Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the April 2005 Meeting

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Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held at the Memorial Hall, School Lane, on Monday, 4th April 2005 at 7.30 p.m.

Present: Cllr. Mrs J.M.Papadopulos (Chairman)
Councillors:- J.D.Goring, J.A.Grey, Mrs J.Hinks, A.L.Howard, M.L.James, C.L.Jupp (also Borough), Mrs P.Oakeshott (also Borough), Mrs S. Saunders, Mrs A. Waugh, and S.Wright.


In attendance: WPC Alison Duffort, Kent Community Warden Steve Enright, Mr A. Taylor and 14 Parishioners.
Apologies for absence: Received from Cllr.F. Gibson, O.B.E.

The Chairman accepted apologies for absence.


There were no alterations to the Register of Members Interests.

The Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting, held on Monday, 21st February 2005, were confirmed and signed, following an amendment to P. 739 at the end of the Planning report to read :- "Members cautiously welcomed the initiative, subject to the proposal coming back to the Parish Council for further discussion at a future date, but requested that terraced housing units might be considered as this would restrict the size of the development to a minimum".

Matters arising from the Minutes.


The Clerk reported that:-

a. P. 736 Matters Arising. Tree outside Alexander Cottages. The Wallace family had arranged for the tree to be professionally shaped and trimmed on 5th September.
b. P. 736 Matters Arising. Bus shelter. Permission to proceed with the replacement shelter had now been given by our insurers, who will pay £1621.66 towards the final cost of £3432 plus VAT. Kent County Council are willing to pay up to £2000. Cllr. Jupp reported
on the recent site meeting with the supplier. The Borough Council was to remove the old shelter before the end of the month, and it was hoped that the replacement would be installed before the end of May.
c. P. 736. Matters Arising. Hits to web site. Clive Stanley had confirmed that the total number of hit to the web site had increased to 11,373.
d. P. 736. Matters Arising. Village signs. A response had been received from NALC through the KAPC. The Parish Council was advised to make contact again with KCC to see if the signs could go on Highway Land. Cllr. Jupp agreed to raise the matter with Cllr. Gibson,
and report back at the next Meeting of the Parish Council.
e. Phone box to Mountbatten Avenue. Following further vandalism at this site, BT had agreed to hasten the removal of the telephone kiosk.
f. P. 740 Correspondence. Overgrown vegetation to Church Street. Cllr. Wright had kindly liaised with the Borough Council regarding the land ownership.

Parishioners Matters.


Annette Donoghue reported on a recent site Meeting regarding the possible placement of interactive signing on the Chalk Road. She expressed disappointment that the only possible location for such a sign would be several hundred yards within the 30 mph limit at a point where vehicles slowed down to negotiate a bend, and the County Council had indicated that it would not recommend this site. Steve Enright had also attended the site meeting and he confirmed that further investigation into other measures, such as rumble strips, was taking place. He agreed to speak further with Mr Alan Ross of KCC Highways Department to ascertain the current situation, and report back at the next Meeting.


Local residents also expressed their concerns regarding traffic speeds at this location. Les Pearton, of Chalk Road, appealed for the Borough Council to extend the improved traffic calming measures as far as the junction with Taylors Lane.
Mrs Humbles, of School Lane, queried why the land at Higham Station might now be classed as a brownfield site. Cllr. Oakeshott confirmed that the planners would be meeting to discuss this at the end of April, and she would report back at a future date.

Future of Higham Station Car Park.

A copy of the letter sent by the Parish Council to South Eastern Trains, and the reply received, had been circulated to Members prior to the Meeting. It was agreed that the response was totally unsatisfactory as it did not address the issues raised The Clerk reported that she had written to Chris Pond, M.P. on 27th February to seek his help in the matter, but no reply had been received to date. A reminder had now been sent. After discussion amongst Members it was agreed that the Clerk should ask Mr Easterbrook to write to South Eastern Trains, on behalf of the Parish Council. Cllr. James suggested that as a last resort, a letter should be sent to the Strategic Rail Authority.

