Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the September 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, 8th September 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:                         Morton Grey

                                               14 Parishioners                                               

Apologies for absence:                   Cllr. Scott

                                                P.C. Steve Cole.

                                                PCSO Darren Fielding

                                                Kent Community Warden Steve Gray


Prior to the commencement of the Meeting awards were presented to the following prizewinners of the Higham Gardens for Pleasure Competition 2008.


FIRST PRIZE (Silver Rose Bowl Trophy, Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)

Mr and Mrs R. Walter, “Goldmohr”, Elm Close, Telegraph Hill.


SECOND PRIZE (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)

Mrs G. Stowers, 42, St. John’s Road.


THIRD PRIZE (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)

Ann Bigwood, 72, Forge Lane.


"HIGHLY COMMENDED" (Framed certificate)

Shelley Ford and Andrew Ramsell, 45, Bull Lane.

Mr and Mrs J. Thornton, 26, Chilton Drive.

Mr and Mrs T. Greenshields, “Courtlands”, Crutches Lane.


"BEST HANGING BASKET AND CONTAINERS" (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)

Mr and Mrs J. Leach, 32, Telegraph Hill.



The Gardeners Arms Public House, Forge Lane.


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 July 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. 882 Photos of the youth scheme reparation work within the village had appeared on the website.

b.    P. 882 A reply sent to Mr Wybraniec outlining the need to install a speed indicator device within the village had not as yet received a response.

c.    P. 883 Matters Arising. The new slide and associated safety surfacing, and new safety surfacing underneath the multi-swing unit had now been installed.

d.    P. 884 Recreation Ground. The leylandii hedge had now been trimmed back.

e.    P. 885 Parish. Rounders to Recreation Ground. The pitch was being used for football training on that evening as a “one off” as it usually took place at a weekend. The football club had indicated that it would always move off the pitch if asked.

f.    Web Site report. Clive Stanley reported that for the month of August the number of hits to the website was 2650 and since the move to the new Internet Service Provider in June the rolling figure was 8524.


Following a suggestion from Clive Stanley, in response to a question from Mr Taylor, it was agreed that in future the Minutes would be displayed on the website in advance of the meeting as a draft copy. Copies of Meeting papers would be available on the seats for the Members of the Public.


Parishioners Matters.

Mr Taylor, of Martins Close, reported that residents in Higham had not been sent leaflets, available in Gravesend, regarding the layout of the new refuse tip at Springhead. Cllr. James observed that these were available at the Millbrook Garden Centre and Cllr. Snelling agreed for a copy to be sent to the Clerk. (ACTION M.S)  Mr Taylor also reported that overgrown vegetation was obscuring the sight lines at the end of Martins Close (ACTION LC) and enquired regarding the status of the petition for the extension of the CPZ recently submitted by local residents. Cllr. Oakeshott reported that the Enforcement Officer had visited the area  but felt that the problems of parking there did not warrant yellow lines. Polite “no parking” notices placed on vehicles seemed to be improving the situation. The Clerk reported that the Borough Council was in the process of recruiting additional wardens who would be able to monitor parking activity in the vicinity of Higham Station.

Mr Collins, of Forge Lane, asked if it might be possible to install “please drive carefully through our village”/ “thank you for driving carefully” signs at the entrance / exit points of the village. He reported that Members of a local Subaru owners club had been observed driving in an inconsiderate manner in the village and the Clerk was asked to make contact with them and ask them to drive more responsibly in future (ACTION L.C.) He also reported that the road sign at the Gardeners Arms junction had been turned round (ACTION L.C). Cllr. Oakeshott reported that double yellow lines had been painted around the Gardeners Arms junction by mistake instead of being renewed at the top end of Villa Road as requested. As they were not legal they would be removed unless the Parish Council provided evidence that they were needed. Members agreed to refer the provision of these road signs to the forthcoming JTB Meeting and to also consider them at the budget and finance meeting in November. It was agreed that a request would be made for the road outside the Gardeners Arms to be narrowed which would also help to deter drivers from turning right at the end of Villa Road (ACTION L.C.)

