Higham Parish Council
Minutes of the July 2010 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, 12th July 2010 at 7.30 p.m.
Present: Cllr. Mrs J.M.Papadopulos (Chairman)
Kent County Councillor: Cllr. M. Snelling.
Borough Councillor: Cllr. B. Sweetland
Councillors: A.L.Howard, L.M.Pearton, B. Sutherland, S.N.Walton and S.Wright.
In attendance: 5 Parishioners
Kent Community Warden Steve Gray.
PCSO Darren Fielding
Liz Jeffery – Village Correspondent and Press Officer.
Apologies for absence: Received from Cllr.Mrs P. Oakeshott (also Borough) and Cllrs. Grey, James and Scott.
Cllr. Mendzil did not attend the Meeting.
The Chairman accepted apologies for absence.
There were no alterations to the Register of Members Interests.
The Clerk updated Members regarding the current inspection report for the Recreation Ground and Cllr.Wright agreed to arrange for a quotation for the repair of the picnic table.
The Minutes of the Annual Parish Council Meeting, followed by a Parish Council Meeting, held on Monday, 10th May 2010, were confirmed and signed.
Matters arising from the Minutes.
Including an update of actions from the last Minutes, the Clerk reported that:-
a. P.964 Matters Arising. Comma Aggregates Grant. Our application had been unsuccessful as the total allocation for the whole of Kent had only been £20,000. It had not been possible to attend The Kent and Medway Funding Fair as it was fully booked.
b. P. 964 New Football Pitch. George Webb Finn had now advised that St. John’s College did not wish to provide any land to rent for this initiative.
c. P. 965 Matters Arising. Land at Walmers Avenue. Despite the fact that the Parish Council was unable to support this proposal for affordable housing, Cascade Rural Housing Solutions had arranged a presentation of their ideas to be held at the Village Club on 14/7. It was agreed that the Chairman and Cllrs. Howard and Sutherland would attend the event.
d. P.965 Matters Arising. Enforcement of CPZ. Paul Gibbons had confirmed that he was unable to progress this matter further at the present time as he was still waiting to hear from Cllr. Grey regarding preferred times of enforcement.
e. P. 965 Matters Arising. Pond to Lower Higham. The Chairman had spoken with the Chairman of the DCPS who had advised that an application for grant aid to carry out the restoration of the pond was unlikely to be successful. Steve Gray agreed to investigate other sources of grant funding and pass details to the Clerk so that Parish Environment and Conservation Committee could pursue this matter further at a later date.
f. P.965 Allotments. Following the complaint received at the Annual Parish Assembly regarding dogs running over certain parts of the allotment gardens, Members agreed that it would be too costly to provide fencing for the whole allotment gardens but any tenants who felt that they were affected by this issue would be allowed to install their own.
g. p. 966. Playground Inspection. The Borough Council had confirmed that the yearly safety inspection of the Recreation Ground would continue.
h. The Clerk reported that during the rolling 12 month period there had been a total of 35,744 visitors to the Parish website with 2788 visits in June alone.
Jenny and Alexander Wallace, of Home from Home Property Management Services, outlined the difficulties recently encountered when attempting to let a Jupp Court property on a short term tenancy whilst the owner was overseas. The Chairman reported that confirmation had now been received from the Housing Association that the net for prospective tenants could be widened as the property still remained in the name of this resident. She also apologised for any unintentional inference of support for another local letting agency and acknowledged the good work carried out by Home from Home over the past 30 years which meant it could be recommended to Parishioners.
David Mead, of Taylors Lane, thanked the Parish Council for its prompt attention to the recent problem of the leaking water supply to the allotments. He asked that consideration be given to extending the water supply down the allotment gardens if the allotment tenants provided the necessary labour for this project.
To finalise arrangements for the 2010 Higham Gardens for Pleasure Competition.
The Chairman asked Members to provide three gardens for inclusion on the shortlist for this year’s competition.
To Evaluate the success of the 2010 Friday Night at the Proms Event.
