Higham Parish Council
Minutes of the October 2007 Parish Council Meeting
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Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting, held at the Memorial Hall, School Lane, on Monday, 8th October 2007 at 7.30 p.m.
Present: Cllr.S. Wright (Vice Chairman in the Chair)
County Councillor:- Cllr. M. Snelling.
Borough Councillor:- Cllr. B. Sweetland.
Councillors:- J.A.Grey, M.L.James, L.M. Pearton, Mrs M. Scott, B.Sutherland, and S.N.Walton,
In attendance: 7 Parishioners.
Community Warden Steve Gray.
Sharon Donald, G.B.C.
Apologies for absence: Chairman – Cllr. Mrs J.M.Papadopulos, Cllrs. Oakeshott, Howard and Waugh.
P.C. Steve Cole and PCSO Darren Fielding
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, 10th September 2007, were confirmed and signed.
The Chairman introduced Sharon Donald, Housing Development Officer for Gravesham Borough Council who was to update Members on Rural Housing Development within the village.
She reported that another Housing Needs Survey would need to be undertaken early in 2008 to determine if the current outstanding need for 11 new homes had increased or decreased. The interest in the new development in School Lane, Jupp Court, had been huge with a large number of local applicants meeting the necessary criteria. It was hoped that the site would be completed early in 2008. It now seemed possible that the Chequers development would not be proceeding as the landowner was unable to agree a price for the site. Discussion took place regarding the use of the term “affordable housing” as parishioners present complained that many were still unable to afford this type of housing. Cllr. Snelling defined the term as the relationship of the property to others on the open market, not to the affordability. Cllrs. Grey and Pearton expressed concern should it be necessary to exempt further green belt land in the future to meet the requirements of the forthcoming survey.
The Chairman thanked Sharon Donald for attending the Meeting.
Matters arising from the Minutes.
Following an update of actions from the last Minutes, the Clerk reported that:-
a. P. 843 Matters Arising – Villa Road. Members agreed to ask Mr Wybraniec to attend the January Meeting of the Parish Council to report back to them with the speed survey data.
b. P. 844 Matters Arising – Lighting to Chalk Road. Alex Burt would put the work in hand to install the floodlight.
c. P. 845 Parish. Wasps nest to the Memorial Hall. The Hall Committee was aware of this problem and was already dealing with the matter.
d. P. 846 Parish. Policing of CPZ. Paul Gibbons, Operations Manager, had confirmed that letters would shortly be sent to residents informing them of an improved scheme. In future 2 permits would be issued to each household, which could be sold on if residents moved. The charge would be £15 for a 5 year period. The restricted time would be from 9.30 a.m. to 10.00 a.m. each morning and the warden would check the roads on a daily basis.
e. P. 846 Parish. Rob Bright would try to investigate funding for the bollards to the bottom of School Lane.
f. Web Site report. There had been a total of 2156 hits to the website during September.
Cllr. James reported that he had spoken with the Landlady of the Three Crutches P.H. regarding her establishment conforming to the non-smoking regulations. She had expressed a desire to sponsor a village association and had decided to hold a Halloween Party and donate all funds to the Higham Youth Club.
Cllr. Wright reported that the hedging inside the Recreation Ground had now been cut back by the Borough Council but that the bank outside the fencing still remained to be completed.
Mr Chilmaid, of Steadman Close, reported problems with dog fouling to pavements. It was agreed to request an additional dog bin at this location. He also reported that the footpath outside the last bungalow at the junction with School Lane, by the steps, was overgrown with nettles.
Mr Martin, of School Lane, enquired if it might be possible for some buses from the A226 to divert through Higham along the lower road and up School Lane as the current bus service through the village of two buses a day, provided by Redroute, was so poor. Cllr. Sweetland agreed to make further enquiries, although Parishioners present confirmed that bus services to the lower road had ceased because it was considered too dangerous.
Mr Nash, of School Lane, urged the Parish Council to carry out improvements to the facilities within the Recreation Ground.
