MEREWORTH PARISH COUNCIL
MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD IN MEREWORTH VILLAGE HALL ON TUESDAY 28 February 2017
- PRESENT: Chairman – Jon Regan (JR), Philip Olden (PO), Michael Bound (MB),
Stephen Reynolds (SR), Andrew Wells (AW), Jenny Thorogood (JT), Katherine Eykelenboom (KE), KCC and TMBC Clr Matthew Balfour, PCSO Kim Hockey, PCSO Toni Matthews, Gill Kirby (Clerk), no members of public
- Apologies for absence – none
- Declarations of Interest – none
- 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) – None
- Reports from County and Borough Councillors and Police
Police – there had been one crime since the last meeting – theft of pallets
The PCSO’s advised that traffic cones could be used as a temporary measure to deter drivers from blocking The Street when attending events at the church. PCSO’s would continue to patrol regularly with traffic wardens.
Borough and County Councillor’s report – Clr Matthew Balfour reported that school allocations had been completed and 80% had been given their first choice, 10% second choice. Some children would be coming from outside the county.
Landfill waste had been reduced to 2.5% – probably one of the best in the country, with much of the waste going to Allington Incinerator and for composting.
With regards to the Lower Thames Crossing issue – the decision was still awaited but he was trying to stop Mereworth being part of one of the routes. He reported that Greg Clark had set up the A21 Group, much of this road was now dualled, and he had now also set up the A228 Group.
The changeover to LED lighting was on-track and all domestic roads should be completed by May 2017 – fast routes would follow.
Social Care continues to be a problem and he felt that Central Government ought to take this over. For the first time Central Government has dictated what Local Government must spend on Social Care. Council Tax and Business Rates are becoming very complicated. The Government is reducing support for the disabled and the announcement of a 6% cut across government is worrying as it will be passed down to local government.
(JR) felt that KCC should stop employing consultants. Clr Balfour felt that sometimes these were needed. However, he felt that Parish Councils know best where things need to be done and could work on KCC’s behalf.
Councillors thanked Clr Balfour for arranging for the chevrons to be installed on Seven Mile Lane as they seemed to be making a difference. These are higher and more visible. Clr Balfour said that signage would also be installed.
- Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held 24 January 2017 -These were agreed as a true record and signed by the Chairman
- Matters arising not covered elsewhere on the agenda – none
(a) Bank reconciliation and ratification of cheques for signing –
Bank reconciliation as at 31 January 2017 was approved and bank statements
Reconciliation and cheque payments as listed were ratified and signed.
(b) Fees for renewal of Lease – Great Fowle Meadow
Clerk had requested information from Falmouth Estate but had not received this as yet . Action Clerk
- Open Churchyards – Letter had been received from TMBC indicating that they will not be providing funding to Parish Councils for maintenance of churchyards. This information was in line with the expected outcome of TMBC’s discussions and the costs of churchyard maintenance had been included in the Parish Councils budgets for the coming year.
- Capital Projects – Several ideas were discussed:-
(JT) suggested the installation of a bench/seat on Butchers Lane around the entrance to Bell Equine Clinic.
(PO) suggested illumination of the outside of the church – (AW) pointed out that this would require planning and Diocese permissions. (JR) did not support the illumination of the church. There were insurance issues to be considered should any work go ahead. Clerk advised that the Parish Council could only pay for works to the churchyard and not the church itself. It was agreed that the PCC should discuss this issue.
(PO) suggested improvements to the pavilion kitchen and showers. He felt that the Parish Council needed to take over responsibility for Capital Projects at the Village Hall and Pavilion. Agreed
(MB) suggested that a piece of land be purchased e.g. Great Fowle Meadow or the strip of land behind Butchers Lane cottages or to move the allotments to a piece of land on Kent Street. It was felt unlikely that EGW Boscawen would be prepared to sell Great Fowle Meadow. Improvements to the play area was another suggestion.
- Updates on other issues
- MVH Liaison – The next MVH meeting will be held on 28 March in the Village Hall. All councilors must register that they are willing to serve on MVH committee again this year.
Action All Councillors
(AW) reported that he had contacted Adam who had confirmed that the cables at the pavilion were not live and could be removed.
- PCC Liaison – Vision Morning- 4 March 2017 from 9.00am -12.30pm in the Village Hall. To seek parishioners’ views on how the Church fits into the community in 2017 and beyond and agree its vision for the future. On 19 March the retiring Archdeacon would be attending to preach in church and this would be followed by a presentation by Janet Gough on her book ‘Churches of the Church of England’. English Heritage had been invited to attend.
- Highways –
- White Lining on The Street – (AW) had spoken to some residents and would confirm with Clerk the request for additional gateway entrance white lines to be installed once all residents affected had been consulted. Clerk to arrange with Kent Highways for these to be done. Action (AW)/Clerk
- Kent Street – KCC’s proposed plans had been circulated to all councillors. A resident had asked for a bollard to be installed at the corner of the property at Kent Street/A228 as vehicles were constantly causing damage to the building. Clerk had asked Kent Highways to install one but they reported that they were unwilling to do so.
- Allotments – Clerk reported that there was one vacant half plot and one vacant full plot. These had been advertised on the Parish Website and in The Record . It was reported that large items of rubbish had been left on one of the plots . (JR) to investigate Action (JR)/Clerk
- Neighbourhood Watch –(KE) reported that fly tipping was becoming more frequent. Incidents were always reported to TMBC by Clerk Action Clerk
- Childrens’ Play area/Recreation area/football pitches – (MB) reported that dog fouling was becoming a serious problem in the Recreation area. (JR) to contact Dog Warden for advice and to invite her to attend the next Parish Council meeting. Action (JR)
- The Great British Spring Clean – to be held on 4 March following the Church Vision Morning. Volunteers had been invited to assemble at the hall from 12.30pm to collect litter pickers, gloves and bags. It was hoped that litter picks would concentrate initially on The Street and Butchers Lane and become a regular feature of village life.
- Village Fete – 17 June 2017 –(JT) reported that the theme was ‘DANCE’ and all arrangements were going well. A Treasurer was required and (MB) was asked if he would do this. (PO) was to try to arrange sponsorship from local supermarkets. The Moody Mare had been asked for a prize donation and (JR) would approach Weald Granary to ask for a donation. (JR) to supply strawberries and would investigate obtaining cream and Prosecco to go with the strawberries. Action (JT)(PO)(JR)(MB)
- Any other business and matters for future discussion
- Annual Parish Meeting – 25 April 2017 –Clerk had contacted Rural Kent Coffee and Information Project to invite them to attend the APM but they did not feel it was an appropriate venue, as they would prefer a smaller, more informal meeting. They will arrange to meet with (KE) to look around the village for a suitable venue.
Other ideas for a guest speaker – (JR) suggested approaching a vine grower/wine producer that he knew, he would ask if he would be prepared to attend and give a presentation. Action (JR)
- (PO) reported that there was to be a meeting to discuss The Record on 29 March 2017 at 6.30pm at Herne House
- Website – Clerk reported that the new Parish Council website was now up and running.
- Parish Emergency Plan – an Emergency Plan had been received from Hadlow Parish Council.
- (JT) reported that the grass on the Village Pound land had become churned up by vehicles. This was Falmouth land. (SR) agreed to speak to the residents who were having building works done, as builders vehicles may be causing the damage. Action (SR)
- Date of next meeting – Tuesday 21 March, 2017 at 7.30pm in the Pavilion – please note change of venue and date
Meeting closed 9.30 p.m