LINTON PARISH COUNCIL
MINUTES of a meeting of the LINTON PARISH COUNCIL held on Monday 14th November 2005 in the LINTON VILLAGE HALL commencing at 7.30pm
Councillor C.Baxter (Chairman) , Cllrs. Mrs.M.Price, Mrs.J.Sawyer, I.Firmin, J.Bridle, G.Harrison and J.Whitmarsh.
Borough and County Councillor Mrs.P.Stockell
Borough Councillors B. Mortimer and J.Williams
M.D.Stevens Parish Clerk
There were 10 members of the Public in attendance.
Apologies were received from Borough Councillor J.Brindle
2a. MINUTES of the Parish Council Meeting held on 11th July 2005
The Clerk asked members to add Cllr.I.Firmin to those recorded as present
With the above addition the Minutes of the meeting held on Monday 11th July 2005 were APPROVED and signed by the Chairman
2b. It was formally confirmed that the Parish Council meeting called for Monday 12th September 2005 did NOT proceed as there were not sufficient elected Councillors present to form a Quorum (Standing Orders No.7)
3. MATTERS ARISING from the MINUTES
The Chairman introduced PC Shaw and asked him to give his report.
PC Shaw stated that since the July meeting of the Parish Council there had been
7 reported incidents, 3 on the Car Park,1 burglary to a house, 1 garage broken into and 2 other incidents. He drew attention to the problems relating to the CCTV system on the Car Park which he was aware were being addressed
The Chairman thanked PC Shaw for his contribution, indicating that the matter of the CCTV cameras in the Car Park was under consideration. There had been discussions with MBC officers on the matter and further action was awaited.
Road Signs/Double Yellow Lines
Nothing further to report.
The HGV sign and the ‘Steep Hill’ Signs in Westerhill had been changed as requested.
Although some Street signs had been repaired the one at the bottom of Westerhill/Barnes Lane had still not been replaced.
Garages Cornwallis Avenue
The Brambles had been removed and arrangements had been put in hand to ‘weed kill’ the roots
The condition of the Garages had been raised with the Maidstone Housing Trust and a response was awaited. It was understood that a review of garages was taking place.
The Clerk reported that the clearing of the Waste Bins needed to be monitored as occasionally they were not being cleared.
Waste Paper Boxes
Now distributed to all the Village. The Clerk asked to be advised if they were not being emptied on the identified ‘Collection days’
Attention was drawn to the previously circulated letter on the Rural Package Programme Bids
Other Highway Matters had been reported to the appropriate Department of the MBC for attention. Concern was expressed about the condition of Barnes Lane which was collapsing in some places. The Clerk agreed to follow this up
The Clerk drew attention to his Memo of the 12th August 2005 headed ‘Redwall Lane Junction’ and referred to attached negative correspondence on highway matters. It was agreed to discuss this matter at the next meeting of the Parish Council.
New Notice Board Village Hall
Catalogues had now been obtained which indicated that the estimate of £600 for a new Notice Board and the refurbishment of the Notice Board in Wheelers Lane was reasonable. Application had been made to the Local Borough Members under the Devolved Budgets Scheme for a grant towards the cost. The Application forms had been received and submitted. In recent days the Clerk had been advised that a Grant of £600 had been made to the Parish Council for this work and he would take appropriate action.
4. DECLARATION of MEMBERS INTEREST
Cllr Mrs.J.Sawyer, Cllrs.Firmin and Whitmarsh declared that they had an ongoing interest in the Allotment Gardens in Wheelers Lane and that they had been granted the necessary dispensation
5. COMMENTS BY THE PUBLIC
The Chairman formally adjourned the meeting to hear comments from the public
The Chairman advised the meeting that he was proposing to bring forward Item 7b on the Agenda, “Discussion on the ‘Forge’ Wheelers Lane” in order that the discussion could involve the public. There was no objection to this proposal
Before introducing Mr.Brandreth from Lambert and Foster the Chairman made it clear to the meeting that the discussion should concentrate on possible future development of the site and it would not be appropriate to discuss the current or past situations. Please see Appendix for an outline of the discussion
Cllr.Williams reminded those present that the MBC was not too keen in approving the use of unused industrial land in rural areas to be used for housing as it removed employment opportunities from rural communities . It was pointed out that the site however had never been a major employer.
