Higham Parish Council
Minutes of the October 2006 Parish Council Meeting
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Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting, held at the Memorial Hall, School Lane, on Monday, 9 th October 2006 at 7.30 p.m.
Present: Cllr. Mrs P.Oakeshott ( Vice Chairman in the Chair)
County Councillor:- M.Snelling. Councillors:-A.L.Howard, M.L.James, C.L.Jupp (also Borough), Mrs M. Scott, Mrs A.Waugh and S. Wright.
In attendance: 4 Parishioners
WPC Alison Duffort and Sarah Port, Kent Community Warden Response Team.
Apologies for absence: Received from the Chairman, Cllr. Mrs J.M.Papadopulos, and Cllrs. Goring and Saunders.
The Chairman welcomed Mrs M.Scott as the co-opted Parish Council Member and received her signed declaration of acceptance of office form. Cllr. Scott agreed to take on the following duties:- Recreation Ground, KAPC, Youth Club, Chalk Liaison Group and Press Officer.
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, 11 th September 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.802 Matters Arising. Arriva Buses. Mr Bullard, Assistant Manager of Arriva Southern Counties had agreed to speak to both Thamesview and St. Georges Schools regarding the behaviour of the pupils whilst waiting for the school bus. He was reluctant to stop using the bus bay as a pick-up point.
b. Repairs to Pavilion Roof. A decision had been taken to progress this work even though the Pavilion fencing had not yet been installed. The roof was currently leaking close to the electric lighting. A commencement date for work to start was currently awaited.
c. P. 805 Recreation Ground. The new Playdale play equipment had now been ordered following a site visit. Installation was expected in approximately 5 weeks.
d. P. 806. Correspondence. Following representations, Zurich Municipal had now reduced its renewal premium for the Pavilion to £829.30. A refund of £446.54 would be sent.
e. There had been a total of 20,752 hits to the website over the past year with 1942 during September alone. Members unanimously agreed the estimated costs of £116.99 plus VAT for the domain name renewal and web hosting charges.
Mr Chilmaid, of Steadman Close, reported another incidence of mini motor bikes being ridden in the road. The Chairman confirmed that she had spoken with Chief Supt. Gary Beautridge regarding this nuisance and he had assured her that if the matter was reported to WPC Duffort, a police officer would be sent out. She had also raised the problem of youngsters crossing the railway line at the station to avoid ticket checks and this matter had been taken in hand by Bob Platt, the Chief Supt. of the Railway Police.
Les Pearton, of Chalk Road, reported that building materials from works to a property adjacent to the lay-by in Chalk Road had now spilled over into this space. Sarah Port agreed to speak to the Parishioner concerned. Mr Pearton and Cllr. James reported complaints from parents at the school who were unable to use the Memorial Hall car park as it was locked. This had caused major problems with children being picked up and dropped off at the school.
The Chairman offered to make contact with the Hall Committee to express the concern of the Parish Council. Mr Pearton reported that work was still commencing to the site that was the subject of a planning application in Chalk Road, despite enforcement action, and expressed concern regarding the disposal of sewage and rubbish to the site. Cllr. Snelling advised that the Borough Council should be asked to inspect the site via the Enforcement Officer. The Chairman reported that local residents had been informed that Chalk Road would be closed for a period of 4 days from 4/11 to allow electricity to be laid to the site. Cllr. Snelling advised that the company concerned should be informed that the site was unauthorized and that work could not proceed. The Chairman agreed to deal with all aspects of this matter through the Borough Council.
Mr Chilmaid, of Steadman Close, reported that the path to School Lane by the chalk pit was again overgrown by nettles.
WPC Duffort reported that the recent increase in the crime figures for the village was partly due to incidences of criminal damage to vehicles in Villa Road and Forge Lane. Recent public order problems had also increased the likelihood of another ASBO being granted The Police had recently been provided with motor bikes so that areas like the marshes could be covered. Cllr. James reported that youths often grouped in the underpass under the By Pass, and WPC Duffort noted this location.
Community Warden Sarah Port reported that she had been meeting some of the older children in the village by working late shifts. She had managed to get rid of a considerable amount of fly tipping and had been walking the local footpaths. She was hopeful that the grant towards the cost of the Pavilion fencing would shortly arrive. One of the untaxed vehicles to Villa Road in fact was taxed but the owner was not showing the disc. Cllr. James reported large amounts of fly tipping, including tyres, to both Crutches Lane and Dillywood Lane.
The Chairman thanked Cllr. Snelling for approving a grant of £2000 towards the Pavilion Fencing from his Members Grant Allocation.
To examine the powers available to Parish Councils under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005.
A copy of the summary of new powers for Parish Councils under the above Act had been circulated to Members prior to the Meeting. Cllr. Jupp read from a recent article in the Local Council Review which looked at the implications of the Act for Parish Councils. It advised that it should consult with its principal authority to ascertain if and how the new powers would be exercised by them, and highlighted the importance of finding out what enforcement action would be taken by them. After discussion amongst Members it was agreed that there was not the capacity within the Parish Council to police the village and that it would be unable to afford this support. The Chairman advised that the Parish Council should wait to hear from the Borough Council regarding what help would be offered to the Parishes before discussing the matter further.
To note the Community Wardens' Clear-Up of the Larkin Memorial Grounds.
Sarah Port reported that the 10 members of the Response Team had formed a working party to clear a circular path around the Memorial Grounds on 18/10. The Borough Council would be loaning equipment and supplying bark chippings, and local shops would be providing sandwiches and drinks at a special price. The Chairman urged all Members to visit the site from 10.00 a.m. onwards to support the Wardens.
