Higham Parish Council
Minutes of the November 2005 Meeting
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Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held at the Memorial Hall, School Lane, on Monday, 28 th November 2005 at 7.30 p.m.
Present: Cllr. Mrs J.M.Papadopulos (Chairman)
County Councillor: Cllr. M. Snelling.
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: The Mayor of Gravesham, Cllr. Ray Parker, and the Mayoress, Councillor Lyn Milner.
WPC Alison Duffort
Apologies for absence: Adam Holloway, M.P.
The Chairman welcomed the Mayor and Mayoress of Gravesham to the Christmas Meeting of the Parish Council.
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, 3 rd October 2005, were confirmed and signed following amendments being made to P. 767 under Recreation Ground where the wording " that consideration was being given to the possibility of repairing the electricity control box" was re-inserted under the Multi-Purpose Games Area heading, and the number of spring animals having been damaged was increased to two.
Matters arising from the Minutes
The Clerk reported that:-
a. P. 765 Matters Arising - bus shelter at Lower Higham. Although Members had made a decision at the recent Budget and Finance Meeting to replace the old shelter with a new one on a 50/50 payment basis with KCC at a cost of £750 to both parties, a decision was awaited as to whether sufficient funds were remaining in the County budget for this work to commence in the current financial year.
b. Re-instatement of Dickens Sign. Although Members had decided to re-instate the sign it was now understood that only an approved KCC contractor would be permitted to open up the grass verge, and permission needed to be applied for at a cost of £63. Members agreed this expenditure and noted that as the company making the new metal post would have to sub-contract out to a KCC contractor for the installation, the final price for the project
might be affected.
c. Christmas Lighting. Members had approved the installation of the Christmas lighting at the Budget and Finance Meeting, but the Clerk drew Members' attention to three possible new sites suggested by the Street Lighting Engineer, Mr Alex Burt. Members agreed to install one extra light to the triangle outside the Post Office, in addition to existing sites at the junction of Taylors Lane with School Lane and opposite the Chequers P.H. They noted that the charges for each lighting unit were £92.44 for the installation with the removal and storage costs being £68.44. It was decided that the lighting should be installed in early December and taken down on twelfth night (6/1/06). Members noted that as carol singing would take place at Dairy Farm again this year there was no need to
install a Christmas tree at Lower Higham.
d. The Clerk was delighted to confirm that the Parish Council had been awarded a grant of £4413.00 from the KCC Small Community Capital Projects Fund which would enable steel doors to be fitted to the Pavilion and Mrs Green to be able to re-open the StartRite Kindergarten in January. The Clerk thanked the Members of the Local Board who had considered the application so sympathetically.
e. Conversion of Higham lighting stock to Photocell operation. Mr Alex Burt had confirmed that the conversion programme was now complete.
Anne Carroll, of Forge Lane, reported that to pass parked vehicles some motorists were driving at speed along the pavement. A complaint had also been received from a young mother who had to push her child in a pushchair along the road to avoid vehicles parked on the pavement in the vicinity of the Library. WPC Duffort confirmed that parked vehicles must leave room for a wheelchair to pass along the pavement and asked that Parishioners inform her of registration numbers of vehicles either driving on the pavement or parking in this fashion. She also agreed to investigate the possible use of road furniture at the crossroads to deter drivers from turning right whilst emerging from both Villa Road and Hermitage Road, and for those who continued to drive straight across the junction jeopardising both their own safety, and that of others.
Les Pearton, of Chalk Road, reported that the 30mph signs to Chalk Road still required reinstatement and asked if a dog bin could be installed in the vicinity of Alexander Cottages.
Cllr. Oakeshott reported that several new dog bins had recently been installed to the village, but that one had had to be removed after excrement had been smeared over nearby doors and windows. When more bins became available this site would be considered.
Mr Chilmaid, of Steadman Close, thanked Members for their continued support, and confirmed that all local residents remained vigilant following the recent crackdown on anti-social behaviour in the area.
Cllr. Snelling reported that although the detail of the settlement from Government for the new financial year was awaited it was planned to keep the council tax increase to a minimum as savings in the region of £2 million to £3 million had been identified. Tourism was to be promoted throughout Kent and Higham should feature in these plans because of Charles Dickens' close association with the village. Norman Bateman was continuing to try and find a solution to the problems being experienced with the erection of the new village signs.
