Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the September 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, 12th September 2011 at 7.30 p.m.


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

                                               Kent County Councillor: Cllr. M. Snelling.

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

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

In attendance:                          Morton Grey

                                              45 Parishioners.

Apologies for absence:            Received from Cllrs. Oakeshott and James, Borough Councillor                          

                                              Harold Craske, PC Gemma Pawley, Kent Community Warden

                                              Steve Gray.


Prior to the commencement of the Meeting awards were presented to prize-winners of the Higham Gardens for Pleasure Competition 2011, by Cllr. Stuart Wright and Morton Grey, who had again carried out the final judging on behalf of the Parish Council. It was noted that it was the second year running that the competition had been won by this year’s winners.


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)

Margaret and Terence  Greenshields, “Courtlands”, Crutches Lane.


THIRD PRIZE (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)

Greta Stowers, 42, St.John’s Road.


"HIGHLY COMMENDED" (Framed certificate)

Anne and  Rob  Miles, 13, Highwood Close.

Anthony and  June  Stevenson, 3, Hayes Close.

Marlies Browne, 24, Beech Grove.


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

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



The Joblin Family, “Hill Cottage”, 8, Telegraph Hill.



The Gardeners Arms Public House, Forge Lane.

The Stone Horse Public House, Dillywood Lane.                           EQUAL PLACING   


Red Admiral Homes – development of the site at The Chequers PH.

The Chairman welcomed representatives from Red Admiral Homes to the Meeting. Matthew Woodhead outlined ideas to build two bungalows for the elderly to the back corner of the site in addition to the five units already completed. He also explored the possibility of providing “flat over garage” units over some of the parking bays on site, although he stressed that no formal drawings had as yet been prepared for submission to the Borough Council. The Chairman reminded Red Admiral Homes that any land remaining on site was designated as amenity land. Mr Woodhead confirmed that this open space area would remain and that the opportunity had arisen as a result of the rearrangement of the site. Kevin Rice, of Red Admiral Homes, described  the need for affordable quality built properties within the village and condemned the feelings of negativity locally against this project. Cllr. Grey reminded those present that the Parish Council had already reduced the number of properties on this development when the original plans had been submitted and did not support the concept of living accommodation over parking bays. Cllr. Sutherland highlighted the number of properties currently for sale and to rent elsewhere within the village. Cllr. Pearton drew attention to the lack of facilities in the immediate area with no shops, only two buses a day and currently no vacancies at the village school.

Local residents claimed that these proposals would lead to overdevelopment of the site and  had serious concerns about the effect the site expansion would have on this Conservation Area. It was felt that there was already insufficient parking on site and residents were fearful that additional vehicles would be forced to park around the bend on this dangerous junction which was part of the designated lorry route from Canal Road. Some residents expressed concern regarding the further strain this would place on the local infrastructure and questioned whether the builders were meeting their obligation to a sustainable community.

Following a lively debate the Chairman thanked representatives of Red Admiral Homes for attending the Meeting and moved on with the agenda.


The Chairman accepted apologies for absence.

There were no alterations to the Register of Members Interests.

The Clerk reported damage to the five bar gate at the Recreation Ground which had necessitated its removal for welding repairs.


The Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held on Monday, 11th July 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. 1012. Parishioners’ Matters. Concealed entrance signs. Kent Highways had confirmed that they had insufficient funding for such a request at present but had no jurisdiction for signs placed on private land. It was agreed that Cllr. Sutherland would meet with Mr Jefferson on site to further discuss the matter.

b.  P. 1014 Parish. CPZ to Lower Higham. Paul Gibbons had confirmed that he would be able to provide CPZ enforcement cover for the period 11:00 to 12:00 and Members were in agreement with this amended time.

c.  P. 1016. Governors of Higham School. Zig-zag lines. The Gravesham parking enforcement team had noted the current problems and would visit on a more regular basis. They would try to include the school in the forthcoming Operation Zig-Zag.

d.  P. 1014. Site Meeting – Thamesview Cottages. Cllrs. Wright and Ashby agreed to meet on site to assess the suitability of laying scalpings behind the cottages.

e.  Web site report. For the past 12 month rolling period there had been a total of 37,297 hits to the website with 4024 visitors in June alone – a record total for one month.


Parishioners’ Matters.

