Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the May 2012 Parish Council Meeting
[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, 14th May 2012 at 7.30 p.m.


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

                                                Borough Councillor: Cllr. H. Craske

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

                                                P. Oakeshott, L. Pearton (also Borough) and

                                                B. Sutherland.  

In attendance:                            Kent Community Warden Steve Gray

                                                10 Parishioners.                                             

Apologies for absence:              Received from County Councillor M. Snelling,

                                                Cllrs. Howard, Wright, Mendzil and James.

                                                PCSO Rob Meader



       The Clerk called for nominations for the position of Chairman by secret ballot. Cllr.Papadopulos was re-elected as Chairman by a majority vote.



       The Chairman asked for nominations for the position of Vice Chairman by secret ballot.Cllr. Oakeshott was re-elected as Vice Chairman by a majority vote.


       It was proposed by Cllr.Sutherland, seconded by Cllr. Oakeshott and agreed by all Members that the following should be elected to Committees  (lead member in capitals where applicable)

       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 Committees.

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)

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

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

i.    Emergency Planning Committee.

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

      (9 MEMBERS).

j.   Severe Weather Committee

      Cllrs Ashby, Howard  and Sutherland.(3 MEMBERS)

k.  Grants and Fundraising Committee

      As this was a new committee it was agreed to defer electing the Members until the next

      Meeting when more would be present.


      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 Carroll.

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 and serving refreshments at Meetings.     


      The Meeting closed at 7.45 p.m.         


                                             PARISH COUNCIL MEETING.


It was proposed by Cllr.Pearton, 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.

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


The Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting, held on Monday, 2nd April 2012, were confirmed and signed.   It was noted that Steve Gray had attended the Meeting.


Matters arising from the Minutes.

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

a.    P. 1045. Matters Arising. Tree obscuring Dickens Sign. The Highway Steward would ensure that the ends of the branches touching the sign would be trimmed the week before the Torch Relay. Members agreed to ask Alan Casson if the sign could be relocated to a new position opposite Gads Hill School following the junction improvements later in the summer at no cost to the Parish Council.

b.   P. 1045. Matters Arising. Court Wood. It was understood that Dr. Smith’s affidavit had been located.

c.   P. 1046. Allotments. Clearance work had not proceeded on the allotments as the price quoted for the work had exceeded the budget set.

d.  P. 1046. Allotments. A letter had been sent to all allotment tenants regarding the hosepipe ban.

e.   P. 1047. Parish. CPZ. Cllr. Grey reported that he had spoken to Paul Gibbons regarding the implementation of the revised hours for the CPZ which it was hoped would be operational within the next couple of months.

f.   P. 1047 Parish. Rubbish to Wainscott By Pass. KCC had recently carried out a collection of rubbish to the Wainscott By Pass but this had been costly due to traffic management. Normally GBC would be responsible for this by providing the litter pickers.

g.  Web site report. For the last 12 month rolling period alone there had been a total of 38,783 hits to the website with 3309 visitors in April alone.


Cllr. Grey reported that there had been no progress with the tree replanting at Jupp Court (P. 1047 of the Minutes refers).


Parishioners’ Matters.

Alan Taylor, of Martins Close, reported a deep pothole to the Lower Rochester Road near to the junction with Gore Green Road.


2012 Celebrations.

The Clerk reported that tickets for the Proms/Fireworks event were now selling well in Higham Library and banners advertising the event were in place. Three TEN licences had to be applied for and an event notification form completed. Copperfield Clog were now unable to perform during the Village Walk. Patterns for mob caps and aprons would shortly be placed in Higham Library and Post Office. Negotiations were continuing to try and get a temporary halt in Higham for the Olympic Torch Relay. A mobile food trailer supplying all sorts of both hot and cold food would be based in the Recreation Ground for the Screen on Our Green and Family Fun Day event. The estate agent 2Move would pay a retainer for every board that it placed in a front garden advertising the event. Members viewed a proof of the 2012 tea towel produced by the PTA and made a suggestion that some better known Dickens characters should be included in the final artwork. Cllr. Pearton revealed that it was uncertain at this stage whether or not the Parade would go ahead as the Police no longer dealt with road closures and the cost of the signage was prohibitive. Cllr. Craske agreed to make enquiries at the Borough Council regarding borrowing some signage for the event.

Matters Arising from this year’s Annual Parish Assembly.

The Clerk reminded Members of matters arising from this year’s Annual Parish Assembly. Parishioners had been urged to register on the Make Kent Quicker website for faster broadband. Concern had been expressed regarding the demolition of Oakdene on the Gravesend Road and the possibility of asbestos pollution. Cllr. Craske confirmed that the Borough Council was undertaking an analysis of the material at the present time.


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

The Chairman reported that Morton Grey had again agreed to judge the competition but she was still awaiting a date when this would happen. She urged Members to sign up for roads to inspect and reminded them that the theme of this year’s competition was red geraniums which were Charles Dickens’ favourite flower.


To arrange dates for Parish Council Meetings in 2013.

The Clerk had circulated details of dates for Meetings in 2013 prior to the Meeting and the following were agreed:-


Mondays:- 14th  January,  25th   February, 8th April,  13th May (Annual Parish Council Meeting with Parish Council Meeting), 8th July,  9th September,  14th October,  11th November (Budget and Finance only) , and 25th November (Christmas Meeting with the Mayor of Gravesham).

The Annual Parish Assembly would take place on Thursday, 11th April 2013.


The remaining dates for Meetings in 2012 are as follows:-

Mondays:- 10th  September,  8th October,  12th  November (Budget and Finance only) and 26th November (Christmas Meeting with the Mayor of Gravesham).