Mr Hariharan, of Meadows Stores, thanked Members of the Parish Council and Cllr. Snelling for their help in the provision of the parking bay outside his shop.

On behalf of Mrs Gladwell, of Norah Lane, the Clerk reported problems with a dead chestnut tree to the bank opposite her home. The area in question did not appear to be highways land, but Members suggested that the deeds of the property behind the tree should be checked.


Future administration of the Planning Committee.

The Clerk had circulated copies of a report outlining proposed changes to the administration of the Planning Committee, to all Members prior to the Meeting. After discussion it was agreed to adopt the proposals for a trial period of 6 months. Members noted that there were to be 3 planning zones to the village (Lower Higham, Mid Higham and Three Crutches) with one Councillor being responsible for each of these. Contentious planning applications would be dealt with by more than one Member and Cllr. Oakeshott would recommend if these needed to be referred to the Regulatory Board. The planning tracking sheet and decisions would be available with the correspondence folder on the evening of the Parish Council Meeting. The Clerk would arrange for a planning officer to meet with all Parish Councillors at a later date to outline the factors which should affect the Parish Council’s views.     (ACTION L.C)


Councillors Matters.


Cllr. Snelling reported that a review was currently underway as to the effectiveness of the Kent Highways Department. Finances were to be redirected into repairing roads ahead of  new schemes of work.  Mr Wybraniec would shortly be leaving to take up a new post elsewhere. The new Neighbourhood Forum with representation from County and Borough Councils as well as the Parishes had now been convened, and Participatory Budgeting, whereby each locality would ask its population what they wished funds to be spent on, was being considered. Cllr. Snelling reported that Kent and Essex County Councils were currently preparing a joint report on the feasibility of a Lower Thames Crossing. This was in addition to the one being prepared by the Government and the results were expected in November.



Cllr. Sweetland reported that plans had now been submitted by Edinburgh House and a decision by the Regulatory Board was expected by November. The Borough Council had won a silver award for its floral displays in the town, having won bronze the previous year.

A new events programme for Saturdays at the Woodville Halls was shortly to be launched with a visit from Des O’Connor. A planning application for a traveller site on land behind the new police station at Brookvale was expected to be submitted shortly. A shortfall of £150,000 had meant that a government initiative to offer free swimming for the under 16’s and over 60’s would be unable to proceed at present.



Cllr. James reported that yellow piping had been left to the land adjacent to Great Crabbles Wood in Crutches Lane which it was believed was now owned by the County Council. Continued parking of vehicles to the end of Colewood Drive now necessitated an application for double yellow lines at this location. (ACTION L.C)

Cllr. Pearton had received a complaint that contractors lorries for the IOG to Shorne pipeline works were travelling down Canal Road to the tea stall and causing the rendering to come off a property in the road.

Cllr. Sutherland reported that the footway repairs to St. John’s Road and Close were now completed. He reported three potholes to Hermitage Road in the vicinity of the post office.

Cllr. Grey reported continuing problems with reduced sight lines to the end of Steadman Close caused by parked traffic (ACTIONS L.C) and a dead tree on the Jupp Court side of the road close to the junction. He reiterated the need for the CPZ period to be extended to help with the policing and Cllr. Oakeshott confirmed that this matter was in hand.

Cllr. Oakeshott reported that the Borough Council was not replacing any dead trees at the present time due to the high cost of maintenance. An appeal against the refusal of planning permission had been lodged by the Chequers Inn. This would take the form of a written appeal with the closing date for representations being 7/10.(ACTION L.C) A potential site for rural housing at the junction of Gore Green Road and Bull Lane was still under consideration. The “private parking” sign to Jupp Court had now been installed. The Enforcement Officer had decided that the caravan to the rear garden of a property to Steadman Close was a temporary mobile and did not contravene planning law.

On behalf of Cllr Scott, the Clerk reported her concerns regarding the speed of traffic through the village and the possibility of organizing a petition to press for a one way system. Cllr. Oakeshott reminded Members that Kent Highways and the Police were against this proposal as they believed that the parked traffic provided a natural traffic calming effect.



a.    Planning.

