2011 September Minutes

Minutes of the Meeting of the Council held at the Village Hall, Acol, on 19th September 2011 at 7.00p.m.

Present:            Councillors Miss Bransfield (Chairman), J. Inchley, Dr. Mitchell and R. Norris

Also present:     Roy Wade(Clerk) and Tony Gander (Safety Partnership)


a.       Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Mrs O’Reilly and the Chairman reported that she had authorised the Clerk to send flowers on behalf of the Parish Council and a card wishing Liz a speedy recovery.

b.      RESOLVED: That the report be noted and the action of the Chairman ratified.


The Minutes of the meeting held on 29th July 2011 were approved and signed by the Chairman.


Cllr. Norris disclosed a personal interest in Minute nos.   below.          


a.       A Police officer was not present to report.

b.       The Chairman introduced Tony Gander of the Community Safety Partnership who reported on the role to which he had just been appointed. He reminded Members and residents of the safety measures that were available to the elderly residents of the Village and his duties including dealing with fly tipping, hare coursing, scrap metal dealers and road safety issues.   


a.       The Chairman had no matters for report in respect of highway matters/traffic issues.

b.       However the Chairman reported the receipt of a letter from the Rev’d Roy Stagg congratulating the Parish Council on its initiative in respect of safety and improvements at the Recreation Ground.

c.       Members were advised that an e mail had been received asking whether there was a field available within the Village for the use of motor bikes. The Chairman would investigate and report back.


                        Cllr. Dr. Mitchell reported as follows:

APEG Interim Report on Village Questionnaire

The council may not be in a position to answer all the questions/suggestions raised in this report.  I ask that those items that we cannot respond to   today are given an appropriate period of reflection and research and that the Council reports as soon as possible –before the next meeting where appropriate.

Village questionnaires were circulated to all households in Acol where letterboxes were accessible.  The questionnaires were collected 3 days after circulation.  Where householders were at home either(1) a filled-in questionnaire was collected or (2) opinions about the recreation ground and the facilities were noted.  Where householders were not available a note was left indicating that questionnaires could be dropped off at my house or that they could ring me with their suggestions at a convenient time.

110 questionnaires were delivered and to date 28 questionnaires have been collected and a further 20 households have been contacted directly.

Do you use the recreation ground?

Yes – 35% ( all respondents)

(17 households)

No – 65% ( all respondents)

(31 households)

How do you use the recreation ground?  (% of those who use the recreation ground)










Climbing frame



Dolphin rocker



Adventure trail



Football area posts



Basket ball net




Wildlife photography


How often do you use the facilities? ( % of those who use the recreation ground – 17 households)

< 6 times a year


>6 < 12 times a year


>once a month


>once a week


 Ages  and numbers of children in the household ( of those who responded via questionnaire)

< 5years old


>5 years < 11 years


>11 years < 16 years


>16 years




Conversations with householders indicate that there are approximately an extra 7 children ages below 11 years and also an extra 7 between the ages of 11-16 years not yet reported.  There are approximately 32 children under the age of 16 in the village.  However it is clear that many older people in the village use the play equipment and recreation ground with their grandchildren – but this is not necessarily a very regular occurrence but is a useful community service.


Would you help with maintenance and/or funding? ( of those who responded via questionnaire)


Yes – 11 (39%)

No – 17 (61%)


Yes – 9 (39%)

No – 14 (61%)

Some comments received from villagers via questionnaire and conversation

The play equipment is in the wrong place  – it would be better in the centre of the village

There is nothing to do for the children in the village – particularly older children

The access is very difficult with children in a buggy

It’s a good place to meet  and chat with friends

The access is difficult for the disabled  or less-able –  vehicular access with parking would be useful

Climbing frame not suitable for disabled /less able children

The gate is always shut making access difficult

I would use the recreation ground if dogs were allowed

Access from Plumstone Road end of the village is difficult because of the busy road

Responsible dog owners would appreciate using field to walk their dogs

There should be more events on the field

Not enough equipment for younger children

There should be a concrete base for the basket ball net

We  should use recreation ground for events to bring the village together

The recreation ground is not used in the winter

I would support funding by running dog shows or regular boot fairs

Hardly anyone uses the recreation ground

Birchington youths have been seen causing some vandalism,camping and drinking alcohol at the field

I don’t see the relevance of the recreation ground – it’s never used so funding maintenance is a waste of time

Acol youths and some of their parents  are concerned that  they  are being accused of vandalism

It’s good to have somewhere for the kids to go

I don’t let the children use the facilities because they have to cross Crispe Road

I would support fund raising by private donation

I am really worried about the “vandalism”

The fire brigade were called to put out the fire in the bark – they were responsible for cutting into the climbing frame leg to prevent further fire damage

I support the maintenance of the recreation ground – it stops kids leaving the village to play elsewhere  and potentially get into trouble

Dogs , particularly dog mess and children do not mix .

