Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the October 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, 11th October 2010 at 7.30 p.m.

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

                                               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,

                                               Mrs M. Scott,  B. Sutherland,  S.N.Walton and S.Wright.

In attendance:                          6 Parishioners

                                               Kent Community Warden Steve Gray.

                                               Liz Jeffery – Village Correspondent and Press Officer.

Apologies for absence:             Received from Kent County Councillor M. Snelling.                            


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 and it was noted that rubber was missing from a cradle swing seat. 


The Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting, held on Monday, 6th September 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. 976. Rural Housing. A response had been sent to Cascade Rural Housing and a further email had been received from them late this afternoon. It was agreed to defer discussion until the next Meeting.

b.  P. 976 Parish Property. The replacement eye bolts had now been given to the Park Ranger who would arrange for them to be fitted and the trim trail reinstated.

c.  P. 976 Lorry sign. Cllr. James reported that only 12 homes on the B2000 would be directly affected by any increase in traffic following the installation of the lorry sign. He had sent a report to Adam Holloway M.P.  to ask for his help in resolving this problem, but he had referred the matter back to the elected KCC representatives. It was hoped that a meeting could be held between representatives from Medway Council and Kent County Council at a future date.

d    P. 976 Jumbo bag of rock salt. A garage had been found near the centre of the village where the bag of salt could be kept. It seemed likely that the salt spreader would need to be funded by the Parish Council.

e.    P. 977 Unlit street lighting to village. The Lighting Engineer had reported that there were no longer night scouting patrols to identify unlit street lights within the village. The light outside no. 32, Brice Road was now operational.

f.    P. 978. Parish. Graffiti to post box in Steadman Close. This had been reported on the hotline.

g.    P. 978 Parish. The requested change to the CPZ restriction times had been passed to Paul Gibbons.

h.    P.978 Parish High Kerbs. The proposed high kerbing would only protect the areas with double yellow lines and needed a road closure for installation. Wooden bollards would be able to cover the whole area and be more cost effective. Cllr. Pearton emphasised the need to have the high kerbs not the second best option. It was agreed that a site meeting would take place to discuss the merits of each scheme.

i.     P. 979. PC Cole was to be replaced by WPC Gemma Pawley from November.

j.  The Clerk reported that during the rolling 12 month period there had been a total of 32,874 visitors to the Parish website with 2,924 visits in September alone.


The Clerk acknowledged that residents of Walmers Avenue had organised a petition of opposition to the proposed development which had been sent to the Chairman and had not therefore been included in the Minutes for the last Meeting.


Parishioners’ Matters.

Fiona Spiral reported that despite leafleting the whole of Lower Higham the number of entries for this year’s Scarecrow Competition had been most disappointing, and she was reluctant to organise another competition. The Chairman thanked Fiona and her Committee for all their hard work and suggested that perhaps they should leave it for next year and try again in 2012 with a simpler theme which might encourage more participation.

Mrs Vine, the owner of the land at the end of Walmers Avenue, introduced herself to Councillors. She advised Members that it was still her intention to sell the land for housing.


To discuss a multi-agency approach to tackling parking problems at Gads Hill School.

The Clerk reported  that a letter had been sent to Mr Craggs regarding the incident involving a pupil at the school who had narrowly missed being hit by a vehicle which was attempting to park on Gads Hill. The Kent Community Wardens had monitored the situation and had provided a list of registration numbers of vehicles observed parking over the cycle lane which had been sent to the school, as well as Ch. Insp. Painter, Sgt Lewis and P.C. Ridley. In his response Mr Craggs had indicated that he would support a no stopping zone outside the school but that he also wished to see a manned pedestrian crossing point on the A226 whereby parents could park in the slip road and their children could cross this busy road safely. Kerry Prescott had however now confirmed that a no stopping restriction would not be appropriate as the mandatory cycle lane included a restriction which prevented vehicles stopping within the cycle lane itself. She was presently applying for a Traffic Regulation Order so that this would be legally enforceable. The parking problems at Gads Hill would be looked at and discussed further during the PACT walkabout of the village on 14/10 when Steve Ridley would be in attendance.


To received a report on the informal Highways Liaison Meeting held on 5th October 2010.

The Clerk reported that the new style Highways Liaison Meeting for Clerks and Parish Chairmen had taken place on 5th October. The new online fault reporting system was so problematical that many Clerks were now telephoning through the information. A new permit system for Christmas Lighting in the village had been introduced and she would shortly be meeting the Lighting Engineer to look at each of the proposed sites. New criteria for the provision of salt bins meant that the issue of new ones was strictly controlled. The traffic management safety measures for the centre of the village could not proceed at the present time due to a lack of funding. The double yellow lines for the top of Forge Lane would be investigated but enforcement would be a problem. The good safety record on the village roads had meant that a lower speed limit outside the school was not applicable at this time. No night scouts for street lighting in the village were now being provided.


Councillors’ Matters.


In the absence of Cllr. Snelling, Cllr. Sweetland reported that the County Council was currently identifying funding cuts of 25% for the forthcoming Spending Review. A total of £340 million had to be trimmed from its budget over the next four years which would result in some quite significant cuts. It was widely expected that these would be known by early in the new year and approved next February.



Cllr. Sweetland reported that over 400 people had recently attended a Meeting in the Woodville Halls when planning permission was refused  for the Heritage Quarter. It was possible that an appeal might be lodged with a referral to the Secretary of State.

