Higham Parish Council
Minutes of the May 2010 Annual Parish Council
and Ordinary Parish Council Meeting
[Draft Minutes - to be confirmed at next Meeting]
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Minutes of the Annual Parish Council Meeting followed by a Parish Council Meeting held at the Memorial Hall, School Lane, on Monday, 10th May 2010 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 P.O. Oakeshott (also Borough), L.M.Pearton, Mrs M.A.Scott, B.Sutherland, S.N.Walton and S.Wright.
In attendance: P.C. Steve Cole
Apologies for absence: Received from Borough Councillor Bryan Sweetland, Cllr. Howard
Kent Community Warden Steve Gray.
Cllr. A. Mendzil did not attend the Meeting.
The Meeting was opened by the Clerk who welcomed all those present.
1. ELECTION OF CHAIRMAN.
The Clerk called for nominations for the position of Chairman by secret ballot. Cllr. Papadopulos was re-elected as Chairman by a majority vote.
2. THE CHAIRMAN SIGNED HER DECLARATION OF ACCEPTANCE OF OFFICE FORM.
3. ELECTION OF VICE CHAIRMAN.
The Chairman asked for nominations for the position of Vice Chairman by secret ballot.
Cllr. Oakeshott was re-elected as Vice Chairman by a majority vote.
4. ELECTION OF COMMITTEES.
It was proposed by Cllr.James, seconded by Cllr. Pearton and agreed by all Members that the following should be elected to Committees (lead member in capitals where applicable).
a. Allotment Committee.
Cllrs HOWARD, Papadopulos and Wright (3 MEMBERS)
b. Recreation Committee.
Cllrs. Pearton, Walton and WRIGHT (3 MEMBERS)
c. Planning Committee.
It was agreed that the whole Council should perform these duties (11 MEMBERS).
d. Parish Environment and Conservation Committee.
Cllrs. Grey, Howard, Mendzil, Oakeshott, Pearton, Sutherland, and Wright (7 MEMBERS).
e. The Budget and Finance Committee.
It was agreed that the whole Council should perform these duties at a separately convened Meeting (11 MEMBERS
f. Parish Newsletter Committee.
Cllrs. Oakeshott and Papadopulos (2 MEMBERS)
g. Higham Gardens for Pleasure Committee.
It was agreed that all Members would be asked to provide suggestions for a short list from which the final judging would take place (11 MEMBERS)
h. Parish Lighting Committee
Cllrs. Mendzil, Pearton and Walton (3 MEMBERS)
i. Social and Entertainment Committee.
Cllrs. Pearton, Scott and Sutherland (3 MEMBERS).
j. Emergency Planning Committee.
It was agreed that the whole Council should perform these duties split into three teams (11 MEMBERS).
5. APPOINTMENT OF REPRESENTATIVES.
These were agreed as follows:-
a. K.A.P.C. - Cllrs Scott and Sutherland.
b. Memorial Hall Management Committee - Cllr. Walton.
c. Local Transport Advisory Committee (Village Transport Representatives) - Cllrs. Howard and Wright.
d. Merston Court Day Centre - Cllr. Papadopulos.
e. G.R.O.W.C. - Cllrs. Howard and Wright.
f. Multi-Purpose Sports Facility - Cllr. Walton
g. Higham Youth Club - Cllrs. Papadopulos and Sutherland.
h. C.P.R.E. - Cllr. Sutherland.
i. Governing Body of Higham Primary School - Cllr. James. (Cllrs Scott, Pearton and Walton also serving on Governing Body.)
j. Police Advisory Committee - Cllrs. Grey and Howard.
k. Chalk Liaison Group - Cllrs. Pearton and Scott.
l. Rural Housing - Cllrs. Oakeshott and Grey.
m. Village Roads, Pavements and Lighting – Cllrs. Grey and Scott.
6. The Chairman welcomed Liz Jeffery as the Parish Council Press Officer in addition to her role as the Village Press Correspondent.
7. The Clerk proposed a vote of thanks to both the Chairman and Anne Carroll for their help in providing refreshments at Meetings.
The Meeting closed at 7.45 p.m.
PARISH COUNCIL MEETING.
It was proposed by Cllr.Sutherland, seconded by Cllr. Grey, and agreed unanimously by all Members present that Standing Orders, including amendments for the Annual Parish Assembly, Financial Regulations, and Delegated Powers for the Planning Committee, should be adopted.
