These are my recollections of Thursday’s parish council meeting:
- There was considerable discussion about the agenda for this meeting. Councillors pointed out that the two most important items (the Neighbourhood Plan and Our Place) were not on the agenda. The clerk said that she had sent an email round asking for items and no councillors had responded. In the end it was decided that these extra matters could be discussed in “matters for information only” but no actions should be taken on either of them. (see below)
- The community warden reported on the masked raid at the Co-op which resulted in an assault and theft of £3000. To his knowledge, the offenders have yet to be caught. Subsequent to this there had been an episode of drunk and disorderly behaviour in the co-op, a car crash into a house in Little Chequers, and theft of four sets of doorbells in Abbott’s Walk.
- The community warden reported that he had been approached to fill the Community Connector role for the Our Place project (see below). He said that he was keen to take on this role, although details of the geographical area and nature of the role were still to be worked out.
- The borough councillor reported that the traffic order for Wye (yellow lining) had now reached the Joint Transportation Board (JTB) and will be discussed on March 10. He said that this meant that it was likely to progress shortly. However Ashford Borough Council (ABC) officers who visited the village said that the parish council’s ideas for yellow lining were unlikely to be upheld. Yellow lining is usually only applied on grounds of safety.
- The borough councillor said that the proposed development at the Street, Kennington had been refused. The planning committee felt that the 6 houses represented over-development – heeding 87 objectors.
- Councillor Mansfield has drawn up plans for grass cutting on the green areas owned by the village (Village Hall Playing Field and the Green). There was some discussion about how these areas would look compared to the areas cut by Ashford Borough Council.
- The parish council is involved in negotiations to occupy new offices in Briar Close (the offices near the railway station).
- There were continued discussions about the flooding at the bottom of Bridge Street, on the Naccolt and Olantigh Roads. Councillor Bouverie (me) suggested that the Neighbourhood Plan should consider the idea of a catchment pond above the village to receive water as it comes off the Downs.
- Councillors expressed surprise that archaeologists had found very little on the WYE1 development site (the site of an old Roman road). It was decided that a watching brief should be maintained on this site.
- Councillors approved a grant of £500 to the Fireworks Committee for the display in November.
- Councillors approved a grant application to the borough council to go towards a defibrillator for the village.
Matters for information only:
- Councillor Shoults updated the council on the Neighbourhood Plan. I asked Councillor Shoults for details of the consultation process. Responses are being assembled by Jim Boot (consultant working on the project). Jim will assemble a report for a public meeting on April 14 (*This meeting has now been postponed until after the election) to discuss possible changes to the plan. The parish council will then discuss and verify any changes on April 16.
- Ashford Borough Council officers have assembled a list of things that need addressing in the plan. John Mansfield is working through these.
- There have been no meetings with Imperial College. Councillor Shoults has visited Withersdane and was shown some buildings in a very poor state of repair. He is going to write to Imperial and request that his letter be read out to both the Imperial board and the Endowment Board. He said that he’d be distributing his letter to councillors by email.
- The Education Funding Agency is visiting Wye on March 10 to discuss alternative sites for Wye School.
- There was lengthy discussion about the Our Place project. I asked Councillor Bartley why he hadn’t supplied a written report as requested at the previous meeting, and why the website has been launched without any consultation with other members of the PC.
- Some councillors said that they had no idea what the Our Place project consisted of. Councillor Bartley said that there had been several changes of direction by both Locality at DCLG and by Kent County Council and this had resulted in several rewrites of the village’s plan.
- It was decided by the Chair to call an Extraordinary Council Meeting on March 10 to discuss Our Place – the day that the report is due for submission. (Locality gave an extension on the previous deadline of February 20th.)
One matter not discussed:
Taylor Wimpey have sent a letter requesting ideas for a marketing name for the area of development off Churchfield Way (WYE1). Any ideas.. feel free to post them to me.