Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the January 2012 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, 9th January 2012 at 7.30 p.m.

 

 Present:                                  Cllr. Mrs J.M.Papadopulos (Chairman)

                                               Kent County Councillor: Cllr. M. Snelling.

                                               Borough Councillor: Cllr. H. Craske.

                                               Councillors: G.Ashby,  A. Carroll, J. Grey, A.Howard,  

                                               M.James,  P. Oakeshott,  L. Pearton, B.Sutherland

                                               and S.Wright.

In attendance:                          7 Parishioners

                                               PCSO Rob Meader.    

                                               Kent Community Warden Steve Gray.

                                               Liz Jeffery – Village Correspondent and Press Officer.

Apologies for absence:            Received from Cllr. Mendzil

  

The Chairman welcomed all those present to the first meeting of the new year. She thanked

Cllr. Pearton who had again organised the Christmas lighting displays in the shops in the village.

                                                                                                                      

The Chairman accepted apologies for absence.

There were no alterations to the Register of Members Interests.

The Clerk reported that the Annual Site Inspection report for the Recreation Ground had been received from the Borough Council. It was noted that no high risk areas had been found and that all swing seats, cradle and flat, had been replaced. 

 

The Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting, held on Monday, 28th November 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. 1029. Matters arising - concealed entrance sign. A site meeting had taken place with 

      Kerry Prescott on the Lower Rochester Road. It was hoped that sight lines could be

      improved by trimming back vegetation and a SLOW sign painted on the road.

b.   P. 1029. Matters arising – broken bollard.  Cllr. Grey reported that Tony Atherton had

      suggested replacing some of the smaller bollards with larger ones and keeping these as

      spares for future use.

c.   P. 1029 Matters arising – passing places. It was agreed that Cllrs. James and Grey would 

      meet with Alan Casson in early February to look at the problem of cars parking outside

      the school.

d.   P. 1031 Parish. It was understood that Moat Housing would be repromoting the properties

      at The Chequers site before a decision was made regarding the allocation.  

e.   Web site report.  During the rolling 12 month period there had been a total of 37,846

      visitors to the Parish website with 3214 visits in December alone.

Cllr. Craske reported that as the junction works at the top of Forge Lane would not be completed until later this year he would investigate the possibility of double yellow lines around the Gardeners Arms junction at the present time (P. 1030 of the Minutes refers).

 

Parishioners’ Matters.

Mrs Humbles, of School Lane, reported that local residents were in support of the provision of car parking at Higham Station but were against the six B1 light industrial units proposed in the recent application received for the renewal of planning permission at the site. The bus turning circle could not be used as it always had cars parked in it. Local residents still wanted a weight restriction on the road.

Mr Jefferson, of Martins Close, reported that bags of rubbish had been dumped along the Lower Rochester Road and Steve Gray agreed to deal with this matter.

Mr Taylor, of Martins Close, reported that a filled trench behind the Parade of shops in School Lane was now showing signs of subsidence.

Clive Stanley, of Oak Drive, reported that the freestanding Dickens Sign to the A226 was partially obscured by tree branches which needed cutting back.

 

2012 Celebrations.

The Clerk reported that two Meetings would shortly take place at the Borough Council to discuss the Big Screen and the Torch Relay. The 2012 Sub Committee had booked the Peninsula Big Band to entertain the crowds on 20/7 for the special price of £250. Enquiries continued into booking a local Steel Band.

 

Policing in the Rural Area.

The Chairman thanked Cllr. James for his report on Policing in the Rural Area, which had been prepared following the Gravesham Rural Forum Meeting on 30th November 2011, and which had been sent to all Members prior to the Meeting. She reported on a successful Meeting she had hosted  with the new Officer in charge of the Gravesham Rural Area, D.I. Vicky Withnall, and PCSO Rob Meader, Jo Raff and Cllr. Sutherland, which had looked at some form of PCSO presence being available on Youth Club nights and the reassurance of a swift response from Police on duty should it be needed. 

 

Highway Priorities for 2012/2013.

