Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the April 2007 Parish Council Meeting

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Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting, held at the Memorial Hall, School Lane, on Monday, 2nd April 2007 at 7.30 p.m.


Present: Cllr. Mrs J.M.Papadopulos (Chairman)     Councillors:- J.D.Goring, J.A.Grey, M.L.James, Mrs P. Oakeshott (also Borough) Mrs A. Waugh and S. Wright.

In attendance: 8 Parishioners.

Kent Community Warden Steve Gray.

Apologies for absence: County Councillor Mike Snelling. Cllrs. Howard, Saunders and Scott.


The Chairman accepted apologies for absence.

There were no alterations to the Register of Members Interests.

The Chairman welcomed Kent Community Warden, Steve Gray, to his first Meeting of the Parish Council.


The Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting, held on Monday, 19th February 2007, were confirmed and signed , following an amendment to P. 821 where the words “ She asked Cllr. James, a close friend, to also address the Members of the Council with a short eulogy” were inserted at the end of the first paragraph.


Matters arising from the Minutes.

Following an update of actions from the last Minutes, the Clerk reported that:-

a. P. 821 Matters Arising. Fencing to Pavilion. This had now been installed but Cllr. Goring expressed concern regarding the design of the gate which appeared to provide a foothold to climb over. It was agreed that Cllr Goring and the Kent Community Warden would meet on site to assess the situation. Bollards within the new fencing also required removal.

b. Web Site report. Over the past year there had been some 22,894 hits to the Parish Council website. In March 2007 the statistics had climbed to 2453 hits.

c. P. 822 Parishioners' Matters. Amanda Mendzil had kept the Parish Council informed of her attempts to alert South Eastern Railways to the current traffic parking problems at Higham Station.

d. The Highways issues from the last Meeting had been reported and an updated copy of the spreadsheet was available in the correspondence folder.

e. P. 825 Correspondence. The preferred name of the Nuralite Site was “Nuralite Industrial Site” and Kent Highways had been notified accordingly.

f. Rob Newman would seek permission for the tree planting by the Scouts at sites at Dickens Court and the end of Lake Drive .


Cllr. Oakeshott reported that the Borough Council did not have a spare seat available at this time to be placed at the Three Crutches in memory of Colin Jupp, but would be willing to install a seat if it were to be provided by the Parish Council.

Cllr. Wright reported that he was currently obtaining quotations for the repair of the Recreation Ground fencing.


Parishioners' Matters.

Mr Wenham, of St. John's Road, reported that his wife had suffered an injury due to falling on an uneven pavement which had been obstructed by a vehicle in Villa Road near to Chilton Drive. It was agreed that WPC Mulrooney would be asked to monitor this situation and issue tickets if necessary.

Mr Chilmaid, of Steadman Close, reported that during the recent resurfacing of School Lane a small area had been missed due to a car being parked alongside the kerb. Cllr. Oakeshott reported that she had contacted Kent Highways with regard to this and other problems including blocked drain gullies, and stop cocks and manholes covered with tarmac.

Mr Wenham reported that since the resurfacing there was now a large ridge in the road at the junction with St. John's Road which had been covered by a white line.

The Clerk reported a request from Mr McDonald to reinstate the seat which had been removed from Jubilee Corner (junction of Taylors Lane with School Lane) by local residents many years ago, to stop youngsters congregating there. It was agreed that this was not possible as the slats from the seat in question had been used to repair another seat on the A226 several years ago.


Tour de France.

The Clerk reported that a Meeting of the sub-committee had taken place. Members unanimously approved a donation of £100 to the Temple School Steel Band to play during the morning and Copperfield Clog had also been asked if they would be able to perform some dancing. It was hoped that the Guides would be able to serve cold drinks, the W.I. would hold a cake stall and the book club in the Library would sell books. An ice cream van would be parked in Irvine Road. The Clerk agreed to ask George Chandler if he would be able to prepare an album of photographs of the event. It was understood that roads would be closed from approximately 8.30 a.m., with the publicity caravan passing through the village from approximately 10.00 a.m. until 11.00 a.m. The riders were expected at approximately 11.45 a.m. and all roads would re-open by 12.30 p.m. The Chairman urged those present to dress in Dickensian Costume and support the event. Publicity would be placed on the website and in the local newspapers nearer to the time.



