Higham Parish Council
Minutes of the February 2011 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, 21st February 2011 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. Scott,
B. Sutherland, and S.Wright.
In attendance: Kent Community Warden Steve Gray.
Apologies for absence: Received from Cllrs Sweetland, Howard, and Walton.
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, 10th January 2011, were confirmed and signed.
Matters arising from the Minutes.
Including an update of actions from the last Minutes, the Clerk reported that:-
a. P. 992. Severe weather. The average cost of salt bins was in the region of £175 plus VAT. and these could not be placed on the highway. A Rollastor grit bin (wheelie bin with lifting lower flap) could be stored in a garage or garden and trundled to where it was needed. The capacity was 132 kg and the cost was £130.63 plus VAT. Members identified certain areas of the village which had proved to be vulnerable during the recent severe weather, but it was agreed to defer ordering any such bins until the end of the summer.
b. P. 992. Severe weather. All empty salt bins had now been reported to Kent Highways.
Beverley Smith, of Dairy Farm, reported that she would shortly be starting a new pre-school soft play group at the Memorial Hall. Members unanimously agreed to award her a grant of £280 in the new financial year to help establish this new village facility. Mrs Smith agreed to produce some copy material for inclusion in the Parish Newsletter.
Alan Taylor, of Martins Close, reported that the large pothole at the end of Martins Close had been ringed with paint but not as yet repaired.
Jo Raff, Youth Club Leader, enquired if there had been any progress regarding the provision of a MUGA. The Clerk confirmed that a Meeting with the Sports Association had yet to take place but highlighted that a prohibiting factor could be the cost of alterations to the fencing surrounding the facility. Cllr. Mendzil agreed to attend a Funding Fair at Lenham on 3/3 with Jo Raff to see if there would be any grants available for this purpose.
To evaluate the success of the recent Rural Neighbourhood Forum Meeting.
The Clerk reported that it had been estimated than in excess of 600 people had attended this meeting with Paul Carter, Leader of KCC, and many had not been able to get into the Hall and had to stand in the car park. Three PVC banners had been ordered to help publicise the event. There had been good press coverage of the event both in advance and on the evening. and both local television channels had sent a film crew. Radio Kent had broadcast from the Memorial Hall car park on the morning following the meeting. Clive Stanley had taken many photographs, some of which were now on the website with a brief report. In spite of the publicity for this event in the village a complaint had been received that some residents were not aware it was taking place. The overwhelming view of those present was one of opposition to a proposal that the new Lower Thames Crossing should be located east of Gravesend.
Cllr. Snelling reported that Robin Theobald, in his capacity as Chairman of DCPS, would be organising a further protest meeting to be held at Shorne in March.
To review the provision of allotments and the state of the allotment gardens.
A copy of a survey of the current state of cultivation of all allotment plots, compiled by Cllrs Howard and Wright, had been sent to all Members prior to the Meeting. The Clerk reported that all tenants had been advised that such a review would be taking place and an appeal had been made for uncultivated plots to be returned. This had produced only one plot. One person on the waiting list for allotments had approached an existing allotment tenant and organized a plot share with them which contravened the terms of their tenancy agreement. Cllr. Wright reported that he had spoken to Mr Shove who rented the large number of plots to the middle of the allotment gardens and he had agreed to release back to the Parish Council some of the land to the left hand side of the path. Following discussion amongst Members it was agreed that Cllrs Howard and Wright would visit the site to investigate the provision of a small number of new allotment plots and report back to the Parish Council at the next Meeting. It was noted that the Borough Council now charged in excess of £20 per allotment plot.
Parish Council Election – Thursday, 5th May 2011.
A copy of the timetable for the Parish Council Election to be held on Thursday, 5th May 2011, had been sent to Members prior to the Meeting. The Clerk drew Councillors’ attention to the last date that nomination papers could be received by the Borough Council and reminded them that it was their responsibility to submit the paperwork on time.
Friday Night at the Proms 2011.
Members discussed the feasibility of holding this years concert on 1/7 on the Higham Primary School field so that the Recreation Ground could be used for car parking. Cllr. James agreed to speak to Mrs Coombs, Headteacher, to enquire regarding the cost so that a decision could be made at the next Meeting. It was agreed that the ticket price would remain at £3 for advance sales but a charge of £4 would be made on the night. Members confirmed that they wished the 2012 concert to take place on 6/7/12.
Annual Parish Newsletter and Annual Parish Assembly 2011.
The Clerk reported that all copy material had now been placed on the computer and was awaiting editing later that week. As the size of the booklet was not yet known Members agreed that the Magazine Sub Committee should make a decision regarding the printer within the figure set at the Budget and Finance Meeting. The newsletter would be delivered by the Scouts on 1/4. This year’s speaker for the Annual Parish Assembly would be Rolf Williams of the RSPB who would speak about the work of the organisation on the North Kent Marshes.
Cllr. Snelling reported that as expected there would be no increase to Council Tax for the next financial year. Microsurfacing works would be carried out to Ash Crescent, Beech Grove, Fairview Drive, Highwoods Close, Oak Drive and Telegraph Hill in May which would necessitate some road closures.
