Minutes of Blean Parish Council Meeting held at the Village Hall, School Lane, Blean on Monday 9th December 2013
Those Present: Cllrs: W. Leetham (Chairman); B. Flack (Vice-Chairman);
C. Dunster; C. Sturgeon; H. Samuelson (latter part of the meeting); P. Hutt.
Also present: Ward Cllr. B. Fitter; Ward Cllr. J. Gilbey and four members of the public.
1. Apologies for absence: – Cllr. G King and County Cllr. J. Simmonds.
The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting and explained the fire drill, fire exits and location of the toilets.
The Chairman reported that Cllr. Goldstein has unfortunately resigned as a Parish Councillor. As a result, there are now two vacancies for Councillors on the Parish Council.
2. Changes to Register of Declarations of Interest and DPI in Matters to be discussed.
1. Cllr. Sturgeon declared an interest as a Village Hall Management Committee member in matters to be discussed.
3. Matters raised by the public
3.1 Mrs Letts raised concern about the bad state of many of the footpaths in Blean. The Chairman read out an email which had been received from the PROWO stating that only footpaths CB19, CB24 and CB27 were to be maintained by PROW in future which she said had been cut in August. Mrs Letts said that the clerk, in her letter to Mrs Letts in May 2013, had said that five footpaths were due to be cut in August. However, it was pointed out that this was before the letter had been received from PROW informing of the reduction in footpath maintenance.
It was noted that the broken stile on CB8 has still not been repaired and was dangerous and it was agreed this was negligent on the part of PROW. The clerk was asked to write a further letter to PROW.
Mrs Letts also said that Byway 27 has never been re-instated by the farmer who owns the land.
3.2 Mr Gammon raised concern about the drainage sump in a garden in Bourne Lodge Close. Cllr. Gilbey said that an engineer from CCC had investigated and the sump was ok.
4. Reports from Ward and County Councillors
Ward Cllr. Gilbey spoke of the Local Plan consultation to which CCC had received 6,500 – 7000 comments. It is expected to have the draft out by March 2014.
He also spoke about the Local Enterprise Partnership, the Homes Bonus which is back and the Boundary Commission.
He said that the Westgate Towers consultation was over but CCC had not yet gone through all the papers.
As regards the lifting of the HGV ban on the A290 through Blean, which Cllr. Leetham had raised great concern about, Cllr. Gilbey said that he had been told it was going to stay.
Ward Cllrs. Gilbey and Fitter are delivering parcels to people suffering hardship.
Ward Cllr. Fitter had investigated the matter of the recent R.A.M. P. meeting which Cllr. Sturgeon had been due to attend and had found out that parishes were not meant to be invited but poor communication had failed to convey this.
5. Approval of the Minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on 11th November 2013
The minutes of the 11th November 2013 meeting were approved and accepted as a true record of the meeting.
Proposed by Cllr. Sturgeon, seconded by Cllr. Flack and all Cllrs. present AGREED.
5.1 ref 5.2 Mrs Letts asked what the outcome had been after Cllr. Samuelson had checked the path. Cllr. Samuelson was not at the meeting at that time to answer.
It was agreed to ask Cllr. Samuelson to follow the matter up.
5.2 It was noted that the street light on The Green had been fixed.
5.3 It was also noted that the application for Honey Hill Farm had been granted and this was met with favourable comments on the great improvement of the site.
6. N.H.W. Report
The Chairman read out Cllr. King’s report in his absence which said that he was pleased to report that it had been a quiet period since his last report with no incidents reported. He had received 28 messages mainly of an advisory nature.
A warning has been received from Kent Police that persons are sticking locksmith adverts to front doors by the letter box. They return after a few days and check if they have been removed. If not, the presumption is that the property is unoccupied, resulting in burglaries. Residents have been advised to remove the stickers immediately, and inform Kent Police on 101.
