Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the September 2009 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, 14th September 2009 at 7.30 p.m.


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

                                               Kent County Councillor: Cllr. M. Snelling.

                                               Borough Councillor:  Cllr. B. Sweetland.

                                               Councillors:  M.L.James, Mrs P. Oakeshott (also Borough)

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


In attendance:                          PC Steve Cole

                                               Kent Community Warden Steve Gray.

                                               Morton Grey

                                               17 Parishioners.

Apologies for absence:             Received from Cllrs. Grey, Howard and Mendzil.


Prior to the commencement of the Meeting awards were presented to prize-winners of the Higham Gardens for Pleasure Competition 2009, by Cllr. Stuart Wright, whose Mother had instigated the competition some 25 years ago.



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

Anne and Rob Miles, 13, Highwood Close.



SECOND PRIZE (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)

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



THIRD PRIZE (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)

Mrs G. Stowers, 42, St. John’s Road.



"HIGHLY COMMENDED" (Framed certificate)

Shelley Ford and Andrew Ramsell, 45, Bull Lane.

Mr and Mrs F. Figg, 1, Oak Drive.




                                  and framed certificate)

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

(An additional presentation of an engraved glass bowl  was also made to Mr and Mrs Leach in recognition of their continued success in the competition).


The display at Higham Library was also commended.



The Gardeners Arms Public House, Forge Lane.





The Chairman introduced Mr Richard Fulker, Project Manager for the new school build at Gads Hill School, to give an insight into the planned programme of building works on site.


Mr Fulker revealed that the construction works would take place in four stages:-

1.   Improvement to the highway, new access to the site, access road and car park. It was

      anticipated that these works would commence early in February 2010 and take 12 weeks

      to complete.

2.   Construction of the Junior School – probably commencing May/June 2010 and taking one

      year to complete.

3.   Construction of the Senior School – probably commencing September 2011, once the

      School had moved into the new Junior School building, and taking one year to complete.

4.   Following the remainder of the school moving into the new Senior School building during

      the Summer holidays in 2012, work would start on the visitor centre within the house

      itself and it was anticipated that these works would be completed by February 2013.

Mr Fulker stated that attention would be paid to minimising nuisance from deliveries, noise

and dust and that local residents would be kept informed at all times. Councillors and Parishioners expressed concerns about congestion in Crutches Lane, dangers for children crossing the A226 and insufficient space on site for contractors’ vehicles. Mr Fulker undertook to re-examine these concerns.


The Chairman thanked Mr Fulker for attending the Meeting and he left. 


The Chairman accepted apologies for absence.

There were no alterations to the Register of Members Interests.

There were no inspection reports for Parish property and amenities.


The Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held on Monday, 6th July 2009, were confirmed and signed. 


Matters arising from the Minutes.

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

a.    P. 927  Matters Arising. Clearance of allotment plots. It had been decided to defer this

       until after the end of the growing season.

b.    P. 928  Parishioners’ Matters. The Scarecrow Competition had been judged the previous

       day. Fiona Spirals would give a report at the October Meeting and photos would appear

       on the website.

c.    P.929 Borough. It had not been possible to apply for a Community Chest Grant as the

       Parish Council did not meet all the criteria.

d.    All Highways related items had been notified in the usual way.

e.    The GBC Summer Activity Playscheme had visited the village during the summer and

       had been a great success.


Parishioners’ Matters.

Clive Stanley, of Oak Drive, drew Members’ attention to the poor state of the village noticeboards which were detracting from the image of the village. The Chairman confirmed that Mr Collins and Cllr. Sutherland had kindly agreed to carry out the necessary refurbishment over the next couple of months.

Mr Collins, of Forge Lane, highlighted the neglected state of the alleyway next to Meadows Stores. Steve Gray reminded those present that this had already been cleared by the Youth Offenders Team, but they had been unable to put down weed killer and the upkeep had not been maintained by local residents. It was agreed to ask the Borough Council to take this matter in hand.

Anne Carroll, of Highwood Close, reported that the tarmac surface to the road had disappeared in several places exposing the concrete underneath. She also alerted Members to recent incidences of lorries being sent down Walmers Avenue and Norah Lane by Satellite Navigation Devices which necessitated residents having to move cars to allow access.

Peter Leakey, of Chilton Drive, reported that rubbish to Norah Lane was now collected in a wire sided wagon. Cllr. Oakeshott confirmed that it was difficult to get the waste collection vehicle down the road but that the rubbish was still being recycled. Mr Leakey also drew attention to the problem of foxes attacking the bin bags in the village and knocking over dustbins. It was suggested that several bricks be placed in the bottom of the dustbin to weigh it down.

