Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the January 2011 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, 10th January 2011 at 7.30 p.m.


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

                                               Borough Councillor: Cllr. B. Sweetland

                                               Councillors: A.L.Howard, M.L.James,

                                               Mrs A. Mendzil, Mrs P. Oakeshott (also Borough),

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

                                               Cllrs. Grey and Walton.

                                               PC Gemma Pawley, PCSO Pete Hyland.


The Chairman welcomed all those present to the first meeting of the new year. She thanked Cllr. Sutherland for all his help in ensuring that key areas of the village were gritted during the recent bad weather and  Cllr. Pearton who had again organised the Christmas lighting displays in the shops in the village.

She also thanked Jo Raff for the large box of sweets and a card that she had given to Members of the Parish Council to thank them for their continued support over the past year.


The Chairman accepted apologies for absence.

There were no alterations to the Register of Members Interests.

The Clerk reported that a site inspection report for the Recreation Ground had been received from the Borough Council. It was noted that no high risk areas had been found. 


The Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting, held on Monday,  29th November 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. 986 Matters Arising. Jumbo bag of salt. The original bag of salt supplied had now been refilled by Kent Highways and was stored with the salt spreader.

b.    P.986 Matters Arising. Bollards. As the bollards were out of stock and snow was on the ground the work had been cancelled before Christmas but had since been completed.

c.    P. 986 Matters Arising. Verge Markers. It was agreed that these were not necessary at the present time.

d.    P. 986 Matters Arising. Christmas Lighting. This had now been taken down.

e.    P. 986 Matters Arising. Broadband. An application form for Community Broadband Grants had been forwarded to Cllr. Mendzil and Clive Stanley. 

f.    The Clerk reported that during the rolling 12 month period there had been a total of 33,374 visitors to the Parish website with 3,111 visits in December 2010 alone.


The Clerk agreed to ask Kent Highways if road markings could be placed opposite St. John’s Church in Hermitage Road to restrict parking if bollards were unable to be installed at this location.


Parishioners’ Matters.

Mr Chilmaid, of Steadman Close, reported that the car park at the Doctor’s surgery had been very slippery during the recent snow and all offers of help to clear it had been refused.

Mr Ashby, of Norah Lane, reported problems with a Transit flat back lorry which was causing an obstruction in the road. It was agreed that this would be referred to Kent Police.


Rural Housing proposed initiatives.

Members studied the amended site plan for land opposite The Railway Tavern provided by Cascade Rural Housing Solutions, which had been sent to them prior to the Meeting. Following robust discussion it was noted that work had just commenced on the new Rural Housing development at The Chequers site in Lower Higham and as such Members were in full agreement that they did not wish to consider any other schemes within the village at the present time.


Impact of recent severe weather conditions upon the village.

Cllr. Sutherland confirmed that a team of three people would be needed in future to operate the salt spreader with a wheelbarrow and shovel. A donation of a heavy duty trolley from a local resident had been much appreciated and this had allowed the refilled salt bag to be pushed back into the garage where it was stored. It was agreed that a Severe Weather Committee should be set up to discuss some of the problems which had been encountered and plan for the future and Cllrs. Howard, James, Pearton, Scott and Sutherland agreed to be part of this. Complaints had been received regarding shortages of salt in the road bins and inappropriate use of the salt by local residents. The Chairman suggested that the PACT Committee should check on current salt levels to the bins and report back to the Clerk. Cllr. Oakeshott reported that the residents of Walmers Avenue had all contributed and bought their own lockable salt bin and salt for use in the road. The Clerk reported that no new salt bins were being provided by Kent Highways at the current time and was therefore asked to look at prices for the purchase of bins for discussion at a future date.


To receive copy material for the 2011 Annual Parish Newsletter.

The Clerk collected in copy material for the 2011 Annual Parish Newsletter and reminded Members of the deadlines involved.


To review allotment procedure and the provision of plots.

The Clerk circulated copies of the current plan of the allotment gardens and confirmed that there was a long waiting list for vacant plots at the present time. Following discussion it was agreed that Cllr.Howard would visit the allotments and note which plots had not been cultivated for quite some time. Members agreed to consult with Mr Shove regarding claiming back some of the land that was currently rented to him on an annual basis, thus tidying up the allotment boundary to the north of plots 106 and 107 on the map to bring it in line with plots 41 and 42 to the other side of the path. This reclaimed area would be divided into half plots to be offered to those on the waiting list. Any tenants who could not cope with their existing larger plots would be asked to move to a smaller plot once these had been established.


