Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the September 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, 6th September 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,   M.L.James,

                                               Mrs A. Mendzil, L.M.Pearton, Mrs M.A.Scott,  B. Sutherland,

                                               S.N.Walton and  S.Wright.

In attendance:                          Kent Community Warden Steve Gray.

                                                Morton Grey

                                              78 Parishioners.

Apologies for absence:            Received from Cllr. Oakeshott.      


Prior to the commencement of the Meeting awards were presented to prize-winners of the Higham Gardens for Pleasure Competition 2010, by Cllr. Stuart Wright and Morton Grey who had again carried out the final judging on behalf of the Parish Council.


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

Deborah Hunt and Graham Edwards, 17, Lake Drive.


SECOND PRIZE (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)

Anne and Rob Miles, 13, Highwood Close.


THIRD PRIZE (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)

Dorothy and Fred Figg, 1, Oak Drive.


"HIGHLY COMMENDED" (Framed certificate)

Shelley Ford and Andrew Ramsell, 45, Bull Lane.

Gladys and Jeffrey Howes, 12, St. John’s Road.

Marlies Browne, 24, Beech Grove.


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

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


“HIGHLY COMMENDED” (Framed certificate)

John Thornton, 26, Chilton Drive.



The Gardeners Arms Public House, Forge Lane.


To discuss recent Rural Housing proposed initiatives within the village.

Copies of a letter received from Cascade Rural Housing Solutions and a draft sketch site layout for 14 properties, community allotments, a junior football pitch with changing facilities and associated parking spaces at a site at Chequers Street / Lower Rochester Road opposite the Railway Tavern had been circulated to all Members prior to the Meeting.

Cllr. Howard reported on the Public Exhibition which had been held by the Company at the Village Club on 14/7. The Chairman listened to the views of Members before opening the Meeting to hear the views of the large number of Parishioners present. It appeared that all those present were against the scheme. The following relevant points were made:-

1.   The site formed part of the new Lower Higham Conservation Area.

2.   The site was adjacent to the designated lorry route from the B2000 to the Nuralite, Beckley Hill and Hoo Junction sites.

3.   Properties built at Jupp Court had already been turned down by prospective occupiers due to the close proximity of the railway line.

4.   Sight lines in and out of the site were poor especially with the long sweeping bend to the road.

5.   There was no gas or mains drainage to this part of the village.

6.   It was felt that commuters would abuse the parking facility for the football pitch and allotments.

The Clerk was asked to notify Cascade Rural Housing Solutions accordingly.


The Chairman accepted apologies for absence.

There were no alterations to the Register of Members Interests.


The Clerk reported that during the Summer the last picnic table supplied by the Borough Council for use in the Recreation Ground had been set fire to and destroyed with the aid of an accelerant. The Borough Council had confirmed that it would not be replaced. The log steps to the trim trail had been removed by the Park Ranger as new eye bolts needed to be fitted.

Thanks were extended to Cllr. Sutherland for making a new head for one springy animal in the Recreation Ground and sanding down a burr on the main slide.


The Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held on Monday, 6th July 2010, were confirmed and signed,  following clarification on P. 970 (Matters Arising – allotments) that the maximum height of the fence that tenants could install around a plot would be one metre.


Matters arising from the Minutes.

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

a.    P. 971. Councillors Matters. County. Lorry Sign. Medway Council had objected to the  installation of the lorry sign which would direct large goods vehicles from the by pass to the Lower Rochester Road via the B2000, because of the large amount of heavy traffic already using this route. Cllr. James agreed to prepare a report to send to Adam Holloway asking for his help in this matter. 

b.    Kent Highways had offered a jumbo bag of rock salt (one ton capacity) to the Parish for use during the forthcoming winter. Concern was expressed by Members as to where this could be sited as it would need to be delivered by lorry. The Clerk agreed to enquire further regarding the provision of a spreader and it was agreed to defer a decision until the next Meeting when hopefully a site might have been identified.

c.    Web site report. Clive Stanley reported that during August there had been a total of 2831 hits to the website and a total of 33,502 visitors had visited the website since 1st October 2009.


