Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the July 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, 11th July 2011 at 7.30 p.m.


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

                                               Kent County Councillor: Cllr. M. Snelling.

                                               Borough Councillor: Cllr. H. Craske

                                               Councillors: G. Ashby, A. Carroll, J. Grey, M.James,

                                               P. Oakeshott,  L..Pearton,  B. Sutherland, and S.Wright.

In attendance:                          16 Parishioners

                                               Kent Community Warden Steve Gray.                                                                                             

Apologies for absence:             Received from Cllrs. Howard and Mendzil, PC Gemma Pawley,

                                               PCSO Pete Hyland, Liz Jeffery.


The Chairman accepted apologies for absence.

There were no alterations to the Register of Members Interests.

No inspection reports for Parish property and amenities had been received.


Parishioners’ Matters.

The Chairman welcomed Youth Leader Jo Raff and a deputation of members from Higham Youth Club to the Meeting. Sam Brown, Liam Breslin and Jacob Stevens spoke about research that they had carried out regarding the location and type of BMX/Skateboard facilities within the Borough and appealed to the Parish Council to provide a similar facility within the village for them to use. Jo Raff highlighted the amount of effort that the boys had put into this presentation and that in addition they had canvassed the support of local people towards this idea. She expressed her concern that at the present time the youngsters were using a heap of dirt to the rear of the Memorial Hall for this activity and she felt that this was quite unsafe. Both Cllr. Snelling and Cllr. Craske gave their support to this initiative. The Chairman thanked the youngsters for their presentation and explained that there would be a problem finding suitable land. Members agreed to explore this idea, and any sources of funding available, and report back at a future date.

Mrs Smith, of the Something2do playgroup, reported that the most popular day for the group to operate was now a Thursday and the Monday session had now been closed.

Mr Leakey, of PACT, reported a recent incidence of flooding around the Post Office opposite the Pub.

Clive Stanley reported that during the rolling 12 month period there had been a total of  35,391 visitors to the Parish website with 3113 visits in June alone.

Kay Pinder, of Chalk Road, expressed concern that following the recent Regulatory Board Meeting The Hedgerows had been granted further temporary permission. Cllr. Snelling explained that to turn this application down might have led to a further appeal and the possibility of the permission being made permanent. It was felt that this would give time for new government legislation to be put in place.

Mr Jefferson, of Martins Close, again pressed for a sign advising concealed entrances in Gore Green Road.


The Minutes of the Annual Parish Council Meeting, followed by a Parish Council Meeting, held on Monday, 9th May 2011, were confirmed and signed


Matters arising from the Minutes.

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

a. P. 1007 Matters arising. Stickers for Arriva timetables. The timetables had now been delivered by Cllr.James.

b. P. 1009 Parish. Kerry Prescott had confirmed that the TRO for the cycle lane had not yet been applied for.

It was agreed that the date of the next Parish Council Meeting be changed to 12/9 as several  Members were unable to attend on 5/9.

Cllr. Sutherland reported that the Rural Housing Survey for Higham could still be accessed via the Borough Council website (P. 1007 Parishioners’ Matters refers) and it was agreed to raise this matter at the forthcoming Rural Housing Meeting with the Borough Council on 15/7.


To Evaluate the success of the 2011 Friday Night at the Proms Event.

The receipts for ticket sales, both in advance and on the gate, indicated that there had been approximately 500 paying adults at the event. All costs and expenses for the evening had been met from this year’s receipts, leaving last year’s contingency fund untouched. An invoice from the St. John Ambulance was still awaited.  A total of £220, from programme sales and donations for union jack flags, had been passed to Mr Blowers for his Help for Heroes Charity. Thanks were extended to the Memorial Hall Management Committee for the use of their chairs and tables, Suzanne Green for the use of the Pavilion and Cllr. Graham Ashby for the provision of metal barriers which had better organised the entrances to the Recreation Ground. Complaints had been received that, in spite of a better PA system provided by Mr Blowers, it had been hard to hear the music over the noise generated by the children playing on their bikes and kicking balls.


To discuss recent planning applications received for Gads Hill School.

