Higham Parish Council
Minutes of the November 2007 Parish Council Meeting
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Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting, held at the Memorial Hall, School Lane, on Monday, 26th November 2007 at 7.30 p.m.
Present: Cllr.Mrs J.M.Papadopulos (Chairman)
Borough Councillor:- Cllr. B. Sweetland.
Councillors:- J.A.Grey, A.L.Howard, L.M. Pearton, Mrs M. Scott, B.Sutherland, S.N.Walton, and S. Wright.
In attendance: The Mayor of Gravesham – Cllr. Mrs P. Oakeshott
Community Warden Steve Gray.
PCSO Darren Fielding
Apologies for absence: Cllr. M. Snelling (KCC) Cllr. M.James.
The Chairman welcomed those present to the Christmas Meeting of the Parish Council, and in particular Cllr. Mrs P. Oakeshott in her capacity as Mayor of Gravesham
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, 8th October 2007, were confirmed and signed.
In view of the large number of Parishioners present at the Meeting the Chairman moved straight to Parishioners' Matters.
Mr Wenham, of St. John's Road, spoke on behalf of many of those present when he asked if there was any truth in the rumour that the Working Mens Club planned to sell off its allotments for housing. Cllr. Oakeshott reported that she had been contacted by the Club in her capacity as Borough Councillor and asked if the site might be suitable to be considered for Rural Housing. No formal application had been made. Cllr. Pearton reported that a decision such as this would need to be approved by all the membership of the Club and not just the Committee. Those present expressed concern regarding the present problems with the sewers to the road which were classed as sub-standard and had not been adopted. It was felt that they could not support further development. Interest was expressed by residents for the purchase of allotment plots from the Club.
Parishioners present also expressed concern regarding a planning application for six “B1” industrial units and a car park extension at land beyond Higham Station. Cllr. Oakeshott reminded those present that the Parish Council had already turned down three applications for the site and eventually it would need to be developed. It was a question of finding the best solution for the village.
The residents of Providence Cottages, Crutches Lane, expressed concern regarding the planning application for Gads Hill School. They had sent a letter to other Higham residents urging them to object to the proposals. The Chairman reported on the recent Site Meeting at the school and confirmed that the Parish Council had expressed concern regarding the impact the development would have on the occupants of the cottages both by letter and at this site visit.
Mr Booth, of Hermitage Road, enquired what would happen to the allotment plots which were to be vacated by Mr Batchelor when he retired early in 2008. Cllr. Howard confirmed that it was possible that these would be reinstated as individual plots for which there was currently a waiting list.
Joanne Raff, of the Higham Youth Club, introduced herself to those present and thanked all those associated with the Club for their continued support.
Matters arising from the Minutes.
Following an update of actions from the last Minutes, the Clerk reported that:-
a. P. 849 Matters Arising . Mr Wybraniec had confirmed his attendance at the January Meeting.
b. P. 849 Matters Arising The street light to Chalk Road was now operational.
c. P. 850 Matters Arising. Halloween Party at the Three Crutches P.H. The event had been well supported and had produced at least £140 for the Youth Club funds. Thanks were extended to Clive Stanley for the photographs which were now on the website.
d. P. 850 Parishioners Matters. Problems with the footway to Steadman Close had been reported.
e. P. 850. Youth Leader. Graham Clewes had been in contact with KCC regarding Joanne's contract.
f. P. 850. Christmas Lighting. Members approved the sum of £1025.40 (plus VAT) to install existing Christmas lighting and the sum of £306.99 (plus VAT) to install one new light. It was agreed that the lighting should be installed in early December and that a site opposite the Surgery should be considered for the new location. The lights would be removed after twelfth night. Cllr. Sutherland agreed to liaise with the lighting contractors.
g. P. 851. Parish. The overgrown vegetation at the bus shelter to Lower Higham and the dumped tyre had been reported.
h. P. 851. Parish. A reply was currently awaited from GBC regarding the trees which had died.
i. P. 851. Parish. Mr Burt had confirmed that a decision had been taken to reduce to two the number of lights to the underbridge in Crutches Lane in an attempt to reduce the carbon footprint at this location.
j. Web site report. There had been a total of 2,642 hits to the website during October and this had brought the total for the year to 31,766.
To discuss the Site Meeting held at Gad's Hill School.
This item had been discussed earlier in the Meeting.
To discuss the Highways Liaison Meeting .
A Highways Liaison Meeting with five members of the Kent Highways team had taken place on 12/11 and outstanding highways issues had been discussed. An inspection would take place of the flooding problem at the junction of School Lane with St. John's Road and physical measures would be installed to stop vehicles by-passing the chicane outside the Memorial Hall. Agreement would be sought from the landowner in Crutches Lane to use his land as a proposed extension to the highway by creating an official passing place.
To discuss the current vacancy on the Parish Council.
The Chairman reported that Cllr. Waugh had resigned from the Parish Council. The Clerk reminded Members of the procedure regarding a vacancy on the Parish Council and reported that Gravesham Council had been notified and would shortly advertise to see if a By Election was requested by Parishioners.
Cllr. Snelling was not present at the Meeting.
Cllr. Sweetland reported that repairs would take place to garages at Villa Road which had damage to both doors and roofs. A litter pick and general clear up of the area would also take place. An exhibition was currently taking place at Towncentric regarding the consultation stage for the Heritage Quarter. The Town Pier was open and was now the oldest cast iron pier in the country. A glass recycling trial was taking place in selected parts of the Borough.
Cllr. Oakeshott reported that the proposed street lighting level for Jupp Court had been reduced to fit in with the surrounding area.
