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Parish News

Parish Council Report - July 2022

I only seem to write these updates when it’s warm! I was sweltering last month and I am again today. I hope you, your families and your animals all managed to keep cool and well during these hot days and nights. We’re heading into the last days of the school term and I know my own children are very excited about their summer. I hope you all have an enjoyable summer with your nearest and dearest whether jetting away or staying local.

At the Parish Council meeting on Thursday 30th June the Parish Council signed off our annual accounts for 2020/2021. Full details of the accounts can be found on our website www.ulcombeparishcouncil.co.uk or on the noticeboard outside the village hall. Any questions regarding the accounts should be directed to our Clerk, Irene Bowie, at [email protected].

The Parish Council is still working to arrange a meeting with South East Water regarding the water main replacement work that will be taking place on Ulcombe Hill from mid-August. In fact whilst writing this report, I’m dipping in and out of my emails to try and finalise details! At the time of writing the Parish Council have not yet been able to meet with the representatives of South East Water, the lack of communication has been frustrating! However for the time being the best source of information on the works is the South East Water website: 

https://www.southeastwater.co.uk/about/updates/improving-your-water-network/water-main-replacement-in-ulcombe.

There is a link to this site from the “Roadworks” section of the Parish Council website. Any further updates following the meeting with South East water, which we hope to have in the coming days, will be available on the Parish Council website as soon as possible. 

On 6th July the Transport Committee of Kent County Council agreed to remove their subsidy from the No.59 bus service which runs through Ulcombe. I will take this opportunity to stress that the school bus services through Ulcombe are not impacted. I know many residents were concerned about this scenario earlier in the year and a great effort was made to contribute to the Kingswood petition objecting to the cuts. We are still waiting to hear whether the bus operator, NuVenture, will continue to run the No.59 as a commercial service without the council subsidy. Whilst this is not impossible I think it is a highly unlikely outcome. The Parish Council is now working with our County Councillor, Shellina Prendergast, to see what if anything can be done to mitigate the situation. Shellina will be setting up a meeting with the other parishes effected which Ulcombe Parish Council will attend.

The Local Government Boundary Commission has now made its recommendations for the new ward electoral structure for elections to Maidstone Borough Council from 2024 onwards. The headline for Ulcombe is that they are recommending we remain in Headcorn ward. You can view the full recommendations on the Local Government Boundary Commision website (https://consultation.lgbce.org.uk/have-your-say/32722 ). These recommendations are now open to consultation until 28th September 2022.

The Parish Council have received the report regarding the state of the trees on the Recreation Ground. I’m pleased to say that there was nothing requiring urgent attention. However there are a few trees that the tree surgeons identified as needing some work in the near future. The Parish Council will be discussing these recommendations at our next meeting in September. 

As always I direct you to our website www.ulcombeparishcouncil.co.uk as the best source of information for all things happening with the Parish Council. All the planning applications we consider are available for view along with a whole host of useful resources. 

Our next meeting is Thursday 1st September at 7.15pm in the village hall, everyone is welcome to attend. The agenda for the meeting will be available on the website or on the noticeboards outside the village hall and next to the bus stop outside the school during the week prior. In the meantime please do not hesitate to contact me or our clerk, Irene, if there is anything you want to bring to the attention of the Parish Council.  

Rachel Robinson 

Chairman, Ulcombe Parish Council, 19th July 2022

Parish Council Report - May 2022

The Annual Meeting of Ulcombe Parish Council took place on Thursday 12th May 2022. We had to delay the meeting by a week as our usual first Thursday of the month was unavailable due to the Village Hall being used as a polling station for the Maidstone Borough Council elections.

At the start of the meeting Fiona Kenward announced her decision to step down as Chairman of the Parish Council after three years in the position. The Parish Council would like to extend their thanks to Fiona for all her work in the role as Chairman. She tackled everything with positivity and energy and we will all miss her leadership and calm approach to challenges. During her time as Chairman several improvements have been made to the Recreation Ground including the new fencing, planter, entry barriers and noticeboard. I also know that Fiona was proud to have been the first female Chairman of the Parish Council in Ulcombe’s history. We are delighted that Fiona is remaining on the Parish Council for the time being and can continue to contribute to the business of the Parish Council.

Rachel Robinson was elected as Chairman of the Parish Council for the coming year.

At the meeting Liz Easton was co-opted to the Parish Council to fill the councillor vacancy that has been advertised this year. Ulcombe is therefore now back up to a full complement of councillors. Liz has lived in Ulcombe for 20 years and we are delighted that she has joined us. 

The Parish Council have been in touch with South East Water regarding the planned water main works on Ulcombe Hill later in 2022. It is anticipated that Ulcombe Hill may have to be closed to traffic for several weeks to allow this necessary infrastructure work to take place. This will however cause disruption to residents and businesses within Ulcombe. South East water will be writing to customers around six weeks before the works start and will engage with the Parish Council. There will also be a dedicated webpage with information about the works. The Parish Council will continue to liaise with South East water and ensure that we communicate all the information we can on this project in a timely and accessible way.

