Minutes: February 2017

Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held in The Rising Sun

on 13th February 2017


Present: Councillors:          Mike Coleman (Chairman)

Chris Leaper (Vice-Chair)

Nick Church.

Janet Jeffrie

District Cllr. Mike Conolly

Pat Coleman (Clerk) 10 Members of the public.


Apologies:   None



No changes to declarations were made.




1 Proposed East Kent Councils Merger:  A document has been produced outlining the financial and economic case for the merger of the four East Kent District councils. (Canterbury, Dover, Shepway and Thanet.)  Ashford has now pulled out of the merger but wishes to continue to have some kind of associated relationship.  At this stage there is no proposal for moving to a full unitary status, though this may become possible in due course.  KCC are vehemently opposed to this.  Projected annual savings across the four councils once the process is complete are estimated at £6.4 million.  These will flow from structural changes and once the new organisation is up and running there should be further savings in areas such as procurement.  The plan would be for the new council to have one Chief Executive, one senior management team, one HQ and around 90/100 councillors.  Transition costs are estimated at £6.8 million.  Council tax harmonisation is a major issue because of the current disparity in present rates across the four authorities.  The document raised the issue of potential democratic deficit.  Possible, though not explored, solutions include the creation of Area Boards, devolution of powers to Towns and Parishes, and a return to a committee based system.  The timetable is:


March 22nd           All councils vote to proceed.  No guarantee that all will approve.

April- July              Consultation

July                         Proposals submitted to Government

Autumn                  Government decision

April 2019              New council legally takes effect

May 2019              Elections to new council


This is a demanding schedule and it is possible that Government will agree to one further year of the existing structure to ensure there is sufficient time to do the job properly


2 Budget: Cabinet has agreed the Budget for 2017/18, which is balanced, and the Medium Term Financial Plan which shows major deficits from 2020 onwards.  Other councils have similar issues and this is the main driver of the proposed merger.  As there is little scope for further cost cutting without damaging front line services we are looking to become active in both residential and commercial property development as a means of improving income.


3 Planning:  At the January Planning Committee meeting the applications for two communications masts in the Richborough area were refused, as was the application for circa 100 homes off Sandwich Road, Ash.  The application for housing at the Chequer Lane site, which is in the Local Plan, was approved.


4 Regeneration update:


DTIZ/ St James development:  a new main contractor has been appointed by Legal and General but this cannot be announced publicly yet because of legal issues relating to the sub contractors.  In the meantime work on the site continues apace, with the cinema and hotel the most likely to be ready first.  80% of retail units are let.  A decision will be needed on whether we have a ‘big bang’ launch or phased opening.


A masterplan is being developed in conjunction with the Harbour Board on the link between the waterfront and the town centre.

Discussions on the future of the redundant Migrant Removal Centre on the Western Heights are being initiated with the Ministry of Justice.


The KCC Highways depot on Ash Road, Sandwich is to be relocated and the site used for quality housing and a car and coach park.


After a slow start it is reported that houses in the Preston development are beginning to sell ‘according to the expected timetable’.






Minutes of the last meeting had been circulated to Councillors and were agreed and signed by the Chairman.

Proposed:  Cllr. Church Seconded: Cllr. Jeffrie.






TELEPHONE KIOSK AT WEST STOURMOUTH – Agreement received from BT. As soon as the equipment has been recovered we will arrange for some repairs and painting to be carried out.


VARIOUS POTHOLES: All potholes reported had been dealt with by KCC.




AREA AROUND THE NOTICEBOARD:  Mr Bligh was thanked for the work carried out and also Mick for providing the paving slabs.  Mr Bligh still has some work to do. ONGOING.


FINGERPOSTS: Details of requirements have been sent to Cllr Kirkaldie ONGOING


DISABLED FRIENDLY FOOTPATH: – ONGOING This item is to be removed from the agenda and deferred to a later date.


SPEED LIMITS: Enquiry to KCC about reducing the speed limit in School Lane and Church Lane – ONGOING


BUS SHELTER EAST STOURMOUTH: Unmetered power supply for defibrillator – ONGOING



Fault Number: PROW301222: A further blocked footpath. ONGOING

Footpath PROW289975: EE131 broken posts.  ONGOING

Stourmouth to Preston Footpath: Once again copies of all correspondence has been taken to the site office.  To date no response has been received. ONGOING.

West Stourmouth Broken Sign Post: This will again be reported to KCC.  ONGOING.



Various items of correspondence had been circulated to Councillors before the meeting.


A further item of correspondence had been received from Kent Air Ambulance asking for a donation of £250.00. Cllrs. Declined this.



The following cheques have been paid since the last meeting needing Authorisation:

  • BT fee for purchasing the kiosk £1.00
  • Redfearn Computing £55.00


Proposed that these be paid by Cllr. Jeffrie. Seconded by Cllr. Church.


Further cheques needing Authorisation before the end of the financial year:


  • Mr Bligh – £1,825.00 Payment for all works and repairs carried out to the garden, noticeboard, post box etc.

No charge was made for any hiring of equipment.

  • PAYE £175.00
  • Clerks Salary due for payment by the end of March (post dated cheque)
  • Payment £90.00 for Broadband.


Proposed these be paid by Cllr. Church.  Seconded by Cllr. Leaper.


The Precept had been discussed at an Extra Ordinary meeting in January and Cllr Church explained to the meeting that it had been agreed to make no adjustment and therefore it would remain the same as last year.  In line with the Transparency Code we will in future consider the merits of donations as a result of a formal request.  All grass cutting and annual hedge maintenance at the churchyard will continue.


Cllr Church also prompted a discussion on further village improvements such as the provision of a public area and the placing of benches as strategic locations.  There was the also an offer of timber to make a bench.








Amended plans for Sherry’s Farm. – No Comments to be made.



Various pot holes at West Stourmouth (Dean Farm & adjacent to the Post Box) to be reported to KCC.

The clerk will contact Mandy Pile to report that the Dog Bins are not regularly emptied.  Cllr. Conolly had recommended this.

Minutes: February 2017 (151 downloads)