Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the July 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, 2nd July 2012 at 7.30 p.m.


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

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

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

In attendance:                          2 Parishioners

                                               Kent Community Warden Steve Gray.

                                               Liz Jeffery – Parish Council Press Officer                                                                                            

Apologies for absence:             Received from Cllrs. Grey and Howard. County Councillor

                                               Mike Snelling, Borough Councillor Harold Craske

                                               PCSO Rob Meader.

Cllr. Mendzil did not attend the Meeting.


The Chairman accepted apologies for absence.

There were no alterations to the Register of Members Interests.

The Clerk reported that there were no current concerns with any Parish property or amenities.


The Minutes of the Annual Parish Council Meeting, followed by a Parish Council Meeting, held on Monday, 14th May 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. 1051. Matters Arising. Tree obscuring Dickens Sign, The ends of the branches had now been trimmed away from the sign giving a better view for the Olympic Torch Relay.

      Members decided that they wished the sign to be relocated to opposite Gads Hill School once the junction improvement works had been completed to stop this situation happening again in the future. The Clerk was asked to contact Alan Casson to ask if Kent Highways would be willing to fund these works.

b.   P. 1053. Borough. Appeal by Cascade Partnership. Local residents had been urged to write to the Inspector. The Parish Council had lodged an objection.

c.   P. 1053. Parish. New Beat Officer. It was understood that the new Beat Officer for Higham was PC Helen Emburson. The Chairman confirmed that she had not met her as yet.

d.   Web site report. The Clerk and Clive Stanley had recently met to update the content of the website. For the last 12 month rolling period alone there had been a total of 37,646 hits to the website with 3267 visitors in June alone.


Parishioners Matters.

None were brought to the notice of the Meeting.


2012 Celebrations.

The Clerk reported that over 200 tickets had already been sold by Higham Library for the Proms/Firework Display. Mr Shove had kindly agreed to lend a field for parking and following the completion of the traffic management plan and signing schedule temporary event traffic signs had been ordered. Three TEN licences had now been granted for the Band performance. Toilets to both the Memorial Hall and in the car park outside would be open. Event barriers would arrive on the day and the SJAB would provide the first aid. The PCSOs and Kent Community Warden would also be in attendance. It was agreed that banners would be displayed advising “No balls or bikes please”.

The lamppost dressing for the Olympic Torch Relay had now been installed to Gravesend Road. The Peninsula Big Band would play to the grass verge opposite Gads Hill School and the Steel Ambition Steel Band would play at the top of Hollytree Drive. Mob cap and apron patterns were now available at both Higham Library and Post Office and had already been borrowed. Free union jack flags would be handed out to the crowds to create a sea of red, white and blue and two large Dickens banners would remind the world media that they were in Higham. Radio Kent would visit Higham Library later in the week to talk about the Olympic preparations in the village.

The Big Screen would broadcast on the Recreation Ground for a twelve hour period. Volunteers recruited by Gravesham Volunteer Bureau would attend a “getting to know you” evening prior to the event. Football/Cricket skills workshops and the Jugglez Circus Club would entertain the children present on the day and the Mr Bumble soft play bus would also be available. The school field would be used for car parking and both the PCSOs and Community Warden would be in attendance. First aid would again be provided by SJAB. Hot food, a licensed bar and ice creams would all be available on the day.


To further discuss the possible installation of parking bays to School Lane.

Members discussed the offer by Alan Casson to provide one layby to School Lane to address the traffic conflicts that occurred in the vicinity of Higham Primary school. It was agreed to proceed with location 1, as had been recommended, with the possibility of installing a second layby at a later date if this should prove to be a success and additional funding could be identified.


To discuss a possible list of small jobs to be completed by Kent Highways.

It was agreed to defer discussion of this item until the next Meeting.


To adopt a new code of conduct to take effect from 1st July 2012.

The Clerk reported that with effect from 1st July the existing code of conduct ceased to exist due to the implementation of the new standards regime under the Localism Act 2011. It would therefore be necessary for the Parish Council to adopt a new code of conduct but at the present time the local Monitoring Officer had confirmed that the county model of the code was not yet available for adoption. Members therefore agreed to delay adopting the code until the next meeting but Members signed the necessary Notification of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests form for Gravesham Parish Councils for onward transmission to the Monitoring Officer.


To receive an update on the renewal of the Recreation Ground lease.

The Clerk reported that a copy of the current lease had now been obtained and our solicitor had engaged the services of a local valuer to negotiate with Mr Dixon of George Webb Finn who was the agent for St. John’s College, Cambridge. The Parish Council had been warned to expect legal fees to be in the region of £3000 plus VAT. 


To finalise arrangements for the 2012 Higham Gardens for Pleasure Competition.

The Chairman reminded Members to produce their short list of gardens for judging by Morton Grey by the third week in July.


Councillors’ Matters.


In the absence of Cllr. Snelling the Clerk reported that he had become the Chairman of the Joint Transportation Board for the current Council Year. Reviews of library provision within Gravesham were still taking place and it was hoped that in the future these could become more like “community hubs” with services offered being redesigned to suit. Cllr. Snelling urged everyone to attend the next Rural Forum Meeting on 18/7 at Meopham which would deal with the subject of “affordable rural housing”.  