Annual Parish Assembly 2005.

The Clerk showed Members a copy of the 2005 Newsletter which was due to arrive from the printers on Thursday. The large amount of copy material had increased the size of the newsletter to 48 pages and Members therefore approved the increased cost of £1344 plus VAT. Arrangements were made for Members to help deliver booklets throughout the village.

The Chairman and Vice Chairman agreed to arrange for drinks and glasses for the Annual Parish Assembly. The Hall would be prepared at 3.30 p.m. and the afternoon dance class had been cancelled. Members were in agreement that Clive Stanley would demonstrate the new Parish Council web site during the interval. Members also agreed to purchase £50 of book tokens as a retirement gift for Frank Gibson from the Parishioners of Higham, under sections 137 and 139 of the Local Government Act 1972, this being proposed by Cllr.Oakeshott, and seconded by Cllr. Goring. The presentation would be made by the Chairman.

Higham Gardens for Pleasure Competition 2005.


The Chairman asked all Members to sign up against the list of roads to help produce a short list for the final judging for the competition.

Councillors' Matters.
County.

As Cllr. Gibson did not attend the Meeting, there was nothing to report.

Borough.

Cllr. Oakeshott reported that she and Cllr. Jupp had taken the new Managing Director of Gravesham Borough Council on an extensive tour of the village. A new fast track bus service was planned on a route between Dartford and Gravesend, taking in Bluewater and the Darent Valley Hospital. The Highways Department would relocate to Joynes House following its transfer to the County Council. A new Civic Amenity site would be created at Pepperhill. The Citizens Advice Bureau would shortly relocate to new premises at 41-44 Windmill Street.

A further Meeting regarding Rural Housing initiatives would take place on 19/4. The Borough Council would provide dog signs and bins for the village. Sites suggested for the location of these included Hermitage Road (by church), Forge Lane, Brice Road, Villa Road, Highwoods Close, and School Lane (in the vicinity of the school). Cllr. Oakeshott passed details of the new Licensing Law to Cllr. Goring for the use of the Memorial Hall, and reminded him that the commencement date was 1/8. The two picnic tables donated by the Borough Council had now been installed to the recreation ground.

Cllr. Jupp reported that the Borough Council was investigating the feasibility of closing Cygnet House and relocating staff to the Civic Centre, possibly creating large open plan offices to make the best use of the space available. A team of architects was also looking at ways of improving the approach to Gravesend via the one-way system in Bath Street.

Parish.

Cllr. Waugh expressed concern that works notified under the Parish Lengthsman Scheme for the previous financial year may not have been carried out. No mechanism appeared to be in place for the Borough Council to report the completion of the works. She had not therefore submitted any further requests at present, but asked Members to give her specific details of works that they would wish to see carried out to enable her to complete the necessary forms. It was agreed that an appraisal of the success of this scheme would be placed on the agenda for the next Meeting of Parish Chairmen.

Cllr. Jupp alerted Members to commuter parking which was now taking place in Colewood Drive and Old Watling Street. This had been noted by the Managing Director during his tour of the village.

Cllr. James thanked Cllr. Waugh for her help in instigating the installation of the turnstile to Lower Crabbles Wood.

Cllr. Grey again pressed for details of a commencement date for the improvements to the traffic calming works.

Cllr. Saunders reported that red and yellow graffiti had been sprayed on the traffic bollards to School Lane.

Cllr. Goring reported that traffic was now parking to both sides of the road behind the parade of shops to School Lane, and it was agreed to report this to the Borough Council. Cllr. Oakeshott agreed to request a locking post to be placed to the entrance of the Larkin Monument site.

REFRESHMENT BREAK

Reports.
a. Planning.

Plans were available for inspection for the following planning applications which had
been received and reviewed by the Planning Committee:-

Appln. no. 20050118 Mr & Mrs G. Chalmers, 19, Telegraph Hill.
Erection of single storey extensions on south and west elevations to form a kitchen and enlarged lounge.

