Minutes of Parish Council meeting held on 24 January 2017





PRESENT: Chairman –  Andrew Wells (AW), Jenny Thorogood (JT),  Katherine Eykelenboom (KE),), KCC and TMBC Clr Matthew Balfour, PCSO Kim Hockey,            Gill Kirby (Clerk),  no members of public


In the absence of Chairman and Vice Chairman it was agreed that Andrew Wells chair the meeting.


  1. Apologies for absence –- Jon Regan (JR) , Philip Olden (PO), Michael Bound (MB),

Stephen Reynolds (SR), TMBC Clr Mrs Ann Kemp, PCSO Toni Matthews


  1. Declarations of Interest  –  none


  1. 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. Reports from County and Borough Councillors and Police

Police – PCSO Kim Hockey reported that there had been three crimes since the last meeting – one theft from motor vehicle and 2 thefts of motor vehicles.  No other incidents


Borough Councillor’s report – Clr Matthew Balfour said that the Local Plan was progressing and budgets were now being set.  He asked if the Parish Council had publicised an explanation for the Parish Council’s precept increase.  It was explained that this had formed part of the Minutes of the last meeting, which had been reported in The Record.  There was no further information to add until the changes in the TMBC Precept were known.


County Councillor’s report – Clr Balfour noted that there had been excellent school examination results over the summer but there was a crisis looming over secondary school places and the way the government is financing these.  There was a question about the ability to provide new schools and use of s.106 monies to provide sufficient school places.


With regard to Social Care funding, KCC are good at providing care plans to ensure that people have somewhere to live or someone to look after them but, post Brexit,  he thought it could get harder to finance and to recruit employees.


KCC plans to support ‘Spring Clean’ events starting in March with cash for resources for Parish Councils such as bags, tabards, and proper arrangements for collecting the litter.    He referred to a social media campaign to persuade people not to drop litter in the first place.


It was felt that the Spring Clean Project should be Parish Council led to include the school.  Clr Balfour explained that it didn’t have to be all done in one weekend but should be spread over the year.


Clr Balfour explained that KCC Operatives had done two salt runs prior to the recent cold spell followed by another two immediately afterwards as the weather conditions had changed.  Smartening up of white lines and a pot-hole blitz were also KCC priorities.

With regard to budgets – KCC’s precept would increase by 2% for Care only –(as not allowed more than 6% over 3 years) and 1.993% increase in County Precept.


Lorry Parks in Kent – Clr Balfour explained that new legislation was required to keep lorries off side roads and Operation Stack was a separate issue.


(AW) referred to the recent discussions at TMBC regarding possibly banning Parish Councils from attending Planning site meetings.  Clr Balfour did not support this as he felt the whole point was to hear views.


Clr Balfour provided copies of the proposed plan of  works to increase the A228 sight lines at Kent Street.  These will be out for consultation in due course.


  1. Minutes
  • Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held 13 December 2016 -These were agreed as a true record and signed by the Chairman
  • Matters arising not covered elsewhere on the agenda – none


  1.          Finance

(a)   Bank reconciliation and ratification of cheques for signing

Bank reconciliation as at 31 December 2016 was approved and bank statements


Reconciliation and cheque payments as listed were ratified and signed.

Action Clerk

(b) Fees for renewal of Lease  – Great Fowle Meadow  – The solicitors had asked for £650

plus disbursements, plus VAT.  Clerk had requested a detailed invoice in order to be able to raise a cheque, but the solicitors had said that an invoice would have to come from the Falmouth Estate.  Clerk had requested information from the Estate but had not received this as yet .                                                               Action Clerk


  • Capital Projects account

(Clerk’s note:  Clerk had  confirmed that the Parish Council’s finances were protected by Financial Services Compensation Scheme for up to £75,000)  

  • It was agreed to sign a letter to Natwest bank to authorise Clerk to speak about the accounts and to transfer funds between accounts. Action Clerk
  • It was agreed that money already spent on Capital Projects since 2012 and until 2016 would be transferred from the Capital Projects account into the current account.                                                                       Action Clerk


  • Proposed Internal Audit Plan for 2017-18 – from KCC Kent Audit. The Audit Plan had been received – no  changes from previous year.  It was agreed to accept the plan.

Action Clerk

  1.     Updates on other issues
  • MVH Liaison –    (i) Grant application for electrical works – the application had been

successful and Clr Balfour’s KCC grant budget would be meeting the whole costs of the

project.  Very grateful thanks were recorded to Clr Balfour


(ii) Clerk explained that Kentish Stone had reported that cables had been  left from the Christmas lighting in the pavilion car park.  (AW) had spoken with the contractor and these would be removed as soon as possible.


(JT) reported that she had purchased flowers and chocolates on behalf of the Parish Council for Adam and Carly to thank them for their excellent  work on the Christmas Lighting in Mereworth.


  • PCC Liaison –    (AW) mentioned the Wine and Cheese drop-in evening on 26 January 2017 from 7-9pm in the Village Hall and the Vision Morning on 4 March 2017 from 9.30am -12.30pm in the Village Hall.  These will seek parishioners’ views on how the Church fits into the community in 2017 and beyond and agree its vision for the future


A book describing 42 selected Anglican churches was launched at Lambeth Palace on 22 January 2017.   Mereworth church was chosen to represent Rochester diocese and was illustrated on the front cover.  The book is for sale from the PCC at £10


  • Highways
  • White Lining on The Street – No further information from Kent Highways. (AW) had spoken to some residents who did not support the new white lines.  Other neighbours will be consulted                                 Action (AW).
  • Seven Mile Lane – marker posts and chevrons boards to be installed 8 February with a temporary speed limit of 30mph for 3 days – these would be to the north just outside the parish boundary. It was not possible to make the road 30mph limit permanently


  • Allotments – The decision taken via e-mail to charge tenants pro rata for their first year’s rental up to renewal in November was ratified. Clerk reported that there was one vacant  half plot and one vacant full plot. This had been advertised on the Parish Website and would be noted in The Record                                               Action Clerk


  • Neighbourhood Watch –nothing to report


  • Childrens’ Play area/Recreation area/football pitches – Clerk had ordered a replacement wheel for the children’s play area spring bike.  This would be fitted by Kentish Stone once received.                                                                     Action Clerk


  1. Any other business and matters for future discussion
  2. Annual Parish Meeting – It was agreed that Clerk contact Rural Kent Coffee and Information Project, a KCC-sponsored community initiative, possibly to invite them to attend the APM for all or some of the evening. Action Clerk


  1. Litter Picks – It was agreed to support this project particularly in Butchers Lane and The Street starting over the weekend of 3-5 March.  (AW) to contact Sarah King.  (JT) to speak to the owners of the snack van parked in A228 lay-by to ask them to provide a litter bin if there isn’t one already.                                                                        Action (AW)(JT)


  1. Date of next meeting – Tuesday 28 February 2017 at 7.30pm       


                                                Meeting closed   8.50  p.m