Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the May 2008 Annual 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, 12th May 2008 at 7.30 p.m.


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

Councillors:-                            J.A.Grey, A.L.Howard,  M.L.James,

                                                Mrs P.O. Oakeshott (also Borough), L.M.Pearton,

                                                Mrs M.A.Scott, B.Sutherland, and S.N.Walton  

In attendance:                         5 Parishioners.                                              

Apologies for absence:           Received from Cllrs Snelling, Sweetland and Wright.

                                                P.C. Steve Cole.

                                                P.C.S.O. Darren Fielding

                                                Kent Community Warden Steve Gray.


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



       The Clerk called for nominations for the position of Chairman by secret ballot. Cllr.

        Papadopulos was elected as Chairman by a majority vote.




       The Chairman asked for nominations for the position of Vice Chairman by secret ballot.

       Cllr. Oakeshott was elected as Vice Chairman by a majority vote.


       It was proposed by Cllr.Scott, seconded by Cllr. Pearton and agreed by all Members

       that the following should be elected to Committees  (lead member in capitals where


a.    Allotment Committee.

       Cllrs HOWARD and Papadopulos (2 MEMBERS)

b.   Recreation Committee.

      Cllrs. Pearton, Walton and WRIGHT (3 MEMBERS)

c.    Planning Committee.

       It was agreed that the whole Council should perform these duties.

d.    Parish Environment Committee.

       Cllrs. Grey, Howard, Pearton, Sutherland, and Wright (6 MEMBERS – VACANCY)

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 Scott (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 Scott and Sutherland.

b.   Memorial Hall Management Committee - Cllr. Walton.

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. Howard and Wright.

f.    Multi-Purpose Sports Facility - Cllr. Walton

g.   Higham Youth Club - Cllrs. Papadopulos and Sutherland.

h.   C.P.R.E. - Cllr. Sutherland.

i.   Governing Body of Higham Primary School - Cllr. James. (Cllrs Scott, Pearton and Walton also serving on Governing Body.)

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

k.   Chalk Liaison Group - Cllrs. Pearton and Scott.

l.    Press Officer - Cllr. Scott (deputy Cllr. Wright).

m.  Rural Housing - Cllr. Oakeshott.


It was agreed that a decision as to whether or not to have a lead person for the planning committee would be deferred until all Members had been able to discuss its future administration at the next Meeting 


6.   The Clerk thanked the Chairman for her help in providing refreshments at Meetings.


      The Meeting closed at 7.45 p.m.



                                             PARISH COUNCIL MEETING.


It was proposed by Cllr.James, 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, 7th April 2008, were confirmed and signed


Matters arising from the Minutes.

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

a.   P. 870 Matters Arising. Reactive road signs. No response had been received as yet from

     Martin Wybraniec.

b.   P. 872. Commuter Bus Service. A decision on the status of the planning application for

      the land beyond the Higham Station car park was currently awaited as it could influence

      the provision of extra car parking spaces at the station.

c.   Web site report. There had been a total of 3,601 hits to the website during April and this

      had brought the rolling total for the year to 33,161


Cllr. Grey reported that the yellow lines that had been dug up had now been reinstated again (p. 871 of the Minutes refers).

Cllr. James reported that the Governors had  looked at the applications for children granted admission to the school in September (P.871 of the Minutes refers) and found everything to be in order. Cllr. Snelling was to meet with the Headteacher before feeding back views to the KCC Education Department. The Governing Body had expressed its concerns regarding the PAN number for the school being incorrectly set for the new academic year.

Cllr. James reported that he had sent an e-mail to Cllr. Snelling regarding the installation of the lorry signs to the Wainscott By Pass (p. 873 refers).


Parishioners’ Matters.

Mr Chilmaid, of Steadman Close, reported that he had observed vehicles turning around in the road outside the school. The Clerk was asked to inform P.C. Cole accordingly. He also reported that stinging nettles were encroaching over the path at the entrance to the chalk hole in School Lane.

Mr Collins, of Forge Lane, drew Members attention to the speed of traffic as it travelled down Forge Lane. He reported that Reliance Coach drivers frequently mounted the pavement whilst cutting the corner with the A226 and 32 ton tipper lorries caused properties to vibrate and sinking manhole covers to make a loud noise. Mr Collins agreed to pass the registration numbers of offending coaches and details of lorry companies involved to the Clerk so that they could be passed to Mr Wybraniec. He also asked for another dog bin to be installed to Forge Lane and Cllr. Oakeshott agreed to speak to the Borough Council.


Matters Arising from this year’s Annual Parish Assembly.