After further discussion it was agreed that the Parish Council be asked to survey all the residents in Wheelers Lane and Cornwallis Avenue and seek their views. Cllr Mrs.Sawyer agreed to draw up a relevant questionnaire
** On Tuesday 15th Novem,ber 2005 Cllr. Mrs.Sawyer advised the Chairman that she was withdrawing from her involvement with the above survey because of a perceived conflict of interest
The Chairman thanked Mr.Brandreth who asked to be kept informed. He then withdrew from the meeting.
The Chairman asked the public if there were any other matters they wished to raise.
Mr Baker-Munton raised the matter of the Car Park barrier which had been
swinging open for several weeks. The Clerk advised the meeting that the security
of the Car Park was the responsibility of MBC who owned the Car Park. He had raise the matter with the MBC Car Park Manager on several occasions and recently had a meeting ‘on site’ with him to see what could be done. There clearly was a problem relating to the security of the Car Park which needed to be resolved, that matter had recently been enhanced as a result of Police reports and the need to upgrade considerably the CCTV System. He had the matter in hand.
Dog Fouling. This continued to be a problem. The Clerk agreed to speak to the Community Warden
There being no further comments from the public the Chairman resumed the Parish Council Meeting
6. FINANCIAL MATTERS
i) Budget 2005/2006
The Clerk drew attention to the first draft of the Budget which he had circulated to all members and reminded the meeting that it was necessary to have a firm basis for the budget by the January meeting of the Parish Council when approval would be required. He also drew members attention to the recent reports in the local press which had indicated that the Maidstone Borough Council were having to look at their budget with a view to making savings. One of the areas reported as being under scrutiny was that of Concurrent Functions.
Cllr Williams, in response to a direct question, acknowledged that there were budgetary problems but felt that Borough Councillors generally would NOT wish to see a reduction in the levels of funding for Concurrent Functions. Recognising the difficulties parishes would face if there was any reduction
and the need for Parishes to set their budgets in the early part of next year he agreed to try to get this matter clarified .
It was agreed that the Chairman, Cllrs.Whitmarsh and Firmin together with the Clerk should meet to draw up a budget for presentation to the Parish Council meeting in January.
ii) Devolved Budget
a) Clean up Linton
Members were reminded that only a small part of this budget had been spent.
A number of suggestions were made as to how to spend the rest of the money ,it was however agreed that action should be taken to complete the clearance of the bank by the Car Park before any other work was identified.
b) Car Park Security
The Clerk reported that, following discussions with MBC Officers that the £1000 Grant would not be sufficient to up grade the CCTV System on the Car Park to a required standard. Discussions were being sought with the MBC Car Park Services Officers on this matter. The responsibility for the security on the Car Park rests with the MBC as they own the Car Park
c) Borough Members Devolved Budget
Note that a sum of £600 had been allocated.
The Clerk would take action to circulate details of Notice Board Designs for members comments.
iii) General Financial position.
Balance carried forward £5535.64
28.07.05 MBC..part Concurrent Functions 2787.22
31.08.05 HM Custom & Excise VAT repayment 97.07
19.10.05 Allotment Rents 125.00
07.11.05 MBC.. final Concurrent Functions 3227.03
11.11.05 Local Members Grant 600.00
25.07.05 MDStevens, Room Allowance Adj 65.00
KPS (Printing) 21.16
05.08.05 KCC Landscape Services 286.14
24.08.05 MDS Postage Neighbourhood Watch 46.20
03.09.05 MDS Printing 24.50
KPS Printing 71.17
19.09.05 BTCV (Tree Warden) 75.00
Viking (Office Supplies) 66.32
Skinner (Car Park Bank 120.00
Skinner (Allotments) 104.00
01.10.05 MDS (Expenses) 83.99
MDS (Clerks Salary) 573.24
17.10.05 Conference Fee 7.50
Audit Commission Fee 141.00
19.10.05 Brooker (Playground/lights etc) 268.85
27.10.05 Mid Kent Water (Water rate) 43.76
MDS Printing Inks 41.00
Bettle Poppy Wreath 30.00
14.11.05 Gullands (Professional Services) 382.50
KPS (Printing) 6.41
Viking (Yuletiders) 42.59
Viking (Office Suplies) 48.40
Balance carried forward £9823.2
The Clerk reported that he had received a letter of thank from the BTCV Tree Warden Scheme for the donation sent by the Parish Council
A request for a donation had been made by the ‘Yuletiders’ towards their Christmas Lunch celebrations. At the suggestion of the Clerk it was agreed that, rather than make them a Grant, the Parish Council should purchase all the ‘Christmas Crackers’ for the lunch. This was unanimously agreed.
