The newly appointed parish council met for the first time last Friday. This is my recollection of the main points of the meeting:

  • The initial part of the meeting was taken up with introductions. In particular the council welcomed four new members: Lucy Gillespie-Tomasevic (a primary school teacher); Aidan Gillespie (a lecturer in religion and ethics at Canterbury Christchurch University); Bruce McKay (a business consultant); and David Reece (a retired brigadier).
  • Councillor Shoults was elected to continue as Chair. Councillor Ovenden will continue as vice-Chair. PC meetings will continue to be held on the first Thursday of the month. Resources meetings will continue to be held on the third Thursday (or thereabouts).
  • Congratulations were expressed to Noel Ovenden who was re-elected as a borough councillor. Noel explained that he was now the leader of the Ashford Independent Group which meant that he could attend the leaders’ meeting once a month. He is also to remain on the planning committee.
  • Noel also explained that he was in continued negotiations with officers at Ashford about the yellow lining in the village – which is currently out for consultation. He said that there were still matters that weren’t particularly clear.
  • Former councillor John Mansfield, attending the meeting as a member of the public, gave an update on the progress of the Neighbourhood Plan. He said that it was important that the plan now progressed as quickly as possible to referendum – because ‘emerging Neighbourhood Plans’ had lost some of their clout due to a recent legal ruling.
  • The Neighbourhood Plan is now nearly ready to be handed to Ashford. This should happen after the parish council meeting on June 4. It is intended that a public meeting on the Neighbourhood Plan will be held on May 25, 26 or 27. It is hoped that it will go to referendum by the end of the year.
  • There was discussion about the allocation of Section 106 payments from existing developments in Wye (WYE1 and WYE2). The clerk put forward a list which included: the allotments (new fencing or groundwork or possibly disabled access); children’s play equipment (renewal); carbon offsetting projects (solar panels for the village hall and renewal of windows?); informal outside space and outdoor sports. The council suggested a green gym and improved access to the river from the village hall playing fields in addition to the above.
  • An application for extension of Wye School’s occupation of the Kempe Centre has been filed at Ashford Borough Council. It was explained that this is because there is still no decision from Imperial College about whether the school can occupy the Edwardian College building. The parish council will discuss the matter at the next meeting on June 4.
  • There was discussion about the Our Place project. The next step appears to be a meeting of the Reference Group which will take place at some point in the middle of June. People attending this meeting will be asked if they’d like to join the Programme Management Group which will take on management of the project from the parish council.
  • Councillor Reece explained progress on the Village Hall improvement project. There is to be an event at the Village Hall on July 18 – for all ages – where the project will be publicised and views will be sought. There will also be a climbing wall and a bungee run for all those so inclined.
  • Mention was made about the Community Governance Review at Ashford Borough Council. This can be sourced here. Deadline for submissions is 29 May. The resources committee are to discuss a response in more detail on 22 May.
  • There was some discussion about the date of the Annual Parish Meeting. The date for this is still to be confirmed.
  • Mention was made about there still being three vacancies on the council. If anyone is interested, they could be co-opted.
  • Thanks were expressed to the Trust for Conservation Volunteers for arranging a litter pick on the river on two days in April. The first day (around Conningbrook) they collected 70 bags of rubbish. The second day (around Wye) they collected 80.Litter

About jasperbouverie

I am Jasper Bouverie. I have two blogs: which is about promoting sustainability in the village of Wye in Kent (and beyond); and which I will fill with short films dedicated to promoting social and environmental awareness and change. Find me on Twitter: funderfilms and finelinej
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