There has been a report of a tent which has been found to be erected in brambles and bushes in between the recreation ground and the Nature Reserve. This has been reported to the police on 101 and Ken is keeping an eye on it. The clerk has since had a phone call from the PCSO who will be looking into the matter.
Cllr. Dunster raised strong concerns about this and the possible danger to the children in the play area and thought that it should be taken down but it was agreed that the correct procedure had been followed.
7. Village Hall Report
Cllr. Sturgeon gave a report on the Village Hall (attached to these minutes).
8. Matters Arising including:
8.1 Public Paths & Rights of Way
Cllr. Flack suggested that, as there was now a decrease in the services from PROW, the Parish Council look at alternative ways, maybe in the form of volunteers,
University and Christchurch volunteers, landowners and CCC Community Payback scheme to tackle the matter of keeping the footpaths in good order.
8.2 Recreation Ground inc. play equipment
All the matting and pegs for the mound have now arrived and will be put on the mound as soon as is convenient with the contractor.
8.3 Chestnut Avenue Trees
An email has been received from Kent Highway Services stating that it is possible that five trees may have to be felled because of problems with the roots. Where practicable, replacements will be planted but a full report should be received from them for the February Parish Council meeting.
8.4 Site of bench in memory of Hazel McCabe
A discussion was had on the positioning of the bench and it was suggested that the Cllrs. walk around the recreation field to see where the most suitable site will be. It was agreed to seek a quote for constructing a concrete base.
8.5 Parish Plan
Cllr. Flack said that the next meeting will take place in January. She has received some comments regarding the Nature Reserve.
8.6 Highway Issues – HGV Ban
Cllr. Leetham said that the Parish Council are disappointed that they were not consulted about the lifting of the HGV ban on the A290.
8.7. Kevro Properties Correspondence
There has still been no response. Ward Cllr. Gilbey will look into the matter.
Cllr. Samuelson entered the meeting at 8.30pm.
8.8 Electoral Review – Boundaries
The Chairman of Hackington has emailed a response to the Boundary Commission on behalf of Hackington. Blean PC agreed with the suggestion of a three councillor ward boundary. The Clerk will confirm this in a submission to the Boundary Commission. Harbledown will decide later
8.9 Twinning letter from Patrick Robert
Cllr. Samuelson is to acknowledge the letter and find out more details.
8.10 Blean School Parking – Tile Kiln Hill
Cllr. Samuelson declared an interest as Chairman of the Governors but said that the incident of bad parking had occurred on a school disco night and that the school regularly write to the parents about parking considerately.
It was suggested that having double yellow lines for a section could alleviate the problem but it was agreed to monitor the situation and report again to the February meeting.
8.11 Notice Boards
It was agreed that the notice board at the school is not used by the Parish Council and the one on The Green is to be refurbished by Ken in the spring with a new map and pin board. It was suggested that a header board would look nice. This is to be investigated.
9. Councillors’ Reports
9.1 Cllr. Dunster reported that the footway from Tyler Hill Road right down to the school is cracked. Clerk to report it to KHS.
9.2 Cllr. Leetham reported that he and Cllr. Flack had had a meeting with CCC officers regarding affordable housing. It seemed as if until a suitable site is found there is little hope of any affordable housing being built in Blean.
All correspondence (as previously circulated to members):
Precept Requirement 2014/2015
South East Water Resources Update – Autumn 2013
Southern Water – Draft Water Resources Management Plan 2015 – 2040 –
Statement of Response following public consultation
Local Councils Explained Manual
Serco – Payment in advance invoicing – from 1st January 2014
Letter from Melanie Webber – re Chestnut Avenue Trees
CCC – Changes in Christmas Waste Collections
11. Planning Applications
The following applications have been received and circulated to all Cllrs. for comment.
