23 July 2007 – Parish Council Meeting

MINUTES of a Meeting of the LINTON PARISH COUNCIL
held on Monday 23rd. July 2007 in the LINTON VILLAGE HALL commencing at 7.30pm.
 
PRESENT
Cllrs Mrs M.Price, Mrs J.Sawyer, J.Bridle ,G.Harrison and J.Whitmarsh                      
Borough Councillors A.Brindle and B.Mortimer.
M.D.Stevens   Parish Clerk
 
There was 1 member of the Public in attendance. In the absence of the Chairman, who was indisposed, the vice Chairman, Cllr.J.Whitmarsh took the Chair..
     
1. APOLOGIES
 
Apologies were received from Cllr. Baxter and Cllr I.Firmin
Borough Councillor C. Parr and Cty Cllr. Mrs P.Stockell
 
2. MINUTES of the Parish Council Meeting held on Monday 25th June 2007    
 
 The Minutes of the meeting of the Parish Council Meeting held on Monday 25th June 2007 were approved and signed by the Chairman.
 
3. MATTERS ARISING from the MINUTES
 
In the absence of the PCSO the Clerk reported that there had been only one reported crime since the PC last met … the theft of a camcorder from Monk Lakes. Damage to the door of a house on Linton Hill was reported by the vice Chairman.
 
The Clerk drew attention to the circulated documents on PACT, “Partners and the Community Together” . In the absence of the PCSO he asked members to retain the documents for discussion at a future meeting.
 
Action had been taken by the Chairman re PC G.Shaw as agreed at the last meeting
 
NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH
Cllr Whitmarsh , who was still undertaking the duties of Co-ordinator, reported that he had spoken to somebody who was considering taking on the role. He would report to the next meeting.
 
BOUNDARY MARKERS PROJECT
Cllr.Whitmarsh advised the meeting that he now had a number of people who had volunteered to help and he was proposing to call a meeting in a few weeks time.
                                                                                  
CAR PARK SECURITY
The Clerk reported that he was still awaiting a response from the MBC Security Officer. Two reminders had been sent
                                                                      
COXHEATH TRAFFIC CALMING
 Nothing further to report.
 
BOTTLE BANK
 The Clerk reported that he had been advised by the MBC that the Landlord of the Bull Inn had been in contact and the possibility of having a Bottle Bank on the Car Park examined. It was found that the vehicle used to clear the Bottle Bank was unable to access the Car Park without
considerable difficulty, especially if there were cars parked. It had been decided therefore NOT to proceed.
On a suggestion from Cllr.Mrs Sawyer the Clerk had suggested to the MBC that the developers of the Linton Hospital Site be approached to provide a suitable space for a Bottle Bank. It was agreed to look at the situation again if and when the new CCTV System was installed on the Car Park and it had been operative for some time.
 
ADOPTION OF LOCAL AUTHORITIES CODE OF CONDUCT
The Clerk advised the meeting that the Standards Board and the MBC had been advised that the Model Code of Conduct had been adopted at the last Meeting of the PC. The necessary public advert would appear in the Downs Mail shortly.
Members were reminded of the urgent need to register their Personal Interests if they had not already done so. It was their personal responsibility to ensure that this was done            
                                     
4. DECLARATION OF MEMBERS INTEREST
 
 Cllrs. Mrs Sawyer,I Firmin and J.Whitmarsh declared an ongoing interest in the allotment gardens and stated that they had been granted dispensation until 31st July 2008
                                                                      
5. A229 TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT
 
Cllr Whitmarsh reported that he had contacted Kent Highways again about the four outstanding issues viz:
a) the interactive Sign at the northern end of the A229
b) the relocation of the “junction” sign at Butt Green Lane and the cutting back of the foliage
c) the case in favour of a roundabout at Linton Cross roads to be evaluated in July
d) the request for two short extensions of the 30mph limit etc. and the opportunity to provide an input to the evaluation.
 
A further point concerning the impact on Linton Crossroads as a result of the proposed developments at Cornwallis School had also been made. A reply was awaited.
 
