Minutes of Parish Council meeting held 27 November 2018



PRESENT Chairman –Philip Olden (PO), Michael Bound (MB), Jenny Thorogood (JT), Katherine Eykelenboom (KE), Andrew Wells (AW,) TMBC & KCClr Matthew Balfour, Amanda Lavelle and Eleanor Beaumont (Mereworth Primary School),
Nessie Brooks and Della Plumbly (Mereworth Allotments Association),
Martyn Willgoss, Andrew Hall, Gill Kirby Clerk

1. Apologies for absence – PCSO Dylan McElligot , Alastair Pullen (AP), Jon Regan (JR)

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. Martyn Willgoss referred to a book produced by the school children to commemorate the 1st World War. He felt they should be commended for this. Ms Beaumont , School Secretary, explained that this was produced in 2014 at the Centenary of the start of WWI. He also referred to the cut-outs of soldiers made to commemorate the end of the war, which were in the church.

2. The School Headteacher, Amanda Lavelle referred to meetings held with Parish Council representatives on how to alleviate traffic issues at the school, when several options and proposals had been discussed. (PO) thanked Amanda for her article which was printed in The Record.
A long discussion followed on possible solutions to the traffic congestion and parking at peak periods near the school.
It was explained that the school had investigated the cost of re-routing of the proposed track through the school site to behind the shed where there was sufficient room. The approximate cost was £20,000-30,000. However this option would remove 10 existing car parking spaces, resulting in cars being parked on The Street. The school had no access to this amount of additional funding as funds currently raised were needed to fund resources and to prop up the school budget. It was felt that a small minority of parents were parking inconsiderately and the school was targeting these. They could not enforce penalties but were encouraging children to walk from the church with a ‘Mereworth Rocks’ initiative.
(PO) explained that a grant application had been submitted to KCC for the proposed drop-off zone, though this was not now the most practical solution, but the grant application had not been withdrawn. If successful it might be possible to contribute it to the fund. The Parish Council was discussing moving the bus stop to east of the school’s main gate which NuVenture, the bus company and the school favoured.
Councillors felt that residents might join work parties or help with funding if the cause was considered worthy enough. A resident felt that the issue merited more than a discussion at a Parish Council meeting and a Working Party should be set up to include parents, Friends of Mereworth School, Parish Council, residents.

4. Reports of County and Borough Councillors and Police
Police report –PCSO Dylan Mcelligot was not in attendance but had sent in a report – The only concerns reported were a drunk male outside the primary school demanding an ambulance(15/11/2018) and a suspect male with a torch near the allotments but this male was not located by attending patrols (13/11/2018).

County Councillor’s Report – Clr Balfour referred to the Autumn Budget; KCC had received more government money than hoped, so a number of difficult decisions could be put back.
There was an increased demand for funding for children with Special Needs.
The winter service is prepared.
(PO) explained that the Speed Indicator sign in the Street was broken and it may not be possible to repair it. KCC would not replace it as it did not meet the criteria. Clr Balfour said that a moveable SID could be used to replace it and he would try to support the cost of this. Agreed to await the outcome of KCC’s investigations as to whether it could be repaired.
Action Clerk
With regards to the school parking situation, he felt that this had always been a problem and the community should tackle this. It was society that needed to educate parents, not school.

The application for a Combined Members Grant for funding for the drop-off zone outside the school was still pending. Clerk to ask for an update. Action Clerk

Borough Councillor’s report – Clr Balfour explained that the decision on the planning application for Butchers Lane had been delayed.
(PO) referred to the Local Plan and noted that the Parish Council had submitted objections based on inadequate road conditions. A traffic report had been commissioned.
(AW) reported that there had been an accident at Kent Street/A228 last evening which involved two cars and an articulated lorry.

It was agreed to move the discussions regarding Allotments to this stage in the meeting
5. Allotments – Nessie Brooks and Della Plumbly reported that the Allotments Association had met on 13 November 2018 and a bank account had been set up with Lloyds. Plot rentals were now being collected by the Association for the coming year.
It was agreed that Clerk ascertain information on dates/costs regarding the Allotments Lease and Land rental for discussion at the next meeting. Action Clerk
It was reported that there was some damage to the Recreation area gate. Clerk to ask Caretaker to repair. Action Clerk

It was agreed to move the item – Framing of old photographs for display in the Village Hall- to this point in the meeting
6. Framing of old photographs for display in the Village Hall – Clerk had contacted Martin Willgoss, who had agreed to help with presenting the old photographs. Martin had kindly brought along many photographs and ephemera and these were considered. It was agreed to ask Martin to choose around 20 examples of photographs which showed historical views, hop pickers, bombed building, The Street along with posters such as ‘Poll for Parish Councillors’, ‘Wings for Victory’ on A1 size sheets for Councillors to choose around 10 for display. Alastair Pullen to be asked to arrange for framing. Action (AP)

