Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the September 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, 10th September 2012 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,   

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

                                               and  S.Wright.

In attendance:                        Morton Grey

                                               Liz Jeffery – Parish Council Press Officer

                                               Tom Hawkwood – KCC Warden Supervisor – Gravesham


                                               22 Parishioners.

Apologies for absence:          Received from  Borough Councillor Harold Craske, PCSO Rob

                                               Meader and 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 2012, 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 third 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)

John Husband, 34, St. John’s Road.


THIRD PRIZE (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)

Janet and John Parkinson, 17, Highwood Close.


"HIGHLY COMMENDED" (Framed certificate)

Anne and  Rob  Miles, 13, Highwood Close.

Dot and Fred Figg, 1, Oake Drive.

Wendy and Edward Hance, 2, The Larches.



                                  and framed certificate)

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


“BEST HANGING BASKET AND CONTAINERS”- SECOND PRIZE   (Garden Gift Token                     

                                   and framed certificate)

John Thornton, 26, Chilton Drive.



The Gardeners Arms Public House, Forge Lane.



The Chairman accepted apologies for absence.

There were no alterations to the Register of Members Interests.

The Clerk reported no damage to Parish property or amenities.



The Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held on Monday, 2nd July 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. 1056. Matters arising. Tree obscuring Dickens sign. Alan Casson had now agreed that

     Kent Highways would bear the cost of moving the Dickens sign closer to Gads Hill  in the

     next financial year once the junction works had been completed.

b.  P.1058. Parish. Alan Casson had offered to place several wooden bollards to the pavement 

     outside Pat Merrison’s property to deter vehicles mounting the pavement and driving up            

     the road.

c. Web site report. Clive Stanley reported that for the last 12 month rolling period alone there

     had been a total of 38,413 hits to the website with 4089 visitors in July and 3152 in



Parishioners’ Matters.

Mr Williams, of Ash Crescent, reported that weeds were growing out of  cracks which  had not been sealed  on the estate prior to road resurfacing works last year. Cllr. Ashby agreed to contact Alan Casson to arrange a walkabout of the village noting any problem areas.

Mr Leach, of Telegraph Hill, highlighted a massive increase in traffic using the hill as a short cut whilst the junction works were taking place on the A226. Cllr. Mendzil confirmed that this route was used by schoolchildren walking to Gads Hill. She also reported that the Sir John Falstaff PH was now prohibiting the use of  its car park in the mornings by placing barrier tape across the entrance which was leading to an increase in traffic parking on and around the bottom of the hill. Tom Hawkwood agreed to keep an eye on the situation.         

Mrs Collard, of Old Watling Street, drew attention to the large number of vehicles which were now left parked in the road all day whilst their occupants shared cars to travel to work. This had also led to an increase in rubbish in the road which included both food waste and dirty nappies and this was noted by Tom Hawkwood who agreed to pass  the information on to Steve Gray on his return.


To evaluate the success of the 2012 Celebrations.

The Clerk reported that the largest ever advance ticket sales for the Proms/Fireworks of almost 300 people had been doubled on the night as Parishioners flocked to enjoy the annual concert and a spectacular firework display provided by 1st Higham Scouts. Collecting buckets for union jack flags and the sale of programmes had raised £150 for the Help for Heroes charity. The reserves from this evening were utilised for both the Olympic Torch Relay and Big Screen Event with the addition of grants gratefully received from Cllr. Mike Snelling (£1500) and Gravesham Borough Council (£1000) who cited that the village had “gone above and beyond the call of duty” in its Olympic preparations. Due entirely to these grants and surplus funds from the Proms event it was anticipated that the estimated solicitor’s costs for the renewal of the Recreation Ground lease (of £3000 plus VAT) would be able to be met. The Clerk thanked Clive Stanley for a marvellous page full of photos and video footage on the web site which captured the spirit of the Summer’s events and also the six Gravesham volunteers who swelled the workforce for the Big Screen event which had looked perilous due to those Members of the Parish Council who were unable to attend.

The Chairman thanked the Clerk for all the extra work she had carried out that had ensured that all events had run smoothly and been enjoyed by all. She also wished to thank the Clerk’s family for their involvement as well as Rob Miles, and the Clerk also thanked her husband, Michael Papadopulos.


