Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the February 2012 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, 20th February 2012 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, A.Howard,   

                                               M.James, A. Mendzil,  P. Oakeshott,  L. Pearton, B.Sutherland

                                               and S.Wright.

In attendance:                          6 Parishioners

                                               PCSO Pete Hylands   

                                               Liz Jeffery – Village Correspondent and Press Officer.

Apologies for absence:             Received from PCSO Rob Meader and Kent Community 

                                               Warden Steve Gray.


The Chairman accepted apologies for absence.

There were no alterations to the Register of Members Interests.

The Clerk reported that the last inspection of the Recreation Ground had revealed no problems.


The Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting, held on Monday, 9th January 2012, were confirmed and signed


Matters arising from the Minutes.

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

a. P. 1034 Matters Arising. Passing places to School Lane. Cllrs. James and Grey had met with Alan Casson on 8/2 to view the problem at the end of the school day. They had concluded that yellow lines would be ineffective as they were likely to be ignored and the positioning of a couple of full passing areas would lead to them being parked in. Alan Casson had agreed to look into the feasibility of  using land opposite the school to provide a couple of half passing areas which, although they would permit passing, would not be big enough to be parked in.

b. P. 1034 Matters Arising. Chequers Site. One of the two key worker applicants with Higham connections, approved for the shared ownership Dorritt Cottages, had pulled out. The Parish Council had been asked to consider an alternative couple who had no links to the village. Following discussion it was agreed not to proceed with these people but ask the Borough Council to check over the list of applicants again to find someone with a Higham


c.  P. 1035 Parishioners Matters. The subsiding trench behind the Parade of shops had been reported.

d.  P. 1035 Parishioners Matters. A request had been made for the trees to either side of the Dickens sign to the Gravesend Road to be cut back so that the sign could be seen.

e.  P. 1036 Borough. An objection had been made to the planning application for the Higham Station car park.

f.  P. 1036 Parish. Encroachment on highway. Cllr. Ashby had agreed to talk to local reisdents to ascertain how long this problem had existed and advise Alan Casson accordingly.

g.  New street nameplates were now in place for Crutches Lane, Chalk Road and Gore Green  Road (although it was noted that the latter was now leaning at an angle).

Parishioners’ Matters.

Several representations had been received from residents of Forge Lane following the receipt of a letter from the Parish Council regarding the possible installation of double yellow lines to the end of the road close to the junction with the A226 to deter nuisance parking. Although aware that the current parking problem might escalate with the completion of the Junior School in the autumn, the overwhelming view of the residents was that they would only support parking restrictions at certain times of day with permits for residents. Following discussion it was agreed to recommend restrictions between 08.00 to 10.00 and 15.00 to 17.00 hours. 


2012 Celebrations.

The Clerk reported that the Proms concert would start at 7.30 p.m. this year and the band would install lights on their music stands so that they could play through to when the fireworks started. Tickets would be on sale at Higham Library and would cost £4 in advance and £5 on the door. A centre pull out sheet in the newsletter would list all of the 2012 events. 

The Peninsula Big Band and Steel Ambition would be playing for the crowds waiting to see the Olympic Torch Relay on 20/7 although the exact timings of this were not yet known. To encourage Parishioners to line the route in Dickensian costume the Chairman had arranged for paper patterns of mob caps and aprons to be available free of charge from Higham Library. It was anticipated that the Big Screen would broadcast live Olympic action from 10.00 to 22.00 hours on 4/8. There would be a Circus Skills workshop and Soccer and Cricket skills sessions on the Multi-Purpose Games Area. Something2do would run pre-school activities in a large marquee. The Event Organiser would be Cllr. Pearton.  Cllrs. Grey and Howard agreed to fill in the large number of forms for these events in order to apply for the licences.  Cllr. Oakeshott reported that the 2012 quilt being made by Copperfield Quilters would be finished by the beginning of June and ready to hang in Higham Library.


Annual Parish Newsletter and Annual Parish Assembly 2012.

The Clerk reported that three quotations had been received for the printing of the Annual Newsletter (Northfleet Press £1423.00, Aspect Press £1145.00 and Willow Print £940.00 – all zero rated for VAT) Members awarded the contract to Willow Print who had offered a quicker turnaround of the booklet as well as the cheapest price. The newsletters would be delivered by the Scouts on Friday, 30th March. The copy material would be edited later in the week.

The speaker for the Annual Parish Assembly would be Tim Bell, Head Ranger at Shorne Woods Country Park who would speak about  its countryside and history. As Lesley Topping was unable to provide the catering, Kate’s Classic Catering at the Village Oven Bake had offered a competitive quotation of £275 which was unanimously accepted by Members.  


To review the provision of additional allotments and the state of the allotment gardens.