The Parish Council had been asked to list its top five highway priorities for the financial year 2012/2013. Following discussion it was agreed that Members would give the matter further thought, and discussion would again take place at the next meeting. As one area of consideration was double yellow lines at the top of Forge Lane the Clerk was asked to write to local residents to ascertain if they would be in agreement with such a measure outside their properties.

 

To review the provision of additional allotment plots.

Copies of a revised allotment plan which had sub-divided each plot into two had been sent to Members prior to the Meeting. Existing tenants would be offered the opportunity to retain both halves of their original plot or to release half and be charged a reduced rental. It was hoped that this might release some additional smaller plots which could be offered to those on the current waiting list. It was suggested that a new half plot should cost £10 per annum with a double plot costing £18. Cllr. Howard agreed to update his allotment survey to identify those plots that were badly overgrown at the present time and report back at the next Meeting. It was agreed that before any decision was taken on the new allotment plan, a Meeting would be arranged with the residents of Thames View Cottages to ascertain their views on the scheme.

 

To receive copy material for the 2012 Annual Parish Newsletter.

The Clerk collected in copy material for the 2012 Annual Parish Newsletter and reminded Members of the deadlines involved. The Chairman thanked Cllr. Craske for transporting a cardboard “cut out” of the Mayor of Gravesham to Higham Library where “he” would promote the Olympic Torch Relay on 20/7. “He “would also feature on the front cover of the 2012 Newsletter.

 

Councillors’ Matters.

County.

Cllr. Snelling reported that the proposed budget had just been announced and Council Tax would be frozen for the second year running and savings of £97 million had been made. The consultation and debate on the future shape of the Youth and Library Services would be discussed at the forthcoming Rural Forum on 8/3 at Meopham. The County Council had responded to the Local Development Framework Consultation and did not support the claimed need to build on any Green Belt land and questioned some of the assumptions made.

 

Borough.

Cllr. Craske reported that when the consultation period for the Local Development Framework had closed on 22/12 there had been thousands of responses mainly from the rural areas. A decision was currently awaited. The Borough Council had been given £30,000 to provide Olympic dressings for the streets of Higham and Gravesend for the Olympic Torch Relay.

Cllr. Pearton reported that an application had been received for the renewal of the planning permission for the car park and six B1 Units at the land at Higham Station. Cllr. Grey had spoken to the new owner of the land who was keen to develop the car park but did not want the units. Members unanimously agreed to object to the application and if it was granted to insist that the original conditions were attached and an 18 tonne weight limit imposed. 

 

Parish.

Cllr. James reported that every other street light was not lit in School Lane near the Congregational Church.

Cllr. Ashby reported street lights not lit to Villa Road near to the junction with Norah Lane.

He expressed concern regarding possible encroachment of the highway at the junction of Lower Rochester Road and Gore Green Road and asked the Clerk to forward details and photographs to Kent Highways for consideration. He also highlighted a lack of dog bins to Norah Lane, Oak Drive, Ash Crescent and Walmers Avenue.

Cllr. Grey reported that he had met with Simon Doherty from Gravesham Housing to discuss the planting at Jupp Court and he would report back to the housing association. Cllr.Grey complained regarding an Arriva school bus that waited at the top of Station Approach with its engine running and emitting exhaust fumes. Cllr. James offered to email details of the South East Area Director of Arriva so that a complaint could be made.

      

BREAK FOR REFRESHMENTS

 

Reports.

 

a.    Planning.

      Plans were available for the following planning applications which had been received and

      reviewed by the Planning Committee:-

 

Appln. No 20110814   6, Villa Road.

Erection of a detached two bedroom bungalow.

Appln. no. 20110984   Whitehouse Farm, School Lane.

Application for removal/variation of conditions 3, 4(b) (d), 5, 7 and 8 attached to planning permission reference number 20100779 relating to the external samples, the fire place details, sun lounge details, surface treatment to terracing details, knocking through of chimney and the method statement for opening up fire place.

Appln. no. 20110987   Whitehouse Farm, School Lane.

Application for removal/variation of conditions 3, 4 (b) (d), 5 and 6 attached to Listed Building Consent reference number 20100780 relating to the external materials, the fire place details, sun lounge details, knocking through of chimney and the method statement for opening up of fireplace.

