Higham Parish Council
Minutes of the February 2007 Parish Council Meeting
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Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting, held at the Memorial Hall, School Lane, on Monday, 19th February 2007 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, Mrs P. Oakeshott (also Borough), Mrs S. Saunders, Mrs M. Scott, and S. Wright.
In attendance: 7 Parishioners.
WPC Kerri Mulrooney
Apologies for absence: Received from Cllr. Waugh and Kent Community Warden Steve Gray.
Prior to the commencement of the Meeting the Chairman paid tribute to Cllr. Colin Jupp who had died following a short illness since the last Meeting. As one of his last tasks for the village was to oversee the installation of the new Dickens village signs, she added that she thought that these would form a fitting memorial to such a loyal Councillor. She asked Cllr. James, a close friend, to also address the Members of the Council with a short eulogy.
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, 8 th January 2007, were confirmed and signed .
Matters arising from the Minutes.
Following an update of actions from the last Minutes, the Clerk reported that:-
a. P. 816 Matters Arising – Pavilion Fencing. It was understood that installation would take place from 12/3 and would take 2-3 days.
b. P. 817. Government White Paper. It was decided to ask Victoria Lawson of Action for Communities in Rural Kent to give a presentation on Parish Plans and Village Design Statements once the new Council had been elected.
c. Web Site report. Over the past year there had been some 23,917 hits to the Parish Council website. In January 2007 the statistics were the highest ever recorded at 2446 hits.
d Members noted the receipt of £785 from the KCC Rural Shelters Fund towards the cost of the new bus shelter at Lower Higham .
Cllr. Oakeshott reported that six new dog bins had now been installed to the village. An enforcement notice had been issued for the Chalk Road site and the owners had now gone to appeal.
Cllr. James reported that some of the damaged fencing to Crutches Lane had now disappeared and the public house had installed a new fence around the car park.
Cllr. Goring reported that the contractor had confirmed that the cost of refelting the Pavilion roof would be in the region of £1800. As the roof appeared watertight at the present time it was agreed that this work would be placed on hold.
The Chairman welcomed WPC Kerri Mulrooney to the Meeting. She had recently commenced work as the resident beat officer for the village in place of WPC Alison Duffort who had commenced maternity leave. WPC Mulrooney reported that she and the Kent Community Warden, Steve Gray, were planning to hold a surgery in Higham Library in the near future. She agreed to produce an item for inclusion the newsletter and give more detailed crime report figures in future.
Amanda Mendzil reported severe parking problems to Higham Station where vehicles were being left along the access road and around the turning circle. She had reported the matter to SouthEastern Trains and also the police without success. It was agreed that the Parish Council would make contact with SouthEastern Trains advising them of the situation.
Mr Chilmaid, of Steadman Close, reported a continuing nuisance with mini moke bikes and was urged to phone in to report the matter and get a reference number.
Mr Taylor, of Martins Close, reported that the surface of the railway bridge was continuing to break up.
Mr Pearton, of Michele Cottages, reported that there was local support to try and get the Thames and Medway Canal cleaned out and asked if a representative of the Parish Council would be willing to attend a Meeting at a future date. Members noted that the canal remained full of white asbestos and that there had been a problem with the amount of water available to maintain canal levels in the past. The Chairman asked that the Parish Council be kept informed of developments and indicated that a representative would attend.
Tour de France – 2007.
The Clerk reported that copy material regarding the Tour de France had been placed on the website and would be included in the Parish Newsletter. She had provisionally booked the Temple School Steel Band to perform on 8/7 which would require a donation of £100 to school funds. This was unanimously agreed by all Members. It was hoped to set up a sub committee to co-ordinate arrangements within the village and Suzanne Green had indicated that she was willing to help.
Election timetable for Parish Council Election.
The Clerk had sent copies of the election timetable to Members prior to the Meeting. Members were reminded that she would be able to supply nomination packs towards the end of March which needed to be delivered to the Returning Officer by Noon on 4 th April 2007.
Update of Allotment Agreement./ Alignment of allotment gardens.
The Clerk had sent copies of alternative allotment agreements for perusal by Members prior to the Meeting. Mr Pearton offered to provide a copy of the allotment agreement from the Working Mens Club for further comparison. It was agreed that future wording should be altered to reflect “he/she”. It was decided that any changes to the current agreement should be kept to a minimum as some tenants were long standing. As the only plot boundary dispute was in the upper allotment gardens it was agreed that the Allotment Committee would meet with both parties in an attempt to resolve the situation. There appeared to be no need to either review or mark boundaries elsewhere as the present arrangement was working well.
Cllr. Snelling reported that following the publication of the government White Paper on Local Government none of the 12 Borough or District Councils in Kent had applied for Unitary status. They had, instead, signed a letter of intent to work closely together, under the leadership shown by Kent County Council, and to help each other to become “excellent” councils. In addition they would pool back-office services to save many millions of pounds and thus reduce Council Tax. The Lyons Report on the possible reform of Council Tax was now expected to appear after the May elections. Despite significant savings of over £30 million having been made, a negative government grant settlement had meant that a 4.95% increase in Council Tax had now been announced. Cllr. Snelling urged the Parish Council to alert the Kent Highway Services to carry out any necessary repairs to the A226 in advance of the Tour de France in July.