I sometimes use the play equipment and field when the grandchildren visit


 Observations to Date

·         The majority of responses have been very constructive and helpful. 

·         Just over 1/3 of respondents use the recreation ground

·         60% of respondents who use the facility do so less than 12 times a year. 40% use it more than once a month

·         All play equipment is used  – usage reflected in age groups of children currently  in the village and time of year. 

·         There are many dogs/dog owners in Acol (numbers unknown)

·         39% (11 households – names given) of questionnaire respondents are prepared to support fund raising and/or maintenance

·         Generally there is a view that the recreation ground is a useful asset for the village but that it is underutilized

·         Concerns: lack of suitable access/parking ,  busy roads,  dogs in the field, potential vandalism

Other News

Mr Tony Burgess responded to the report of “vandalism” and general ill-repair of the play equipment in the Village Voice and has spent his time over the last few weeks repairing and mending the play equipment and fences at the recreation ground.  He has done a fantastic job and involved local boys to help with the jobs.  Tony has worked in close collaboration with me and other volunteers.   Tony is now a member of the Acol Play Equipment Group reporting to the Parish Council.

The following suggestions have been raised by Tony and I promised to present them for consideration by the Parish Council.

Tony has volunteered a further two years of his time to manage the maintenance of the play equipment and environs and to work on any agreed improvements/changes.  He would like the following suggestions considered:

  • Cut back the trees at the back of the play equipment to a height of approx 7ft so that there is a clear view through the wood.  Branches cut off the trees in November could form a log pile against the back fence to prevent youths gaining access through the fields.
  • Gate to be open for access between 9am – 7pm or dusk whichever is first. 
  • New gate to be purchased with improved access for children and disabled  but restricted access for high vehicles such as campers/mobile homes etc
  • Dogs to be allowed on the recreation ground if on a lead  and with a penalty fine for  any fouling
  • Fencing to be erected around the play –equipment if dogs allowed in the field.
  • Events such as boot fairs to be organised on a regular basis (10 a year) – dogs shows to be considered ( 2 a year).  All funds raised by these events to be used for the maintenance, repair and purchase of new equipment for the recreation ground. 
  • APEG should have a separate bank account to hold funds raised by events and money to be used for maintenance, repair and any new equipment needed.
  •  To hold an opening event for the newly furbished play equipment in  Spring 2012
  • Erection of 3 picnic tables – Tony will donate one if the Parish Council and Village Hall Committee will donate funds (approx £100) for the others .
  •  Erection of small notice board – near commemorative oak – to publicise events and notify re local wildlife .
  • Parking provision for 6 cars – no hard standing just indication of where people could park – at bottom of field in the corner.
  •  Tony is working on finding suitable sources of bark for the playground floor – local sources could prove to be much cheaper but does not have BSN certification. 


The Rotary Club ( Birchington and Westgate) have very kindly offered to raise an application for a donation of £200 for APEG.  Helen  and Tony met with David Hearnshaw  (Rotary) to discuss details of the application this morning.  David was impressed with the work done by the community so far to improve the facilities and this will be a positive addition to the funding application.

Helen to complete community funding application for submission to TDC before 14 October 2011.

A full report will be given from completed questionnaires at the next Parish Council Meeting

In respect of the control of dogs using the Recreation Ground for exercise purposes Tony Gander reminded Members that there an area included within the Manston Recreation Ground for such purposes and Dr. Mitchell undertook to visit it and report back.

Cllr. Norris asked who had given approval for the use of the Rec for a firework display and whether the Parish Council’s insurance policy covered such uses. The Clerk responded that the event was organised by the Village Hall Management Committee and that the management committee’s certificate of insurance was displayed for all to see within the Village Hall.

However the Clerk was asked to let Cllr. Norris have a sight of the Parish Council’s insurance policy.


      Council considered the following matters raised by Cllr. Norris:

(A)    The conservation area – the erection of a new sign and whether it required planning approval. The Clerk was asked to investigate this matter following further information from Cllr. Norris.

(B)    The Industrial Site – the absence of screening. Cllr. Norris expressed the view that the screening works, as required by the planning inspectorate had not been complied with. The Clerk to investigate.

(C)    Allotments – provision within the Village. Cllr. Norris agreed to undertake a survey to establish whether there was a need for allotments within the Village.