Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the January 2010 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, 18th January 2010 at 7.00 p.m.


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

                                               Kent County Councillor: Cllr. M. Snelling.

                                               Borough Councillor:  Cllr. B. Sweetland.

                                               Councillors: J.A.Grey,  M.L.James, L.M.Pearton, 

                                               B. Sutherland,  S.N.Walton and S.Wright.

In attendance:                         P.C. Steve Cole

                                               Kent Community Warden Steve Gray.

                                               4 Representatives from OCDL.

                                               5 Parishioners.

Apologies for absence:          Received from Cllrs Howard, Oakeshott and Scott.

                                               Cllr. Mendzil did not attend the Meeting.


The Chairman apologised for the need to rearrange the date of the Meeting due to the recent severe weather.


Prior to the commencement of the Meeting the Chairman introduced representatives from OCDL who wished to seek the Parish Council’s views on the sustainability of the Blue House site being considered for rural housing at the junction of Bull Lane and Gore Green Road. They also wished to discuss various ideas and options for the site. At the present time there was an outstanding evidenced need of 5 properties from the 2004 Housing Needs Survey and it was widely expected that the update of this survey, carried out towards the end of 2009, would show an increased need in the parish. Although this site was small in scale Councillors were shown outline drawings for a development of some 7 to 8 three bedroom houses on the land in question. Representatives had explored the existing network of footpaths and bridleways to provide what they believed was a safe walking route to village amenities giving a walking time of some 21 minutes to the school and almost 30 minutes to the village shops and Post Office. Concern was expressed by Members regarding the small size of the rear gardens of the properties and they felt that they should have two bedrooms. Other concerns voiced included the safety of the site due to the lack of pavements on the surrounding busy roads and the distance from village amenities.

The Chairman thanked the representatives for attending the Meeting and agreed to advise them of the views of the Parish Council in due course.  


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, 30th November 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. 943 Matters Arising. Speeding skip lorry. Ch. Insp. Painter’s email had been forwarded to the witness.

b.    P. 943 Matters Arising. Christmas lighting. Due to pre-Christmas sales, lighting features had been purchased locally for all businesses in the village. The feedback had been good but some shops had chosen not to even display the lighting they had been given and others had decided to display the lights but not to illuminate them due to the cost of the electricity. The lighting was now being stored by Mr Marsh at City Equestrian. The Chairman thanked Cllr. Pearton for all his help in distributing the lighting units and agreed to mention the lighting problems in her letter to Parishioners. It was suggested that a prize might be awarded in future for the best festive decorated house in the village.

c.    P. 944. Playbuilder Grant. The Parish Council had been encouraged to submit an enthusiastic application at short notice and had been notified that this had now gone through to the next round for consideration for funding. Cllr. Pearton reported that the scheme had to be of an original design, be themed, use rustic play equipment and the youngsters had to be involved in the final consultation process. The Chairman thanked Suzanne Green who had coordinated the application and also Jo Raff for her input.

d.    P. 944. County. It was understood that the Freedom Bus Pass was to be extended to school transport outside Kent from September 2010.

e.    P. 945. Borough. The Community Payback Team would liaise with Cllr. Oakeshott regarding the alleyway clearance.

f.     P. 946. The enquiry regarding Higham Station car park had been placed on the agenda for the Meeting of Parish Council Chairmen the previous week.

g.    P. 947. Sam Weller sign. The original artwork for the missing sign was no longer available. Confirmation was currently awaited from our insurers that the claim could proceed.

h.    Web site report. The website had proved to be a useful means of communication with Parishioners during the recent bad weather. During the last 12 month rolling period some 34,742 visits had been made to the website.


Parishioners’ Matters.

Mr Chilmaid, of Steadman Close, thanked Cllr. Oakeshott, for arranging for roads, badly affected with ice,  to be gritted during the recent bad weather. Cllr. Snelling reported that KCC was responsible for the roads and footways and they had kept the Parish salt bins filled.  There was currently a review of salt bins in the Parishes being undertaken by the County Council so that they could be filled in the future. Salt supplies had been sufficient but pressure on manpower had left some side roads and pavements in a slippery condition. In total KCC had spread some 14000 tonnes of salt over this period.


