Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the October 2008 Parish Council Meeting
[Draft Minutes - to be confirmed at next Meeting]

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Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting, held at the Memorial Hall, School Lane, on Monday, 20th October 2008 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, A.L.Howard, M.L.James, Mrs A. Mendzil, Mrs P. Oakeshott (also Borough), L.M. Pearton, B.Sutherland, S.N.Walton and S. Wright.
In attendance: Kent Community Warden, Steve Gray
Tom Hawkwood
P.C. Alex McNeil
PCSO Darren Fielding
18 Parishioners
Apologies for absence: Cllr. Scott

The Chairman introduced Richard Hall, Rural Housing Enabler with Action with Communities in Rural Kent, to discuss with Members the possibility of updating the Housing Needs Survey within the Parish.
Mr Hall produced copies of a draft update of housing need in Higham form which it was proposed would be sent to every home within the Parish as the last survey had been completed in 2004/2005. Members expressed concern that the agreed criteria for eligibility appeared not to have been adhered to with regard to applications for Jupp Court and that the mix of accommodation available at this site was wrong. It was noted that the Parish Council was struggling to find suitable land to meet the needs of the previous survey and the value of updating these figures was questioned. Richard Hall drew Members’ attention to the fact that
planners might not be able to support future applications for Rural Housing within the Parish if they considered the Housing Needs Survey to be out of date. He agreed to look at the situation again and make contact at a future date.

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, 8th September 2008, were confirmed and signed, following an amendment to P. 891 (Governors) where the spelling of the Headteacher’s surname was altered to Wiles and P. 892 (Rural Housing) where the location was altered to Bull Lane.

Matters arising from the Minutes.
Including an update of actions from the last Minutes, the Clerk reported that:-
a. P. 889 Parishioners’ Matters. A copy of the layout of the Pepperhill Refuse collection site had now been sent to Mr Taylor.
b. P. 889 Parishioners’ Matters. Overgrown vegetation to end of Martins Close. The Highways Inspector had trimmed this back on the day of the Liaison Meeting.
c. P. 889 Parishioners’ Matters. Additional wardens. It was understood that there are now two new wardens controlling the CPZ.
d. P. 889 Parishioners’ Matters. Subaru Club. Details were still awaited from Mr Collins so that the Members could be contacted.
e. P.889 Parishioners’ Matters. Gardeners Arms junction sign. This had been turned back to its correct position by the Highways Inspector.
f. P.889 Parishioners’ Matters. The proposal to narrow the road outside the Gardeners Arms was raised at the Highways Liaison Meeting.
g. P. 889 Parishioners’ Matters. A request for road signs to be installed at the entrance to the village was made at the Highways Liaison Meeting and by Cllr. Snelling.
h. P. 889 Parishioners’ Matters. Tree to Norah Lane. This matter had now been referred to the Conservation Officer to place a possible TPO on the remaining trees.
i. P. 889. Repainting of double yellow lines to top of Villa Road. This work had now been put in hand.
j. P. 890 Parish. Liaison was taking place with KCC to establish the ownership of the land at Crutches Lane adjacent to Great Crabbles Wood.
k. P. 890 Parish. The possibility of installing double yellow lines to Old Watling Street was raised at the Highways Liaison Meeting.
l. P. 890 Parish. Potholes to Hermitage Road. It was noted that these had now been repaired.
m. P. 890 Parish. Chequers Inn appeal. Written representations had now been submitted by the Parish Council.
n. Web site report. For the month of September the number of hits to the website was 2401 and since the move to the new internet service provider in June the rolling figure was