Mr Taylor, of Martins Close, enquired if Alexander Cottages were still designated as being for the elderly as he had received reports that a young family was now living there. Cllr. Pearton agreed to make further enquiries.       


To further discuss recent planning applications received for Gads Hill School.

The Clerk reported that following the last Parish Council Meeting a site meeting at the junction of Crutches Lane with the A226 had been held with Members of Kent Highway Services. Items discussed had then been raised with Gravesham planners at a hastily arranged Meeting at Gads Hill between all parties on 4/8 following the formation of a temporary staff car park in the Rose Garden by the school, without planning permission. This Meeting had led to the formation of a School Development Committee comprising representatives from the School, Gravesham Borough Council, Kent Highways, local residents and the Parish Council. This forum aimed to keep all parties in contact with each other and informed for the duration of the building works at the school and the Parish Council representative was Cllr. Ashby.

The Chairman welcomed David Craggs, Headmaster of Gads Hill School, to the Meeting.

Mr Craggs hoped that his visit to the Parish Council would usher in a period of greater communication and understanding between the School and the village and that he could answer any queries regarding current planning applications and planned works at the school. Cllr Grey expressed the disquiet of the Members of the Parish Council when it had been learnt that the school had actively encouraged its parents to lobby individual members during the school Summer holiday period by providing full contact details. He reiterated that the Parish Council had been elected to look after the interests of all the Parishioners in the village and that this would from time to time produce disharmony. The Chairman reassured Mr Craggs that the Parish Council was broadly supportive of the development of the school but was unhappy at the current trend for retrospective planning applications which were submitted once the works had already taken place. Although it was acknowledged that the new car park arrangements seemed to be working well at the present time, Cllr. Pearton reminded Mr Craggs that works to block the cycle lane still needed to be carried out, as did hoarding put in place to protect the Rose Garden wall, and notices for the advisory speed limit  to the A226. Mr Craggs revealed that the school intended to apply for yellow zig-zag lines to the Gravesend Road and hoped to fund a traffic patrol person to help the pupils cross the road. An application for change of use of farmland to form an additional 4 acres of playing fields, comprising both cricket and rugby pitches, would shortly be submitted. Mr Craggs agreed to investigate why the Eagles Football Club were unable to continue using the school facilities at the present time.


To discuss 2012 celebrations within the village.

The Clerk reported that the sub-committee had met several times and a provisional schedule had now been drawn up and discussions were taking place with relevant groups. The 2012 celebrations would start on 6/7 with the annual Proms Concert followed by a Firework Display, The following day would be the Village Parade / Dickensian Fayre and Disco at Higham Primary School. Further events under consideration included a Concert with Strawberry Tea at the Memorial Hall, Favourite Songs of Praise at St. John’s Church, a

Film Night at St. Mary’s Church, Village Quiz Night and a Village Walk from the Village Club to The Stone Horse. The Clerk reported that she and the Chairman had attended the first Meeting for The Race for the Big Screen. At present the PTA Committee at Higham School was considering if it would like to be involved in the day to provide a boost to funds and if this was the case it was hoped that permission could be sought from both the Borough Council and Higham School for the venue to be changed to the School Field. Cllr. Ashby reminded those present that it was anticipated that junction improvement works at Gads Hill School were currently scheduled for this period.


Councillors’ Matters.


Cllr. Snelling reported that deliberations continued to identify savings of £50 million on the budget for the next financial year. An allocation of nearly £10 million had been made to Kent and Medway to upgrade the Broadband infrastructure and it was hoped that some should filter down to rural areas in Gravesham. A Police Commissioner would be elected in November 2012 and the Kent Police Authority would be abolished. The Local Development Framework presented dangers for the Green Belt as some sites on the fringes of rural villages might be under threat of development after the Green Belt boundary was moved. The next Rural Neighbourhood Forum on 17/10 would look at this issue.



There was nothing to report.



Cllr. Pearton asked if the broken wooden bollard to the bottom of School Lane had been replaced and Cllr. Grey reported that he believed this was still outstanding.

Cllr. Ashby reported that School Lane had been flooded near the bend for the bridge.






a.    Planning.

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


Appln. no. 20110581   36, School Lane.

Erection of single storey rear extension to form a dining room and sitting room.

Appln. no. 20110608   Byeways, Lower Rochester Road.

Erection of an attached garage at the side.

Appln. no. 20110583   Higham Hall, Taylors Lane.

Erection of a replacement garden shed.

