Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the September 2006 Parish Council Meeting

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Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting, held at the St. John's Church Hall, Hermitage Road, on Monday, 11th September 2006 at 7.30 p.m.

Present: Cllr. Mrs J.M.Papadopulos (Chairman) Councillors:- J.D.Goring, J.A.Grey, A.L.Howard, Mrs P.Oakeshott (also Borough), Mrs S. Saunders, Mrs A.Waugh and S. Wright.
In attendance: 29 Parishioners
Apologies for absence: Received from County Cllr. M. Snelling, Cllrs. James and Jupp, Sarah Port, Kent Community Warden Response Team, and WPC Duffort.

The Chairman welcomed all those present to the Meeting which was again being held in the St. John's Church Hall by kind permission of Father James.

Prior to the commencement of the Meeting, Cllr. S. Wright presented awards to prizewinners of the 2006 Higham Gardens for Pleasure Competition.

FIRST PRIZE (Silver Rose Bowl Trophy, Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)
Mr and Mrs T. Greenshields, "Courtlands", Crutches Lane.

SECOND PRIZE (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)
Mrs G. Stowers, 42, St. John's Road.

THIRD PRIZE (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)
Mr and Mrs F. Waterhouse, 14, St. John's Close.

"HIGHLY COMMENDED" (Framed certificate)
Victor Message and Jennifer Stopher, 2, Martins Close.

Ann Bigwood, 72, Forge Lane.

"BEST HANGING BASKET AND CONTAINERS" (Garden Gift Token  and framed certificate)
Mr and Mrs J. Leach, 32, Telegraph Hill.

The Three Crutches Public House.

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, 3rd July 2006, were confirmed and signed.

Matters arising from the Minutes.
The Clerk reported that:-
a. P. 795 Matters Arising. Royal Mail had now decided that due to budgetary restrictions, the missing post box to Hermitage Road would not now be replaced, in spite of the fact that it had been well used by local residents. The Clerk was asked to write again to Royal Mail to see if it would review the situation.
b. P. 796 Matters Arising. Village signs. The KCC contractor had now given a verbal quotation of £200 per sign for installation which was unanimously endorsed by Members, as was the amended cost of £188 for the necessary licences. All application forms had now been submitted for approval.
c. P. 796 Parishioners' Matters. Arriva buses had confirmed that service 417 was now run on their behalf by Redroute Buses. Although pick up and drop off points were controlled by the Police, they would try to report back to us.
d. P. 800 Any Other Business. Following the receipt of the catalogue from Fattorini Ltd. it was agreed that the Chairman and Cllrs. Saunders and Goring would form a working party to investigate designs for a coat of arms for the village, which needed to be completed before quotations could be received.
e. A copy of the Kent Highways spreadsheet had been placed in the correspondence folder for the perusal of Members.
f. There were a total of 1671 hits to the website in August bringing the total for the last 12 months to 20,498.

Cllr. Saunders reported that the hedge to School Lane outside Alexander Cottages still required removal (p. 797 of the minutes refers) and that the Parishioner's car had now been broken in to. Cllr. Oakeshott agreed to chase this matter with the Borough Council.

Parishioners Matters.
Mr L. Pearton, and other residents of Chalk Road, asked for an update from the Parish Council regarding the receipt of details relating to a planning application for a change of use for land at Chalk Road to residential, with the stationing of two mobile homes, one touring caravan, utility room and stable. Cllr. Oakeshott confirmed that the Parish Council had objected to the application as the area was outside the village envelope, and was designated green belt land of a grade 1 agricultural quality. The road at this point was narrow, with no pavements, and it was close to the spot where there had been a recent fatality. Residents had been invited to express their views to the Borough Council, and to date over 1000 letters of objection had been received. It was widely expected that this matter would be discussed at the Borough Council Regulatory Board Meeting which would be held on 11th October and some residents expressed a desire to attend the Meeting, although Cllr. Oakeshott reminded them that they would be unable to speak. In answer to a question from a Parishioner, Cllr Oakeshott confirmed that work on the site had now been stopped pending the outcome of the planning application.
Mr Leach, of Telegraph Hill, reported that he had observed core sampling of soil taking place on the marshes. Cllr. Oakeshott suggested that this might relate to the construction of a new gas pipeline from the Isle of Grain to Shorne but agreed to make further enquiries through the Borough Council.
Mr Chilmaid, of Steadman Close, reported that youths had been observed crossing the railway line and climbing the embankment at Higham Station, presumably to dodge ticket checks, and it was agreed that WPC Duffort and Community Warden Sarah Port should be informed.
Mrs Durham, of Oakleigh Farm, reported problems regarding a human and canine training facility located in the area. Cllr. Oakeshott confirmed that enforcement measures had been applied and that there was a possibility that it might be relocated elsewhere on the land.
Mr Dray, of Chilton Drive, enquired regarding the progress of the yellow lines expected to be installed to Villa Road. Cllr. Oakeshott agreed to raise the matter at the forthcoming Joint Transportation Board Meeting. He also gave details of untaxed vehicles parked at this location which the Clerk agreed to pass to WPC Duffort.
Mr Taylor, of Martins Close, reported that a recently filled-in trench, to the bottom of School Lane, was now sinking.
A complaint was received from a Parishioner that small motor bikes were being ridden in Reynolds Fields.

