Minutes of the meeting of Hollingbourne Parish Council
Held on 14 December 2009
in the Cardwell Pavilion
Present: Mr M Bedwell (Chairman), Mr J Cobbett (Vice-Chairman), Dr S Bauer, Mrs S Baxter, , Mr F Stephenson, Mr A Ward, Mr A Williams.
Also in attendance: Ms E Lawrence (Clerk).
1. Apologies for absence : Mr G Bryan (conflicting commitment)
Mrs D Parvin (Borough Councillor), Mrs J Whittle (County Councillor)
PC Lee Tallon.
2. Declaration of Interests and amendments to Register of Interests
There were no declarations of interest.
There were no amendments to the Register of Interests.
3. Approval of minutes of last meeting
(Circulated prior to meeting)
It was resolved to approve the minutes.
4. Matters Arising (not covered elsewhere on the agenda)
P2 Mr Williams asked for a progress report on the advice obtained by the Clerk regarding Mr Little’s report. The Local Standards Board declined to consider the report in order to offer any further advice to the Parish Council, unless the matter was referred to them as a complaint. They would appreciate seeing the report “to see if any lessons could be learnt”. Kent Association of Local Councils advised that the Council holds a closed meeting to consider the points for consideration raised in Mr Little’s report. Action: Clerk to arrange a date in January.
The standard of street cleansing and litter collection recently is a matter of concern. Action: Clerk to get schedule as soon as it is available plus copy of any set standards in order that the Parish Council and residents can know what level of service they can expect.
The Community Action Plan Steering Group should meet in the New Year, possibly with new membership. Members asked that the Council be involved at any early stage.
KIG – pleas made to replace the stopKIG notices throughout the village for maximum effect, as the Planning Inspector still has to visit the potentially adversely affected sites which includes Hollingbourne.
7. Chairman’s Report Mr Bedwell commented that although from different sections of their business, AXA were reported as having made redundancies giving cost-cutting as the reason, yet were continuing with KIG proposals!
The chairman reported the joint operation between MBC and the police who had recently stopped vehicles in Eyhorne Street to check for potential fly-tipping activities.
He reinforced the need for members to meet in a closed session and conclude the prolonged libel case in order for the Council to move forward.
8. Finance Report A list of cheques to be issued for November expenditure was circulated prior to the meeting. Mr Cobbett proposed that the cheques be issued and this was seconded by Mr Williams.
Mr Cobbett reported that he had attended a seminar hosted by MBC but delivered by a company, on Equity Release. Mr Cobbett reported his concerns to MBC and Mrs Parvin that Maidstone Borough Council appears to be supporting a company which does not figure amongst the leading annuity providers in terms of return and charges which seems high in comparison with both current and historic market rates. Mr Cobbett felt that the company could be making a margin of 20% to lend back money to the pensioners of Maidstone from their “pension pots” for equity release schemes which are needed because their annuity rates are so low. A response form the company, via MBC, is awaited.
The Clerk has commenced a review of utility charges for services to the Pavilion and will report with recommendations when these are completed, as currently the charges are too high.
9. Clerk’s Report The Clerk read out an email received from a resident wanting to know if their ex-directory telephone number had been given out to a third party by the Council. The Clerk had replied that this had not happened through her office, and Members supported her reply, being of the view that as this query appeared to be based on an on-going dispute between neighbours, it was not a Council matter. Other matters dealt with throughout the agenda.
10. CAP update and HPC Actions:
Crime Mr Cobbett reported the arrest of escaped prisoner Jane Andrews, convicted of murder, at the motorway service station. The Clerk had received emails and calls regarding the lack of CCTV coverage at the station which had caused great concern, having been broadcast on national TV following the theft of a car. Extensive efforts have been made to establish who is responsible for the decision not to repair the camera after it was damaged by vandals. Apparently Hollingbourne Station is not subject to a high enough level of crime to warrant repair. The Clerk pointed out that as the camera had been vandalised at least three times in a three month period, so perhaps the facts suggested otherwise. It was resolved that the Clerk write to S E Trains, pointing out that improved car parking had led to higher usage of trains from Hollingbourne, but publicly stated lack of surveillance was now deterring people from using the Station.
Traffic/parking Mrs Baxter confirmed that the outcome of the bid to the KCC Members Fund was still awaited.
Housing Mr Stephenson confirmed that this matter was concluded.
School nil further to report
Environment Dr Bauer had taken an oak sapling. Resolved to plant along the approach to Eyhorne Street from A20.
As the Community Action Plan had been acted upon by the Parish Council to its conclusion, this will no longer be an agenda item. The Council hopes the Steering Group will regroup, and would support a further consultation with residents.
11. Parks report
a) Cardwell Pavilion & Lance Memorial Field: Mr Ward wished to thank Prism Alarms for arranging replacement cameras at the Cardwell Pavilion, having identified the problem as a manufacturing fault.
Mr Bedwell had removed a large wasp’s nest from the loft space and cleared the gutters and roof gulleys in an attempt to identify where the leak is coming from as water had tracked into the main hall after the recent downpours.
The Clerk had received a letter from Mrs Johnstone stating that she had been told that there had been problems caused to the earthing of the electricity supply to her property when work had been undertaken at the Pavilion. Clerk to obtain more detail, and Clerk suggested notifying Mrs Johnstone at the time of the Portacabin instillation.
b) Football Club: nil to report.
c) Millennium Green: Mr Ward continues to pursue the legal paperwork. The Millennium Green Trust will be re-registered with the Charities Commission. He confirmed the land is on a 1,000 year lease from Maidstone Housing Trust. The planned Sensory Garden project will be led by Julie Roper, in consultation with Mr Ward and Barry Smith. Prize money from the Kent Village of the Year competition has been matched by a successful supplication made by Mrs. Baxter to the Landowner Partnership Project to fund the initiative.
12. Planning Report The following applications had been considered by the Planning Committee
Application number MA/09/1608 Northdown Croft, Broad Street, for change of use. Decision: No objection but request made for better signage warning of horse riders in road if approved.
13. Environment Report
It was resolved to purchase a mower for Eyhorne Green at a cost of up to £200.
Clerk to contact Mr Snowdon.
The poor surface of Windmill Lane was reported. Clerk to establish who is responsible.
The damaged rubbish bin by the bus stop at the church needs replacing.
14. KIG update The public enquiry has finished except for the site visits, previously mentioned.
15. Fete 2010 A preliminary meeting has been held. It was resolved to invite all three pubs to tender for the bar service next year. Mr Williams drew attention to the performing arts group “Applause” who offered services to summer fetes. Clerk to circulate date of next meeting.
16. Items for Information Mr Williams wished to review the publication of the minutes. To be an agenda item at the next meeting.
The Chairman thanked the Councillors for their contributions this year and extended Seasons Greetings to everyone.
Date of next meeting
11 January 2010 at 7.30pm in the Cardwell Pavilion.