Appln. no. 20050166 Mr & Mrs G. Ford, 2, Oak Drive.
Erection of two storey side extension to form kitchen, WC and utility room at ground floor level with bedroom and bathroom at first floor level.

Appln. no. 20040589 T. Kelly, On site of 24, Telegraph Hill.
Demolition of existing dwelling and sub-division of site into 2 plots with joint vehicular access and erection of a detached two/three storey dwelling with detached double garage at the front, on the proposed northern-most plot. REVISED PLANS/DRAWINGS.

Appln. no. 20040588 L. Woollends, On the site of 24, Telegraph Hill.
Demolition of existing dwelling and sub-division of site into 2 plots with joint vehicular access and erection of a
detached two/three storey dwelling with attached double garage at the front, on the proposed southern-most plot.
REVISED PLANS/DRAWINGS.

Cllr. Oakeshott reported on a Borough Council Planning Committee site visit to Telegraph Hill at the weekend to view the sites concerned. Cllr. Oakeshott stated that she felt there was a strong possibility that the applications would be turned down, and she would continue to press for this.

c. Memorial Hall.
Cllr. Goring reported that the application for the lottery grant had been returned with a request for more information. A minimum term of 15 years remaining to the lease was required, but there was only 14 years and 9 months. The Parish Council's Solicitor had kindly supplied copies of the counterpart lease, and the Clerk had written a letter confirming the Council's intention to renew the lease for a new term before it expired. A decision regarding the funding would be known in July. Two windows to the Hall had been broken, and graffiti sprayed to the ladies toilet walls, inside and out. The entertainments licence had been approved, and the health inspector had passed the kitchen.

d. Multi-Purpose Games Area.
Cllr. Goring reported that the courts had now been jet washed and the posts re-seated. One tennis net had been cut from top to bottom, and the other had a hole in it. The "patch" to the fencing had been pulled off, but this had now been repaired. The AGM
would take place on 12/4.

e. Recreation Ground.
Cllr. Goring reported that the Youth Shelter had now been installed to the Recreation Ground. Pieces of broken glass bottles had been embedded in the drying concrete base, but the contractors had been able to dig them out. One seat was puddling in wet weather, and Wicksteed Leisure had been asked to come back and attend to it. The Higham Football Club appeared to have disbanded. The Borough Council graffiti team had removed graffiti from the back of the Memorial Hall, and would return to tackle the Pavilion at a later date. The Clerk reported a request for the use of the recreation ground by a new Cliffe Woods based mens football team. Members decided not to agree to this request as the pitch was part of the recreation ground , not a football ground, and they wanted to keep it for the
use of the village.

g. G.R.O.W.C.
Cllr. Waugh reported that she had been sent a 1:12,000 ordnance survey map of Higham Parish and had been asked for her help in improving the network of public ROW's. She would complete the questionnaire on behalf of the village, and include suggestions for
circular walks. The paperwork needed to be completed by August.

k. Chalk Liaison Group.
Cllrs. Goring and Hinks reported on the latest Chalk Liaison Group Meeting to be held at Higham Library. Steve Enright had been coping well with his increased area. It had been agreed that Meetings would be held quarterly instead of monthly with the next taking
place in Chalk on 1/6 at 11.00 a.m. It was noted that Steve Enright had joined the youngsters of the Youth Club for the
sleepover, and had slept at the Hall to stop any gatecrashers.

Finance.

The Clerk presented the quarterly financial statement for the period 1/1/05 to 31/3/05. She asked for approval for the items shown on the agenda plus £4.07 for water for the allotments from Southern Water, and £575.18 for Administration Expenses for the period 1/1/05 to 31/3/05, this being proposed by Cllr. Oakeshott, seconded by Cllr. Goring and agreed by all Members.