It was agreed that in future the Agenda Item would be changed to TRAFFIC ISSUES
Concern was expressed, following complaints that had been received, about the growth of the hedge on the corner of Wheelers Lane as it restricted vision, the Kent Highways having cleared some of the growth and the way. The hedge growing into the road at the bottom of Westerhill on the eastern side so forcing traffic across the road was also identified as a hazard. The Clerk was asked to write to the occupants of the two properties asking them to ‘cut back’ their hedges    
 
SPEEDWATCH
It was reported that there had been at least three Speedwatch Sessions using equipment borrowed from Staplehurst Parish Council. The results were encouraging each session showing a different pattern, with a top speed of over 60mph being recorded on the South side of the A229, descending Linton Hill.
 
Following a brief discussion it was agreed that the volunteers appeared committed, and that sessions seemed likely to continue for the foreseeable future. The general view was that the PC should purchase the equipment forthwith, if the Speedwatch Co-ordinator felt happy with this
02.07.07
 
course of action. Cllr.Whitmarsh to speak to Dr.Coutts on the matter and to agree a way forward.
Thanks were expressed to Dr Coutts for his efforts, leading to the considerable progress which had now been achieved.
 
6. COMMENTS BY THE PUBLIC
 
The vice Chairman adjourned the meeting to hear comments from the public.
 
Mr.Saywer stated that he had had some success getting the hedge ‘cut back’ on the corner of Wheelers Lane and had received a letter of thanks from Kent Highways for drawing their attention to the problem
             
Cllr Brindle confirmed that the Coombe Quarry Park and Ride Scheme was to be withdrawn due to rising costs and the site sold. No alternative site had been identified. It was hoped however to increase the frequency of the Bus Service
 
The Parish Council expressed its disappointment and concern about this as it was the only Park and Ride Scheme on this side of the Borough.
 
There being NO further comments from the Public the vice Chairman resumed the Parish Council Meeting
                                                        
7. FINANCIAL MATTERS
 
The Clerk advised the meeting that all the necessary papers had been forwarded to the District Audit and a reply was awaited.
 
The Concurrent Functions return had been prepared forwarded and agreed with the MBC.
 
               A letter of thanks had bee received from Kenward Trust for the donation
               For the donation from the Parish Council towards their work.
                                                                                                
Balance brought forward                                   £14785.99
                                                                                                     
Payments made:
03.07.07   Stebbing (Village Hall Notice Board)        953.99
                  M.D.Stevens (Fence Poles)                     22.68
                  M.D.Stevens (Printer repair)                   36.00
.                 M.Brooker (Erection of Notice Board)      94.50
22.07.07   KCC Grounds Maintenance                     309.47
                 M.D.Stevens re Auditor                          26.18
                                                                      ————
                                                                        1442.88
                                                                       ———–
Balance Carried Forward                                    13343.11
                                                                   ========
ANNUAL REVIEW of Allotment Rents.
 
The Clerk drew attention to the circulated document giving a resume of the income and expenditure costs for the Allotment gardens during the last Allotment Year. (Attached)
After some discussion it was agreed that the rent per ROD should be increased to £2.50 with effective from the 1st October 2007. This was the first increase for a number of years and was necessary in order to meet rising costs.
 
The vice Chairman thanked the Allotments Manager for the work she had undertaken during the year and congratulated all involved on the excellent condition of the Allotment Gardens. This was supported by all present.
 
8.(a) PLANNING MATTERS                                                                                  
 
               MA/07/1050
               4, Cornwallis Cottages
               Heath Road,
               LINTON
               Erection of a two storey side and rear extension
               Not yet determined
           
               MA/07/0933
               The Bull Inn
               Linton Hill,
               LINTON
               Application for the construction of s Timber Framed garden structure
               Revised plans circulated.
               Not yet determined
                                                                                                                
 
               MA/07/1246
               Barrabool
               Park Avenue,
               LINTON
               Extension at first floor level to provide additional living accommodation  
               PC Recommended APPROVAL to the MBC
               Not yet determined.
 
