Higham Parish Council
DRAFT Minutes of the Annual Parish Assembly, April 2017
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DRAFT Minutes of the Annual Parish Assembly held at the Memorial Hall, School Lane, on Wednesday, 12th April 2017 at 7.30 p.m.
Present: Cllr Mrs J.M.Papadopulos (Chairman)
Kent County Councillor: Cllr. B. Sweetland.
Borough Councillor: Cllr. H. Craske.
Councillors:- P. Allinson, A. Carroll, J. Grey, P. Holmes,
E. Jeffery, A. Mendzil, P. Oakeshott, and L. Pearton (also Borough)
In attendance: 33 Parishioners
Apologies for absence: Received from Cllrs Howard and Sparks
Kent Community Warden Steve Gray, PCSO Sharon Balman
The Meeting was opened by the Chairman who warmly welcomed all those present and thanked them for attending.
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, 14th April 2016, were confirmed and signed.
Matters arising from the Minutes.
The Clerk reported that:-
1. Dangerous crossing point outside Higham Post Office. It was understood that this work had not been completed as anticipated in May 2016. It was however still expected to be undertaken during the current financial year.
2. Allotments. The extension of the water system had proved to be problematical and had not taken place. There were plans during the forthcoming year to clear vacant allotment plots and offer half plots, as had been discussed with allotment holders at a social evening last Autumn.
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 2017” 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. 11)
The draft simplified statement of accounts for 2016/2017 (P.6) was agreed by all those present, this being proposed by Cllr. Oakeshott and seconded by Cllr. Grey. Those present noted that the balance to be carried forward into the new financial year was £75,867.74 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 recalled that at the Assembly a year ago he had reminded everyone of the occasion when he and the Chairman had taken part in a live interview on Radio Kent about the subject of the Lower Thames Crossing. Earlier today his phone had started ringing as soon as the announcement had been made that the preferred route option was to be Option C. The Lower Thames Crossing Association, which he had founded, was now firmly established and was a politically neutral association formed with representatives from Parish Councils and local residents groups. It would be ideally placed to keep in touch with Highways England once further information was to hand and a campaign could be mounted to offset any adverse impacts of the decision to choose this route. Cllr. Sweetland reported that this was the sixth year that the KCC budget had needed to be cut but there was still good news to report. He highlighted that this year there were to be double the number of apprenticeships on offer, between 71% and 89% of schools were performing well (good or outstanding), some 24,000 potholes had been repaired, 3 ½ million visits had been made to recycling centres, in the 100 community libraries 7.8 million books had been loaned and there was to be a new local library built at Meopham.
Adam Holloway paid an unexpected visit to the Assembly to personally apologise to Parishioners for the fact that that the decision regarding the Lower Thames Crossing had not been more favourable for the village.
Concern was voiced by David Mead regarding the prospect of any roundabout on the A226 and other Parishioners expressed fears that the decision to select Option C might impact on house prices within the village.
Report from District Council Representatives.
Cllr. Harold Craske reported that he would become Mayor of Gravesham on 9th May and his wife Veronica would be the Mayoress. His Mayor’s Chaplain was to be Father James Southward of St. John’s Church, Higham and his chosen Mayor’s Charities for the year were to be the House of Mercy, Salvation Army, Elleanor Hospice and Beams. As he loved music his Mayoral Year would have a Musical Theme and his first event was to be a concert featuring the Gravesend Borough Band at St. Georges Church on 13th May entitled “The American Dream – A History in Music” featuring American Music throughout the ages. He appealed to those present to invite him to any events in Higham over the next year.
Cllr. Pearton congratulated the Higham Volunteers for the difference that they had made to the appearance of the village by keeping it so clean and tidy.
Report from the Governors of Higham Primary School (P.22)
Report of the Kent Association of Local Councils (P.10)
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 receive a report from the Members of the Village Plan Steering Group.
Cllr. Holmes highlighted the Love Higham display and urged those present to look at it in greater detail during the interval break. She reminded Parishioners of the journey which had started in February 2017 with the Love Higham Day and gave them an idea of the timetable of events planned which would eventually see the publication of the finished Village Plan a year from now. She drew attention to some of the achievements to date such as regular litter picking sessions, the successful bid for Speedwatch equipment, grant funding for a defibrillator, and the successful application to list the Gardeners Arms PH as a Community Asset.
David Mead offered his congratulations to the Parish Council for the Village Plan initiative which he felt would be an important vehicle for the future.
To consider any other matters raised by Parishioners.
David Mead stressed the need to release land to meet both the housing needs within the village as well as those within the Local Development Framework Plan, particularly as Gravesham was being pressed to meet these targets. He queried if Gravesham would be making proposals to the Parish Council or whether the initiative was with the Parish Council itself. Cllr. Craske confirmed that at the present time no planning application had been received for the land at School Lane.
Any Other Business.
None was brought to the notice of the Meeting.
The Chairman welcomed Ian Porter, who gave a talk entitled “Call the Midwife”.
To note the date of the next Annual Parish Assembly.
This was given as being Thursday, 12th April 2018 at 7.30 p.m.
The Chairman thanked the Clerk, fellow Members of the Parish Council, the County Representative, and the Borough Representatives, for their support over the past year.
Together they had formed a brilliant team.
She thanked Lesley Topping for providing the 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 09.45 p.m.
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