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

The Chairman reported that the Parish Council had engaged the services of its solicitor, Martin Tolhurst, to negotiate the terms of the new lease which had been offered for the Recreation Ground. A substantial increase on the current yearly rental was sought and it seemed likely that an independent valuation of the site would need to be undertaken before agreement could be reached. At present a copy of the current lease, held on our behalf by the solicitors, was awaited  by the Parish Council for perusal. It was not considered necessary to set up a sub-committee to oversee the lease negotiations as all decisions had to be made by the Parish Council.   


Councillors’ Matters.


Cllr. Snelling did not attend the Meeting.



Cllr. Craske reported that the Borough Council was currently considering selling the St. Andrews Church Arts Centre in Gravesend. The Cascade Partnership had appealed against the refusal of planning permission for the site at Chequers Street, Higham and it was agreed that a letter would be sent to local residents advising them of this.



Cllr. Oakeshott reported that she had been advised that cracks to the Larkin Monument on Telegraph Hill had widened. Cllr. Craske agreed to notify GBC accordingly.  She also reported that tyres had been dumped in the canal. Cllr. Pearton agreed to check the location before they were reported.

Cllr. Ashby highlighted a lack of dog bins to Walmers Avenue, Hollytree Drive, Oak Drive, Beech Grove and the top end of Taylors Lane and Cllr. Craske agreed to speak to the Borough Council. Cllr. Ashby hoped to meet with Alan Casson to look at the roads in the village before the next Meeting.

Cllr. Grey expressed concern that the Members of the Parish Council had not yet met PC Dave Smith who was the new resident Beat Officer for Higham. The Clerk was asked to write personally to him asking him to be sure to attend the next Meeting. Cllr. Grey reported

that young children had been observed playing in the tree planted areas around Jupp Court and expressed concern regarding the dangers with traffic passing by, unaware of the children, especially in the evenings when light levels fell.

Cllr. Sutherland reported his observations regarding the consultation document for the allocation of vacant pitches at gypsy and traveller sites.



a.    Planning

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


Appln. no. 20120283   Gads Hill House School, Gravesend Road.

Application for minor material amendment to application reference number 20110362 which was for amendments to application reference number 20070188 relating to the design of the proposed new junior school; to the creation of gates for fire access purposes.

Appln. no. 20120284   Gads Hill House School, Gravesend Road.

Application for minor material amendment to application reference number 20110361 which was for amendments to Listed Building Consent reference number 20070189 relating to the design of the propose3d new junior school; for the creation of gates for fire access purposes.

Appln. no. 20120069   Higham Hall Farm, Taylors Lane.

Stationing of up to three mobile caravans to house farm workers during harvesting of produce.

Appln. no. 20120311   Long Reach, Elm Close.

Erection of a detached double garage; conversion of existing garage into a living room and erection of a single storey front infill extension to form a wc.

Appln. no. 20120336   12, Peggoty Close.

Demolition of existing extension and erection of a single storey rear extension to form a kitchen/dining room, utility room and shower room/wc.

Appln. no. 20120366   36, Norah Lane.

Demolition of existing dwelling and erection of five, two storey dwellings comprising one pair of semi-detached dwellings each with attached garage; three detached four bedroom dwellings, one with double integral garage, one with single integral garage and one with detached garage.

Appln. no. 20120374   Lancaster House, Gravesend Road.

Change of use from A5 hot food takeaway to a mixed use restaurant and hot food takeaway (A3/A5)


d.    Multi-Purpose Games Area.

       Cllr. Sutherland reported that the Village Sports Association had secured a £2000 grant from the Rural Neighbourhood Forum towards the cost of rewiring and improvement works to the changing rooms which were already underway.


m.   Higham Neighbourhood Froum (formerly PACT).

       Peter Leakey reported that a walkabout of the village would be held during the next meeting on 12/6. PCSO Meader agreed to locate the Speedwatch equipment so that another session could be arranged in the near future.


n.    Kent Community Warden.

       Steve Gray reported that a total of 5 Parishioners had attended the last community Surgery in April to complain about the speed of traffic in School Lane especially outside Vicarage Row. He hoped to arrange for a data logger to be installed soon to monitor the vehicles and speeds. Higham Beavers would take part in a litterpick in the Memorial Hall area and it was hoped that a cycling safety evening could be arranged for them soon.


o.    Kent Police.

       In the absence of PCSO Meader, the Clerk reported that he would be attending both the Olympic Torch Relay and the Screen on Our Green events. He appealed for index numbers or further information regarding vehicles reported to have blocked the pathway at the Gardeners Arms junction.



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


BT payment services ltd. (broadband)                                                                        123.57

Mrs L.M. Carnall (990 union jack flags purchased for 2012 celebrations)                     224.46

Christopher Hook (1500 tickets for Proms/Firework Display)                                      100.00

Mrs J.M.Papadopulos (APA costs under Section 150(2) of L.G.Act 1972)                   103.31

Gravesham Borough Council (printing)                                                                         11.28

AON (renewal premium)                                                                                          1538.87                                                  

C.P.R.E. (2012 subscription)                                                                                         29.00

KCPFA (2012 subscription)                                                                                           20.00

Gravesham Borough Council (TEN licence fees X 3 for Proms concert)                          63.00

Martin Tolhurst LLP (deposit for solicitor)                                                                    300.00

Administration expenses (1/1/12 – 31/3/12)                                                                   954.05                  



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. Cllr. Pearton agreed to attend the forthcoming Gravesham East Neighbourhood Forum  on the subject of proposals for an estuary airport


To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting.

This was given as being Monday, 25th June at 7.30 p.m.


Any Other Business.

None was brought to the notice of the Meeting.


There being no other business, the Meeting closed at 9.35 p.m.


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