Hothfield Parish Council

In the rustic heart of Kent


Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting

held in the Village Hall, on Monday 8 May 2006 at 7.00 pm


The Chairman opened the meeting and welcomed everyone. There were 40 Members of the Public
present, 8 Parish Councillors County Councillor Richard King and Borough Councillor Neil Wallace.

Were received from Mrs V Piggott.

These were unanimously approved and signed by Mr Patten.
Proposed Mr Howard Seconded Mr Wallace

Report by Mr Peter Patten.

Welcome, it is very pleasing to see so many of you here this evening. Also a very special welcome
to our County Councillor, Richard King and our Borough Councillor Neil Wallace.

My report is brief. It has been another busy year with many matters being considered and dealt with
by the Parish Council.

Our influence is not great but we keep trying on behalf of the Village.

We are still bombarded with rules and regulations – very time consuming and frankly not very

For many years we have been trying to improve road safety in the village – new speed signs
and so on -initially with the KCC and then with Ashford Borough Council and now back with
KCC. Movement is nil and promises made are not to be relied upon. In fact we are still no further forward than we were last year or 6 years ago – all very depressing especially when one sees traffic
signs etc in villages such as Little Chart where only a handful of houses are affected. Maybe we will succeed in 2006/2007.

In the meantime we will be trying out Speedwatch. A number of volunteers will be checking the
speed of motorists through the village – hopefully this will help to slow traffic down – especially
outside the school.

Law and order and anti-social behaviour continues to be a problem. We have lost Keith Dowling
and I was told this afternoon that we have a replacement – PC Paul Smith.

Lynn Marshall, our Rural Warden, is far more proactive and effective than her predecessor. Sadly
Lynn can’t be everywhere all the time, but if you see anything untoward do let me know.

The really bad news is two fold. Firstly the Common and I know some of you will let us have your
views later on.

Secondly, the uncertain future of the School. We have written to the KCC Committee considering
its future. They met this afternoon and no doubt Richard King, our County Councillor will bring
us up to date. Incidentally he is giving his wholehearted support for the retention of the school.
This is greatly appreciated.

On a positive note we have, through the Hothfield Parents Support Group and the Parish Council
made some progress albeit slow towards building a MUGA on the playing field. You may
remember this was one of the facilities the youth of the village wanted. We still have some way to
go but every effort is being made to speed things up – not easy when dealing with Ashford Borough

Financially the Parish Council has again worked within its budget during 2005/2006 and we have
maintained the precept at the same level as last year.

During this year we are planning to undertake a Village Appraisal. This exercise will be the
Villagers property and I hope everyone will have their say. Chris Twydell has volunteered to help
with this exercise.

Finally, I would like to thank the Parish Councillors who give and I repeat give of their valuable
time for the benefit of the Village. Also my thanks to Judith Batt our Clerk who helps us as well as
keeping us in order. I greatly appreciate the support and help she and the Parish Councillors have given
me over the last year.

On a sad note our Vice Chairman, Marianne Highwood, is retiring as of this meeting. Her experience
and wise council will be sadly missed.

Incidentally, we are still looking for Parish Counillors, any volunteer?

In conclusion, I hope that if we, the Parish Council, can help any one in the village we would
willingly do so, given our limited authority and resources.

Copies of written report, where submitted, are only attached to the file copy of the minutes.
They are all available for inspection if requested. Please contact the Parish Clerk.

Village Hall
The AGM is to be held next Monday. New members are needed for the committee and anyone who
is interested was invited to attend.

Short Mat Bowls
Mr Collins reported that the club could do with a few more members.

Darts Club
Please see attached.

Friends of St Margaret’s
Please see attached.

Hothfield Common
Mr Wallace reported that he was aware of the issues and he had spoken to a number of people
working on implementing the plans for the Common.

He asked whether we have enough control through the Borough Council in terms of the document
which was signed 2 years ago as part of funding arrangements. We need to come up with
constructive issues and pass them back to ABC rather than Kent Wildlife Trust. The Borough
Council has to take their share of the responsibility. The Partnership needs to be monitored.

A lively discussion took place and Mr Wallace asked those present with specific issues to speak
to him after the meeting so that he could collate them and he said he would list them all in a letter
to ABC.

