Minutes – Annual Parish Assembly – 16th April 2012

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 16th April 2012.


Present:   Cllrs: W Leetham (Chairman); H Samuelson (Vice-Chairman); C Harris; C Dunster; C Sturgeon; G King; B Flack and P Hutt.


Also present: Ward Cllr. Mrs H McCabe, County Cllr. John Simmonds and PCSO Mike Bradbury and eight members of the public.


1.         Apologies received:  Ward Cllr. John Gilbey – on holiday.


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.


2.         Minutes of the 2011 Meeting – were distributed to attendees.

The minutes were approved as a true record of the meeting.  Proposed by Cllr. King, seconded by Cllr. Harris. All present agreed.


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. There was a discussion about bollards being installed but Cllr. Simmonds said there were no funds for bollards. Cllr. Leetham said that, in previous years, planters had been discussed but these also were deemed too expensive. The Parish Council had asked for a disabled parking bay to be implemented and restricted parking on the other side of the road.

PCSO said that the Police can only issue a parking ticket if the pavement is totally obstructed.

It was agreed for Cllr. King to put a comment in the Gazette column.

3.2       Cllr. Sturgeon asked what the situation was over the drainage problem at 39 Blean Common. Cllr. McCabe said their appeal had first been lost then won and probably had gone back to the Planning Officer for delegated powers.


4.         Chairman’s Report

4.1       The chairman read out the Blean Parish News April 2012 giving a précis of the work of the Parish Council throughout the year. Full report at the end of these minutes.  A copy of the newsletter was available for everyone attending the meeting. A vacancy exists for a Parish Councillor.

Mr Letts commented on the mention of the letter from the Parish Council to BVHMC regarding the offer of the Freehold of the building. Cllr. Leetham said that it had been passed by resolution. Mr Letts asked where the £10,000 had been set aside for this.


5.         NHW Report

5.1.      Godfrey King, NHW co-ordinator, gave his report in which he said that the local Neighbourhood Watch has been functioning for over twenty years, the most of which he has been co-ordinator.

The scheme functions through a network of street contacts, seventeen in all, who receive notifications from him on any matter of relevance to the security of the village and the wider area, together with items of interest and information from Trading Standards. They then disseminate the information in their allocated area by posters, email and by word of mouth. This is received from Kent Police, with whom he works closely, both by email, phone and in person. He has received 520 such messages since the last annual report. Overall, the village is relatively crime free, although the occasional incidents naturally have an adverse effect on local victims of crime.

Supplementing the street network is the use of the public notice boards, and the very useful parish Council website administered by the parish clerk who he thanked for her help.

The Parish Council has agreed to fund the local scheme at a sum of £240 annually which is less than £5 per week. The sum covers computer time and electricity, ink, paper, poster printing and other incidentals such as very occasional expenditure on petrol. All persons staffing the scheme do so voluntarily and claim no expenses whatsoever. He keeps a close check on all finances, and has not claimed the full agreed sum for several years. Cllr. King anticipates that it will again be possible to claim considerably less this October when the funding is due.  Cllr. King is perfectly willing to continue in the role of co-ordinator for the foreseeable future providing that the Councillors wish him to do so.


6.         Planning

6.1       The clerk reported that there had been thirty six planning applications received in the last year with one in circulation of which twenty three have been granted and three refused.

The three refused planning applications are:

Erection of three dwellings plus a block of flats – Land rear of shops, Tyler Hill Road which was later withdrawn and a new recent application had been received for the same location for two pairs of semi-detached houses for which the decision is awaited.
Erection of a dwelling – land rear of 40 School Lane
Conservatory – 34 Whitstable Road which has since been amended and granted.

There have been six proposed works to trees during the year and notice of a Public Path Order – Diversion of footpath CB31A (part) – Land at St. Edmunds School.


It was asked what the outcome was of the application at Seapier Morgan Stud which had been built higher than the plans had approved. Cllr. McCabe said that she had written to the Enforcement Officer but had not seen the retrospective planning application.


7.         Charity Report from the Chairman

7.1.      Cllr. Leetham reported on the Leggett Charity (number 214061).   Total value of assets in the account as at the end of February 2011 stood at £1926.08 following an income of £49.10

Mr Letts asked what the purpose is of the charity.