The Clerk reminded Members of matters arising from this year’s Annual Parish Assembly. Since Cllr. Oakeshott had appealed for any abuse of the double yellow lines to the top of Villa Road to be reported to her, three drivers had been fined. The current waiting list for allotments stood at 30 and it was understood that the Village Club also had Members waiting for allotments as well. Kent Police had revealed that they were considering placing a mirror on the side of the Gardeners Arms P.H., or on a lamppost at the junction, and hoped to bring a SID to the village. Cllr. Oakeshott would approach Cheryl Russell regarding the request for the installation of a ramp from Irvine Road to Gravesend Road and the Clerk would ask Kent Highways to try and upgrade the streetlamp in the vicinity of The Knowle. The side wall to Upshire House had now been rebuilt. A separate agenda item had been created to cover the PACT Meetings.


To finalise arrangements for the 2008 Higham Gardens for Pleasure Competition.

The Chairman reported that Morton Grey had asked that the competition be judged in the third week in June and she urged Members to sign up for roads to produce the short list and to notify her of the results.


To arrange dates for Parish Council Meetings in 2009.

The following dates for Meetings were agreed:-

Mondays:- 12th January,  23rd February,  6th April,  11th May (Annual Parish Council Meeting with Parish Council Meeting), 6th July,  7th September,  12th October,  9th November (Budget and Finance only) , and 30th November (Christmas Meeting with the Mayor of Gravesham).

The Annual Parish Assembly would take place on Thursday, 16th April.


The remaining dates for Meetings in 2008 were as follows:-

Mondays:- 8th September,  13th October,  10th November (Budget and Finance only) and 1st  December (Christmas Meeting with the Mayor of Gravesham)..


Councillors’ Matters.


Cllr. Snelling was unable to attend the Meeting but had nothing to add to his report given at the Annual Parish Assembly.



Cllr. Sweetland was also unable to attend the Meeting but he reported that he had arranged for the Borough Council to collect the rubbish from the recent “Clean Up Higham” day and had arranged for the Director of Operations to inspect the damage to the grass verge in School Lane opposite the station.

Cllr. Oakeshott reported that the recent St. George’s Day celebrations in Gravesend had been a great success attracting 700 schoolchildren who had made dragons, St. George and princesses. A parishioner had offered £200 towards the cost of clearing the overgrown pond at the old Sun Inn and it was hoped that Groundwork might also be interested in this project.

Two residents in Forge Lane were interested in releasing their long front gardens for the next phase of rural housing and were speaking with the Borough Council at the present time. Cllr. Oakeshott reported that any new development needed to consist of a mix of one bedroom bungalows and 2/3 bedroom houses which were currently needed within the village.



Cllr. James reported large amounts of litter which had accumulated to the top end of Crutches Lane between the underpass and Old Watling Street.

Cllr. Scott expressed concern at the lack of parking spaces for the new pharmacy recently opened in School Lane, particularly as the large paved area outside the greengrocers was unused at the present time. After discussion amongst Members it was agreed to investigate the ownership of this forecourt to see if it could provide additional parking following the provision of a hatched area to guarantee access.

Cllr. Grey enquired if it had been agreed to install the additional fencing at Jupp Court and the stumps to the verge at School Lane. Cllr. Oakeshott agreed to chase both of these items.

He reported that Hyde Housing had wanted to also replace the trees to the opposite side of School Lane which had died off but the Borough Council were not keen as they interfered with services. Cllr. Grey alerted Members that a property on the corner of Steadman Close had vehicles parked outside in such a way that it would be impossible for the emergency services to get through. The Clerk was asked to notify P.C. Cole accordingly. He reported that rubbish was being thrown over the fence from Jupp Court onto the bank and Cllr. Oakeshott agreed to investigate.

Cllr. Walton reported that commuters were now parking to Jupp Court which was not part of the CPZ.

Cllr. Sutherland reported that the Youth Offenders had now cleared the alleyway beside Meadows Stores and Mr Hariharan was now considering placing a gate across the entrance. Although it was understood that this ROW belonged to the residents either side of the path  Members noted that a “right of passage” for those Parishioners who adjoined the ROW at the end of their gardens had also to be allowed.

Cllr. Howard reported that High View had now been resurfaced and enquired when the pavement might be completed. He asked if it might be possible to remove the blue concrete filled barrel to Jubilee Corner as it was no longer needed and Cllr. Oakeshott agreed to speak to Cheryl Russell accordingly.

Cllr. Pearton reported many overgrown verges to the village. After discussion it was agreed to report Chalk Road, the triangle opposite the Chequers and Crutches Lane, on the edge of the field. He reported that children from the end property to Jupp Court were creating a path through the landscaping by running over the flower beds.



a.    Planning

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


Appln. no. 20080279   35, Taylors Lane.

Erection of a conservatory at the rear.

Appln. no. 20080274   Orchard Rising, Watling Street.

Erection of part two storey and part single storey side and rear extension to form reading/music room, shower room/wc, lobby, larder, utility room, living room and kitchen/breakfast room at ground floor level with four additional bedrooms, bathroom/wc and three ensuite shower room/wc’s at first floor level and erection of a detached triple garage at the front.

