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GREAT CHART with SINGLETON PARISH COUNCIL ANNUAL PARISH MEETING Held on MONDAY 14th May 2007 at Great Chart Village Hall at 7.30 pm. PRESENT: Cllrs. I. McClintock (Chairman), J. Pullen, D. Hammett, M. Chappell. T. Maltby, G. Darvill, R. Goddard. Also in attendance T. Boorman (Clerk). 1. WELCOME BY CHAIRMAN: The Chairman welcomed the new councillors and everyone to the meeting and asked for letters of thanks to be sent to the ex-councillors. The Chairman gave a report and review of the year. Please see attached report for full details. 2. ANNUAL REVIEW BY CHAIRMAN: Chairman’s report to be inserted. Ian Wolverson gave a brief report of the situation with regard to the Chilmington Green Development meetings, which commence on 19th June. 3. MINUTES OF ANNUAL MEETING – MAY 2006: The minutes of the Annual Meeting held on 8th May 2006 were agreed to be an accurate record. Their approval was proposed by Cllr Darvill and seconded by Cllr Maltby and the Chairman signed the minutes. 4. MATTERS ARISING – Issues for next PC Meeting 21.5.07: Core Strategy Barbara Grey stated that members of the Parish Council should be attending the meetings with Ian Wolverson to give support. Some discussion followed about this and the general consensus was that the PC should send representatives with Ian Wolverson to the meetings. The Chairman and Ian Wolverson are to liase with regard to this. Repeater Signs Ken Grey advised that repeater signs are missing – 2 at Black Barn and 1 at the Playing Fields. There was discussion about the number of signs and that they should be placed at certain distances. It was noted that some signs have been stolen. 5. ELECTION OF CHAIRMAN: Cllr Maltby was appointed to preside over the meeting whilst a new chairman was elected. Cllr Goddard proposed that Cllr McClintock be elected as Chairman for another year and Cllr Darvill seconded this. There were no other nominees. Cllr McClintock was unanimously elected as Chairman. 6. ELECTION OF VICE-CHAIRMAN: Cllr McClintock moved to the election of a Vice-Chairman. He wished to thank Cllr Pullen for his service as Vice-Chairman. Cllr Maltby proposed that Cllr Pullen be elected as Vice-Chairman for another year, and John Smith seconded this. There were no other nominees and Cllr Pullen was unanimously elected as Vice-Chairman. 7. DECLARATIONS OF ACCEPTANCE OF OFFICE: The Declaration of Acceptance of Office forms had been handed out to all Councillors along with Declaration of Interest forms. They were advised that these must be completed and returned within 2 months of their election to the PC. It was also explained that it is the responsibility of Councillors to update their Declarations of Interest if any changes. The Councillors were asked to complete the forms and return them to the clerk who would ensure they were returned to the Monitoring Officer at Ashford Borough Council. 8. PARISH ACCOUNTS UP TO 31ST MARCH 2007: The clerk reported on the audit of the accounts up to 31st March 2007. Mike Cuerden had carried out the audit and had found the accounts to be in order with a few minor comments. The comments included queries on the recycling income, some adjustments required to VAT reclaims, petty cash receipts, accrued invoices, insurance, minutes of the precept and risk assessments. For full details, please see the attached report from Mike Cuerden with clerk’s responses included. Cllr Pullen proposed that these accounts be accepted and Cllr Maltby seconded this. It was agreed that the village sign should be added to the asset register as well as the filing cabinet and shredder. 9. ACCOUNTS AND REPORTS FROM PARISH CHARITIES: Great Chart Village Hall Ken Grey reported on behalf of Great Chart Village Hall. He advised that the year started with £3800 in the bank. The hire rates were increased the previous year. Bookings have increased this year and there was £4000 in bank at the end of the year. He wished to thank Mrs Burgess for her work in handling the bookings for the hall. It was noted that the hall could do with insulation and upgrading but as it is classed as a commercial premises it has been difficult to find grants to have this work done. Singleton Village Hall A report from Singleton Village Hall was not yet available but it was asked for this to be emailed to all Councillors. Bean Fund Cllr McClintock reported. See report attached. Toke & Streeter Cllr Pullen reported. The trustees have had another busy year. Mr Bennett who lived at No. 1, decided after a period of ill health to move into a nursing home. After many years of occupation by Mr Bennett, the trustees decided to redecorate and fit new kitchen units, bathroom units and carpet and vinyl. After some time the trustees were able to find a new occupant. Annoyingly, at this moment the gas boiler broke down and after a little delay was able to be replaced. Not the start we would have wished for. Mr Hills who has moved into No. 2 just prior to Christmas 2005 decided that living on his own in his nineties was too much and also moved into a nursing home. Again, after sometime we found someone who needed new accommodation and Mr Parsons moved in recently. The garden at No. 2 has given us cause for concern and Mr Arthur Barnet should be removing the shrubs and levelling the beds. The trustees intend the garden to be grassed over as lawn. Sadly, Mr William of No. 1 (nearest the Church) was burgled one Saturday afternoon. Extra security has been added but it does show the