVHMC – 50% of ACRK Annual Membership                                       £  32.50

KCC – Grant for play equipment                                                               £478.00


Bank Statement as at 31st  March 2013

Current Account – £2000

Business Reserve Account – £27,551.95

(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)



10. Date of next meeting

The date of the next meeting is the Annual Meeting on 13th May 2013


There being no further business the meeting closed at 8.55pm..




Date     _______________                 Signature     ______________________________










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.