The Parish Council know that the speed and type of vehicles coming through the village is a concern to many of you and we continue to liaise with Kent County Council on ways to mitigate the issue. However, there is also a role for any concerned parishioners. We have an established “Speed Watch” scheme in the village which is coordinated by Rhian Banham, which would benefit greatly from an injection of new volunteers. If you would like to get involved or simply find out a little more about what volunteering for the scheme entails please contact Rhian Banham, [email protected] . In addition to this Richard Pilborough is looking into the feasibility of establishing a “Lorry Watch” scheme for Chegworth Road. If you would be interested in getting involved please contact the Clerk to the Parish Council Irene Bowie, [email protected] .

I know last month some residents spotted some men on the Recreation Ground having a very good look at the trees. The Parish Council commissioned a tree survey of the trees on the Recreation Ground; this is to assess the health and safety of the trees and to identify any tree surgery that may be required. We anticipate receiving the report in the next few days and there should be some action points to report next time I write.

After decades of languishing in various sheds around the village it was suggested at the March Parish Council meeting that the village pump needed a good home and the Parish Council contacted the Museum of Kent Life to see if they would be interested in taking on Ulcombe’s old village pump as they have our old village hall. We are delighted to report that Kent Life are interested in the pump and we are working with them to organise collection. It will be wonderful to see the village pump being well looked after and enjoyed by people from all over Kent.

Due to unforeseen circumstances at our internal auditor the Parish Council accounts were not ready to be signed off at our Annual Meeting. Happily they will be ready for our next Parish Council meeting, and the details will be published following the next meeting.

The Parish Council also considered and voted on a range of planning applications. All the planning applications the Parish Council consider can be viewed on our website, on the “Planning Tracker” tab. The applications on this page can be clicked through to the planning portal where you can have your say on any planning application. You can also sign up for email alerts that will ensure you are notified of new planning applications direct to your inbox. https://www.ulcombeparishcouncil.co.uk/community/ulcombe-parish-council-19694/planning-tracker/

Prior to the start of the Parish Council meeting the Annual Parish Meeting took place. This is not a Parish Council meeting but a meeting for the people of the parish to give a formal update about activities that happen in Ulcombe. The meeting was kicked off by Julian Coleman who is a member of the flood resilience group and has developed an early warning flood alert system. The system works by triggering an alarm in your house as the water level in a specified area rises. It was most ingenious and members of the public in attendance had lots of questions. Thank you to Julian for coming and sharing this with us.

Each year the Parish Council has the opportunity to nominate a member of the community to receive a Kent Association of Local Councils (KALC) Community Award. This was the fifth year that Ulcombe have taken part in the scheme and Fiona Kenward presented this year’s award to Rhian Banham for all the work she does in our community. Not only has Rhian organised and run many village activities, she gets involved in all aspects of village life, only this week she fixed the church flag pole with Simon Odam. Nothing is too much trouble for Rhian and she can often be found helping other members of the village in many different ways. Thank you Rhian for all you do for Ulcombe.

It was fantastic to hear from so many of the village groups and societies at the annual meeting. Many groups are now back up and running after their Covid enforced shutdowns. It’s good to see the village and community getting going with full lists of events again.

If you have not already done so I would encourage you to visit our Parish Council website www.ulcombeparishcouncil.co.uk . The website has so much useful information not just Parish Council agendas, minutes and planning, there is click through information on how to report problems about bins, potholes and footpaths to name just a few. There is a section for village events, and other information you may find useful such as mobile library timetables, the bus timetable and church service times. You can sign up for email updates so new information is sent direct to your inbox.

Finally, I wanted to remind you that your Parish Council is here to listen to you and represent you. Please do get in touch with us if you have concerns or suggestions for how to make life in Ulcombe better. We’re always happy to hear from you. Even better come along to our next meeting on Thursday 30th June, at 7.15pm in the Village Hall.

Rachel Robinson

Chairman, Ulcombe Parish Council, 17th May 2022

A copy of this report has been sent to the village newsletter for publication in the June 2022 edition.

KALC Community Award

Each year the Parish Council have the opportunity to nominate a member of our community to be recognised by the Kent Association of Local Councils (KALC) Community Award scheme.

At the Annual Parish Meeting on 12th May, this year's award was presented to Rhian Banham by the Chairman of the Parish Council, Fiona Kenward.

Many of you will know Rhian because she is involved in so many aspects of life in Ulcombe. She has and continues to organise and run many of the village activities. Nothing is too much trouble for Rhian and she's always willing to get stuck in. In the last week alone she has fixed the church flag pole, along with Simon Odam, so that Ulcombe can fly the flag for the Queen's platinum jubilee.

Not only is she a great organiser but Rhian also takes the time to keep in touch and help some of the more vulnerable members of our community.

Apparently she bakes a great cake too!

From all of us, thank you so much Rhian.

Ulcombe Parish Council Parish News

An Ingenious Flood Monitoring Device

At the Annual Parish Meeting on 12th May, Julian Coleman gave a presentation of the flood monitoring device he has developed. Julian developed the device following the flooding experienced in the village last year. Julian is also a member of Ulcombe's flood resilience group.

The device works by monitoring the water level in a specific area. As the water level rises  switches are triggered which in turn send a signal to an alarm in the home. This gives households warning to undertake emergency mitigation measures. Such a system can be installed at relatively low cost.

Members of the public in attendance were fascinated and had lots of questions. Thank you to Julian for sharing this and developing such a useful system.

Ulcombe Parish Council Parish News