Cllr. Jupp reported that there was now an acute lack of parking space to Gravesend following the closure of the Lord Street multi-storey car park and the proposed re-surfacing of the Parrock Street car park. There had been widespread concern from retail outlets and with Christmas shopping now underway the Borough Council had acknowledged its misjudgement of timing by calling an Extra-Ordinary Meeting on 12/12 to discuss the situation.
Cllr. Oakeshott reported that following the recent ram raid at the village stores, Linda Slingsby was keen to install barriers to the pavement outside the stores and the Post Office. The Borough Council had no objection but wished to consult with the Parish Council. Following discussion, Members expressed concern regarding potential traffic congestion problems to the middle of the village caused by delivery vehicles having to park in the road, rather than partly on the pavement as at present. It was agreed that this item should be placed on the agenda for discussion at the next Meeting early in the New Year to give Members time to consider solutions to the problem. Cllr. Oakeshott reported that the street sign for Brice Road at the junction with Villa Road was broken and that she had received complaints that trees were obscuring road signs on the A226. A complaint had been received from a local cycling club that the cycle path between Hollytree Drive and Shorne crossroads was littered with grass and leaves. Mr Lane, at Merrylee, was still awaiting the re-instatement of the light outside his property which had been damaged by a vehicle last January. Cllr Oakeshott extended an invitation to Councillors to visit Isis Court on 8/12 to view the rural housing units as they neared completion.
WPC Duffort reported that three local youths had pleaded guilty to graffiti offences, and it was hoped that substantial compensation could be forthcoming for the damage caused. She advised those present to report any incidences of anti-social behaviour relating to the longer opening hours of public houses to the Police and to log an incident number as evidence. The ability of the Police to take action would depend on the quantity of evidence collected. Although Higham was still without a Kent Community Warden following unsuccessful recruitment, a total of 48 more Police Community Support Officers would be appointed for the North Kent area. WPC Duffort reported that she hoped to bring the Mobile Police Station vehicle to the Library car park on 9/12 so that many more local residents would be able to meet her, and would place posters around the village advertising this within the next few days.
Cllr. Waugh reported that the bungalow next to the church in Hermitage Road had two large planks bridging the gap between its drive and the edge of the pavement and she felt these could be dangerous for elderly people who used the path. She agreed to speak personally to the resident about this matter.
Cllr. James thanked the Parish Council for supporting the residents of the Three Crutches area over the recent licensing application, and was pleased to report that the brewery had now withdrawn its application.
Plans were available for inspection for the following planning applications which had been received and reviewed by the Planning Committee:-
Appln no. 20050856 Mr & Mrs Manwaring-Amphlett, 71, Oak Drive.
Erection of part two storey and part single storey side extension incorporating three dormer windows in the existing and proposed front roof slope at first floor level and enlargement of dormer extension in the rear roof slope to form covered way, bathroom and study with bedroom in the roof space at first floor level.
Appln. no. 20050734 Mr Colin Hales, 42, School Lane.
Erection of a detached double garage at the rear.
Appln. no. 20050889 Mr G. Hall, 15, Dombey Close.
Erection of two storey side extension to form hall, play area and dining room with a bedroom and ensuite w.c./shower room over.
Appln. no. 20050884 Mr P.H.McCormack, 13, High View.
Erection of single storey rear extension to form dining room.
Appln. no. 20050479 Mr M.D.Moore, Clerks Cottage, Church Street.
Application for Listed Building Consent for the installation of a double side hung casement window to replace the existing top hung casement window on the east elevation; retention of the pair of vehicular entrance gates and repairing of part of the front boundary flint wall.
Appln. no. 20050870 Mr M.D.Moore, Clerks Cottage, Church Street.
Retention of the pair of 1.7m high vehicular entrance gates.
Appln. no. 20050946 Mr & Mrs P. Miles, 19, Reynolds Fields.
Erection of a conservatory at the rear.
Appln. no. 20050967 Mr & Mrs Green, 67, Oak Drive.
Erection of single storey front extension to form an enlarged lounge and enlargement of the dormer extension in the front roof slope.
Appln. no. 20050968 Miss S.Chapman, 69, Oak Drive.
Erection of single storey front extension to form an enlarged lounge.
Appln. no. 20050966 Mr & Mrs S. Balieu, 14, Fairview Drive.
Erection of part two storey part single storey side extension to form a garage and car port at ground floor level with two bedrooms at first floor level.
Appln. no. 20050982 J. & V. Bolton, Land adjacent to 14, The Larches.
Erection of detached two storey four bedroom dwelling with double integral garage.
Appln. no. 20050971 Hyde Housing Association, 5, Mountbatten Avenue.