The Clerk reported that the Parish Council had spent in excess of 6 hours studying the amended plans submitted by Gads Hill School and had identified certain alterations in addition to the 50 amendments notified, one of which increased the height of the new school building by an additional metre. The Chairman, Cllr. Ashby and the Clerk had visited the School on 22/6 to meet with Mr Craggs and express concern. A further Site Meeting with Kent Highways to discuss the junction of Crutches Lane with the A226 was planned for later this week. Members expressed concern that the number of pupils at the school was expected to rise to 480 which could result in approximately 2000 vehicle movements per day along Crutches Lane. It was further understood that work was now expected to start on site ahead of any planned improvements to the junction as originally notified. It was agreed that the listed wall surrounding the Rose Garden should be hoarded on both sides to prevent damage during the building works at the school.


To discuss proposed changes to Borough Council planning applications.

The Clerk reported that the Borough Council intended changing the mode of consultation for most of its external consultees and would not in future be sending hard copies of planning applications by post. It would instead include a link to the council’s web site where the plans in question could be viewed electronically on-line via Public Access. Following discussion amongst Members it was agreed that this system would not work for Higham and Cllr. James agreed to raise the matter at the forthcoming Rural Forum where Clive Gilbert would be in attendance. Furthermore the Chairman agreed to also raise the matter at the Meeting of Parish Chairmen on 21/7, by having it placed on the agenda for discussion, and would report back at the next Meeting.  


To discuss 2012 celebrations within the village.

The Clerk reported that a Meeting had been held on the Recreation Ground with Phoenix Fireworks on 15/6. They were willing to build a display to whatever theme and price that we required. It was anticipated that the cost would be between £2000 and £3000 inclusive of insurance. In addition the village had been awarded the “Big Screen” to watch Olympic coverage on Saturday 4/8/12 in the midst of a themed event day. It was hoped to invite the Mayors Eleven cricket team to play Higham and Mockbeggar in a Dickensian Cricket Match.


Site meeting held with residents of Thamesview Cottages.

Cllr. Wright reported that a constructive meeting had been held with the residents of Thamesview Cottages on 19/5 to discuss the formation of new allotment plots on the allotment gardens. Their major concern was the increase in traffic that would be accessing the site via the track behind their cottages, and several measures had now been implemented including a speed hump and posts to keep traffic away from garden fences, and some signage was planned. Cllrs. Wright and Ashby agreed to meet on site to assess the feasibility of laying scalpings on the track behind the cottages to reduce the problem of dust being thrown up by vehicles as they drove past, and report back at a future date.


Councillors’ Matters.


Cllr. Snelling reported that tough choices were having to be made to find the first £95 million saving on the budget in the current year and progress was now being made on the necessary saving of £64 million for next year. Road resurfacing works were continuing. Following the recent poor Ofsted report a transformation of specialist childrens’ services was underway. The issue of concessionary bus travel for post-16 students was being discussed with the Kent Youth Council and elsewhere changes were being considered in the eligibility for free Home to School Transport.

Mr Taylor, of Martins Close, asked Cllr. Snelling why he had been unable to renew his senior rail card at the Civic Centre and was advised that this service had now been withdrawn as the take-up had been low.



Cllr. Craske reported that as many committees at the Borough Council had been abolished and others were in the process of being set up, a full cycle had not yet been achieved.  



Cllr. James reported that the two new bus stops on the A2 were now operational and allowed access to both Bluewater and the Medway Towns seven days a week.. A further Meeting would be held on 11/8 to discuss a better position for one of the bus stops. The overgrown  hedge belonging to the Three Crutches P.H. was still obscuring a road sign and needed cutting back. The missing Crutches Lane road sign still required reinstatement. It was hoped that Cllr. Snelling might be able to press for the crossing points that had been agreed in the village centre and for which Kerry Prescott was currently looking at updated costs

Cllr. Sutherland expressed concern regarding the outdated lighting system to the Pavilion and the large number of tubes which were not working. The Clerk understood that Suzanne Green intended to obtain an estimate for updating the system and ask the Parish Council for approval for her to finance the works. It was also noted that there was a gap under the fence surrounding the building which could allow a toddler to escape. Cllr. Sutherland also reported that the bollard to the raised kerb outside Kentonville  had been knocked down and since this had happened several cars had hit the kerb having been blinded by the sun. He suggested that a sign warning of the raised kerb might be installed.