7a. PLANNING MATTERS
i) The Clerk drew attention to the previously circulated details on Planning Matters which are attached as an Appendix to these minutes.
Members were asked to note that MA/05/1205. 24, Linton Hill, LINTON, erection of a single storey extension had now been APPROVED
Councillors attention was also drawn to the late arrival of a number of documents/letters relating to planning matters. This had been taken this up with the MBC head of Regulatory Services and a response was awaited. Cllr.Williams asked for details.
ii) Local Development Framework
The Clerk reported that he had received:
i)Various documents relating to the ‘Statement of Community Involvement’ which after consultation, had been submitted to the Secretary of State.
ii) ‘Open Space’, Issues and Options Paper, a Development Plan Document and Supplementary Planning Document
iii) ‘Affordable Housing’, Issues and Options Paper together with the Consultation documentation
iv) The Report of the Head of Regulatory Services to the Local Development Document Advisory Group had also been received. This included the Affordable Housing Plan Document and the results of the consultation on the Open Spaces Development Plan with preferred Options for consultation
iii) Kent and Medway Structure Plan.
The proposed modifications to the Plan had now been received and further consultation was now taking place . Looking at them it was evident that the Inspector had given his support to the case put forward by the South Maidstone Parishes Group. There seemed to be no reason why the various points should not be included in the final document
iv) SE Regional Plan
Documentation on the proposed Changes to Regional Planning Guidance for the South East relating to Waste and Minerals had been received and responded to
The Consultation Documents and Questionnaires on: “Employment, housing and infrastructure in Kent”, together with the details of the Public Meetings at which the above would be discussed had been circulated to Councillors.
There is concern that Maidstone was being somewhat ‘sidelined’ in the Plan, Ashford and the Thames Gateway being seen to have more strategic importance.
7b. Discussion on ‘The Forge’, Wheelers Lane, LINTON
This Item was brought forward under Item 5
8. VILLAGE HALL
New Village hall
The Chairman drew Members attention to the correspondence circulated prior to the meeting on this matter and in particular the letter from the Chairman of the Linton Village Hall Management Committee.
He expressed his disappointment at the decision that had been taken and questioned some of the comments/statements in the letter as to whether they were technically correct.
A brief discussion took place when several points were clarified and the Chairman of the LVHMC, who was present, was given the opportunity to comment on the points raised.
Finally it was agreed that Cllr.Whitmarsh would examine the documentation and would review the Charity Commission Scheme for the administration of the Village Hall in relation to the comments made
It was also agreed that the Parish Council would undertake a survey of parishioners in the Village to seek their views on a new Village Hall.
The Chairman asked that this matter be placed on the Agenda for the next Parish Council Meeting
9. NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH
The Chairman welcomed Mr.S.Ellson, the Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator to the meeting and asked him to comment
Mr Elson stated that following the questionnaire some 85 residents opted into the Scheme and that he had recruited 18 voluntary helpers. Regular e-mails were sent to 49 households and some 240 households were circulated with a monthly Parish Newsletter thanks to the good offices of St.Nicholas Church
A “phone-a –friend” scheme to reach the other residents of the Village was being set up and would be managed by the Deputy NHW Co-ordinator, Mrs.L.Holman. This would require each of the 18 volunteers to make 3 telephone calls and should be operative before the end of the month
Details of the Neighbourhood Watch Scheme in Linton would be posted on the Website and kept up to date via the Webmaster. Cllr. Whitmarsh.
Details would also be posted on the Parish Notice Boards and regularly updated.
Monthly Neighbourhood Watch Meetings are to be held in the Bull Inn on the third Wednesday of each month. The first Official Meeting would be held on 18th January 2006.
Cllr Whitmarsh thanked Alan Firmin for agreeing to sponsor the Monthly Parish Newsletter…. This was much appreciated. There was however the matter of general funding of the Scheme which he would address at a later date.
The Chairman thanked Mr.Elson and Cllr Whitmarsh for the work they had undertaken and the progress to date.
10. MEMBERS REPORTS
The Clerk reported that the monthly Inspection continued to show ‘gaps’ in the surfacing around the equipment which were clearly a Health and Safety hazard.
The Chairman reported that he had undertaken an analysis of the replies to the questionnaire on the Playground. There had been some 45 responses.