Future arrangements for Higham Youth Club.

Steve Gray reported that, following the resignation of Barrie Howes, he had agreed with the County Council that he would take over the running of the Youth Club on a temporary basis for approximately 6-8 weeks until a replacement leader could be found. A Meeting of the helpers at the club would shortly take place to encourage them to stay on and Mr Sutherland, of St. John's Road , had also agreed to help. It was hoped that Rob Joab from the Gr@nd would also be able to attend. The Chairman expressed concern at the lack of offers of help from the parents of the current members. Cllr. Goring reported that the Memorial Hall Management Committee intended to pass a bill for £280 for the repair of a door inside the Memorial Hall, damaged during a Youth Club Meeting, to the parents of the youngster concerned for payment.


Annual Newsletter/Annual Parish Assembly 2007.

Members unanimously approved a quotation of £1295 plus VAT from Spectra Press Ltd. for the printing of the 2007 Newsletter and a payment of £65 to 1 st Higham Scouts, under Sections 137 and 139 of the Local Government Act 1972, to deliver the newsletters to the centre of the village on 13/4. The Clerk asked Members to be prepared to each deliver a proportion of the remaining booklets. She asked for Members to assemble at the Memorial Hall at 3.30 pm. on 19/4 to prepare for the Annual Parish Assembly. The Chairman agreed to provide the drinks and glasses. Lesley Topping would prepare the food.

Higham Gardens for Pleasure Competition 2007.

The Chairman reported that it was hoped that Morton Grey would again carry out the judging on our behalf and she urged Members to sign up to produce the short list so that judging could take place.


Councillors' Matters.


As Cllr. Snelling did not attend the Meeting the Clerk reported that the long awaited publication of the findings of the Lyons Report on the future of Council Tax had proved to be a huge disappointment as the Government had either rejected the proposals or deferred consideration indefinitely. The accompanying “Spending Review” for the next few years indicated that there would continue to be rises in Council Tax in the South East. Kent was not offered the opportunity to apply to be a Unitary Authority. It would continue to work with District/Borough Councils to save cash and improve services.



Cllr. Oakeshott reported that the Borough had achieved two “Safe Car Park” awards. Towncentric had won a prestigious silver award and was now competing in the final against Wakefield for the gold. A £100 million contract for the Heritage Quarter of the Town Centre had just been signed and would include underground parking, very many flats, a market square and a hotel. 



Cllr. Oakeshott reported that she had asked for signs to be placed at all entrances to the village to stop lorries associated with the Isle of Grain to Shorne gas pipeline accessing the village roads. The School Lane housing site now had a Site Manager, Richard Davies, who could be contacted directly on 01474 824464 in case of problem. The new development required a name and Members had been asked for their views. Two suggestions were made namely to feature either “Oakeshott” or “Jupp” in the title. The Clerk was asked to contact Vivienne James to discuss the matter further.

Cllr. Goring reported a large pothole to Hermitage Road outside the bungalow alongside St John's Church.

Cllr. Grey reported problems with the School Lane building site. Engines of delivery vehicles, arriving early in the morning, had been left running. On occasions work on the site had overrun the 6.00 p.m. deadline and some contractors' lorries had bumped into local residents' cars. It now seemed possible that contractors would be asked to park their vehicles within the CPZ which was causing concern to residents. A meeting was planned between the residents and the Site Manager.

Cllr. James reported that some of the burnt fencing to Crutches Lane had now disappeared and he expressed concern that this might give access to the field behind. He also reported a nuisance with “mini mokes” to Crutches Lane, and Steve Gray agreed to keep an eye on the situation.

