Hothfield Parish Council

...in the rustic heart of Kent


MAY 2008 ANNUAL PARISH MEETING MINUTES

Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting, held in the Village Hall on
Monday 12 May 2008 at 7.00 pm

[ Draft Minutes version 2 - yet to be approved ]

The Chairman opened the meeting and welcomed everyone. There were 15 Members of the Public present, 8 Parish Councillors, County Councillor Richard King and Borough Councillor Neil Wallace

1. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE:
Were received from Dr S Starkings, Rev Hammond, Mr and Mrs Twydell and Mr G Warren

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

3. CHAIRMAN’S REPORT ON THE WORK OF THE PARISH COUNCIL
At times the work of Parish Councillor can seem tedious, time-consuming and extraordinarily frustrating. Looking back through the minutes since the last Annual Parish Meeting in 2007 the same items were discussed time and time again. For those members of our community who read these minutes it is not surprising that they feel Parish Councillors do little for them. This could not be further from the truth. Members of the Parish Council work hard, have different interests and contribute in their own individual way to the business of the Council.
On a positive note I would say that a great deal has been achieved for all of us. The MUGA was completed in the autumn of 2007, the Children’s Centre was opened this year in part of the former school building, Kent Highways have promised traffic calming measures to be carried out shortly, a local resident has been appointed to keep our village clear of litter and our new community police officer, PC Chris Miller has begun to set up informal contacts with the police. A Youth Forum is being established so that our young people will have the opportunity to tell us what positive contribution they would like to make to our community. All of this will surely make Hothfield a worthwhile place to be involved in.

4. QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS ON THE REPORTS FROM VILLAGE ORGANISATIONS, PUBLISHED IN THE NEWSLETTER
A summary of each of the reports from Village Organisations was published in the newsletter for June and a file was available at the meeting with a full copy of each report. Please see attached.

Time was allowed for everyone who had submitted a report to give a brief outline to the meeting and for questions. The following questions were asked of:-

BOROUGH COUNCILLOR WALLACE, ABC:-
A question was asked about the parking facilities when the houses in Hothfield are upgraded.
Mr Wallace suggested that the residents need to contact ABC Housing Department and bring this to their attention, prior to them undertaking their survey.

The members of the Community Safety Unit are due to visit Hothfield, to see a village where things are working well.

A resident expressed concern that there is no crossing near the MUGA. Councillor Wallace said that we need to pressure Highways about this.

A resident said that he did not feel that 3pm on a week day was a suitable time to hold the LDF Workshop as many people could not attend. He asked whether any feedback has been received and Councillor Wallace said that the feedback from the meeting was appalling. There will be more consultation regarding this in September.

A question was asked about the design of Ashford Town Centre and Mr Wallace updated the meeting.

The following people, who did not submit reports, spoke at this point:-

PC MILLER
PC Miller gave a short resume of his career to date and continued as follows:-

I am a great believer in old fashioned values and morals and hope to be able to bring some of these to the youth of the village and show them that they can change their ways.

I am trying to organise a Multi Organisation Day, when members of ABC, KCC and other agencies meet together to walk round the village and see what can be done to improve the village in the future.

The first PACT meeting was held 6-7 weeks ago and I am hoping to hold them on a monthly basis. We have 3 prominent issues. The meetings allow the public to talk to the police informally. We will have to wait and see if they prove successful.

I am hoping to be able to obtain enough funding to enable us to ask Charlton Athletic back to work with the youngsters. They will arrange football and other activities as requested by the children. They charge £100 per session and we would like 10 sessions. Councillor King offered to provide £500.

I have been made to feel very welcome here, despite some residents being disgruntled. Hothfield needs to look to the future and put their problems behind them and I will help to facilitate this.

Mr Holloway pointed out that the Youth Forum for Ashford has started and that some of the youngsters from Hothfield are attending it. Gaining the confidence of the children is proving to be a slow process as they do not readily believe that things are actually going to happen. It is hoped to arrange a meeting for the Youth Forum at the Children’s Centre as it is not always easy for them to get into Ashford.

HOTHFIELD MANOR CENTRE FOR ACQUIRED BRAIN INJURY
Mr Hutchinson gave the following report:-

The Centre has been acquired by Four Seasons Health Care and provides specialist services for people with acquired brain injuries. Being part of a large organisation means that we have more money and are therefore able to provide better services, HR support and training.

The bungalows are shortly going to be upgraded and modernised. The extension on the back of The Manor has been delayed due to problems with joining it to the older part of the building.

The Centre offers a comprehensive service to those with acquired brain injuries and is bringing employment to the area.

I very much want the Hothfield Manor Centre to be part of the community, but would ask you to appreciate that these people have had a brain injury, something that could happen to any one of you at any time.

A question was asked as to how the residents are controlled and Mr Hutchinson said that he has no more control over them than he would have over a person in the hall tonight. He can only use reason, compromise and persuasion and hope that the resident will agree with him.

COUNCILLOR RICHARD KING – KCC
I would like to thank Mr Oliver for suggesting that we invite Paul Carter to visit Hothfield.
Mr Carter visited in September and as a result money has been made available for the traffic calming, gateway features, the Children’s Centre became a possibility and the street lamps in Station Road are now working. Meetings have taken place at County Hall regarding Hothfield. We now have a Police Officer and Community Warden. A lot of very positive and forward looking things are happening in Hothfield and people outside want to be involved. I would like to thank the Parish Council for their help in making things happen.

The MUGA was installed and the new traffic calming system is due to be installed very shortly. The Children’s Centre gives a better argument for a crossing because people are coming and going all day.

The Village of Hothfield received 20% of my Member Services Grant last year.

The HGVS continue to be a problem but a lorry park is planned and the Government plan to tax all foreign lorries to help pay for the park, where they will be allowed to park up free of charge.

Mrs Whittington explained what gateway features we will be getting in the village.

A resident pointed out that the lay-by, on the A20 at the exit from Station Road has still not been closed and the lorries pose a serious safety hazard for traffic leaving the village. Drivers need to take the numbers and pass them on to PC Miller.

BOWLS CLUB
The Bowls Club only has 10 members at the moment and needs more. They have teams in the SE League.

5. VILLAGE APPRAISAL
A 3 page questionnaire has been distributed to Councillors for their comments and it will be discussed at the next meeting.

6. ANY OTHER MATTER RAISED BY AN ELECTOR THAT IS OF INTEREST OF CONCERN TO THE PARISH
Mr Holloway apologised for not getting a report to the Newsletter.

Mr Holloway told those present that one of the things he finds on his walks around the village is that communication is still a problem. A lot of the residents will not attend Parish Council meetings or the Annual Parish Meeting. There are only 3 out of 8 councillors from the centre of Hothfield, which is very, very under represented, purely because of the mindset of the residents from that area of the village.

There being no further business the meeting closed at 9.03 pm.


Last Update  20.06.2008
 2008 Hothfield Parish Council