Higham Parish Council
Minutes of the Ordinary Parish Council Meeting, March 2018
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Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held at the Memorial Hall, School Lane, on Monday, 5th March 2018 at 7.30 p.m.
Present: Cllr. Mrs J.M. Papadopulos (Chairman)
Councillors: A. Carroll, J. Grey, P. Holmes, E. Jeffery,
P. Oakeshott , L. Pearton (also Borough) and S. Sparks.
In attendance: Kent Community Warden Paul Hassell
Apologies for absence: Received from Cllr. Bryan Sweetland, Cllr. Harold Craske and
Cllrs.Allinson, Mendzil and Howard.
The Chairman accepted apologies for absence.
There were no alterations to the Register of Members Interests.
The Clerk reported that the latest PR6 had been received and passed to the CDC.
The Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting, held on Monday, 15th January 2018, were confirmed and signed.
Matters arising from the Minutes.
Including an update of actions from the last Minutes, the Clerk reported that:-
a. P. 1279. Parishioners Matters. Following our support of the application made by Charlotte Giles for a path across the grass verge outside Alexander Cottages in School Lane it was understood that the work would be completed in the next financial year.
b. P. 1280. Letters sent re CPZ. The officer at the Borough Council had now amended the mailing list to include only the properties which were applicable.
c. P. 1283. Meeting of Parish Chairmen. The item regarding the “lasting legacy” for the LTC had been placed on the agenda.
No matters were brought to the notice of the Parish Council.
Annual Parish Newsletter and Annual Parish Assembly 2018.
The Clerk reported that Singlewell Printers would carry out the printing of the newsletters at a cost of £1071. They would also carry out the printing for the Village Plan inserts. Liz Hart would deliver the newsletters for £250. Members unanimously approved these items of expenditure. Lesley Topping would be providing the buffet and Andrew Rootes would give an illustrated talk on Life on the farm in Higham. Cllr. Sparks confirmed that three officers from Highways England would also be in attendance at the Meeting and bring with them the latest maps and drawings of the Lower Thames Crossing.
To discuss the recent Nuralite Site visit and its impact on the proposed Canal Road local housing scheme
An update letter from LEJ Properties Ltd. had been distributed to all Members prior to the Meeting. Cllr. Pearton updated the Parish Council regarding the recent site visit to the Nuralite Industrial Estate. This had revealed an ambitious rebuilding programme which it was estimated would take approximately five years to complete and, in conjunction with the decontamination works also taking place on site, would mean an escalation in lorry movements delivering all kinds of materials to the site whilst these building works were taking place. The Site Management would liaise with the Parish Council to hold a Public Meeting within the village to explain the project to Parishioners and answer any questions they might have. Members again discussed the proposed Canal Road local housing scheme. Members stated that they would not wish to have on their conscience an accident resulting from increased pedestrian use of Canal Road as an unlit road with no pavements, knowing the volume of heavy traffic continually using it to access Nuralite, Beckley Hill and Hoo Junction. It was felt that the proposed chicanes would severely restrict the lorry movements to Hoo Junction the importance of which, as a major Local Distribution Centre for the South East, had been underestimated. Cllr. Grey additionally drew Members attention to the recommendations made under the Strategic Land Availability Assessment criteria which stated that the locations of new homes should be less than 400 metres safe walking distance from food shops, cash dispenser, doctor’s surgery and chemist, all of which were situated, with the Post Office, in Mid Higham. Members therefore asked the Clerk to confirm to the Borough Council that they were unable to support housing development on this site.
To receive a report from the GDPR Workshop
A report produced by Cllr. Sparks on the recent GDPR Workshop had been distributed to all Members prior to the Meeting. Cllr. Sparks suggested that a small group needed to sit down and look at this matter in greater detail and then report back to the Parish Council. The group should consist of the Clerk, Clive Stanley and herself along with other people who had some knowledge of this issue. Changes would need to be made but needed to be proportionate. The Clerk would approach KALC to see what other written information was available at this time.
To arrange for the publication of the Village Plan
Members agreed that an insert would be placed inside the Annual Newsletter advising of the publication of the Village Plan and giving details of the Love Higham website. Full copies of the plan would be placed in places around the village such as the Library. There would be a display at the forthcoming Annual Parish Assembly where copies of the plan would also be available. Costs provided by Singlewell Stationery, for the printing of the plan, display materials and inserts, were unanimously agreed by Members.
As Cllr. Sweetland did not attend the Meeting no report was given.
Cllr. Pearton reported that the Civic Centre was kept operational during the recent bad weather with staff walking to work. The Clerk reported a telephone call received from Kevin Burbidge, in his capacity as Operational Director during the bad weather, checking that there were no problems in the village with the heavy snow.
Cllr. Pearton asked that a letter of thanks be sent to all local residents, and especially the farmers, for their help in clearing blocked roads during the recent bad weather. The Clerk suggested that a mention should also be made in the Annual Newsletter.
Cllr. Sparks referred Members to the Parish Council Facebook page where there were many comments from Parishioners regarding the recent heavy snowfall within the village. She felt that a review of the measures that needed to be taken during adverse weather conditions should take place bearing in mind the problems which had been faced over the last couple of weeks.