Cllr. Waugh observed that the part of School Lane from the end of the parade of shops to the Doctor's Surgery had not been resurfaced and that the road surface was badly broken at the edges. The Clerk agreed to report the matter to Kent Highways.



To discuss the plans for new school buildings and site alterations at Gads Hill School .

Members had had the opportunity to study the plans in detail during the refreshment break.

Cllr. Oakeshott reported that the Planning Committee had considered the application but had several concerns. Of the original four options proposed by the School, only option D had been submitted for planning approval, and this was felt to be unacceptable due to its close proximity to the listed elements of the site and Providence Cottages. Option B was the best compromise as it grouped the buildings into one area of the site and did not straggle them along Crutches Lane . The Committee expressed concern regarding the provision of employee flats within the house itself as it was felt that the alterations required would have a significant detrimental impact on the building. The Planning Committee felt that the Visitors Centre should be open from 10.00 a.m. until 2.00 p.m. only to avoid the visiting public exiting at the same time as the schoolchildren at the end of the school day. The Committee also expressed concerns on the suitability of Crutches Lane for visiting coaches (a figure of 20,000 visitors per year had been predicted) although the recommendations for the improvement of the junction of Crutches Lane and Gravesend Road seemed to be beneficial. The Committee would want to see guarantees of no increase in pupil numbers from the present 340 plus 30 pre-school children and that the temporary block of classrooms would be removed once the new building was occupied. The School hoped that the project would be completed by 2012 which was the 200th anniversary of Dickens' birth.



a. Planning.

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


Appln. no. 20070139 Michael Clark & Neana Allen, Mill House, Hermitage Road.

Application for Listed Building Consent for the installation of replacement windows for all windows on main house.

Appln. no. 20070179 Mr Richard Jackman Side garden of, 55, Forge Lane.

Erection of detached two storey three bedroom dwelling with provision of parking space in front garden.

Appln. no. 20070189 Gads Hill School Association, Gads Hill School, Gravesend Road.

Application for Listed Building Consent for the demolition of existing school hall and outbuildings and erection of a part one and part two storey junior school and a three storey senior school; internal and external alterations in connection with the conversion of the mansion house (old school building) into a Dickens Visitor's Centre on lower ground and ground floor and four one bedroom flats on first and second floors involving a new glazed entrance link and replacement of some windows; erection of a maintenance shed; laying out of service yard and formation of car and coach park.

Appln. no. 20070188 Gads Hill School Association, Gads Hill School, Gravesend Road.

Demolition of existing school hall and outbuildings and erection of a part one and part two storey junior school and a three storey senior school; internal and external alterations in connection with the conversion of the mansion house (old school building) into a Dickens Visitor's Centre on lower ground and ground floor and four one bedroom flats on first and second floors involving a new glazed entrance link and replacement of some windows; erection of a maintenance shed; laying out of service yard and formation of car and coach park; improvements to Crutches Lane/Gravesend Road junction and improvements to existing vehicular access to the school along Crutches Lane.

Appln. no. 20070224 Mr & Mrs Wickham, The Moorings, Dillywood Lane.

Erection of two storey side and single storey rear extension to form conservatory, breakfast room/dining room and shower room/wc at ground floor level with a bedroom at first floor level.

Appln. no. 20070270 Mrs & Mrs K.Utton, 4, Beech Grove.

Erection of single storey rear extension to form enlarged kitchen and a conservatory.

Appln. no. 20070272 Mr & Mrs M. Stock Higham Hall, Taylors Lane.

Application for Listed Building Consent for the erection of a detached double garage with workshop at the rear and hobbies/games room in the roof space and erection of metal railings both sides of the existing entrance gates.

Appln. no. 20070265 F. Cannon, 1, St. John's Close.

Extension of roof at side to form a gable end; construction of enlarged dormer extension and conversion of the additional roof space to form an enlarged bedroom.

c.  Memorial Hall.