Parishioners’ Matters.

Mr Chilmaid, of Steadman Close, reported various potholes to the railway bridge and Chequers Street. He reported problems with vehicles which obstructed his dropped kerb and prevented wheelchair access to his car. Cllr. Sweetland agreed to liaise with him regarding an application for a marked disabled bay to the road.

Mr Taylor, of Martins Close, reported a pothole to the Lower Rochester Road at the end of his road.

Mr Parr reported that the pavement outside the Chequers Inn was breaking up and the weeds were high.


To discuss whether a Parish Plan would be of value to the village.

The Clerk reported that she had received an email from Will Farmer, Community Engagement Manager at Kent County Council, asking that the village give consideration to carrying out a Parish Plan. Members again discussed this issue but agreed that they did not wish to proceed because of the length of time that the process would take to complete and that they believed that it would be hard to recruit volunteers for the Parish Plan Committee. The Clerk was asked to inform Will Farmer accordingly.


Councillors’ Matters.


Cllr. Snelling reported that options were currently being explored as to ways of cutting over £300 million from the County Council budget over the next four years, in advance of the Government Spending Review on 20/10. Discussions were taking place with the Government as to how to replace the cash lost from the Building Schools for the Future Programme for four local secondary schools. The question of the financial advantages of schools becoming “academies” was also under discussion at the present time. Following the dismantling of “quangos” consideration was being given in Gravesham to the creation of a new Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), possibly involving the Thames Gateway on both sides of the river, which it was hoped would attract investment and stimulate the local economy. At the present time the Government was looking at Planning Laws concerning unauthorised traveller encampments. Cllr. Snelling congratulated the Higham Youth Club on positive feedback received following the involvement of some Members in the summer joint residential camp.



Cllr. Sweetland reported that Glyn Thomson, Chief Executive of the Borough Council, would retire in the Spring. A Planning Meeting would be held in the Woodville Halls on 20/9 to discuss the future of the Heritage Quarter. It was possible that Gravesham might consider adopting a permit scheme which would stop vehicles for sale being parked on the highway, as had been done in Medway.



The Chairman reported an incident involving a pupil walking home from Gads Hill School who had thrown herself into stinging nettles to get out of the path of a four wheel drive vehicle which was travelling up Gads Hill towards her intending to park with two wheels on the pavement and across the cycle lane. She understood that most schools now had “no stopping” restrictions for a period to cover both the setting down and picking up times and following discussion amongst Members it was agreed that these should be applied for. The Kent Community Wardens would monitor the parking outside the school noting down any vehicles obstructing the highway and these registration numbers would be passed to Mr Craggs and the Police. The school would be encouraged to prepare a travel plan and to consider organising a crossing patrol person to help pupils over the busy A226.

Cllr. Sutherland reported that street lamps to Hermitage Road and School Lane were still not lit.

Cllr. Pearton enquired regarding ownership of the street light outside 32, Brice Road which had been awaiting repair for a long time.

Cllr. Grey reported that the post box to Steadman Close was covered with graffiti and the salt bin with the broken lid to Station Approach still required replacement. Following his recommendation, it was agreed that the new restriction time for the CPZ in Lower Higham would start at 12 noon and the Clerk was asked to notify Paul Gibbons accordingly. Work on the high kerbs to School Lane was scheduled to take place at the end of November.

Cllr. James reported that one light to the underbridge in Crutches Lane was not lit. He agreed to represent the Parish Council at the forthcoming PACT walk around the village, with PC Steve Ridley, which would be held on 12/10.

Cllr. Scott observed that Burham had flower baskets around lamp posts in the village centre during the Summer which were very colourful.

Cllr. Mendzil reported a Historical Walk around Higham with Christoph Bull scheduled for 27/12.






a.    Planning.

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

      reviewed by the Planning Committee:-


Appln. no. 20100564   The Angles, Telegraph Hill.

Erection of single storey extension on south western elevation to form a bedroom and an enlarged bedroom.