Higham and Mockbeggar Cricket Club (Sect. 137/139 grant) 200.00
Clive Stanley (webmaster services) 100.00
1st Higham Scouts (Sect. 137/137 grant - newsletter delivery) 50.00
Bob Ogley (talk at APA - Sect. 150(2) L.G.Act 1972) 50.00
Lesley Topping (food for APA - Sect. 150(2) L.G.Act 1972) 175.00
Wicksteed Leisure Ltd. (youth shelter) 5354.48
J.A.Stanley (2005 newsletter) 168.60
George Webb & Co. ( ½ year rent for R.G.) 125.00
K.A.P.C. (2005 subscription and Local Council Review) 931.89
Clerk's salary (1/1/05 - 31/3/05) 1175.00
Exps. - use of room as office (1/1/05 - 31/3/05) 227.50
1st Higham Scouts (Sect. 137/139 grant) 200.00
Age Concern (Sect . 137/139 grant) 300.00
St. John's Church (Sect. 137/139 grant - West Window) 250.00

It was proposed by Cllr. Oakeshott, seconded by Cllr. Goring, and agreed by all Members that the Clerk's salary should increase to £4836 p.a. with effect from 1st April 2005. Expenses for the use of a room as an office should remain at £910 p.a.

Members noted that several allotment plots were vacant at the present time. It was agreed by all Members that allotment rents should remain at £6.00 p.a. for the present financial year. It was hoped that some vacant plots could be cleared to encourage new tenants, and this matter would be discussed at the next meeting of the Parish Council. Once work had been carried out, plots would be advertised in the local press and through village associations.

The Clerk asked for permission to purchase a "4 in 1" colour printer/copier/scanner and fax as it had an increased output per minute for photocopies. Members unanimously agreed the cost of £349.99 (plus insurance cover) in place of the £300 budgeted for a colour printer.

Correspondence.
The correspondence folder had been available for inspection by Members since 7.00 p.m. that evening, but the Clerk drew Members' attention to the following items:-
1. Cllrs. James and Jupp agreed to study the Code of Conduct consultation document and make comment accordingly.
2. Members noted that the 2004/2005 audit would take place on 6/6/05.
3. Members agreed to provide four cinema tickets as a raffle prize for the Higham Primary School Summer Fayre.

To note the date of the 2006 Annual Parish Assembly.
This was given as being Thursday, 20th April 2006 at 7.30 p.m.

To note the dates of the next Parish Council Meetings.
These were given as being Thursday, 21st April at 7.30 p.m. for the Annual Parish Assembly, and Monday, 9th May 2005 at 7.30 p.m. for the Annual Parish Council Meeting, followed by a Parish Council Meeting.

Any Other Business.
The Clerk asked for permission to contact Mr Ellis to repair a hinge to the Lower Higham notice board, and to install cork tiles to the back of the display area, and this was given.
The Clerk asked for permission to change the date of the September Meeting to 12/9, and this was agreed. The amended date would be advertised in the Annual Newsletter.
Cllr. Saunders reported on the recent Youth Advisory Committee Meeting she had attended. The Clerk agreed to circulate part of the minutes of the meeting with the papers for the next meeting of the Parish Council.
Cllr. Saunders questioned as to whether it would be advantageous for the village to undertake a Village Design Statement in view of recent comments relating to planning applications. She reminded Members that, like the village appraisal study, this document needed to be prepared by Parishioners, not the Parish Council.
The Chairman commented on an ingenious idea to solve the traffic flow problems on Telegraph Hill, made at the recent site meeting, when it had been suggested that if each resident were to give a small amount of land at the front of their property, the problem would be resolved.

It was proposed by Cllr. James, seconded by Cllr. Jupp and agreed by all Members that:-

"Pursuant to Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 that the Public now be excluded from the Meeting because it is likely in view of the nature of the business to be transacted that if Members of the Public are present there would be disclosure to them of exempt information as defined in Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act".

The Chairman closed the Meeting to the Public at 9.50 p.m.

 

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