Cllr. Goring reported that the new door beside the stage had now been installed. A lump of concrete thrown at the kitchen window had broken the outer pane, and the step by the fire exit had been hammered away.


d. Multi-Purpose Games Area.

Cllr. Goring reported that the AGM would be held on 16/4. It had been decided to mothball the Changing Rooms due to the lack of services. The courts had been treated for moss and the paths cleared. It was hoped that the electricity to the floodlighting might shortly be re-instated.


e. Recreation Ground.

Cllr. Goring reported that the new Tothill slide unit had sustained damage at the top of the slide and was now covered with duck tape, and graffiti.


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

Cllr. Waugh reported that she had stood down as Vice Chairman of G.R.O.W.C. She expressed concern that future Meetings would not be attended by the Rights of Way Officer, as they took place during the evening, and indicated that she felt that this would mean that very little progress would be made in future.


h. Governors of Higham Primary School.

Cllr. James reported that a total of 6 children had passed 11+ with another 2 presently going through the appeal process. The school was the only one in the area which was over-subscribed for September 2007. The trial run of the Walking Bus was expected to take place early next term with KCC supplying the tabards. The recent Governor's Day had been a great success and it was hoped that the conversion of the School House into a new Care Suite and Admin/Reception Centre would be completed by September. The budget did not allow for any extra money for resourcing the school but would cover the cost of living rises for staff. Plans had been submitted for an overflow car park in the area beyond the boiler house. 



The Clerk presented the quarterly financial statement for the period 1/1/07 to 31/3/07. She asked for approval for the items shown on the agenda plus Administration Expenses of £640.44 for the period 1/1/07 to 31/3/07, £190.80 to Judi Stanley for the production of the newsletter and a donation to the Temple School Steel Band of £100 made under sections 137 and 139 of the Local Government Act 1972, this being proposed by Cllr. Goring, seconded by Cllr. Oakeshott and agreed by all Members.


1st Higham Scouts (Sect 137/139 grant – newsletter delivery) 65.00

Lesley Topping (food for APA – Sect. 150(2) L.G. Act 1972) 150.00

Bob Ogley (talk at APA – Sect. 150(2) L.G.Act 1972) 60.00

St. John's College Cambridge (½ year rent for R.G.) 125.00

K.A.P.C. (2007 subscription and Local Council Review) 1083.76

Clive Stanley (webmaster services 1/1/07 – 23/3/07) 114.00

KAPC (Good Councillors Guide) 20.00

Shaw and Sons Ltd. (receipts and payments book) 57.46

Allianz Cornhill Insurance plc (renewal premium) 1080.21

Clerk's salary (1/1/07 – 31/3/07) 1248.00

1st Higham Scouts (Sect. 137/139 grant) 300.00

1st Higham Guides (Sect. 137/139 grant) 200.00

Higham Age Concern (Sect. 137/139 grant) 300.00

Higham with Merston PCC (Sect. 137/139 grant – St. John's church) 275.00


It was agreed to set up a sub committee to review the Clerk's salary from April 2007.


Members unanimously agreed to put up all allotment rents by £1 for the forthcoming financial year.



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 item:-

1. Members noted that the Chalk Road site appeal would take place at the Civic Centre on 31/7 at 10.00 a.m.



To note the date of the 2008 Annual Parish Assembly.

This was given as being Thursday, 17 th April 2008 at 7.30 p.m.


To note the date of the next Parish Council Meetings:-

These were given as follows:-

Annual Parish Assembly – Thursday, 19th April 2007 at 7.30 p.m.

Annual Parish Council Meeting and Parish Council Meeting – Monday, 14th May 2007 at 7.30 p.m.


Any Other Business.

The Clerk reminded those present that nomination papers should be sent to the Returning Officer by noon on 4/4.


The Chairman surprised those present by making presentations of personalized home-baked biscuits to thank them for their support over the past four years of the Council.


There being no other business, the Meeting closed at 10.00 p.m.


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