Higham Parish Council
Minutes of the November 2009 Parish Council Meeting
[Draft Minutes - to be confirmed at next Meeting]
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Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held at the Memorial Hall, School Lane, on Monday, 30th November 2009 at 7.30 p.m.
Present: Cllr. Mrs J.M. Papadopulos (Chairman)
Kent County Councillor: Cllr. M. Snelling.
Councillors: J.A.Grey, M.L.James, Mrs A. Mendzil,
Mrs P.Oakeshott (also Borough), L.M.Pearton, Mrs M.A.Scott,
B. Sutherland, S.N.Walton and S.Wright.
In attendance: Cllr. Bronwen McGarrity (Mayor of Gravesham)
PC Steve Cole, PCSO Darren Fielding,
Kent Community Warden Steve Gray,
Apologies for absence: Received from Borough Councillor B. Sweetland and Cllr
The Chairman welcomed the Mayor of Gravesham, Cllr. Bronwen McGarrity to the Christmas Meeting of the Parish Council.
The Chairman accepted apologies for absence.
There were no alterations to the Register of Members Interests.
There were no inspection reports for Parish Property and amenities.
The Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting, held on Monday, 12th October 2009, were confirmed and signed.
Matters arising from the Minutes.
Including an update of actions from the last Minutes, the Clerk reported that:-
a. P. 938. Members of the Parish Council and the Clerk would be liaising with Cllr. Sweetland and Sian Morley in mid January in order to prepare a response for the LDF Regulation 25 consultation.
b. P. 938. Matters Arising. The Clerk had attended the Kent Highways On Line training day dealing with the new computerised fault reporting system.
c. P. 939. Matters Arising. Roundabout. The cost for the repair and installation of the roundabout was £2700. After discussion the Members decided not to proceed.
d. P. 939. Parishioners Matters. Speeding skip lorry. This had been reported direct to Ch. Insp. Painter who had asked that the witness make a formal statement.
e. P. 939. Christmas lighting. As the cost of providing the Christmas lighting was well within the budget figure it was agreed to provide inside lighting features for all the shops in the parade.
f. P. 939. Gravesham Borough Council was aware that the Parish Council would like additional playscheme dates in 2010 following the success of this year’s event.
g. P.940 County. Application had been made for the provision of raised kerbs in School Lane from Clr. Snellings’ highways allowance.
h. P. 941 Rural Housing. A Meeting with all interested parties regarding possible Rural Housing at Gore Green Road had been arranged for 11/01/10 at 7.00 p.m. prior to the Parish Council Meeting.
i. P. 942 AOB. The damage to the grass verge opposite The Orchards had been referred to Kent Highways.
j. P. 942. AOB. The request for additional dropped kerbs for wheelchairs had been referred to Cllr. Snelling for consideration.
Marilyn Peters, of Michele Cottages reported that a bath and builders rubble had been fly tipped near to the junction of Hermitage Road and Lower Rochester Road. Steve Gray reported that he had ensured that the obstruction had already been removed.
Alan Taylor, of Martins Close, reported that the street name plate for Gore Green Road still required replacement.
Anne Carroll, of Highwoods Close, reported that the pedestrian footway outside her property had sunk following a stopcock repair.
Mr Chilmaid, of Steadman Close, reported problems with vehicles parking opposite one another in his road and PC Cole noted the appropriate details.
To receive a report regarding the Playbuilder Workshop.
The Chairman thanked both Suzanne Green and Jacqui Terry-Tilley who had attended the recent Playbuilder Workshop on behalf of the Parish Council. Mrs Green gave details of this initiative which was aimed at the design of imaginative, inclusive play spaces for 8 to 13 year olds which could be accessed by all. It was expected that the total funding for Kent would be £650,00 which would be divided amongst all the districts and provide approximately £40,000 for each of the successful projects selected. Initial applications, indicating interest and a broad outline of the proposed works, needed to be submitted by 11/12 and successful applicants would then be asked to carry out a consultation with young people and provide accurate costings and plans for their scheme. Mrs Green advised Members that any design costs would need to be outlaid with no guarantee of the application being considered and, if successful, the Parish Council would be liable for the annual cost of the upkeep of the equipment. Both Mrs Green and Mrs Terry-Tilley indicated that they would be willing to form a working party to coordinate the application and Cllr. Walton agreed to act as the Parish Council representative. However, following discussion amongst Members, it was eventually decided not to submit an application at the present time due to the short deadline involved.