Cllr. Pearton thanked the Parish Council for the raffle prize provided for the Christmas Fayre which it was believed had raised in the region of £2500 for PTA funds.
Steve Gray reported that he had also requested that vegetation around the garages to Villa Road be cut back as the area was prone to fly tipping.
Plans were available for the following planning applications which had been received and reviewed by the Planning Committee:-
Appln. no. 20070813 “Theos”, Chalk Road.
Erection of a conservatory at the side.
Appln. no. 20070843 6, Colewood Drive.
Erection of first floor rear extension and single storey rear extension to form kitchen and open porch at ground floor level with bedroom, enlarged bedroom, bathroom and ensuite dressing room at first floor level.
Appln. no. 20070890 6, The Adelaide.
Erection of a conservatory at the rear.
Appln. no. 20070891 Land Adjacent Higham Station, School Lane.
Erection of two single storey buildings to provide six B1 light industrial units with associated parking and laying out of new car park for Higham Railway Station.
Appln. no. 20070898 The Copperfield, Gravesend Road.
Display of one internally illuminated and one non-illuminated double sided post signs on Gravesend Road frontage; externally illuminated individual letters spelling “The Copperfield” at first floor level on south and east elevations and two non-illuminated signs one above and one beside restaurant entrance.
Appln. no. 20070943 Sir John Falstaff, Gravesend Road.
Application for Listed Building Consent for internal and external alterations including erection of timber pergola at side; erection of metal railings on top of existing retaining wall at rear; erection of low level picket fence at side; repositioning of existing cellar cooling compressor and installation of extract duct cowl on kitchen roof.
Appln. no. 20070945 “Yorkdene”, Gravesend Road.
Construction of dormer window in front, rear and north west side roof slope and conversion of roof space into two bedrooms and bathroom/wc.
Appln. no. 20070944 Sir John Falstaff, Gravesend Road.
Erection of timber pergola at side; erection of metal railings on top of existing retaining wall at rear; erection of low level fence at the side; repositioning of existing cellar cooling compressor and installation of extraction duct cowl on kitchen roof.
Appln. no. 20070931 Land Between 2 Gore Green Cottages & Sharanda, Gore Green Road.
Erection of a detached three bedroom bungalow.
Appln. no. 20070999 “Orchard View”, Dillywood Lane.
Retention of conservatory at the side.
Appln. no. 20071002 31, Chilton Drive.
Erection of single storey side extension incorporating dormer extension at rear and dormer window in front roof slope to provide lounge and bathroom/wc at ground floor level with conversion of existing and proposed roof space into two bedrooms and shower room/wc.
j. Higham Youth Club.
A report had been circulated to Members prior to the Meeting. Inappropriate behaviour including stealing from the Tuck Shop had taken place on 14/11 and a decision had been taken to close the club early on that evening. A Meeting had been held the following week to which Members, their parents, youth leaders, Councillors and representatives of Kent Youth were invited. Sadly no parents chose to attend. It was agreed to draw up a Code of Conduct which Members and Leaders would be asked to sign. If this was not adhered to the offending Member would be asked to leave. Younger Members had recently left the club as they had been intimidated by the older youths.
The Clerk asked for approval for the items shown on the agenda, this being proposed by Cllr. Howard, seconded by Cllr. Wright and agreed by all Members.
British Telecommunications plc (broadband) 112.59
Mrs J.M.Papadopulos (Chairman's allowance) 100.00
Higham with Merston PCC (Christmas leaflet – Sect. 137/139) 70.00
P.J.Office Services Ltd. (servicing of photocopier) 200.16
To receive a report from the Budget and Finance Committee Meeting.
Copies of the report had been circulated to all Members prior to the Meeting. Following discussion amongst Members it was proposed by Cllr. Pearton, seconded by Cllr. Wright and agreed by all Members that a precept of £27,108.86 be requested for the financial year 2008/2009.
Internal Control and Audit System.
At the Budget and Finance Committee Meeting Members had reviewed the effectiveness of the current system of internal control and audit as required under Regulations 4 and 6 of the Accounts and Audit Regulations (2003) and found it to be satisfactory. Members therefore unanimously agreed that no changes were necessary at the present time.
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 noted the visit of Father Christmas to the village on 18/12. Details had already been placed on the website.
2. A list of local community events between January and October 2008 would be supplied to National Grid who would be starting work on the IOG to Shorne Gas Pipeline.
3. Cllrs. Grey and Howard agreed to complete the Policing Kent 2008/09 Survey.
To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting.
This was given as being Monday, 7th January 2008 at 7.30 p.m.
Any Other Business.
The Clerk reported that the Borough Council was giving consideration to the possible planting of the Scouts' Centenary tree on land alongside Dickens Court.
Members expressed concern regarding the trainers still hanging over the electricity wire outside the Memorial Hall. Cllr. Walton had tried to get them removed without success. The Chairman asked the Police representatives if they were able to help the Parish Council in this respect.
Closing remarks by the Mayor of Gravesham.
Cllr. Pat Oakeshott commented that she had now had the opportunity to visit other Parish Councils within the Borough and could confirm that the Meetings at Higham were the liveliest that she had encountered. Parishioners within our village had shown the most interest and felt that they were able to come to the Meetings and air their views. She congratulated the Parish Council and added that she was proud to have been a Member for the past 20 years.
The Chairman wished all those present a Happy Christmas and prosperous New Year before inviting them to her home for some seasonal refreshment prior to closing the Meeting at 8.50 p.m.
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