Higham Parish Council
Minutes of the April 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, 2nd April 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,
A. Mendzil, P. Oakeshott, L. Pearton, B.Sutherland
In attendance: 5 Parishioners
PCSO Rob Meader
Liz Jeffery – Village Correspondent and Press Officer.
Apologies for absence: Received from Cllr. James
The Chairman accepted apologies for absence.
There were no alterations to the Register of Members Interests.
The Clerk reported that the last inspection of the Recreation Ground had revealed no problems.
The Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting, held on Monday, 20th February 2012, were confirmed and signed.
Matters arising from the Minutes.
Including an update of actions from the last Minutes, the Clerk reported that:-
a. P. 1039. Matters Arising. Dorrit Cottages. Consideration had been given to placing an advert in the Parish Newsletter to try and find an applicant with a Higham connection, however a couple with work connections to the village had now come forward and had made a reservation.
b. P. 1039 Matters Arising. Subsiding trench. This had now been repaired.
c. P. 1039 Matters Arising. Tree obscuring Dickens Sign. There were concerns that pruning might unbalance the tree but the Highway Steward had agreed to monitor the situation.
d. P. 1042. Court Wood – barbed wire. As Anne Waugh was unaware of the history of this site it had been referred back to Shorne Parish Council. Cllr. Carroll reported that Sean Bevan had advised her that all relevant paperwork had been lodged with the local Parish Council.
e. P. 1042 . Parish. Three Crutches Roundabout. This and other vegetation matters had now been referred to Alan Casson.
f. P. 1042. Broadband petition. Details of how people could register had now been included in the newsletter with a QR code that could be zapped by a smartphone.
g. The Sam Weller Dickens sign had now been fitted by Cllr. Sutherland.
h. Web site report. Clive Stanley reported that for the last 12 month rolling period there had been a total of 37,555 hits to the website with 3335 visitors in March alone.
Cllr. Ashby reported that the new street nameplate for Gore Green Road had been uprooted from its site outside the property that was the subject of the encroachment issue (P. 1039 of the Minutes refers).
Keith Bradley, of Carton Road, reported that the holly tree to the top of Hollytree Drive was now overhanging the road.
The Clerk reported that the SJAB Rochester Division would carry out first aid cover for both the Proms Concert/Firework Display and the Screen on Our Green and Family Fun Day events. Beverley Smith had offered the loan of her large marquee for the Proms Concert but quite a few helpers would be needed to put it up. The Olympic Torch Relay would pass through the village at approximately 9.37 a.m on 20/7. Parishioners had been asked to wear improvised Dickens costume with paper patterns for mob caps and aprons being available from both Higham Library and the Post Office. It was understood that the Sir John Falstaff P.H. was intending to hold a disco and the Peninsula Big Band had expressed concern that it might drown out their live music. A mobile bar provided by ADS had now been confirmed for the Screen on Our Green event with football and cricket skills sessions and circus workshop activities for the children.
To finalise arrangements for the 2012 Annual Parish Assembly.
The Clerk reported that Kate Reeves of Higham Oven Bake would be providing the catering for the evening. The Chairman agreed to arrange for the drinks and glasses. The Clerk had secured a mobile projection screen to use for the Meeting.
To discuss judging arrangements for the 2012 Higham Gardens for Pleasure Competition.
Following discussion amongst Members, and the approval of Cllr. Wright , it was agreed to concentrate on the theme of red geraniums for this years’ competition as they were Charles Dickens’ favourite flower. The Chairman agreed to contact Morton Grey and advise him accordingly.
To review and approve the risk assessment document.
Copies of the amended document had been circulated to Members prior to the Meeting. It was proposed by Cllr. Howard, seconded by Cllr. Sutherland and agreed by all members that the updated document should be approved and signed.
To review the provision of additional allotment plots to the allotment gardens.
Cllr. Howard reported that he had spoken to the majority of the residents of Thames View Cottages in Hermitage Road who did not seem concerned that the new allotment plots would shortly be allocated. It was agreed that only 6 new plots would be available in phase 1 and some older plots that had become vacant would also be reallocated. The Clerk reported that at the present time there were 11 parishioners waiting for allotment plots with a further 20 people who lived outside the village also on the list. Available plots would be allocated first to people living within the village and some might be sub divided to make smaller family plots. As some of the older vacant plots were very overgrown Cllr. Howard agreed to meet with Daniel Annal on site to investigate the cost of clearing the vegetation to ground level. It was agreed that the water supply to the allotments would be left on in spite of the impending hosepipe ban but the Clerk agreed to write to all allotment users warning them that the water would be turned off if it was discovered that the restrictions had been ignored. It was agreed that allotment rents would rise to £18 per annum for a full plot and £10 for a half plot with effect from 1st April 2012.
