Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the January 2005 Meeting

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Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held at the Memorial Hall, School Lane, on Monday, 10th January 2005 at 7.30 p.m.

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

In attendance: Marilyn Howell (Community Warden Manager)
Alan Maitland.
Sgt. P.Smith
WPC Duffort.
Mr A. Taylor

21 Parishioners.


Apologies for absence: Received from Cllr. Mike Snelling, Cllr. M.James and Steve Enright.

The Chairman accepted apologies for absence.
There were no alterations to the Register of Members Interests.

The Chairman welcomed all those present to the Meeting and wished them a Happy New Year.

She introduced Marilyn Howell, the Community Warden Manager, and Alan Maitland, the In-Line Manager and asked them to explain the proposal that the Higham Rural Warden was to be shared with Chalk. Marilyn Howell reminded Members that Steve Enright had become the Rural Warden for Higham almost three years ago, when a pilot scheme of only 12 wardens had been set up across the county. The scheme had been such a success that the County Council had set a target to recruit a total of 100 wardens across Kent by March 2005

Of the 51 wardens in post at present, some covered up to three villages. It had been proposed that Chalk (pop. 2100) could be paired with Higham (pop. 3700) and it was hoped that the arrangement could start as soon as possible.
Cllr. Gibson expressed concern at this proposal, as Chalk formed part of the urban area. He asked why Higham could not be paired with Shorne, as they shared the same Police Constable. Marilyn Howell agreed that this would have been the ideal arrangement, but confirmed that Shorne had not submitted a bid. Cllr. Gibson re-iterated that Shorne did want
a Rural Warden, and would be writing to confirm this. Members expressed concern as to how Steve Enright would be able to split his time between the two areas and asked whether it would be on a 50/50 basis. Marilyn Howell explained that it would be on a demand basis, and confirmed that the situation would be closely monitored. If the arrangement was not working, it would be looked at again. Steve Enright and Alan Maitland were to meet with the Chalk residents the following evening, and it was then hoped to set up a Meeting between these residents and representatives of the Parish Council at a future date.

The Chairman thanked Marilyn Howell and Alan Maitland for attending the Meeting, and they left.

(During this period three youngsters, who had been attending the Meeting, vacated their seats and went outside. WPC Duffort had to twice leave the Meeting to deal with one youngster who was repeatedly kicking the front of the building. The noise escalated, and shouting, swearing and hysterical screaming could be heard. Sgt. Smith left the Meeting to assist WPC Duffort, and an arrest was made. Both officers then had to leave the village in order to travel back to the Police Station to complete the necessary paperwork.)

Parishioners' Matters.

The Chairman apologised to residents from Steadman Close who had attended the Meeting to learn from the Police what progress had been made with policing matters discussed at the last Parish Council Meeting. The residents were particularly anxious to learn if the present levels of Police cover would be continuing. She promised that the Parish Council would call a Special Meeting to address this issue, and invite both Sgt. Smith and WPC Duffort to attend.
Mrs Humbles, of School Lane, enquired regarding the future of the station car park. The Clerk reported that Steve Enright had met with the station manager, Nigel Taylor, who believed that CPS did not want to take over the running of the car park. Mr Taylor had warned that if this was the case he might have no option but to lock the gates to prevent past problems. Local residents had been urged by the Borough Council to complete and return the questionnaire forms for the CPZ. The tunnel was set to reopen on 17/1. From 24/1 to 27/1 it would close from 21.30 hours until 05.00 hours and all day on 1/3 and 2/3, for engineers to check that everything had bedded down. Members decided that the issue of the Higham station car park would also be placed on the agenda for the Special Meeting.
Mr Wenham, of St. John's Road, reported that the two new properties built by the Working Mens Club had been joined to the private sewer serving his estate, which had been classified as sub-standard at the time of construction and had never been adopted by Southern Water. He complained that the Borough Council should have placed restrictions and insisted that the main drain to Hermitage Road was used instead. Cllr. Oakeshott agreed to take up the matter with the Borough Council.

The Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting, held on Monday, 29th November 2004, were confirmed and signed.

Matters arising from the Minutes.


The Clerk reported that:-
a. P. 725. Parishioners Matters. Use of SID device in Chalk Road. Steve Enright had reported that this device was not available for use at the present time.
b. P. 726. Tree outside Alexander Cottages. Mr Mead's comments expressed in his letter of 29th November 2004 were relayed to Mr Easterbrook who had advised that the tree will be inspected prior to a decision being made as to whether any trimming is deemed
necessary. The Clerk confirmed that she had no other correspondence of any sort on file regarding this matter. The Chairman asked Mr A. Taylor why the resident concerned had not contacted the Parish Council direct with their concerns. Mr Taylor reported that the
resident had written to the Borough Council in 2001.
c. P. 729 Correspondence. BT had confirmed that it was not willing to put in polycarbonate panels to the village hall phone box as it was not vandalised enough to justify the expense.

Cllr. Oakeshott asked Mr Mead if he could update Members as to whether the service had been resumed at the Lower Higham Post Office (P. 727 of the Minutes refers). Mr Mead reported that all the Post Office equipment had been removed for security purposes whilst negotiations with Peter Wilkinson continued to be on-going at the present time.

Christmas Lighting provision in Higham.
The Clerk reported that the lighting units provided and checked by the Borough Street Lighting Engineer, Mr Alex Burt, were fitted to the two sites in the village by the lighting contractor. Less than three hours later she received a telephone call informing her that all the Christmas tree bulbs to the site at Lower Higham had been removed. As the weather was wet, the rain got into the sockets and fused all the Christmas lights, and also the street light at this location. The tree lighting could not be re-instated in time for the carol singing. Mr Burt had now written to the Parish Council expressing his concern and insisting that in future Christmas lighting within the village must be pole hung. In addition a new connection box was now required at Lower Higham. Fiona Portchmouth had indicated that she was unwilling to arrange a Christmas tree again. After discussion, Members agreed that future Christmas lighting would be pole hung and noted that Mr Burt had been able to secure an additional number of units for use within the village next year. Members further agreed to the lighting contractors, PDW Contracting Services Ltd., winterising and storing the lighting for the Council at the cost of £30 per annum.

In view of the amount of effort, and time that Mr Burt had spent securing the lighting units for the village, and collecting them from the other side of the county, Members unanimously agreed to make a goodwill donation of £25, under Sections 137 and 139, to the City of Rochester Pipe Band, of which Mr Burt was an enthusiastic member.

The Clerk thanked Clive Stanley for attending the Carol Singing and taking photographs which were featured on the web site.

Parish Newsletter 2005 and Annual Parish Assembly.
The Clerk confirmed that she had written to all village associations requesting reports for the newsletter and reminded Council Members of the reports also required for inclusion in the booklet. The front cover would feature the new village signs. This year's guest speaker was to be Bob Ogley.

Lighting levels within the Parish - possible overintensification.
Members had been sent copies of all correspondence received from Mr D. Mead on this subject and an article from the Daily Telegraph dated 9th December 2004 regarding the recently published Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Bill, in advance of the Meeting.
Cllr. Jupp thanked Mr Mead for bringing this matter to the Council's attention. He confirmed that the Parish Council rarely received complaints of too much lighting within the village, but did occasionally receive requests for additional lighting. He reported that new street lights, where installed, were dull orange in colour and focussed the light downwards. They were controlled by a photo cell which meant no unnecessary wastage of light. The Borough Council was slowly working through the village changing the existing time clocks but he was not aware of the timescale involved. He confirmed that the speed humps for the traffic calming scheme in School Lane were required to be illuminated by the Highway Authority.


