Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the July 2006 Parish Council Meeting

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Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting, held at the St. John's Church Hall, Hermitage Road, on Monday, 3rd July 2006 at 7.30 p.m.


Present: Cllr. Mrs J.M.Papadopulos (Chairman)     Councillors:- J.D.Goring, J.A.Grey,

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: 13 Parishioners.

Dr. J. Grace

Sarah Port, Kent Community Warden Response Team.

Apologies for absence: Received from Cllr. M. Snelling.


The Chairman welcomed all those present to the Meeting which was being held in the St. John's Church Hall by kind permission of Father James.

The Chairman accepted apologies for absence.

There were no alterations to the Register of Members Interests.


The Chairman welcomed Dr. J. Grace who updated Members regarding the recent "Heartsave" campaign.

Dr. Grace reported that monies raised over an 18 month period by both the Higham and Cliffe Surgeries, had been matched by funds from the British Heart Foundation and two defibrillators had been purchased, one for each village. At present this was kept at the Higham Surgery and so it could only be used during surgery hours. He was looking for volunteers within the village to train as "first responders" and suggestions for strategic sites for the machine to be situated within the village, as the equipment needed to be used within 8 minutes of the heart attack, whilst awaiting the arrival of the paramedics. It was agreed that Dr Grace would prepare an information sheet which would be displayed within the village and on the Parish Council website. Training of volunteers would take place at the surgery by Members of the Kent Ambulance Service and it might be possible to organise an Open Day at Higham Library.


The Chairman introduced Sarah Port who was a member of the Kent Community Warden Response Team, and was at present covering both the Higham and Chalk areas during the week. Sarah gave details of her contact phone number and reminded Members that she was still based at Higham Library.

The Minutes of the Annual Parish Council Meeting, followed by a Parish Council Meeting, held on Monday, 8 th May 2006, were confirmed and signed.


Matters arising from the Minutes.

The Clerk reported that:-

a. P. 790 Matters Arising. Repair of picnic tables. Cllr. Wright had now arranged for the repair of the picnic tables to the Recreation Ground.

b. P. 790 Matters Arising. Replacement of Dickens sign. The sign had now been re-instated to the verge alongside the A226 but was obscured by trees at the present time.

c. P. 790 Matters Arising. Royal Mail box - Hermitage Road. Royal Mail wanted to know of an alternative site for the replacement box to be situated. Cllr. Wright felt that the replacement should be sited where the original box was located.

d. P. 790 Matters Arising. George Webb Finn. Permission for both the siting of the container on the Recreation Ground and the roll top fencing around the Pavilion had now been given.

e. P. 792 Village signs. The Parish Council had now obtained official photographs of each of the five sites. The KCC contractor had been unable to provide a quotation for the works as he had been in hospital. It was understood that a separate application for a street licence had to be submitted for each location at a cost of £63 per site. Members unanimously approved this additional expenditure.

f. P. 793 Memorial Hall. Mr. Baragwanath of The Knowle, regretted that he was unable to offer the use of his overflow car park, to help ease traffic congestion in School Lane during the closure of the Memorial Hall car park, until September when there were less weddings booked.

g. P. 794. Correspondence. Copies of the Parish Council response to the South East Plan consultation, kindly prepared by Cllrs Oakeshott and James, had been sent to each Member.

h. P. 794. Any Other Business. WPC Duffort confirmed that she would need statements from Parishioners who had seen the quad bike being ridden on the pavements in order to progress this matter.

i. P. 790 Website update. There had been 1816 hits to the website in June, and the total for the year now stood at 18,838. A "search this site" tool had now been installed for a trial period.


Cllr. Saunders reported that she and Cllr. Goring had visited the Working Mens Club following the complaint of unruly behaviour made at the last Meeting (P. 791 - Parishioners' Matters refers). The Meeting had been helpful and positive and they had viewed the premises, talked with the Members of the Committee and obtained a copy of the Club licence. The Committee had asked that any problems be reported to them in person, not via anonymous letters or telephone calls, and confirmed in writing, with a copy to the Parish Council Chairman. The Chairman called for future co-operation between the local residents and Committee of the Club.


Parishioner' Matters.

Mr Wenham and Mrs Howes of St. John's Road, thanked the Working Mens Club for cutting back the hedge. They recognised that part of the problem had been the lack of parental supervision for youngsters at the Club and welcomed the co-operation of the Committee.

Mr Martin, of School Lane, enquired if any progress had been made regarding the problems with schoolchildren alighting from the bus outside his property.

Mr Taylor, of Martins Close, reported that the damage to the road surfacing had been repaired 2 weeks ago.


To finalise arrangements for the 2006 Higham Gardens for Pleasure Competition.

Following discussion it was agreed to proceed with the competition in spite of the present hosepipe ban and water shortage. First round judging needed to be completed by Members by 21 st July to allow Morton Grey to view the short list and make a final decision.


To discuss the current vacancy on the Parish Council.