To receive an update on the renewal of the Recreation Ground lease.
The Clerk reported that proposals for the new tenancy were currently awaited. Mr Dixon of the Landlord’s agent George Webb Finn had been corresponding direct with Suzanne Green to obtain documents for his records. He had hinted that the increase would be large but appeared to be unaware that under the terms of the Licence to Occupy no rent was paid to the Parish Council for the use of the building as this would have created a sub tenancy which the College would not allow. It was agreed that the Clerk would alert Members once the letter was received and this item would be placed on the agenda for the next Meeting.
Cllr. Snelling reported that the proposed budget (with a council tax freeze for the second successive year) had been duly confirmed at the recent budget meeting. Jo Raff had attended the recent Rural Forum Meeting on 8/3 and spoken about Higham Youth Club. Discussion had then taken place as to whether this funding model could be replicated elsewhere in the Gravesham Rural Parishes.
Cllr. Oakeshott expressed her concern that large numbers of schoolchildren would be attending the Olympic Torch Relay but that it was understood that there would be no barriers. She also highlighted that the request for traffic to be diverted away from the village whilst the Olympic Torch Relay passed through was still being considered by Kent Police.
Cllr. Craske updated Members regarding various documents under the National Planning Policy Framework which had been published recently and had significant implications for planning in Gravesham. These included the Planning Policy for Traveller Sites whereby the Borough Council would set pitch targets for gypsies and travellers. It was considered that traveller sites were inappropriate development in the Green Belt but it would be possible to alter the boundary to meet a specific need by means of the development plan. Cllr. Craske agreed to send a resume of these documents to the Clerk to be forwarded to all Members.
Cllr. Pearton reported that the Borough Council had now stopped supplying the dog pooh bags to go in the dog bins. Cllr. Sutherland reported that the Borough Council would come and collect offending dog waste if the location was given. The zig zag lines outside Higham Primary School would be reinstated.
Cllr. Ashby reported that whilst a garden shed had been built at The Orchards in School Lane the boundary had been moved into the footpath which ran alongside the property. It was agreed that photographs would be forwarded to Anne Waugh for her comments.
Cllr. Wright asked for permission to proceed with the lowest of the quotations for the replacement of the Recreation Ground fencing and this was agreed by Members.
Cllr. Grey reported that the tree replanting at Jupp Court had still not got underway and that the wooden post that had been knocked down in Steadman Close still required replacement. As no response had been received regarding the implementation of the new times for the CPZ, Cllr. Craske agreed to contact Paul Gibbons.
Cllr. Oakeshott reported a complaint regarding litter being strewn along the verges of the Wainscott By Pass within the Parish.
BREAK FOR REFRESHMENTS
Plans were available for the following planning applications which had been received and reviewed by the Planning Committee:-
Appln. no. 20120109 Whitehouse Farm, School Lane.
Application for Listed Building Consent for erection of two storey extension on north east corner to provide enlarged lounge at ground floor level with bedroom and ensuite shower room/wc together with minor alterations to the scheme previously approved under Listed Building Consent reference number 20100780
Appln. no. 20120119 Dairy Farm Oast, Church Street.
Erection of a summer house in rear garden and a 1800 metre high boundary fence.
Appln. no. 20120157 Hollybank, Crutches Lane.
Erection of a conservatory at the rear.
Appln. no. 20120124 2, The Paddock, Gravesend Road.
Erection of a detached two storey, two bedroom dwelling with car parking provision.
Appln. no. 20120150 Honeysuckle Lodge, 26, Telegraph Hill.
Erection of side extension with dormer window in front roof slope to form kitchen/diner at ground floor level with a bedroom in the roof space.
Appln. no. 20120174 Mount Pleasant Cottage, Taylors Lane.
Demolition of existing conservatory/utility room; erection of two storey rear extension to form utility room at ground floor level and a dressing room with balcony at first floor level; erection of single storey side extension to form covered way and porch.
Appln. no 20120049 East View, Crutches Lane.
AMENDED/REVISED DRAWINGS Construction of first floor extension to provide four bedrooms, box room, bathroom/wc and two ensuite shower room/wc’s; erection of single storey side extension to form garage and conversion of existing integral garage into a reception room.
Appln. no. 20120124 2, The Paddock, Gravesend Road.
AMENDED/REVISED DRAWING Erection of a detached two storey, two bedroom dwelling with car parking provision.
Appln. no. 20120087 Land Adj. To Higham Station, School Lane.