Mr Chilmaid, of Steadman Close, reported that the road signs for the now completed IOG to Shorne pipeline works had been thrown into the hedge on the left hand side of Church Street and another sign remained on a post to the top of Forge Lane.

Cllr. Oakeshott reported a complaint from a Parishioner regarding an untaxed black car being parked in the Gardeners car park, which restricted others from using it. Cllr. Walton agreed to ask the publican to arrange for its removal and for the Library to ensure that this happened.                              

PC Steve Cole advised those present that a recent outbreak of burglaries to the village was now under control.


Notes of Informal Meeting held on 20th July 2009.

Copies of the notes of an informal meeting held on 20th July 2009 had been circulated to Members prior to the Meeting. The Chairman had secured an alternative venue of the Vestry Hall at St. Johns for the DCPS to meet every alternate Monday, in place of the Small Memorial Hall which had been offered without consultation with the Youth Club. Members

had not wanted the range of activities on the 14+ Monday evening Youth Club restricted in any way. The Clerk was asked to write to DCPS encouraging them to take up the new arrangement. Members agreed the proposed date of 2nd July 2010 for the Friday Night at the Proms following the success of this year’s event. The Chairman reported that she had been advised that it was too early to make an enquiry regarding Christmas trees for the village.

It was understood that PACT would try to draw up a list of vulnerable people within the village to be used in the case of an emergency, and  would also try to recruit a team of 25 volunteers to be trained to use the SID equipment. The Clerk reported that Rebecca Blackburn had now left the KCC Emergency Planning Team and her replacement knew little about self help plans.

Cllr. Sweetland confirmed that families had now moved from the traveller site at Sole Street to a new location behind the police station in Northfleet. The Borough Council would shortly go to public consultation under the Local Development Framework as it tried to assess the need and locations of the 16 traveller sites that it had to find within Gravesham. The Clerk was asked to invite Sian Morley from the Gravesham Planning Department to the next Parish Council Meeting to explain this process further.     


Highways Liaison Meeting  held on 22nd July 2009.

Copies of the notes of the Highways Liaison Meeting held on 22nd July had been circulated to Members prior to the Meeting. Cllr. James reported that he had subsequently met with the two Highways Officers present at the Liaison Meeting, at the Gardeners junction and explored various ideas for improvements which might make it safer for pedestrians. All outstanding requests for signage were now being reprioritised by Kent Highways and it seemed likely that the lorry route sign would not be classed as urgent especially as it meant that a traffic lane would have to be closed whilst the work took place. It was also unlikely that the 30 mph sign to the Lower Rochester Road would be moved as the administration costs for doing this would be too high. The Clerk reported that School Lane would be closed from 26/10 to allow for necessary repairs to the speed humps.




Councillors’ Matters.


Cllr. Snelling asked Cllr, James for an update regarding the lorry route sign. Cllr. James reported that owing to a backlog of work he had been advised that it would be unlikely to be installed before 2012 and would require a lane of the road to be closed whilst this took place. When pressed by Cllr. James, Cllr. Snelling agreed to consider funding the provision of this sign from his Members Highways Allowance and the Clerk was asked to source the necessary application form for the grant. Cllr. Sutherland asked if Cllr. Snelling could put pressure on Kent Highways to resolve the problem of vehicles being sent on unsuitable routes through the village by Satellite Navigation Devices. Cllr. Snelling had no news regarding the Lower Thames Crossing or the review of the Freedom Bus Pass, but he agreed to try and put pressure on Arriva buses to consider rerouting the 136 bus through the village. 



Cllr. Sweetland reported that a study was to take place on the possibility of establishing a cruise liner terminal on the Gravesend side of the Thames. The Borough Council was to recommence building council houses and the restaurant at the end of the Town Pier was about to reopen.

Cllr. Oakeshott reported that the dip to School Lane by Alexander Cottages had now been inspected. Weed control had taken place to the top of the village. She had advised the Parishioner who had fallen on the crumbling surface in Chilton Drive to complain directly to Kent Highways. The Chequers site redevelopment was to go ahead and a Rural Housing meeting to discuss the potential Blue Farm site, in Gore Green Road, was to be held on 1/10. A meeting to discuss village policing would be held in Higham Library on 18/9. Cllrs. Scott and Sutherland agreed to attend. A monthly Tea Dance would be held at the Woodville Halls each month until Christmas commencing on 30/9.



