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Hawkinge Parish Council | Hawkinge Parish Council

Hawkinge Parish Council: Hawkinge Parish annual meeting -23 April 2008 - Chairman's report

Contributed by editor on Apr 25, 2008 - 02:14 PM

Hawkinge Parish Council

This year has been a year for change of the Parish Council. In May 2007 there were Parish Council elections and a new Parish Council was elected.

Our new Parish Clerk, Tina Wiles, started in April 2007 and for the first time, the PC has a full time Clerk. This has meant that the PC has been able to reorganise itself and put in place a robust decision making structure.

The PC now has 2 formal committees. The Finance and General Purposes Committee and the Community Services Advisory Committee. These committees have been able to discuss matters in depth and make recommendations to the Parish Council. The PC has a hot desk in the Hawkinge Partnership Offices which enable the Clerk to meet and discuss Parish matters with councillors and other interested parties.

The PC is also preparing itself to gain Quality Status and this is progressing well. A Parish Plan Steering Committee has been formed under the Chairmanship of Councillor Tony Hutt who will be reporting its progress later in the meeting.

The PC in partnership with KCC and Hawkinge Partnership has been involved in the Canterbury Road Project and the results of the project can been seen at present. The PC has been acting as a lead partner in the Canterbury Road Visual Improvement Project with monies from the PC and the Hawkinge Partnership. The improvements will be made to the grass areas in front of the shops. The works are due to start on 6th May.

The PC carried out a consultation on 8th September in conjunction with the Hawkinge Fun Day to find out what local people would like to see the Section 106 monies spend on. This has resulted in the PC working in Partnership with Shepway District Council to produce an overall village strategy of the needs and requirements and the identification of possible locations.

The Community Centre has continued to have its problems. The PC in partnership with the Hawkinge Partnership and other stakeholders has met and had discussions and now believe with its new Charity Status that the Community Centre should be able to be developed and provide good amenities for the village.

In January of this year two new Parish Councillors were elected Cllr Mrs Pat Meloy and Cllr Colin Tearle, following the resignation of Mrs James and Keven Avery.

In September 2007, the Finance and General Purposes (F&GP) Committee began its review and financial scrutiny of the various projects it was progressing. The review started with the Football Project. After a thorough look at how the project was developing, a decision was reached that it of a scale that was beyond the resources of the Parish Council ie that the proposal to build a pavilion complete with a large community hall in excess of an estimated £500,000 - £600,000 would expose the Parish Council to financial risk. The F&GP Cttee considered that the original project to build changing rooms for in the region of £200,000 including match funding, with a view to expansion as required was the best option and within the resources of the PC.

The Parish Council approved the recommendations of the F & GP Cttee and resolved to continue to make £100,000 available for the project to go ahead.

The Committee also asked the F&GP Cttee to look again at the project, this time not just financially but to make recommendation as to how the PC should be proceed in general with the project. The F &FP Cttee set up a review group Chaired by Cllr Colin Tearle and again after lengthy debate and discussions with interested parties came to the conclusion that there was a need for changing rooms but found little evidence of sustainability for a pavilion with community hall. The cost of running such a building would expose the PC to financial risk. Advice was sought from an independent internal auditor recommended by the Kent Association of Local Council’s, who recommended that the Parish Council should not take such a risk. During its considerations, the review group were impressed by the achievements of the Football Club and to encourage the Club further its aims, suggested that the PC should offer a two year lease to the Club. The PC supported this and the lease is currently being negotiated.

Other achievements during the year have been the provision of a Christmas Tree in the village. You probably all saw the lighted Chirstmas Tree outside the village hall. This was a success and I am pleased to say that there was no vandalism and that the PC is planning the same again for this year. We held our annual Christmas Carol concert in early December in the Community Centre and the event was very well attended.

We have been working with the Hawkinge Allotment Society in a concerted effort to provide an allotment within the Village. This project falls within the overall village strategy and I am pleased to say that real progress is being made at present, with a site owned by Shepway District Council

The Parish Council adopted its aims and objectives in January 2008. This document highlighted the priorities for the next three years and will direct where the money raised in the precept will be spent. It will also focus on sustaining the projects that are currently being pursued.

The Parish Council has throughout the year been consulted on many planning applications within Hawkinge and continues to support the needs of the village through its consultation responses.

In conclusion, the Parish Council will continue to be involved in many more major projects which it hopes can be delivered to local people during the forthcoming year. Other projects will continue to be progressed into future years.

Finally, I would like to finish by thanking my fellow councillors for their hard work and support and the Clerk for the support she has given me.

David Callahan