The Clerk reported that following the resignation of Cllr. Jan Hinks, who had moved away from the village, the Returning Officer had advertised the vacancy, but had now confirmed that it could be filled by co-option. It would be advertised until the end of August so that further discussion could take place at the next Meeting. It was agreed that the Chairman should write to thank Mrs Hinks for her service to the village once her new address had been received.


To receive a report from the Meeting of Parish Chairmen held on 26/6.

The Chairman reported that discussion regarding the Speedwatch system had taken place but as there were unresolved issues surrounding the volunteers, training and costs of the equipment for the scheme it seemed unlikely that it would be taken up locally. The incidences of public nuisance continued to the lay-by on the Gravesend Road close to Isis Cottages. Both Gravesham Borough Council and the Police continued to monitor the situation.


To receive a report from the Joint Transportation Board Meeting held on 14/6.

Cllr. Jupp reported that the Borough Council had dismissed the use of a one-way system involving Villa Road and Forge Lane as well as the installation of a pedestrian crossing to the centre of the village, as criteria had not been met, although further discussion on this issue would take place. The re-surfacing of School Lane was now classed as priority. The traffic survey undertaken had recorded a large number of heavy goods vehicles passing through the village to Hoo Junction and Canal Road industrial areas. It was agreed that the insufficient signage on the Wainscott By-Pass contributed to this problem.


Councillors' Matters.


No report had been received from Cllr. Snelling who had given apologies for the Meeting.



Cllr. Jupp reported that there was to be more of a visible Police presence in the area. The ballot for council-property tenants on the proposed sale of the Borough housing stock would take place in October. Following the approval of plans for the rural housing development in School Lane, a Meeting would take place to discuss the landscaping of the area on 1/8.

Cllr. Oakeshott reported that there had been a change of Landlord at the Railway Tavern.



Cllr. Saunders asked if it might be possible to remove the small hedge to the kerb outside 2, Alexander Cottages, as the resident was disabled and it obstructed his passage to his front door.

Cllr. Wright congratulated the Primary School on an excellent Summer Fayre which it was understood had raised in excess of £3900.

Cllr. Waugh reported that she and Cllr. Saunders had attended the special assembly to celebrate the Queen's 80 th birthday held at Higham Primary School which they thought was excellent.

Cllr. Grey reported that he had again observed vehicles driving on the pavement to by-pass the chicane outside the Memorial Hall.

Cllr. James reported that road signs to Old Watling Street were obscured by brambles and hedging outside the Three Crutches P.H. required trimmimg. He also reported that there was now a ridge to the road surface and the road was dropping at the junction of Forge Lane with the A226 Cllr. James observed that if Arriva scheduled buses from Cliffe to Lower Higham at commuter times it was likely that more commuters would use the station.

Cllr. Jupp reported that brambles and foliage overhanging the road in Crutches Lane made for dangerous driving conditions.




a. Planning

Plans were available for the following planning applications which had been received and reviewed by the Planning Committee:-


Appln no. 20060346 Mr B. Taylor, 2, The Braes, Telegraph Hill.

Erection of two storey side extension to form a dining room and playroom/study at ground floor level with bedroom and shower room/wc at first floor level.

Appln. no. 20060349 Hyde Housing Assocoation, Land at School Lane.

Erection of a two storey terrace of four, 3 bedroom dwellings: a pair of semi-detached, two storey, two bedroom dwellings and a two storey, semi-detached, two bedroom dwelling attached to two, one bedroom self-contained flats; erection of a detached shed for each dwelling; formation of a vehicular access onto School Lane and laying out of associated car parking spaces at the front.

Appln. no. 20060414 Mr Seamus Donnelly, 43, School Lane.

Erection of single storey rear extension to form a dining room.

Appln. no. 20060385 Gad's Hill School, Gravesend Road.

Renewal of temporary planning permission reference number GR/2003/276 for erection of a single storey building to the south of the walled kitchen garden to provide five classrooms, offices and storerooms for a temporary period.

Appln. no. 20060473 Mr T. Marshall, 1 & 2, Church Cottages, Church Street.

Conversion of property back into two residential dwellings involving erection of two storey rear extension to form kitchen/dining room to both dwellings at ground floor level with a bedroom to each property at first floor level and erection of a front porch on no. 1.

Appln. no. 20060496 Shaun Leatham, Oakleigh Farm, Buckland Road.

Continued use of the land as a dog training centre and retention of two ancilliary buildings and caravan for use as offices and shelter.

Appln. no. 20060500 Mr & Mrs Jenken, 16, Highwood Close.

Erection of first floor side extension to form bedroom with ensuite bathroom/wc in substitution to that previously permitted under planning permission reference number GR/2006/216.

Appln. no. 20060480 Mr P.R.Rutherford Stables rear of Hilary Cottage, Hermitage Road.

Erection of extension to the northern side of existing stable building to provide an additional 3 stables and hay store and erection of a secure field equipment store.