Cllr. Leetham explained that the charity was set up in the 1800’s to help the residents of Blean who may fall on hard times. A payment was last paid out by the charity last year.

Cllrs. Leetham and Samuelson are Trustees. Mr Letts said he thought the purpose of the charity should be publicised.


8.         Financial Report

8.1.      The clerk reported that the Precept received for 2011/2012 was £15,000, a reduction of £500 on the previous year, of which the expenditure for the year was £11,632.42.

The Concurrent Funding received for the same period was £4239 of which expenditure for the Recreation Ground, waste clearance, hedge cutting etc. and external hall repairs came to a total of £7205.61.


The Precept bid for 2012/2013 has been set by the Parish Council at £14,500, a reduction of £500 again on the previous year.

The Concurrent Funding received for 2012/2013 is £8206.37.


The Annual Return and Annual Governance Statement for year ending 31st March 2011  was approved by Blean Parish Council on 13th June 2011 with the certificate being issued from the Audit Commission on 28th June 2011 with confirmation from the Audit Commission that all the information is in accordance with proper practices.


The clerk went on to explain the duties of herself as RFO (Responsible Financial Officer) and explained the stringent guidelines which are imposed on Parish Councils regarding expenditure. The different categories of expenditure between Concurrent Funding and the Precept was explained along with how each area has to be accounted for, to the Audit Commission, Internal Auditor and Canterbury City Council, with any money not being spent from the Concurrent Fund being deducted from the amount awarded two years later.


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 8.20pm.




Date     ______________________   Signed_______________________________


















Blean Parish Council News

April 2012


Chairman’s annual report


You will have recently received your annual council tax demand. I am pleased to report that this year the precept for Blean Parish Council has been modestly decreased for the second consecutive year.


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


As part of our action plan a housing needs survey was produced for affordable housing in 2010. This indicated a need for this type of housing in the village.  We are continuing to work closely with Canterbury City Council to find a suitable site.


Kent Highways will shortly be implementing an extension of the 30 mph speed limit from Rough Common Turning to the village gateway at the start of Blean Common.  This will mean that the 30 mph speed limit will start on the A290 near Denstroude Lane and continue right into Canterbury.  As from the 27th March there will be a 7.5 ton weight restriction along the A290 starting from the A299 Thanet Way right into Canterbury.  There are exceptions for HGVs requiring access and local buses.  This is being implemented as part of the Westgate traffic scheme with a view to reducing emissions especially in the St Dunstan’s area.


The Village Hall Management committee have

obtained planning permission for the extension and improvement of the village hall. The Parish Council has made a very generous offer to the Hall Management Committee of the freehold of the Village Hall, the freehold of the land required for the extension, a sum of £10,000 plus £1K towards legal fees.  This offer demonstrates the Parish Council’s support for the Hall Management Committees’ in their endeavors to improve the Village Hall.

Action with Communities in Rural Kent, the advisory body to the Hall Management Committee, are strongly supporting this offer and recommend acceptance. A tremendous amount of fund raising has been going on to prepare for the extension, but a lot more has to be raised.


The ditches around the recreation ground continue to receive attention.  The play equipment is subject to a safety inspection every year and this was undertaken recently.  The Parish Council is looking into the future needs for equipment on the recreation ground as some of the present equipment is nearing the end of it’s useful life.  We are looking to revamp the facilities in 2013 when the work on the Village Hall is likely to start.



 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.  A new PCSO, Mike Bradbury, has been appointed.  He will be covering Blean, Tyler Hill and the University.  This is a large area to cover and we look forward to working with Mike.  He hopes to attend our parish council meeting when operations allow him to do so.


We currently have one vacancy on the Parish Council for a Councillor.  Should anyone be interested in becoming active please contact the Parish Clerk or come along to one of our monthly meetings.


Our village handyman has been busy during the year keeping the village clean and tidy, although at present he is recovering after a knee replacement operation   We wish him well and hope to see him back at work when he is well enough.   He also does some minor maintenance jobs on the recreation ground including repainting the rocket slide and varnishing the seats together with looking after the borders near the shop.


The village shop recently won a national competition for the best Londis store and we add our congratulations.


