Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the October 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 October 2011 at 7.30 p.m.


Present:                                   Cllr. Mrs P. Oakeshott (Vice Chairman in the Chair)

                                               Kent County Councillor: Cllr. M. Snelling.

                                               Borough Councillor: Cllr. H. Craske.

                                               Councillors: G, Ashby, A Carroll, J.Grey, A.Howard,   

                                               M.James, A.Mendzil, L.Pearton,  B. Sutherland, and  S.Wright.

 In attendance:                       3 Parishioners.

                                               Kent Community Warden Steve Gray.

                                               PCSOs Rob Meader and Pete Hylands.          

Apologies for absence:              Received from Cllr. Mrs J. Papadopulos

                                               PC Gemma Pawley.


The Chairman accepted apologies for absence.

There were no alterations to the Register of Members Interests.

The Clerk drew Members’ attention to several small maintenance items highlighted on the current Recreation Ground inspection sheet. Cllr. Howard reported that a bolt from one of the cradle seats was also missing and Cllr. Sutherland agreed to investigate.


The Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held on Monday, 12th September 2011, were confirmed and signed.


Matters arising from the Minutes.

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

Cllr. James referred to P 1019 of the Minutes and the policing of the zig-zag lines. PCSO Rob Meader confirmed that a traffic enforcement officer had visited the school the previous week but that Operation Zig Zag was full at the present time.


Parishioners’ Matters.

Mr Taylor, of Martins Close, asked Cllr. Pearton for an update regarding the occupants of Alexander Cottages.  He reported that the street name plate for Gore Green Road was missing although the posts were still in place.  


To discuss 2012 celebrations within the village.

The Clerk reported that the Scouts had already raised in the region of £2500 towards the cost of the firework display in 2012. The draft contract for the display needed to be returned with a deposit and it was agreed that the Scouts should be asked if they would provide this. The Village Parade had now been rescheduled for 14/7. Copperfield Clog would be inviting another side to dance with them at the Village Walk on 15/7 as it would be too exhausting to perform on their own. As Gravesham had now become an official  key community hub for people to view the Olympics, no admission charges could now be levied for the Big Screen event on 4/8. The PTA would be nominated as the local charity to benefit from any fundraising and it was hoped that this would encourage the Committee to join forces with the Parish Council to help run the event which might be able to be transferred to Higham Primary School to allow the Recreation Ground to be used for car parking. The Clerk expressed concern regarding the potential cost of first aid cover for the event in order to comply with the risk assessment and Cllr. Mendzil agreed to make further enquiries through her organisation.    


To further discuss the current play facilities within the Recreation Ground.

Cllr. Oakeshott explained that she had investigated the cost of providing two basketball posts to the Recreation Ground for the youngsters ,who had recently attended a Meeting, but now understood that this was not what they wanted. The Clerk reminded Members that the Parish Council was unlikely to attract any funding for new equipment until the Recreation Ground lease had been renewed next year. Concern was expressed that if one court of the Multi Purpose Games Area was opened up this would be used for skateboards and bikes and the surfacing would be destroyed. Cllr. Sutherland reported that he understood that both courts were well used for tennis during the Summer  months. It was agreed that the views of the youngsters needed to be sought. Rob Meader reported that a recently provided skate park/MUGA at Istead Rise had been ignored. It was agreed that PCSOs Pete Hylands and Rob Meader would set up a Youth Council to talk to the youngsters about what was wanted and what might be able to be provided, and keep Jo Raff informed.


Councillors’ Matters.


Cllr. Snelling reported that a leadership challenge to Paul Carter had been launched but had not attracted much support. Work continued on identifying ways to save £50 million for the financial year 2012/2013. KCC had been advised that the Icelandic Bank cash was now close to coming back and the deposit with Dexia Bank was now considered safe. A Youth Services Review was currently underway in Gravesham and, following a £2 million refurbishment , Gravesend Library had reopened. As Kent Highway Services had run out of cash to fund the long awaited lorry sign Cllr. Snelling reported that he would pledge some of his Highways Grant to assist, and was thanked by the Members. Cllr. Snelling had requested Tony Chadwick to prepare a report about the future of local station ticket offices. He agreed to ask Tony Chadwick if he felt a ticket machine would be installed at Higham Station.

Cllr. Grey again highlighted the need for protected passing places in School Lane and Cllr. Snelling agreed to speak to Kent Highway Services to see if a site meeting could be arranged at a peak time.

Cllr. Ashby expressed concern regarding the quality of extensive road patching works to the Lower Rochester Road and agreed to forward photographs to Cllr. Snelling for him to investigate further.



Cllr. Craske reported that the Registrar of Births and Deaths had now moved to the first floor of the Gravesend Library building. The forthcoming Regulatory Board Meeting to be held on 9/11 would deal with the planning application by Cascades for the Land Opposite the Railway Tavern and it was hoped that a large number of Parishioners would attend.  It was understood that the future of Higham Library was now assured and no cuts to local fire services were planned. Cllr. Craske urged those present to attend the Rural Neighbourhood Forum Meeting to be held on 17/10 at Istead Rise which would deal with the forthcoming Local Development Framework consultation. Gravesham Planners would also visit the Memorial Hall on 26/10 as part of this process to answer any questions from local residents. Cllr. Craske reported that the recent review of Parliamentary Constituencies by the Boundary Commission had made a recommendation that the local name should be changed from Gravesham to Gravesend and that Hartley and Hodsall Street should be included within the boundaries.    

Cllr. Pearton reported that adult tickets prices would be the same as those for children at the forthcoming pantomime at the Woodville Halls. He offered to provide details of a local contact who would be able to print flyers to encourage Parishioners to attend the forthcoming Regulatory Board Meeting.