To make arrangements for the Gravesham Rural Neighbourhood Forum Meeting 

Members expressed concern that this Meeting, which would be dealing with the topic of the Lower Thames Crossing, was planned to be held at Higham School. Following discussion it was agreed that it should be moved to the Memorial Hall as large numbers were expected to attend. Parking would be provided at Higham School and the Recreation Ground car park with overflow parking available at Higham Station. It was hoped that the orchard car park at The Knowle might also be able to be used. It was agreed to invite residents from neighbouring parishes (including Medway), as well as RSPB and DCPS. Posters would be displayed all over the village and information placed on the website. Local press and television and radio would also be informed of the event.


Councillors’ Matters.


In the absence of Cllr. Snelling it was reported by Cllr. Sweetland that a press conference had been held at the Civic Centre to give further details of the scale of the challenge faced by the County Council in having to make a total of £160 million savings to its budget over the next two years. It was proposed that there would be no increase in Council Tax for the next two years and it was estimated that in the region of 1500 jobs at all levels would have to go. Full details were expected to be announced in February.



Cllr. Sweetland reported that he had received complaints regarding severe flooding on the bend by The Chequers which were being investigated by Kent Highways. A State of the Borough Debate would take place on 18/1

Cllr. Oakeshott reported that the road markings at The Chequers junction needed renewing. The area by the garages to Villa Road was in a filthy state with fences breaking down and litter.



Cllr. James outlined details of potholes already notified to the Clerk and reported that all lights to the underbridge were currently out.

Cllr. Sutherand reported that the dog warden had placed stickers regarding dog fouling to St. John’s Road and Hermitage Road by the church. He agreed to ask them to provide some more for Forge Lane and Villa Road.

Cllr. Pearton reported large potholes to the bend by The Chequers, to the top of the chicane outside the Memorial Hall, and to the top of Forge Lane.    






a.    Planning.

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


Appln. no. 20100940   Pond Cottage, Hermitage Road.

Retention of the stables on concrete bases.

Appln. no. 20101043   Darweni, 1, Gads Hill Place.

Erection of two storey side and rear extension to form garage, kitchen, dog room and office at ground floor level with additional bedroom, bathroom/wc and enlarged bedroom at first floor level.

Appln. no. 20100779   Whitehouse Farm, School Lane.

Erection of two storey side/front and first floor 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. REVISED/AMENDED DRAWINGS.

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 erection of new front porch, screen wall with railings and removal of single storey 1960’s projection.

Appln. no. 20101068   36, Norah Lane.

Outline application for demolition of existing house and erection of three detached chalet style dwellings each with garage.

Appln. no. 20101074   43, Norah Lane.

Construction of three dormer windows in front roof slope; three dormer windows in rear roof slope, one with balcony; one in side roof slope; erection of a pitched roof open canopy at side and rear and conversion of existing and proposed roof space into three bedrooms, ensuite shower room/wc and store room.

Appln. no. 20101109   18, St. John’s Close.

Erection of single storey rear extension to form enlarged kitchen and enlarged living room and shower room/wc.

n.     Kent Community Warden.

        Steve Gray advised Members that one count of fly tipping had been reported and collected. The Higham Primary School Walking Bus had won a “Walk to School Award”.  The December Community Surgery / Coffee Morning had been attended by 2 people and the next would take place on 27/1.


 o.    Kent Police.

        In her absence PC Gemma Pawley had reported that cars parking over the cycle lane at Gads Hill School continued to be monitored. Complaints had again been received regarding dogging taking place to the slip road at Gads Hill and this area was now being regularly patrolled. Drivers being seen to ignore the road signs at the Gardeners  junction were now being issued with fixed penalty tickets. A complaint of anti-social behaviour by schoolgirls waiting for the bus was currently being investigated. It was hoped that more Neighbourhood Watches would be able to be set up in the village.



The Clerk presented the quarterly financial statement for the period 1/10/10 to 31/12/10. She asked for approval for the items shown below, this being proposed by Cllr.Oakeshott, seconded by Cllr. James  and agreed by all Members.


Joanne Raff (Youth Leader – November )                                                                 432.00

Clive Stanley (webmaster services)                                                                             84.00            

Clerk’s salary (1/10/10 – 31/12/10 – net)                                                                  2164.20

Expenses – use of room as office (1/10/10 – 31/12/10)                                               227.50

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

Joanne Raff (Youth Leader – December)                                                                  324.00



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 item:-

1.  Members noted that the estimated costs for the forthcoming Parish Council Election would be either £2000 (contested) or £400 (uncontested).


To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting.

This was given as being Monday, 21st February 2011


Any Other Business.

None was brought to the notice of the Meeting.


There being no other business, the Meeting closed at 10.03 p.m.




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