Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the 2006 Annual Parish Council Meeting

followed by a Parish Council Meeting

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Minutes of the Annual Parish Council Meeting followed by a Parish Council Meeting held at the Memorial Hall, School Lane, on Monday, 8th May 2006 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 and S. Wright.

In attendance: 14 Parishioners.

Insp. Tracey Billanie

WPC Alison Duffort

Apologies for absence: Received from Cllr Anne Waugh.

The Meeting was opened by the Clerk who welcomed all those present to the Meeting.




Cllr.James proposed and Cllr.Goring seconded the nomination of Cllr. Papadopulos.

Cllr.Papadopulos was re- elected as Chairman by a unanimous vote.




Cllr.Goring proposed and Cllr.Jupp seconded the nomination of Cllr.Oakeshott

Cllr.Oakeshott was re-elected as Vice Chairman by a unanimous vote.


It was proposed by Cllr.Saunders, seconded by Cllr.Oakeshott and agreed by all Members that the following should be elected to Committees:-

a.  Allotment Committee.

Cllrs Howard and Papadopulos (2 MEMBERS)

b. Recreation Committee.

Cllrs. Goring, Hinks and Wright (3 MEMBERS)

c. Planning Committee.

Cllrs. Grey, James, Jupp, Oakeshott, Saunders and Wright (6 MEMBERS)

The Chairman would remain as an ex-officio member of this Committee.

d. Parish Environment Committee.

Cllrs. Goring, Grey, Howard, James, Jupp, Waugh and Wright (7 MEMBERS)

e.  The Budget and Finance Committee.

It was agreed that the whole Council should perform these duties at a separately convened Meeting (11 MEMBERS)

f.  Parish Newsletter Committee.

Cllrs. Oakeshott, Papadopulos and Saunders (3 MEMBERS)

g.  Higham Gardens for Pleasure Committee.

It was agreed that all Members would be asked to provide suggestions for a short list from which the final judging would take place (11 MEMBERS).



These were agreed as follows:-

a. K.A.P.C. - Cllrs Saunders and Hinks
b. Memorial Hall Management Committee - Cllr. Goring.
c. Local Transport Advisory Committee (Village Transport Representatives) - Cllrs. Howard and Wright.
d. Merston Court Day Centre - Cllr. Papadopulos.
e. G.R.O.W.C. - Cllrs. Waugh and Wright.
f. Multi-Purpose Sports Facility - Cllr. Goring.
g. Higham Youth Club - Cllrs.Hinks and Saunders.
h. C.P.R.E. - Cllr. Waugh.
i.  Governing Body of Higham Primary School - Cllr. James.

j.  Police Advisory Committee - Cllrs. Grey and Wright.

k. Chalk Liaison Group - Cllrs. Goring and Hinks.

l. Press Officer - Cllr. Hinks.

m. Rural Housing - Cllrs. Oakeshott and Saunders.

6.  The Chairman thanked Cllr. Anne Waugh, in her absence, for her help in providing refreshments at Meetings.


The Meeting closed at 7.45 p.m.



It was proposed by Cllr.Wright seconded by Cllr Oakeshott and agreed unanimously by all Members that Standing Orders, including amendments for the Annual Parish Assembly, Financial Regulations, and Delegated Powers for the Planning Committee, should be adopted.

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 April 2006, were confirmed and signed, following an alteration to P. 786 under KAPC where it was noted that both Cllrs.Saunders and Hinks had attended the Area Committee Meeting.


Matters arising from the Minutes.

The Clerk reported that:-

a. P. 783 Matters Arising. Repair of picnic tables. The Clerk confirmed that the quote of £430 plus VAT from Trojan Engineering would be to weld solid "4 by 2" section onto the frame so that there would be no bolts. After discussion amongst Members it was proposed by Cllr. Oakeshott, seconded by Cllr. Howard and agreed by all Members to proceed with an alternative quotation of £250 plus VAT obtained by Cllr. Wright.

b. P. 783 M/A Replacement of Dickens sign. As consent had now been received from KCC the sign would be reinstated on 16/5.

c. P. 785 Security Measures - Higham Pavilion. An insurance claim had now been submitted for the repairs to the drainage.

d. Royal Mail had finally agreed to reinstate the missing postbox to Hermitage Road but installation could take up to 12 weeks.

e. P. 783 Website. There had been a total of 1921 hits to the website during April. There were currently problems with e-mail redirection for both the Clerk and the Webmaster which was under investigation. It was expected that the renewal cost for the domain name and web space would be in the region of £85.

f. Members expressed concern that no reply had ,as yet, been received from George Webb Finn regarding either the siting of the container or the installation of the roll top fencing to the Recreation Ground, and the Clerk was asked to make contact as a matter of urgency.


Parishioners' Matters.

Mr Martin, of School Lane, enquired why both the school bus and the regular 417 service used the same lay-by at the end of Mountbatten Avenue. School children alighting had caused damage to cars and broken steps. After discussion Members agreed to ask the operator, Arriva, if one service could pick up at the Gardeners Arms instead.

Mr Chilmaid reported a large pothole to School Lane near its junction with St. John's Road.