The Clerk thanked Cllr. Howard for providing an update to the allotments survey. Cllr. Howard reported that with the exception of four plots which were completely overgrown with brambles and scrub the remainder mostly showed signs of being worked and were for the most part quite tidy. The Clerk confirmed that two of the overgrown plots belonged to a tenant who was now deceased and the other two plots had just been given up and were now vacant. It was agreed that Cllr. Howard would speak to the residents of Thamesview Cottages about bringing the twelve new plots, created last year,  into use. The Clerk would review the waiting list for allotments and report back at the next meeting.


Highway Priorities for 2012/2013.

Following further discussion, the following list of Highway Priorities for 2012/2013 was agreed:-

1.  Restricted parking at certain times of day with permits for local residents to top end of Forge Lane at junction with Gravesend Road.

2.  Passing places to School Lane close to the primary school.

3.  Safety improvement measures to the centre of the village (proposals dated October 2009).

4.  Improvements to traffic calming measures within the village.

5.  Improved parking facilities for residents at top of Villa Road to improve traffic flow at the junction

6.  Additional double yellow lining to the Villa Road area.


To discuss the recent site meeting held at Gads Hill School.

Cllr. Craske reported on the site meeting held at Gads Hill School on 4/2 to view the progress of the building works and the proposed site for the new playing fields. He stressed that no application had as yet been submitted to the Borough Council, and although the site could not be developed as it was part of the Green Belt,  it was permitted for it to become playing fields. The site would remain as Green Belt and not turn into a Brownfield site.

Cllr. Ashby reported that the residents of Providence Cottages had no objection to the provision of residents parking bays to Crutches Lane but were concerned that parents would park in them if they were vacant.  


Councillors’ Matters.


Cllr. Snelling reported that the forthcoming Rural Neighbourhood Forum at Vigo on 8/3

would deal with the future of  Youth and Library Services  It was hoped that Joanne Raff and some of the Higham Youth Club Members would be able to attend.

Cllr. James thanked Cllr. Snelling for funding the Wainscott By Pass lorry sign which was currently on order but would be unlikely to be installed until June when the next road closures for lighting maintenance took place.

Cllr. Ashby alerted Cllr. Snelling to problems with the Arriva Freedom Pass ticket, used by local schoolchildren, following recent changes to the timetables locally which meant longer waiting times to use the service. Cllr. Snelling agreed to speak to the Traffic Management Section at Kings Hill.    

The Clerk thanked Cllr. Snelling for the provision of two new grit bins to the village (on the verge outside Alexander Cottages in School Lane and at the bottom of the steps to the Gravesend Road in Irvine Road), which had been paid for from his personal Members Highways Budget allocation. 



Cllr. Craske reported that the Borough Council was poised to increase Council Tax by 3.48%  and would therefore not receive the Government grant. A new fire station was to be built at New Ash Green to replace the one to be shut at Horton Kirby. The proposal to build in the rural Green Belt, contained in the recent Local Development Framework consultation, had now been dropped but there was still an exception to Green Belt policy for the provision of elderly people’s accommodation.   



Cllr. Oakeshott requested that a donation be made to the ladies who tended the plants to the Library Courtyard so that they could purchase red geraniums in keeping with this year’s garden competition. It was agreed to award a cash grant of £25.

Cllr. Pearton confirmed that another anonymous letter of complaint regarding the Village Club had been received by the Parish Council. Members of the Parish Council wish to appeal through these minutes to local residents writing these letters to validate their complaints by revealing  their identity to the Clerk, so that a reply can be sent. It was reported that the Club Committee disputed the accuracy of timings stated in the letter. Cllr. Pearton reported that he understood that Dr Colin Smith had sworn an affidavit to ensure that the entrance to Court Wood from the A226 remained open.  The Clerk agreed to contact both Anne Waugh and Shorne Parish Council.

Cllr. James thanked the Clerk for arranging a litter pick to Crutches Lane. He reported that vegetation to the Three Crutches roundabout still required cutting back.

Cllr. Carroll reported that some roads to the centre of the village did not receive a visit from the snow plough during the recent cold spell.

Cllr. Mendzil complained that a large number of boards, advertising the services of a local company who carried out surfacing works to driveways, were appearing all over the village. Cllr. Craske advised Members that all advertising on the highway required permission from the County Council.

Cllr. Howard reported that the verge to the end of Mountbatten Avenue had been damaged by vehicles and was very muddy. The area would be monitored.

Cllr. Ashby reported a pile of car tyres had been dumped in Canal Road. Cllr. Pearton confirmed that they were awaiting collection having been removed from the canal by the Environment Agency. Cllr. Ashby agreed to take some photographs of the verge infill works required opposite The Orchards to send to Alan Casson.

