Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the May 2011 Parish Council Meetings
[Draft Minutes - to be confirmed at next Meeting]

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Minutes of the Annual Parish Council Meeting followed by a Parish Council Meeting held at the Memorial Hall, School Lane, on Monday, 9th May 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.P.Ashby, J.A.Grey, A.L.Howard,

                                                Mrs A. Mendzil, Mrs P.O. Oakeshott, L.M.Pearton (also

                                                Borough),  B.Sutherland, and S.Wright.

In attendance:                           PC Gemma Pawley

                                                Kent Community Warden Steve Gray

                                                10 Parishioners.                                             

Apologies for absence:           Received from Cllrs. Carroll and James


Prior to the commencement of the Meeting the Clerk received the signed Declaration of Acceptance of Office, and Register of Members’ Financial and Other Interest forms from all Councillors present at the Meeting. Members gave leave for the two Councillors not attending the Meeting to sign their declarations at a later date.



       The Clerk called for nominations for the position of Chairman by secret ballot. Cllr.

        Papadopulos was elected as Chairman by a majority vote.




       The Chairman asked for nominations for the position of Vice Chairman by secret ballot.

       Cllr. Oakeshott was elected as Vice Chairman by a majority vote.


       It was proposed by Cllr.Pearton, seconded by Cllr. Oakeshott and agreed by all Members

       that the following should be elected to Committees  (lead member in capitals where


       The Clerk reminded Members that .both the Chairman and Vice Chairman would be

       ex-officio Members of  the Planning, Budget and Finance and Emergency Planning


a.    Allotment Committee.

       Cllrs HOWARD, Papadopulos and Wright (3 MEMBERS)

b.    Recreation Committee.

       Cllrs. Ashby, Pearton, and WRIGHT (3 MEMBERS)

c.     Planning Committee.

       Cllrs. Ashby, Carroll, Grey, Howard, James, Mendzil, Pearton, Sutherland and Wright.

       (9 MEMBERS)

d.    Parish Environment and Conservation Committee.

      Cllrs. Grey, Howard, Mendzil, Oakeshott, Pearton, Sutherland, and Wright

      (7 MEMBERS).

e.    The Budget and Finance Committee.

      Cllrs.Ashby, Carroll, Grey, Howard, James, Mendzil, Pearton, Sutherland, and Wright

      (9 MEMBERS)

f.    Parish Newsletter Committee.

      Cllrs. Oakeshott and Papadopulos  (2 MEMBERS)

g.   Parish Lighting Committee

      Cllrs. Ashby, Mendzil, and Pearton (3 MEMBERS)

i.    Social and Entertainment Committee.(includes 2012 celebrations)

      Cllrs. Carroll, Grey, Mendzil, Pearton, Sutherland,  (5 MEMBERS).

j.    Emergency Planning Committee.

      Cllrs. Ashby, Carroll, Grey, Howard, James, Mendzil, Pearton, Sutherland and Wright.

      (9 MEMBERS).

k.   Severe Weather Committee

      Cllrs Ashby, Howard  and Sutherland.(3 MEMBERS)



      These were agreed as follows:-

a.   K.A.P.C. - Cllrs Grey and Sutherland.

b.   Memorial Hall Management Committee - Cllr. Sutherland

c.   Local Transport Advisory Committee (Village Transport Representatives) - Cllrs. Howard and Wright.

d.   Merston Court Day Centre - Cllr. Papadopulos.

e.   G.R.O.W.C. - Cllrs. Howard and Wright.

f.   Multi-Purpose Sports Facility - Cllr. Sutherland

g.   Higham Youth Club - Cllrs. Papadopulos and Sutherland.

h.   C.P.R.E. - Cllr. Sutherland.

i.   Governing Body of Higham Primary School - Cllr. James. (Cllr. Pearton also serving on Governing Body.)

j.   Police Advisory Committee - Cllrs. Grey and Howard.

k.   Chalk Liaison Group - Cllrs. Oakeshott and Pearton

l.    Rural Housing - Cllrs. Oakeshott and Grey.

m.  Village Roads, Pavements and Lighting – Cllrs Ashby, Carroll and Grey

n.    Higham Gardens for Pleasure Competition – ALL.


