Hackington Parish Council
The Chairman of the Parish Council’s report to the Parish Assembly, 13th March 2014
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, safety and security, and the conservation area. It continues to enjoy good working relationships with other bodies serving the community in the parish.
It remains the Council’s intention to commemorate Hazel McCabe’s great contribution to the parish and to record the high regard in which she was held, by creating a suitable memorial to her. However the plans the Council has for the memorial to Hazel are taking some time to bring to fruition as they rely in part upon the good will of Blean Parochial Church Council and that body has some legal issues to resolve before we can conclude any arrangements with them.
The Council undertakes an annual assessment of the Risks to which it might be vulnerable and it confirms that the necessary insurance it has obtained covers the eventualities that might have to be met.
Whilst the number of properties being converted to Houses in Multiple Occupancy continues to increase, we wait for The City Council to let us know how our interests can be protected by an Article 4 direction. This matter has been before the City Council for almost eight years now and it is intolerable for us to have our community spirit continuously eroded whilst the City Council fails to take appropriate action.
Highways and road traffic, as ever, featured prominently in the Council’s work. Partly as a result of those who created a petition seeking a means of reducing the speed of traffic through the village .our County Councillor was able to secure funding and a speed indicator sign was installed at the north end of Hackington Road to indicate their speed to city-bound traffic.
The Council will continue to seek a similar sign for coast-bound traffic as soon as funding becomes available.
There has been a prolonged negotiation with Kent Highways over the improvements required to the crossing on Hackington Road close to the Pub. After a site meeting involving local residents and Councillors it now seems that a suitable compromise has been reached for the relocation of the coast-bound bus stop, away from the crossing point. When completed the scheme should be a major improvement for safety.
Councillors continue to be disappointed that a new village sign that they asked 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 has not yet been provided some seven years after the request was first made.
There have been several accidents, collisions, or cases of vehicles leaving the road in a 200m stretch of Hackington Road on the village side of its junction with Thornden Wood Road. These incidents are a concern to the council not just for the damage and distress caused to those directly involved, but because of the disruption caused in the village by road closures whilst damaged vehicles are removed. The incidence of emergency vehicles travelling at high speed through the village (and now well verified in the traffic monitoring report) will need to be raised with the Kent Highways Authority and others.
With the assistance of our PCSO, Matthew Farley and his colleagues, Hackington Road and Tyler Hill Road have been monitored for speeding vehicles, but not, in the Council’s opinion, often enough. There are still too many instances of speeding.
The Parish has again enjoyed a year in which there were very few crimes committed and the Council is grateful to PCSO Mike Bradbury and his successor Matthew Farley, (available on 07772225942 email: firstname.lastname@example.org) for his occasional attendance in the village.
The Parish Council has considered several planning applications during the year.. Most of the applications were processed in a straight-forward, uncontentious manner but two matters have caused real concern.
The review of an application to develop at 3 Link Road was lost on appeal. The Council is very concerned at the outcome of the subsequent application made to have all the trees on the plot removed. The Tree Warden went to great lengths to petition for most of the trees to be retained, whilst conceding that a few, particularly a dead sycamore and the Leylandii on the west of the plot, could be removed. However the Tree Officer for Canterbury City Council determined that none of the trees were of sufficient quality to justify placing a T P O on them, but requested the applicant not to have them all removed, and where removed, replaced with new plantings.
The applicant, in the face of all opposition to his plans, went ahead and had all the trees removed. The resulting untidy, barren aspect of the site is completely at odds with being at the heart of our Conservation Area. It is totally at odds with the Village Design Statement ethos.
The Council will now need to have the decisions made in permitting the wholesale removal of the trees reviewed by the City Council.
This unwelcome outcome of the granting of permission will need to be addressed in a complete revision to the detail description of the locales in the Village Design Statement so that what is thought vital to the ambience of the area is not joepardised. The Council hopes to have the revision completed by July of this year.
The Council continues to welcome commentary on the Design Statement. The text is available on the Parish Council’s website www.hackingtonpc.kentparishes.gov.uk.
The other matter which causes concern was the granting of permission to create a dropped kerb along the whole of the frontage to 44 Hackington Road. The application was opposed by the Council. The decision flies in the face of the City Council’s own guidelines.
The improved fibre-optic broadband service to the village which was secured following several years of lobbying by the Council is now functioning well. It is estimated that fast broadband service can increase the value of properties which it serves by up to 20%.
The Tyler Hill Meadow Local Nature Reserve has again benefited from the voluntary efforts of the management team and from pupils from St Edmund’s School who, as part of their service in the community, have cut, cleared and tidied in the Reserve.
There continue to be regular surveys of birds, butterflies and moths, flowers and grasses, trees, and dormice.
The Reserve is now maturing well and the records kept over the past 10 years will become a valuable archive for future generations.
Footpaths in and across the parish continue to be very well used. The footpaths to the east, which are mainly in our woods, have been flooded in parts and blocked in parts by the very heavy rainfall which has occurred from the end of last year. But despite a very heavy schedule the Footpath Officer has again, provided efficient repairs and maintenance work on the network.
The Council wishes to record its grateful thanks to Stephen Hambrook for the many years he has devoted to editing and the production of the Community Magazine. His commitment and the efforts of his helpers have kept the residents informed of all manner of village news
It has now been decided that the Community Magazine will be replaced, probably by an electronic version through the Parish Council web-site.
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.
The Council has placed the following documents on the website:
The Parish Design Statement is available for scrutiny and commentary.
‘Who we are and what we do’. Is 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.
The Annual Report to the Parish Assembly.
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 the Parish Councillors have taken the following lead responsibilities
Footpaths Ray Evison
Highways Ben Fitter
Street Lighting + Security Robin Whiting
Liaison with KALC and Memorial Hall Annie Cover
Conservation Trish Hulks
The Council is grateful for the advice it receives from the Chairman of B, H & TH Society, Penny Reilly and from the Tree and Pond Warden,Lynne Evison
RE 8th March 2014