Higham Parish Council
Minutes of the Annual Parish Assembly 2008
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Minutes of the Annual Parish Assembly held at the Memorial Hall, School Lane, on Thursday, 17th April 2008 at 7.30 p.m.
Present: Cllr Mrs J.M.Papadopulos (Chairman)
County Councillor:- Cllr. Mike Snelling (arrived late)
Councillors:- J.A.Grey, A.L.Howard,
M.L.James, L. Pearton, Mrs. M.Scott, B.Sutherland,
S.Walton and S.Wright.
Mayor of Gravesham, Cllr. P. Oakeshott (also Borough)
In attendance: 35 Parishioners
Adam Holloway, M.P.
PC Steve Cole
PCSO Darren Fielding
Kent Community Warden Steve Gray,
Apologies for absence: Received from Cllr. Bryan Sweetland
The Meeting was opened by the Chairman, Cllr.Jennifer Papadopulos, who warmly welcomed all those present and thanked them for attending. She was particularly delighted to welcome Cllr. Pat Oakeshott to the Meeting in her capacity of Mayor of Gravesham especially as her Mayoral year was drawing to a close.
The Chairman explained that the format for the evening would be the same as the previous year. Most reports normally given at the Assembly were now contained in the Parish Newsletter, which had been circulated throughout the village. The Chairman emphasised that the Parish Council still wished to hear the views and opinions of those Parishioners present, and she invited them to make comment accordingly.
The Minutes of the Annual Parish Assembly, held on Thursday, 19th April 2007, were confirmed and signed.
Matters arising from the Minutes.
The Clerk reported that:-
1. The Parish Council was now using the expertise of Borough Council Officers to reinstate the play equipment to the Recreation Ground.
2. The double yellow lines had now been installed to the top of Villa Road but Kent Highways continued to be opposed to any other form of traffic management scheme within the village as the safety record was good.
Cllr. Oakeshott appealed to residents to inform her if they spotted cars parking regularly on these yellow lines especially overnight.
To receive the Annual Report of the Parish Council.
The Chairman ensured that all persons present had a copy of the “Higham Parish Council Annual Newsletter and Reports 2008” booklet before proceeding further. She proposed that all reports would be taken as read, and invited comments from Parishioners at the end of each item.
a. Allotments (P. 16 )
b. Planning (P. 11 )
c. Recreation Ground (P. 35 )
In answer to a question from Mr Mead, regarding the waiting list for allotments, the Chairman replied that all enquiries received were dated in a register and vacant plots were offered to prospective tenants in strict date order.
Mr Chilmaid reported that adults had been observed sitting on the spring animals to the Recreation Ground. Mr Mead observed that the Recreation Ground was so isolated that it was extremely difficult to police. The Chairman reported that the hedge to the School Lane boundary of the Recreation Ground had recently been cleared to give a good view of the play equipment and the youths had then started throwing bottles at passing cars.
Cllr. Grey reported that youths had also been observed going up into the grounds of the monument on Telegraph Hill. Mr Goring reported that they caused no trouble and did not disturb anyone.
The draft simplified statement of accounts for 2007/2008 (P.7) was agreed by all those present, this being proposed by Cllr.James, and seconded by Cllr.Howard . Those present noted that the balance to be carried forward into the new financial year was £14,992.37 and that this figure included unused general and specific contingency funds, and funds for work carried out, and for which invoices were still awaited.
Report from District Council Representatives.
As Cllr. Sweetland was unable to attend the Meeting he had submitted a written report (attached)
Cllr. Oakeshott reported that Cllr. Snelling was anxious to receive any letters from Parishioners regarding the siting of the Lower Thames Crossing to take back to his colleagues at the County Council. The Farmer’s Market continued to operate on the second Friday of every month and last month 17 stalls were offering such diverse products as cheeses, olive oils, pork pies and fruit. The Borough Council had recently sold several redundant public conveniences within Gravesham. Fencing would be provided from the entrance to Jupp Court down to the Station Approach and additional trees and shrubs would be planted.
Cllr. Oakeshott thanked the village for its support during her Mayoral year and revealed that she had to date raised £31,500 towards her Mayor’s Charity Fund to support 26 local clubs and charities within the Borough. She paid tribute to the wonderful work carried out by a large army of volunteers.