Cllr. Oakeshott reported instances of complaints regarding bright fascia lighting at the Working Mens Club and Newsco store to Forge Lane, where the voltage had been reduced accordingly. Cllr. Goring reported that a complaint regarding a bright street lamp to The Larches had been resolved by painting the back of the lantern black so that the light was only projected forward. He observed that the old street lights to School Lane had been left in place when the new ones, intended to illuminate the speed humps, had been installed. The Chairman commented that many security lights within the village could do with being focussed down.

Councillors'Matters.


County.

Cllr. Gibson reported on the site visit convened by the Gravesham Regulatory Board at the Travellers' Unauthorised Encampment near Sole Street, and the unsatisfactory Public Meeting at the Meadow Rooms which followed the site visit.
Cllr. Gibson drew Members attention to the SEERA South East Plan on which they would be consulted from 24/1 until 15/4. The County Council had endorsed the decision of cabinet and called for the abolition of SEERA and the return of its statutory powers, including housing allocations, to local authorities which were best placed to champion the interests of local people. It opposed the SEERA proposals which called for up to an additional 36,000 houses to be built in an already overcrowded south-east. The budget settlement for Kent had not been good, being the equal 3rd lowest of all 34 County Councils. Although there would be a change in the Highways Maintenance Agreement from 1st April, the district Joint Advisory Board would continue with Parish representatives.


Borough.


Cllr. Oakeshott reported that it was hoped that the implementation of the yellow lines to Villa Road as far down as Chilton Drive would be undertaken during the new financial year commencing in April. The Borough Council was unable to meet with the request to mark the accident site on the Lower Higham Road by planting a commemorative tree with a plaque, as this was against the Highway Authority's policy.

Cllr. Jupp reported that he had met with Mr Wybraniec, of the Borough Council, on site to discuss a suitable replacement for the bus shelter at the bottom of Pear Tree Lane. As soon as brochures and prices were to hand the insurance company would be notified. Cllr. Jupp confirmed that an interactive road sign would be placed on the Chalk Road near to the site of the accident.

Parish.


Cllr. Waugh reported that she needed to notify the Borough Council regarding further suitable work to be carried out under the Parish Lengthsman Scheme and asked Councillors to contact her direct with their suggestions.
Cllr. Grey reported graffiti to the lower end of the village which required cleaning.
Cllr. Saunders reported that road signs to the Lower Higham Road were coming apart.
Cllr. Goring reported that the road surface to the end of Carton Road, which had been damaged by a bulldozer, still required repair, as did a hole to the top of the Larches.
The Chairman reported that she had received a letter from Mr King of Bull Lane regarding the state of Church Street.
Clive Stanley reported that the total number of hits for the web site had now risen to 7554 since June 2004.

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. 20041044 Mr & Mrs P. Boast, "Little Garth", Telegraph Hill.
Erection of two storey rear extension to form an enlarged kitchen at ground floor level with bathroom/w.c. at first floor level.

Appln. no. 20041053 K. Whiffin, Site of 29, Telegraph Hill.
Demolition of existing dwelling and erection of 2 detached two storey dwellings, one with a detached triple garage and one with a detached double garage both at the front.


Appln. no. 20041095 Mrs E. Bryan, 34, Walmers Avenue.
Alterations and enlargement of the roof involving construction of dormer windows in the front and one side roof slope; conversion of the existing and proposed roof space into a bedroom, sitting room and en-suite bathroom/ w.c. and installation of two bay windows in ground floor on front elevation.


Appln. no. 20041108 Mr & Mrs Tye, 8, Hollytree Drive.
Erection of a conservatory at the rear.


Appln. no. 20041115 Marile Ltd., 35 & 37, Hermitage Road.
Erection of a pair of detached car ports in the rear gardens.


Appln. no. 20041121 Mr & Mrs A. Busby, 8, Brice Road.
Erection of first floor side extension to form a bedroom.


Appln. no. 20040529 Richard Jackman, In the side garden of 55, Forge Lane.
Demolition of garage and erection of a detached two/three storey four bedroom house with integral garage at basement level. AMENDED/REVISED DRAWINGS.


