Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the November 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, 29th November 2010 at 7.30 p.m.


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

                                               Kent County Councillor: Cllr. M. Snelling.

                                               Borough Councillor: Cllr. B. Sweetland

                                               Councillors: J.A.Grey, A.L.Howard, Mrs A. Mendzil,

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

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

In attendance:                        Cllr. W. Lambert, MBE, TD (Mayor of Gravesham)

                                               PC Gemma Pawley, PCSO Pete Hylands

                                               Kent Community Warden Steve Gray.

                                               Liz Jeffery – Village Correspondent and Press Officer.

                                               12 Parishioners

Apologies for absence:          Received from Cllr. James.


The Chairman welcomed the Mayor of Gravesham to the Christmas Meeting of the Parish Council on a very cold evening when snow was expected.

She also introduced PC Gemma Pawley and PCSO Pete Hylands who were both new to the village.

The Chairman accepted apologies for absence.

There were no alterations to the Register of Members Interests.

The Clerk updated Members regarding the current inspection report for the Recreation Ground. The Park Ranger had removed the second springer animal to refurbish it when time permitted. Cllr. Sutherland reported that he had been in the process of making a replacement animal himself.


The Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting, held on Monday, 11th October 2010, were confirmed and signed


Matters arising from the Minutes.

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

a.  P. 981 Matters arising. Lorry sign. The Chairman and Cllr. Grey had had attended a recent Meeting at County Hall organised by Cllr. Snelling with Kent Highway Services officers and Medway Councillors in attendance, to try and resolve the issue of the installation of the lorry sign on the B2000. A decision was currently awaited.

b.  P. 981 Matters Arising. Jumbo bag of salt. The bag of salt was expected to arrive in the next couple of days. A salt spreader had also been ordered and funded by the Parish Council.

c.  P. 981  Matters Arising. High Kerbs. Following a Site Meeting between  Cllr. Snelling and Andy Padgham, Design Engineer, it was agreed to proceed with the wooden bollards to School Lane. Excavation work had started but work had been temporarily suspended as the bollards were currently out of stock. The request for verge markers had been referred to Paul Gibbons as a by-law for School Lane would need to be applied for.

d.  P.982 Highways Liaison Meeting. The Lighting Engineer had now inspected all of the four Christmas lighting sites within the village and given the necessary approval. The lighting  had been switched on today.

e.  P. 983 Broadband. Cllr.Mendzil was now liaising with Clive Stanley regarding this matter. Cllr. Snelling  reported that he would be attending a Meeting the next day to discuss the upgrade of Broadband facilities to the rural areas within the Borough. 

f.    P. 983. Parish. Kent Highway Services was unable to support the installation of a single bollard to protect the churchyard wall at St. John’s Church citing a good accident record and the need to install a series to protect the whole of the wall which would create a safety issue due to the width of the road and parked vehicles opposite.

g..  Clive Stanley reported that during the rolling 12 month period there had been a total of 34,870 visitors to the Parish website with 2,916 visits in October alone. It was agreed that a seasonal greeting to all visitors would be installed on the home page of the website.


Parishioners’ Matters.

Janet Topp, of Carton Road, expressed her concern regarding a planning application for a change of use of a local property to a hot food takeaway. As the application was to be heard at the Regulatory Board Meeting on 8/12 Cllr. Sweetland explained the procedure for registering to speak against the application and urged all residents present to attend.

Mr Chilmaid, of Steadman Close, reported that inconsiderate parking had meant that emergency vehicles would be unable to access the road. It was agreed that the new resident beat officer, PC Gemma Pawley, and PCSO, Pete Hylands, would visit the site to try to resolve the situation.

Keith Bradley, of Carton Road, reported that several allotment plots were badly overgrown at the present time. He reminded Members that plots used to be inspected twice a year by the Allotment Committee to encourage tenants to keep them cultivated and not a nuisance to other allotment users. As there was a long waiting list for allotments at the present time it was agreed that a review of allotment procedure would take place in the New Year. The Clerk agreed to write to all allotment tenants reminding them of the need to keep their plots cultivated and appealing for unworked plots to be handed back for redistribution.

Peter Morris, of Carton Road, drew Members’ attention to the inappropriate use of salt from the bin in Hollytree Drive by a local business.


To receive a report of the PACT Meeting held on 14th October 2010.

Copies of a report compiled by Cllr. James following the PACT walkabout of the village on 14th October 2010 had been circulated to Members prior to the Meeting. In his absence the Chairman thanked Cllr. James for compiling this report and Members noted his comments accordingly.


To receive a report on the Kent Highways Parish Seminar.

Cllr. Grey reported on the Kent Highways Parish Seminar held on 27th October 2010. The new Director of Kent Highways, John Burr, had reported that £100 million had been spent on the roads. Over a 25 week period over 150,000 potholes had been filled in and a total of seven additional Kent based contractors had been employed to carry out this work.    


To request copy material for the 2011 Annual Newsletter.

The Clerk reminded Members to produce copy material for the 2011 newsletter in time for the next Meeting.


Councillors’ Matters.


Cllr. Snelling reported on the need for Kent to cut over £300 million from its budget over the next four years in line with the recent Government Spending Review although the exact amount would not be known until early December. A Local Enterprise Partnership encompassing Kent, Greater Essex and East Sussex had been announced and would see the private sector playing a major role in trying to induce economic prosperity for the area. Discussions were currently taking place between GBC and KCC on how some local services such as Youth Services and Community Safety could be devolved so as to allow spending on local priorities. The subject of a Lower Thames Crossing had re-emerged as one of KCC’s strategic priorities for the future and Paul Carter, Leader of KCC, had agreed to attend the next Rural Neighbourhood Forum in Higham on 2/2 to discuss the matter further and hear the views of Parishioners.



