Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the October 2005 Meeting

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Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held at the Memorial Hall, School Lane, on Monday, 3rd October 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, M.L.James, C.L.Jupp (also Borough), Mrs S. Saunders, Mrs A. Waugh, and
S.Wright.

In attendance: Mr N. Bateman, West Kent Divisional Manager for Kent Highway Services.
Maria Nicholson - Gravesham Community Safety Team.
Sgt.A.Payne.
14 Parishioners.

Apologies for absence: Cllrs. Howard and Oakeshott.

The Chairman welcomed all those present to the Meeting and introduced Mr Norman Bateman. Mr Bateman had already met with the Chairman, Vice Chairman and several Councillors prior to the Meeting and had kindly agreed to attend to discuss outstanding Highways issues in the village.

Mr Bateman confirmed that the West Kent Divisional Office was now complete and located at Joynes House in Gravesend. He then reported on the following issues of concern prioritised by the Parish Council:-
1. The resurfacing of School Lane would be delayed until the start of the new financial year when funds would be available.

2. The service provided by the Parish Lighting Agreement would continue (currently a total of 120 lights) and would be monitored by Mr Alex Burt.

3. Highways Engineers were currently assessing the provision of double yellow lines for Villa Road and the top of Chilton Drive, and a report was awaited.

4. Such aspects as litigation and insurance were being investigated in the hope of speeding up a decision on the siting of the new village signs.

5. Traffic engineers were re-evaluating the concept of a one-way traffic system through the village but were aware that this suggestion had met with opposition from the Police in the past.


6. The Lengthsman Scheme had worked well elsewhere in the County and had his full support. Cllr. Waugh agreed to send copies of all communications regarding this scheme to him so that he could monitor outstanding work.

7. Traffic engineers were investigating current traffic flow problems to Telegraph Hill and its junction with the A226, and would contact P.C. Ridley.

8. Zig-zag lines could not be placed on the A226 to the front of Gads Hill as the adopted highway used by the School was Crutches Lane. He would arrange for a representative to visit Mr Craggs and for a school travel plan to be drawn up.

9. Maintenance engineers were investigating issues raised on a list supplied by Cllr. James.

Those Parishioners present raised other highways issues including parking to the blind corner by the public house in Lower Higham, the need for a crossing point outside The Gardeners Arms P.H. to get to the Post Office and shop, and the viability of width/weight restrictions through the village. Mr Bateman reminded those present that double yellow lines could no longer be enforced by the Police and that the Borough Council would need to send out wardens for this purpose.

The Chairman thanked Mr Bateman for attending the Meeting and he left.

The Chairman welcomed Maria Nicholson and Sgt Payne to the Meeting, and confirmed that the Members of the Parish Council would be discussing the format of an information leaflet for Parishioners regarding the recent increase in vandalism to the village later in the Meeting.

Maria Nicholson reported that the unit had been gathering information supplied by residents for use as evidence for eviction, ASBO's etc. She chaired the Anti Social Behaviour Group which worked in conjunction with the Hyde Housing Association and she urged residents to report any information on the designated hotline, which was totally confidential and checked on a daily basis. Details of this would be included in the Parish Council leaflet. A Victim Liaison Officer was also available to deal with any harassment issues. The Police had recently made a total of ten arrests for anti-social behaviour and graffiti, and one of the perpetrators had just received an eight month prison sentence. Sgt Payne stressed the need for more evidence to be forthcoming and for people to be willing to appear in court. He urged residents to consider setting up Neighbourhood Watch groups which informed the Police of anti-social or suspicious behaviour.

The Chairman thanked Maria Nicholson and Sgt. Payne for attending the Meeting, and they left.

The draft information leaflet, including information supplied by the Police, had been circulated to all Members prior to the Meeting. Members discussed the content, format of presentation and agreed the shorter version. They asked that relevant telephone numbers be repeated at the bottom of the text, and unanimously agreed a grant of £50 under Sections 137/139 of the Local Government Act 1972 for the 1st Higham Scouts to deliver the leaflet to the main part of the village, with Councillors covering the rest.

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, 12th September 2005, were confirmed and signed.

Matters arising from the Minutes.
The Clerk reported that:-
a. P. 761. Matters Arising. Bus Shelter to A226. A grant cheque for £1700 had now been received from the County Council.

b. P. 761. Matters Arising. Bus shelter to Lower Higham. A local builder had inspected the bus shelter and estimated repairs to be in the region of £1000.

c. Website. The total number of hits had now risen to 14,860 with the last three months averaging 1,100 hits per month. Any additions to the website would be made once Clive Stanley returned from holiday.

Parishioners Matters.
These had been dealt with earlier in the Meeting.

Councillors' Matters.
County.
Cllr. Snelling reported that the Leadership Election for the County Council would take place on Friday. It was widely assumed that the projected increase in Council Tax would be 7½ %, although they hoped to agree a smaller rise. The planned revaluation had now been delayed. Cllr. Snelling sympathised that several Highways projects had been delayed until the new financial year and revealed that original costings for some of these were grossly inaccurate and insufficient funds were therefore available in the current financial year. Primary Health Care Trusts were to be re-organised making them smaller in number. Cllr. Snelling reported that the Police would shortly be unable to enforce weight limits and that this would be taken over by the Local Authority who already enforce the yellow lines within the Borough.