Cllr. Sutherland reported that Daniel Annals was to feature in an edition of the BBC programme Rogue Traders dealing with people who had had unsatisfactory roof repairs carried out.

Cllr. Grey asked that dead trees to the grass verge opposite Jupp Court be reinstated. He reported complaints from Parishioners regarding the slow speed of broadband in the village. Cllr. Craske reported that KCC was currently asking people to sign an on-line petition  as it had been allocated funds to help provide high speed broadband to the County.







a.    Planning.

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

       reviewed by the Planning Committee:-


Appln. no 20111108   Land adjacent Higham Station, School Lane.

Application for renewal of planning permission reference number 20070891 for the erection of two single storey buildings to provide six B1 light industrial units with associated car parking and laying out of new car park for Higham Railway Station.

Appln. no. 20111107   “Colbria”, Bull Lane.

Demolition of existing garage and rear conservatory; erection of single storey rear extension to form enlarged kitchen, dining room and utility room; erection of side extension to form garage and study and construction of  dormer window in rear roof slope and dormer window in front roof slope to form three bedrooms and a bathroom in the roof space.

Appln. no. 20120003   The Hedgerows, Chalk Road.

Application for variation of condition 5(d) attached to planning application reference number 20060650 allowed on appeal reference number APP/K2230/C/07/2036950 relating to details of the location within the site where the utility/day room is to be sited.

Appln. no. 20120049   “East View”, Crutches Lane.

Construction of first floor extension to provide four bedrooms, box room, bathroom/wc and two ensuite shower room/wc’s; erection of single storey side extension to form garage and conversion of existing integral garage into a reception room. 

Appln. no. 20120067   “Oakdene”, Gravesend Road.

Demolition of existing dwelling and erection of two detached, four bedroom chalet bungalows each with integral garage.

Appln. no. 20120108   “Cobdene”, Gravesend Road.

Construction of dormer extensions in side and rear roof slopes to provide an enlarged bedroom.

Appln. no. 20120110   Whitehouse Farm, School Lane.

Erection of two storey extension on north east corner to provide enlarged lounge at ground floor level with bedroom and ensuite shower room/wc together with minor alterations to the scheme previously approved under planning permission reference number 20100779.

Appln. no. 20120018   “Hollyview”, R/O 11, Hollytree Drive.

Erection of a wooden shed in the garden.


j.     Higham Youth Club.

       Cllr. Carroll reported that the Midnight Ice Skating trip had not gone ahead as planned as a breakdown at the ice rink had caused the ice to melt. 


m.   Higham Neighbourhood Forum (formerly PACT)

        Peter Leakey reported that the next Meeting would be held in Higham Library on 6/3.

o.    Kent Police.    

       The Chairman expressed her concern regarding continuing parking to the top of Forge Lane. Cllr. Grey reported that he had observed vehicles turning around in the mouth of the road. Cllr. Mendzil reported that vehicles were now parking on the corner of Telegraph Hill, the slip road and in the lay by outside the pub and Cllr. Ashby had observed parking to Gads Hill before the new bollards and outside Dingley Dell. PCSO Pete Hyland agreed to pass these details to PC Dave Smith.


p.    Gads Hill School Development Committee.

        Cllr. Ashby reported that the residents of Providence Cottages had expressed concern at the size of the new school building and one had already placed his property on the market.



The Clerk asked for approval for the items shown below, this being proposed by Cllr. James, seconded by Cllr Sutherland and agreed by all Members.


Admin Exps (1/10/11 to 31/12/11)                                                                                    865.35

Joanne Raff (Youth Leader 1/10/11 to 31/1/12)                                                              1554.00

B.T.Payment Services Ltd. (broadband)                                                                          125.79 

B. Prankard (deposit for Big Band)                                                                                   50.00

The Medway Handyman (repair of Lower Higham noticeboard)                                       195.00

Action with Communities in Rural Kent (2012 subscription)                                                35.00

Clive Stanley (renewal of domain name)                                                                            84.00  



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 rejected a request from Higham Bulls Football Club to use the Recreation Ground pitch on a Sunday as it was already being used by the Eagles Football Club.

2. Cllr. Carroll agreed to become a Trustee of Shaves Charity.

3. Cllr. Ashby agreed to make comment on the KALC response to the KCC paper regarding reducing energy costs in street lighting.


To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting.

This was given as being Monday, 2nd April 2012


Any Other Business.

The Clerk reported that a Meeting had been held at the Recreation Ground with Mr Dixon of George Webb Finn, agents for St. John’s College Cambridge. Details of the rent and length of  the new lease to be offered were currently awaited.

The Clerk reported that the Lower Higham noticeboard had now been repaired and reinstated in its usual place. 


There being no other business, the Meeting closed at 10.25 p.m.




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