Appln. no. 20110913   31, Telegraph Hill.

Installation of solar panels on the south side roof slope of dwelling.

 

 

Appln. no. 20111040   Long Reach, Elm Close.

Erection of a detached double garage with storage in the roof space; conversion of existing integral garage into a living room and erection of a single storey front extension to form a wc.

Appln. no. 20111085   24, Irvine Road.

Construction of new outer brick wall to dwelling adjacent to existing concrete wall.

 

h.    Governors of Higham School.

       Cllr. James reported pleasing scores regarding the performance of the children at the

       end of both Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 which indicated that the pupils were slightly  

       above the Local Authority and National Average. The percentage of children

       attaining  levels 4 or 5 in English, Maths and Science was at its highest level for several   

       years.

 

i.    Merston Court.

      The Chairman reported that three cooks were currently needed on a Friday.

 

j.     Higham Youth Club.

       Cllr. Sutherland reported that he was standing down as the Parish Council representative

       for Higham Youth Club but would continue to assist. Cllr. Carroll had agreed to become

       the new representative.

 

m.    Higham Neighbourhood Forum (formerly PACT)

        Peter Leakey reported that the Speedwatch Team had visited Alexander Cottages to

        monitor the speed of the traffic in School Lane. The group now had a new name and a

        new website. The next Meeting would take place at Higham Library on 6/3.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

n.     Kent Community Warden.

        Steve Gray reported that seven counts of fly tipping had been reported to Gravesham

        Borough Council and a litter pick requested. Coffee evenings had been cancelled due to

        lack of support and coffee mornings had been changed to afternoon tea with the

        community surgery. The first would be held on 26/1 at St. Johns Church Hall.

        He asked the Clerk to contact Shorne Parish Council regarding fly tipping which

        had taken place on the land they now owned adjacent to Great Crabbles Wood. Cllr.  

        James asked Steve Gray to try and locate some “CCTV warning” stickers to place in the 

        vicinity which he believed were available either from the Borough Council or Cleaner

        Kent. 

 

o.    Kent Police.    

       PCSO Rob Meader reported that there had been reports of cars parking in the orchard at   

       Dillywood Lane at night and incidences of fly tipping opposite the orchard had also been

       reported. Off road bikes continued to use the pathway at the end of Canal Road in spite of

       the barriers. Offenders who were caught would be dealt with robustly.

 

p.    Gads Hill School Development Committee.

       Cllr. Pearton reported that it was now proposed that local residents would park on the

       School side of the road and Cllr. Ashby agreed to look at this.

       

Finance.

The Clerk presented the quarterly financial statement for the period 1/10/11 to 31/12/11. She asked for approval for the items shown below, this being proposed by Cllr. Oakeshott, seconded by Cllr.Sutherland  and agreed by all Members.

    

Clerk (archive storage)                                                                                                 64.20

PDW Contracting Services Ltd. (Christmas lighting)                                              1626.91

Southern Water (allotments)                                                                                         51.30

Clive Stanley (webmaster services)                                                                            122.50           

Clerk’s salary (1/10/11 – 31/12/11 – net)                                                                 2603.37

HMRC (Clerk PAYE/NI (employer/employee))                                                        520.77

Expenses – use of room as office (1/10/11 – 31/12/11)                                             227.50             

British Heart Foundation (S137/139 grant – Barrie Howes)                                        50.00

 

Correspondence.

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. Cllr. Oakeshott agreed to complete the KCC Household Waste Recycling Centre Service

    Consultation form.

2. Cllr. Wright agreed to complete application forms for grant funding from the

    Neighbourhood Forum to aid repairs to the Recreation Ground fencing.

3. Members noted the invitation from Father James to attend the 150th Anniversary Service at

    St. John’s Church on 19/1 at 10.00

 

To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting.

This was given as being Monday, 20th February 2012

 

Any Other Business.

None was brought to the notice of the Meeting.

 

 

 

There being no other business, the Meeting closed at 10.00 p.m.

 

 

 

 

    

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