To discuss the proposed safety improvements to the village.
Copies of relevant paperwork had been sent to all Members prior to the Meeting. The proposal by Kent Highway Services for new road signs for the Gardeners junction was agreed by all Members. Following discussion of the proposals for safer access to both the Post Office and the parade of shops Members expressed concern at the loss of valuable car parking space in School Lane to facilitate the crossing point, and that the proposal for Forge Lane did not either provide any way of stopping the illegal turns by traffic at the junction or provide a similar crossing point over Villa Road to link with that outside The Gardeners. It was agreed that all Members would consider these proposals over the Christmas period and produce suggestions for further discussion at the Meeting in January.
To request copy material for the 2010 Newsletter.
The Clerk reminded Members to produce copy material for the 2010 newsletter in time for the next Meeting.
Cllr. Snelling reported that it was expected that the grant funding, guaranteed for the current financial year, would be cut in future and therefore it would be necessary to make savings of £200 million which would equate to 700 job losses. There remained a shortage of grammar school places for boys who had passed the 11+ within some parts of the Gravesham Rural district and so there would be some transfer of places between the east and west of the County. Funding was to be made available for the issue of the Freedom Pass to those youngsters who attended school in Medway, although they would be unable to use this facility for travel to and from school, and thus this could not be used to solve the current problems being faced at some secondary schools in Medway where pupils were receiving late lessons and thus needed after hours transport.
There was no further news regarding the Lower Thames Crossing even though its importance had been acknowledged by the Integrated Transport Plan. Cllr. Snelling confirmed that Gravesham would not support the additional crossing believing that the best option was to increase capacity at Dartford. In answer to a question from Cllr. Pearton, who asked if the existing crossing was being sold off to pay for the new, Cllr. Snelling revealed that the real cost of any new crossing would be the motorway network that would link to it and not the crossing itself.
As Cllr. Sweetland was unable to attend the Meeting due to illness, Cllr. Snelling reported that a Council Tax consultation day with local residents would shortly be held within Gravesham as a £3 million saving needed to be identified. Regular services for the new high speed train service to London would commence on 13/12. A new temporary flat car park surface had been created in Lord Street. The car park at the Gurdwara had been vandalised and car parking machines ripped out. The Christmas grotto would open on 1/12 with an entrance fee of £3 which was a fraction of that being charged at Bluewater. Members thanked Cllr. Snelling for his consideration of the lorry sign and high kerbs being met from his Highways Allocation. It was understood that due to the need to close off the By Pass to allow the erection of the sign the work might be timed to coincide with the routine maintenance of the street lighting.
Cllr. Oakeshott reported that the Community Payback team had agreed to clear the private alleyway beside Meadows Store in Forge Lane. It was essential that weedkiller was applied after this took place to stop the problem reoccurring. The Memorial Hall Committee had been successful in securing £2000 for new chairs for the Hall at the recent “Grab a Grant” Day. The next PACT Meeting on 1/12 would deal with Emergency Planning and Cllr. Oakeshott asked Members to consider a list of vulnerable people close to where they lived who, in the case of an emergency, would need to be checked upon.
Cllr. Grey reported that he had attended the recent Kent Highway Services Parish Seminar. He arranged to meet with Cllr. Oakeshott and a member of the Kent Highways team to discuss the yellow lines to Steadman Close and School Lane.
Cllr. Sutherland reported that the pothole to the bottom of Telegraph Hill still needed to be filled in.
Cllr. Pearton reported that the pavement outside Jupp Court had now been installed but that vehicles had been parking over it. PC Cole noted the details accordingly.
Plans were available for the following planning applications which had been received and reviewed by the Planning Committee:-
Appln. no. 20090789 In The Side Garden Of 3, Carton Road.
Renewal of outline planning permission reference number 20040748 for the erection of a detached bungalow and garage.
Appln. no 20090780 12, Walmers Avenue.
Demolition of existing dwelling and erection of a detached part two storey part single storey, four bedroom dwelling.
Appln. no. 20090816 21, Oak Drive.
