Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the January 2007 Parish Council Meeting

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Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting, held at the Memorial Hall, School Lane, on Monday, 8th January 2007 at 7.30 p.m.


Present: Cllr. Mrs J.M.Papadopulos (Chairman)

County Councillor:- M.Snelling.     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 M. Scott, Mrs A.Waugh and S. Wright.

In attendance: 10 Parishioners.

Apologies for absence: Received from WPC Duffort, and Kent Community Warden Steve Gray.


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, 27 th November 2006, were confirmed and signed .


Matters arising from the Minutes.

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

a. P. 812 Matters Arising. Repairs to Pavilion Roof. Members expressed concern that it appeared that roofing felt had not been renewed under the roof tiles that had recently been replaced to the Pavilion roof. It was agreed that Cllrs. Goring and Wright would meet with the builder to discuss the matter.

b. P. 812 Matters Arising. Pavilion fencing. An order had now been placed for 2m high roll top fencing. Planning permission was not required.

c. P. 812 Parishioners' Matters. Sinking trench. This had been reported to Kent Highway Services via the Parish Spreadsheet. Southern Water would be  responsible for the repairs and ensuring that the work was done.

d. P. 813 Parishioners' Matters. Tree planting by Scouts. It was suggested that two trees should be planted on the green outside Dickens Court and others at the end of Lake Drive. Cllr. Oakeshott agreed to obtain approval from the Borough Council. It was felt that a hedge could be planted down one side of the Recreation Ground.

e. Web Site report. In December a total of 2114 hits were received on the Parish Council website bringing the total for the year to 22,394.


Cllr. Goring reported that it was impossible to say how much the path to the Pavilion could be widened until the fencing was installed.

Cllr. Oakeshott reported that the removal of the hedge outside Alexander Cottages had been referred to Kent Highway Services.

Cllr. Wright reported that he had attended a recent Meeting at Dartford Police Station with Officers from the North Kent Traffic Management Unit of Kent Police.


Parishioners' Matters.

Mr Taylor, of Martins Close, confirmed that the sinking trench to the bottom of School Lane had now been repaired.

Several residents made complaints regarding noise nuisance at the Chalk Road site and it was agreed that this would be referred to the Enforcement Officer.

Mr Pearton, of Chalk Road, reported that cars were being parked on the grassways of the village, especially at the bottom of School Lane. It was agreed to refer this matter to the Kent Community Warden. He also enquired regarding an installation date for the dog fouling bins and Cllr. Oakeshott agreed to chase this matter with the Borough Council. Mr Pearton also reported that youngsters had removed fences to allow animals such as cattle onto the railway line.

Miss Chilmaid, of Steadman Close, reported an abuse of traffic management measures to the village centre and the need for traffic to pull over onto the lay-by in Forge Lane to allow oncoming traffic to pass. It was agreed to refer both of these matters to the Kent Community Warden.


To evaluate the impact of the White Paper on Local Government.

Cllr. Snelling reported that the White Paper on Local Government had recommended closer working between County and Borough Councils. A survey had been commissioned to look at what could be achieved, and what savings made, by cutting out duplication. Some Parish Councils, such as Meopham, were preparing a Parish Plan or Village Design Statement which could be incorporated in the Local Development Framework, which protected against untoward development. This would need to be instigated by a special steering group and would involve a couple of years' work before it was completed. The Clerk agreed to speak with Meopham Parish Council to learn more about this initiative.


Annual inspection of Higham Recreation Ground.

Cllr. Goring reported that the Borough Council commissioned a safety report of the Recreation Ground each year and this year it had been prepared by a different firm of consultants. It had highlighted several areas of concern, the most pressing being the state of the safety surfacing underneath the multi-swing unit. It also noted damage to the surface of the slide unit and to the wooden adventure trail and recommended that trees in the vicinity of the play equipment be cut back. It was agreed that quotations for alternative types of safety surfacing would be obtained for discussion at a future meeting. Cllr. Oakeshott agreed to seek advice from the Borough Council.