Cllr. Sweetland reported that the Audit Commission  had  recently rated the Borough Council as “good” and confirmed that existing Council tenants would have tenure for life.

Cllr. Oakeshott reported problems with the contractor carrying out the gas main replacement works to Oak Drive. Many large deep holes had been dug to the estate and then left unattended. Following a complaint to Kent Highway Services work had now recommenced. Complaints had been received regarding a burger van trading in the slip road off Gads Hill and which had a generator on the pavement. Following a visit from the Enforcement Officer it was expected that the trader would move on. The next Meeting for the Older Peoples Forum would take place on 6/1/11



Cllr. Mendzil reported deep potholes to Telegraph Hill.

Cllr. Scott reported on a discussion which took place at the KALC AGM regarding the forthcoming Decentralisation and Localism Bill which was shortly to be published. 

Cllr. Sutherland reported that he had recruited a couple of volunteers to help with the operation of the salt spreader. He hoped to make an appeal for further volunteers at the forthcoming PACT Meeting.     

Cllr. Grey drew Members’ attention to the need to upgrade the street lighting in the area of Alexander Cottages and Steadman Close.

Cllr. Pearton reported that the road sign for Gore Green Road required replacement.




a.    Planning.

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

      reviewed by the Planning Committee:-


Appln. no. 20100856   The Chequers Inn, Church Street.

Application for variation of condition 17 of planning permission reference number 20090144 (for the conversion of existing public house into 8 no. self contained flats comprising 3 no. one bedroom and 5 no. two bedroom flats; erection of 2 no. two storey, two bedroom houses adjacent to public house fronting Church Street each with garage; a terrace of 3 no. two storey, two bedroom houses fronting Canal Road; erection of a refuse/cycle store and laying out of 19 no. car parking spaces, including 2 no. garages, and associated hardstanding) relating to the re-siting of the Plot 9 and 10 dwellings fronting Church Street to provide them each with an attached side garage.

Appln. no. 20100892   12, Highwood Close.

Conversion of existing attached garage into a bedroom and bathroom/wc incorporating single storey rear extension to form a utility room and construction of access ramp at the front.

Appln. no. 20100925   Lancaster House, Gravesend Road.

Change of use from A1 retail to A5 hot food take away and installation of extraction duct routed through existing chimney stack at side.

Appln. no. 20100928   Braybrooke Manor, Old Watling Street.

Replacement of part of front boundary wall and gates.

Appln. no. 20101035   24, Hollytree Drive.

Construction of a dormer window in front roof slope; three dormer windows in rear roof slope and conversion of roof space into three bedrooms and ensuite bathroom/wc.


j.     Higham Youth Club.

        Cllr. Sutherland reported that there were now two new helpers at the Club


m.    PACT.

        Peter Leakey reported that PC Steve Ridley would be attending the forthcoming PACT Meeting to be held on 7/12.


n.     Kent Community Warden.

        Steve Gray reported  that he had made a Stranger Danger/ Roadsafety Presentation at both the StartRite Kindergarten and at Higham Primary School where he had also assisted during the recent National Road Safety Week. Two counts of fly tipping had been reported to the Borough Council and subsequently removed. The last Community Surgery/Coffee Morning of the year would take place on 23/12 with mince pies on offer. A visit had been made to Fair Folly Garage which had been advertising cars for sale on the highway.


o.    Kent Police.

       PC Gemma Pawley and PCSO Pete Hylands had moved to the village at the beginning of the month and were still familiarizing  themselves with the area, the school and the Youth Club which they had attended.



The Clerk asked for approval for the items shown below, this being proposed by Cllr.Scott, seconded by Cllr. Howard and agreed by all Members.



B.T.Payment Services Ltd. (broadband)                                                                       119.49

KALC (lunch for AGM – S137/139)                                                                                8.50

Joanne Raff (Youth Leader – October)                                                                        351.00

Mrs J.M.Papadopulos (Chairman’s allowance)                                                              160.00

Higham with Merston PCC (church Christmas leaflet – S137/139)                                   85.00

St. John’s College, Cambridge (arrears of rent for R.G.)                                                    5.99

PDW Contracting Services Ltd. (Christmas lighting)                                                     1384.53

Pitchcare  (salt spreader)                                                                                              167.97

Michael Papadopulos (Higham Christmas cards)                                                              32.97      


Report from the Budget and Finance Committee Meeting held on 8th November 2010.

Copies of the report had been circulated to Members prior to the Meeting. Following discussion amongst Members it was proposed by Cllr Oakeshott, seconded by Cllr. Pearton and agreed by all Members that a precept of £33,190.26 be requested for the financial year 2011/2012.


Internal Control and Audit System.

At the Budget and Finance Committee Meeting Members had reviewed the effectiveness of the current system of internal control and audit as required under Regulations 4 and 6 of the Accounts and Audit Regulations (2003) and found it to be satisfactory. Members therefore unanimously agreed that no changes were necessary at the present time.



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 contents of an anonymous letter regarding noise at the Village Club in Hermitage Road. It was agreed that a copy would be sent to the Village Club for information.

2.   Members noted that the Youth Club AGM would now take place after Christmas.

3.   Members were opposed to more land to the rear of Jupp Court being considered for Rural Housing.


To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting.

This was given as being Monday, 10th January 2011 at 7.30 p.m.


Any Other Business.

None was brought to the notice of the Meeting.

The Mayor thanked Members of the Parish Council for their invitation to the Meeting which he had found to be vibrant. He was impressed how interested the Council was in all its village activities, problems and the environment.


There being no other business the Chairman closed the Meeting at 8.50 p.m. and invited those present to her home for some seasonal refreshment.



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