Cllr. Oakeshott reported that over 400 people had attended the recent “Love your Life” day at the Woodville Halls. A recent Macmillan Coffee Morning at Higham Library had raised £110. An Older Peoples Forum would take place on 3/11 when the views of the over 50’s as to what they wanted from the Borough Council would be sought.



Cllr. James confirmed that the new bus stops agreed on the A2 would be going ahead as planned.

Cllr. Mendzil reported an increase in foxes and subsequent mess around the village. It was understood that some Parishioners now had dustbins to store their refuses sacks in to avoid them being attacked. (Cllr. Sweetland reported that foxes kept away from plastic bags if they were sprayed with Pledge furniture polish.) Cllr. Mendzil wondered if there would be any interest from Parishioners to petition to upgrade Broadband facilities within the village. It was suggested that Clive Stanley might liaise with Cllr. Mendzil regarding this matter.

Cllr. Sutherland reported that a vehicle had crashed into the churchyard wall at St. John’s Church and asked if a bollard could be installed to prevent this happening again.

Cllr. Grey confirmed that the dead trees at Jupp Court had not yet been replaced. He drew Members attention to the state of the grass verge outside and opposite The Orchards in School Lane. Cllr. Oakeshott confirmed that the Enforcement Officer had visited the property several times and had stressed that the verge had to be reinstated when current building works were completed. Cllr. Grey also reiterated the need for heavy traffic from The Chequers development not to travel through the village and Cllr. Oakeshott confirmed that she had already spoken to Sharon Donald regarding this matter. 






a.    Planning.

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


Appln. no. 20100801   33, Beech Grove.

Demolition of existing conservatory and erection of a single storey rear extension to form an enlarged kitchen/dining room.

Appln. no. 20100806   St. Mary’s Church, Church Street.

Application for Listed Building Consent for re-instatement of electricity supply involving substitution of overhead cables for underground supply including introduction of meter box to west wall of vestry.

Appln. no. 20100838   “Byeways”, Lower Rochester Road.

Erection of single storey side and rear extension to form garage, utility room and kitchen.

Appln. no. 20100333   15, Hollytree Drive.

REVISED/AMENDED DRAWING. Demolition of existing dwelling and erection of a detached four bedroom chalet style dwelling (plot 1) with three car parking spaces and erection of three bedroom chalet dwelling (plot 2) with two car parking spaces.

Appln. no. 20100860   Dairy Farm House, Church Street.

Erection of a detached timber garden building.  


Cllr. Pearton expressed concern regarding whether written comments made in response to planning applications or given verbally at a Regulatory Board Meeting were valued by the Borough Council. In a recent instance a Member of the Regulatory Board dismissed comments made by Cllr. Pearton at a Meeting in favour of adhering to the current regulations in force. The Clerk was asked to write to Clive Gilbert drawing his attention to this matter.


h.    Governors of Higham School.

        Cllr. James reported that 10 children had passed the recent 11+ exams. The results of the Kent tests were still awaited.


j.     Higham Youth Club.

        Cllr. Sutherland reported that a total of 50 youngsters had attended the club the previous Wednesday and up to 22 had been attending on a Monday evening, including students from Cobham Hall school. The recent Activity Weekend had been a great success.


m.    PACT.

        Peter Leakey reported that the next PACT Meeting would be held in Higham Library on 7/12 and PC Steve Ridley would be in attendance to discuss various traffic issues.


n.     Kent Community Warden.

        Steve Gray reported that 4 Parishioners had attended the Coffee Morning on 30/9. There had been pilfering from the allotments behind the village club with fruit trees being removed and apples taken. An instance of flytipping to Lower Higham had been reported to the Borough Council. In answer to a question from Cllr. James, he confirmed that he had been too busy recently to check on fly tipping in the Three Crutches area but promised that in future he would do so once a week. Steve Gray reported that there was to be a walkabout in the Village on 14/10 to look at specific problem areas before the December PACT Meeting  and Steve Ridley and Kerry Prescott would be in attendance.



The Clerk presented the quarterly financial statement for the period 1/7/10 to 30/9/10. She asked for approval for the items shown below, this being proposed by Cllr. Mendzil , seconded by Cllr. Sutherland and agreed by all Members.


Southern Water (water rates – allotments)                                                                 432.40

Versatile Fasteners Ltd (eye bolts for trim trail)                                                            55.70

SLCC (annual subscription)                                                                                       118.00    

Joanne Raff (Youth Leader – September )                                                                 432.00

Clive Stanley (webmaster services)                                                                           189.00           

St. John’s College, Cambridge (½  year rent for R.G.)                                                187.50

Clerk’s salary (1/7/10 – 30/9/10 – net)                                                                     2164.20

Expenses – use of room as office (1/7/10 – 30/9/10)                                                   227.50

HM Revenue and Customs (PAYE/NI(employer/employee)                                       404.49

Admin.Exps (1/7/10 – 30/9/10)                                                                                    647.93                

Mr M. Allen (digital forensic services)                                                                        293.75

Signs of the Times Ltd. (new Sam Weller sign)                                                           628.28



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 forthcoming Gravesham Rural Forum to be held at Meopham on 20/10 dealing with Policing in the rural area of Gravesham. Cllrs Grey, Howard and Scott indicated that they hoped to attend.

2. Members noted the recent commendation from the Area Commander received by Jo Raff.


To note the date of the next Parish Council Meetings.

These were given as being Monday, 29th November 2010 at 7.30 p.m. for the Christmas Meeting with the Mayor of Gravesham, with the Budget and Finance Sub Committee Meeting taking place on Monday, 8th November 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 9.45 p.m.




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