The Chairman accepted apologies for absence.
There were no alterations to the Register of Members Interests.
The Clerk circulated the new style inspection reports prepared by the Borough Council since 1st April for the Recreation Ground play equipment.
No other inspection reports for Parish property and amenities were received.
The Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting, held on Monday, 29th March 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. 958 Matters Arising. Playbuilder Grant. Our application for funds had been unsuccessful due mainly to the fact that we did not own the Recreation Ground. An application would be made for funds from the Comma Aggregate Grant. Adrian Hickmott had visited the Recreation Ground and made useful suggestions. It was agreed that this matter would be fully discussed at the July Meeting.
b. P. 959 Parishioners Matters. New football team. All landowners within the village had been contacted regarding finding suitable land for a new football pitch. A letter had been sent to George Webb Finn to ask if additional land could be rented from St. John’s College, Cambridge. A reply was awaited. The Chairman reported that Mr Craggs had offered the use of the school football pitch and showers to the village. Unfortunately it was not a full size pitch and so would not be suitable for the new mens team.
c. P. 959 Affordable Housing. Cascade Rural Solutions had now written direct to the Parish Council offering land for allotments and a football pitch if they were able to build rural housing on the site at the end of Walmers Avenue. An approach had already been made through the Borough Council by this company for the development of this site.Following discussion the Parish Council agreed to continue to oppose any development on this working farmland and had noted the difficulty of approach to the site from anywhere else and the increase in traffic emerging onto the A226 that this would generate. Cllr. Oakeshott agreed to convey the views of the Parish Council via the Borough.
d. P. 960 Parish. Dead trees to Jupp Court. These had now been reported to Hyde Housing.
e. P. 960 Parish. A reply was still awaited from Paul Gibbons regarding the extension of the enforcement times for the CPZ in Lower Higham.
f. Web Site report. During the rolling 12 month period there had been a total of 35,191 visitors to the Parish website with 2948 in April alone.
Cllr. Oakeshott asked that the DCPS be approached to see if it might be able to apply for a grant for the restoration of the pond to Lower Higham (P. 960 of the Minutes refers).
Pat Jeal, of the Eagles Football Clubs, apologised for being unable to attend the last Meeting. She emphasized the problems being faced by the club at the present time due to the lack of pitches being available, especially for the older players. No suitable pitches were available in the surrounding villages and school caretakers were unwilling to open up at weekends. Mrs Jeal signalled her willingness to reduce the numbers of children joining the club the following season to allow some extra capacity for the Mens team to share the existing facilities but expressed concern as to whether the Recreation Ground pitch would cope. She agreed to make application to both the FA and KCFA for financial help to convert any suitable land which might be found into a playing surface. The Chairman reported the willingness of Mr Craggs at Gads Hill School to share the school football pitch and showers with the village but acknowledged that this pitch was very small. Members were in agreement to give Mrs Jeal security of tenure to the existing facilities for the forthcoming season whilst an alternative solution could be found.
The Clerk reminded Members of matters arising from this year’s Annual Parish Assembly.
A complaint had been received from a tenant that dogs had been running over the allotment gardens and fencing had been requested. It was felt that this would be too costly an exercise for the Parish Council to consider at the present time and not all tenants might want it. As Cllr. Howard was not at the Meeting it was agreed that further discussion would take place in July The Villa Road traffic lights still needed some adjustment following the recent resurfacing works. A complaint had been received that beer cans were being left on the bank at Steadman Close and Steve Gray agreed to deal with this matter. More litter and dog bins were requested in Lower Higham.
To finalise arrangements for the 2010 Higham Gardens for Pleasure Competition.
The Chairman reported that Morton Grey had again agreed to judge the competition. She urged Members to sign up for roads to inspect and would be able to give some indication as to when the competition would be judged at the next Meeting.
To arrange dates for Parish Council Meetings in 2011.
The following dates for Meetings were agreed:-
Mondays:- 10th January, 21st February, 4th April, 9th May (Annual Parish Council Meeting with Parish Council Meeting), 4th July, 5th September, 10th October, 7th November (Budget and Finance only) , and 28th November (Christmas Meeting with the Mayor of Gravesham).
The Annual Parish Assembly would take place on Thursday, 14th April.