Appln.no. 20080276   Rear Garden of 15, Hollytree Drive.

Outline application for erection of a single storey dwelling with rooms in the roof space.

Appln. no. 20080354   Oakleigh Farmhouse, Buckland Road.

Demolition of existing extensions on the east elevation and erection of two storey replacement extensions to form playroom and dining room at ground floor level with bedroom, dressing room, two ensuite bathroom/wc’s, shower room/wc and store at first floor level.

Appln. no. 20080356   Old Vicarage, Church Street.

Application for Listed Building Consent for internal and external alterations in connection with the demolition of existing extension and erection of a replacement single storey rear extension to form a utility room and bathroom/wc and conversion of first floor storeroom into a wc involving provision of soil stack at the rear.

Appln. no. 20080357   Old Vicarage, Church Street.

Erection of replacement single storey rear extension to form bathroom/wc and utility room.

Appln. no. 20080351   Home Farm Cottage, School Lane.

Erection of single storey rear extension to form replacement garden room incorporating construction of new pitched roof over existing single storey rear extension and single storey rear extension to form a kitchen.

Appln. no. 20080377   32, Irvine Road.

Erection of two storey side extension to form games room, wc and lobby at ground floor level with bedroom, ensuite bathroom and dressing room at first floor level and erection of a conservatory at the rear.



e.    Recreation Ground.

       Cllr. Walton reported that he now had quotations for the replacement slide unit, safety

       surfacing under the multi-swing unit and for trimming back the conifers to the Recreation

       Ground. It was agreed that the quotation for the slide unit would be referred to the

        insurers for approval before an order was placed and the Recreation Committee would

        meet shortly to make a decision on which other quotations to proceed with.


i.    Merston Court.

      The Chairman reported that Merston Court needed 2 new hostesses at the present time.


j.    Higham Youth Club.

      Cllr. Sutherland reported that the previous week 21 young people had attended. Joanne

      had now been into school to promote the club and the new equipment had been delivered

      He appealed for more volunteers to come forward to help run the club.


k.    Chalk Liaison Group.

       It was suggested that this forum could be used to discuss the feasibility of the 2nd Thames

       Crossing  with representative from Shorne and Cliffe additionally invited.


m.   PACT.

       The Chairman reported that this item had been placed on the agenda for discussion

       although this was not a Parish Council committee. She reminded Members that although

       certain Parishioners had been invited to join this alternative forum to discuss problems in

       the village, the Parish Council had not been officially informed of its creation. It was

       understood that the next Meeting would take place in the Library in early June.




The Clerk asked for approval for the items shown on the agenda, plus additional amounts of £187.20 for Joanne Raff for Higham Youth Club, and planning application site visit expenses for Cllr. Wright £14, Cllr. Walton £4, Cllr. Grey £6 and Cllr. James £21, this being proposed by Cllr. Howard, seconded by Cllr. Pearton and agreed by all Members.


Administration Expenses (1/1/08 – 31/3/08)                                                           616.18

British Telecommuncations plc (broadband)                                                           114.78

The Mayor’s Charity Fund (proceeds of 2 concerts)                                             1500.00

C.P.R.E. (2008 subscription)                                                                                    28.00

Mrs J.M.Papadopulos (APA costs under Section 150(2) of L.G.Act 1972)             41.40

Spectra Press (2008 Newsletter – VAT zero rated)                                              1083.00                         

H.M. Revenue and Customs (Employer National Insurance Liability)                       325.55

Gravesham Borough Council (printing)                                                                    10.93

Gravesham Borough Council (printing)                                                                    16.76

M.J.Read and Co. (annual accounts and internal control)                                       329.00


To approve the Annual Return for Local Councils for the Year Ended 31st March 2008.

Copies of both the Annual Return for Local Councils in England and Wales, and accounts for the financial year ended 31st March 2008, had been circulated to Members prior to the Meeting. Both documents were approved unanimously by all Members present.

Members again noted the comments made by Nigel Wharton regarding the Council conducting a review once a year of the effectiveness of its system of internal control. It was agreed that, as last year, this should be considered by the Budget and Finance Committee when it met in early November, and the findings should be ratified by the full Parish Council Meeting at the end of November. Members noted that H.M.Revenue and Customs had been asked to set up a PAYE scheme for the Parish Council following the Clerk’s salary review.


To approve the revised Risk Assessment document.

Copies of the revised Risk Assessment document had been circulated to Members prior to the Meeting. It was agreed that this document should continue to be reviewed and updated on an annual basis, and those Members present unanimously approved its contents.



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.  A letter from Mr and Mrs Smith of Forge Lane regarding problems with lorries was to

     be passed to Mr Wybraniec of Kent Highways.


To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting.

This was given as being Monday, 7th July 2008 at 7.30 p.m.


Any Other Business.

None was brought to the notice of the Meeting.


There being no other business, the Meeting closed at 9.50 p.m.

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