Cllr. Waugh reported that a recent road repair carried out by the County Council in the village had to be renewed within two weeks and Cllr. Snelling agreed to investigate.

Borough.
Cllr. Jupp reported that the lease for the Bistro on the Town Pier had finally been signed. It was hoped that it would be open for drinks before Christmas and for meals early in 2006.

The Lord Street Multi-Storey car park would close permanently on 14/10. The Gravesham Out of Hours Noise Service would be available from April to September from 9.00 p.m. to 2.00 a.m. (Saturday and Sunday) and from October to March from 9.00 p.m. to 2.00 a.m. (Saturday only). The Department could be contacted on 01474 564422. Call received outside these times would be dealt with the following day. A large number of applications for extended hours of licensing had been received together with a substantial number of objections. It had been possible to water down some of these applications and apply additional conditions.

Parish.
Cllr. James reported that the Three Crutches P.H. had applied for extended opening hours until 2.00 a.m. In reality this meant that it would be open from 9.00 a.m. until 3.00 a.m. The local residents had all objected and were waiting for a date to meet with the Licensing Panel.

Cllr. James had attended a Transport for Medway Conference where the Passenger Link Manager had expressed an interest in Higham Station.

Cllr. Grey reported that he was still waiting to learn of a starting date for phases 2 and 3 of the traffic calming scheme and intended to raise this at the next JTB Meeting.

Cllr. Saunders reported that the letter box at Steadman Close was now daubed with graffiti, as was that by the Three Crutches P.H. The frame from the old road sign still awaited removal.

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. 20050760 Mr R. Gentry, 18, Charles Dickens Avenue.
Erection of two storey extension on western/southern corner to form a dining room at ground floor level with bedroom at first floor level.

Appln. no. 20050777 Mr & Mrs S. Skelton, 2, Kent Terrace, Church Street.
Erection of single storey rear extension to form an enlarged kitchen.

Appln. no. 20050761 Mr M. West, 60, Norah Lane.
Erection of a detached replacement garage at the side.

Appln. no. 20050794 Red Admiral Homes, Land adjacent to the Chequers Inn, Canal Road.
Outline application for the erection of four dwellings.

Cllr. Jupp reported that the last application would go to the Regulatory Board as it was partly inside and partly outside the village envelope.

b. K.A.P.C.
Cllr. Saunders reported that she and Cllr. Hinks would be attending a forthcoming Meeting at Meopham when Rodney Williamson would talk about Quality Parish Councils.

c. Memorial Hall.
Cllr. Goring reported that the builders and architects for the hall refurbishment were currently being consulted.

d. Multi-Purpose Games Area.
Cllr. Goring reported that the netting had been cut through in the shape of a "T".  Consideration was being given to the possibility of repairing the electricity control box.

e. Recreation Ground.
Cllr. Goring reported that the heads and tails to two of the spring animals had been broken off. The manhole covers had been removed several times.  He thanked the Borough Council for promptly removing a burnt out car and motorbike to the site. The Park Rangers had been asked to take the picnic bench back to their depot for safekeeping until it could be reconcreted into place. The second bench could now be rocked on its base. Members discussed the feasibility of providing pallisade fencing to part of the area and Cllr. Goring agreed to obtain the cost per metre run for discussion at a future date.

j. Higham Youth Club.
Cllr. Saunders reported that the Youth Club was concerned that it was unable to use the sports facility at the present time, due to the lack of floodlighting, and feared that it may lose members as a result. It had offered to contribute towards the cost of the repairs to the meter box.

Finance.
The Clerk presented the quarterly financial statement for the period 1/7/05 to 30/9/05. She asked for approval for the items shown on the agenda, this being proposed by Cllr. Jupp, seconded by Cllr James and agreed by all Members.

George Webb Finn (½ year rent for Recreation Ground) 125.00
Clerk's salary (1/7/05 - 30/9/05) 1209.00
Expenses - use of room as office (1/7/05 - 30/9/05) 227.50

Correspondence.
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. It was decided that Agenda items for the forthcoming Meeting of Chairs of Parish Councils on 24/10 would be dog fouling problems to the centre of the village and to discuss whether village boundaries should be extended to accommodate new affordable
housing and community facilities (Gravesham Local Development Framework).

2. A response was to be sent to a letter from the Post Office regarding the temporary closure of the Post Office facility at the Railway Tavern outlining the recent change of Licencee and her wish to become involved in the local community.

To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting.
This was given as being Monday, 7th November 2005 at 7.30 p.m. for the Budget and Finance Committee and Monday, 28th November 2005 at 7.30 p.m. for the Christmas Meeting with the Mayor of Gravesham in attendance.

Any Other Business.
The Clerk reported that Mr Jarrett of Folkestone sought permission to install a seat in memory of his parents, on the grass triangle in Church Street (his father worked at Abbey Farm). Members welcomed this initiative but felt the site would be rather exposed and suggested placing the seat in the lee of a wall in the vicinity. The Clerk agreed to make further enquiries.

Members declined to carry out any further clearance works to the allotment gardens, but suggested that the first year could be offered rent free as an incentive.

There being no other business, the Meeting closed at 10.37 p.m.

 

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