vulnerability of leaded windows. My thanks again to fellow trustees, especially Mr Chittenden and Mr Briscall who between them do the lion’s share of the work. Also Mr Gill Bird who has audited the accounts. Kipps & Morecock Trust Cllr McClintock reported. The Kipps & Morecock Trust is an old charity, which is for assistance for those who have met hard times. Roger Baker is Chairman of the charity but nothing has been paid out of it this year. Playing Fields Association Mark Madsen had been unable to attend the meeting and had sent his apologies and a report, which was read out by the Chairman. Please see attached report for details. Singleton Giant Association Amanda Chappell had been unable to attend and sent her apologies. Her report read out by Mike Chappell. See attached report for details. Cllr Chappell also advised that the Singleton Giant Association would be holding its AGM on 22nd May at 11.00 am. 10. REPORT FROM GOVERNORS OF GREAT CHART PRIMARY SCHOOL: Mr Peirson-Webber reported. He wished to thank the Parish Council for sending two representative to talk to the School Council. Mr Peirson-Webber reported on the schools activities and successes for the year. These included receiving the National Healthy Schools charter, promoting a walking to school campaign, the school travel plan, after school clubs, promoting healthy lifestyles, increasing the links with the preschool, development of ICT and much more. Cllr Goddard commented that the school is very lucky to have a superb headmistress and that the school cricket team had been undefeated for 2 years. 11. COUNTY COUNCILLORS REPORTS: It was noted that Cllr Richard King represents Ashford Rural West and Cllr Derek Smyth represents Ashford South. Cllr Smyth advised that he tries to attend the PC meetings at Singleton South and has taken up matters as requested by the PC. He said that he could support what has been said about Great Chart Primary School being a very good school. He has helped with transport and planning issues and wished to thank Cllr King for his support. Cllr King thanked Cllr Smyth for his remarks. He advised that 95% of his work is political and he and Cllr Smyth work together a lot. He advised that as his area covers over 11 parishes he finds it very difficult to be able to attend all the PC meetings but when there is a difficult issue he is always willing to come along. He mentioned a grant that the Great Chart Village Hall may be able to obtain to help with insulation. 12. PUBLIC FORUM & ISSUES FOR FUTURE PC MEETINGS: Marjorie Brissenden raised a question as to how well the children at Great Chart School perform academically. Mr Peirson-Webber advised that academic results are good and that further information in respect can be obtained from the school website. Concerns were raised with regard to the litter in the playing field and the management of the Playing Fields Association. It was noted that trusteeships run for one year but the Playing Field Association has not met for over a year. The Chairman advised that he would contact Mr Madsen regarding this. It was also reported that there had been vandalism at the back of the Methodist Church and panes of glass broken and damage to window ledges. Further discussion followed about this and other areas of vandalism and it was noted that instances of vandalism should be reported to the PCSO. The Chairman advised that he would speak to PCSO Hobbs about vandalism. Cllr Chappell stated that if the Youth Club is held at the Methodist Hall this may help to circumvent some of the trouble. A question was raised as to whether the PC had any views over the recent application for the Singleton Centre and it was advised that this application would be on the PC meeting agenda for 21 st May. Ian Wolverson stated that the next four years will bring some of the biggest changes this parish will see. He felt the Chairman had been very badly supported by the rest of the Parish Council and that the Parish Council needs to take an active interest in this issue. Cllr Maltby advised that Cllr Blanford would be able to provide support to this issue also. Further discussion followed regarding this issue and the development. The Chairman advised that he would ensure that Cllr Blanford has a list of the meeting dates. Marjorie Brissenden wished to comment on the churchyard, saying that it was unrecognisable from last year and that this had been money well spent. It was advised that there would be a Youth Club meeting at the Methodist Church Hall on 25th May. The meeting closed at 9.35 pm. Annual Meeting 2006 – Chairmans’ report Welcome to our Annual Parish meeting 2007, I have made a conscious decision not to have a “key note” speaker this year as I am sure we will have enough to get through with the induction of the new Council after the recent elections. I have already thanked the Councillors that have decided to end their term on the Council and I shall be asking the Clerk confirm this in writing. I have also thanked Tony Maltby for his term as Borough Councillor after serving his Ward for 16 years, but I now have to thank our other 2 Borough Councillors who did not get re-elected, but remain on the Parish Council (but absent tonight). I must also welcome Jessamy Blanford and Amanda Hodgkinson who are our new Ward members for our Parish – they will both have a great deal of work to do to keep up with the demands of the Parish and the Parish Council! I had hoped to have an election for both Wards within our Parish this