The Parish Council has put forward the Nature Reserve for registration as part of the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations in 2012.  This could lead to special funding opportunities.  We are currently completing the formalities for registration.


Canterbury City Council, following a request from the Parish Council, recently installed a refurbished bus shelter outside Blean School in the Canterbury direction.  It is very unfortunate that the day after installation the bus shelter had graffiti on it which has since been cleaned off, but the Perspex has been damaged.


The new pavement along the A290 from the path from Rough Common towards the School has been completed.  Unfortunately the existing hedge at the edge of the field has to be removed to enable the work to be undertaken.  A temporary fence was installed pending the planting of new hedging.  Once this is established the fence will be removed.


A new interpretation panel has been installed on the Green, and a second one at Blean Church at no cost to the council.  These give information on aspects of the Blean Woods area.


Our City Councillors John Gilbey and Hazel McCabe 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.


Denise, our parish clerk, is normally in the Parish Office on Tuesdays and Fridays.


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 16th April and this will double as our annual parish meeting.


William Leetham – chairman





Members of the Parish Council:

William Leetham – chairman

Hugh Samuelson– vice chairperson

Christine Dunster

Charles Harris

Phil Hutt

Godfrey King

Carol Sturgeon

Barbara Flack


Clerk to the Parish Council:

Mrs Denise Horswell

Parish Council Office

4 School Lane

Blean Canterbury CT2 9JA

Telephone: 01227 470200

Email: bleanpc@btconnect.com

The office is normally staffed on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Blean Parish Council web site:




Should you need to contact the police on a non emergency matter please phone: 101 or

Email: canterbury.rural@kent.pnn.police.uk.



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


Affordable housing

Should anyone be interested in affordable housing in Blean please contact the parish clerk for an application form


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.  Dog fouling on a play area does represent a health hazard to children.


Queen’s Jubilee celebration and village fete

Details of both these events will be available on the web site in due course.



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 16th April 12.


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 the community base by providing a range of interests and social events via fundraising, a mutual benefit to fulfil their needs and for the future of the village hall.


A lot has happened over the past year with the systematic and extensive public consultation process within the community base via open meetings, to elicit their views and needs, which culminated in drawings agreed by all, and planning consent granted by the local authority in January this year, for Phase 1 and Phase 2.


The Parish Council offered £10,000 from their reserve/contingency fund (letter August 2011) + enough land to build both projects and sufficient car parking, with an additional £1,000 towards legal costs, if the BVHMC take over the freehold of the hall which would automatically lapse their outstanding 27 year lease.


The BVHMC responded formally to the Parish Council in February 2012, with a statement of intent letter outlining this offer, with their terms and conditions in respect of timing in order to take over the freehold of the hall.  As stated, it would not be possible until we have secured all the funding for Phase 1 to begin the building project, therefore, the BVHMC will take over the freehold, at this point.


As Trustees, we consider it could financially compromise the Charity to take over the freehold beforehand, until funding is confirmed.  Timing is imperative to a successful outcome for extending the village hall as we’re mindful and respectful that it’s held in Trust for the greater good of the village community.  The security of our current lease offers the BVHMC time to raise sufficient finance, to cover the capital building project costs.


External funding has become increasingly difficult to secure as National Grant Bodies have focussed their funds on specific geographical areas in the UK and have limited grant funding to those considered most in need, inner cities and areas of deprivation.


The architect is currently working on building regulation specifications before going out to tender to 3 builders for their estimates of the cost for Phase 1.


Fund Raising


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 people come along and join in which is very heartening.


Without the commitment, determination and sheer hard work of the volunteers, (over 50 local people working actively for Raise the Roof), and collaborative events with FOBC and others, we would not have been able to reap the benefit of their efforts and generosity.  The Village Knit and Natter collaboration with FOBC resulted in £260 donated in sponsorship money, for each fund.


More people have joined the information list which sends out regular messages about what’s going on in Blean and includes messages from a comprehensive range of other groups, all working together for the greater good of the Blean community and beyond.