Mrs Leach asked if there was any news regarding crossing improvements in front of the Gardeners' Arms. Cllr. Oakeshott reported that this matter would be discussed at the Joint Transportation Board Meeting to be held on 14/6.

A large number of residents from Steadman Close were present at the Meeting following further anti-social behaviour to the area which had led to an incident of serious assault. Inspector Tracey Billaine and WPC Alison Duffort were in attendance and able to update Parishioners with the latest developments. They reassured residents that the Police were still actively working on evidence towards applications for other ASBO's and urged them to keep reporting incidents and obtaining crime numbers. It was noted that on occasions up to 20 juveniles were present, which residents found intimidating, and a car had sustained a large amount of damage by graffiti. The Police agreed to issue details of the ASBO currently in force to place it in the public domain, to speak to the Borough Council regarding Council tenancies of families of known individuals involved and to see if conditions could be imposed by the court excluding individuals from the area.

Two residents from St. John's Road complained that stones had been thrown to the back of their properties, and windows broken, by a group of some 16 to 18 unsupervised youngsters in the grounds of the Working Men's Club, which adjoined the end of their gardens. They stated that this had happened before during the summer months and had necessitated doors and windows being shut to cut out the noise and to stop dogs barking. Fire doors at the Club had been propped open, increasing the noise from the loud music which was now being played three nights a week. Approaches to the Club, to date, had not produced any action, and other residents were equally aggrieved with the situation. It was agreed that the Parish Council should write to the Club Committee outlining these problems and send copies of the letter to the Environmental Health Department and Licensing Officer at Gravesham Borough Council for information. Two Members of the Council would arrange a convenient time to view the premises and speak direct to Club Committee Members before reporting back at the next Meeting.

Mr Taylor, of Martins Close, reported that the tarmac to the entrance of the road had been torn up by a large vehicle during the day.


Matters arising from this year's Annual Parish Assembly.

The Chairman expressed her concern that only 32 Parishioners, some 1% of the electorate, had been present at the Annual Parish Assembly in spite of the large amount of food that had been prepared and she questioned the wisdom of providing such a spread the following year. In response, Cllr. James reminded Members that this was a legitimate item of expenditure on behalf of the Parish even though a smaller number of Parishioners than envisaged had attended. It was suggested that posters should be prepared to advertise the next Annual Parish Assembly in the hope of increasing numbers of Parishioners present.

Following the presentation by P.C.Ridley, it was agreed to speak again to representatives from the other Gravesham Rural Parishes, who had expressed an interest in the Speedwatch scheme, at the forthcoming Meeting of Parish Chairmen, and the Clerk was asked to ensure that this item was placed on the agenda for the Meeting. An appeal for Parishioners to come forward to form a Committee to man the equipment could be made at a later date, although it was suggested that it would be preferable to carry out the monitoring in another village

Cllr. James confirmed that although a walking bus was being considered at the Primary School it had not been introduced at present.

The Clerk confirmed that, with the exception of the location in Chalk Road, all sites had now been approved for the installation of the village signs. An approved KCC contractor would need to carry out the installations. It was uncertain if five licences, at a cost of £63 each, would need to be applied for before the signs could be installed.


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

The Chairman reported that Morton Grey was to notify Members of the date that final judging of this year's competition would get underway. Members were asked to sign up for roads to inspect to produce the final short list.


To arrange dates for Parish Council Meetings in 2007.

The following dates for Meetings were agreed:-

Mondays:- 8th January, 19th February, 2nd April, 7th May (Annual Parish Council Meeting with Parish Council Meeting), 2nd July, 10th September, 8th October, 12th November (Budget and Finance only), and 26th November (Christmas Meeting with the Mayor of Gravesham).

The Annual Parish Assembly would take place on Thursday, 19th April 2007.


The remaining dates for Meetings in 2006 were as follows:

Mondays:- 11th September, 9th October, 6th November (Budget and Finance only) and 27th November (Christmas Meeting with the Mayor of Gravesham).


Councillors' Matters.


Cllr. Snelling reported that there would be no Primary School closures in Gravesham for the coming year, although HIgham Primary School had agreed to reduce its planned admission numbers by 56 over the next 7 years to reflect the falling rolls. He would take over the Chairmanship of the Joint Transportation Board for the coming year. The start of the A2 widening had been put back to 2007 due to financial constraints. Cllr. Snelling stated that he believed that the Lower Thames Crossing needed a high level report on how it would impact on the area.



Cllr. Jupp reported that a total of £5 million had been allocated to refurbish the Civic Centre and arrangements were being made to sell Cygnet House. The proposed ballot regarding the possible transfer of the housing stock had been put back. A consultative committee had been set up to look at the problems of car parking within the Borough.

Cllr. Oakeshott reported that free bus passes were available for the "over 60's". Travelling would be free provided that each journey began and ended in Gravesham. It would not be available for travel into the London Boroughs. Gravesham Age Concern was starting its own meal delivery service and would be happy to deliver to Higham. Work on the new Visitor's Centre at Shorne Wood Country Park was almost finished and a tramper buggy was available for the disabled. Government grants were available for the erection of individual wind turbines on private land, but planning permission would still be required. Miss May Popple, a resident of Copperfields Residential Home, would be 100 years of age later in the month.



