Higham Parish Council
Minutes of the September 2007 Parish Council Meeting
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Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting, held at the Memorial Hall, School Lane, on Monday, 10th September 2007 at 7.30 p.m.
Present: Cllr. Mrs J.M.Papadopulos (Chairman)
County Councillor :- Cllr. M. Snelling.
Borough Councillor:- Cllr. B. Sweetland.
Councillors:- J.A.Grey, M.L.James, Mrs P. Oakeshott (also Borough), L.M. Pearton, B.Sutherland, S.N.Walton, Mrs A. Waugh and S. Wright.
In attendance: 17 Parishioners. Clive Stanley.
Apologies for absence: Cllrs Howard and Scott. Community Warden Steve Gray, P.C. Steve Cole. Martin Wybraniec (GBC).
The Chairman welcomed prizewinners of the Higham Gardens for Pleasure Competition 2007 and asked Cllr. S. Wright to present the following awards:-
FIRST PRIZE (Silver Rose Bowl Trophy, Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)
Dr. Michael Dillon, Phd, 34, Ash Crescent .
SECOND PRIZE (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)
Mr and Mrs T. Greenshields, “Courtlands”, Crutches Lane .
THIRD PRIZE (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)
Mr and Mrs F. Figg, 1, Oak Drive .
"HIGHLY COMMENDED" (Framed certificate)
Mr and Mrs Turner, 17, The Braes.
Mr and Mrs G. Simmonds, 4, Carton Road .
"BEST HANGING BASKET AND CONTAINERS" (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)
Mr and Mrs J. Leach, 32, Telegraph Hill.
"MOST COLOURFUL PUBLIC HOUSE WITHIN HIGHAM" (Framed Certificate)
The Three Crutches Public House.
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, 2nd July 2007, were confirmed and signed.
Matters arising from the Minutes.
Following an update of actions from the last Minutes, the Clerk reported that:-
a. P. 838 Parishioners' Matters. Villa Road . Mr Wybraniec hoped to attend the next Meeting of the Parish Council. Meanwhile, he had arranged for a speed survey to be carried out with rubber tubes across the road outside no. 21 Villa Road.
b. P. 840 Parish. Alex Burt had confirmed that the light unit to the bottom of Taylors Lane had had 17 repairs since 2001 and been replaced 3 times. It was not possible to move it to a higher position on the telegraph pole or to install a shorter bracket so that it did not overhang the road and get hit by the HGVs. He suggested installing a spare flood light to the pole bracket service supply box. Although this light might be brighter than that at present, Members were in agreement that this option should be investigated.
c. Web Site report. Over the past year there had been some 29,999 hits to the web site with 2685 visitors being recorded in August. The Chairman thanked Clive Stanley for his excellent coverage of the Tour de France and Garden Competition.
Cllr. Oakeshott reported that the bollards had now been installed to the junction of Norah Lane with Villa Road .
Mrs Peters, of Michele Cottages, reported problems with parked cars obstructing the path outside The Knowle. The Clerk was asked to notify the owners accordingly.
The Landlady of the Three Crutches P.H. sought the advice of the Parish Council regarding the compliance of the establishment with the new non-smoking regulations. Cllr. James agreed to speak with her regarding the sort of arrangements that had been made for smokers at other pubs within the village.
To assess the success of the Tour de France celebrations.
The Chairman reported that the turnout on the day had been excellent with everyone entering into the community spirit. Many compliments had been paid by Parishioners who said they had enjoyed getting together as a village. The photographs of the occasion had been posted on the website and the village had even featured in an article published in the Daily Mail.
To further discuss future arrangements for the running of Higham Youth Club.