The remaining dates for Meetings in 2010 were as follows:-
Mondays:- 6th September, 11th October, 8th November (Budget and Finance only) and 29th November (Christmas Meeting with the Mayor of Gravesham)..
To discuss the new Borough Council playground inspection arrangements for the Parish.
Details of the new Borough Council inspection arrangements for the playground had been sent to all Members prior to the Meeting. Inspections would now take place at the same time every week by trained Borough Council officers instead of an independent contractor. Any equipment found to be faulty would be made safe and immediately taped off. It was agreed that Borough Council Officers would be asked to telephone the Clerk in the first instance, or if she was unavailable, Cllr. Walton. Arrangements would then be made for the equipment to be inspected by the Parish Council so that repairs could be put in hand. The Clerk was also asked to ascertain if the Borough Council would continue to provide the yearly safety inspection of the play equipment.
“Friday Night at the Proms” event 2010.
The Clerk updated Members on the arrangements which had been made for this event. Notices were now on display throughout the village and on the website and tickets were being sold at Higham Library and in Haircare. Village groups had also been given an allocation and each Councillor would also be issued with some to sell. An application had been made to Kent Highways for an Events Licence and a Risk Assessment form had been completed. The SJAB would again be in attendance to cover for First Aid . Cllr. Walton agreed to notify the fire brigade of the event. The Chairman and Cllr. Oakeshott agreed to provide supper for the bandsmen. The toilets to the Memorial Hall car park would be open.
It had been suggested that union jack flags should be available for Parishioners to wave. An informal meeting of the new Social and Entertainment Committee would be held to finalise the arrangements.
To note the results of the 2009 Rural Housing Survey.
Details of the main findings of the 2009 Rural Housing Survey had been sent to all Members prior to the Meeting. The survey had identified 46 households in general housing need (either now or within the next 5 years) and in addition 19 households had indicated that they could require sheltered or older persons accommodation in the next 3 to 10 years. This gave a combined total of 65 households with some form of housing need which was an increase on the current figures. Members noted these figures but acknowledged that it was impossible to move forward at the present time due to the lack of suitable land within the village for rural housing. The Clerk was asked to respond accordingly.
Cllr. Snelling reported that the new Managing Director at KCC would commence work on 1/7. A total of 65,000 pot holes had now been filled in and with a £2.4 million grant from Government added to £2 million from KCC funds sections of some roads were additionally being resurfaced.
Cllr. Oakeshott reported that a new outside gym called the Adizone had opened on the Prom in Gravesend and such was the popularity that floodlighting might be considered for the winter months. The next Rural Neighbourhood Forum would be held at Higham School on 3/6. A Volunteers Day was to be held in Gravesend on 5/6. She continued to receive complaints regarding the traffic lights on the A226 which required readjustment since the recent resurfacing works. Cllr. Oakeshott reported that she had referred the matter of the redevelopment of the Higham Station car park to M.P. Adam Holloway since the previous Government had refused to endorse any improvement works on site as they felt that they would not be of benefit to the village.
Cllr. Pearton enquired regarding the request for additional dog bins to Lower Higham and it was agreed that Mrs Coulson would be asked to speak to Cllr. Oakeshott direct regarding a site on the Chalk Road near Taylors Lane. Cllr. Pearton reported that the salt bin to the top of Station Approach required repair and the one on the bend to Chalk Road that had been removed needed to be replaced.
Cllr. Scott asked if it might be possible to reinstate the seat that had been placed outside the Gardeners Arms, which had been removed to discourage youths from congregating there. Cllr. Walton agreed to speak to the publican direct.
Cllr. James requested that a seat be placed at the junction of the Old Watling Street and Watling Street. He reported that the joint between the original road surfacing and the road now going under the by pass was very rough outside “Sedgefield”.
Cllr. Grey highlighted problems with traffic parked to School Lane the previous weekend during the Boot Fair. He suggested that sections of double yellow lines could be installed to provide passing places for cars. Cllr. Grey agreed to contact Kent Highways and speak further to them regarding this suggestion. He also reported that areas of Lower Higham did not always receive their quota of new bin bags.
Plans were available for the following planning applications which had been received and reviewed by the Planning Committee:-
Appln. no. 20100104 The Birches, 5, Hayes Close.
Erection of two storey side extension to form replacement garage and utility room at ground floor level with bedroom, ensuite bathroom/wc at first floor level.
Appln. no. 20100210 St. John’s Church, Hermitage Road.
