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The last 12 months were the last year of the 4 year term of office for parish councillors, but no de-mob fever was apparent. The Parish Council's activities continued as usual.


Two major projects were progressed. The first one can be seen if you look around you. Funds were made available from money provided by the developers of the major housing developments in the parish for community use. These funds are held by Medway Council and they directed that a considerable amount should be spent in upgrading the Memorial Hall. The Parish Council was to act as project manager, in liaison with the Memorial Hall Management Committee. In practice this duty fell to Cllr Mrs Coomber, the Parish Council's nominee on the Memorial Hall Committee and, coincidentally, its Secretary. Enormous gratitude is due to her for undertaking this not inconsiderable task with great efficiency and without complaining (not that much, anyway). In everything that was done, the “wish list” had to be carried out both with current legislation and the ever present vandalism in mind. These two goals do not always go together and some juggling and compromise had to be made. I think everyone agrees a superb result has been achieved. The next step may be the release of further development funds to extend the hall to provide more flexibility in use and attract more hirers.


The other major project is an enhancement of the riverfront at Lower Upnor . Both parts of Upnor attract visitors and the riverfront in Lower Upnor doesn't display the village at its best. It is also overlooked by residents who deserve better. The Parish Council has been working in partnership with local organisations the Upnor Residents Society, Arethusa Venture Centre and Medway Yacht Club and Medway Council, Groundwork Medway Swale and the Medway Swale Estuary Partnership in drawing up an overall plan for the stretch from the bus stop opposite the Pier to the part of the Saxon Shore Way along the Medway Yacht Club. A public consultation exhibition was held in January and following suggestions and comments made then, the final plans are being drawn up in preparation for an application for planning permission. The plans have been designed so that it could be implemented in phases should grant funding not be available to do the complete scheme in one hit. It is likely the first area to be tackled will be the green in front of Albion Place . Once planning permission has been obtained, grants will be sought to fund the project. The project is necessarily long term but with something of this magnitude it is better to get it right rather than to rush everything.


The Parish Council continues to be consulted on planning applications within the parish. Last year the Council considered 70 applications. These range from the conversion of a garage to major developments, including those on the Medway City Estate. Due to pressure on planning authorities from central government, monthly parish council meetings are no longer sufficient to meet deadlines and the Parish Council's Planning Committee meets in between normal meetings as often as not.


Both this and the report on the refurbishment of the hall allude to major developments in the parish. Parishioners may be aware of a proposal by Taylor Woodrow to build another 43 houses in Lower Upnor , on a plot which has permission to retain the existing house and part of the garden labelled nature reserve and to build 9 individual detached houses in the rest of the garden. Taylor Woodrow's proposals would demolish the existing house and build over the entire site, including the nature reserve. These proposals are being strongly resisted by the Parish Council and by the Upnor Residents Society. You will also be aware of the major development planned for Wainscott, both sides of Hoo Road . The developer will be Crest Nicholson who have had meetings both with the Parish Council and with local groups. Outline permission has been granted for 280 homes. Indications are that Crest will want to increase that number if they can. They will be submitting their detailed plans in stages. The first set of plans have now been submitted and will be considered by this Council's Planning Committee on Thursday afternoon.


Our public rights of way continue to be walked and monitored by the Council's Footpaths Officer, David Levy. He and Wendy Williams also do some clearance of the footpaths, although Medway Council organise major works. If you come across anything that you consider needs doing while out walking, do contact me and I will pass the details on to David. I would however like to say that David has nothing to do with footways and pavements alongside streets and roads. These are the responsibility of Medway Council. David monitors the public right of way footpath network for us. Our thanks to him and to Wendy for the superb job they do. It is also largely thanks to them and their persistence that extra dog bins have been installed at strategic points to help the parish's dog walkers.


Grants have been made to local good causes such as Victim Support, the Red Cross and the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal. Our poppy wreath was laid as usual in the foyer of the hall last November. We have also discovered the names of some World War II casualties to add to the roll of honour.


Councillors served on various external committees, notably David Miller on the police liaison committee, latterly under difficult circumstances. This committee will be revamped shortly. The Chairman served as Vice-chairman of Medway Council's Rural Liaison Committee, a committee of parish councillors and Medway councillors and officers. This parish is fortunate that the Chairman last year was Cllr Hicks, wearing his Medway councillor's hat. Cllr Moore and Cllr Etheridge served on the Kent Association of Parish Councils Medway Area Committee. I have already mentioned Cllr Mrs Coomber's role on the Memorial Hall Committee. Cllr Mrs Hoskin is also on that committee.


The Council is responsible for the recreation ground at the rear of the hall, although the grass is cut by Medway Council for us. We own woodland in Lower Upnor and I am grateful to our tree wardens for monitoring this for us. We are also responsible for the maintenance of the hedges in Frittenden Road and Brompton Farm Road . We have a new general maintenance contractor who pruned the hedges for the first time in two or three years and has made a visible difference to the parts of the parish in our care. At their request, we gave permission for the Upnor Residents Society to remove the overgrown hebe from the green at Lower Upnor . The area has now been returfed and has opened up the green.


Last year's assembly focused on youth and there was a lively discussion about the youth shelter. Shortly afterwards it was burnt down. It will not be replaced by this council. Instead we have ordered an infill for the basketball frame so that it can be used as a kick-wall and the option is on the table for side extensions to this. Youths continue to use the hall car park and hall walls for football practice, they seem unwilling to go out onto the rear field. The kick wall may not stop this entirely, but at least some provision will be made for them.


There is currently an increase in the requests for allotments. These are situated at the foot of the footbridge over the A228, on the Upnor side. At the moment we do have two plots available. These have never been taken because one is full of rubble from the building of the footbridge and the other is an odd shape at the far end and is infested with weeds and brambles. Both plots need a great deal of hard work before they could be worked normally and so far applicants have preferred not to take them on.


The Parish Council's website continues to go from strength to strength. Our webmaster Clive Stanley maintains the site for us. He will always welcome contributions and is happy to establish links to the websites of other organisations, provided they are not commercial. The address is – do log on and have a look.


At the beginning of this report I said that it was the final year of the Council's term. A new Council was elected on 3 rd May. The Vice-chairman of the Council, Gordon Bird and his wife Nancy who was also a councillor did not stand again. Gordon had served on the Council for about 16 years and Nancy for slightly less. I know the Chairman wishes to pay tribute to them, but I would like to give them my own thanks for their friendship and support over the last eight years, for which I am grateful. We will all miss them.


Finally I would like to express my appreciation for the support I continue to receive from the individual members of the parish council. Although my job is to serve them, they make that job easier to do and give me satisfaction in doing it. Thank you.



Roxana Brammer

Parish Clerk


26 May 2007

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