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

       and reviewed by the Planning Committee:-

Appln. no. 20080606   59, Bull Lane.

Erection of single storey side extension to form an enlarged dining room and shower room/wc.

Appln. no. 20080402   19, Charles Dickens Avenue.

Erection of first floor extension within existing balcony area to form an enlarged bathroom and enlarged bedroom.

Appln. no. 20080628   80, Forge Lane.

Conversion of rear part of garage into a dining room.

Appln. no. 20080650   2, Villa Road.

Erection of single storey front extension to form enlarged living room, entrance hall and utility room.

Appln. no. 20080655   Syringa, Gravesend Road.

Erection of a conservatory at the side and erection of a detached single garage at the rear.

Appln. no. 20080666   Plots 1-4 School Lane

Installation of a total of four satellite dishes on the roofs of the new dwellings.

Appln. no. 20080693   7, Ash Crescent.

Erection of replacement single storey rear extension to form kitchen, wc and utility room.


d.    Multi-Purpose Games Area.

       Cllr. Walton reported that the electrician had taken the box for the floodlights.


e.    Recreation Ground.

       It was agreed that Cllrs Walton and Mendzil would assess the feasibility of installing

       basketball stands to the Recreation Ground.


h.    Governors of Higham School.

       Cllr. James reported that the Headteacher of the school had resigned her post. Another

       Acting Headteacher, Rosemary Wyles, had been brought in from this term to run the

       school until a replacement was appointed. Evidence from a Parishioner, whose child did

       not secure a place at the school, had now been forwarded to the admissions department

       for investigation. It was understood that the admission problems experienced this year

       were a “one off” and were most unlikely to ever be repeated.


i.    Merston Court.

      The Chairman reported that the luncheon club had started back last week but was always

      looking for extra help.


j.    Higham Youth Club.

      Cllr. Sutherland reported that Joanne was busy applying for funding for equipment and

      future projects. The behaviour of the club members had now improved and numbers were

      averaging over 30 each week. The Chairman thanked Mr Collins who had offered his

      help at the Club this week to cover for absent helpers.


l.    Rural Housing.

      Cllr. Oakeshott reported that the Borough Council was looking at another potential

      site along Church Street but this would only be considered for part rent/part buy

      properties for young couples with no children like those who had applied for and been

      unsuccessful at Jupp Court.


m.   PACT.

      Mr Leakey, of Chilton Drive, reported that the PACT Committee was waiting to hear

      from Mr Wybraniec regarding a date he could attend a meeting.



The Clerk asked for approval for the items shown on the agenda, this being proposed by Cllr. James, seconded by Cllr. Howard and agreed by all Members:-


B.T. Payment Services Ltd. (broadband)                                                                       115.01

K.T.C. Office Supplies (stationery)                                                                                 44.04

Joanne Raff (Youth Work Provider agreement – 27 hours)                                             210.60

Zurich Insurance Company (renewal premium for Pavilion)                                            893.97

Cobham Tree Surgery (topping of leylandii hedge to R.G.)                                            325.00

Abacus Playgrouns Ltd. (safety surfacing underneath the multi-swing unit)                    5328.63

Record RSS Ltd. (replacement slide unit and safety surfacing)                                     5623.47

Joanne Raff (Youth Work Provider Agreement – 6 hours)                                              46.80

Southern Water (allotments)                                                                                          106.53



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 gave approval for Richard Hart, the Rural Housing Enabler, to visit the next Meeting to talk about updating the Housing Needs Survey within the Parish.


To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting.

Following discussion amongst Members it was agreed to move the date of the next Meting by one week. This would now take place on Monday, 20th October 2008.


Any Other Business

Cllr. Grey reported that the Gardeners Arms P.H. had now removed the two seats it had provided at the front of the building.

Members expressed concern at the lack of police presence at the Meeting,  particularly P.C.Cole who, it was noted,  had not been able to attend a Parish Council Meeting for many months.



There being no other business, the Meeting closed at 10.05 p.m.


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