Higham Parish Council
Minutes of the Annual Parish Assembly, April 2011
[Draft -- to be confirmed at the 2012 Assembly]
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Minutes of the Annual Parish Assembly held at the Memorial Hall, School Lane, on Thursday, 14th April 2011 at 7.30 p.m.
Present: Cllr Mrs J.M.Papadopulos (Chairman)
Councillors:- M.L.James, Mrs A. Mendzil, Mrs P. Oakeshott
(also Borough), L.M. Pearton and B.Sutherland,
In attendance: 33 Parishioners
Kent Community Warden Steve Gray.
Liz Jeffery – Village Correspondent and Parish Press Officer.
Apologies for absence: Received from Borough Councillor Bryan Sweetland
Parish Councillors Grey, Howard, Scott, Walton and Wright.
PC Gemma Pawley and PCSO Pete Hylands.
The Meeting was opened by the Chairman who warmly welcomed all those present and thanked them for attending.
She reported that notification had now been received from the Borough Council that the election of Parish Councillors in the village had been uncontested. She thanked Cllrs. Scott and Walton, who had decided not to seek re-election, for their service to the community and welcomed Graham Ashby and Anne Carroll as new members of the Parish Council.
A special floral presentation was made to Cllr. Oakeshott to mark her retirement as a Borough Councillor at the forthcoming Local Council election.
Cllr. Oakeshott revealed that the Chairman had learnt that day that she was to receive a “Pride in Gravesham Award” for the special contribution that she had made to the lives of older people in the Borough. The Chairman expressed her surprise at the news and said she was quite moved by the tribute which she thanked everyone for.
The Chairman explained that the format for the evening would be the same as the previous year. Most reports normally given at the Assembly were now contained in the Parish Newsletter, which had been circulated throughout the village. The Chairman emphasised that the Parish Council still wished to hear the views and opinions of those Parishioners present, and she invited them to make comment accordingly.
The Minutes of the Annual Parish Assembly, held on Thursday, 15th April 2010, were confirmed and signed.
Matters arising from the Minutes.
The Clerk reported that:-
1. The Parish council had agreed to allow any allotment tenants affected by dogs running over the allotment gardens to install a fence no higher than 1 metre around their plot.
2. Uncertainty still surrounded the planned improvements to the Higham Station car park. Cllr. Oakeshott confirmed that Network Rail was keen to purchase back the land but negotiations were still ongoing.
3. Steve Gray continued to monitor the problem of beer bottles and cans to the end of Steadman Close.
4. Following liaison between Mrs Coulson and Cllr. Oakeshott the location of the new dog bin to Lower Higham had been agreed.
To receive the Annual Report of the Parish Council.
The Chairman ensured that all persons present had a copy of the “Higham Parish Council Annual Newsletter and Reports 2011” booklet before proceeding further. She proposed that all reports would be taken as read, and invited comments from Parishioners at the end of each item.
a. Allotments (P. 10 )
b. Planning (P. 9 )
c. Recreation Ground (P. 14 )
The draft simplified statement of accounts for 2010/2011 (P.7) was agreed by all those present, this being proposed by Cllr. Oakeshott, and seconded by Cllr. James. Those present noted that the balance to be carried forward into the new financial year was £14,450.37 and that this figure included unused general and specific contingency funds, and funds for work carried out, and for which invoices were still awaited.
Report from County Council Representative.
Cllr. Snelling had submitted a written report which had been provided for all Parishioners
In answer to a question from Alex Wallace regarding the cancellation of the BSF Programme, Cllr. Snelling expressed cautious optimism that some funding for Kent schools might still be possible. He also confirmed that in spite of the Corporate Spending Review police presence within the village would be unaffected.
David Mead asked if Cllr. Snelling felt that the time was right for a delegation to go to the Department of Transport regarding the Lower Thames Crossing issue. Cllr. Snelling expressed a view that he believed that it was better to make as little fuss as possible at this stage to keep the possibility of blight to a minimum.
Cllr. Grey thanked Cllr. Snelling for funding the wooden bollards to the lower part of School Lane to prohibit parking on the verge.
Report from District Council Representatives.
Cllr. Oakeshott reported that it was expected that the five rural housing properties at the site of the Chequers PH would be completed by the autumn. Kent Highways was continuing to fill in potholes within the village and some roads would be resurfaced in May. The new town square outside the Civic Centre in Gravesend was almost complete. It had been funded by a grant from the Government and would be the focus of celebrations for the Royal Wedding on 28/4. She reminded those present of the village celebrations planned for 2012 which included the annual Proms concert which would be followed by a spectacular firework display funded by the Scouts.
Peter Allinson reminded those present that he was selling tickets on behalf of the Scouts for the Grand Village Raffle which would be drawn at the end of October. The proceeds would be used to fund the firework display in the village as part of the 2012 celebrations. He appealed for support from the local community and any donations of prizes. The Clerk agreed to supply him with contact details of all village associations.
Report from the Governors of Higham Primary School (P.24)
Report of the Kent Association of Local Councils (P.9)
To receive reports from Village Bodies and Voluntary Organisations (to be found throughout the booklet).
Jenny Wallace highlighted the work that Jo Raff carried out with the Higham Youth Club and drew attention to her enthusiastic reports of all their activities.
The Chairman thanked Judi Stanley for all her help in compiling the copy material for the newsletter.
She also thanked Clive Stanley for his help in maintaining the Parish Council website.
She thanked Jo Raff, Youth Leader, and her team of volunteers, for the tremendous work that they had carried out with the youngsters in the village.
To consider any other matters raised by Parishioners.
David Mead suggested that it might be worth exploring the possibility of leasing Sutton’s Yard for parking to help relieve the traffic congestion around the Gardeners junction.
Graham Ashby suggested that it might be helpful if Cllr. Sweetland walked some of the roads and footpaths within the village to assess their current condition.
Cllr. James reminded those present that the Parish Council was currently discussing with Kent Highways several traffic safety improvements that it was hoped could be made to the centre of the village.
Any Other Business.
Steve Gray reminded Parishioners of his monthly surgery which was held in St. John’s church hall on the last Thursday of the month.
The Chairman welcomed Rolf Williams, Communications Officer for RSPB Kent who gave a talk entitled “The work of the RSPB on the North Kent Marshes”.
To note the date of the next Annual Parish Assembly.
This was given as being Thursday, 12th April 2012 at 7.30 p.m.
The Chairman thanked fellow Members of the Parish Council, the County Representative, and the Borough Representatives, for their support over the past year.
She thanked the Clerk for her continued hard work.
She thanked Lesley Topping for providing a delicious buffet.
Finally, in closing, she thanked all Parishioners for attending the Meeting and welcomed them back next year, and to future Meetings of the Parish Council
There being no other business, the Meeting closed at 10.05p.m.
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