Higham Parish Council
Minutes of the Ordinary Parish Council Meeting, January 2014
[ DRAFT -- To be confirmed at the next Meeting ]
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Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held at the Memorial Hall, School Lane, on Monday, 13th January 2014 at 7.30 p.m.
Present: Cllr. Mrs J.M.Papadopulos (Chairman)
County Councillor:- Cllr. B. Sweetland
Borough Councillor: Cllr. H. Craske.
Councillors: G. Ashby, A. Carroll, J.Grey,
M. James, A. Mendzil, L. Pearton (also Borough)
B. Sutherland, and S. Wright.
In attendance: Liz Jeffery – Village Correspondent and Press Officer.
Kent Community Warden Steve Gray
PCSO Sharon Balman
Apologies for absence: Received from Councillors Oakeshott and Howard.
The Chairman welcomed all those present to the first meeting of the New Year.
The Chairman accepted apologies for absence.
There were no alterations to the Register of Members Interests.
The Clerk reported that the wooden springer horse to the play area was now broken and needed to be removed. The Borough Council had confirmed that the replacement of the worn eye bolts to the Adventure Trail was in hand.
The Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting, held on Monday, 25th November 2013, were confirmed and signed
PCSO Sharon Balman introduced herself to Members.She can be contacted on 07969 584197.
Matters arising from the Minutes.
Including an update of actions from the last Minutes, the Clerk reported that:-
a. P. 1111 Matters Arising. Lighting issues. The Lighting Engineer had confirmed that all outstanding issues would be included in the night check this week.
b. P. 1112 Borough. Cllr. Grey had registered to speak on behalf of the Parish Council to oppose the application for The Hedgerows at the forthcoming Regulatory Board Meeting.
c. P. 1114. Correspondence. Cllr. Oakeshott had submitted comments on the Gravesham Local Plan Core Strategy (proposed modifications).
d. P. 1114. Any Other Business. Dog Fouling. Two recent complaints regarding dog fouling had been referred direct to Stuart Alford.
e. Web site report. During the rolling 12 month period there had been a total of 48,333 hits to the Parish website with 4592 visitors in December alone.
A special thank you had been sent to Mr Marsh for his continued help with the storage of the Christmas lighting units.
Stephen Tomsett and his Mother from Copperfield House, Chequers Court, updated Members regarding the deteriorating conditions within the flats in the former public house. The management company responsible had still not responded to their complaints. Members expressed concern that it would appear that the attic area now formed part of the habitable space of the building which was not part of the planning consent and Cllr. Craske agreed to look into this matter. Mr Tomsett was unsure if the residents would wish to speak to the local press about the problems but the Clerk was asked to get in contact with the makers of the BBC Programme – Cowboy Builders – to see if they were interested.
To receive an update on the renewal of the Recreation Ground lease.
The Clerk reported that the solicitor had just received the draft Head lease from the St John’s College solicitors but that the draft Underlease and the Licence to Underlet still needed to be prepared. As soon as these were all to hand he would send them to the Parish Council.
To discuss the future of the Memorial Hall car park public conveniences.
The Clerk reported that an outline quotation of £1500 (plus VAT) had been received for the demolition of the Memorial Hall car park toilets. Services would have to be capped and left in situ but the large concrete base would have to be disposed of and this part of the car park resurfaced. It was agreed that Cllr. Sutherland would discuss the matter with the Memorial Hall Committee. The Clerk agreed to seek further advice from the solicitor regarding options available and ask the Borough Council if it might be willing to help with the demolition costs.
Annual Parish Newsletter 2014.
The Clerk received copy material for the 2014 Annual Parish Newsletter from Members. This year’s speaker was to be Christoph Bull with a talk entitled “Our Thames from Dartford to Grain”. Higham Library would again sell the tickets for the Friday Night at the Proms concert which this year would be held on 11/7.
Cllr. Sweetland reported that a “find and fix” scheme for reporting potholes was currently running. The Parish Council would be allocated £3000 from his budget and he asked Members to give consideration to suitable projects within the village. He updated Councillors on the recent on-line budget consultation which had received a total of 3650 responses.
Cllr. Craske reported that Gravesend Station was now fully operational following the recent improvement works which had seen an additional platform installed so that 12 carriage trains could be accommodated. The planning application for The Hedgerows would be discussed at the forthcoming Regulatory Board Meeting at the request of Cllr. Craske. He confirmed that a donation of £500 would be made to the Friends of St. Marys Church using the remainder of his Borough Councillor funds topped up by some from Cllr. Pearton. The Borough Council had released further details of the new refuse collection scheme and he was now checking each road in the Parish to see which properties would be suitable for the wheelie bins. A Meeting would be held at the Borough Council on 27/1 to discuss the matter further.
Cllr. Ashby reported that cars had again been blocking the footpath to Chilton Drive and it was agreed that he would refer this matter to PCSO Sharon Balman. The Clerk agreed to remind Parishioners to park thoughtfully in the forthcoming newsletter. An approach would also be made to Tony Atherton to see if the double yellow lines to the top of the road could be extended.