Appln. no. 20060507 Mr & Mrs Wickham, "The Moorings", Dillywood Lane.

Erection of single storey front and side extension to form double garage, breakfast room, utility room and w.c. at ground floor level with bedroom, en-suite w.c/shower room and separate bathroom in the proposed roof space.


b. K.A.P.C.

Cllr. Saunders reported that the Executive Committee had been studying the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005. She produced a booklet provided by by K.A.P.C. and suggested that each Member should have a copy of Section 1.


c. Memorial Hall.

Cllr. Goring reported that the works were progressing on time and within budget, and were scheduled for completion at the end of August.


d. Multi-Purpose Games Area.

Cllr. Goring reported that both the changing rooms and sports facility were still without any electricity and would be dependent on the outcome on the application for funding for the fencing around the Pavilion before this could be restored. The application would be for a 2m high fence which did not require planning permission. The wire to the tennis nets had been cut.

e. Recreation Ground.

Cllr. Goring reported that although the two original picnic tables had now been repaired with steel tops and wooden seats, one of the new picnic tables, supplied by the Borough Council, had been destroyed by arsonists. Following an impromptu barbeque against the wall of the pavilion, a large number of broken bottles had been left littering the entrance to the Kindergarten and he expressed concern regarding broken glass being left to the area when the forthcoming Play in the Park Activity Programme, organised by the Borough Council, got underway for two weeks at the beginning of August. One of the football goals had been torn out of the ground and the damage reported to the Police. A shackle had disappeared to one of the swings and the two cradle swings were in a poor

state of repair. The Chairman presented a cheque for £1000 from Strood Rotary Club to match a donation made a couple of years previously. This would allow a larger piece of play equipment to be purchased for the Recreation Ground. Members expressed concern at the lack of security to the area with the impending summer holiday period.


g. G.R.O.W.C.

Cllr. Waugh reported that the R.O.W. Officer had decided to try a proactive rather than a reactive response in the West Kent area. She reported that following her successful application for funds for a bridge, this was now not necessary due to works carried out by the landowner. The R.O.W. Officer was to ensure that this funding was still used for Higham for other improvements to the marshes. She understood that there were still funds available and would therefore investigate any other projects.


h. Governors of Higham School.

Cllr. James thanked Cllrs. Saunders, Waugh and Jupp for attending the assembly at the school. The hedge to School Lane was now overhanging the school fence.


i. Rural Housing.

Cllr. Oakeshott reported that the local residents of School Lane were considering appealing to the Ombudsman regarding the rural housing development.



The Clerk presented the quarterly financial statement for the period 1/4/06 to 30/6/06. She asked for approval for the items shown on the agenda plus administration expenses of £657.95 for the period 1/4/06 to 30/6/06, this being proposed by Cllr. Howard, seconded by Cllr. Goring and agreed by all Members.


Higham with Merston PCC Restoration Fund (Sect. 137/139 grant-church) 250.00

Southern Water (water allotments) 27.35

MCB Property Services (re-instatement of Dickens sign) 857.75

Terry Morris (repairs to Dickens sign) 199.75

J.L.Wright Ltd. (repairs to picnic tables to Recreation Ground) 293.75

The Millbrook Garden Company (Garden Gift Tokens) 60.00

Clerk's salary (1/4/06 - 30/6/06 - new rate) 1248.00

Expenses - use of room as office (1/4/06 - 30/6/06) 227.50


The following proposal was recorded in the minutes:-


"This Council in accordance with its powers under Sections 137 and 139 of the Local Government Act 1972, should incur an expenditure of £60 for garden gift tokens from the Millbrook Garden Company, which is in the opinion of the Council in the interests of the area or its inhabitants"



The correspondence folder had been available for perusal by all Members from 7.00 p.m. on that evening, but the Clerk drew Members' attention to the following items:-

1. Kent Highways had confirmed that the parish lighting was to be added to the maintenance contract.

2. Mr Jarrett had decided not to install a memorial seat in memory of his parents.

3. Members gave permission for the Recreation Ground to be used for the GBC Summer Activity Programme with the Pavilion to be used as the wet weather contingency.

4. Members noted the conclusion of the 2006 Audit.


To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting.

This was given as being Monday, 11 th September 2006 at 7.30 p.m. in the St. John's Church Hall, Hermitage Road, by kind permission of Father James. Parking would be available in the Working Mens Club car park.


Any Other Business.

Cllr. Saunders drew Members attention to the opening of Isis Court when the Chairman had not been recognised as she had no badge of office. It was suggested that information be requested from a company called Fattorini who specialise in insignia and badges for discussion at a future date. Members also suggested that a gavel should be purchased.


The Clerk reported that a tent had been pitched illegally on one of the overgrown allotment plots. A Notice to Quit had been served and it had now been removed.


The Chairman wished to record in the Minutes the gratitude of the Parish Council for the free use of the Church Hall for two Meetings whilst the Memorial Hall was out of action.


There being no other business, the Meeting closed at 9.55 p.m.



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