6.   The Chairman thanked Liz Jeffery for continuing to act as the Parish Council Press

       Officer in addition to her role as the Village Press Correspondent.


7.    The Clerk proposed a vote of thanks to both the Chairman and Cllr. Anne Carroll for

       their help in providing refreshments at Meetings.     


      The Meeting closed at 8.00 p.m.



                                             PARISH COUNCIL MEETING.


It was proposed by Cllr.Sutherland, seconded by Cllr. Grey, and agreed unanimously by all Members present that Standing Orders, including amendments for the Annual Parish Assembly, Financial Regulations, and Delegated Powers for the Planning Committee, should be adopted.

The Chairman accepted apologies for absence.

There were no alterations to the Register of Members Interests.

No inspection reports for Parish property and amenities were received.


The Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting, held on Monday, 4th April 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. 1000. Provision of new allotments. It was agreed that the Allotment Committee would

       meet with the residents of Thamesview Cottages on site to hear their concerns and seek a

       way forward.

b.    P. 1000. Higham Celebrations 2012. It was hoped to meet with the firework display

       company to discuss the cost of firework options available.. It was understood that

       celebrations at Gads Hill would be taking place in June 2012.

c.    P. 1001. County. Vacancies at Springhead traveller site. Cllr. Snelling had confirmed that

       the Borough Council had no nomination rights for this site and therefore this was not an

       option at the present time.

d.    P. 1001. Parish. Missing sign. It was understood that the Forge Lane nameplate was

       with Mr Saunders of 22, Forge Lane who intended to replace the rotten backboard and

       re-fix it.

e.    P.1001. Parish. Stickers had now been prepared to go on the front of the Arriva

       timetables advertising the new bus stops to the A2 Watling Street.

f.    P. 1002. Planning. A letter had been sent to all residents of The Braes advising them of

      the planning application for 24, Telegraph Hill. The property had subsequently been

      demolished and the planning application withdrawn.


Parishioners’ Matters.

Mr Halls, of Brookers Place, reported that the proposal for a rural housing development on green belt land in Lower Rochester Road was of major concern to local residents, although it was understood that at the present time no application had been submitted. A recent exhibition at the site by Cascade Rural Housing Solutions, called at short notice, had provoked a local protest and over 300 people had now signed a petition against the development. The Chairman reassured Mr Halls that the Parish Council would not be supporting any plans, should they be submitted, for this scheme. Members expressed concern that the Rural Housing Survey for Higham had been able to be accessed via the Borough Council website and asked that it be removed. Cllr. Sutherland reminded those present that the Parish Council had already decided that it did not wish to consider any further rural housing developments on green belt sites within the village for the foreseeable future.

Paul Cater, of Jupp Court, gave an insight into rural housing within the village emphasizing the current costs and the problems of securing mortgages.

Mr Hall also drew attention to the quality of the building materials being used for the

Chequers development and Cllr. Oakeshott reassured him that all works were being closely monitored.

Mr Humbles, of School Lane, expressed the frustration of many Parishioners that heavy vehicles were being directed through the village by satellite navigation systems and he again called for the Parish Council to take action to secure a 7 ½ tonne weight limit. Cllr. Snelling confirmed that the County Council was pressing for navigation systems to be internationally altered so that they showed the correct routes to be used.

Mr Jefferson, of Martins Close, confirmed that large numbers of lorries were also using Gore Green Road and asked if a road sign could be installed warning of a concealed entrance in the road. 


To discuss the recent public exhibition held by Cascade Rural Housing Solutions.

This item had already been dealt with earlier in the Meeting.


Matters Arising from this year’s Annual Parish Assembly.

The Clerk reminded Members of matters arising from this year’s Annual Parish Assembly.