7. Minutes
(a) Minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on 23 October 2018 – These
were agreed as a true record and signed by the Chairman
(b) Matters arising not covered elsewhere on the agenda – none

8. Finance
(a) Bank reconciliation and ratification of cheques for signing
Bank reconciliation as at 31 October 2018 was approved and bank statements
verified. Reconciliation and cheque payments as listed were ratified.
(ch no 1433 –agreed under s.137 LGA 1972 ) Action Clerk

(b) Interim Audit of Accounts 2018-19 – this had been undertaken on 22 November
2018. No issues except that four of this year’s cheque stubs had only been initialled
by one councillor and two signatures were required. Clerk asked that these be
initialled. Agreed Action Clerk
Thanks and congratulations were recorded to Clerk for her work on this
(c) Estimates and Precept Requirements 2019-20 – Clerk had circulated estimates. It
was unanimously agreed that the precept requirement should be set at £32,500 for the coming year. This represented an increase of 4.4% on last year. Action Clerk

(d) Internal Audit Programme 2019-20 – This had been received from KCC – noted

9. Update on other issues
(a) MVH Liaison – A meeting had been arranged for 28 November with Pre-School to discuss finances. (JT) (MB) (PO) and Clerk to attend. Action (JT)(PO)(MB) Clerk

(b) PCC Liaison – (AW) explained that Christmas Services at the Church were listed in The Record. He noted that meetings had been held with PCC’s of Wateringbury, East Peckham and Mereworth to discuss the proposed merger. It was thought that the Vicar of Wateringbury, East Malling and Teston would continue with East Malling and Teston.

(c) Highways – (i) School drop off zone – discussed under Public session. It was
felt that the school had tried to be constructive. The Parish Council would contact the school with a view to establishing a project team and raise the possibility of financial support.
Action (PO)
(ii) Application for KCC Combined Members Grant – no further information – Clerk to ask for progress report.. Action Clerk

(iii) A228 Traffic Inspection – Local Plan The Consultant’s Report had been commissioned and was awaited. Kings Hill Parish Council had agreed to contribute to the costs. East Peckham Parish Council had been approached to share the costs but had declined to contribute. They had been asked to reconsider.
Thanks were recorded to (MB) and (AW) for their work on the Local Plan submission

(iv) JPCTCG meeting 26 November 2018 – (AW) had attended the meeting and reported that discussions had been related to the new Thames crossing which would join the A2 west of Rochester and inevitably add to the traffic on the A228; bus service for Rural Areas with minibuses linking villages without services; Phase 5 of Kings Hill – Liberty is planning to build 40 houses at Heath Farm, East Malling beside Wateringbury Road and another 115 houses 500 metres west of this, which will affect Mereworth adding to local traffic. The Kings Hill representative in attendance had been thanked for supporting the Traffic Assessment consultation.

(v) Interactive warning sign in The Street – this has been removed by Kent Highways for repair but as it was installed in 2012 parts were obsolete and it may not be possible to repair it. Due to limited resources, priority is currently given to safety critical schemes and this asset does not meet this criterion. Unfortunately this equipment will not be replaced unless it can be cost effectively repaired or an alternative funding source can be identified. Kent Highways will advise whether it can be repaired or, if not, the options for replacement. Clr Balfour had indicated that he would support replacement of the SID through a grant.

(d) Neighbourhood Watch – The post box near to the school has been stolen. Post Office are aware. Someone claiming to repair drives has been knocking on doors in The Street. Information on registration numbers has been forwarded to the PCSO.
(KE) referred to a leaflet advertising a Facebook page for Mereworth residents. This could be useful for circulating Neighbourhood Watch reports. The Parish Council could also post notices on it. The details of the page will be in The Record in January.

A fire had resulted in loss of life and badly damaged a house on the Airfield Estate. Rev Pat Dicken had held a service with 70 people from the Airfield Estate attending. Alastair Pullen had been informed but he was abroad. The Parish Council expressed condolences to the family.

(e) Childrens play area/Recreation area/Football pitches – nothing to report

(f) Proposed meeting dates 2019 – Clerk had circulated these and they were agreed with no amendments. Clerk to book the dates in the Village Hall. Action Clerk

10. Any other business and matters for future discussion
1. (PO) noted with thanks that the Christmas lights were now lit on the tree on the pavilion car

2. Grateful thanks were expressed to everyone involved in the Commemorations for
Remembrance Day on 11 November 2018 and in particular to Jenny Thorogood for hosting
the Battle’s Over Beacon and for organising the food. The evening had been attended
by over 70 residents and had proved to be a great success. It had been agreed to purchase a
gift for (JT) as thanks for all her work (s.137 LGA 1972). Clerk had purchased the gift.

Thanks also to Marion Regan for giving the address on behalf of the Lord-Lieutenant

11. Date of next meeting – 11 December 2018 at 7.00pm in the Village Hall

Meeting closed 9.24 pm