Erection of single storey front extension to form an enlarged sitting room.
Appln. no. 20090839 Ruddlefield Stables, Hermitage Road.
Installation of external fire escape staircase on the southern elevation of the stable block.
Appln. no. 20090717 Mill House, Hermitage Road.
Application for Listed Building Consent for the replacement of four windows in front elevation, either side of the porch.
h. Governors of Higham School.
Cllr. James reported that security gates had been installed at the school and the CCTV was now operational.
j. Higham Youth Club.
Cllr. Sutherland confirmed that on a Wednesday night in the region of 30 children regularly attended the Youth Club. On a Monday numbers were still low but showing some sign of increasing.
Mr Leakey confirmed that the next Meeting would be held on 1/12.
n. Kent Community Warden.
Community Warden Steve Gray reported that the recent Community Safety Day, which had been held at Higham Library, had been attended by some 50 people. He continued to hold his monthly Coffee Mornings and Community Surgeries in the Church Hall but these had not been well attended. The next would be held on 17/12. He had given a presentation to 11 to 16 year old pupils at Gads Hill School on his role as the Community Warden for Higham. From 8/12 he would be mentoring a Support Warden for a period of up to 6 months. This Central Government funded initiative helped the long term unemployed gain hands-on work experience and all support wardens were CRB checked.
PC Cole reported that there had been a reduction in overall reported crime of 24.4%. In the various categories there had been a reduction as follows:- anti social behaviour 50%, burglary 12.5%, criminal damage 47.8% and vehicle crime 59.1%. Community safety leaflets continued to be sent to all local residents advertising this information and the Police response to local issues. They also gave details of the dates of forthcoming Police Surgeries and PACT Meetings as well as full contact details for the team. The next Police Surgery would be held on 7/12 at Higham Library. PC Cole asked if there had been any further information regarding the proposed extension works to the Higham Station car park and it was agreed to ask the Borough Council. Cllr. Grey again reiterated the need to preserve the Station Building.
The Clerk asked for approval for the items shown on the agenda this being proposed by Cllr. James, seconded by Cllr. Scott and agreed by all Members.
Administration Expenses (1/7/09 – 30/9/09) 691.33
BT Payment Services Ltd. (broadband) 115.38
Mrs J.M.Papadopulos (Chairman's allowance) 150.00
Higham with Merston PCC (church Christmas leaflet - Sect. 137/139) 80.00
Joanne Raff (Youth Leader – October) 319.80
PDW Contracting Services Ltd (Christmas lighting) 1272.27
Report from the Budget and Finance Committee Meeting held on 9th November 2009.
Copies of the report had been circulated to Members prior to the Meeting. Following discussion amongst Members it was proposed by Cllr. Pearton, seconded by Cllr. Sutherland and agreed by all Members that a precept of £31,609.81 be requested for the financial year 2010/2011.
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. A raffle prize had been provided for the Higham School Christmas Fayre.
2. Members welcomed the new village correspondent for the Kent Messenger, Liz Jeffrey, to the Meeting.
3. The Chairman agreed to attend the Civic Service on 22/4/10.
To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting.
This was given as being Monday, 11th January 2010 at 7.30 p.m.
Any Other Business.
The Clerk reported that the Higham village sign of Sam Weller, which had been sited at the junction of the Lower Rochester Road with the B2000, was missing, having been removed from its two supporting posts, which had been left in the grass verge. This incident had been reported to both the Police and the Insurers and a crime number was currently awaited. A quotation of £509.70 (plus VAT and carriage) for its replacement had now been received from Signs of the Times who were currently checking to see if they still had the original artwork. Cllr. Sutherland confirmed that he had checked the remaining four signs and taken additional measures to secure the signs to the posts.
Cllr. Oakeshott agreed to deal with an enquiry regarding a right of access across Borough Council land to the rear of Villa Road properties.
The Mayor thanked Members of the Parish Council for their invitation to the Meeting. She had been most surprised at the wide range of topics which had been covered during the evening by Parish Councillors. She extended an invitation for Members to visit the Mayor’s Parlour at a future date.
There being no other business the Chairman closed the Meeting at 8.45 p.m. and invited all those present to her home for some seasonal refreshment.
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