Hackington Parish Council
The Chairman of the Parish Council’s report to the AGM of the Council, the Parish Assembly,10th March 2011
The Council has met on its customary six occasions over the past year, managing particular matters pertaining to the parish as well as its usual business of oversight of the highways, footpaths, street lighting, and conservation area. It continues to enjoy good working relationships with other bodies serving the community in the parish.
Highways and road traffic have again been the subjects that have taken up most of the Council’s time and efforts. The condition of Summer Lane was the subject of a major review in October 2010 when representatives of the Kent Highways Services and the Drainage Officer attended a site meeting. Several suggestions concerning the improvements to the surface of the road were agreed, including an additional speed hump and additional signage, but thus far no changes have been effected.
The Parish Council is very disappointed that despite its promptings to the City Council following the completion of all the building work on sites at the north end of Summer Lane, the developer was not required to restore the surface of the road to that which pertained when planning permission, with conditions, was granted.
The Council has also proposed that a new village sign be erected on Tyler Hill Road to indicate to motorists travelling into the village that they are entering the village and that they should drive carefully.
Following the many concerns with impassable roads due to heavy snow and ice in the winter of 2009/10, the Council secured a supply of salt and sand mix by which the roads at the centre of the village could be kept open over the bad weather of November and December 2010. We are pleased to report that the supply, placed on the traffic island at the junction of Hackington Road and Link Road contributed greatly to keeping the roads open. The snowplough clearance of Tyler Hill Road was restored having been lost for several years.
With the assistance of our PCSO, Chris Chapman and his colleagues, both Hackington Road and Tyler Hill Road have been regularly monitored for speeding vehicles. Whilst there are still too many instances of speeding, it is thought that the frequency is reducing due to our vigilance.
The Parish has again enjoyed a year in which there were very few crimes committed (theft and attempted theft) and the Council is grateful to PCSO Chris Chapman (available on 07772 226034) for his attendance in the village.
Cllr Nigel Cronin continues to be the co-ordinator for safety and security matters in the Parish.
The Parish Council’s Village Design Statement was accepted, enthusiastically by some, at the Rural Members Area panel and though there was need for minor changes to the section on Cautionary Observations it was accepted by the Development Control Committee of the City Council at its meeting on 8th March 2011 as a material statement concerning planning and development in the parish. The Council believes that this formal recognition of its plans for the parish is a significant achievement as it offers clear and unambiguous guidance on what is acceptable and what would be unacceptable for development in the parish.
The Council continues to welcome commentary on the Statement. The text is available on the Parish Council’s website.www.hackingtonpc.kentparishes.gov.uk.
The Council has for several years campaigned for improved broadband service to the village. Probably because of our relatively small size (there are about 500 residents in the parish) our bids and requests have not been successful. In order to improve our bid the Council is undertaking a survey of all those who live in the village and who use broadband at home to ascertain the current position in terms of speed and reliability and to find out what are the aspirations of users in the future. A questionnaire is to be circulated with the Community Magazine with a return date of the end of March 2011. We hope to be able to report our findings and our proposals for improvements in the Community Magazine and on the Parish Council website later in the year.
The Tyler Hill Meadow Local Nature Reserve suffered severe damage to its older trees during the winter storms of 2009/10 but the damage and debris was cleared by bird nesting time. Due to efforts of volunteers over the past eight years or so the Reserve is now relatively easily maintained. Thanks to a successful bid for £350.00 to the Big Lottery Fund the management committee now has its own hedge trimming and grass cutting equipment available.
There are regular surveys of birds, butterflies and moths, flowers and grasses, trees, and dormice. The management Committee would like to secure the assistance of an enthusiast for the monitoring and surveying of reptiles and amphibians.
During the year the Council’s tree warden has advised on proposals for all manner of changes to trees in the village. Due to her sterling efforts the Parish was awarded a prize of a tree by the Kent Branch of the Men of the Trees for the Best First Time entrant in their annual competition. The tree is to be planted before the end of March 2011.
Footpaths in and across the parish are very well used. Of late some of the wetter areas of paths have become water-logged but walkers have not found it difficult to deviate slightly in order to walk the woods. During the year several requests were made to the PRoW team and they have responded speedily to clear fallen trees and maintain stiles. The footpaths to the east, which are mainly in our woods, have been very heavily used. During the dry summer all the paths, including those crossing crops, were in an excellent condition, affording easy access to the peace and quiet of our countryside.
Anyone using our footpaths who has a concern about their condition or about overhanging vegetation are reminded to put their points to the footpath warden
Many residents of the village are very concerned by the number of houses that have been converted from family homes into houses of multiple occupancy, (HMOs). The City Council has commenced a consultation on HMOs in several parishes in the District, including our own. The Parish Council has responded to the consultation, offering the recommendation that no more than 10% of any houses within a 200m radius of the centre of the village, (the Ivy House pub), should be allowed to be converted to HMOs. We await the outcome of the consultation.
The Council invested in a new noticeboard which is placed near the post box on the village green. It is pleasing to note the general use made of the board by the groups, clubs and societies in the village.
The Council again records its thanks to Stephen Hambrook for the production of the Community Magazine under the patronage of the Council. Stephen is always pleased to have local news and articles submitted to him for inclusion in the magazine.
The increasing use of our web site has made for another busy year for our Clerk to the Council. The site provides immediate access to the formal business matters and decisions of the Council and to informal and social events in the village.
This year the Council has placed the following documents on the website:
A revised and updated version of The Parish Design Statement for commentary.
‘Who we are and what we do’. A statement about the Parish Council’s
constitution and activities.
Minutes of Parish Council meetings
Minutes of the management committee for the Tyler Hill Meadow Reserve.
Members of the Council again wish to record their thanks to the Clerk, Mrs Denise Horswell, for the efficient, considerate and very pleasant way she continues to deal with all her responsibilities during the year.
Electors will be interested to know that during the year Denise was appointed as Clerk to Blean Parish Council and that thereby there is an excellent coordination and exchange of information between the two parishes.
Our thanks also go to Barbara Flack who has been our Neighbourhood Watch coordinator over the past year. Barbara would be grateful for any support that can be offered to her so that she can have a representative in each of the roads or ‘locales’ within the parish.
During the year the Parish Councillors have taken the following lead responsibilities
Footpaths                              Ray Evison
Highways                              Robin Whiting
Street Lighting + Security   Nigel Cronin
Annie Cover                         Liaison with KALC and Memorial Hall
Conservation                                    Hazel McCabe.
Tree Warden                         Lynne Evison
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