In the absence of Cllr. Sweetland, Cllr. Snelling reported that it was also proposed that there would be no increase to Council Tax at the Borough Council. There would be no cutting of front line services and staff numbers would be reduced by natural wastage. From July the Borough Council would share a Chief Executive with Tonbridge and Malling Council which would make a saving of £60,000. A new Cabinet Position had been created for the causes of the Elderly and Voluntary Sector with a sum of £50,000 being ring fenced for this purpose, and Cllr. Oakeshott had agreed to launch this new initiative. A new Civic Square was currently being created outside the Woodville Halls with a grant from Central Government and needed to be completed by the end of March.
Cllr. Grey thanked Cllr. Snelling for the new wooden bollards to School Lane which had now finally been completed and which seemed to be working.
Mr Ashby, of Norah Lane, expressed concern regarding recent repairs to the carriageways which did not seem to last.
In answer to a question from Cllr. James, Cllr. Snelling confirmed that he had not yet received a decision from Medway Council regarding the long awaited lorry sign,
Cllr. Oakeshott reported that in addition to the Civic Square longer platforms would be constructed at the station to cope with the new Javelin trains, and lifts would be installed to help with disability access. A sports area for children, similar to the Adizone, would be created at the Prom, steep steps removed and the café rebuilt. She confirmed that the launch Meeting for the Older Peoples Forum would take place on 11/5.
Cllr. Oakeshott reported that 2500 additional dog bags had now been placed in the village. The Borough Dog Warden would be visiting the Dog Show in May to speak to those attending and provide supplies of dog bags. Further to a recent Meeting with a prospective purchaser for the land at Higham Station, it was now understood that Network Rail were taking a renewed interest in the area. The Enforcement Officer was currently dealing with verge reinstatement issues at School Lane and The Braes. In answer to a question from Cllr. Pearton, Cllr. Oakeshott confirmed that she was still hopeful that the Army would be able to assist with the clearance of the pond to Lower Higham in the Autumn. The Clerk confirmed that the replacement Sam Weller sign had now arrived and was awaiting a coat of anti-graffiti varnish.
Cllr. Pearton reminded Members that replacement road signs were still needed at Steadman Close, Gore Green Road, Chalk Road and Crutches Lane.
Cllr. Grey reported that the amended times for the CPZ in Lower Higham were still not being displayed on boards.
Cllr. Mendzil drew Members’ attention to the need to make Telegraph Hill one way from the Falstaff car park and the Clerk was asked to bring this to the attention of PC Steve Ridley.
Cllr. James reported that he had provided a list of outstanding potholes to Crutches Lane which the Clerk had passed to Kent Highways.
The Chairman reported that there were now more units at Gads Hill Farm and that she had received complaints regarding deliveries to them during the night.
BREAK FOR REFRESHMENTS
Plans were available for the following planning applications which had been received and reviewed by the Planning Committee:-
Appln. no. 20100779 Whitehouse Farm, School Lane.
Erection of two storey side/front and first floor rear extension with balcony to form enlarged lounge at ground floor level with two bedrooms at first floor level and erection of a front porch to replace lobby. REVISED/AMENDED DRAWINGS.
Application for Listed Building Consent for internal and external alterations including the erection of a two storey front/side and first floor rear extension with balcony; demolition of existing front lobby and erection of new front porch, screen wall with railings and removal of single storey 1960’s rear projection. REVISED/AMENDED DRAWINGS.
j. Higham Youth Club.
Jo Raff reported that she now had new volunteers working at the Club, one of whom had come forward as a result of the advert placed by the Police in the local paper. Last week 21 youngsters had attended on Monday evening with another 57 on Wednesday. Recent activities had included High Ropes at the Hop Farm, and Midnight Ice Skating. Four Members were attending a YAG Training Course that day.
Peter Leakey reported that the next PACT Meeting would be held on 1/3 at Higham Library.
n. Kent Community Warden.
Steve Gray reported that 2 counts of fly tipping had been reported and removed as well as a litter pick to the end of Old Watling Street. The next Coffee Morning/Community Surgery would be held on 31/3. The Higham Primary School Walking Bus had won two Awards. It was hoped to arrange a litter pick in the village on 25/3 with members of the Higham Beavers.
The Clerk asked for approval for the items listed below this being proposed by Cllr. James, seconded by Cllr. Sutherland and agreed by all Members.
Joanne Raff (Youth Leader – January) 432.00
Mr J. Carnall (wood for 4 parking signs for LTC Meeting) 94.70
The Banner Hub (3 banners for LTC Meeting) 87.00
Action with Communities in Rural Kent (2011 subscription) 35.00
Admin.Exps. (1/10/10 – 31/12/10) 797.86
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 further request had been received from AFC Higham for the use of the Recreation Ground pitch for the 2011/12 season. The Chairman had spoken with Mrs Jeal of the Eagles FC and advised Members that they currently had 120 boys signed up to the club in ten teams ranging from under 8’s to under 15’s. Four of these teams played on the field, two at home, and two away each week, with the reverse happening the following week. Being mindful of this and being unwilling to turn four boys teams off the Recreation Ground the Members resolved to continue exploring all possibilities for the creation of a new playing surface within the village, but not to facilitate this request.
2. Cllr. Pearton agreed to speak with Mr Worley regarding a complaint that had been received regarding the state of the Craft Workshops at Dairy Farm.
To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting.
This was given as being Monday, 4th April 2011 at 7.30 p.m.
Any Other Business.
None was brought to the notice of the Meeting.
There being no other business, the Meeting closed at 9.58 p.m.
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