Dear Parishioners Lenham Parish Council members’ wish you all a Happy New Year.
2013 proved to be a busy year, with such a vibrant and active community there is always something happening in and around the parish which the LPC strive to help to facilitate.
We have worked on several projects, many of which are on-going concerns.
The CEMETERY has had considerable works carried out to improve the site, upgrade the facilities and keep the grounds well maintained. In the New Year we intend to replace the dilapidated entrance fencing with chestnut cleft three post fencing; this will add to the overall improvements, which included planting Hornbeam trees on each side of the drive to enhance the area. The trees are now well established, thanks to regular watering throughout the summer, using the newly installed water supply, sponsored by A W Court and the Hatch Charity. In the spring there will be a volunteers’ day, when we will undertake to cut back and tidy the entire site. Country Style Recycling Group have kindly offered the use of a free skip, which is much appreciated. Cllr. Greenwood has led the initiatives to improve the grounds along with Cllrs. Bone, Bradshaw, Osborn and Willis.
The WCs will undergo a modernisation project (subject to funding) following the decision to enter into a long term lease agreement with Maidstone Borough Council. We recognise the usefulness of providing public conveniences but aim to improve the facilities. Cllrs. Willis, Bradshaw and Gillett have been researching options.
An upgrade of the CCTV system has been completed by Cllr. Bone with part funding from KCC. New cameras have been installed at Ham Lane play area and the BMX Park. Cllr. Bone has also worked with KCC HIGHWAYS on the perennial problems of road surfaces, flooding, signs, lights and parking issues. Fortunately, our newest member Cllr. Jackson (co-opted December 2013) has shown an interest in highway issues so this may lighten the load for Cllr. Bone.
PLANNING is sometimes a contentious issue and Cllr. Huggens’ has guided the LPC throughout the year in his role as planning committee chairman. There have been many applications, an appeal and several enforcements which have kept the committee busy, attending site meetings, public inquiries and consultation meetings. Alongside which, the NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN is progressing with local site meetings and consultations with developers. LPC strive to keep parishioners’ informed and organise public meetings where plans may be viewed and opinions expressed.
The possibility of the GLEBE POND being made available to the LPC as an open public space, without the hindrance of the previous short term lease agreement, is being overseen by Cllr. Barr, who also works with Cllrs. Gillett and Greenwood to maintain and enhance the CHERRY DOWNS PICNIC SITE.
Cllrs. Gillett and Godfrey have been working with allotment users to register the Jubilee Allotments as a Community Asset, to be included on the Asset Register. We await the decision from Maidstone Borough Council.
LPC understand the importance of LOCAL NEEDS HOUSING and to this end, Cllr. Osborn has worked with developers to facilitate three new properties at Groom Way, negotiations are progressing well. Cllr. Osborn is also working with Cllr. Drylie to upgrade the LPC WEB-SITE in a bid to improve communications.
Cllr. Younger keeps a close eye on issues relating to the legalities of providing safe PLAY FACILITIES at all three play areas, he also offers advice on disabled access.
Regular risk assessments are carried out by Cllr. Godfrey, who keeps an eye on the ever popular BMX PARK, which has recently had two new large litter bins installed and an on-going programme of repairs and maintenance of the ramps and associated equipment.
Keeping a close eye on FINANCES, Cllr. Drylie’ offers us his expertise and budgeting advice, which during the numerous funding cuts has proved invaluable.
LPC members’ are also involved in outside bodies, whereby Cllrs. attend meetings at both local schools, the Community Centre Trustee Committee, Kent Association of Local Councils, Police and Parishes Forum, Friends of St Marys and Lenham Family Festival Committee to name but a few.
Lenham Parish Council appreciates the input from local groups, clubs and societies and supports the valuable work they undertake in a voluntary capacity. The Focus magazine in particular is very useful for communications. We are fortunate in having a very helpful Community Centre Committee, who always try and accommodate the numerous and sometimes ad-hoc meetings we organise throughout the year.
The Community Warden, Martin Sherwood and PCSO Dave Rowley regularly attend the LPC meetings and keep us abreast of activities throughout the parish, we are grateful for their continued support.
Borough Cllrs. Barned and Sams are always approachable and helpful and County Cllr. Whittle supportive.
From the point of view of the Clerk, I would like to thank the Cllrs. for their time, effort and patience, which makes my job enjoyable, challenging and interesting. I would also like to thank Tony Robinson who works tirelessly for the parish and to welcome Simon the handy man and grounds maintenance contractor, who really has improved the cemetery and churchyard in particular.