time, unfortunately we only had an election for Great Chart with Singleton North due to an error on my part when asking people to stand and take part on the Parish Council. This meant that 6 candidates were standing for 5 seats and a willing volunteer missed out on becoming elected by a very small margin – so I am hoping that he will allow himself to be co-opted to represent the Singleton South Ward! In an ideal world and certainly at Borough Council level Councillors should reside in the area they represent, but as this Parish Council considers the Parish as a whole and not as 2 different parts, it is not so essential! This will still leave one vacancy to represent Singleton South, but I believe the new Borough Councillor has expressed an interest to fill this post – so watch this space! Talking about new people – you will all see we have a new Clerk! Tanya took up the post in July last year, and since then she has worked with the systems that we put in place and developed them and now has the PC running extremely well – ensuring all of us keep our noses to the grindstone (me especially!). I look forward to working with Tanya for some time and would like to thank her for her hard work so far. Those of you that attended this meeting last year will remember that I had persuaded my wife to stand in as Clerk while we went through the process to find Tanya and the Vice-Chairman has asked me to thank Sue for taking on this role at short notice and helping set up the systems that I have mentioned before! In order for our new Clerk to carry out our business to the best of her ability we purchased a new lap top computer and new office equipment, all of which was necessary for the Parish Council to function properly. I try to give some statistics each year, so here goes the figures! We have received and processed 78 planning applications since last March and up until the end of April 2007. Sometimes the Planning Officers agreed with our decisions and sometimes they didn’t! 45 applications received support from the Parish Council. Of these 45, 6 remain undetermined by ABC and 3 were refused permission. 28 applications were returned with no comment by the parish council. Of these, 6 were refused permission by ABC and 14 were granted permission and 8 remain undetermined. 4 applications were returned with objections by the Parish Council. 2 of these applications were granted permission by ABC and 2 remain undetermined. 1 application was withdrawn. I think you will agree that over the wide range of application types, these figures show we got it just about right 64 percent of the time – not a bad batting average! Singleton Play Area – has taken up a considerable amount of time at our meetings and I had hoped to be able to point you in the direction of a brand spanking new Play area, but as usual when the Borough Council get involved (it seems) things have not gone exactly to plan and the latest delay is due to the lack of Health & Safety documentation being held by the installation company! BUT I am assured the proposed opening date of June 5th will be Ok! The Parish Council has committed £20k towards this project which caters for the 2 age groups up to 12 year olds and we will continue to work hard towards providing a Multi-user games area for the older age group nearby to the Environment Centre which is being built on top of Singleton hill now! A further grant of £5k toward bringing the equipment “up to scratch” and safe on the Singleton Road Play Area was given to Great Chart Playing Fields association and we will continue to work with them to obtain “match funding” and grants to allow a planned replacement of the more traditional equipment in order to compliment the new equipment that is being installed in Singleton. These projects clearly show this Parish Council is committed to providing adequate, safe areas for our younger Parishioners to play in – after all it is their Mums and Dads that pay the Council tax! Another topic which seems to have taken a great deal of PC time is the Traffic calming in Great Chart – this too is a huge frustration to all of us! We were told early last year that it would be possible to get some improvements to the visibility of the road narrowing and initially we were told that this would cost just £850. Then after quite a long time we actually had a plan for the work presented to us by the Highways department of KCC, but then we were told the cost would be no more than £1600 AT THE VERY MOST! When I asked why the increase, their replay was they would not like to ask for more money after the work was done, so this was an ‘over estimation’ of the actual cost. NOW it seems, after pushing them for a timetable for the work to be done, the cost has gone up again to £2218 – this latest increase has yet to be discussed by the Parish Council so I am not sure what their reaction to this will be! I will hate to be reporting next year that we are still waiting for the work to be done – but who knows?? On the subject of traffic, we are continuing our quest to get some action on the timing of the traffic lights opposite the Cobbs Wood estate as they manage to make the rush hour traffic build up and huge queues form and make getting to work from Singleton and Great Chart at these times a nightmare. We have also had the bus stops resited on Singleton Hill, to do this the Clerk and I had a meeting with Highways and Stagecoach on one of the coldest days of the year, but the resulting discussion was worth it and we are investigating