1. CA/13/02119/FUL – Proposed two-storey rear extension, first-floor extensions to
north and south and rebuilding of double garage and parking – 52 Honey Hill – no
objections from BPC although concerns regarding access
1. CA/13/01823/FUL – A single-storey extension to provide an en-suite bathroom and
external toilet – 13 The Green – GRANTED
Tree Notices – Remove two dying fir trees and a third fir tree from the front of the
flats – 53 Tile Kiln Hill
12. Approval for invoice payments and signing of cheques
Cheques for Approval and Signature
Chq. 002424 – A M Designs – 50% for Bench £750.00
Chq. 002425 – Mr K Waddington – Handyman’s Wages Nov 2013 £121.27
Chq. 002426 – Mrs D Horswell – Clerks Salary Nov 2013 £668.56
Chq. 002427 – HMRC – PAYE & NIC Nov 2013 £ 37.70
Chq. 002428 – BVHMC – Hall Hire Nov 2013 £ 11.00
Chq. 002429 – SLCC – Annual Membership HPC % £36.75 £147.00
Chq. 002430 – KALC – 1 x Local Councils Explained Manual £ 42.88
Chq. 002431 – Cutters – Hedge & 3 x footpaths cutting £160.00
Chq. 002432 – Meadow Grange – Basket flowers & Jeyes Fluid £ 19.50
Chq. 002433 – Steve Cook – 4 x Padlocks for bollards – Supply & Fit £134.40
Chq. 002434 – KCC – Ragwort Pulling – Kiers Meadow £132.00
Chq. 002435 – KCC – 2nd Half Yearly Grounds Maintenance £843.02
DD – Serco Waste Collection – October 2013 £ 53.76
Total paid out £3121.09
BVHMC – 50% re-imbursement for Serco Waste Collection £ 22.40
BVHMC – Re-imbursement for padlocks £112.00
UK Power Networks £ 40.91
Total paid in £175.31
Bank Statement as at 20th November 2013
Current Account – £2000
Business Reserve Account – £21,035.55
(Interest bearing account used to feed Current Account, when needed, to maintain a balance of £2000)
12.1 Set Precept Bid for 2014/2015
The Chairman proposed that the precept requirement be kept at the same as 2013/2014 at £15,100 as six extra properties will have been constructed leading to extra revenue. However, it was noted that, due to the decrease in the government grant next year, a slight increase will have to be made for 2015/2016.
Proposed by Cllr. Hutt, seconded by Cllr. Sturgeon, all Cllrs. present AGREED.
Cllr. Flack asked whether the clerk could put this information on the PC website so as to inform residents.
12.2 To consider KCC Grounds Maintenance Contract for 2014
The maintenance contract for grass cutting of the recreation ground and other grassed areas has risen to £1615.72 for 2014 making an increase of £39.36 for the year.
Proposed by Cllr. Sturgeon, seconded by Cllr. Hutt, all Cllrs present AGREED.
13. Date of next meeting
There being no meeting in January the date of the next meeting is 10th February 2014.
14 Any Other Business
It was agreed to allow the Friends of Blean Church to put up battery operated Christmas lights on The Green until 2nd January.
There being no further business the Chairman wished everyone a Happy Christmas and all the best for 2014.
The meeting closed at 9.05pm.
Date _______________ Signature ______________________________
Report from BVHMC to BPC meeting 9th December 2013 – Carol Sturgeon
I’m pleased to report that the interior decorating work undertaken by the volunteers is nearing the end of their very long list.
Last Monday the BVHMC invited Paul and Anne Clifford along to our meeting to extend our thanks officially to them, and their working party, as the work they’ve undertaken has been enormous and to such a good and professional standard.
Without their effort, support and commitment we wouldn’t have been able to enjoy the restoration of all fittings, new projector screen, refurbishment of both storerooms with racking for furniture, installation of hand towel dispensers in all toilets, colourful panelling by the kitchen hatchway and a myriad of other detail and finish that’s made the hall and surroundings so comfortable and pleasant to occupy.
More painting and refurbishment work will be undertaken by volunteers during the Christmas break, the builder will be back in the hall in January to undertake snagging issues, groundwork to level and grass seed external areas will be undertaken in the spring, with other work to tidy up the frontage and car park places also taking place.
