Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the November 2006 Parish Council Meeting

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Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting, held at the Memorial Hall, School Lane, on Monday, 27th November 2006 at 7.30 p.m.

Present: Cllr. Mrs J.M.Papadopulos (Chairman)
County Councillor:- M.Snelling. Councillors:- J.D.Goring, J.A.Grey, A.L.Howard, M.L.James, C.L.Jupp (also Borough), Mrs P. Oakeshott (also Borough), Mrs S. Saunders, Mrs M. Scott, Mrs A.Waugh and S. Wright.
In attendance: The Mayor of Gravesham, Cllr. Harry Smith, and the Mayoress Mrs Iris Smith
14 Parishioners.
Sarah Port, Kent Community Warden Response Team.
Apologies for absence: Received from WPC Duffort.

The Chairman welcomed the Mayor and Mayoress of Gravesham to the Christmas Meeting of the Parish Council.

The Chairman accepted apologies for absence.
There were no alterations to the Register of Members Interests.

The Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting, held on Monday, 9th October 2006, were confirmed and signed.

Matters arising from the Minutes.
Following an update of actions from the last Minutes, the Clerk reported that:-
a. P. 807 Matters Arising. Repairs to Pavilion Roof. Although the roof and ridge tiles had now been replaced there was concern that the underfelt did not appear to have been renewed. Mrs Green agreed to speak to the contractor concerned before approval was given for the account to be settled. Mrs Green also reported that a planning application had needed to be submitted for the 2.5m high Pavilion fencing, which would delay its installation.
b. P. 807 Matters Arising. Playdale Play Equipment. The new play equipment to the Recreation Ground, provided by a donation from Strood Rotary Club, had now been installed and photographs had been placed in the correspondence folder.
c. Village signs. The licences for the signs had now been received from KCC and a 5 litre can of anti-graffiti matt lacquer had been purchased at a cost of £140.94. As soon as the signs had been coated and had cured they would be passed to the KCC contractor for installation.
d. P. 809 Parish. Light to underpass. This light is unable to be repaired until the lights on the Wainscott By Pass are next serviced in February 2007 as they share the same feeder pillar.

Parishioners’ Matters.
Mr Pearton, of Chalk Road, reported that debris still had not been cleared from the lay-by in Lower Higham. Sarah Port confirmed that she had already spoken with the resident concerned, but would do so again.
Mr Taylor, of Martins Close, reported that the sinking trench to the bottom of School Lane had worsened and that the surface of the road bridge over the railway line was now breaking up.
Louise Warner, of the 1st Higham Scouts, gave details of a nationwide initiative to plant free trees to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Scouting Movement in 2007. Gravesham was the second largest district in the County, with 65 members and a waiting list. Members were in agreement with this proposal but decided to defer discussion of possible sites until the next Meeting.
Mr Clark, of The Larches, enquired regarding the petition in the Post Office against the installation of double yellow lines outside the building. Cllr. Oakeshott explained that the forthcoming Joint Transportation Board Meeting would report on the results of a petition by local residents for pavement improvements in Forge Lane, and that these lines were one of a range of options which were being considered at the present time.
Mr Chilmaid, of Steadman Close, requested that consideration be given to widening the path to the Pavilion as part of the current fencing project. Cllr. Goring agreed to look again at the site to see if this was at all feasible.

To approve the updated Risk Assessment document.
Copies of the updated Risk Assessment document had been circulated to Members prior to the Meeting. Members were in full agreement that this should now be signed and placed in the Parish Council’s records.

Councillors’ Matters.
Cllr. Snelling reported that the long awaited White Paper on Local Government had just been published and contained proposals for closer working between County and Borough Councils. He planned to report on this item more fully at the next Meeting. It was now widely expected that the Lyons Report on the possible reform of Council Tax would be published in February/March. The major works for the A2 Widening would commence in June, with the Marling Cross junction being closed for an 18 month period. It was expected that this would cause traffic congestion in Gravesend and surrounding villages, as well as creating local “rat runs”. Another factor would be the extra traffic using the A2 to get to Ebbsfleet when the station opened in October 2007. A DVD dealing with “Towards 2010” would shortly be available for Parish Councils. Members agreed that they would like Cllr. Snelling to arrange a presentation at a later date. A major rebuild for most of Gravesham’s Secondary Schools was planned under the “Building Schools for the Future” initiative. The West Kent Highways budget was a problem at the present time and it now seemed possible that there would only be two Highway Depots in Kent instead of the three originally planned.

Cllr. Jupp expressed concern that a By-Election had been called for the vacant seat in Central Ward in advance of the Local elections next May.