Cllr. Pearton reported that the street sign for Chalk Road near the 30 mph limit was now missing. The Memorial Hall sign located on the way up School Lane was now on the ground and a dog fouling sign was laying on the verge opposite The Knowle.

Cllr. Sutherland reported a pothole to Telegraph Hill level with Merston Court. He had received a complaint that Higham Eagles F.C. had stopped youngsters playing cricket on the Recreation Ground as the pitch area had been reseeded.

Cllr. James reported that the Crutches Lane sign opposite the end of Colewood Drive was missing. There would be a delay in progressing the double yellow lines in Old Watling Street as the KCC officer was off work at present. The hedging to Old Watling Street and the public area next to the roundabout by the end of Colewood Drive required cutting back.






a.    Planning.

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

      reviewed by the Planning Committee:-


Appln. no. 20090564   Weydon Hill, Chalk Road.

Demolition of the existing attached garage and conservatory and erection of a two storey side extension incorporating a dormer extension in the proposed front roof slope at first floor level and single storey rear extension to form garage and sitting room at ground floor level with bedroom at first floor level.

Appln. no. 20090608   3, Forge Lane.

Erection of a conservatory at the rear.


Appln. no 20090627   7, High View.

Erection of single storey side and rear extension to form a garage, shower room/wc, utility room, enlarged kitchen and enlarged living room.

Appln. no. 20090626   Abbey Farmhouse, Church Street.

Partial demolition of the roof and first floor of outbuilding; construction of new pitched roof with raised brick work to form rooms of habitable height on first floor involving installation of new first floor window and alterations to existing window.

Appln. no. 20090653   3, Carton Road.

Erection of single storey front infill extension to form enlarged hall and construction of new roof over bungalow incorporating an increase in its height, two dormer windows in the front roof slope and rooflights in the rear and side elevations to provide three bedrooms and ensuite shower rooms/wc’s in the roof space.

Appln. no. 20090665   Higham Hall, Taylors Lane.

Erection of detached triple garage with undercroft; dismantling and relocation of existing garage minus the log store to replace an existing shed and erection of new close boarded fence.

Appln. 20090529   Oakleigh Farm, Buckland Road.

Erection of two stable buildings comprising a total of nine loose boxes.

Appln. no. 20090643   Lancaster House, Gravesend Road.

Change of use from A1 retail to A5 hot food takeaway.


e.    Recreation Ground.

      The Clerk reported that Gravesham Borough Council had kindly offered a spare

       roundabout for the Recreation Ground and she agreed to arrange for a quotation for its

       installation for consideration by Members.


n.    Kent Community Warden.

       Steve Gray reported that up to 35 youngsters had attended the Play in the Park

       Playscheme this summer and asked if it was possible for more dates to be made available

       in 2010. He advised Members of an organised litter pick on 11/10 for 10-13 year olds

       with refreshments provided afterwards. Mr Collins would run a stall at the Boot Fair on

       the same date to help raise funds for a Youth Club trip next year. A Community Safety

       Day would be held at Higham Library on 24/10. In answer to a question from Marilyn

       Peters regarding why the Youth Club was no longer able to use the Pavilion, Steve

       Gray confirmed that the building would no longer be big enough for the large number of

       youngsters who now attended the Youth Club on a regular basis. Members also noted that

       keys and lighting tokens for the Multi-Purpose Games Area were now available from the

       Village Greengrocers. 



The Clerk asked for approval for the items shown on the agenda plus the sum of £303.40 for Joanne Raff for the Youth Club for July and August, this being proposed by Cllr. James, seconded by Cllr. Wright and agreed by all Members.


BT Payment Services Ltd. (broadband)                                                                     115.38

Zurich Insurance plc (renewal premium for Pavilion)                                             1011.65

Gravesham Trophy Centre (engraved vase)                                                                40.00



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 this year’s audit.

2.   Members gave approval for the Clerk to join the Society of Local Council Clerks with an

      annual subscription of £117.


3.   The Chairman and Vice Chairman agreed to liaise to prepare a letter to accompany the

      forthcoming Rural Housing Survey.   


To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting.

This was given as being Monday, 12th October  2009 at 7.30 p.m. The Budget and Finance Meeting would be held on Monday, 9th November 2009 at 7.30 p.m.


Any Other Business.

The Clerk reported incidences of theft, and criminal damage to the allotments during the Summer months.



There being no other business, the Meeting closed at 10.22 p.m..  



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