In the absence of Cllr. Craske the Clerk reported that a recent Meeting of the Borough Council had endorsed  the KCC paper “Bold Steps for Aviation” and had agreed to work together to ensure that no airport was built in the immediate area. The Borough Council had agreed to provide up to three additional doggie bins within the Parish and locations were currently being finalised. The part of the Wainscott By Pass within Higham would be cleared of litter following the vegetation being cut by KCC.      



Cllr. James reported that the lorry route sign had now finally been installed following an eight year campaign. He had received an update regarding the improvements to be made to the centre of the village and it was agreed that these would be discussed at the next meeting.

Cllr. Pearton highlighted current potholes in Chalk Road, Church Street and a trench in Buckland Road.

Cllr. Oakeshott reported that a resident in Forge Lane had requested a disabled parking space earlier in the year but it had not yet been provided. Cllr. Pearton agreed to investigate. Complaints had been received regarding school staff cars parking in Crutches Lane which caused a problem for the residents and their vehicles. It was agreed that another Development Committee meeting needed to be called.

Cllre. Ashby reported that the development site in Norah Lane was currently being cleared. He highlighted the lack of grip on the road surface in Villa Road and the poor state of the footpath.

The Clerk reported a complaint from Pat Merrison of Forge Lane who claimed that the relocation of a post to the pavement outside her property had encouraged drivers to mount the kerb to pass oncoming traffic and in doing so now passed within inches of her parking bay. The Clerk agreed to raise this matter with Alan Casson on her behalf.






a.    Planning.

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


Appln. no. 20120391    Oakleigh Coach House, Buckland Road.

Retention of the replacement outbuilding in the stable courtyard.

Appln. no. 20120392   Oakleigh Coach House, Buckland Road.

Retention of the kitchen door opening in substitution of the permitted window; revised ground floor layout and ventilation openings.

Appln. no. 20120462   The Bungalow, Gore Green Road.

Conversion of roof space above garage into a home office involving construction of dormer extension in side roof slope and installation of external metal staircase to provide access.

Appln. no. 20120472   21, Fairview Drive.

Erection of first floor side extension to form an enlarged bedroom and ensuite bathroom/wc.

Appln. no. 20120498   76, Forge Lane.

Demolition of existing garage and erection of part two storey, part single storey side extension to form hall, wc and garage at ground floor level with bedroom and ensuite bathroom/wc at first floor level.


h.     Governors of Higham School.

        Cllr. James reported that 9 children would move to Grammar school in the new academic year. Almost all of the areas designated as “satisfactory” in the Osted report of  October 2011 had now been moved to “good” and challenging targets had been met or exceeded. Cllr. James highlighted the oversubscription of the Reception Class in September.


n.     Kent Community Warden.

        Community Warden, Steve Gray, reported that the Borough Council had removed recent fly tipping. He had received a request from residents at Michele Cottages regarding a driveway to the side and rear of a property which was quite overgrown and required cutting back. Cllr. Pearton agreed to deal with this matter. Steve Gray outlined the findings of the recent Neighbourhood Forum  walkabout in Lower Higham which it was agreed would be discussed at the next Meeting when Peter Leakey was in attendance. Cllr. Ashby reported two motorbikes which appeared to have been abandoned on the footpath close to the traffic lights in Villa Road and Steve Gray agreed to make further enquiries.



The Clerk presented the quarterly financial statement for the period 1/4/12 to 30/6/12. She asked for approval for the items shown below, this being proposed by Cllr.Wright, seconded by Cllr. Sutherland and agreed by all Members.


Joanne Raff (Youth Leader – April )                                                                        399.00

Joanne Raff (Youth Leader – May)                                                                          484.50

Clerk (garden gift tokens)                                                                                           80.00

Clive Stanley (webmaster services/server hosting)                                                  282.40

Clerk (union jack flags for Olympics)                                                                      264.35 

Clerk (union jack flags for Olympics)                                                                        50.83

Clerk (Olympic preparation)                                                                                     128.93           

Clerk’s salary (1/4/12 – 30/6/12 – net)                                                                    2773.02

Expenses – use of room as office (1/4/12 – 30/6/12)                                                227.50

HMRC (PAYE/NI(employer/employee)                                                                   657.54

Admin.Exps./Proms /Olympic 2012 events (1/4/12 – 30/6/12)                                    1224.73

Southern Water (allotments)                                                                                       81.34

Stuart Morris (tea towel print cost)                                                                           878.40

M.J.Read & Co, (2012 audit preparation and internal audit)                                   456.00

Phoenix Fireworks Ltd.(firework display)                                                              2880.00

B. Prankard (balance for Peninsula Big Band for Torch Relay)                               200.00

Steel Ambition (Steel Band for Torch Relay)                                                           250.00

The Medway Band (Friday Night at the Proms 2012)                                              400.00


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”


To approve the Annual Return for Local Councils for the Year Ended 31st March 2012.

Copies of both the Annual Return for Local Councils in England and Wales, and accounts for the financial year ended 31st March 2012, 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, as last year, that 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 items:-

1.  Members noted that the GBC Summer Activity Programme would visit the village on 8/8.

2.  The Chairman and Vice Chairman agreed to attend a Meeting to discuss future library services within the village.

3.  Permission was given for the organisers of the Higham Dog Show to use the Recreation Ground on 27/5/13

4.  The BT exchange at Shorne was to be upgraded.


To note the amended date of the next Parish Council Meeting.

This was given as being Monday, 10th September  at 7.30 p.m.


Any Other Business.

Members were not willing to allow chickens to be kept on the allotments.


There being no other business, the Meeting finally closed at 10.12 p.m.



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