The general consensus of opinion was that a meeting should be arranged to allow villagers to
meet with KWT and ABC and discuss their concerns. Mr Wallace said he would arrange a meeting.

Hothfield Education Foundation
The Education Foundation had an income of £7,500 last year, and they gave about half of this to
The School, but Mr Oliver reported that as people do not apply to the foundation the remainder is
still available. He stressed that people of any age group can apply to the Foundation for financial
help to undertake training, as long as they attended Hothfield School.

Hothfield History Society
Two books on the History of Hothfield have been reprinted. A meting was held for people
interested in researching the history of their house. Another meeting is due to be held this month.
Anybody who is interested in attending should contact Mr Oliver.

The Rector of Hothfield in 1900 spent 10 years researching and writing a book on Hothfield covering
the years 670 to 1900. The contents are not in a logical sequence, so Mr Rivers is transcribing it.
once it completed the 3 volumes will be printed and will be available for lending out to residents
interested in history.

Hothfield School
Please see attached.

Ladies Club
Please see attached.

Parochial Church Council
Please see attached.

Rural Warden
Mrs Marshall said that Hothfield is a lovely village and it does not deserve the reputation that it has.
The main problem at the moment is minor damage, caused by the children being silly. Mrs Marshall a
asked residents to pass on the names of any children who they see causing the damage so that the
the problem can be dealt with before it gets out of hand. Any information given will be treated
as confidential.

The residents of the village need to work together and challenge the behavioural problems.

Mr Patten reiterated everything Mrs Marshall had said.

Short Mat Bowls
Mr Collins reported that the club could do with a few more members.

Tree Warden
Please see attached.

Village Fair
Please see attached.

Village Hall
The AGM is to be held next Monday. New members are needed for the committee and anyone who
is interested was invited to attend.

Borough Councillor’s Report
Mr Wallace reported that we are very grateful to Sally-Ann Logan for her help with progressing
the MUGA.

He urged people to attend the meetings regarding Ashford’s Future and put their views. The new
one way system is being fast tracked and he feels it is one of the most important developments.

The first draft of the LDF is out in September. A paragraph in this related to the development of
villages in the Borough. It has been a very difficult paragraph to write as every village has
different issues regarding development which need to be addressed. The Policy has to be applicable
to every village.

Mr Patten thanked Mr Wallace for attending the meeting and for fielding the many question on the
development of Hothfield Common

County Councillor’s Report
Mr King thanked members of the electorate for re-electing him to the County Council.

He reported that he had attended a meeting this afternoon regarding the proposed closure of the
School and the plans to bus the children to Charing. The plans have come about because there
are between 1200 and 1400 surplus primary school places in the Borough.

He said the view of the KCC is that the school should be closed because, although it has capacity
For 84 pupils there are only has 33 pupils on the roll of which only 6 live in Hothfield.

Councillor King reiterated everything Mr Ford said in his report and said that it was important
that individuals write letters rather than just sign a petition. It is important that the village is seen
to show an interest in the school and to want it to remain open. Letters should be sent to the elected
members of the KCC and to Damian Green.

Mr Ford said he felt it was important to involve children in the campaign and asked everyone to
contact the school if they were keen to get involved so that everyone’s efforts can be co-ordinated.
The names of the people to write to and other data will be available at the school from 10 May.

A Public Meeting is to be held in Charing, but Councillor King suggested that Hothfield should press
to have their own.

Mr King thanked the Chairman of Governors, the Headmaster and Mr Patten for providing the
information he required to take to the meeting he attended earlier today.

Mr Patten proposed a resolution that the villagers of Hothfield wish the school to be retained.
A vote was taken and the result was unanimously in favour of retaining the school.

Councillor King told those present that he had £10,000 to share between a number of villages from his
Member Community Grant Fund.

This will be started after the Village Fair.

Many residents were concerned with the siting of the MUGA and were unaware as to exactly what
it was going to comprise of. A meeting was held earlier in the year when brochures were available
showing exactly what a MUGA is like. One resident said that he felt there had been a lack of
communication regarding this.

A resident asked whether there had been any progress with the BMX track. The Parish Council
had not agreed to progress this any further.

There being no further business the meeting closed at 8.50 pm.

Last Update  15.05.2007
Hothfield Parish Council 2006