The responses had shown that there were 15 girls and 29 boys under the age of 14 and 4 boys and 3 girls over the age of 14.
93% of the replies identified ‘Health and Safety’ issues being of prime importance and that the provision of equipment for younger children and climbing equipment to be a high priority. There was little or no support for a ‘Teen Shelter’…. facilities for basketball came 5th.
Overall it had been a useful exercise which had identified areas where action needed to be taken. The next exercise was to cost those areas and to seek funding.
Before taking any further action it was agreed to await the outcome of the Health and Safety Check on the Playground ,which had been arranged.
b) Allotment Gardens
The Clerk asked the Parish Council to approve the decision taken by the Chairman that the rent per Rod for 2005/2006 should remain at £2 per Rod.
This was agreed.
Attention was drawn to the previously circulate reports by the Allotments Manager which form an Appendix to these Minutes. Since the Report had been submitted an additional Plot had been taken
The Clerk advised the Parish Council that the Title for the Allotments had now been registered with the Land Registry
c) Parish Lengthsman
Cllr Firmin reported that he was now ’active’ and asked Councillors to keep him advised of problems
Attention was drawn to the previously circulate report from Cllr.Mrs Sawuyer which forms an Appendix to these minutes.
Attention was drawn to the correspondence, previously circulated on this matter.
The Clerk drew attention to the various documents previously circulated on this matter and to the letter from Boughton Monchelsea Parish Council outlining a possible way forward.
Cllr Bridle advised the meeting that as a member of TRAMP he had been advised that TRAMP were proposing to purchase a set of the equipment from their funds and to make it available to Parishes. This was new information, which had not been circulated to the Clerk,. Following a brief discussion and, bearing in mind that the major cost would be borne by TRAMP, it was agreed to support their proposals. Cllr.Bridle was asked to advise TRAMP accordingly.
Cllr Whitmarsh reminded Councillors that whatever scheme was adopted there would be a need for a Parish Co-ordinator and a team of operatives. Training would be available. There were no volunteers.
The Clerk reported that he had received routine Committee Agendas and Minutes together with other administrative documents from the MBC which were available on request. Relevant documents and copies of correspondence had been circulated as appropriate,
Attention was drawn to the following:
MBC Draft Youth Plan *Request that young people should be consulted
Annual Rural Conference 3rd December 2005
Local Board Meeting
KCC Subsidised Local Bus Services
Kent Highways Parish and Town Council Seminar
Tuesday 6th December 2005
Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust Annual Report for 2005
12. ANY OTHER BUSINESS NOT REQURING NOTICE
Parish Web Site
The Parish Webmaster, Cllr Whitmarsh reported that the Parish Website was now ‘up and running’ and that he was seeking relevant information, in electronic, form to put on it . Anybody with any information was asked to contact him
Members were reminded of the ‘Yuletiders’ gathering in the Village Hall on Tuesday 6th December 2005
13. TIME and DATE OF NEXT MEETING
The next meeting of the Linton Parish Council would be held in the Linton Village Hall on Monday 6th January 2006 commencing at 7.30pm
Before closing the meeting the Chairman thanked all present for their attendance and wished everybody “A Very Merry Christmas” and a Healthy, Happy and Prosperous 2006
The meeting was formally closed at 10.10pm
‘The Forge’, Wheelers Lane.
Notes of the discussion held at the Parish Council Meeting.
Mr.Brandreth stated that he was seeking the views of the public, on behalf of the Owner of the site, as to what possible range of future developments for and on the site might be considered to be acceptable. He gave a brief but informative summary of the background to the site and the current position, and reminded the meeting that the site had not been occupied for some 18 months. This clearly was a concern for the owner as it was not generating any revenue. He reminded the meeting that there was currently Planning Permission in place for the use of the premises for light industry and that a recent application for a Certificate of Lawfulness in respect of using the site for Class B storage and Distribution had been refused. He was also aware of the problems caused by vehicles, particularly heavy vehicles, accessing the site and the additional traffic movements caused on Wheelers Lane.
There followed a general discussion during which a number of points were clarified. The possibility that the owner could sell the site was raised…… this was not, as far as was known, his preferred option. Although a previous negative response had been received from the MBC the possibility of a small housing development was suggested.
Apart from a general comment by Cllr.Williams about the general attitude of the MBC to approving the use of unused industrial land in rural areas for housing (see Minutes) little more was added.
It was agreed that the Parish Council should be asked to take action (see Minutes)