Appln. no. 20100615   The Moorings, Gravesend Road.

Demolition of existing garage and erection of a detached building to form a playroom at ground floor level with a study/office/store in the roof space.

Appln. no. 20100682   Telephone Mast Grass Verge Beside Tennis Courts, Watling Street.

Application for prior approval of the siting and appearance of the replacement and relocation of 14 metre high monopole with another 14 metre high monopole and cabinet.

Appln. no. 20100351   The Orchards, School Lane.

Retention of the ménage.

Appln. no. 20100705   41A, Forge Lane.

Erection of single storey side and rear extensions to form bedroom, utility/store room, walk-in wardrobe, ensuite bathroom, enlarged kitchen and enlarged day room.

Appln. no. 20100779   Whitehouse Farm, School Lane.

Erection of two storey side/front and first floor rear extension with balcony to form enlarged lounge at ground floor level with two bedrooms at first floor level and erection of a front porch to replace lobby.

Appln. no. 20100780   Whitehouse Farm, School Lane.

Application for listed building consent for internal and external alterations including the erection of a two storey front/side and first floor rear extension with balcony. Demolition of existing front lobby and creation of new front porch, screen wall with railings and removal of single storey 1960’s rear projection.

Appln. no. 20100750   Plot 1 Land to the Rear of 13,15 and 17, Forge Lane and Adj. 36, The Braes.

Erection of a detached double car port with storage at the rear and an additional car parking space at the side.

Appln. no. 20100728   7, High View.

Erection of single storey side and rear extension incorporating dormer extension in rear roof slope to form garage, utility room, shower room/wc, enlarged kitchen and enlarged living room at ground floor level with bedroom, study, ensuite bathroom and wardrobe in roof space and construction of new pitched roof over existing front porch.

Appln. no. 20100654   25, Telegraph Hill.

Erection of a detached double garage.

Appln. no. 20100778   Land adj. To Braybrooke Manor, Old Watling Street.

Application for renewal of planning permission reference number 20070744 for erection of a detached, two storey, four bedroom dwelling.


j.    Higham Youth Club.

      Cllr. Sutherland reported that volunteers were urgently required for a Monday night to run the Youth Club. Jo Raff had been nominated for an award and the presentation would take place later that week.


m.  PACT.

      Peter Leakey reported that the next PACT Meeting would be held on 14/9 at Higham Library.      


n.    Kent Community Warden.

       Community Warden Steve Gray reported that 8 coordinators had attended the recent Neighbourhood Watch Meeting. He continued to hold his monthly Surgery and Coffee Morning. The recent Higham Community Day had been well attended by over 400 people with the Crime Prevention Panel bus in attendance. The Play in the Park Summer activity playscheme had again been popular.


o.    Kent Police.

       It was understood that PC Steve Cole was out of action at the present time having damaged his shoulder. He was unlikely to return to Higham however as he was transferring to the response team and interviews for his position would shortly be held.        



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


BT Payment Services Ltd. (broadband)                                                                    118.32                                                                     

Zurich Insurance plc (renewal premium for Pavilion)                                               1114.45

Audit Commission (2010 audit fee)                                                                           358.38

Joanne Raff (Youth Leader – July and August)                                                         378.00



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 the 2010 Audit.

2.   Members noted the contents of a letter of complaint from Higham AFC.

3.   Cllr. Grey agreed to attend the forthcoming Parish Seminar on 27/10.

4.   Members decided that they did not wish ACRK to carry out a search for suitable sites for Rural Housing within the village.


Further discussion regarding Rural Housing took place and it was proposed by Cllr. Pearton, seconded by Cllr. Grey and agreed by all Members that they did not wish to consider any further sites for Rural Housing development on green belt sites within the village for the foreseeable future.


To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting.

This was given as being Monday, 11th October 2010 at 7.30 p.m. The Budget and Finance Meeting would be held on Monday, 8th November 2010 at 7.30 p.m.


Any Other Business.

Cllr. Howard asked if it might be possible for all Councillors to exchange email addresses at the next Meeting.


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




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