Erection of single storey side extension to form a bedroom with ensuite shower room/wc.
Appln. no. 20050979 Mr R. Miles, 13, Highwood Close.
Erection of single storey rear extension to form a lounge and extension of the dormer window in the front roof slope to form an enlarged bedroom.
c. Memorial Hall
Cllr. Goring reported that the alcohol licence had now been received. Following a meeting with the Contractors the Memorial Hall would close on 26/5/06 until the end of August for the duration of the improvement works. The July Meeting of the Parish Council would have to be re-scheduled to another venue. Cllr. Goring revealed that an additional grant application was being prepared for security shuttering to windows and doors.
d. Multi-Purpose Games Area.
Cllr. Goring reported that the viability of repairing the floodlighting box would not be reassessed until the Spring. The changing rooms were now also without water as one of the pipes had sprung a leak.
e. Recreation Ground.
Cllr. Goring reported that a new locking post had now been fitted to the Recreation Ground and welding repairs carried out to the gate. The two new picnic tables had now been returned by the Borough Council having been repaired and cleaned, and the park rangers were helping with the repairs to the two spring animals.
Cllr. Waugh reported that two sets of steps had either been repaired or replaced and a stile renewed. She thanked the Parish Council for her annual allowance for ROW works which enabled her to keep Higham's footpaths in such good order. She reported that she had now had three meetings with contractors regarding her application for a grant under the Community Paths Project for footpath works by the old Sun PH, and hoped for a reply early in 2006.
j. Higham Youth Club.
Cllr. Saunders reported that the AGM would be held on 12/12. The Youth Club was concerned regarding the closure of the Memorial Hall for improvements as it would have nowhere to meet or to store its equipment for the duration of the works.
The Clerk asked for approval for the items shown on the agenda plus an additional amount of £23.50 to ConservationWorks for step clearance, this being proposed by Cllr. Oakeshott, seconded by Cllr. James and agreed by all Members.
Admin. Exps (1/7/05 - 30/9/05) 492.24
British Telecommunications plc (broadband) 113.06
Mrs P.Oakeshott (flower for Chairman -hospital-Sect.137/139) 12.00
KAPC (AGM lunch x 2 - Sect. 137/139) 15.00
1 st Higham Scouts (delivery - leaflet - Sect. 137/139) 50.00
GBC (printing A/C) 85.31
Viking Direct (filing pockets) 39.90
ConservationWorks (ROW works) 211.50
Kent County Council (admin. fee - work on highway) 63.00
Clerk (ex. gratia payment - extra work - vandalism) 300.00
Mrs J.M.Papadopulos (Chairman's allowance) 30.00
St. John's Church (Christmas leaflet - Sect. 137/139) 60.00
To receive a report from the Budget and Finance Committee Meeting.
Copies of the report from the Budget and Finance Committee Meeting, held on Monday, 7 th November 2005 had been circulated to Members prior to the Meeting. Following further discussion amongst Members it was proposed by Cllr. Wright, seconded by Cllr. James and agreed by all those present that a precept of £22,949.33 be requested for the financial year 2006/2007.
The correspondence folder had been available for perusal by all Members from 7.00 p.m. that evening, but the Clerk drew Members' attention to the following items:-
1. A communication regarding a survey of 20th Century Defences in Kent had been passed to the Higham History Group and Members agreed to place an insertion requesting further help from Parishioners in the 2006 Parish Newsletter.
2. Following unsuccessful recruitment for a replacement Kent Community Warden, interviews would be held again on 7/12 and 8/12.
To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting.
This was given as being Monday, 9 th January 2006 at 7.30 p.m.
Any Other Business.
The Clerk reminded Members to compile their reports for inclusion in the 2006 Newsletter to bring to the next Meeting.
The Mayor of Gravesham, Cllr. Ray Parker, thanked the Members for the invitation to the Meeting which had given him a unique insight into what was happening across the Borough. He urged the Parish Council to continue to work in partnership with both its District and County partners.
In closing the Meeting at 8.55 p.m. the Chairman invited Members and guests to her home for some seasonal refreshment.
PARISH COUNCIL MEETING DATES FOR 2006.
Mondays: 20 th February, 3 rd April, 8 th May (Annual Parish Council Meeting), 3 rd July,
11 th September, 9 th October, 6 th November (Budget and Finance only), and 27 th November (Christmas Meeting with the Mayor of Gravesham).
The Annual Parish Assembly would take place on Thursday, 20 th April 2006.
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