Mr Chilmaid questioned the need for more local Rural Housing as he understood that some people now living at Jupp Court had come from outside the area. Cllr. Oakeshott reminded those present that to qualify all occupants must have lived in the village for 10 years or have some family link with the village. She continued to look for new sites within the village.
Mr Mead also paid tribute to the work of volunteers. He asked if there was any truth in the rumour that Medway wanted to take Higham back into their fold. Cllr. Oakeshott replied that the Parish Council had not received any such communication but that this exercise had been repeated from time to time and was always resisted.
Cllr. Grey asked what was happening to the old site of the multi-storey car park in Gravesend. Cllr. Oakeshott replied that Barretts had applied to build 164 units but had now decided to increase this number to 204 as they considered that this was now more financially viable. GBC would ensure that they stuck to the original planning application.
The Chairman welcomed Adam Holloway. M.P. to the Meeting. He paid tribute to all the hard work carried out by Cllr. Oakeshott so far during her Mayoral Year and presented her with a giant cheque for £1500 raised by the village towards her Mayor’s Charity Fund.
Report from the Governors of Higham Primary School (P.22)
Report of the Kent Association of Local Councils (P.12)
To receive reports from Village Bodies and Voluntary Organisations (to be found throughout the booklet).
The Chairman thanked Judi Stanley for all her help in compiling the copy material for the newsletter.
She also thanked Clive Stanley for his help in maintaining the Parish Council website.
To consider any other matters raised by Parishioners.
PC. Steve Cole reported that the Police were considering installing a mirror to the side of the Gardeners Arms or on a lamp post so that drivers were able to see traffic travelling up School Lane. PC Cole reported that fixed penalty tickets were now being issued to drivers who ignored the road signs at the Gardeners Arms junction. It was hoped that village traffic speeds would shortly be tracked using a SID.
Kent Community Warden Steve Gray reported a request from an elderly resident in Brice Road for a ramp to be installed alongside the steps in Irvine Road. Cllr. Oakeshott agreed to speak to Cheryl Russell at the Borough Council but wondered if the gradient might be a little too steep. Steve Gray urged those present to attend the forthcoming Police Community Surgery on 2/5 between 11.00 and 13.00 to advise the team of any problems.
Jean Cole reported that the side hedge of Upshire House needed to be trimmed back to maintain sight lines.
Mr Goring reported that the Memorial Hall had been granted the sum of £7000 to provide a loop and P.A. system. He reported that the side wall at Upshire House had fallen into School Lane several weeks ago and a warning road sign had been in place all that time. Mr Goring advised that he had been personally invited to a PACT Meeting within the village and asked the Chairman for more information. The Chairman replied that the Parish Council had not been invited at this stage. Mr Goring considered that PACT Meetings were a duplication of the work carried out for the village by the Parish Council to whose Meetings the police were already invited. PC Cole clarified that PACT Meetings were aimed at involving key figures within the local community who might not attend Parish Council Meetings, but agreed that at times the same issues might be discussed.
Camilla Cooper alerted Members to the need to upgrade street lighting in the vicinity of The Knowle. Mr Mead disagreed, citing the fact that there were already too many street lights in School Lane which were obscuring the night sky.
Any Other Business
None was brought to the notice of the Meeting.
BREAK FOR BUFFET TABLE AND REFRESHMENTS
Cllr. Snelling had submitted a written report (attached).
The Chairman welcomed Richard Slater who gave a talk entitled “The Titanic”.
At the end of his talk Mr Slater made a surprise presentation to Cllr. Oakeshott of a portrait of herself in her Mayoral robes which had been commissioned by the Parish Council on behalf of the village, and which he himself had painted.
To note the date of the next Annual Parish Assembly.
This was given as being Thursday, 16th April 2009 at 7.30 p.m.
The Chairman thanked fellow Members of the Parish Council, the County Representative, and Borough Representatives, for their support over the past year.
She thanked the Clerk for her continued hard work.
She thanked Lesley Topping for providing a delicious buffet.
Finally, in closing, she thanked all Parishioners for attending the Meeting and welcomed them back next year, and to future Meetings of the Parish Council
There being no other business, the Meeting closed at 10.10 p.m.
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