To discuss the appointment of the Youth Leader for Higham Youth Club.
Copies of recent e-mails had been distributed to Members prior to the Meeting. At a recent Youth Advisory Group Meeting the Chairman had raised the issue of the lack of support from the County Council for Higham Youth Club and this had started a chain of events and dialogue between Graham Clewes and the County Council which had ultimately resulted in the option that Joanne could be employed by the County Council (funded by the Parish Council) but still receive help, advice and training from Kent Youth. Cllr. Pearton updated Members regarding recent Meetings held between the sub-committee, Joanne Raff and Graham Clewes. Joanne had indicated that she would prefer to be employed by the County Council and it was therefore proposed by Cllr. James, seconded by Cllr. Pearton and agreed by all Members that this arrangement be adopted. Members also agreed the £475 fee for the services of Kent Youth and the 15% KCC administration charge. The Clerk was asked to make contact with Graham Clewes to ensure that all the detail contained in the e-mails was included in the final contract.
To discuss the provision of Christmas lighting to the village.
The Chairman asked Parishioners present if they felt that Christmas lighting should be provided this year and they indicated that it should. The Clerk was asked to get in contact with the Lighting Contractor and for consideration to be given to a new site within the village to add to the existing three locations. It was suggested that shopkeepers might be offered £25 each by the Parish Council to decorate their windows. It was further suggested that this amount should be match funded by the shopkeepers themselves with the Parish Council holding a competition to judge the winning business.
Cllr. Snelling reported that the Corporate Spending Review would be announced by the Government the following day and this would have a direct effect on the current budget discussions. A reorganization of the Highway Services department was currently under consideration. Cllr. Snelling revealed that it was possible that the policing of traffic systems would pass from the police to the Local Authority and therefore the use of registration recognition systems would be important. Cllr. Snelling agreed to chase up the outstanding preferred lorry route sign.
Cllr. Sweetland reported that the Gravesham Christmas lights would be turned on by pupils of Ifield School on 24/11. This year's contractors were also responsible for the lighting to both Regent Street and Oxford Street and it was expected that the new LED lighting would provide an excellent display.
Cllr. Pearton reported that he had received a report that a couple of fire bombs had been thrown into the drive of properties situated at the bottom of the chalk pit.
Cllr. Grey reported that the new bus shelter to Lower Higham was now overgrown with weeds and a tyre had been dumped inside. He also reported continuing problems with car parking to the Station. Members agreed that if this continued they would invite a representative from the Railway to a future meeting. Cllr. Grey reported that some trees to the School Lane verge from Steadman Close down towards the station had died off during the summer and he wondered if they could be replaced.
Cllr. James reported that a pair of trainers were hanging over a line outside the Memorial Hall and this was, reputedly, supposed to indicate the boundary of a new patch for a drug area. As it was believed that it was a BT line Cllr. Walton agreed to arrange for their removal. The underbridge to Crutches Lane still had one light unlit and a damaged fascia. A small fridge had also been dumped to the pavement of the underbridge area and Steve Gray agreed to arrange for its removal.
Plans were available for the following planning applications which had been received and reviewed by the Planning Committee:-
Appln. no. 20070787 “Hazellee”, Canal Road.
Erection of a conservatory at the rear and a new front porch.
Appln. no. 20070797 Higham Working Mens Club, 33, Hermitage Road.
Application for renewal of temporary planning permission reference number GR/2004/192 for the retention of the storage shed at the rear for storage purposes in connection with pigeon racing.
Appln. no. 20070805 “Lymehurst”, Gravesend Road.
Erection of two storey rear extension to form enlarged kitchen/diner at ground floor level with enlarged bedroom and enlarged bathroom at first floor level and conversion of the existing and proposed roof space into a bedroom and ensuite w.c./shower room.
Appln. no. 20070815 6, Haselden Cottages, Chalk Road.
Conversion of integral garage into a dining room.
Appln. no. 20070850 15, Colewood Drive.