the provision a safe crossing point on the hill – this is much needed as the traffic flow increases as more houses are being built. It is my wish that this problem should be sorted before a serious accident happens! This year the Parish Council has forged stronger links with Great Chart Primary school as Councillor Chappell and I paid a visit to the School Council, which is made up of pupils from years 5 and 6 to help manage some of the aspects of running the school. We explained how the Parish Council dealt with planning applications and how we are financed. I also explained about “match funding” and we have agreed to “match fund” the School Council fund raising for a trail period, this will mean they start a new year with “cash in the bank.” Their fund raising towards school projects last year was about £96 and we matched that last September! It is my hope the Parish Council will agree to continue this support of this hard working part of the school. Some time ago, at the end of the previous Council term we gave the school a “friendship bench” and I would like to repeat this and grant them another bench to mark the end of the last term for the other play ground! Road names have come up earlier in this year as the Borough Council asked for some suggestions, the Vice Chair and his wife provided us with useful names of some old apple varieties which the BC are going to use. Also, we have successfully pushed forward the naming of Chilmington Green Road – which runs from New Street Farm to the edge of the Parish, just short of the beginning of Magpie Hall road. I think this has pleased the residents of this road as it makes sense to have the road named rather than have just a post code for your house in the middle of nowhere! The Parish Council has continued to support the PCC and the PFA with annual grants and this year together with providing the insurance for the Village sign we have agreed to fund the maintenance program for the Church clock. We have worked closely with the Singleton Centre management committee to provide a better recycling facility in the Centre – it is my hope that we will be able to increase recycling within the Parish by finding other sites that we will be able to take our recyclables to! This leads me into the topic of litter! Recently, our Clerk organised a littler pick starting in Singleton and spreading to Great Chart and in 3 hours we collected over 50 bags of rubbish and other items ranging from a vacuum cleaner to a car exhaust! Litter and dog bins was a topic at our last meeting and we agreed to purchase enough bins to make sure the new estates in Singleton have the provision of litter bins and dog bins where required. Initially, I felt this was not a problem the Parish Council should be dealing with but it seems there were no funds coming from the Borough Council and the developers had not included these items in their provision – so it has fallen to the PC to provide these for our new Parishioners! I hope I will be able to get a couple of dog bins for the centre of the Village too! We provided 2 new village seats in Great Chart this year and we may be able to match these in Singleton in the future! I am pleased to announce the Parish Council will very shortly have a new website, initially provided to all Parishes by KCC and once the Clerk and I have had chance to upload some of our information we will advertise the web address! Our previous provider didn’t really get the take up of Parishes we were promised and they came up short of their promise of us getting funds from the advertising that was alongside our information! As recently as last Saturday the Clerk and I attended some training to enable us to manage this new site and she has shown she is dedicated to getting this Parish Council on the World Wide Web – so definitely WATCH THIS SPACE! It seems that YOUTH has taken up the lions share of time this year at our meetings as we have agreed to support the inception of a Youth Club for our Parish, we have a volunteer (Julie Burden) who has agreed to take on the responsibility of running a Club and we have put aside £5000 to support this much needed and worthwhile cause this year. I hope this will grow and become self- supporting with the aid of grants from other agencies and enable our younger Parishioners to have a place to meet and can be provided with some much needed entertainment during the evenings. The newest Club in our Borough to start up is in Chollock and in the first 6 months they have been granted £26k worth of funding so they have been able to provide some great equipment for the Club member sot have the use of! I would like to thank our Councillors for their support of this cause and I hope we will see a growth and development of this Youth Club, so we can see this as a great provision for the youth of our Parish! The expansion of Chilmington Green has caused the PC much consternation and I must thank Ian Wolverson for attending all the meetings about this growth and reporting back to the PC and I hope he will give us a brief update now of the state of play with this development! My last point – the down side of the Parish Council being more productive is that my reports get longer and longer each year!!! I would like to thank the Council for their support over the last year and welcome our new Councillors and look forward to an even busier year – now you must have heard enough of me so we will proceed with our agenda!
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