Cllr. Grey reported that noisy improvement works to Higham Station had continued until the early hours of the morning but that no one knew anything about the works in question. The alterations to the CPZ had still not been implemented and did not appear to have been approved at a JTB Meeting. He had received reports that foxes had been seen on the playground at Higham School.

Cllr. Oakeshott reported that the Army at Maidstone Barracks still hoped to be able to help the Parish with the clearance of the pond to Lower Higham some time in the future. Following a complaint regarding the quality of building materials used in the new properties at The Chequers, the Borough Housing Officer and Surveyor had visited the site but could find no problem. Cllr. Oakeshott confirmed that the request for a dropped kerb to the top of Taylors Lane was currently being considered by the Access Group but it needed some idea of anticipated usage.

Cllr. Ashby reported that, following the completion of building works, the grass verge outside The Orchards in School Lane had now been reinstated but the sign was still missing. It was understood that the grass verge opposite the property also had to be repaired and the Enforcement Officer would be informed  accordingly. Cllr. Ashby suggested that a data logger should be installed in Gore Green Road to provide evidence of vehicle movements and the need for concealed entrance signs. He also suggested that the vegetation to the junction of Gore Green Road and Lower Rochester Road should be cut back to improve the sight lines.






a.    Planning.

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


Appln. no. 20110363   Gads Hill House School, Gravesend Road.

Siting of a portacabin to provide additional classroom facilities for a temporary period of three years.

Appln. no. 20110361   Gads Hill House School, Gravesend Road.

Application for minor material amendments to Listed Building Consent reference number 20070189 relating to the design of the proposed new junior and senior schools only.

Appln. no. 20110362   Gads Hill House School, Gravesend Road.

Application for minor material amendment to planning permission reference number 20070188 relating to the design of the proposed new junior and senior schools only.

Appln. no. 20110403   Upshire Studios, 3, Hermitage Road.

Erection of a storage shed at the side.

Appln. no. 20110422   Karibu, Old Watling Street.

Erection of part two storey and part single storey rear extension to form an enlarged lounge, enlarged study/office and dining room at ground floor level with bedroom, enlarged bedroom and shower room/wc at first floor level and erection of a front porch.

Appln. no. 20110420   5, St. John’s Close.

Erection of single storey rear extension to form enlarged kitchen/diner and lounge and erection of a detached garage with pitched roof at the rear.

Appln. no. 20110198   Higham Hall Farm House, Taylors Lane.

Erection of a single storey infill extension at the side to form a utility room and construction of new pitched roof to replace existing roof on side extension.

Appln. no. 20110404   Gads Hill House School, Gravesend Road.

Application for the approval of condition 5 attached to Listed Building Consent reference number 20070189 relating to the boundary and surface treatments.

Appln. no. 20110405   Gads Hill House School, Gravesend Road.

Application for approval of conditions 7 – 10, 12 and 15 attached to planning permission reference number 20070188 relating to the vehicular access, highway improvements, boundary and surface treatments, surface water drainage and external lighting to access and car parking areas, landscaping scheme and surface water disposal.

Appln. no. 20110463   43, Steadman Close.

Demolition of existing rear extension and erection of single storey rear extension to form kitchen/dining room and shower room/wc.

Appln. no. 20110511   26, The Braes.

Erection of canopy over front and garage doors.

Appln. no. 20110549   Gads Hill House School, Gravesend Road.

Application for approval of conditions 3,14,16 and 20 attached to planning permission reference number 20070188 relating to details and samples of external materials, contaminated land assessment, assessment of impact on adjacent residential area with respect to noise and the archaeological watching brief.

Appln. no. 20110545   Gads Hill House School, Gravesend Road.

Application for approval of condition 3 attached to Listed Building Consent reference number 20070189 relating to the details and samples to be used in the construction of the building.

Appln. no. 20110522   16, Hermitage Road.

Formation of a vehicular access on to a classified road.

Appln. no. 20110541   Gads Hill House School, Gravesend Road.

Application for non-material amendment to planning permission reference number 20070188 to allow a start to be made on site to vehicle access, parking and turning areas in advance of other pre-commencement conditions.


h.     Governors of Higham School.

        Cllr. James reported that the past academic year had been  most successful with SAT’s results for level 4 or above showing an increase on those for the previous year (Maths 88% and English 78%). In a recent questionnaire most parents felt that the School was doing a good job although some felt that they did not know who the Governors of the school  were. Cllr. James appealed for help in the policing of the zig zag lines outside the school as parents had been observed turning their cars around in the entrance to the school whilst children and parents were nearby.


j.     Higham Youth Club.