Cllr. Mendzil reported cars parking to Telegraph Hill and an advertising board propped against a tree.
Cllr. Sutherland reported fly tipping outside the gates of the Memorial Hall and this was noted by Steve Gray.
Cllr. Grey reported that a large branch from a tree was blocking the footpath in School Lane at the end of Lake Drive. The grass verge opposite the Memorial Hall was in a bad state having been carved up in the recent bad weather by vehicles being parked by parents at the school. Cllr. Craske suggested that a verge survey of the village should be carried out by the Borough Council and agreed to enquire further.
Cllr. Pearton reported that the Landlord of the Railway Tavern hoped to visit a future meeting of the Parish Council to seek support for his business.
BREAK FOR REFRESHMENTS
Plans were available for the following planning applications which had been received and reviewed by the Planning Committee:-
Appln. no. 20131050 Happy Lands, Watling Steeet.
Demolition of existing dwelling and erection of a detached two storey, seven bedroom dwelling with rooms in the roof space and basement area; detached double garage and associated re-landscaping and parking.
Appln. no. 20131059 3, Irvine Road.
Upgrading precast concrete external walls to cavity walls on ground floor elevations only.
Appln. no. 20131099 16, Colewood Drive.
Erection of first floor side and rear extension to form bedroom, bathroom/wc, dressing room and ensuite shower room/wc.
Appln. no 20131101 7, Michele Cottages, Chalk Road.
Erection of two storey side and single storey rear extension to form garage, utility room, wc, day room and kitchen at ground floor level with bedroom, ensuite bathroom/wc and ensuite shower room/wc at first floor level,
Appln. no. 20131108 15, Telegraph Hill.
Erection of first floor rear extension to form a bedroom.
Appln. no. 20131123 32, Irvine Road.
Demolition of existing front wall and erection of new front boundary walls; installation of new wrought iron gates; resiting of existing access and creation of new vehicular access.
c. Memorial Hall.
Cllr. Sutherland reported that the floor to the store room was to be resealed in mid February and the stage curtains had been rehung.
i. Merston Court.
Cllr. Carroll reported that less people than normal were now attending the luncheon club which had had to close a week early due to a lack of cooks. Cllr. Sutherland reported that bikes were now being stored in the garage at Merston Court. The Chairman believed that they were to be sent to Nigeria.
j. Youth Club.
Cllr. Carroll reported problems with the numbers of volunteers coming forward to help. It was suggested that Jo should approach the GBC Volunteer Bureau. The Youth Club on a Monday evening was now in doubt. Local Youth Clubs at Kings Farm and Riverview Park had recently closed.
m. Higham Neighbourhood Forum (formerly PACT).
Peter Leakey reported that the next Meeting would be held on 4/3. A special Speedwatch Meeting would be held in Higham Library on 10/3. Notices for the poster Competition at the school were already up in the village.
n. Kent Community Warden.
Steve Gray reported that 2 counts of flytipping had been reported and collected and a litter pick had been requested for Villa Road. The next Community Surgery would take place on 30/1. The recent Community Safety Shop in the St. Georges Centre Gravesend in early December had been well attended.
p. Gads Hill School Development Committee.
Cllrs James, Pearton and Craske agreed to arrange to meet with the Bursar as discussed before Christmas.
The Clerk presented the quarterly financial statement for the period 01/10/13 – 31/12/13). She asked for approval for the items shown below, this being proposed by Cllr.James, seconded by Cllr. Sutherland and agreed by all Members:-
Southern Water (allotments) 36.28
Clerk’s salary (November – net) 906.69
HMRC (PAYE/NI November) 175.76
KCC (LGPS November) 291.36
Exps for use of room as office (1/10/13-31/12/13) 227.50
Clerk’s salary (December – net) 906.69
HMRC (PAYE/NI December) 175.76
KCC (LGPS December) 291.36
Admin. Exps (1/7/13-30/9/13) 490.27
Clive Stanley (webmaster services) 77.00
Clerk (boxes and trolley for planning storage) 104.36
KCS (compression plates) 83.34
Clerk’s salary (January - net) 906.69
HMRC (PAYE/NI January) 175.76
KCC (LGPS January) 291.36
Report from the Budget and Finance Committee Meeting held on 11th November 2013.
Copies of the report had been circulated to Members prior to the Meeting. Following discussion amongst Members it was proposed by Cllr.Wright, seconded by Cllr.Carroll and agreed by all Members that a precept of £50,332.07 be requested for the financial year 2014/2015.
Internal Control and Audit System.
At the Budget and Finance Committee Meeting Members had reviewed the effectiveness of the current system of internal control and audit as required under Regulations 4 and 6 of the Accounts and Audit Regulations (2003) and found it to be satisfactory. Members therefore unanimously agreed that no changes were necessary at the present time.
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. The Chairman was unable to attend the Meeting of Parish Chairmen on 29/1/14
To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting.
This was given as being Monday, 24th February 2014 at 7.30 p.m.
Any Other Business.
It was agreed to mention the increased amount of dog fouling to the village in the forthcoming newsletter.
There being no other business the Meeting closed at 9.50 p.m.
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