Parishioners’ Matters.
Ruth Carter, of Villa Road, reported that residents cars parked to the top end of Villa Road, near to the traffic lights, had been egged, the paintwork scratched and wing mirrors to the pavement side torn off. Drivers had also suffered verbal abuse. P.C. McNeil agreed to speak to the residents concerned to obtain further details.
Dennis Rozier, of Chilton Drive, complained that cars not belonging to local residents were now regularly being parked to the entrance of the road. The street light to the top of the road was also not lit,
Pat Pritchard, of Chilton Drive, reported that vehicles continued to park to the double yellow lines to Villa Road without penalty.
Mr Taylor, of Martins Close, reported that the name plate for Gore Green Road was broken at the junction with the Lower Rochester Road. He suggested that bollards should be installed to the pavement to the bottom of the road to deter commuter parking.
Mr Broome, of Hermitage Road, requested a “caution – concealed entrance” sign to be placed alongside Upshire House and reported that cars regularly parked outside Fir Trees where the road was at its narrowest.
Kent Community Warden Steve Gray reported that the walking bus was now so successful that it had won an award, and a new route was to start up after half term on a Tuesday and Thursday from Lake Drive. It was also hoped to extend the original route up to Brice Road and he appealed for additional volunteers to support the scheme. He reported that numbers attending the Youth Club were now in the region of 30 per week and there had been a visit from Vigo Parish to see the club in action and another from Cuxton was expected. The Community Day at the start of August was a great success as was the Play in the Park activity scheme organized by the Borough Council. Steve Gray reported that he would be on duty over Halloween and on bonfire night. The last Community Warden Surgery had been poorly attended in spite of being held during the day. He offered to place copies of an official letter regarding obstruction of the pavement by vehicles if Parishioners informed him of the whereabouts of offending vehicles.

To receive a report on the Kent Highways Liaison Meeting held on 7th October 2008.
The Clerk reported on agenda items raised at the recent Kent Highways Liaison Meeting, copies of which had been circulated to Members prior to the Meeting. Members noted that the hedge to the Three Crutches car park still required trimming back.

To discuss the provision of Christmas Lighting to the village.
The Clerk reported that Alex Burt no longer worked for Kent Highways. It was agreed that she should obtain quotations for two new sites for Christmas lighting within the Parish for discussion at the forthcoming Budget and Finance Meeting. Local shopkeepers would also be asked if they could provide suitable window displays. It was noted that sadly Father Christmas would not be visiting his grotto at Buckland Farm this year.

Councillors’ Matters.

Cllr. Snelling reported that the County Council had deposited £50 million with the three failed Icelandic banks. An immediate review was underway but it was not expected that this would cause cash flow problems. Good feedback had been received following the opening of the new Pepperhill Waste Depot offering some 72% recycling. This was operated by an external waste company although it was owned by the County Council. Public Exhibitions for the £8 million A2 Activity Park would open the following week and it was expected that Marling Cross would reopen by the end of November ahead of schedule. The new Neighbourhood Forums would start in early December.

Cllr. Sweetland reported that the Borough Council had designated part of Lower Higham as a Conservation Area which would help with planning issues. The Borough Council had decided to undertake an additional consultation regarding the Heritage Quarter £150 million redevelopment. This followed the instigation of a petition against the planned tower which would house some 223 apartments. The Council was legally bound to complete the scheme.
Cllr. Oakeshott reported that it was hoped that the street name sign to the grass triangle in Lower Higham opposite The Chequers P.H. would be able to be moved to allow for some planting to take place around the tree. Fencing works around the land owned by Mr Rowe at Jupp Court were now complete and top soil and grass seed had been laid to the verges affected ahead of the installation of the low wooden stumps to deter parking. The alleyway alongside Meadows Stores was overgrown again and it was hoped that it would be able to be cleared and weed killer used this time. Cllr. Oakeshott enquired if Members knew who owned the land to Norah Lane where tree preservation orders were being sought on the trees, and also the ownership of the pond to Lower Higham so that permission could be sought for its clearance.

Cllr. Grey reported continuing parking problems to School Lane where vehicles were returning to park on yellow lines obscuring the sight lines at Jupp Court. It was agreed to ask Paul Gibbons to attend a future Meeting of the Parish Council to discuss the policing of the CPZ.
Cllr. Walton asked if the alcoholic exclusion zone could be extended to Higham but questioned how it might be policed.
Cllr. Sutherland reported the need for a litter bin between the Memorial Hall and Recreation Ground and Cllr. Oakeshott agreed to speak to the Borough Council.
Cllr. Pearton reported that the street lighting from the Station Approach to Steadman Close was being obscured by overhanging vegetation.
Cllr. James reported that trees opposite The Knowle also needed trimming back to help the lighting levels.