Cllr. Snelling reported that the White Paper was due to be published at the end of October. Although the County Council wished to retain its identity it was essential that it worked together with Gravesham Borough Council. Agreements had been signed with 11 District Councils to date, but not as yet with Gravesham. The Lyons Report on Council Tax, due out in December, might suggest partial access locally to the business rate. The JTB Meeting on 18/10 would focus on the A2 widening and the problems of diverting local traffic for the duration of the works. It was possible that the Parish Council might receive a DVD on the “Towards 2010” consultation. Plans had been agreed under the “Building Schools for the Future” initiative and it was expected that all secondary schools would get either a full or a partial rebuild, as Gravesham was classed as a deprivation area and £100 million had been set aside under this central government initiative. This topic would form the focus of the forthcoming Local Board Meeting at Coldharbour Library on 1/11.
Cllr. James again raised the problem of the installation of the necessary lorry route signs to the By-Pass which had been delayed due to lack of funding. Clr. Snelling agreed to chase this matter and the Chairman confirmed that she had also raised it at the Meeting of Parish Chairmen the previous week..
Cllr. James pressed Cllr. Snelling for the need for a public transport link from the Cliffe/Cliffe Woods area to Higham station whereby Arriva buses would provide a service from say 6.30 a.m. until 8.30 a.m. when the bus would then be in position for the normal school run. Cllr. Snelling agreed to support this initiative.
Cllr. Jupp reported that Gravesham refuse was now being taken to the “waste to energy” plant at Allington which had a materials facility as well. The Tour de France would pass through Higham on Sunday 8/7/07. Ebbsfleet Station had now been completed and was scheduled to open in Autumn 2007 if the line was finished. Works to the first and second floors of the Civic Centre had been completed but the Council Chamber could still not be used. Cllr. Jupp urged all Local Authority Housing tenants to exercise their right to vote over the housing stock transfer issue.
Cllr. Oakeshott reported that the new Kent Community Warden was currently undergoing training and was expected to commence in the New Year. There would be a further consultation regarding the Local Development Framework, this time involving a transport study. School Lane was scheduled to be re-surfaced in April 2007. Gad's Hill School had offered to pay for a crossing patrol outside the school and the Borough Council would make the final decision.
Cllr. Waugh reported that she had attended a meeting of the Trustees of Shaves Charity and laminated notices giving details of how to apply would soon be available to place on the Parish noticeboards.
Cllr. Howard reported that the School Lane sign beyond the shops was hidden by the hedge.
Cllr. Wright reported that a resident of Bull Lane had complained that Ringway had asked residents not to park on the road outside their properties whilst works were carried out, which they failed to complete.
Cllr. James reported that the light to the underpass in Crutches Lane still required replacement. He suggested that if the Borough Council had any spare seats one could be placed opposite the stones to the end of Colewood Drive.
Plans were available for the following planning applications which had been received and reviewed by the Planning Committee:-
Appln no. 20060740 Mr & Mrs Lockyer, 23, Dombey Close.
Erection of two storey rear extension to form kitchen/dining room at ground floor level with two bedrooms at first floor level.
Appln. no. 20060738 Mr & Mrs Maloney, 25, Dombey Close.
Erection of two storey rear extension to form kitchen and dining room at ground floor level with two bedrooms and ensuite shower room/wc at first floor level.
Cllr. Waugh reported that she would be unable to attend the forthcoming meeting. She hoped to receive approval for the two kissing gates she had requested on the marshes.
h. Governors of Higham School.
Cllr. James was congratulated on his appointment as Chairman of Governors at the recent election. It was anticipated that the Acting Headteacher would only be at the school until Christmas. He appealed for a volunteer to join the Governing Body and Cllr. Scott expressed an initial interest to find out more about the position.
i. Merston Court
The Chairman reported that Merston Court was anxious to purchase a higher chair and it was agreed that this request should be considered at the forthcoming Budget and Finance Meeting in November.
l. Rural Housing.
The Chairman reported that there had been some ground clearance in preparation for the site works to begin.
The Clerk presented the quarterly financial statement for the period 1/7/06 to 30/9/06.
She asked for approval for the items shown on the agenda plus the sum of £630.81 for administration expenses for the period 1/7/06 to 30/9/06, this being proposed by Cllr. James, seconded by Cllr. Jupp and agreed by all Members.
Clive Stanley (webmaster services 28/6/06 – 29/9/06) 72.00
St. John's College, Cambridge ( ½ year rent for R.G. by standing order) 125.00
Clerk's salary (1/7/06 – 30/9/06) 1248.00
Exps. – use of room as office (1/7/06-30/9/06) 227.50
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. Cllr. Waugh agreed to attend an exhibition regarding the new Isle of Grain to Shorne gas pipeline to be constructed by National Grid.
2. Members gave approval for lunches at £7.50 per head for delegates attending the KAPC AGM on 4/11 under Sections 137 and 139 of the Local Government Act 1972.
To note the dates of the next Parish Council Meetings.
These were given as being Monday 6 th November 2006 at 7.30 for Budget and Finance (all Members to attend) and Monday, 27 th November 2006 at 7.30 p.m. for the Christmas Parish Council Meeting with the Mayor of Gravesham in attendance.
Any Other Business.
None was brought to the notice of the Meeting.
There being no other business, the Meeting closed at 9.40 p.m.
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