Hothfield Parish Council

...in the rustic heart of Kent


2007 ANNUAL PARISH MEETING MINUTES

Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting

held in the Village Hall,

on Monday 14 May 2007 at 7.00 pm

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

1. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE:
Were received from Rev Hammond and Mr John Ford, Headmaster, Hothfield Primary School.

2. TO APPROVE THE MINUTES OF THE LAST MEETING
These were unanimously approved and signed by Mrs Whittington.
Proposed Mr Patten Seconded Mr Rawlins

3. CHAIRMAN’S REPORT ON THE WORK OF THE PARISH COUNCIL
Mrs Whittington started her report by thanking all the people who spend time trying to improve life for the villagers of Hothfield. With a population of 900, there are a lot of people who we do not know and never see. It is always the same people who volunteer to help with events etc.

Communication is a problem within the village but we are trying to improve this. We hold a Public Interval during every Parish Council meeting, during which time any Members of the Public present are invited to ask questions or make comments on any issue related to Hothfield. Sometimes we are able to help and sometimes we are not.

A web site was set up last summer and the Parish Council agendas and minutes are posted. We hope to make more use of the site over the coming months.

We have a village newsletter and the Parish Council sends a monthly report for inclusion.

One of our Councillors is the Correspondent for the Kentish Express and a report of meetings is also included in this column.

We do wonder whether people read the above and are looking into other methods of communicating with our parishioners.

Mrs Whittington was concerned to see, when looking back over past minutes, that the same issues are discussed month after month. We are working on these issues and sometimes we achieve a successful result and sometimes we do not.

Issues that Mrs Whittington feels are important are:-

Crime and Disorder – Some members of the community have problems with graffiti being painted on their property and their cars being vandalised. We have recently observed that more people seem to be prepared to report such incidents to the Rural Warden or Police. The Crime Figures for the village have soared recently, but this could be due to the fact that more crimes are being reported.

Keeping the Village Tidy – We need to clean off the graffiti and clear up the litter. A lot of the litter is thrown from the cars of motorists passing through.

Traffic Calming – this continues to be an issue. We also have problems with large lorries coming into Hothfield and in a recent incident damage was caused to the School Road sign and the fence. The issue was discussed in greater detail with Councillor King – please see his report.

The speed watch scheme which was run a few months ago showed that motorists slow down when they see some sort of speed camera in operation.

We increased our precept this year to ensure that we have the recommended balance in hand at the end of the year.

Sadly the school is to close in July. Mrs Whittington thanked Mr Holloway for all in efforts to keep it open.

There is a spirit of community in Hothfield and we need to try and tap into it. We hope that the school building will be put to good use and with the MUGA and the possibility of funding for a new play ground we can hopefully work together to provide a better future for parishioners.

4. REPORTS FROM COUNTY COUNCILLOR, BOROUGH COUNCILLOR AND
VILLAGE ORGANISATIONS
Copies of written reports, 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.

County Councillor Richard King
Councillor King apologised for the fact that various issues were still outstanding in the Village. He said he was sorry that he had not been able to do more to keep the school open and thanked Mr Wallace and Mr Holloway for their efforts.

With regard to traffic calming, he explained that Hothfield should have been included in the work to be undertaken this year but that due to a series of accidents at Kempes Corner, Wye, a scheme has been included there and Hothfield has once again slipped down the list. The closure of the school meant that the Hothfield scheme is not considered as important any more by KCC. There is only a limited amount of money available to fund the Traffic Calming Schemes.

Councillors and Members of the Public took issue with this. The children will have to cross the road to get to the school bus, the play area and by the end of the summer the MUGA.

 
The problems with lorries driving through the village and with the street lights were also discussed and after a very lively discussion, it was agreed that Councillor King would go back to KCC and ask both Councillor Ferrin , the Cabinet Member with responsibility for transport and the Paul Carter, the Leader of the Council to attend a meeting in the village to discuss their budget and to look at the whole issue of Hothfield.

With regard to the lorries, now that they use satellite navigation, they are directed through Hothfield as it shows this as being the shortest way to Ford Mill, but does not show that the roads are unsuitable.

Borough Councillor Neil Wallace
ABC settled on 4.9%. Pensions are forcing budget issues.

Councillor Wallace pointed out that Councillors are facilitators. Outside agencies all undertake work in their area of expertise and the council tries to pull it all together.

He said he was very disappointed that, once again, we are not on the list to have the Traffic Management Scheme for the coming year.

With regard to communication, Councillor Wallace said he felt that communication within Hothfield is much better than it was last year.

There is an acute shortage of housing ant the moment. ABC are planning to spend money on Some of the houses in Hothfield in consultation with the tenants.

Councillor Wallace feels that the “noise” that Hothfield made regarding the closure of the school has put the village on the map.