Cllr. Sweetland had walked around the village with Cllr. Ashby inspecting the current state of footpaths and roads as suggested at the Meeting. A request had been made for double yellow lines around the Gardeners Arms Public House to deter parking on this busy corner. A suggestion had been made that perhaps Suttons Yard could be used for car parking in the centre of the village on a lease basis. It was understood that the track through the lower allotment gardens was now deeply rutted. A list of contact addresses and telephone numbers of all village organizations had now been given to Peter Allinson by the Clerk so that he could write to them about the Grand Village Raffle.


To finalise arrangements for the 2011 Higham Gardens for Pleasure Competition.

The Chairman reported that Morton Grey had again agreed to judge the competition. She urged Members to sign up for roads to inspect as it was possible that the competition would be judged earlier than last year due to the fine weather in April.


To arrange dates for Parish Council Meetings in 2012.

The Clerk had circulated details of dates for Meetings in 2012 prior to the Meeting and the following were agreed:-


Mondays:- 9th  January,  20th   February, 2nd  April,  14th May (Annual Parish Council Meeting with Parish Council Meeting), 25th June,  3rd  September,  8th October,  12th November (Budget and Finance only) , and 26th November (Christmas Meeting with the Mayor of Gravesham).

The Annual Parish Assembly would take place on Thursday, 12th April.


The remaining dates for Meetings in 2011 are as follows:-

Mondays:- 5th September,  10th October,  7th  November (Budget and Finance only) and 28th November (Christmas Meeting with the Mayor of Gravesham).


“Friday Night at the Proms” event 2011.

The Clerk updated Members on the arrangements which had been made for this event. Notices were now on display throughout the village and on the website and tickets were being sold at Higham Library. The banners advertising the event were already in position. HiARA and the W.I. had been given an allocation of tickets and each Councillor would also be issued with some to sell. An application had been made to Kent Highways for an Events Licence and a Risk Assessment form had been completed. The SJAB would again be in attendance to cover for First Aid . The Chairman and Cllr. Oakeshott agreed to provide supper for the bandsmen. The toilets to the Memorial Hall car park would be open and also those to the Memorial Hall as the Parish Council would pay for the Memorial Hall cleaner to be there. Union jack flags had already been purchased for Parishioners to wave.

The ice cream van would arrive at 17.00 hours. Cllr. Ashby agreed to investigate the provision of some 2.5 m high fencing to organize the entrances to the Recreation Ground for this event.


Councillors’ Matters.


Cllr. Snelling reported that at the present time guidance was still being sought from Eric Pickles regarding Traveller Sites and it was widely expected that this would form part of the forthcoming Localism Bill. At the present time it had not been possible to provide any additional capacity within Gravesham and there was no control over who was able to use the existing site at Springhead.

Cllr. Grey highlighted the need for passing places in School Lane because of the heavy traffic that used the village roads at all times of day. Cllr. Snelling was unconvinced that a weight limit would be the solution as the police would be unable to enforce it. It was agreed that the Clerk would email previous correspondence regarding this matter to Cllr. Snelling for him to speak with Kent Highways on our behalf.

Cllr. Mendzil alerted Cllr. Snelling to changes in the rail services to the village contained in the new timetables recently published. The Clerk agreed to forward an email outlining these changes to Cllr. Snelling so that Tony Chadwick would be able to investigate further.  



The Chairman congratulated Cllrs. Pearton and Craske who had been elected as ward councillors for Higham at the recent Local Council elections.



Cllr. Howard asked if it would be possible to install a crossover at the top of Taylors Lane. and agreed to liaise with Cllr. Oakeshott, who was on the local Access Group, regarding the position of this. He reported that the street name sign outside his house was missing and required reinstatement.

Cllr. Ashby reported that a new fence had been installed outside The Orchards in School Lane but that a road sign was still laying by the side of the road.

Cllr. Grey reported that a mattress had been dumped in Canal Road and that a tree had fallen over the path near to the crossing. There were several potholes to the bend at Chequers Street and a post had been knocked down.

Cllr. Pearton reported complaints regarding ongoing problems caused by traffic parked over the cycle lane on the A226 outside Gads Hill School. He enquired if the traffic orders had now been renewed so that vehicles could be ticketed. Discussion took place regarding the possibility of creating a 20 mph zone across Telegraph Hill to aid any schoolchildren walking to Gads Hill. Cllr. Craske suggested approaching Cllr. Snelling to see if some of his Transport Grant might be used to create a one way system on the hill.