To approve the updated Risk Assessment document.
Copies of the updated Risk Assessment document had been circulated to all Members prior to the Meeting. Cllr. Goring enquired why the Parish owned land at the Recreation Ground was not included in the assessment and it was agreed to revise the existing document before approval was given.

Current problems to the allotment gardens.
The Clerk reported that a letter had been received from Mr Buck regarding the configuration of the allotment plots and the inability to identify boundaries due to non-cultivation by other tenants. Cllr. Howard reported that he had visited the allotment gardens and he felt that it would be extremely difficult to define the boundaries of the plots. After discussion it was agreed that the Chairman and Cllrs Waugh and Howard would form a working party over the
winter months to look at these problems, and the wording of future allotment agreements, and report back to the Parish Council before the start of the 2007 growing season. It was further noted that there was now a waiting list for Parish Council allotments for the first time ever.
In view of the large ingress of weeds onto vacant allotment plots from those not being cultivated it was agreed to waive Mr Buck's rent for the current financial year.

Councillors' Matters.
In the absence of Cllr. Snelling, Cllr. Oakeshott reported that impact studies were needed to determine any potential site for a third Thames crossing and it might be possible that there would be a different crossing point to Essex from that returning to Kent. The Borough Council would welcome a multi-modal study by the County Council at a future date. The Environment Agency was reviewing traffic speeds in the County with a view to reducing them from 70 mph to 60 mph. Works to widen and reconfigure the A2 would not affect the village but severe traffic delays were anticipated.

There was nothing to report.

Cllr. Oakeshott reported that she had received many complaints regarding the condition of the road surface to School Lane and she would raise this matter with Norman Bateman at the Joint Transportation Board Meeting.
Cllr. Goring reported that the A226 was regularly blocked when traffic from Gad's Hill School caused congestion at drop off and pick up times, and it had been observed that children from the school were now crossing this busy road at five separate locations. It was agreed that the Parish Council would write to both the school and Norman Bateman.
Cllr. Howard reported an incident where a vehicle drove around the chicane outside the Memorial Hall to avoid a horse in School Lane.
Cllr. Wright reported that horses to a paddock in Hermitage Road had been attacked.
Cllr. Grey urged the Borough Council to implement the next stage of the traffic calming measures.
Cllr. Waugh reported that the Medway sign, erected on Gravesham Borough Council land in Lower Rochester Road, had now disappeared.
It was agreed to site a dog bin on the railway bridge to Lower Higham with another two either side of the School in School Lane.
The Clerk produced a report from the Kent Community Warden. She hoped to try and progress the grant application for the fencing for the Pavilion started by Steve Enright and asked for a letter from the Parish Council outlining how this project had a "knock-on effect" within the village e.g. the need to reinstate the lighting to the sports facility for the Winter, the protection of the drain covers to the Recreation Ground, the inability to complete the repairs to the roof etc. This would be submitted as part of an initial feasibility study before a formal application was submitted. She had removed fly tipping to the village and dog fouling offenders would be reported to the dog warden.