To again discuss the proposed safety improvements for the village.

Following further discussion Members agreed to the implementation of the improved road signage at the Gardeners Arms junction which would allow the Police to book offending motorists. Concern was expressed that the proposed crossing point to School Lane was in the wrong position as it used private land outside the shops, and would be better placed further down School Lane where it could join with the footpath up to the church. The crossing point outside the Gardeners Arms required some redesign and another was needed from the pub across Villa Road. Cllr. James agreed to liaise further with Kerry Prescott and notify her of these suggestions.


To discuss the impact of the recent severe weather conditions upon the village.

This had already been discussed earlier in the Meeting.


To receive copy material for the 2010 Annual Parish Newsletter.

The Clerk received copy material for the 2010 Annual Parish Newsletter. Quotations had been received for the printing of the newsletter as follows:- Spectra Press £1199 (zero rated for VAT), A and T Ltd. £1185 (zero rated for VAT) and Print Buzz £785 (plus VAT). Following discussion Members unanimously agreed that, as they had been pleased with the service provided by Spectra Press the previous year, they would award the contract to them for the 2010 Newsletter.


To receive a report from the Kent Highway Services Parish Seminar.

Cllr. Grey asked that this item be deferred to the next Meeting.


Councillors’ Matters.


Cllr. Snelling reported that the rise in Council Tax had been set at a record low of 1.88% with an additional charge of 0.71% to be also added if the cost of the asylum seekers was not repaid by the Government. The recent severe weather had caused extensive damage to the road network which would necessitate a blitz on potholes. Brice Road was to be resurfaced and the lorry signage was now agreed and would come from the main Highways budget rather than his annual Highways Grant. The Freedom Pass scheme, costing £9 million per annum, was to be extended to all pupils travelling to schools across the County boundary but this initiative would not start until September. Cllr. Snelling reported that a written answer had been provided about the current situation regarding the Higham Station car park and the Clerk agreed to locate this. Cllr. Sutherland asked if it might be possible for the Parish to have a portable rock salt spreader so that it would be able to carry out some treatment of susceptible roads itself and Cllr. Snelling agreed to speak further to Nick Chard regarding this.



Cllr. Sweetland reported that parking in GBC town centre car parks would be free during the weekend from next year. The Borough Council had agreed to hold a feasibility study into the provision of a museum in the town centre. Representatives from the Parish Council would meet with Cllr. Sweetland and Sian Morley to prepare a response for the LDF Regulation 25 consultation during February. It was hoped that a new High Street store would sign for the empty Woolworths store the following day.

Through the Chairman, Cllr. Oakeshott reported that it was possible that the Minister of Housing might inspect Jupp Court in March. A draft copy of the recent Housing Needs Survey, completed last Autumn, would shortly be sent to the Parish Council for approval.

Kerry Precott was liaising directly with Cllr. Grey regarding the high kerbs to School Lane.

Cllr. Oakeshott wished to thank Cllr. Sutherland who had ensured that people living on their own had essential supplies during the recent snow. She also wished to thank the Borough Council for clearing the private land to the front of the parade of shops in the village and Kent Highways for filling up the salt bins.  



Cllr. Sutherland reported to the Clerk details of street lights which were currently not lit to School Lane and Hermitage Road. He had received complaints regarding congestion and parking to the A226 at the top of Forge Lane at school times. The Chairman asked that Steve Cole and Steve Gray monitor this situation. Cllr. Sutherland asked if it might be possible to have an extra salt bin installed to the bottom of the steps in Irvine Road.

Cllr. Grey reported that the level of street lighting on the footpath at Alexander Cottages was very poor. He reported that a motorist persisted in parking on the dropped kerb outside Jupp Court. Cllr. Grey agreed to obtain further details and refer the matter to the Police.