Cllr. Oakeshott reported that the housing association would be replacing any dead trees at Jupp Court in the Autumn.





a.    Planning

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

       and reviewed by the Planning Committee:-


Appln. no. 20110267   23, Forge Lane.

Erection of two storey front and single storey side extension to form dining room, enlarged hallway, garage, utility room and shower room/wc at ground floor level with bedroom at first floor level.

Appln. no. 20110311   17, Colewood Drive.

Erection of part two storey and part single storey side extension to form garage, swimming pool with ancilliary facilities at ground floor level and bedroom with ensuite bathroom/wc and walk-in wardrobe at first floor level.     

Appln. no 20110345   25, Telegraph Hill.

Erection of two storey side extension to form lounge at ground floor level with bedroom, ensuite shower room/wc and bathroom/wc at first floor level.



 j.    Higham Youth Club.

       Cllr. Sutherland reported that a water sports day would be held on 3/7 in association with

       Kent Police when teams from both Higham and Cobham Youth Clubs would compete in

       bell boating events at Leybourne Lakes.


m.   PACT.

       Peter Leakey reported that the next PACT Meeting would be held on 7/6 at Higham

       Library and would deal with speeding traffic issues.


n.    Kent Community Warden.

       Steve Gray reported that the last Coffee Morning / Surgery at the end of April was poorly

       attended. The next would be held on 26/5. The first Coffee Evening / Surgery would be

       held on 31/5 in Higham Library from 19.30 to 20.30 hours. Four instances of fly tipping

       and a litter pick had been requested and carried out. One untaxed vehicle had been

       reported. A presentation had been made to Higham W.I.


o.    Kent Police.

       PC Gemma Pawley reported that there had been incidences of tools being stolen from

       vans within the vcillage and cigarettes had been stolen from Slingsbys. Eggs had been

       thrown at a property in Norah Lane on three occasions. Several Parishioners from the

       village had taken part in the recent on-line Meeting that had been held.



The Clerk asked for approval for the items shown below this being proposed by Cllr.

Oakeshott , seconded by Cllr.Sutherland  and agreed by all Members:-


RSPB (talk at APA under Section 150 (2) of L.G.Act 1972)                                             50.00

BT payment services ltd. (broadband)                                                                              123.00

Mrs L.M. Carnall (400 union jack flags purchased for Proms 2011)                                   101.66

Mrs J.M.Papadopulos (APA costs under Section 150(2) of L.G.Act 1972)                          79.31

KALC (Good Councillor Guide)                                                                                        16.00

Gravesham Borough Council (printing)                                                                              13.82

AON (renewal premium)                                                                                                1557.05

KCS (compression plates for filing cabinet)                                                                        68.04

KALC (Standing Orders and Chairmanship)                                                                      25.00

Aspect Press Ltd (2011 newsletter)                                                                                1145.00

M.J.Read and Co (annual accounts and internal controls – 2011)                                        432.00

Ryman (printer cartridges)                                                                                                294.88                                                  

C.P.R.E. (2011 subscription)                                                                                              29.00


To approve the Annual Return for Local Councils for the Year Ended 31st March 2011.

Copies of both the Annual Return for Local Councils in England and Wales, and accounts for the financial year ended 31st March 2011, had been circulated to Members prior to the Meeting. Both documents were approved unanimously by all Members present.

Members again noted the comments made by Nigel Wharton regarding the Council conducting a review once a year of the effectiveness of its system of internal control. It was agreed that, as last year, this should be considered by the Budget and Finance Committee when it met in early November, and the findings should be ratified by the full Parish Council Meeting at the end of November.



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 annual audit would take place from 20/6. 


To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting.

This was given as being Monday, 11th July 2011 at 7.30 p.m.


Any Other Business.

It was noted that a total of 55 people had attended the Three Parishes Walk organized by Christoph Bull as part of the Discover Gravesham event.


There being no other business, the Meeting closed at 10.00 p.m.




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