With regard to the street lights, at the moment no one seems to know who is responsible for their maintenance.

PC Phil Smith
PC Smith reported that the crime figures for the year March 06 – February 07 had increased from 113 to 120. We must take into account however, that approximately 30% of the figures each month relate to motorists driving away from Hothfield Service Station without paying for petrol and domestic incidents are also included in this figure so we only need to be particularly worried about 2-3 crimes per month.

With regard to the recent spate of thefts of lead, copper and aluminium, these are being dealt with.

PC Smith said he is keen for Operation Cubit to target the village for a couple of weeks to deal with untaxed cars and lorries. The police have new powers which enable them to seize unlicensed and uninsured vehicles, which are parked on the roads.

 
ABC housing is trying to deal with the problems caused by cars parked on the roads.

Rural Warden
Lynn Marshall reported that she is hoping that Charlton Football Team will continue training sessions in the village. Funding is almost guaranteed by ABC. She is also trying to arrange inter village football tournaments.

Lynn said that she is working with ABC to try and get a youth forum up and running. She has got 5 youngsters willing to go to the Civic Centre and talk about the needs of the youth of the village. It is felt that the youth of Hothfield need structured input from trained youth workers.

Hothfield has a high instance of older people with serious illnesses. Social Services would like some of them to live in sheltered accommodation. At the moment Lynn is the first port of call if there is a problem, for example, if they do not turn up for an doctors appointment the surgery contact her and she calls round to see them and find out what the problem is.

With regard to parking on the pavement, ABC is looking at installing wooden bollards to stop this.

The Housing Department have funds available to regenerate some of the houses in the village.
Some tenants have had their tenancies terminated for various reasons.

The possibility of some form of Neighbourhood Watch Scheme is still being considered.

Village Hall
The hall needs more bookings. At the present moment in time the committee are just managing financially.

Short Mat Bowls
Mr Collins reported that the Bowls Club is down to 6 members. Two members from outside the Village play for us in County Matches.

Darts Club
Please see attached.

Friends of St Margaret’s
Please see attached.

Hothfield Common
There is now money available to allow work to be undertaken on the Common but Mr Oliver reported that everything has changed. We used to have some control over what went on but it is now quite difficult to even persuade ABC to hold a meeting to discuss any issues.

Hothfield Education Foundation
During the last year, 5 individual grants were given for £300 each. The fund is not made full use of. When the plans for the future of the school building are finalised, the members of the Foundation will speak to the Charity Commission to see what happens to the fund.

Hothfield History Society
The Society has recently held 2-3 exhibitions with photographs.

The stories of the figures around the Tufton tomb have been added to the tomb. Research is being carried out into the Tufton Family.

The Society has just started voice recordings of the experiences of people who have lived in the village for some time.

Twelve copies of a History of Hothfield were printed this year. Six went to local people and 6 went out of the village to destinations as far away as Canada.

The Reverend Russell’s transcript is being proof read at the moment and will hopefully be printed during the autumn or winter.

Both books will be transferred to CD eventually.

Hothfield School
Please see attached.

Ladies Club
Please see attached.

Parochial Church Council
Please see attached.

Tree Warden
Please see attached.

Thanet Charities
The charity was originally set up to help the needy of the village and the money which now comes from investments and rents is given in the form of pensions to needy villagers. If anyone knows of anyone in need then they can approach the charity. The annual income at the moment is between £3000 and £4000, expected to rise to between £5000 and £6000.

Village Fair
There is not going to be a fair this year due to lack of support. The committee may attempt to organise one next year provided they get the necessary volunteers to help.

The Committee were congratulated for their work on the past two fairs and it was agreed that it is a shame that it has had to be cancelled this year.

MUGA
Mr Patten attended a meeting on Wednesday with the contractors who are installing the MUGA.
It should take about 10 weeks and be completed by the end of the first fortnight in September.

Mr Patten thanked Mr Rivers for all his help with applying for Grant money and Mrs Logan from ABC for her help with the project.

The project has been funded by grants and Biffa and KCC have been very generous.

5. VILLAGE APPRAISAL
After a slow start this is progressing. The committee have had a number of meetings and submitted a questionnaire to AwCRK for their comments. They have now responded and the questionnaire will be taken to every household and if necessary a member of the committee will offer to help the occupier to fill it in. The next step is to try and arrange Focus Group meetings in houses in different areas of the village. Hopefully things will really start to move
forward by the end of this month.

6. ANY OTHER MATTER RAISED BY AN ELECTOR THAT IS OF INTEREST OF
CONCERN TO THE PARISH

There being no further business the meeting closed at 8.57 pm.



Last Update  05.06.2007
 2007 Hothfield Parish Council