Cllr. Grey reported a deep pothole on the A2 coastbound at Park Pale. He expressed concern that there appeared to have been a reduction in the number of visits made by GBC to patrol the CPZ and agreed to monitor the situation.
Cllr. Jeffery reported that a cycle sign had been knocked over and thrown up onto the bank opposite the old Bramble Stores in Lower Rochester Road. She offered to try and attend both the forthcoming GROWC Meeting and the next Community Surgery with the Warden at the end of March.
Plans were available for the following planning applications which had been received and reviewed by the Planning Committee:-
Appln. no. 20171390 Maple Lodge, Watling Street
Retention of outbuilding with rear canopy attached to the existing concrete garage in the rear garden and erection of an attached greenhouse and enlarged canopy to the rear of the existing and proposed building.
Appln. no. 20180015 3, Whitehouse Farm Oast, School Lane
Erection of a detached shed/storage building at the side of the dwelling.
Appln. no. 20180043 Meadow Cottage, School Lane
Erection of single storey side and rear extensions.
Appln. no. 20170984 Blaw Knox Sports Field, Watling Street
** AMENDED APPLICATION** Retention of a 192 seat stand together with the retention of two portakabins for admin and football and academy use.
Appln. no. 20180080 Oast View, Lower Rochester Road
Demolition of existing garage and erection of a detached two storey 4 no. bedroom dwelling with construction of new access and gates.
b. Community Development Committee
Cllr. Allinson had provided the following information:-
Discussion was taking place regarding events to be held in 2018. The Pavilion Management Committee would be meeting to discuss the application for charity status.
Further quotations were still awaited for the installation of the kitchen and toilets at the Pavilion.
c. Infrastructure Committee
The Clerk had circulated a report from Cllr. Sparks to all Members before the start of the Meeting.
The village bus stops and shelters had been inspected and a report raised with recommendations to improve the structures and cleanliness. The committee would investigate the costs of cleaning and any necessary repainting. Litter picking sessions had started again. As fly tipping was still an issue in the village, the text of a letter to be sent to the Police and Crime Commissioner for Kent, Matthew Scott, was agreed. A response was still awaited from the KCC Project Manager regarding actions / proposals tabled. All allotment plots had now been taken. The latest “site allocations report” was on the GBC Agenda for the Cabinet Meeting at the end of February. A specific IFC Meeting to discuss and bring forward proposals for how we deal with housing issues would be held. A new Facebook page (Gravesham Green Belt Under Threat) had been created as a forum for residents of Gravesham.
d. Executive Management Committee
There was nothing to report.
e. Higham Speedwatch
Peter Leakey reported that 16 sessions of Speedwatch had been held recently and 46 vehicles had been reported, with the highest speed being recorded at 45 mph. Village Voices was featuring an article on the Higham Speedwatch team.
f. Kent Community Warden.
Paul Hassell reported that he was no closer to finding out who was responsible for the abandoned trailer in the slip road off Gads Hill although he had found out that it had had three owners to date. The coach was still parked at the same location although someone had been observed working on the vehicle at one time.
The Clerk asked for approval for the items shown below, this being proposed by Cllr. Oakeshott, seconded by Cllr. Carroll and agreed by all Members.
Clerks salary (January) 1085.54
HMRC (PAYE/NI January) 208.20
KCC (LGPS January) 411.23
Clerk (printer cartridges) 282.25
KALC (GDPR workshop for two delegates) 72.00
British Telecommunication plc (broadband) 171.16
SSE (electricity for public toilet) 23.07
Nexus Data Systems Ltd. (hosting/domain renewal) 297.60
Pam Holmes (train fares and parking Bid Writing Workshop) 61.90
KALC (publication) 4.14
Peter Leakey (2000 dog bags) 40.99
ACRK (subscription 2018) 50.00
Singlewell Stationery and Print Ltd. (2018 newsletter printing) 1071.00
Liz Hart (newsletter delivery) 250.00
St. Johns College (quarter year rent for RG due 25/3/18) 750.00
To receive a report from the Budget Meeting held on Monday, 12th February
A copy of the budget agreed at the Meeting held on Monday, 12th February was circulated to all Members prior to the Meeting. It was proposed by Cllr. Pearton, seconded by Cllr. Oakeshott and agreed by all Members that this be accepted as a true record.
To consider 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)
At the Budget 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). Being mindful of comments made at the 2017 Audit, it was agreed that Nigel Wharton should be asked to carry out the usual preparation for audit as in previous years but to seek advice from KALC regarding carrying out an additional internal audit this year in the interests of good practice.
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. Members agreed to consider taking part in the “therebutnotthere” initiative by purchasing two “soldiers” for the village – one for St. Marys Church and the other for the Memorial Hall.
Further information would be obtained.
2. Members approved a grant of £500 towards the cost of transporting the 1st Higham Scout troop to their Summer Camp in Ypres to commemorate the end of the World War 1 conflict.
To note the date of the next Parish Council Meetings.
These were given as being Monday, 9th April 2018 at 7.30 p.m., with the Annual Parish Assembly taking place on Thursday, 12th April 2018 at 7.30 p.m.
Any Other Business.
A street name sign for Main Road had been found on the verge in the village and clearly belonged to another Parish. The Clerk agreed to forward details to KALC for them to mail out this information to Member Councils.
There being no other business the Meeting closed at 10.00 p.m.
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