P Cllr Godfrey King, set up the Blean Heritage Museum group which has donated £1500 since the beginning of 2012 to the building project and has pledged £5,000 in total.  Their contribution towards a dedicated place in Phase 1 as a museum to accommodate Godfrey’s unique and personal Blean based collection of archive material and photographs which will be generously donated to Blean residents has been collected by him over many years, and is welcomed by all.  It will take the form of a dedicated, catalogued and exhibition space in the village hall for community and visitor interest, held in perpetuity as Blean Village history, a local, accessible resource for all.


Godfrey also manages press liaison and releases, publicity and promotion of events via his local correspondent’s column in the Kentish Gazette, with the assistance of our individual volunteers/supporters who produce posters, flyers and generate much valued ideas for the community to join in.


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 recently assessed for Level 1 Hallmark Award and the two Rural Kent Visitors spent 2 hours here in the building looking at the range of  BVHMC paper work, our working policies, financial statements, Health & Safety standards employed, licences held, and above all, the condition of the hall, inside and out, amongst a long list of checks made.


The BVHMC immediately instituted a raft of priority and remedial measures to address the shortfalls in the guidance given by the Visitors, which include securing PRS/PPL licences, installation of sani-bins in hall toilets to accommodate and dispose of feminine hygiene products, nappies and incontinence pads, by an authorised contractor, which we as a public building, need to do. These necessary changes will clearly incur additional costs to the BVHMC and to the running costs of the hall.


The BVHMC were awarded Level 1 (subject to actions taken and guidance received), and relevant issues for action concerning the Parish Council’s responsibilities, were passed on to them for their attention.  The Hall is managed by Trustees, all volunteers and without their commitment, expertise and time it wouldn’t be possible to maintain the standards of the hall and run it so effectively.  I offer my sincere thanks to all hall management committee members, without whom, this workload would be impossible to manage.


Therefore, hall charges are currently under urgent review especially as no rise in rental charges has been instigated since 2006, and this will need to change.  The energy, utility and maintenance costs rose dramatically over the past 6 years by approx. 100%, as have other repair costs, as you’ll appreciate and know, from your own domestic usage.


We need to make significant changes to the hall rents ASAP, and will review rental charges again before our AGM in October, to assess the outcome of measures taken in the near future. This is imperative to reflect the reality and current costs of maintaining the hall as a cost effective amenity and enterprise, as the hourly charge currently set and received for hourly rent does not cover costs incurred, and income generated by rents must rise.


The Treasurer is currently setting a budget based on current income and projected costs; this will be presented at our next meeting for discussion and decision, in May.


The official web site: www.bleanvillagehall.co.uk contains Blean Parish Hall history, R+R news, information, pictures and information of past and future social events.  It also incorporates news from FOBC and Parish Church events to support their fund raising appeal and we are mutually supportive.  I’d like to thank Denise for putting our events (and links) onto the Blean and Tyler Hill Parish Council websites as information.


The DOE Award volunteers have been very busy since January helping at social events, they’ve offered their time and expertise to assist the community with Digital Retuning in June and will be at the next coffee morning on Sat 28th April together with Kim Fletcher from Rural Kent, who will be on hand to advise and inform residents.  Posters advertising their presence and their service will be going on boards tomorrow.


Stewart Ross will be presenting a cheque to BVHMC for £1,000 on the same morning as the first instalment of his pledge of £4,000 from the sales of Hello Eiffel – his special Blean based book produced in Dec 2011 written to raise funds for the hall project.


The Blean Pre-School are undertaking targeted fund raising for £5,000 towards the building project and recently had a reading by Stewart to the children, of the above book, which resulted in many more sales.


The Londis shop which came first in the nationwide community shops award section and beat 800 others, continues to support Raise the Roof and is generous to other groups who use the hall for meetings/social events, by donating raffle prizes/wine, and actively supports Kent Air Ambulance.


Binny kindly gave the BVHMC and the Blean Heritage Museum a cheque for £100 each last week; out of the prize money awarded for being the best shop, his commitment to supporting our community is much appreciated.  The Building and Research Focus Group continue to support the BVHMC and undertake research, information when the need arises.