The Chairman reported that the new Youth Leader for Higham Youth Club was to be Joanne Raff. The sub-committee had met twice with Graham Clewes, Chief Executive of Kent Youth, who had conducted the interview. Although the post was again to be funded by a grant from the Parish Council it was possible that the Trustees of Kent Youth would be prepared to be the employer until the new financial year when it was hoped that a specially elected executive committee from the Youth Club would have been formed. The involvement of Kent Youth would ensure that the existing committee received the necessary training and advice to get the club up and running and it was hoped that this arrangement would also mean that the club would be able to apply for various forms of direct funding. Members agreed an advance of £50 to the Youth Club for the purchase of immediate equipment needed to open the club on 12/9
Update on Planning Application for Gads Hill School .
Cllr. Oakeshott reported that an informative update on the progress of the application for the Members of the Borough Council would be provided at the Regulatory Board Meeting to be held in October. The plans submitted did not bear any relationship to those initially shown to the Parish Council and views were currently being sought from all interested parties, including English Heritage. No recommendations were, as yet, being made by the Borough Council and it seemed certain that a site meeting would be called in due course.
Provision of play equipment to Higham Recreation Ground.
The Chairman reported that following an article on the vandalism to the slide unit in Adam Holloway's newsletter, the local newspaper had also reported on the incident. The slide, offered by Mr Baylis, had been taken out of storage but, as it did not comply at present with current regulations for playground equipment, various adaptations were under consideration.
Intention of Mr Batchelor to give up his allotment plots.
Copies of a letter received from Mr Batchelor giving notice of his intention to give up his allotment plots from 1/2/08 had been circulated to Members prior to the Meeting. The contents of the letter were noted and it was agreed that the matter should be further discussed at the Budget and Finance Meeting in November when a sum of money should be set aside to convert the land back into allotment plots.
Cllr. Snelling reported that work was underway on the 2008/09 budget although it was widely expected that the results of the Government Spending Review would reveal a real cut in grant which would necessitate additional savings of up to £30 million being made even after a 5% rise in Council Tax was levied. The report on the South East Plan had made no recommendation to increase housing numbers beyond the 9300 earmarked for brown field sites. Any increase above this figure would have to be on green field/green belt sites with no infrastructure to support. The twelve District/Boroughs in Kent continued to work closely together under the Kent Commitment to realise local savings and an increase in local democracy. KCC had now joined the campaign by Gravesham Council to oppose any proposed closures of Rural Post Offices. Cllr. Snelling reported that he was part of a group meeting at KCC to devise a strategy to cope with the demand by Government that both transit and permanent traveller pitches should be provided in individual Boroughs. The Marling Cross bridge would close on 23/9 for a year as part of the ongoing A2 widening works which were ahead of schedule.
Cllr. Sweetland reported that Gravesham had just won a Bronze award in the South East In Bloom competition. The 600 troughs and hanging baskets had been watered by water from the Lefarge Cement Works which would otherwise have gone back into the Thames . Works were in hand to trim back the bushes to the Recreation Ground and a site meeting would take place in the near future. Details of possible funders for improvement works to the Recreation Ground had been investigated by Tom Munn. It would be possible to impose an alcohol exclusion zone within part of the village, once need had been proved, but this could only be enforced by the Police. Following the publication of a commissioned Financial Report, Gravesham Borough Council would need to look to efficiency savings and possible sale of reserves to help fund an alarming shortfall in its finances, and this would impact on the budget making process.
Cllr. James reported that the road narrows sign was now hidden in the hedging to Crutches Lane still owned by The Spirit Group. The Clerk agreed to alert Kent Highway Services to arrange for this to be cut back.
The Chairman reported that she had received a complaint regarding overgrown hedges to Church Street .
Cllr. Wright reported that fencing repairs to the Recreation Ground would be completed this week. It was agreed that a wasps nest under the Memorial Hall fascia boards would be reported to the Hall Committee in the first instance.
Cllr. Sutherland reported problems with a large number of burst water pipes to the village over the summer months which had left running water in a dirty state. He queried if it was fit to drink. It was agreed to make contact with Southern Water to enquire if they had plans to replace any sections of piping within the village.