Tour de France 2007.

The Clerk reported that exact timings and full details of the preparations for the Tour de France as it passed through Higham on Sunday, 8th July en route between London and Canterbury, would be available in early February. It was widely expected that large crowds would line the streets of the Borough and the roads would be closed for several hours. There would be a huge worldwide coverage of the race, which was the world's biggest annual sporting event, and it would be broadcast to a global audience of millions of people. A short DVD presentation would take place at the forthcoming Meeting of Parish Chairmen, and it was possible that this could be made available for viewing at the Annual Parish Assembly in April. Following discussion amongst Members it was agreed that this item should be placed on the agenda for the next Meeting, when it was hoped to set up a sub-committee to organize a series of events to take place on the grass verge alongside the A226. It was felt that these should be for the enjoyment of the Parishioners and not for the benefit of the Tour de France competitors. The Chairman agreed to speak to the Headmaster of Gad's Hill School regarding providing representation on this committee.


Councillors Matters.


Cllr. Snelling reported that in spite of significant savings of over £30 million having been made, it seemed that Kent would receive a negative settlement of minus 5% which posed problems in setting a budget for the new financial year. He highlighted the fact that Highways would receive 0% increase for the following year. Cllr. Goring emphasised the need for the lorry route sign to be erected on the By Pass following an incident regarding a Spanish articulated lorry which had got stuck in Hermitage Road having used satellite navigation equipment.



Cllr. Jupp reported that in the recent housing ballot 86% of tenants had voted to stay with the Borough Council. The need to hold a ballot had been forced by Government policy and had cost the Borough in the region of £600,000. Refurbishment of the Civic Centre continued with works anticipated to be completed in March.

Cllr. Oakeshott produced an explanatory pamphlet from the Highways Agency showing a plan of the widening works for the A2 from Pepperhill to Cobham, which were due for completion in 2009. The Clerk agreed to try and obtain a copy for each Councillor.

Cllr. Oakeshott also reported that pavements to Brice Road, Martins Close and St. John's Road were all to be resurfaced.



Cllr. Waugh reported that she had passed to the Clerk a list of highway items for the spreadsheet all relating to Hermitage Road. She had again distributed the Shaves Charity awards this year and each of the 7 applicants had received £50 each.

Cllr. James reported that hedge trimming works to Crutches Lane, notified as completed on the spreadsheet, had only been carried out as far as the Waterworks. The fence to Crutches Lane which had been set alight had still not been replaced.

Cllr. Wright agreed to contact the fencing suppliers who had given quotes for the Recreation Ground fencing to update the prices. It was suggested that in future any yearly allowance for fencing repairs should be spent up to the limit instead of rolling it over into the next financial year. The Clerk agreed to supply copies of original quotations to Cllr. Wright.

Cllr. Howard reported that a pole had appeared in St. John's Road at the bottom of the communications mast, and agreed to provide more details.

Both Cllrs. Goring and Howard highlighted the need for the hedge at Upshire House to be cut back as it obstructed sight lines, and Cllr. Goring also reported a complaint regarding the fencing to the same property which had blown over in the recent strong winds and was now overhanging Hermitage Road. The Clerk reported that she had notified the estate agents who were selling the property and also Kent Highway Services.

Cllr. Grey reported that vehicles were turning right out of the end of the slip road alongside Gads Hill instead of completing this manoeuvre via the roundabout. He also reported that a white truck had been parked on yellow lines outside the Memorial Hall and it was agreed to refer this matter to the Kent Community Warden.

Cllr. Oakeshott reported that the current rate of recycling was 23%. Planning permission had now been obtained for the container to be used for the storage of sports equipment on the Recreation Ground. A letter of thanks had been sent to Hunt Equestrian for once again arranging the visit of Father Christmas to the village. The proposal to install yellow lines to the centre of the village, which had met with such opposition, had now been dropped by the Borough Council.





a. Planning.