               MA/07/1442
               Glensheee
               Heath Road,
               LINTON
               Construction of a two storey side extension
               Currently on CIRCULATION
 
               MA/07/1087
               Land Adj. to Stone House,
               Heath Road,
               LINTON
               Change of use of land etc.              
               MBC advised as agreed at the last meeting
 
As there was a general feeling that the Parish Council should be represented at the Planning Committee when the Application was to be determined, the Clerk agreed to endeavour to find out the date it was to be heard and would advise members accordingly.
 
 
 8(b)   LOCAL DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORK
              
Nothing further to report. Response to consultation still awaited.
 
8(c) KENT AND MEDWAY STRUCTURE PLAN
               
Nothing further to report
                 
8(d) SE REGIONAL PLAN
              
Nothing further to report
 
8 (e) VICARAGE FIELD
Members were reminded of the Site Meeting to be held on 30th July 2007 at 5.30pm. Group to assemble by the Children’s Playground in Cornwallis Avenue at 5.15pm
 
KENT INTERNATIONAL GATEWAY
Cllr. Mrs Sawyer drew members attention to the recent articles in the media generally, Downs Mail and the Kent Messenger on the proposals for a Freight Interchange on the northern side of the Borough mainly in the Parishes of Bearsted and Thurnham and sought their views.
               
A discussion followed during which Cllr Bridle, who is Transport Manager for a major distribution company, explained why a Freight Interchange was needed (the nearest one being currently in the Midlands) but doubted that the proposed site was the best one. A site nearer to London or at Ebbsfleet would be more appropriate and would allow easy access to the national   road and rail networks.
 
Attention was drawn to the Web Site “Stopkig.org” and it was agreed that Linton PC should register its disapproval of the proposed development on the site. The Clerk was asked to write to the Bearsted Parish Council expressing the disapproval of the Linton PC to the proposed development and offering them their full support .
              
9. VILLAGE HALL
 
Cllr Whitmarsh reported that the new Village Hall Notice Board was now in place and thanked the Parish Clerk for making all the arrangements to purchase it and have it erected.
A LVHMC Meeting was to be held in a few weeks time and a report made to the next meeting of the PC. It was pointed out that the “NO SMOKING” signage needed to be upgraded to meet the latest requirements.
The Clerk reported that the Village Flagpole had been removed in order that it could be refurbished
 
10. MEMBERS REPORTS
 
a) PLAYGROUND
The Clerk reported that he was trying to find out from the MBC what had happened to the Play Area Bids for 2007/08 and the Report on play area provision which was scheduled to go to Cabinet by the beginning of May 2007. To date he was NOT having much success   
 
b) ALLOTMENT GARDENS
 
The Allotment Manager reported that three Plots were in need of serious attention. It was her intention to write to those Tenants reminding them of the Conditions in their Tenancy to keep their Plots under cultivation and giving them 28 days to improve the situation. If no action was taken
she would be recommending that their tenancy was NOT renewed. There was now a waiting list for Allotments.
The Fence around the Allotment Gardens had now been repaired and strengthened as required.
She thanked all concerned for their continued support.
 
c) KAPC
The Clerk reported that Cllr Mrs Sawyer had been accepted for the course on the new Code of Conduct to be held later this month. Cllr Sawyer reported that had sent her apologies for the latest meeting of the LAPC Maidstone Committee as it was meeting at the same time as the Parish Council
 
 d) TRAMP
The minutes of the last meeting held by TRAMP had been received and were available. These included the report from Leicestershire on their ‘Lorry Ban” following the visit by TRAMP representatives Cllr Bridle advised the meeting that he had responded to TRAMP indicating that it was his view that the Leicestershire scheme would NOT be appropriate for Kent. Most if not all of the HGV Traffic through the villages was due to lorries accessing businesses/farms. No commercial operator is going to route their fleet via the more rural areas unless they have need to either collect or deliver to that area. The cost of running on rural roads compared with trunk
 roads is considerably higher.
 