Appln. no. 20041147 Mr & Mrs L. Robinson, 7, Michele Cottages, Chalk Road.
Erection of part two storey and part single storey side and rear extension to form garage and kitchen at ground floor level with bedroom and en-suite bathroom/w.c. at first floor level. Cllr. Waugh reported that all RUPP's had to be changed to Restricted Byways which were allowed to be used by people, bikes or horses only. It would not be possible for cars to therefore access the car ports at 35 and 37 Hermitage Road via the track.

c. Memorial Hall.
Cllr. Goring reported that the grant application had still not been submitted as a third quotation was still awaited.

d. Multi-Purpose Games Area.
Cllr. Goring reported that the graffiti had been washed off. This year it was hoped to jet wash the surfacing and reseat the tennis posts.

e. Recreation Ground.
Cllr. Goring reported that a site meeting with Wicksteed Leisure had taken place today.
The youth shelter would be placed on a concrete base and be situated close to the boundary fence with School Lane to provide some lighting. A shortfall in funds of £1177.48 had been resolved by Steve Enright making application for a grant from the
Community Safety Partnership budget, and this had been approved. A ROSPA report for the Recreation Ground had not revealed any urgent work which needed undertaking..

j. Youth Club.
Cllr. Saunders reported that Barrie Howe's car had been vandalised at the last Meeting. Paintwork had been graffitied and scratched, and the tyres slashed. Members unanimously agreed to meet the £100 excess bill for the insurance. Members also agreed to pay the £30 charge for hiring the Memorial Hall for the Youth Club for a sleep over on 12/3 to raise funds for the NSPCC, this being proposed by Cllr. Oakeshott, seconded by Cllr. Jupp and agreed by all Members.

Finance.
The Clerk presented the quarterly financial statement for the period 1/10/04 to 31/12/04. She asked for approval for the items shown on the agenda plus administration expenses of £402.21 for the period 1/10/04 to 31/12/04, and £1224.55 for Barrie Howe's salary for the period April 2004 until March 2005, this being proposed by Cllr. Jupp, seconded by Cllr. Saunders and agreed by all Members.

Clive Stanley (webmaster services) 40.00
Clerk's salary (1/10/04 - 31/12/04) 1175.00
Expenses - use of room as office (1/10/04 - 31/12/04) 227.50
Southern Water (water rates - allotments) 97.28
PDW Contracting Services Ltd. (Xmas lighting installation) 176.72
Regis Electrical Supplies (replacement Xmas bulbs for tree) 11.14
Barrie Howes (insurance excess on damage to car) 100.00

The Clerk reported that the Higham and Mockbeggar Cricket Club had asked for a grant for improvement works taking place to the pavilion during a "Cricketforce" weekend. The Clerk was asked to obtain details of work being undertaken for further discussion at the next Meeting.

Correspondence.
The Clerk reported that she would be meeting with the Chairman, Vice Chairman and Cllr. Saunders to look at ways to better manage the correspondence received by the Parish Council.
At the November Meeting there were a total of 83 items included in the folder. The correspondence folder had already been circulated amongst Members after "matters arising", but the Clerk drew Members attention to the following items:-
1. It was agreed to place items regarding the state of the village roads at the completion of  the tunnel works, Floodscape, and an item enquiring as to the Borough Council's policy regarding lighting levels within the Parish, on the agenda for the Meeting of Parish
Council Chairmen.
2. George Webb had notified that whilst St. John's College, Cambridge was willing for a Youth Shelter to be placed on the Recreation Ground, it would not entertain a skateboard park.

To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting.
This was given as being Monday, 21st February 2005 at 7.30 p.m.

Any Other Business.
Cllr. Waugh reported that there had been 9 applicants to the Shaves Charity this year, and she had personally delivered the sum of £40 to each of them.

There being no other business, the Meeting closed at 10.43 p.m.

 

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