The Clerk reported that the Social and Entertainments Committee had met several times to plan this event. The receipts for ticket sales both in advance and on the gate equated to 422 paying adults but it was felt that there were more present than that. All costs and expenses for the evening had been met from this year’s receipts, leaving last year’s contingency fund untouched. In addition three party tents had been purchased to use in the future, if the weather was bad, and six re-usable advertising banners had been designed and had been displayed in prominent places within the village. A total of £200, from programme sales and donations for union jack flags, had been passed to Mr Blowers for his Help for Heroes Charity. Thanks were extended to the Memorial Hall Management Committee for the use of their chairs and tables and Suzanne Green for the use of the Pavilion. It was agreed that parking for the event had been problematical and a change of venue needed to be considered for future years. Cllr. Sweetland offered the use of his P.A. system for next year. It was also felt that more help during the evening from Parish Council Members was needed in future as Committee numbers were insufficient to run the event, and several Parishioners had needed to be drafted in to help.
To discuss the provision of play and recreational facilities for the village.
The Clerk reported that two grant applications to improve the play facilities in the Recreation Ground had now been unsuccessful. The Parish Council had been informed that part of the lack of success had been because the Parish Council did not own the Recreation Ground. During a recent advisory visit to the Recreation Ground Adrian Hickmott, Sport and Recreation Manager at the Borough Council, had suggested that the Parish Council should give consideration to relocating the trim trail and developing the small part of the Recreation Ground, which it owned, outside the Pavilion. He also expressed concern at the poor use of the two multi-purpose floodlit courts and suggested that ways should be explored with the Sports Association for them to be opened up for village use, possibly with the addition of a basketball facility, thus alleviating the need to install a MUGA as requested by Higham Youth Club. It was also hoped that the facility could again be used by sports clubs, particularly tennis, as it had in the past. It was agreed that an exploratory meeting with Cllr. Walton, the Members of HVSA and Adrian Hickmott would be arranged after the Summer break.
Cllr. Snelling reported that Mrs Catherine Kerswell had now taken up her appointment as the new Managing Director of the County Council. The installation of the Lorry sign had been delayed as Medway Council had requested time to consult with its Councillors. The County Council needed to cut £15.5 million from its budget as part of the Government cutback on public finances. The stopping of the Building Schools for the Future programme had affected four local secondary schools where the work had still to be carried out. SEEDA was in the process of being dismantled and the South East Plan, with its set housing numbers for Gravesham, had been dispensed with, although this would have implications for the protection of the Green Belt. The “find and fix” programme for pothole repairs had now repaired over 90,000 potholes in the County.
Cllr. Sweetland reported that the Borough Council was currently waiting to hear its revised budget figures and intended to use its statutory requirement as a baseline for any alterations. Following the General Election the Government had notified changes to planning laws, in particular the enforcement of “garden grabbing” restrictions.
Cllr. Walton requested more dog bins on the route of the walking bus in the lower part of the village, and agreed to liaise with Cllr. Oakeshott regarding their location.
Cllr. Sutherland highlighted current outstanding lighting problems in the village.
Cllr. Pearton drew Members attention to the concerns of the elderly in Alexander Cottages regarding security following a recent break in. PCSO Darren Fielding agreed to visit residents with Community Warden Steve Gray to offer reassurance and a visit from the Handyvan to check the security of doors and windows..
BREAK FOR REFRESHMENTS
Plans were available for the following planning applications which had been received and reviewed by the Planning Committee:-
Appln. no. 20100431 11, Hollytree Drive.
Conversion of outbuilding at the rear into a two bedroom residential dwelling.
Appln. no. 20100459 Gads Hill School, Gravesend Road.
Siting of a portacabin for a temporary period of three years.
Appln. no. 20100488 47, Walmers Avenue.
Installation of new bay windows at the front.
Appln. no. 20100505 The Birches, 5, Hayes Close.
Erection of two storey side and single storey front extension to form replacement garage, utility room, enlarged hall and open porch at ground floor level with bedroom and ensuite bathroom/wc at first floor level.
Appln. no. 20100534 Former Chequers Inn P.H., Church Street.