Cllr. Ashby expressed his concern that the gate to the woods opposite Hollytree Drive was now covered with barbed wire and it was agreed that Steve Gray would visit the site to inspect.

Cllr. James reported that he had asked for the foliage to the centre of the Three Crutches roundabout to be cut back and it was suggested that the hedge to the Three Crutches P.H. could be cut back at the same time to expose the hidden road sign.

Cllr. Grey reported that a meeting was still awaited to discuss the allocation of the part rent/part buy units at the site of the former Chequers Inn PH. The garden area to the end of Mountbatten Avenue was now overrun with hawthorns.

Cllr. Wright suggested that a pavement could be created in front of the churchyard wall at St. John’s Church  in Hermitage Road to give a degree of protection to the front corner of the wall which had been hit by vehicles on several occasions.

Cllr. Mendzil reported that vehicles were now parking outside the railings opposite Gads Hill School, over the tunnel under the road. It was agreed that this situation needed to be monitored by Steve Gray as well as the number of vehicles parking outside Dingley Dell.

Cllr. Sutherland reported that local residents had been subjected to another evening of excessive noise from the Village Club and attempts to contact the organisers by telephone to register a complaint had been fruitless. It was agreed that Cllr. Pearton would speak with the Club Committee and the PCSOs and Community Warden would also pay a visit to the premises.

Cllr. Pearton reminded Members that the work to clear the village pond needed to be completed before next Spring. The street nameplate for Chalk Road on the edge of the village was still missing although the backboard was still in position.    






a.    Planning.

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


Appln. No 20110776   17, Colewood Drive.

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

Appln. No. 20110679   Darweni, 1, Gads Hill Place, Gravesend Road.

Erection of two storey side, part two storey part single storey rear extension to form playroom, dog room, storeroom, enlarged kitchen, bathroom/wc, lobby, hall and cloakroom at ground floor level with enlarged bedroom, additional bedroom and bathroom/wc at first floor level.

Appln. No 20110793   36, Walmers Avenue.

Erection of a detached outbuilding at the rear.


b.    K.A.L.C.

       Cllr. Sutherland reported that several Parish Councils had expressed concern  that hard copies of  planning applications might not be sent to them in future and discussion had taken place regarding referring this matter to Folkestone. All Parishes had serious concerns regarding the Local Development Framework consultation and the threat to the Green Belt locally.


c.    Memorial Hall.

       Cllr. Sutherland reported that the roof over the store room was to be renewed.


e.    Recreation Ground.

       Cllr. Wright reminded Members that funding needed to be set aside in the forthcoming budget to allow for repairs to take place to the Recreation Ground fencing in time for the 2012 celebrations. He suggested leaving spaces so that the footballers were able to retrieve any balls.


h.    Governors of Higham Primary School.

       Cllr. James reported that the pass rate for the recent 11+ examinations had been 25%.


j.     Higham Youth Club.

       Cllr. Sutherland reported that, following a recent anti-social behaviour incident involving youngsters who were not Youth Club members causing a nuisance on a meeting night, the Police were now attending the Club each Wednesday.


k.    Chalk Liaison Group.

       Cllr. Oakeshott reported that it had been decided to leave holding a Meeting until a final decision had been made on the route of the Lower Thames Crossing.


m.   PACT.

       Peter Leakey reported that the Speedwatch training had now been completed, but that no village groups had expressed an interest in joining the team.


n.    Kent Community Warden.

       Steve Gray reported that three counts of fly tipping had been reported and collected. The Brice Road route for the school Walking Bus had been cancelled at present due to a lack of volunteers and children to use it. The Lake Drive route continued to operate three times a week. A Handyvan demonstration had taken place at Age Concern. The Coffee Morning/Evening Surgeries continued to be held in spite of poor support. A Drugs Awareness Evening would take place at the Memorial Hall on Monday 7/11 in conjunction with the Youth Club and Kent Police. It was agreed to alter the date of the Budget and Finance Meeting by one week to14/11 to allow Councillors to attend this Meeting.


p.    Gads Hill School Development Committee.

       It was noted that at the present time work was still outstanding on the deterrent to the cycle lane, protection measures for the outside of the Rose Garden wall and an advisory speed limit.



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


Southern Water (water rates – allotments)                                                          63.55

St. John’s College Cambridge ( ½  year rent for R.G. by S.O.)                           250.00

Clive Stanley (webmaster services 1/7/11 – 30/9/11)                                          154.00

Clerk’s salary (net amount 1/7/11 – 30/9/11)                                                     2553.57

HMRC (Clerk’s PAYE/NI (Employer/Employee))                                             570.57

Use of room as office (1/7/11 – 30/9/11)                                                            227.50

Admin. Exps (1/7/11 – 30/9/11)                                                                         867.77

Jo Raff (Youth Leader 1/6/11 – 30/9/11)                                                          1304.25

KCS (rock salt)                                                                                                116.82

Glasdon Manufacturing Ltd ( Rollastor grit bins)                                                362.06

Clerk (snow shovels)                                                                                         64.00                 



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. It was noted that negotiations regarding the renewal of the Recreation Ground lease were about to commence.
  2. Members welcomed the provision of a second bulkbag of sand/salt by Kent Highways.

To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting.

This was given as now being Monday, 14th November 2011 at 7.30 p.m. for the Budget and Finance Meeting. The Christmas Meeting would be held on Monday, 28th November 2011 at 7.30 p.m. with the Mayor of Gravesham in attendance.


Any Other Business.

Cllr. Sutherland asked the Clerk to provide him with a list of the locations of salt bins within the Parish.



There being no other business, the Meeting closed at 10.35 p.m.           




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