Higham Parish Council
Minutes of the Annual Parish Assembly, April 2013
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Minutes of the Annual Parish Assembly held at the Memorial Hall, School Lane, on Thursday, 11th April 2013 at 7.30 p.m.
Present: Cllr Mrs J.M.Papadopulos (Chairman)
Borough Councillor: Cllr. H. Craske.
Councillors:- G. Ashby, A Carroll, J. Grey, A.Mendzil,
P. Oakeshott, L. Pearton (also Borough), B.Sutherland,
and S. Wright.
In attendance: 31 Parishioners
PC Jo Mallett, PCSO Claire Croucher.
Kent Community Warden Steve Gray.
Liz Jeffery – Village Correspondent and Parish Press Officer.
Apologies for absence: Received from County Councillor Bryan Sweetland, and Cllrs. Howard and James.
The Meeting was opened by the Chairman who warmly welcomed all those present and thanked them for attending.
A special floral presentation was made to Jo Raff whose hard work and dedication had ensured that the Higham Youth Club had been awarded a AQYP kitemark (Assured Quality for Youth Projects) accreditation, the first in Gravesham to achieve this accolade. The presentation ceremony had taken place at Leeds Castle in March.
The Chairman explained that the format for the evening would be the same as the previous year. Most reports normally given at the Assembly were now contained in the Parish Newsletter, which had been circulated throughout the village. The Chairman emphasised that the Parish Council still wished to hear the views and opinions of those Parishioners present, and she invited them to make comment accordingly.
The Minutes of the Annual Parish Assembly, held on Thursday, 12th April 2012, were confirmed and signed.
Matters arising from the Minutes.
The Clerk reported that:-
To receive the Annual Report of the Parish Council.
The Chairman ensured that all persons present had a copy of the “Higham Parish Council Annual Newsletter and Reports 2013” booklet before proceeding further. She proposed that all reports would be taken as read, and invited comments from Parishioners at the end of each item.
a. Allotments (P. 12)
b. Planning (P. 10)
c. Recreation Ground (P. 12)
Dougall Goring asked for an update on the renewal of the Recreation Ground lease. The Chairman reported that the Parish Council had resisted demands for an increase in rent to £7500 and all parties had now agreed on a new rent of £3000 per annum. Mrs Green of the StartRite Kingergarten had agreed to contribute towards the increased costs. Although negotiations had been ongoing now for over a year a new lease document had still to be signed.
The draft simplified statement of accounts for 2012/2013 (P.6) was agreed by all those present, this being proposed by Cllr. Pearton, and seconded by Cllr. Wright.. Those present noted that the balance to be carried forward into the new financial year was £14,130.64 and that this figure included unused general and specific contingency funds, and funds for work carried out, and for which invoices were still awaited.
Report from County Council Representative.
Cllr. Sweetland had submitted a written report which had been provided for all Parishioners.
Report from District Council Representatives.
Cllr. Harold Craske reported that the Local Plan had now been produced and had been sent to the Secretary of State prior to a Public Enquiry taking place in Gravesham where Parishioners would be able to register their views. The release of the recent census figures had revealed that the population of Higham had grown by only 24 over the ten year period but that there were more older people in the rural area. Cllr. Craske revealed that he would be holding a monthly surgery at the same time as Steve Gray within Higham Library. Another planning application had been submitted for the field opposite the Railway Tavern for affordable housing in spite of there still being vacant properties at the former Chequers PH site opposite. Cllr. Craske congratulated Cllr. Oakeshott who was to be made a Freeman of the Borough at the forthcoming Annual Meeting of the Borough Council.
Cllr. Pearton reiterated that the green belt areas within the village would continue to be protected and commented that the recent census figures contradicted the current Rural Housing Survey which had indicated the need for more affordable homes within the village.
Report from the Governors of Higham Primary School (P.22)
Report of the Kent Association of Local Councils (P.9)
To receive reports from Village Bodies and Voluntary Organisations (to be found throughout the booklet).
The Chairman thanked Judi Stanley for all her help in compiling the copy material for the newsletter.
She also thanked Clive Stanley for his help in maintaining the Parish Council website.
She thanked Jo Raff, Youth Leader, and her team of volunteers, for the tremendous work that they had carried out with the youngsters in the village and Barbara West and her team of Cooks, Hostesses and Drivers who kept the Age Concern Luncheon Club going.
To consider any other matters raised by Parishioners.
None were brought to the notice of the Meeting.
Any Other Business.
Steve Gray reminded Parishioners of his monthly surgery which was held in Higham Library during the afternoon of the last Thursday of the month. He also appealed for volunteers for the Speedwatch Team run by the Higham Neighbourhood Forum.
PC Jo Mallett and PCSO Claire Croucher introduced themselves to Parishioners.
The Chairman thanked Parishioners for their involvement in the events which had taken place in the village in 2012. Due to the success of the Olympic events the Parish Council had been asked by the Borough Council to stage a Community Event in 2013 on their behalf. In the Mood Tonight would take place on the Recreation Ground on 15/6 and the Peninsula Big Band would play the sounds of the 30’s and 40’s so that Parishioners could sit and listen to the music or get up and dance on the special outdoor dance floor. The evening would conclude with a spectacular musical firework display with the theme being the Diamond Jubilee of the Coronation. As this event was to be funded by the Borough Council there would be free admission. The popular “Friday Night at the Proms” Band Concert would take place this year on 12/7 and tickets would shortly be on sale in Higham Library.
Future Library Services Project.
The Chairman welcomed James Pearson, Project Manager for Libraries, Registration and Archives at KCC to explain to Parishioners about the Future Library Services Project at Higham Library. Mr Pearson explained that because the Library Service needed to make cuts of £1 million to its budget it was looking at ways to maximize the use of library buildings and at the same time provide better value for money. It saw the Library as a community hub and was interested in any ideas that Parishioners might have for innovative ideas for its use. One idea being considered was the opening of a Coffee Shop but there could be village groups who might want to use the building for classes, evening events or one-off occasions.
Cllr. Craske gave details of a special email address which was contained in the Newsletter where Parishioners could leave comments and ideas.
The Chairman welcomed Jeremy Clarke, Education Officer at the Guildhall Museum, Rochester, who gave a talk entitled “Dickens and his associations with North Kent”.
To note the date of the next Annual Parish Assembly.
This was given as being Thursday, 10th April 2014 at 7.30 p.m.
The Chairman thanked fellow Members of the Parish Council, the County Representative, and the Borough Representatives, for their support over the past year.
She thanked the Clerk for her continued hard work.
She thanked Kate Reeves, of Higham Oven Bake, for providing a delicious buffet.
Finally, in closing, she thanked all Parishioners for attending the Meeting and welcomed them back next year, and to future Meetings of the Parish Council.
There being no other business, the Meeting closed at 10.05 p.m.
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