Application for the variation of condition 2 of planning permission reference number 20090144 to allow occupation of the 5 no. private dwellings in advance of the public house conversion being completed.
Appln. no. 20100523 Braybrooke Manor, Old Watling Street.
Erection of a front boundary wall and gates.
Appln. no. 20100548 Long Reach, Elm Close.
Erection of single storey rear extension to form enlarged kitchen, dining room and utility room.
Appln. no. 20100550 38, Walmers Avenue.
Construction of rear roof extension with dormer windows in side roof slope to provide bedroom, ensuite shower room/wc and reception room with balcony in proposed roof space and erection of single storey rear extension to form an enlarged kitchen.
Appln. no. 20100514 Side Garden Of 55, Forge Lane.
Application for renewal of planning permission reference number 20070179 for erection of detached two storey, three bedroom dwelling with provision of parking space in front garden.
Appln. no. 20100578 Fir Trees, 6, Hermitage Road.
Refurbishment and repair of exterior and interior of building including provision of new kitchen and bathroom.
Appln. no. 20100345 6, Villa Road.
Erection of a detached two storey, three bedroom dwelling with attached garage in the side garden.
i. Merston Court.
The Chairman reported that the annual Strawberry Tea at Little Hermitage had been held the previous week.
j. Higham Youth Club.
Alexander Wallace offered his services to the Higham Youth Club before his return to university.
Peter Leakey reported that the next PACT Meeting would be held in Higham Library on 7/9. PC Steve Ridley would be attending the December Meeting to discuss various traffic issues.
n. Kent Community Warden.
Steve Gray reported that 4 instances of fly tipping had been reported to the Borough Council. On 20/7 a Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinators Meeting would be held in the Library. His next Coffee Mornings and Surgeries would be held at St. John’s Church Hall on 29/7 and 26/8.
o. Kent Police.
PCSO Darren Fielding reported that he was now based again in the village and had re-established contact with the Youth Club.
The Clerk presented the quarterly financial statement for the period 1/4/10 to 30/6/10. She asked for approval for the items shown below, this being proposed by Cllr.Pearton , seconded by Cllr.Wright and agreed by all Members.
Joanne Raff (Youth Leader – April ) 270.00
Joanne Raff (Youth Leader – May) 432.00
Joanne Raff (Youth Leader – June) 459.00
The Medway Towns Band (Friday Night at the Proms event) 450.00
Mr J. Collins (repair of noticeboards) 250.00
AON Ltd.(renewal premium) 1484.82
Gravesham Borough Council (printing) 70.07
Plumbrite (emergency repairs to allotment water pipes) 70.00
The Millbrook Garden Company (garden gift tokens) 80.00
Clive Stanley (webmaster services) 91.00
Victory Designs Ltd. (banners for Proms event) 116.01
P.J.Office Services (service of photocopier) 225.84
St. John’s College, Cambridge (balance of increase in rent April 2010) 62.50
Clerk’s salary (1/4/10 – 30/6/10 – net) 2164.20
Expenses – use of room as office (1/4/10 – 30/6/10) 227.50
HM Revenue and Customs (PAYE/NI(employer/employee) 329.48
Admin.Exps.and Proms Event (1/4/10 – 30/6/10) 935.59
The following proposal was recorded in the Minutes:-
“This Council in accordance with its powers under Sections 137 and 139 of the Local Government Act 1972, should incur an expenditure of £80 for garden gift tokens from the Millbrook Garden Company, which is in the opinion of the Council in the interests of the area or its inhabitants”
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 dates that the Play in the Park activity playscheme would be visiting the village.
2. Members unanimously agreed to make a grant of £100 under Sections 137/139 of the Local Government Act 1972 for the 2010 Scarecrow Festival.
3. Members had no objection regarding the pruning of a tree at Upshire Studios, requested by Mrs Martin, but were unsure regarding ownership of the land behind the parade of shops in School Lane.
To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting.
This was given as being Monday, 6th September 2010 at 7.30 p.m.
Any Other Business.
None was brought to the notice of the Meeting.
There being no other business, the Meeting finally closed at 9.55 p.m.
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