Cllr. Grey reported that the path was being used as the main carriageway at the chicane near the entrance to the Memorial Hall, which was causing damage and was a danger to pedestrians. The tenancy of the Railway Tavern was to change at the end of the month.

Cllr. Saunders reported deep potholes to School Lane by light BSAS 35.

Cllr. Goring reported that the main sewer to School Lane had backed up and blown the manhole cover off, causing sewage to pour down the road, during the last Boot Fair. As this had happened before it was agreed that the matter should be reported to the Borough Council,

and a copy of the letter sent to the Water Board.

Cllr. James reported that the middle light to the underpass in Crutches Lane (BCDQ 006) was now unlit.






a. Planning

Plans were available for the following planning applications which had been received

and reviewed by the Planning Committee:-


Appln no. 20060257 Mr & Mrs Benocci, 3, Steadman Close

Construction of a dormer extension in the rear roof slope and conversion of the roof space into two bedrooms.

Appln. no. 20060153 Mr Cooper, 1, Gads Hill Cottages, Gravesend Road.

Erection of a front porch.

Appln. no. 20060290 Mr M. Dockrell, 9, Irvine Road.

Erection of single storey side extension incorporating dormer windows in the front and rear roof slopes to form garage with bedroom and ensuite bathroom in the roof space over and single storey rear extension to form living room, utility room and w.c./shower room.

Appln. no. 20060309 Mr & Mrs K. Bambrough, 1, Hollytree Drive.

Erection of a single storey side extension to form a garage and erection of a front porch.

Appln. no. 20060193 Whitbread Restaurants plc, Copperfields, Gravesend Road, Shorne.

Display of externally illuminated double sided free standing sign on grass verge fronting Gravesend Road.(ADJOINS OUR PARISH)


c. Memorial Hall

Cllr. Goring reported that, following the receipt of the funding, the building works would start on 26/5 and be completed by the end of August. It was anticipated that the closure of the Memorial Hall car park would cause parking problems for parents of children at Higham Primary School and the Clerk was asked to write to the owners of The Knowle to ask if their overflow car park could be used as a contingency measure, and to ensure that there was a police presence for the first couple of days. Cllr. Goring reported that several glass windows to the Hall had been kicked in on Good Friday.


d. Recreation Ground.

Cllr. Goring reported that the grass had recently been cut. The attempt to locate the missing manhole cover with a metal detector had not yet got underway.


e. Multi-Purpose Games Area.

Cllr. Goring reported that a white van had stopped outside the facility and the occupants were seen to gain entry through a hole in the fence to play football.


i. Merston Court.

The Chairman reported that a large cake from the Parish Council commemorated the 25th anniversary of Merston Court. One of the co-ordinators, Dot Figg, who had been awarded a Taking Pride in Gravesham award, also received flowers from the Parish Council. Barrie Howes of the Higham Youth Club, was another award winner.



The Clerk asked for approval for the items of expenditure shown on the agenda, plus the sum of £258.50 for M.J.Read & Co. for audit preparation, £45.00 for Mrs P. Oakeshott for APA costs under Sections 150(2) of the L.G.Act 1972, £20.00 for Mrs J. Papadopulos for flowers for Dot Figg, and £50.00 for Mrs J.Plane for a celebration cake for Merston Court (the last two items under Sects. 137 and 139), this being proposed by Cllr. Howard, seconded by Cllr. Oakeshott and agreed by all Members.


K.C.P.F.A. (2006 subscription) 20.00

C.P.R.E. (2006 subscription) 26.00

Allianz Cornhill Insurance plc (renewal premium) 948.57

Mrs J.M.Papadopulos (APA costs under Sect. 150(2) L.G.Act 1972) 39.85

GBC (printing costs) 17.13


To approve the Annual Return for Local Councils for year ended 31st March 2006.

Copies of both the Annual Return for Local Councils in England and Wales, and accounts for the financial year ended 31st March 2006 had been circulated to Members prior to the Meeting. Both documents were approved unanimously by all Members present.


To approve the updated Risk Assessment document.

It had not been possible to produce this document for approval at the Meeting and this matter would be dealt with at a later date.



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. It was agreed that Cllrs. Oakeshott and James should study the Consultation Document for the SEERA South East Plan and respond on behalf of the Members.

2. It was agreed to ask Mr Ellis to carry out the repairs to the notice board at Lower Higham replacing the glass with 4mm perspex.



To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting.

This was given as being Monday, 3 rd July 2006 at 7.30 p.m.. The Chairman reminded Members that this would take place in St. John's Church Hall by kind permission of Father James whilst the Memorial Hall was out of action.


Any Other Business.

Members gave approval for a Mini Tournament organised by the Eagles F.C. to be held on the Recreation Ground on 20/5.

Cllr. Goring reported that he had received reports that the quad bike had again been ridden on the pavement in the village. It was agreed that the Police should be informed.


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


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