The Chairman took this opportunity to make a presentation to the Acting Kent Community Warden, Sarah Port, for all her help in the village over the past few months. The new Kent Community Warden for Higham and Chalk will be Steve Gray who can be contacted on 07811 271256.
Cllr. Waugh reported that she had attended the recent presentation on the new Isle of Grain to Shorne Gas Pipeline and had alerted the organizers as to the need to install “No Lorries” signs to stop heavy traffic travelling through the village.
In answer to a question from Cllr. Grey, Cllr. Oakeshott confirmed that School Lane would be resurfaced in April 2007, but only for “a light skim” from Highview to the Station.
Cllr. Saunders reported that the hedge outside Alexander Cottages still required removal and Cllr. Oakeshott agreed to chase this with the Borough Council.
Cllr. Oakeshott reported a complaint of cars being parked on the pavement so close to the front of a property on the corner of Villa Road and Norah Lane, that the windows could not be opened. A request had been made for bollards to be installed and she would investigate further and report back to Members at the next Meeting.

a. Planning
Plans were available for the following planning applications which had been received
and reviewed by the Planning Committee:

Appln. No. 20060814 Mrs P.Oakeshott, 52, Walmers Avenue
Erection of single storey extension on both sides and conversion of one of the integral garages to form a bedroom, two en-suite bathrooms and a car port.
Appln. No. 20060858 Mr & Mrs E.Quigley, “Tresanton”, 3, Elm Close.
Erection of detached four bedroom two storey dwelling with integral double garage.
Appln. No. 20060862 Ian Mair, 1, Whitehouse Farm Oast.
Erection of detached double garage.
Appln. No. 20060893 Mr & Mrs Burgess, 56, School Lane
Erection of single storey rear extension to form bedroom with shower room/w.c.
Appln. No. 20060820 Mitchells & Butler, The Copperfield, Gravesend Road.
Display of two externally illuminated signs at first floor level on front and side elevations; externally illuminated free standing pictorial sign and externally illuminated free standing directional sign both of Gravesend Road frontage.
Appln. No. 20060903 Mr K. Jenkins, Gad’s Hill House, Telegraph Hill.
Erection of a detached triple garage and garden/bicycle store at the front with storage in the loft space.
Appln. No. 20060913 Mr & Mrs B. Shephard, “Long Reach”, Elm Close.
Erection of single storey rear extension to form enlarged kitchen, dining room and utility room.
Appln. No. 20060953 Andrew Stevens, Higham Recreation Ground, School Lane.
Siting of a portable container for storage of sports equipment.

d. Multi-Purpose Games Area.
Cllr. Goring reported that tenders were being invited at the present time for the re-instatement of the floodlighting to the Sports Facility and the electricity to the changing rooms.

e. Recreation Ground.
Members noted the receipt of the Annual Inspection of Higham Recreation Ground. It was agreed to discuss this item in greater depth at the next Meeting. Cllr. Goring  reported that free newspapers had been dumped to the Recreation Ground and tennis court areas. Detective work by the newspaper concerned had discovered the culprit who had returned to the area with his Mother to clear up the mess.

g. G.R.O.W.C.
Cllr. Waugh reported that work had been completed on the Marshes but she was still waiting to hear from the ROW Officer regarding future projects.

h. Governors of Higham Primary School.
Cllr. James reported that the school was amongst the top 30% in the Country with a value added score of 100.4, and that attendance levels had now improved to 96.6%. The Headteacher would return in January after a period of study leave. It was hoped to start a walking bus to get the children to school each day, and trials would commence in mid-January.

j. Higham Youth Club.
Cllr. Saunders reported that Barrie Howes would start back at the Youth Club next week following his recent operation. She praised the volunteers who had worked so hard for the club in his absence and it was agreed to send a letter of thanks to them.

The Clerk asked for approval for the items shown on the agenda, this being proposed by Cllr. Oakeshott, seconded by Cllr. Jupp and agreed by all Members.

British Telecommunications plc (broadband) 114.08
KAPC (AGM lunch - Sect. 137/139) 7.50
Mrs L.M.Carnall (anti-graffiti paint for village signs) 140.94
Senokian Solutions Ltd. (domain/website renewal) 136.30
Mr R.W.Ellis (repairs to notice board) 154.50
Mrs J.M.Papadopulos (Chairman’s allowance) 100.00
Higham with Merston PCC (Church Xmas leaflet – Sect. 137/139) 65.00
Playdale Playgrounds Ltd. (Little Hamlets – Tothill) 2436.95
Playdale Playgrounds Ltd. (delivery and installation of Tothill) 365.43

To receive a report from the Budget and Finance Committee Meeting
Copies of the report of the Budget and Finance Committee Meeting, held on Monday, 6th November 2006, had been circulated to Members prior to the Meeting. It was proposed by Cllr. Oakeshott, seconded by Cllr. James and agreed by all Members that a precept of £25,817.96 be requested for the financial year 2007/2008.

The correspondence folder had been available for perusal by all Members from 7.00 p.m. on that evening, but the Clerk drew Members’ attention to the following items:-
1. Members agreed to promote the Kentcarshare initiative on the website.
2. Cllrs. Grey and Wright agreed to complete the Policing Kent 2007/08 survey.
3. Cllr. Wright hoped to attend a Meeting at Dartford regarding road policing issues.
4. Cllr. Waugh agreed to complete a Kent Highways Services survey.

To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting.
This was given as being Monday, 8th January 2007 at 7.30 p.m.

Any Other Business.

The Clerk reminded Members of the reports required for the 2007 Annual Parish Newsletter, which needed to be brought to the January Meeting.

The Mayor of Gravesham, Cllr. Harry Smith, thanked Members for their invitation to the first Parish Council Meeting which he had attended. He felt that the Parish Council was local democracy in action and was pleased to see so many Parishioners present. He hoped that the village would get involved in some way when the Tour de France passed through in July 2007.

In closing the Meeting at 8.50 p.m., the Chairman wished all those present a Happy Christmas and invited Members and guests to her home for some seasonal refreshment.



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