ACOL PARISH COUNCIL
Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held in the Village Hall on Monday 30th January 2006 commencing at 7.30pm
Present: Chairman – Cllr Miss S Bransfield
Cllrs A Burgess, N Lord, Mrs E O'Reilly and Ms T Purser
Also Present: Corinne Eldridge and L Peskett, Community Wardens
28 Acol villagers
The Chairman opened the meeting with a welcome for all villagers of Acol who had turned up for the meeting and to thank them for their interest. She had also received a few telephone calls from people unable to attend but offering their support.
32. Apologies for Absence
Cllr Charles Hibberd had offered his apologies and the Clerk was not present.
As the Clerk was not present, there were no Minutes available.
34. Matters arising from the Minutes
The Minutes were not available.
35. Police Report
There was no Police representative present, possibly due to an Agenda not being sent.
The Chairman brought forward Agenda Item 7, as this was the main reason that villagers were there.
The Speedwatch Training with the new portable inter-active sign had begun on Sunday with another session in two weeks' time. Mrs Iris Osborne is now the co-ordinator for the scheme for all participating villages and the sign is being kept in her garage for collection and return by operators at each session.
The Chairman had attended a meeting of the Rural Regeneration Group on 17th January when the Police Community Speedwatch Officer confirmed that the Police and the Community Safety Group now have the funds for purchasing these machines, with the result that parishes will not be asked for contributions. A third machine will be budgeted for in the next financial year, but the Chairman suggested that the County Councillors' Community Grants Fund, from which we were to be granted a portion for Acol, might be better used to buy a third machine now, to enable the scheme to be completely functional immediately. County Councillor Charles Hibberd was unable to attend this meeting but will be approached with this suggestion.
The Parish Council has received a letter from Miss Roxanne Chesher-Brazier of The Manor, The Street, concerning the lack of vehicular control through The Street and offered to make a presentation at the end of the meeting.
Councillors acknowledged that there had been several minor incidents and accidents caused by the volume and speed of traffic along The Street, although not all were reported and very few were subject to official complaints or claims.
As a point of interest the Chairman read her notes from a meeting of the Thanet Community Safety Partnership on 5th January when she had queried the relevance of declassifying The Street from a 'B' road to a 'C' road. It was confirmed by TDC Officers that the change would allow the provision of a pavement, as no pavement would have been possible on a 'B' road which is a 'through road'.
It was noted at that meeting that St Nicholas and Manston have both had pavements installed and the roads narrowed for traffic calming.
The Chairman mentioned an article in the 'Local Council Review' last September which announced there was a possible £27m coming from government to rural Parish Councils "to help rural communities shape their own futures". No more has been heard and the Chairman will contact the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) to find if results of the government proposals are known.
The Chairman confirmed that she had received a telephone call from Mr Phil Sulley from the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) to announce they have funds for road safety / traffic calming projects and two villages in Kent have been highlighted as pilot schemes, Coxheath and ACOL.
Mr Sulley has arranged to visit Acol on Monday 13th February, around mid-day, to see The Street and to put forward a proposal to the KCC for a traffic-calming scheme. Our past endeavours have been noted, and he particularly commented on our Petition to TDC in 2003. We have been asked to count traffic on one day prior to his visit, during specified times, and nine villagers immediately volunteered. This enabled an appropriate rota to be drawn up and it was agreed that the safest and most convenient position would be the pub car park. Our publican, Ms Denise Stewart, offered to provide cups of tea to the volunteers, which was most gratefully received.
The meeting was opened up to the public and some very interesting comments and suggestions were made; for example:
* 20mph speed limit throughout
* Signs "NO ACCESS to HGV except on village business" (or similar)
* Columbus Avenue to be extended to meet up with Shottendane Road (which it is generally believed was the original intention)
* Reduce volume of traffic as well as its speed
* No humps – too noisy and damage vehicles [this from a telephone call]
Miss Roxanne Chesher-Brazier was invited to make her presentation and she raised a very important issue, which concerns The Street being within the Conservation Area, with some serious implications. The Conservation Order was made on 27th January 1988 and specifically advises the road is unsuitable for HGV. Miss Chesher-Brazier displayed a map showing the Conservation Area and explained her enquiries and discussions with TDC and others.
Villagers were extremely appreciative of her efforts and the Chairman thanked her most profusely.
A suggestion was put from the floor that Acol Parish Council should invite Dr Stephen Ladyman MP, as a Transport Minister, to our next meeting. The Chairman thought it unlikely that he would be able to attend but will comply with the request.
37. Cllr Charles Hibberd – County Councillors' Community Grants Fund
Cllr Hibberd was unable to attend, but a use of this Fund has already been discussed.
38. Manston Airport Consultative Committee (KIACC)
Villagers were reminded of an article appearing in the Isle of Thanet Gazette on 13th January advising that the new airport owners, Infratil, considered the Consultative Committee too cumbersome with 30 members and wanted this to be reduced.
The Chairman is a member of the Executive Committee of the Kent Association of Parish Councils (KAPC) and, at their meeting on 14th January at Wye, it had been pointed out that a sub-committee, consisting of Council Officers, was to be appointed to set up a new Committee. The Executive felt the composition of Officers was inappropriate, as was the decision to reduce the number of village representatives. They believed that, if there were to be only one or two representatives for all the villages this would cause communication problems for each village to make its own case, as well as being difficult to disseminate information back to parishes. The Executive believed that Thanet should have the most representation with some from Canterbury villages that are overflown.
Alistair Hunter, Chairman of KIACC, has issued an email to members informing them that a proposed meeting had been cancelled and, at the time of his email (19th January) no new date had been suggested.
This subject was also mentioned at the Thanet Area Committee meeting on 26th January when it was announced that it is not a compulsory requirement to have a Consultative Committee and Infratil could decide to disband it, if they so wished.
Sam Hodgson, as Acol's representative on the original KIACC, had nothing to add as he has heard no more and no meeting has yet been arranged.
39. Planning applications
Two planning applications had been recently received. One was for a railing and gates for The Manor in The Street, to which there were no objections.
An application had been received to convert the storage workshop on the corner of The Street and Plumstone Road, at the rear of the Chapel of Rest, which is stated on the application to be "land r/o Acol Methodist Church". This, in itself, had caused confusion as Council Officers and villagers alike thought there had been a new application submitted for the land adjacent to St Mildred's Church. The majority of opinions expressed were that the workshop was particularly unsuitable for a dwelling, as was its location, in the middle of an island, surrounded by three roads, albeit one is just a slip-road, with no parking and nowhere for a garden. These opinions will be passed on to TDC Planning Department.
40. Clerk's Report
The Clerk was not present so there were no financial matters to be tabled.
41. Councillors' Reports
Another item discussed at the KAPC Executive Committee was the government's desire to consolidate police forces. Paul Carter, Chairman of the Kent Partnership and Leader of Kent County Council, has written to Clarles Clarke MP expressing Kent's desire to retain its stand-alone force and backed by 37 additional organisations, including TDC, with supporting signatures. The result is awaited.
Thanet Council's Transportation Board is being disbanded with no replacement planned. Other Parish Councillors believe we need this as a direct link to KCC Transportation Board and the Chairman of the Area Committee is involved in various discussions.
There being no further business, the meeting closed at 8.50pm