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

The Clerk reported that copies of all correspondence received from the solicitor had been emailed to Members and were also contained within the correspondence folder. As the Landlord’s agent (George Webb Finn) had now broken down the valuation for the renewal of the Recreation Ground lease into:- The Playing Field (with Multi-Purpose Games Area) and

The Pavilion - the Parish Council had been advised by its solicitor to just renew the lease for the former leaving the way clear for Mrs Green to enter into an agreement  with St. John’s College for the lease for The Pavilion. This would reduce the Parish Council’s potential  liability to £1000 but to safeguard the situation a cheque for £175 had been issued so that papers could be lodged in the courts. Members were in agreement with this course of action and it was noted that the Chairman, Clerk and Mrs Green would again visit the Solicitors later in the week to further discuss the matter.    


To adopt a new Code of Conduct.

The Clerk reported that Mr Hayley, the Monitoring Officer,  had advised that the County Model Code of Conduct would be discussed by the Standards Board on 24/9 ahead of approval by the Borough Council on 3/10. His advice was for the Parish Council to defer adopting this until he was able to provide the final (agreed) document and therefore this item would again be placed on the agenda for the next Meeting.


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

Following discussion Members agreed that at present several vegetation issues required attention and the Clerk was asked to notify those on roads in the Trees estate, the footpath from High View to the bottom of the village, brambles at Jubilee Corner, sight lines emerging from Steadman Close onto School Lane, cutting back of the sucker base growth to trees in Steadman Close, and the clearance of vegetation obstructing the sight of road signs within the village. Also the grass verge opposite The Orchards required reinstating and reseeding.


To receive a report of a Meeting to discuss future library services within the village.

The Clerk reported that the notes of the Meeting held at Higham Library on 25/7 had been circulated to all Members prior to the Parish Council Meeting. Kent Future Library Services was keen to look at ways of delivering  a sustainable service for the future, whilst meeting local needs but at the same time delivering savings over the financial years 2013/14 and 2014/15. Discussions at Higham had centered around the feasibility of introducing a coffee shop facility within the Library and to try and encourage both current and future village groups to consider making use of its facilities. Members were in broad agreement with these suggestions but expressed concern regarding the need to provide alternative toilet facilities within the building if this were to go ahead. It was agreed to approach Kate Reeves, of Oven Bake, to see if she would be interested in providing the new coffee shop facility. 


To discuss progress with the proposed safety improvements to the village centre.

Cllr. James reported that this issue had first been raised in 2009 but that revised estimates for the work had now been produced by Kerry Prescott which had been forwarded to Members prior to the Meeting. Cllr. James outlined the proposed locations for crossing points,  some of which were recommended for tactile paving and others not. The cost of the dropped crossings with no tactile paving would be £2000 and those with tactile paving an additional £2000. The proposals to extend the footway outside the Gardeners Arms PH with dropped kerbs would be £10,000, due to alterations to the drainage that would be needed. Cllr. James acknowledged that funding of these safety improvements would be difficult in the current economic climate but Cllr. Mendzil agreed to look into where funding could be obtained for improvements for disabled people and the Clerk was asked to contact Unison which it was believed may have funded something similar elsewhere in the County. Cllr. James agreed to go back to Kent Highways to again press for the funding of these safety improvements.


Councillors’ Matters.


Cllr. Snelling reported that he was now able to confirm that there would be no council tax increase for the financial year 2013/2014 as savings of over £60 million had been identified. A second meeting with Parish Council Chairmen regarding KCC issues, especially highways, would shortly be held. He understood that an initial meeting had been held with Parish Council representatives to explore possible opportunities for enhanced community use of Higham Library and to redesign how the services would operate whilst delivering savings.



Cllr. Pearton reported that ongoing gas and water main repair works in Gravesend were expected to cause traffic chaos. Cllr. Mendzil reported that School buses were already being delayed because of the roadworks and Cllr. James offered to provide the Clerk with a contact name at KCC to report these problems and see if the timetables could be altered in any way.



Cllr. James reported that Nu-Venture buses had extended their route to take in the Three Crutches area and amended timetables had been delivered to local Parishioners.

Cllr. Ashby reported that he had observed lorries exiting the Nuralite Industrial Estate and travelling up through the village and he agreed to ask the gatekeeper to remind the drivers of the correct lorry route. He also drew attention to the front wall of The Knowle which was still awaiting repair but Cllr, Pearton confirmed that he knew that this matter was currently in hand.