Appln. no. 20110578   Land at Chequers Street.

Erection of a total of 14 dwellings comprising two one bedroom flats; three pairs of three bedroom semi-detached dwellings and three pairs of two bedroom semi-detached dwellings with associated car parking; and hard and soft landscaping.

Appln. no. 20110611   34, The Braes.

Erection of single storey rear extension to form an enlarged kitchen/dining room and a conservatory.

Appln. no.. 20110616   11, Norah Lane.

Erection of rear extension to existing double garage to form a garden store.

Appln. no. 20110600   Lynwood, Gravesend Road.

Erection of single storey side extension to form a double garage and a single storey rear extension to form a sun room.


Appln. no. 20110432   24, Hollytree Drive.

Construction of two dormer windows in front roof slope; dormer extension in rear roof slope and conversion of roof space into two bedrooms each with ensuite bathroom/wc.

Appln. no. 20110630   Glenview, 8, Hollytree Drive.

Retention of the garage conversion into storage/playroom and for occasional tutoring purposes.

Appln. no. 20110667   11, Hollytree Drive.

Conversion of detached outbuilding into a two bedroom dwelling to be used in connection with the main house.

Appln. no. 20110685   41 & 43, Steadman Close.

Erection of joint single storey rear extensions to 41 and 43 Steadman Close to form kitchen/dining room and shower room/wc to 43 and utility room, wc and enlarged lounge to 41.

Appln. no. 20110711   1, Reynolds Fields.

Erection of single storey side extension to form a garage involving conversion of existing garage into an enlarged kitchen/family room.

Appln. no. 20110726   Gads Hill House School, Gravesend Road.

Retention of a staff car park on the rose garden/croquet lawn for a temporary period of one year.

Appln. no. 20110727   Gads Hill House School, Gravesend Road.

Demolition of caretaker’s shed and erection of a meter shed (electrical intake enclosure) within north east corner of site.

Appln. no. 20110734   Gads Hill House School, Gravesend Road.

Retention of new vehicular access (egress only) onto farm track at southern boundary of site and resurfacing of existing farm access to serve school car park for a temporary period of one year.

Appln. no. 20110745   19, School Lane.

Demolition of existing conservatory and erection of a two storey rear extension to form a family room at ground floor level with an enlarged bedroom and ensuite shower room/wc at first floor level.  

Appln. no. 20110413   Oakleigh Farm, Buckland Road.

Erection of a detached building to provide office facilities and self contained temporary overnight accommodation.


i      Merston Court.

        The Chairman reported that 3 new cooks and a driver were urgently required.


j.     Higham Youth Club.

       Cllr. Sutherland reported that the Youth Club had been given tickets to a prestigious event  at Leeds Castle.


m.   PACT.

       Peter Leakey reported that he intended to contact village groups such as HiARA and WI to see if the members would be interested in joining the Speed Watch team.     


n.    Kent Community Warden.

       In the absence of Steve Gray the Clerk reported that Community Coffee Morning/ Evening/Surgeries continued to be held although not well attended. He had attended a NHW Meeting for a new scheme in Norah Lane and Play in the Park events at the Recreation Ground. A litter pick for Old Watling Street had been carried out. Lead flashing had been taken from the porch roof at the Congregational Church and the corner of the wall outside St. John’s Church had been knocked down.



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


BT Payment Services Ltd. (broadband)                                                                         114.75

RCL Office Supplies (analysis books etc.)                                                                      76.37

Clerk (garden gift tokens)                                                                                               80.00

Zurich Insurance plc (renewal premium for Pavilion)                                                    1216.75

Audit Commission (2011 audit fee)                                                                              342.00

Clerk (ex-gratia payment)                                                                                            150.00

St. John Ambulance (first aid cover for the Proms)                                                       270.00

SLCC (annual membership)                                                                                         135.00



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 2011 Audit.

2.   Members noted that a special Gravesham Rural Neighbourhood Forum was to be held on 17/10 to discuss the threat  to the Green Belt in the rural areas.


To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting.

This was given as being Monday, 10th October 2011 at 7.30 p.m. The Budget and Finance Meeting would be held on Monday, 7th November 2011 at 7.30 p.m.


Any Other Business.

Cllr. Sutherland reported an incident where a youngster had suffered injury to his face when he had run into the swing chains at night.



There being no other business, the Meeting closed at 10.30 p.m..           




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