Application for approval of conditions 4,5,9,12,13,18 and 19 attached to planning permission reference number 20070891 relating to the external facing materials, landscaping scheme, noise and vibration study, external lighting or floodlighting, CCTV cameras, ticket barriers and gates, size and location of any parking operative’s hut, lighting of industrial units and details of phasing of work to car park and access.
Appln. no. 20120257 Upshire House, 1, Hermitage Road.
Erection of first floor side and rear extension above existing single storey extension and two storey rear infill extension to form enlarged kitchen at ground floor level and dressing room with ensuite bathroom at first floor level; installation of 2 no. rooflights on rear roof slope.
j. Higham Youth Club.
Cllr. Carroll reported that the midnight ice skating session had been a great success with 40 young people staying overnight at the Memorial Hall following the activity. The Camping weekend at Hopehill had also gone well and 31 youngsters had already signed up for the Residential Trip on 18/5. It was hoped that some of the older club members could be persuaded to transfer from a Wednesday to a Monday evening. Another helper was still needed for a Monday evening.
m. Higham Neighbourhood Forum (formerly PACT)
Peter Leakey reported that the meeting to be held on 12/6 would be a walkabout through the village starting at Steadman Close. A further speedwatch session would be arranged before the end of April. He reported that this equipment was now stored at Maidstone which made it difficult to collect. Cllr. Mendzil kindly offered to collect the equipment on her way home from work in Maidstone.
n. Kent Community Warden.
Steve Gray reported that a total of seven counts of fly tipping had been collected and three litter picks had been requested. Only one Parishioner had attended the Community Surgery/ Afternoon Tea on 29/3. The boat which had been tied up in the access road to the garages in Villa Road had now been removed.
o. Kent Police.
PCSO Meader reported that a list of repeat offenders, who continued to park on the Gravesend Road had now been compiled. He reported that he had received a complaint that an off road bike was being ridden around Steadman Close and the neighbouring fields. He alerted Members to the recent theft of electric cable from Hermitage Road. Horse owners were warned to be vigilant following a plait being placed overnight in a mare’s mane which might have been an indication that it was worth stealing.
p. Gads Hill School Development Committee.
Cllr. Ashby reported that work to the junction of Crutches Lane with the A226 would be unable to be commenced until after the Olympic Torch Relay had passed through the village on 20/7.
Cllr. Ashby reported that about 1000 cyclists were expected to ride through the village on 15/4 for the “On Your Bike” event organised by the Rotary Club.
The Clerk presented the quarterly financial statement for the period 1/1/12 to 31/3/12. She asked for approval for the items shown below, this being proposed by Cllr. Howard, seconded by Cllr Wright and agreed by all Members.
Signs of the Times (brackets for Dickens sign) 14.88
Joanne Raff (youth leader – February) 416.25
Mr M. Allen (new printer heads) 44.98
Mrs Katie Reeves (food for APA under Sect. 150(2) LG Act 1972) 275.00
Mrs Gillian Cramp (talk for APA under Sect. 150(2) LG Act 1972) 50.00
1st Higham Scouts (Sect. 137/139 grant for newsletter delivery) 90.00
KALC (2012 subscription) 1149.24
J.A. Stanley (preparation of 2012 newsletter) 301.20
Clive Stanley (webmaster services from 1/1/12 to 24/3/12) 77.00
Clerk’s salary (1/1/12 to 31/3/12) 2795.10
Expenses for use of room as office (1/1/12 to 31/3/12) 227.50
HMRC (PAYE/NI (employer/employee)) 649.92
1st Higham Scouts (Sect. 137/139 grant) 200.00
Higham Age Concern (Sect. 137/139 grant) 350.00
Higham with Merston PCC (Sect. 137/139 grant) 300.00
Higham Youth Club (Sect. 137/139 grant) 160.00
Willow Print Ltd. (2012 newsletter) 1085.00
NALC (Local Council Review) 48.00
The changes to both the Clerk’s and Youth Leader’s salaries, as agreed at the Budget and Finance Meeting, were endorsed unanimously by Members.
Increases to allotment rents for the 2012/2013 season had been agreed earlier in the Meeting.
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. Sutherland agreed to look at the consultation document for the allocation of vacant pitches at gypsy and traveller sites.
2. It was noted that the Sports Association had secured a grant of £2000 from the Neighbourhood Forum towards the cost of rewiring the changing rooms.
To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting.
This was given as being Monday, 14th May 2012 at 7.30 p.m. for the Annual Parish Council Meeting followed by a Parish Council Meeting.
The Annual Parish Assembly would take place on 12th April 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 9.45 p.m.
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