Cllr. Grey reported that the yellow lines still required reinstatement so that the parking zone could be enforced and that the surface of the bridge was still breaking up. Railings had been installed to the Station Approach which now meant that cars were unable to park at this location, but were now parking to the turning circle outside the station and within the CPZ where permits had still not been checked by the Borough Council. It was agreed to ask the Community Warden Steve Gray to keep an eye on parking at the station. Cllr. Grey reported that large tree trunks had been observed leaving the station on lorries at night. Cllr. Oakeshott confirmed that she had sent the Enforcement Officer down to the site to investigate and it would appear that the site had been enlarged by some 120 spaces by the removal of vegetation and the levelling of the ground.
Cllr. Oakeshott reported that the grass verge to the bottom of School Lane had been churned up by vans parking to this location and Rob Bright needed to be asked if he could provide bollards to deter this.
Plans were available for the following planning applications which had been received
and reviewed by the Planning Committee:-
Appln. no. 20070521 41, Steadman Close.
Erection of two storey extension to form kitchen/diner with two bedrooms over and conversion of the proposed roof space into a playroom and single storey rear extension to form utility room and w.c.
Appln. no. 20070592 “Lymehurst”, Gravesend Road ,
Erection of two storey rear extension to form an enlarged kitchen/dining room at ground floor level with enlarged bedroom and ensuite shower room/wc at first floor level: construction of dormer window in rear roof slope and conversion of roof space into a bedroom with ensuite shower room/wc and erection of a front porch.
Appln. no. 20070610 Sir John Falstaff, Gravesend Road .
Application for Listed Building Consent for the erection of two timber pergolas at side and rear; erection of 2.3 metre high metal railings on existing retaining wall at rear; formation of new steps from car park with balustrade; timber decking at side with low level picket fence to perimeter and repositioning of existing cellar cooling compressor with timber housing to rear elevation.
Appln. no. 20070611 Sir John Falstaff, Gravesend Road .
Erection of two timber pergolas at side and rear; erection of 2.3 metre high metal railings on existing retaining wall at the rear; formation of new steps from car park with balustrade; timber decking at side with low level picket fence to perimeter and repositioning of existing cellar cooling compressor with timber housing to rear elevation.
Appln. no. 20070491 23, Dombey Close.
Application for variation of condition 5 of planning permission reference number 20060740 (for erection of a two storey rear extension) to allow the window in the south flank wall to be clear and openable.
Appln. no. 20070633 16, High View.
Erection of single storey rear extension to form a dining room and enlarged living room.
Appln. no. 20070655 “Little Orchard”, Gravesend Road .
Construction of a new pitched roof to replace existing flat roof on detached snooker room in garden.
Appln. no. 20070664 The Railway Tavern, Chequers Street .
Demolition of old bakery to provide a beer garden incorporating a smoking shelter.
Appln. no. 20070702 “Higham Hall”, Taylors Lane .
Application for Listed Building consent for the erection of a detached double garage with workshop at the rear and hobby/games room in the roof space and erection of metal railings at both sides of existing entrance gates.
Appln. no. 20070710 Sir John Falstaff, Gravesend Road .
Display of one free standing externally illuminated double sided sign with pictorial motif and planters; externally illuminated fascia sign above entrance door; two amenity/menu boards one with either side of entrance; four copper lanterns at ground floor level; four high level floodlights and signwriting all on front elevation; one externally illuminated name sign at high level on side elevation; one non-illuminated board at ground floor level on side elevation and one free standing single sided entrance sign.
Appln. no. 20070726 “Fir Trees”, 6, Hermitage Road .
Erection of a single storey rear extension to form kitchen, dining room and entrance lobby and alterations to existing dwelling.
Appln. no. 20070746 Sir John Falstaff, Gravesend Road .
Application for Listed Building consent for the display of one free standing externally illuminated double sided sign with pictorial motif and planters; and for the attachment of externally illuminated fascia sign above entrance door; two amenity/menu boards one with either side of entrance; four copper lanterns at ground floor level; four high level floodlights and signwriting all on front elevation; one externally illuminated name sign at high level on side elevation; one non-illuminated board at ground floor level on side elevation and one free standing single sided entrance sign.
