These are my recollections of the parish council meeting last night:
- Councillor Shoults was not present at the meeting but submitted a written report in which he reported that ministerial approval had been secured for Wye School’s occupation of the Edwardian college buildings. This venture will now progress to architects and planning and the building should open for children in September 2015.
- Councillor Shoults and Councillor Ovenden both reported that Imperial College will deliver their Masterplan for Wye3 to Ashford Borough Council’s planning department before the end of June. This is likely to feature 200 houses and several business units in the area near the Kempe Centre. Councillor Ovenden reported that Ashford have yet to decide how they are going to deal with the Masterplan but that it was likely to receive lengthy consideration, appropriate given the sensitivity of the location.
- Councillor Shoults wrote that Imperial College is likely to include some reference to the village use of the Grade 1 listed buildings in its Masterplan. It was pointed out at the meeting that the parish council had only ever agreed to a feasibility study on such an idea. Councillor Bouverie reported that he had voiced scepticism at a recent meeting of the Village Hall trustees, and had suggested an audit of all existing village meeting places prior to any further discussion on the subject.
- The intention is for the Neighbourhood Plan to go to referendum in February 2015.
- Councillor Mansfield reported back on the traffic comparison with Plumpton College in East Sussex, conducted by MLM traffic consultants. He said that this comparison is much more valid than those conducted by Imperial College, but that clarity on the impact of development on traffic was still unclear. According to MLM’s data, the school and business development was likely to generate more traffic than residential.
- Councillor Donovan asked about yellow lining in the village. Councillor Ovenden replied that there had been no meeting of the Joint Transportation Board in the past month but he would pursue the matter at a meeting of the JTB which is scheduled for next week. Councillor Donovan expressed his scepticism about the progress of the necessary Traffic Regulation Order.
- A vote of thanks was passed for Dave Martin for compiling and submitting the Our Place proposal. Thanks were also expressed to the 20-30 people in the village who have expressed interest in the concept.
- The village hall have submitted a grant application to the parish council for £5100 to redevelop the hall’s kitchens. This will be considered by the resources committee.
- Councillor Bouverie suggested that there should be a meeting involving representatives of groups providing for children and teenagers in the village. He has been involved in early discussion about how the village could commission its own children’s services. The council agreed that such a plan could only be embarked upon with the agreement of representatives of groups currently providing for children in the community.
- Councillor Donovan reported on the need for an Annual General Meeting of the Children’s Playing Field Charity. There was a suggestion that the charity needs to recruit more trustees from the village.
- Councillor Bouverie reported that the decision about whether to allow trail bike riders (and motor vehicles) on Cycle Route 18 between Godmersham and Chartham was likely to rest on historical evidence as to whether this route had been used as a road in the past. There is uncertainty as to whether this was the route of the Old Wye Road or whether it followed the route of the railway.
- Councillor Bouverie brought up the matter of forthcoming development at Dover Place (near the station) in Ashford 140520_Consultation Boards_Exhibition. The Environment Agency has been pressing for effective sustainable drainage of the area so as to prevent run-off of dirty water into the River Stour. These measures are in the current plans and the EA would like them to remain there. Councillor Ovenden said that this was a high profile project in Ashford and the plans were unlikely to be changed.
- It has been agreed that the tree in closest proximity to the village sign will be removed in order to enable a better view of the sign itself and the forthcoming war memorial. The tree will be replaced elsewhere in the village/on the Green.
- The date of the next parish council meeting was moved to Monday June 30 – in order that the council can approve accounts in advance of a deadline.
I was late to the meeting last night and missed the first half hour. These are the recollections of someone else who was there:
- The community warden reported that there have been 7 incidents of criminal damage in the village involving rubbish bins.
- The police carried out an Operation Clean-Sweep in the village in the middle of May. 27 cars were found with no tax or insurance. Their owners will have been notified.
- A Polish gentleman has arrived in the village and is sleeping in a tent in a variety of locations. The community warden is concerned about his health and welfare and is in touch with the relevant authorities and care organisations.
- The community warden raised the issue of introducing by-laws for the village green. This was a matter that the council acknowledged needed further discussion.