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

Appln no. 200600575 Mr & Mrs R. Chapman, 29, Ash Crescent.
Erection of single storey rear extension to form a kitchen.
Appln. no. 20060573 Mr Wallis, 7, The Braes.
Erection of part two storey and part single storey side extension to form garage at ground floor level with bedroom and ensuite w.c./shower room at first floor level and continuation of the proposed pitched roof across part of the existing front elevation forming a covered area and new roof over the existing front porch.
Appln. no. 20060586 Mr & Mrs R. Sutch, "Tuckers", Gravesend Road.
Erection of conservatory at the rear and construction of a pitched roof to replace existing flat roof on garage.
Appln. no. 20060593 Mr M. Leeson, Land opposite "Pond Cottage", Hermitage Road.
Construction of a sand school with jumps.
Appln. No. 20060618 Mr & Mrs Pollitt, 37, Fairview Drive.
Erection of first floor side extension to form a bedroom.
Appln. no. 20060612 Mr P. Miles, 19, Reynolds Fields.
Erection of a conservatory at the rear.
Appln. no. 20060643 Red Admiral Homes, Land adjacent to Chequers Inn, Canal Road.
Outline application for erection of a pair of semi-detached dwellings.
Appln. no. 20060646 Mr P. Allinson, 50, Walmers Avenue.
Erection of single storey extension on the western side elevation to form ensuite w.c. and enlarged study.
Appln. no. 20060650 John Vine, Land south side of Chalk Road near junction with Taylors Lane.
Use of land for the stationing of two mobile homes and a touring caravan; erection of two detached buildings one to provide utility room and shower/wc and the other to provide a block of three stables.
Appln. no. 20060663 Ian Mair, 1, Whitehouse Farm Oast, School Lane.
Erection of a detached double garage.
Appln. no. 20060659 Mrs F. Clarke, 81, Oak Drive.
Erection of two storey side extension to form a granny annexe.
Appln. no. 20060662 Mr T. Marshall, 1 & 2, Church Cottages, Church Street.
Conversion of property back into two residential dwellings involving erection of single storey rear extensions to form a kitchen and bathroom/wc to both dwellings and erection of a front porch to no. 1.
Appln. no. 20060681 Shepherd Neame Brewery, The Gardeners Arms P.H., 2, Forge Lane.
Erection of single storey extension on eastern elevation to form additional restaurant seating area and laying out of covered terraced area.
Appln. no. 20060696 Mr R. Thomas, "Mulberry Cottage", Old Watling Street.
Erection of car port on the west side and construction of a chimney stack on eastern side elevation.
Appln. no. 20060680 Mrs Sarah White, 63, School Lane.
Erection of a front porch.
Appln. no. 20060719 Mrs J. Mattu, "The Orchards", School Lane.
Construction of new pitched roof to replace existing flat roof over double garage, utility room and part of kitchen.
Appln. no. 20060737 Mr C. Neal, 26, Dombey Close.
Erection of two storey rear and single storey side extension to form a dining room/playroom, shower room and shed at ground floor level with two bedrooms at first floor level.
Appln. no. 20060747 Mr & Mrs Wickham, "The Moorings", Dillywood Lane.
Erection of part two storey and part single storey side/front extension involving construction of dormer window in proposed front roof slope to form enlarged kitchen, utility room, wc and games room/study at ground floor level with bedroom and bathroom / wc at first floor level.

c. Memorial Hall.
Cllr. Goring reported that the works were now nearing completion. The unexpected death of the architect had caused a slight delay, but the works were now expected to be signed off by the end of the week when the cleaners would move in. The new windows had already been graffitied.

d. Multi-Purpose Games Area.
Cllr. Goring reported that it had not been possible to re-instate the electricity as yet as the Pavilion fencing had not been installed.

e. Recreation Ground.
Cllr. Goring reported that new foundations had been dug for the damaged goal post.  Permission for the siting of the container was still awaited and Cllr. Oakeshott agreed to pursue this matter with the Borough Council. A quotation for £2385 plus VAT for an extension to the Playdale wooden play equipment, which did not require safety surfacing, was unanimously approved by all Members and would be funded by the generous donations from the Strood Rotary Club. The Clerk was instructed to place the order accordingly.

g. G.R.O.W.C.
A problem regarding an overgrown hedge bordering NS 184 had been reported to the Public Rights of Way Officer. Cllr. Waugh advised that the Parishioner should request a site meeting which she would also try to attend.

h. Governors of Higham School.
In the absence of Cllr. James the Clerk reported that the Head was now on study leave until December. The present acting Headteacher was Mrs Yvonne Hunter. This was seen as a productive way of taking the school forwards.

j. Higham Youth Club.
Cllr. Saunders reported that Barrie Howes had had major surgery in June and was now out of action for a couple of months. Members approved sending a book token and card under Sections 137 and 139 of the Local Government Act 1972.

l. Rural Housing.
Cllr. Oakeshott reported that the land at School Lane was due to be signed off within a week.

The Clerk asked for approval for the items shown on the agenda, plus £4.96 for a printing account for GBC and £79.99 for the purchase of a shredder, this being proposed by Cllr. Oakeshott, seconded by Cllr. Howard and agreed by all Members.

British Telecom (broadband) 115.45
Audit Commission (audit fee 2006) 293.75
Queensbury Shelters (bus shelter) 1844.75
Zurich Insurance Company (Pavilion insurance) 1275.84

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. Kent Highway Services had agreed to extend the proposed double yellow lines into Chilton Drive.
2. Zurich Municipal had declined to consider the claim for vandalism to the drainage of the Pavilion. Having submitted two claims for vandalism to the insurers within a 12 month period the renewal premium had doubled.

To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting.
This was given as being Monday, 9th October 2006 at 7.30 p.m. in the Memorial Hall.

Any Other Business.
None was brought to the notice of the Meeting.

There being no other business, the Meeting closed at 9.55 p.m.



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