MEREWORTH Parish Council
Minutes of the ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING HELD by Zoom electronic communication due to Covid-19 – 26 May 2020
Present: Chairman – Jon Regan (JR), Jenny Thorogood (JT), Ted Murray (TM), Katherine
Eykelenboom (KE), Andrew Wells (AW), Michael Bound (MB), Carol MacBride (CM) , TMB Clr Mrs Ann Kemp, Gill Kirby (Clerk)
1. Apologies for absence – none
2. Election of Chairman and Vice Chairman – It was proposed by (KE) and seconded by (TM) that Jon Regan continue as Chair. Agreed Unanimously.
Both (JT) and (MB) were prepared to stand as Vice-Chair. (MB) withdrew his application and it was agreed unanimously that (JT) be elected Vice Chair
3. Declarations of Interest – none
4. Declarations of Acceptance of Office – Clerk to email forms to (JR) and (JT) for signature
5. Questions from Members of the Public – none in attendance
(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)
6. Borough Councillors Report – Clr Mrs Kemp reported that TMBC were continuing to hold meetings on Microsoft Teams. The Council administer grants for small businesses. Please apply if a grant is needed. Brown bin collections had been reinstated as had Bulky Refuse collections from households. Car parks were re-opened and were now charging for parking again. The Local Plan meeting scheduled for last week had been cancelled and a new schedule was awaited.
(JR) commented that he felt that the community had behaved extraordinarily well and it was good to know how decent people in the village were.
7. Representation – groups and organisations
1. Joint Parish Council Traffic Liaison Group – It was agreed that (CM) represent the council at these meetings.
2. Parochial Church Council – (AW) to continue to represent the council on the PCC
3. Neighbourhood Watch – (TM) to continue to represent the council on Neighbourhood Watch
(a) Minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on 28 April 2020 – previously circulated. These were agreed as a true record of the meeting
(b) Matters arising not covered elsewhere on the agenda – none
(a) Bank reconciliation and ratification of cheques for signing – Bank reconciliation as at 29 April 2020 was approved and bank statements verified. Reconciliation and cheque payments as listed were ratified. Action Clerk
(b) Internal Audit of Accounts 2019-20 – this was undertaken by KCC virtually by email and telephone with documents being scanned to the auditor by Clerk. Signed Internal Audit form had now been received and Audit Report circulated. The AGAR can now be forwarded to the External Auditors Action Clerk
(c) Annual Review of rentals/fees – (i) Pavilion/Sports Ground – Football currently £75 for
adults matches, £40 for U18’s and £35 for U12’s It was agreed to keep these the same for the coming year.
Cricket – currently £300 per season for ground payable at end of season plus pavilion fees of £34.50 per adult match, £17.50 juniors and £8.75 for U12’s payable monthly. It was agreed to keep these the same for the coming year.
(ii) Land rental Kent Street – currently £1000 payable January 2021 – it was agreed this to be the same for the coming year
(d) Review of Financial Regulations and Risk Assessment – These had been circulated and reviewed. Risk Assessment updated to reflect on-line banking.
(e) Renewal of Insurance Policy – it was agreed to accept the quotation from Zurich for a 5-year contract. Action Clerk
(f) On-Line Banking – Clerk had contacted Natwest who had explained that Clerk must become a signatory in order to use on-line banking. It was agreed to add Clerk and (CM) to the mandate. The on-line banking form could then be completed. It was resolved that the Authorised Signatories in the current mandate for the accounts be changed in accordance with section Authorised signatories and the current mandate will continue as amended. Clerk had now received the customer code and was awaiting the activation code from Natwest. (JT) had informed Clerk that she now had access to the accounts as she was already a Natwest on-line banking customer. Action Clerk
10. Update on other issues
(a) MVH Liaison – MVH bank accounts – information from retiring Treasurer had been circulated. It was agreed that the Parish Council and MVH Secretary would meet to discuss progress.
(b) PCC Liaison –(AW) reported that the churchyard had been mown three times this year and looked very good. Robert Earl, churchwarden, was looking after the church and churchyard. Contractors were to visit next week to look at making the tower safe internally to enable access for maintenance (including the clock).
Clerk had circulated correspondence from Rev Pat Dickin requesting permission (in case this was necessary) from the Parish Council for her sons to play Last Post and Reveille at the war memorial to commemorate VE Day on May 8. It had been agreed unanimously that this was a good idea. Councillors were then astonished to hear that the Archdeacon of Tonbridge and the Area Dean of Malling had forbidden them to play near the war memorial. This was quite outside the jurisdiction of the church authorities since the war memorial was on parish land for which the parish Council is responsible. The Parish Council deplored such interference in village affairs by an outside body. The two young men would have walked to the memorial as part of their daily exercise and been there for not more than five minutes, hardly a forbidden gathering. There was no organised gathering of any sort, in line with Government advice.
(JR) to write a letter of complaint to the Archdeacon, copied to the Area Dean. Action (JR)
(JT) noted that she had written to Robert Earl, churchwarden, to inform him that, in future, anything relating to the War Memorial should be referred immediately to The Clerk.
(c) Highways – (AW) reported that during Lockdown there had been an excessive number of motorcycle riders racing on Seven Mile Lane especially on Sundays and Wednesday evenings. This had been very noisy. It was agreed that Clerk report this to Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott with a copy to Tom Tugendhat MP. Action Clerk
(d) Allotments – Clerk reported that she had received a report of flytipping on the Recreation Area, which she had reported to TMBC and had requested advice on how to arrange removal. This had turned out to be a shed-clear out by a resident who lived adjacent to the area and it was awaiting collection. Unfortunately the rubbish had been left in the Recreation Area over the weekend, posing a danger to the public when it should have been stored in the resident’s garden. The rubbish had been removed a few days later.
(e) Neighbourhood Watch.- (TM) reported that N/W had one new member. It was reported that there had been a break-in at Bell Equine but the culprits were disturbed and didn’t take anything. They had left a car behind, which had DNA and could be traced.
(f) Childrens play area/Recreation area/ pitches –nothing to report.
(g) Framing and display of old photographs in the village hall –nothing to report
(h) Airfield Estate – (CM) reported that all was quiet apart from some garden ornaments had been stolen from driveways and gardens.
11. Any other business and matters for future discussion – none
12. Date of next meeting – To be conducted by electronic communication 23 June 2020 at 7pm
Meeting closed 7.45pm