       Cllr. Sutherland reported that numbers attending the Monday club were now increasing and an average of 70 now attended on a Wednesday evening.


k.     Chalk Liaison Group

        Cllr. Oakeshott reported that she had been in contact with Les Hills at Chalk and hoped to set up a meeting of this group to discuss the Lower Thames Crossing  in the near future.


l.      Rural Housing

        Representatives of the Parish Council had been invited to attend a Meeting at the Borough Council on 15/7 to discuss the allocation of the new units at The Chequers development.    


m.    PACT.

        Peter Leakey reported that the next PACT Meeting would be held on 6/9. He appealed for more volunteers for the SID speed watch scheme within the village.


n.     Kent Community Warden.

        Community Warden, Steve Gray, reported that he had held 2 coffee mornings/surgeries and the first coffee evening/surgery and each had been attended by a couple of people.

        Two counts of flytipping had been reported and collected and a litter pick requested and carried out for Old Watling Street. Several Higham residents had attended the recent 50+ Forum at the Woodville Halls which he had attended.     


o.     Kent Police

        On behalf of Kent Police the Clerk reported that a presence had been provided at the Higham Proms and Higham School Summer Fayre and would be forthcoming at the Village Parade. PC Gemma Pawley and PCSO Pete Hylands had taken teams of youths from Higham Youth Club to Leybourne Lakes for boat racing. Investigations were currently underway regarding incidences of criminal damage at the Kindergarten and complaints had been received about cold callers offering a sub standard job of fixing roofs within the village. Training with PC Ridley for those local residents who wanted to join a Speed Watch within the village would shortly take place.     



The Clerk presented the quarterly financial statement for the period 1/4/11 to 30/6/11. She asked for approval for the items shown below, this being proposed by Cllr.James , seconded by Cllr.Oakeshott and agreed by all Members.


Joanne Raff (Youth Leader – April )                                                                      305.25

EDF Energy 1 Ltd. (Christmas lighting)                                                                    81.51

Joanne Raff (Youth Leader – May)                                                                        444.00

Gravesham Borough Council (printing)                                                                      70.07

Clerk (garden gift tokens)                                                                                          80.00

Clive Stanley (webmaster services)                                                                         150.50

Clerk (printer cartridges)                                                                                          294.99

Clerk (bunting and flags for 2012)                                                                               96.55

Mr M. Allen (printer accessories)                                                                               50.00

KCPFA (2011 subscription)                                                                                        20.00           

Clerk’s salary (1/4/11 – 30/6/11 – net)                                                                      2553.57

Expenses – use of room as office (1/4/11 – 30/6/11)                                                   227.50

HM Revenue and Customs (PAYE/NI(employer/employee)                                       570.57

Admin.Exps.and Proms Event (1/4/11 – 30/6/11)                                                      1006.05

NALC (Local Council Review)                                                                                  48.00

Mrs P.Oakeshott (APA costs under Section 150(2) of LG Act 1972)                           26.95

1st Higham Guides (S137/139 grant for Summer camp)                                              160.00

Gemma Healey (S137/139 grant for World Challenge)                                                 50.00


The following proposal was recorded in the Minutes:-

“This Council in accordance with its powers under Sections 137 and 139 of the Local Government Act 1972, should incur an expenditure of £80 for garden gift tokens from the Millbrook Garden Company, which is in the opinion of the Council in the interests of the area or its inhabitants”



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 dates that the Play in the Park activity playscheme  would be visiting the village.

2.   Members noted that our application for Race for the Big Screen had been successful and there would be Olympic coverage in the village on Saturday 4/8/12

3.   Cllr. James agreed to attend the Gravesham Rural Forum on 14/7 which would deal with Rural Road Safety and the Planning System.

4.   Cllr. Grey agreed to attend the Kent Highways Seminar on 12/7. 


To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting.

This was given as now being Monday, 12th September 2011 at 7.30 p.m.


Any Other Business.

Cllr. Pearton reported that repairs had now been carried out on the roof of the toilets to the Memorial Hall car park.


There being no other business, the Meeting finally closed at 10.40 p.m.



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