The fire exit doors will change in the community area to use the large glass door onto the paved area and the front door instead – the architect and fire officer will advise and confirm. A list of emergency contacts (volunteers) is on the notice board in the event of need as contained in new hall guidance laminated sheets.
Available for all hirers to read for essential information, outlining locations of all services on site , heating, ventilation, fire alarm systems, with copies in both kitchens, on site.
The BVHMC again thank all the user groups for their patience and understanding since September and can confirm that the work is nearly finished.
An increase in private bookings for parties since October is welcomed with bookings and interest for 2014 steady as the community discover that the hall and new layout is able to accommodate and serve a wider range of user groups, private events and family occasions, 7 days a week over 3 sessions. Letting Officer changes advised to all user groups, websites and interested parties.
CCC’s small community grant fund kindly gave BVHMC £469.00 towards a fridge freezer, which was delivered last Friday into the main kitchen.
The outstanding and major issues of sourcing a cooker and ventilation system for the main kitchen, to offer regular inclusive lunch clubs to alleviate loneliness and isolation for our residents in Blean throughout the year, depends on a successful bid for a CCC capital grant, or alternatively, further focussed fund raising.
If successful we’d also like to target a neglected and very needy group of carers, and their loved ones who suffer from dementia, by providing respite for them all, via a regular lunch club and meeting place, here in Blean village hall.
The Invicta Fellowship who meet every Saturday here, have offered to assist the R the R volunteers to organise, manage and provide practical help for this on a Saturday. Their group leader is a NHS and Hospital Trust employee with unique experience and expertise in Dementia. She is a researcher in the needs of carers and sufferers, identifying in particular the need for respite, peer group support & networks for carers, opportunities outside the home for them all to meet together.
Another major need is for heaters in the main toilet block, in the men’s, ladies and disabled toilets. This work wasn’t part of the Phase 1 contract as the existing toilet block was unheated. Since the refurbishment the toilets have shown high levels of condensation and damp due to the lack of heating causing deterioration of the new paintwork and internal fabric. We use 2 x de-humidifiers on a temporary basis in the toilets to remove damp that builds up, since re-plastering and installation of the sanitary ware, but this is a quick fix solution.
The corner and external courses of mortar and brickwork need urgent repair which will be done in 2014 (spring) when the sgg grant is received. The difference between external and internal temperatures (without a constant and median heat inside), causes damp and condensation in the toilet blocks which affects everything, walls, windows even the toilet rolls.
We sought advice and the long term remedy is to install electric thermostatically controlled wall heaters which operate 24 hrs a day, which will alleviate the build up of moisture; to extend central heating system would be more expensive and compromise fittings/new walls. BVHMC applied to KCC Cllr John Simmond’s community chest grant for assistance towards the cost of them (last month), + their installation and electrician’s work, for users and the hall’s long term benefit.
Energy prices are being monitored closely as they rise for us all, the rent review for the hall will take place in February (no increase made in 2013) rents will need to rise in 2014.
The launch of the Blean Heritage Museum continues to be an unqualified success story – it creates much interest and special site visits. 3 visitors from Dorset knocked on the door recently while the working party were in and asked to come and look around. Past Blean residents who married in Blean Church and held their wedding reception in the hall 40 years ago they were delighted to see the hall improvement, especially as the frontage remained the same.
They visited the museum (in Godfrey’s absence) and emptied their pockets of change to leave a donation in the museum’s pot.
Fund raising events since the last meeting:
Christmas Fair mid-November,
30th November Coffee morning
and finally: this Saturday’s seasonal coffee morning with mulled wine and lovely things to eat, preserves, Christmas cake decorating workshop, mega raffle, children’s craft table, holly wreaths, + Blean Heritage Museum open – this is our last event for 2013 open from 10am – mid-day.
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy & Healthy New Year from BVHMC.