Display of replacement church noticeboard.
Appln. no. 20100217 38, Walmers Avenue,
Construction of rear roof extension with dormer window in side roof slope to provide bedroom, ensuite shower room/wc and reception room with balcony in proposed roof space and erection of a single storey rear extension to form an enlarged kitchen.
Appln. no. 20100283 10, Hollytree Drive.
Erection of single storey rear extension to form enlarged kitchen, enlarged lounge and dining room.
Appln. no. 20100304 The Moorings, Gravesend Road.
Demolition of existing garage and erection of a detached building to provide a playroom and shower room/wc with a study/office/storage in the roof space.
Appln. no. 20100333 15, Hollytree Drive.
Demolition of existing dwelling and erection of two detached, two storey, four bedroom chalet style dwellings, each with three car parking spaces and plot 2 with detached garage.
Appln. no. 20100353 Lancaster House, Gravesend Road.
Change of use from A1 retail to A5 hot food takeaway and installation of extraction duct at the rear.
j. Higham Youth Club.
On behalf of the Youth Club Cllr. Sutherland thanked the Parish Council for its recent grant. Numbers on a Wednesday evening had risen to 40 youngsters and it was hoped some of the older Members would move to a Monday evening. An appeal was made for more volunteers for the club.
Peter Leakey reported that the next PACT Meeting would be held on 1/6 at Higham Library.
n. Kent Community Warden.
In the absence of the Warden the Clerk reported that the next Community Surgery and Coffee Morning would be held on 27/5. He had located 9 counts of fly tipping in the village all of which had been reported to Gravesham Council for them to clear up. A litter pick had been requested to the dead end of Old Watling Street and a missing drain cover reported.
o. Kent Police.
PC Cole reported on the recent discovery of a body in Canal Road although the death was not thought to be suspicious. PCSO Darren Fielding was to return to the village on 2/7 but would be training other PCSO’s. PC Cole agreed to speak with PC Steve Ridley regarding placing speed camera signs to School Lane. The Chairman reported people searching in a rubbish bin to the slip road at night, and Cllr. Oakeshott reported that complaints had been received that the contents of recyclable bin bags containing paperwork had been searched through, and both of these matters were noted. Cllr. Grey reported that parking to the cycle lanes at Gads Hill remained a problem and PC Cole agreed to monitor the situation to see if it warranted double yellow lines.
The Clerk asked for approval for the items shown below this being proposed by Cllr.Oakeshott, seconded by Cllr.James and agreed by all Members:-
Joanne Raff (Youth Leader – March) 492.00
EDF Energy 1 Ltd (Christmas lighting) 81.49
Administration Expenses (1/1/10 – 31/3/10) 684.11
B.T. Payment Services Ltd. (broadband) 117.84
C.P.R.E. (2010 subscription) 29.00
Mrs J.M. Papadopulos (APA costs under Section 150(2) of L.G.Act 1972) 57.00
Spectra Press (2010 Newsletter – VAT zero rated) 1199.00
NALC (Local Council Review) 48.00
K.C.P.F.A. (2010 subscription) 20.00
M.J.Read and Co. (annual accounts and internal control) 376.00
Mrs L.M.Carnall (APA costs under Section 150(2) of L.G.Act 1972) 100.00
To approve the Annual Return for Local Councils for the Year Ended 31st March 2010.
Copies of both the Annual Return for Local Councils in England and Wales, and accounts for the financial year ended 31st March 2010, had been circulated to Members prior to the Meeting. Both documents were approved unanimously by all Members present.
Members again noted the comments made by Nigel Wharton regarding the Council conducting a review once a year of the effectiveness of its system of internal control. It was agreed that, as last year, this should be considered by the Budget and Finance Committee when it met in early November, and the findings should be ratified by the full Parish Council Meeting at the end of November.
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. A request by the Memorial Hall Committee for a change of date for Monday Parish Council Meetings would be unnecessary as the Youth Club had been given a grant so that their Members could enjoy an evening out on the few weeks a year when the Parish Council met.
To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting.
This was given as being Monday, 5th July 2010 at 7.30 p.m.
Any Other Business.
Cllr. Oakeshott reported that work was due to commence on the old Chequers Inn PH site in June. She agreed to ensure that any lorries delivering to the site followed the designated lorry route through the village.
There being no other business, the Meeting closed at 9.55 p.m.
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