Appln. no. 20070744 Land adj. To Braybrooke Manor, Old Watling Street .
Erection of a detached two storey, four bedroom dwelling.
Appln. No. 20070757 “The Orchards”, Gore Green Road .
Erection of single storey front extension to form porch/wc and cupboard.
Appln. no. 20070748 41, Steadman Close.
Erection of two storey side extension to form kitchen/diner with two bedrooms over and single storey rear extension to form utility room and w.c.
Appln.no. 20070776 Braybrooke Manor, Old Watling Street .
Demolition of single storey eastern side extension; erection of part two storey and part first floor extension on western side and first floor rear extension to form enlarged lounge at ground floor level with bathroom, ensuite shower room/wc and bathroom/wc at first floor level.
The Clerk reported that Cynthia Barnes was currently trying to arrange a Local Area Committee Meeting.
d. Multi-Purpose Games Area.
Cllr. Walton reported that final agreement to the restoration of the lighting would be given at the next Meeting. The facility would then be available to be used by the Youth Club and a system for the keys would need to be devised.
Cllr. Waugh reported a badly overgrown path to Canal Road which had been reported to the Rights of Way Officer.
i. Merston Court .
The Chairman reported that two new cooks, a driver and a hostess had been recruited.
j. Higham Youth Club.
Cllr. Sutherland reported that one child from Higham school had e-mailed asking to join the club. Kay Pinder would shortly be taking over as treasurer.
l. Rural Housing.
Plans submitted by Moat Housing had been available for inspection by Members during the refreshment break. Cllr. Oakeshott reported that this was a preliminary planning exercise only, relating to a site at the Chequers Public House, part of which was within the village envelope and the rest was green belt land. The proposal was for a total of 24 dwellings, which would fulfill the remainder of the “need” within the village identified in the last Rural Housing survey. The site would consist of 3 bedroom town houses, and a mixture of 1 and 2 bedroom apartments. Following discussion amongst Members it was felt that the town house style of the buildings was totally unsuitable and would change the character of this rural area, and the suitability of building flats at this location was questioned. Concern was expressed that the development would result in extra vehicles emerging onto Canal Road and that extra parking would take place on the dangerous bend to the road. It was felt that too many dwellings had been included on the site and a reduction of two would allow more car parking space. Members also wished to see the number of 3 bedroom dwellings decreased in favour of 2 bedroom, for which they understood there was more demand. Cllr.Oakeshott agreed to report these views to the Borough Council housing department. She also reported that the feasibility of another site for sheltered housing within the village was under consideration at the present time.
The Clerk asked for approval for the items shown on the agenda plus the sum of £826.80 for administration expenses for the period 1/4/07 to 30/6/07, this being proposed by Cllr. Oakeshott, seconded by Cllr. James and agreed by all Members.
B.T. (broadband) 108.68
Higham with Merston PCC (S. 137/139 grant for use of tables for Tour de France) 35.00
Mrs L. Carnall (cash advance to Higham Youth Club – equipment) 50.00
Audit Commission (audit fees 2007) 334.88
Clerk's salary (1/4/07 – 30/6/07 – new rate – net amount) 1477.31
Clerk's salary (1/4/07 – 30/6/07 – new rate – tax element) 416.68
Zurich Insurance Company (renewal premium – Pavilion) 853.22
Kent County Council (underpayment on Barrie Howes' salary) 50.36
H & P Conservationworks (ROW works) 117.50
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. Members noted the conclusion of the 2007 audit.
2. Members noted the Appeal decision which gave temporary permission for a period of 4 years for the Chalk Road site, and the representations made regarding the hearing.
To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting.
This was given as being Monday, 8th October 2007 at 7.30 p.m.
Any Other Business.
The Clerk reported that Father James had kindly returned the cheque for the hire of the Church Hall and had waived any future charges. Members expressed their gratitude.
There being no other business, the Meeting closed at 10.03 p.m.
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