Cllr. Pearton reported that Parishioners had been told that they were no longer able to use the footpath between Abbey Farm and Oakleigh Farm. The Clerk was asked to contact Anne Waugh regarding this matter. 

Cllr. James reported that to progress the possibility of additional buses stopping in Higham village a survey would need to be conducted at local bus stops and this would incur some cost. He asked Members to think whether they wished to pursue this matter further.

Cllr. Walton noted that Cllr. Oakeshott was currently dealing with the enquiry regarding a right of access across Borough Council land to the rear of Villa Road properties.






a.    Planning.

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


Appln. no. 20090929   Davann, Dillywood Lane.

Erection of single storey side and rear extensions incorporating new pitched roof to replace existing flat roof on garage to form dining room/kitchen, conservatory, office/den and dining room.

Appln. no. 20090925   Crutches Farm, Old Watling Street.

Outline application for demolition of existing farm buildings and erection of a detached dwelling with associated parking provision.

Appln. no. 20090970   Higham Hall, Taylors Lane.

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

Appln. no. 20090528   Dairy Farm Barn, Church Street.

Retention of the galvanised steel roof over an existing barn.

Appln. no. 20091017  26, Telegraph Hill.

Erection of side extension with dormer windows in front and rear roof slopes to form TV room at lower ground floor level, kitchen and garage at ground floor level with a bedroom in the roof space.


i.     Merston Court.

       The Chairman reported that the luncheon club had been shut for the past two weeks due to the snow.


j.    Higham Youth Club.

       Cllr. Sutherland reported that three people from Kent Youth would be completing a training course at the club on a Wednesday evening for the next ten weeks.


m.    PACT.

        Mr Leakey reported that the next PACT Meeting would take place on 2/3 when the guest speaker would be the Borough Dog Warden.


n.    Kent Community Warden.

       Community Warden Steve Gray reported that in spite of  poor attendance the Monthly Coffee Morning and Surgery, held in St. Johns Church Hall, would continue with the

       next being held on 28/1. At the present time he was mentoring a Support Warden for a period of six months. A new Zig Zag Safety Scheme in conjunction with KCC/Kent

       Police/GBC Parking Enforcement would start at the Primary School on 15/3 for 2 weeks.  Drivers who either stopped on, or parked on, the lines outside the school would be issued

       with parking tickets. Steve Gray conformed that the temporary PCSO would be walking  the village with him later in the week.                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

o.    Kent Police.

       PC Steve Cole reported that PCSO Darren Fielding had been seconded to Northfleet until the end of March. After this time he would have the opportunity to return to Higham

       if he so wished. Until that time PCSO Hylands would cover the village.



The Clerk presented the quarterly financial statement for the period 1/10/09 to 31/12/09. She asked for approval for the items shown on the agenda, plus an amount of £129.48 for BT  broadband, this being proposed by Cllr.James , seconded by Cllr.Grey and agreed by all Members.


 Mrs P. Oakeshott (expenses for Meetings)                                                                  49.95 

 Mrs L.M.Carnall (Christmas lights)                                                                           311.68

 Mr L. Pearton (Christmas lights)                                                                                179.96

 Mr L. Pearton (Christmas lights)                                                                                  30.00

 Joanne Raff (Youth leader – November)                                                                    442.80                                                                                   

 Clive Stanley (webmaster services)                                                                            112.00

 Joanne Raff (Youth Leader – December)                                                                   295.20

 Clerk’s salary (net amount 1/10/09 – 31/12/09)                                                        1819.17

 H.M. Revenue and Customs (Clerk’s PAYE/NI (Employer/Employee))                   715.23

 Use of room as office (1/10/09 – 31/12/09)                                                                227.50  



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.   Cllr. Sutherland agreed to attend a presentation entitled Greening the Gateway to be held in St. Johns Church Hall on 27/1.

2.   Members noted the closure of Brice Road for resurfacing from 25/3.


To note the dates of the next Parish Council Meeting.

This was given as being  Monday, 22nd February 2010 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 9.43 p.m.            


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