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

Appln. no. 20080632 Bly Spartans F.C., Watling Street.
Erection of a 2.4 metre high palisade fence around part of the perimeter of the football ground.
Appln. no. 20080858 Oakleigh Farm, Buckland Road.
Continued use of the land for a parking area for a caravan, motor home and horse boxes for a temporary period.
Appln. no. 20080859 Oakleigh Farm, Buckland Road.
Retention of the replacement building providing four stables with ancillary temporary storage and mobile tearoom.
Appln. no. 20080857 Annandale, Watling Street.
Erection of two storey side and rear extension to form enlarged kitchen, study, enlarged bedroom and shower room/wc at ground floor level with three bedrooms, bathroom/wc and ensuite shower room/wc at first floor level and conversion of existing attached garage into an enlarged living room.
Appln. no. 20080871 2, Villa Road.
Erection of single storey front extension to form enlarged living room, utility room and entrance hall.
Appln. no. 20080839 Higham Hall, Taylors Lane.
Change of use of agricultural land to residential curtilage and erection of a detached triple garage with games room in roof space on that land and relocation of tractor/cycle store and log store beside it.

It was agreed that Cllr. Mendzil would be responsible for monitoring any planning applications for the Telegraph Hill area.

c. Memorial Hall.
Cllr. Walton reported that all Committee Members were relected at the recent AGM.

d. Multi-Purpose Games Area.
Cllr. Walton reported that the electrician would shortly be installing the meter box.

e. Recreation Ground.
Cllr. Walton reported that quotations for the provision of a basketball post had indicated that the cost could be as high as £5000. A spare part needed to be ordered for the small
slide unit and he would arrange to meet the GBC playground inspector on site to discuss the new safety surfacing around the slide unit.

h. Governors of Higham School.
Cllr. James reported that the school had been graded as satisfactory, with some good points, following the recent Ofsted inspection. An advertisement would shortly be placed
in the Times Educational Supplement inviting applications for the position of Headteacher at the school. Interviews were scheduled for early January and it was hoped
that the new post holder might commence in April.

j. Higham Youth Club.
Cllr. Sutherland reported that the Club continued to attract large numbers of youngsters and was considering opening for a second night for the older Members. Extra volunteers
were still needed. A recent incident involving a group of youngsters from outside the village had necessitated the Police being called.

The Clerk presented the quarterly financial statement for the period 1/7/08 until 30/9/08. She asked for approval for the items listed on the agenda, this being proposed by Cllr. Oakeshott, seconded by Cllr. James and agreed by all Members.

Joanne Raff (Youth Work Provider Agreement – 24 hours) 187.20
Clive Stanley (webmaster services 26/6 to 30/9)) 168.00
B.T. Payment Services Ltd. (broadband) 114.82
St. John’s College Cambridge (½ year rent for R.G. by S.O.) 125.00
Clerk’s salary (net amount 1/7/08 – 30/9/08) 1573.35
Use of room as office (1/7/08 – 30/9/08) 227.50
H.M.Revenue and Customs (Clerk’s PAYE/NI (Employer/Employee)) 580.50

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 that the parking spaces outside the greengrocers in the parade of shops belonged to Upshire Studio. Parking would be allowed provided the spaces were not
needed by the tenants of the units.
2. Members noted details of a Public Meeting to be held on 23/10 regarding the Designation of Lower Higham as a Conservation Area.
3. Members agreed to provide a raffle prize for the Higham Primary School Christmas Fayre on 6/12.
4. The Chairman agreed to complete the tracker survey for Kent Highways.
5. Cllrs. Grey and Howard agreed to act as additional representatives to serve on the Neighbourhood Forum.

To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting.
This was given as being Monday 10th November at 7.30 p.m. for Budget and Finance and Monday, 1st December at 7.30 p.m. for the Christmas Meeting with the Mayor of Gravesham in attendance.

Any Other Business.
Peter Leakey reported that the next PACT Meeting would be held on 8/12 at 7.30 p.m. in Higham Library. Paul Gibbons from GBC would be in attendance.

There being no other business, the Meeting closed at 10.20 p.m.


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