Cllr. Oakeshott reported that the Civic Centre had now re-opened after refurbishment. The amount of recycling within the Borough had now risen to 24%. The Borough Council had objected to the proposed increase in charges for the Dartford Crossing. She had requested “No Lorry” signs to be placed at entrances to the village in preparation for the works associated with the Isle of Grain to Shorne gas pipeline. It was proposed that Council Tax would rise by 4.88%.
Cllr. Goring congratulated the Borough Council for ensuring that salt bins were well topped up during the recent bout of severe weather.
Cllr. Howard reported that brambles were encroaching over the footpath near the Knowle. Cllr. James asked that this be reported as a matter of urgency as this was to be the route taken by the walking bus.
Cllr. Grey reported that footway repairs outside the Knowle had left a ridge in the path and an area of sticky tar. WPC Mulrooney agreed to make contact with the owner of the white truck which parked on the pavement opposite the Memorial Hall and caused congestion through the chicane in School Lane. Cllr. Grey reported that CPZ permits had still not been renewed and traffic wardens had not visited the area for quite some time.
Plans were available for the following planning applications which had been received and
reviewed by the Planning Committee:-
Appln. no. 20070016 Mr & Mrs Eastlake, Dillywood Corner, Dillywood Lane.
Construction of dormer window in rear roof slope and conversion of roof space into bedroom, dressing room, study and bathroom/wc.
Appln. no. 20061107 Mr & Mrs M. Ward, 30, Ash Crescent.
Construction of dormer extension in the rear roof slope and conversion of roof space into two bedrooms and bathroom/wc.
Appln. no. 20061076 Anthony J. Jones, 47, Walmers Avenue.
Construction of dormer window in eastern side roof slope.
Appln. no. 20070074 Higham Village Club, 33, Hermitage Road.
Construction of a lean-to shelter beside front entrance to provide an external smoking area.
Appln. no. 20070100 Mrs F. Clarke, 81, Oak Drive.
Erection of two storey extension to provide a granny annexe.
Appln. no. 20070065 Brenchley Properties Ltd., Plot 2, 29, Telegraph Hill.
Erection of a detached two storey five bedroom dwelling with rooms in the roof space and a detached garage.
c. Memorial Hall.
Cllr. Goring reported that damage had occurred to an internal fire door during a Youth Club Meeting.
d. Multi-Purpose Games Area
Cllr. Goring reported that it was hoped that the moss currently covering the surfacing would be able to be treated.
e. Recreation Ground.
Cllr. Goring reported that graffiti had now been washed off the Pavilion. The Youth Shelter roof was now bent. It was impossible to hammer out the damage to the slide
h. Governors of Higham Primary School.
The Chairman suggested to Cllr. James that children at the school might be asked to write on why they liked living in the village.
i. Merston Court.
The Chairman reported a new management structure at Age Concern.
j. Youth Club.
Cllr. Saunders reported that it was hoped to hold a special Meeting in March to try and rally more parent volunteers for the Club.
l. Rural Housing.
Cllr. Oakeshott reported that the ground had now been started to be cleared at the School Lane site in preparation for the building works to commence in March.
The Clerk asked for approval for the items shown on the agenda, this being proposed by Cllr. Goring, seconded by Cllr. Saunders and agreed by all Members.
British Telecommunications plc. (broadband) 114.10
Kent Kerbs Ltd. (erection of Dickens signs) 1000.00
Conservationworks (ROW works) 264.38
Conservationworks (ROW works) 88.13
KAPC (Local Council Administration) 51.95
KAPC (allotment tenancy agreement) 3.67
Action with Communities in Rural Kent (2007 subscription) 35.00
Members unanimously agreed to make a donation of £50 to the “Gavin Jupp Bible Fund” under sections 137 and 139 of the Local Government Act 1972, in lieu of flowers for the late Cllr. Colin Jupp.
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. James offered to produce a questionnaire for commuters to ascertain the level of support for a coach shuttle service to the station from the Cliffe/Cliffe Woods area.
2. It was agreed that the new lorry route sign should direct traffic to both Hoo Junction and the Nuralite Site. The Clerk agreed to check the wording of the sign before it was placed on order.
To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting.
This was given as being Monday, 2 nd April 2007 at 7.30 p.m.
Any Other Business.
Cllr. Oakeshott reported that the Borough Council was only able to fund half of the cost of the “Don't Sit, Get Fit” exercise campaign for Age Concern. Members agreed to meet the cost of the remainder up to the sum of £100 per year.
Members agreed that a representative from The Grand (Drop-In Centre) in Gravesend should attend the Annual Parish Assembly to report on its work.
Members requested that the Borough Council should consider siting a seat at the Three Crutches in memory of Cllr. Colin Jupp.
The Chairman reported that Cllr. Saunders would be moving away from the village later in the week and presented her with a rose bush to thank her for her loyal service to the Parish Council
There being no other business, the Meeting closed at 9.40 p.m.
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