Minutes of meeting held 24 September 2019

MEREWORTH Parish Council
Minutes of the PARISH COUNCIL MEETING HELD in Mereworth Village Hall on TUESDAY 24 September 2019

Present: Chairman – Jon Regan (JR), Andrew Wells (AW), Michael Bound (MB), Gill Kirby – Clerk ,
TMBClr Mrs Ann Kemp, 2 members of public

1. Apologies for absence – received from Jenny Thorogood (JT), Ted Murray (TM),
Katherine Eykelenboom (KE), TMBClr Piers Montague, KCClr Matthew Balfour,
PCSO Wendy Stanley,

2. Declarations of Interest – none

3. Questions from Members of the Public –
(This is a concessionary short session and limited to 30 minutes. Five minutes per person will be allowed initially and only if time permits, will further comments be heard. This session is for information only and no action need be taken upon items raised)

1. Kevin Swain, Chairman of Mereworth Pre School tabled a proposal to install gates and fencing to cover the entrance/exit of the Village Hall car park and enclose the car park area to provide outdoor playing space for the children. He had consulted with neighbours and there were no objections. The children would be under constant supervision and gates could be open when the children were not there. It would be financed through grants, help from parents/grandparents, local businesses. The existing ‘garden’ area would be removed. The cost was likely to be in the region of £3000. Maintenance would be the responsibility of Pre-School and the gates would belong to the Village Hall should Pre-School close. It was agreed that Kevin would check that planning permission was not required.
MVH had been consulted and had no objections. The Parish Council agreed that they had no objections.

With regards to the complaint received about cars being turned around in private driveways, letters had been sent out by Preschool asking parents not to do so.

It was noted that the hedge to the rear of the car park and hall was in need of cutting. Caretaker was trying to get a tree cutting contractor to attend.

2. Martin Willgoss referred to the photographs and posters chosen by the Parish Council for display in the Village Hall and noted that the frames were 3ft x 2ft in size so he was looking for suitable mounts. Once he had these he could complete the photographs. He agreed to remove the captions from the photographs.

4. Reports from County Borough Councillors and Police
Borough Council Report – Clr Mrs Kemp reported that the new refuse and recycling arrangement letters had been delivered to all households.

5. Vacancy on the Parish Council – Airfield Ward. The vacancy had been advertised on notice board and website. TMBC has confirmed that no election has been called, so the Parish council can now co-opt.

6. Minutes
(a) Minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on 27 August 2019 – previously circulated. These were agreed as a true record of the meeting
(b) Matters arising not on the agenda – none

7. Finance
(a) Bank reconciliation and ratification of cheques for signing – Bank reconciliation as at 30 August was approved and bank statements verified. Reconciliation and cheque payments as listed were ratified. Action Clerk
(b) Grounds Maintenance Contract 2019-20 – the current contract with Kent Landscapes Services was due to expire this season. Clerk had contacted another contractor to ask for a quotation. This was awaited. The new contract from KLS had not yet been received.
Action Clerk
(c) Bank Mandate – This had been changed by Clerk and all Parish Councillors were now listed as signatories. However, on review, Natwest found that they did not have the correct documentation for (MB) and had sent a form for him to complete. This was completed and Clerk would return it to Natwest. Action Clerk

8. Update on other issues
(a) MVH Liaison – the complaint from a resident regarding pre-school parents turning on private driveways had been discussed during the public session.

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(b) PCC Liaison – (AW) reported that Rev Pat Dickin and her family were still living at Mereworth Rectory owing to unforeseen delays to her appointment to her new parish. Robert Earl, Churchwarden was supervising the production of a parish profile to advertise the vacancy assisted by the PCC and ensuring that locum ministers were available to take services during the interregnum

(c) Highways – (i) Response from Police & Crime Commissioner regarding speeding A228
and Seven Mile Lane – Both Clerk and (AW) had asked for a response and Clerk had asked that the Professional Standards Caseworker call her, but had received no response. However, a response had been from received from the Community Safety Unit following (JR)’s email regarding speeding on Seven Mile Lane. The CSU felt that to undertake speed checks would be unsafe but would ask the team to use Seven Mile Lane as a preferred route to increase visibility of a police presence.
It was agreed that (JR) would write to Commissioner Matthew Scott with a copy to Tom Tugendhat. Action (JR)
(ii) Butchers Lane gas pipe replacement works – SGN representatives and
their Contractor attended a public meeting in the Village Hall on 3 September, which was attended by over 30 residents and members of the Parish Council. The format of the meeting included a Presentation followed by questions and answers. SGN explained that there were three options – to do nothing, to take gas from other pipes (there were none nearby) or to run a new pipeline parallel to the existing one. This is what they wished to do to future-proof the supply and planned to start works on 9 September. Residents felt that the gas pressure was satisfactory and as there were no new houses to be built in Butchers Lane, this was unnecessary. SGN could not confirm that the works were necessary.
Residents raised grave concerns at the proposed diversions which involved using very narrow single track lanes with no passing places, one of which adjoined the very fast and dangerous Seven Mile Lane. It was felt that SGN had not properly thought out the dangers of these diversion routes. It was pointed out that no consultations had taken place and the meeting had been arranged by SGN only a few days before the proposed closure on 9 September, following pressure from the Parish Council.
It was the unanimous view of everyone present that SGN should not start until an acceptable proposal had been made following a thorough assessment. Residents were adamant that Butchers Lane should not be closed except in the case of emergencies.
SGN confirmed that they would postpone the works pending further investigations and would submit a revised plan with a longer consultation period.
Clerk had informed the KCC Cabinet Member for Planning, Highways and Waste and had received confirmation from Kent Highways that the works had been postponed.

(ii) School Parking – The School Headteacher was to arrange another meeting at the school but there had been no information on the date for this. Clerk to contact the school Headteacher. Action Clerk

(AW) referred to white lining and the response from Highway Steward indicating that these were no longer installed as they were not enforceable. (AW) noted that they were never enforceable but acted as a deterrent to parking and would need to be repainted in due course.

(d) Allotments – The invoice for the annual rental of £500 had been received from EGW Boscawen. The Allotments Association had only paid the previous year’s rental in July, as agreed. Clerk asked when the Allotments Association should be asked to pay this year’s rental, bearing in mind that they would not receive further allotment tenants’ rents until December at the earliest. It was agreed that they could pay in January 2020 but that they should try to arrange for payment to be in line with the Lease (September) in future. Action Clerk

(e) Neighbourhood Watch – as (TM) was not in attendance – no further information

(f) Childrens play area/Recreation area/ pitches – (TM) had reported to Clerk that he had looked at the reported broken branches in the Recreation Area trees and had managed to remove some of these. Others were not felt to be a danger. He suggested that these were left until Autumn when the leaves fell and it would be easier to remove the branches. Clerk had contacted the Caretaker who felt it was too dangerous to remove them and that a tree surgeon should be hired for a day to deal with any broken trees as he would also be able to take the arisings away. It was agreed that Clerk contact David Keeler to ask him to look at the trees and advise. Action Clerk

(g) Framing and display of old photographs in the village hall –already discussed in public session

(h) Village Hall Car Park – already discussed in public session

(i) Airfield Estate – sink holes –Clarion had confirmed that the works would be started imminently.

9. Any other business and matters for future discussion –
1. (AW) reported that he had attended the KALC Area meeting
10. Date of next meeting – 22 October September 2019, 7.00 pm in the Village Hall.
(Please note – there will also be a MVH meeting at 8pm)
Meeting closed 8.10 p.m.