 He had suggested that a survey, on a specific day, should be undertaken to identify the actual number of HGV movements through a particular village and to question why the lorry was using that route. The information obtained would establish some facts based on which a debate could then be held. He had not had a response. The action taken by Cllr.Bridle was approved                                                                                             
 
e) WEBSITE
Cllr Whitmarsh reminded the members of the document, circulated to all members in advance of the meeting, relating to the possibility of the Linton Parish Council obtaining its own domain name and sought comment
Following a brief discussion it was agreed that Cllr.Whitmarsh should seek to obtain the domain name of “ lintonkent.org” and to make the necessary arrangements for it to become operative. It was noted that the cost would be in the order of £55 for a period if 10 years.
 
f) SMPG
There was nothing to report .
 
g) PERIWINKLE BANK
The Clerk reported that he and Cllr. Firmin had attended a Site Meeting
with Loic Flory the KCC Community Liaison Manager for Maidstone District re the application for a grant of £2000 to improve Periwinkle
Bank. The meeting was very positive and the application would be
recommended to the Local Board when it meets in October. A question was raised however on the ownership of the area which was far from clear. The Clerk agreed to take action to clarify the matter and advised the PC that it may involve contacting the Land Registry. If it seemed that nobody owned the area appropriate action would be taken to register ownership in the name of the
Parish Council.
                                                                                               
11 CORRESPONDENCE
 
The Clerk reported that he had received routine Committee Agendas and Minutes from the MBC
together with a series of Press Releases copies of which were available on request. Relevant
documents and copies of correspondence had been circulated to members as appropriate. Attention was drawn to the following:-
 
               MBC Details of Maidstone Mela on 9th September 2007
               KCC Maidstone Local Board Meeting *details circulate
              Kent Benefits Partnership       *letter circulated
               Medway Valley Countryside Partnership   Annual Report 2006/07
               Kent Police     Various informative e-mails *circulated.
                                                                             
12. ANY OTHER BUSINESS NOT REQUIRING NOTICE                                       
The Clerk drew Members attention to the South Maidstone Area Consultation Document on proposals for New Academies at Oldborough and Cornwallis . As these proposals would have a considerable impact on the secondary educational provision for the area he had obtained copies of the consultation document for members and sought their views. There was a general acceptance and understanding of the need for change and the development of a new Academy on the Oldborough Manor Site was, in the circumstances sensible. The growth on the Cornwallis site was also acknowledged in particular the large expansion of the 6th form provision. Concern was expressed at the speed at which the proposals had been brought forward with seemingly a minimum consultation with the local community and it was noted that it was proposed to establish the two Academies in September 2007. 
 
Given a recent article in the local press about the numbers of young people in Maidstone who would be eligible for secondary education over the next ten years the sustainability of the education provision on both sites was questioned.
 
By far the greatest concern, which was not addressed in the Consultation Document, was the effect the establishment of the two Academies would have on the local infra structure and in particular the already overloaded road network. Access to the Oldborough Manor Site was difficult with problems at Boughton Lane/Loose Road and little or no access from Park Wood/Senacre,….. there would be additional pressure on the B2163, Linton Crossroads, Hubbards Lane Junction and the A229. There was little or no Public Transport and all the evidence suggested that the number of traffic movements would increase considerably on already congested and busy roads.
 
If either Academy was going to benefit from “high levels of public use and trust” the problems with traffic and traffic volumes needed to be addressed as a matter of urgency otherwise it was doubtful if this would be achieved.
 
It was expected that there would be a series of Planning Applications on which the PC expected to be consulted and in which the above issues would be positively addressed. If not they would be raised by the PC in any response….. the current increase in traffic and traffic volumes was already a major concern to the public who see their ‘Quality of Life’ deteriorating on a day to day basis.
 
 The Clerk was asked to respond to the document accordingly. Individual Members were invited to respond directly to the consultation if they wished to do so.
                                                                                        
Cllr Whitmarsh advised the meeting of the very successful Strawberry Teas in the Parish Church to raise funds for ‘The Friends of Linton Church’. Some £800+ was raised. An equally successful Parish Picnic had also been held in spite of the weather last Saturday
                                                                                      .
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 10th SEPTEMBER 2007 commencing at 7.30pm. There being no further business the vice Chairman thanked all those present for their attendance    and closed the meeting at 9.30 pm
 
 
Vice Chairman