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

and reviewed by the Planning Committee:


Appln. No. 20060984 Mr & Mrs N.J.Sutton, Firtrees, 6, Hermitage Road.

Erection of two storey side extension on southern elevation to form living room at ground floor level with a bedroom at first floor level; erection of a porch on east elevation and a detached double garage at the side.

Appln. No. 20060985 Mr & Mrs N.J.Sutton, Firtrees, 6, Hermitage Road.

Application for Listed Building Consent for internal and external alterations in connection with the erection of a two storey side extension to form a living room at ground floor level with bedroom at first floor level; erection of a front porch on the east elevation and a detached double garage at the side.

Appln. No. 20060998 Mr & Mrs J. Woods, Hill Farm, Taylors Lane.

Erection of a replacement barn for the parking and maintenance of classic cars.

Appln. No. 20061058 Mr & Mrs G. Richardson, The Coach House, Onslow's Yard, Little Hermitage Farm, Gravesend Road.

Stationing of six caravans for residential and storage purposes for a temporary period.

Appln. No. 20061069 Mr & Mrs Hergest, The Old Court, Two Gates Hill, Town Road.

Application for Listed Building Consent for the erection of an orangery on the north side elevation.

Appln. No. 20061068 Mr & Mrs Hergest, The Old Court, Two Gates Hill, Town Road.

Erection of an orangery on the north side elevation.


c. Memorial Hall.

Cllr. Goring reported that the side curtains had now been cleaned and put up. There was a new fridge in the kitchen.


d. Multi-Purpose Games Area.

Cllr. Goring reported that a quotation for the reinstatement of the electricity was still awaited.


e. Recreation Ground.

Cllr. Goring had reported on the inspection report and installation of the fencing to the Pavilion earlier in the Meeting.


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

Cllr. Waugh reported that in the past month she had walked all the ROWs in the Parish which were just under 12 miles in total. All work requested had now been carried out. Five pairs of steps had been replaced or repaired and a new set installed by Station House. The handrails to the steps leading down from the A226 to the slip road required repair and Members agreed to pay half the cost if necessary. RUPPs had now been reclassified as “Restricted Byways” and walkers, horses and bicycles would be allowed access. There were 5 of these within the Parish and they would be waymarked in purple. Barriers would be erected to stop their use by 4 X 4s.


l. Rural Housing.

Cllr. Oakeshott reported that the site in School Lane was currently being cleared and it was expected that building works would commence at the end of January. Further land in Gore Green Road/Bull Lane was not available at present. It was understood that St. John's College had leased land to Canterbury Council for affordable housing use and further enquiries were being made at this time.


The Clerk presented the quarterly financial statement for the period 1/10/06 to 31/12/06. She asked for approval for the items shown on the agenda plus Administration Expenses of £620.05 for the period 1/10/06 to 31/12/06, this being proposed by Cllr. Howard, seconded by Cllr. James and agreed by all Members.


Clive Stanley (webmaster services 29/9/06 – 30/12/06) 108.00

L.J.Ward Construction (vandalism repairs to Pavilion) 2474.55

KCC (Barrie Howes' salary April 2006 – March 2007) 1374.54

Clerk's salary (1/10/06 – 31/12/06) 1248.00

Exps. – use of room as office (1/10/06 – 31/12/06) 227.50



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. A negative response regarding the Higham Station shuttle coach service had been received. Cllr. James indicated that he was willing to conduct a survey to demonstrate the need for such a service.

2. Members noted the forthcoming public consultation for the Countryside Access Improvement Plan.

3. Members noted the receipt of the Kent and Medway Structure Plan 2006.


To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting.

This was given as being Monday, 19th February 2007 at 7.30 p.m.


Any Other Business.

The Clerk reported that Bob Ogley would speak on “Spirit of Invicta” at the Annual Parish Assembly on 19th April 2007. His fee for the evening would be £60 inclusive of travel costs.

A decision as to whether or not to show the DVD on the Tour de France would be taken after the Meeting of Parish Council Chairmen.



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


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