Forthcoming events


Our founding and anniversary event as R+R fund raisers will be repeated, by kind invitation of Cllr Hazel McCabe with our 3rd apple blossom walk and afternoon teas with homemade cakes, at Little Well Farm, Tyler Hill on Sunday 13th May 2pm-4pm, please come and join us at this very special and lovely event.
On Sunday 3rd June we will be hosting a celebration of H M The Queen’s Jubilee with a community lunch on the recreation ground, with tents (funded by a local resident) to accommodate 250-300 people. Mid-day onwards a repeat of the informal community street party when people bring their own food and sit together.   All are welcome to join us, home-made cakes, drinks, trifles, ice creams available to buy.  DOE lads are organising intergenerational rounder’s and cricket games for all to play, (depending on the weather) they’ll be make a crown for a pound craft tables for the children, live music and possibly a beer tent & Pimms.
A diamond jubilee inspired quilt is being made by local women to raffle on the day + cushions with additional quilting blocks.  This communal venture has been so successful and inspirational undertaking craft together that a new evening craft group will be set up soon, making and designing articles to sell for the building project.
Following this the annual village fete and 3rd Music Festival will take place on Saturday 30th June mid-day – 4pm for the fete, 6.00- 10.30pm for the festival, on the recreation ground weather permitting.  This very popular village event goes from strength to strength and one member of BBC2’s winner of the Folk Duo of the year award – Brendon Power world class harmonica player is giving his time and talent, with other musicians for the Blean Festival & RtheR project.


Hall use


The Hall continues to be heavily used daily all week, by regular groups, organisations, and private hires , this provides income for its upkeep and makes demands on or maintenance costs, it also reveals the urgent need for more recreational space, as we have to turn hirers away due to over subscription of lettings available.


The external and internal maintenance, repair cost(s) are funded by the Parish Council and the Hall Management Committee, to ensure that the hall remains safe and financially viable for the benefits of the users and community.  KCC Cllr John Simmonds kindly helped with a community engagement grant of £5,000 towards architect’s fees, for which we were most grateful.


Internal redecoration is planned this summer to re-decorate the disabled toilet, sand and re-seal both hall floors, this is money which has been applied from CCC concurrent funding and will be undertaken by the labour task force volunteers. The front lock and handle on the main door needed replacement recently and new keys have been issued to regular groups/organisations.


A lot of additional and expensive electrical work was necessary in the hall after our annual inspection to ensure that all internal electrics/appliances fulfil new standards and complied with regulations.  All the internal equipment has been PAT labelled.  The hall costs have risen radically throughout 2011-12 to meet these and other Health & Safety requirements, necessary for a public place.


The BVHMC would like to thank Sheila Waddington for her commitment and care in cleaning the hall since 2008, she’s decided to resign at the end of this month and take a well-earned rest.  D & S Cleaners, who we’ve used in the past to cover Sheila’s work, will take over the task of cleaning the hall on a weekly basis from May.


I would like to remind regular users, groups and organisations that they’re welcome to appoint their own representative as a member of the BVHMC.  We currently have 10 Trustees and 20 named users who use this hall regularly.  This would enable them to attend the regular bi-monthly meetings, contribute their thoughts and ideas, and above all, take part in the planning and future of our village hall by working together with the Blean Parish Council, us, our community volunteer group in the exciting building and development project that lies ahead of us.




Our building fund reserve account total is £42,000 net, evidence of the financial support shown by our community, by the Londis shop and other locally based organisations, companies and individuals who have generously made financial contributions and donate to the Blean Parish Hall Charity.  Our annual audited accounts for 2010-11 can be viewed on the Charity Commission website.  Our fund raising income gross amount is higher, but clearly we have had to pay for local authority planning fees, specialist reports, and on-going architect fees which total £10,000+, and will continue.


The Charity registered for HMR&C Gift Aid, benefits from this scheme, so please consider this option if you wish to make a donation as Blean Parish Hall would benefit from a further 20% or more, in reclaimed tax.  I’d like to thank Hugh Samuelson for agreeing to be our honorary nominee for this purpose.  BVHMC will apply to CCC for capital grant funding this year for the building project.


Today I received a letter from Mark Reeves KCC External Funding Officer to confirm that a £50,000 Village and Community Hall Grant has been awarded to Blean Parish Hall, for which we are delighted.


Carol Sturgeon  Chairman BVHMC  16th April 2012