Hackington Parish Council
The Chairman of the Parish Council’s report to the AGM of the Council, the Parish Assembly, 14th March 2013
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.
In the early summer of 2012 it was with great sadness that the whole community learned of the death of Cllr Hazel McCabe. Hazel had been a parish councillor for more than 30 years and had been Chairman of the Council for almost 20 of those years. She had been a stalwart supporter of the community and a defender of all the parish’s amenities, including most notably, defending the Sarre Penn valley against the proposals to construct a reservoir there and by being instrumental on securing Conservation Area status for the parish in 1995. It is the Council’s intention to commemorate Hazel’s contribution to the parish and to record the high regard in which she was held, by creating a suitable memorial to her.
The Council advertised the vacancy caused by Hazel’s death but an election was not requested by the electorate. The Council therefore sought volunteers to be co-opted onto the Council and was pleased to be able to interview two residents who expressed interest in serving. As a result of the proper process Trish Hulks was co-opted onto the Council.
Highways and road traffic again featured prominently in the Council’s work. The Council records its appreciation of those who created a petition seeking means of reducing the speed of traffic through the village on Hackington Road. The petition was welcomed by the Council and directed on to the Highway Authority through our County Councillor, John Simmonds, and to our MP. A week-long survey of traffic speed was undertaken which revealed shockingly high average speeds in both directions on the road and outrageously high incidences of individual speeding.
As a result of the survey and our County Councillor being able to secure funding, we have now been promised that a speed indicator sign will soon be installed to indicate their speed to city bound traffic.
Though they are pleased to have secured this long sort for control, the Council will continue to seek a similar sign for coast-bound traffic as soon as funding becomes available.
The long promised additional hump was put in Summer Lane in order to reduce the speed of traffic beside the Recreation Ground.
Councillors are 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 six years after the request was first made.
We are pleased to report that the large bag of salt placed on the traffic island at the junction of Hackington Road and Link Road last winter has now been replaced by a yellow bin.
With the assistance of our PCSO, Mike Bradbury, 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, (available on 07772225942 email: firstname.lastname@example.org) for his attendance in the village.
The Parish Council has considered several planning applications during the year. In one notable application the matter was considered by a newly created Planning sub-Committee. The sub-Committee recommended refusal of the application and referred to the Hackington Parish Plan and the Parish Design statement as material statements concerning planning and development in the parish. The application was refused, as was a subsequent modified re-submission.
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.
During the course of the year the Council undertook an Appraisal of residents’ views on the various factors which affect life in the parish. The Council is grateful to Cllr Ben Fitter who created a web-site by which residents could give their opinions electronically and this led to a much larger sample of views than was obtained five years ago when the last Appraisal was undertaken. The Responses to the Appraisal have been analysed and a report prepared. It is expected that a new Plan based on the conclusions of the report will be published in the early summer 2013.
An improved fibre-optic broadband service to the village was secured following several years of lobbying by the Council
The Tyler Hill Meadow Local Nature Reserve has again benefited from the voluntary efforts of 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 Management Committee have been pleased to welcome Nick Pygott to the monitoring team and he now surveys reptiles and amphibians.
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 very heavily used. All the paths, including those crossing crops, were in an excellent condition, affording easy access to the peace and quiet of our countryside. The steps crossing the former railway line have been refurbished. The Council is grateful to the Footpath Officer for his prompt and efficient repairs and maintenance work on our footpath network.
The City Council completed its consultation on Houses in Multiple Occupancy but its survey did not include rural parishes. As a consequence, our concerns about the incidence of houses being lost to family occupation by conversion to HMOs were not addressed in their report. We understand that the City Council will be letting us know shortly how our interests can be protected.
The Council again records its thanks to Stephen Hambrook for the production of the Community Magazine Whilst Stephen was recently undergoing substantial surgery a typed supplement to the latest edition was circulated.
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’. 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
Chairman of B, H & TH Society Penny Reilly
Tree Warden Lynne Evison
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