Erection of ground floor and first floor front, side and rear extension.
Appln. no. 20070834 2, Michele Cottages, Chalk Road.
Demolition of existing outbuildings and erection of two storey side and single storey rear extension to form playroom, kitchen/diner, utility room and shower room/wc at ground floor level with two bedrooms at first floor level and erection of a front porch.
Appln. no. 20070845 “The Chimes”, Gravesend Road.
Erection of single storey side and rear extension to form garden room.
Appln. no. 20070876 59, Bull Lane.
Erection of two storey side extension to form lounge with bedroom over.
Appln. no. 20070836 28, Chilton Drive.
Construction of dormer extensions in the front, rear and side roof slopes, conversion of the roof space into a bedroom and bathroom and erection of a front entrance porch.
c. Memorial Hall.
Cllr. Walton reported that the new lighting to the small hall was awaiting fitting.
d. Multi-Purpose Games Area.
Cllr. Walton reported that a meeting would be held later in the week when the restoration of the floodlighting to the facility would be discussed.
e. Recreation Ground.
Cllr. Walton reported that the rubbish bins around the Recreation Ground were overflowing at present and required emptying. Steve Gray reported that the Probation Service offered free litter picking as a community project for its “pay back” scheme, and could be contacted at Joynes House. Barry Ford, of Chalk Road, had offered to provide a quotation for the surfacing to the Recreation Ground.
h. Governors of Higham Primary School.
Cllr. James reported that the first trial of the Walking Bus (Southern Route) would take place on 17/10. The Northern Route had yet to be accepted by the Council. The Planning Application for the Care Suite had been submitted and a Meeting would take place on 18/10.
j. Higham Youth Club.
Cllr. Sutherland reported that the Youth Club had now been running for 4 weeks. The numbers of youngsters attending had fluctuated each week but had ranged from 12 –16. There was still a shortage of helpers as some had dropped out. The Club had received an offer of some games.
l. Rural Housing.
Cllr. Grey reported that he and Cllr. Oakeshott had attended 4 Meetings in Gravesend. There were good relations between the residents and the Site Manager at Jupp Court.
The Clerk presented the quarterly financial statement for the period 1/7/07 – 30/9/07. She asked for approval for the items of expenditure shown on the agenda plus the sum of £373.63 for administration expenses for the period 1/7/07 to 30/9/07, this being proposed by Cllr. James, seconded by Cllr. Pearton, and agreed by all Members.
Mrs L. Carnall (photocopier cartridge) 99.99
Southern Water (allotments) 112.03
Clive Stanley Associates (webmaster services 21/6 to 28/9) 224.00
Gravesham Borough Council (uncontested election) 153.89
Meopham Fencing Works Ltd. (fencing repairs to Recreation Ground) 922.38
Clerk's salary (1/7/07 – 30/9/07 – net amount) 1477.31
Clerk's salary (1/7/07 – 30/9/08 – tax element) 416.68
Expenses for use of room as office (1/7/07 – 30/9/07) 227.50
St. John's College, Cambridge (½ year rent for Recreation Ground) 125.00
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 item:-
1. Members noted the advertisement of public notices for the change of speed limit for the Chalk Road to 50 mph.
To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting.
This was given as being Monday, 12 th November for Budget and Finance, and the Christmas Meeting with the Mayor of Gravesham would be held on Monday, 26 th November at 7.30 p.m.
Any Other Business.
The Clerk notified Members of plans to arrange a concert in St. Mary's Church in aid of the Mayor's Charity. Peter Brice and his choral group had offered to perform “The Armed Man” by Karl Jenkins on Saturday, 5 th April 2008. Negotiations were underway via the vicar for the use of the church through the redundant churches and it was hoped that supper would be provided by Higham W.I.
Cllr. Pearton reported that although the Nuralite site had been taken over it was to continue as an industrial site.
Cllr. Sutherland reported that a total of 11 people from Higham attended the recent PACT Meeting.
These being no other business, the Meeting closed at 9.57 p.m.
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