Chilham Environmental Protection Society

Download the March 2003 CEPS newsletter in Adobe Acrobat PDF format here in Word format here.

Valerie P. Howe Secretary 12 Mountain Street Chilham

Minutes of the 2004 Annual General Meeting of the Chilham Environmental Protection Society

The Annual General Meeting of the Chilham Environmental Protection Society (CEPS) was held on 29 November at Chilham Village Hall. Twenty-eight members attended. The minutes of last year’s AGM were approved and in matters arising there was a discussion on what progress had been made since the CEPS presentation on its proposal for improving Chilham Square, one of CEPS’ major projects. The presentation to Chilham Parish Council was given on 6 November 2003 by CEPS Chairman. Following the presentation, the CPC put the Square on the agenda for its meeting on 4 December 2003, when the Council decided unanimously to take the matter forward and formed a sub-committee for that purpose. Three CEPS members were co-opted on to the sub-committee. In her report to the AGM, CEPS Chairman described recent progress made by the sub-committee on the project, the next stage of which is to apply to DEFRA by 25 January 2005 for a grant to fund an independent feasibility study to be carried out by a spatial designer and landscape architect. DEFRA is not expected to fund the entire study and it was agreed at the AGM that CEPS would make a financial contribution to this study.

 The Parish Design Statement, in which six CEPS members were involved, was discussed at some length and the general feeling at the AGM was that the parish had not been allowed sufficient consultation. It was pointed out that copies were available at the church, post office and doctor’s surgery and a consultation morning held at Old Wives Lees Methodist Church – all of which was advertised in the Kentish Gazette, on the Parish Notice Board outside the Post Office and in the Parish Magazine. It was also suggested by some members that the content of the statement was not broad enough and omitted several subjects that they felt were important. Examples were the need to extend mains drainage and gas supply, need for a Heritage Centre, the need to use non-polluting energy sources and to avoid the use of illegally felled rain-forest hardwood. It was pointed out that these Parish Design Statements were designed by central government as a way for local communities to identify local character and set out design guidance for developers, designers and householders when carrying out work on property, which affects the local environment. The scope is limited to design issues that are meant to help retain the unique character of the parish. The Statement has to comply with these parameters if it is to be accepted by Ashford Borough Council as Supplementary Planning guidance. Supplementary planning guidance gives more detailed planning policy than is provided by the local plan and is another layer of planning law, which can have a considerable influence on planning decisions. It was agreed that CEPS would write to the Chairman of the Parish Design Statement Working Group putting the points raised.

 Other issues discussed included CEPS’ other projects on biodiversity and quiet lanes, as well as Ashford Borough Council’s paper on traffic speed within the parish and Taylors Hill car park, which is linked to the plans for the Square.

 The present officers were all re-elected: Chairman Helen Kirwan, Vice Chairman Diana Holbrook, Secretary Valerie Howe, Treasurer Francisca Perrett and CEPS representative on Chilham Village Hall Committee Doffy Milner. The Treasurer’s report, which showed a healthy balance, was approved.

 The death of Tony Babington earlier in the year meant that CEPS lost its President. He has been sadly missed but the Chairman was pleased to announce that Josephine Pullein Thompson has agreed to take on the role. She is a writer who has been President of PEN and has lengthy experience of working on committees. She has also been a member of CEPS since 1991. CEPS is also looking for a patron and members were asked to suggest names of high profile people, living locally who may have an interest in CEPS and the work it does.