Cllr. Sutherland reported surface drainage problems to Walmers Avenue which originated from the unadopted section of Norah Lane. One property had been flooded several times and the owner had now been issued with flood sacks.  The Clerk was asked to contact Jamie Finch of Kent Highways to receive an update on the current situation. Cllr. Sutherland confirmed that there was also flooding into St. John’s church since Hermitage Road had been resurfaced earlier in the year and the Clerk confirmed that Cllr. Snelling had already sanctioned remedial works at this location. Another problem area had been St. John’s Road where drainage problems were currently under investigation. Cllr. Sutherland also drew Members attention to the unkempt state of the amenity land at The Chequers development and asked that the Clerk alert Sharon Donald at the Borough Council regarding this matter.

Cllr. Grey confirmed that as he still had not heard further from Paul Gibbons regarding the implementation of the new times for the CPZ he had decided to attend the forthcoming JTB Meeting to raise this matter personally.









a.    Planning.

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

       reviewed by the Planning Committee:-


Appln. no. 20120560   23, Forge Lane.

Erection of two storey front and single storey side extension to form dining room, enlarged hallway, garage, utility room and shower room/wc at ground floor level with bedroom at first floor level constituting amendments to works approved by planning permission reference number 20110267.

Appln. no. 20120573   Gads Hill House School, Gravesend Road.

Renewal of temporary planning permission reference number 20110726 for retention of the staff car park on the rose garden/croquet lawn for a further temporary period of one year.

Appln. no. 20120599   4, Brookers Place, Chequers Street.

Demolition of garage and erection of a single storey side extension to form a kitchen/dining room.



Appln. no. 20120612   1, Abbey Farm Cottages, Church Street.

Erection of single storey rear extension to form a living room, utility room and shower room/wc.

Appln. no. 20120705   3, Carton Road.

Application for renewal of planning permission reference number 20090653 for erection of single storey front infill extension to form enlarged hall and construction of new roof over bungalow incorporating an increase in its height, two dormer windows in the front roof slope and rooflights in the rear and side elevations to provide three bedrooms and ensuite shower

rooms/w.c’s in the roof space.


m.   Higham Neighbourhood Forum (formerly PACT).

       Peter Leakey reported on the Walkabout of Lower Higham which had taken place in

       June. It was agreed that some of the items noted had already been dealt with and the

       Clerk agreed to liaise with Mr Leakey so that he could report back to the next Meeting of  

       The Forum on 25/9.     


n.    Kent Community Warden.

       In the absence of Steve Gray, Tom Hawkwood confirmed that Steve had attended the

       Proms/Firework event, the Village Parade, the Olympic Torch Relay and the Big Screen

       Day during the Summer. Four counts of fly tipping had now been collected by the

       Borough Council. Despite poor attendances at the last two Community Surgeries it was

       proposed that these should continue.

       Cllr. James reported that he was still awaiting the “CCTV” indication signs to display at

       Crutches Lane and Tom Hawkwood agreed to contact Clean Kent regarding these.

       Cllr. Ashby highlighted a problem of fly tipping in the slip road alongside Gads Hill

       which was noted.

       Cllr. Grey reported that a neighbour had taken a photograph of youngsters trying to prise

       the School Lane sign out of the ground opposite to where he lived.



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


Steel Ambition (Higham Parade)                                                                                    200.00

Higham Marquees (marquee hire – Olympic Torch Relay)                                            150.00

EDF Energy 1 Ltd. (Christmas lighting costs)                                                                  74.89

BT Payment Services Ltd. (broadband)                                                                          123.57

Clerk (Garden Gift Tokens)                                                                                               80.00

Kick Kent (football and cricket workshops - Big Screen event)                                     175.00

Jugglez (circus workshop - Big Screen event)                                                                120.00

Clerk (traffic management for events)                                                                            307.09

Clerk (barrier hire for Proms)                                                                                            96.00

Clerk (rubbish bins for Big Screen event)                                                                         47.94

Victory Design Ltd. (banners for all events)                                                                   348.94

Cordwainer UK (event signs)                                                                                          210.00

Cordwainer UK (additional event signs)                                                                           45.00

Gravesham Borough Council (printing)                                                                              9.90

Zurich Insurance plc (Pavilion insurance)                                                                     1278.32

BK Safety and Workwear Ltd.( high viz jackets)                                                            117.35

Phoenix Fireworks Ltd. (extra costs for PA system)                                                       240.00

P.J.Office Services (service of printer)                                                                            102.00

Jo Raff (Youth Leader – June, July and August)                                                             855.00

HM Courts and Tribunal Service (lodge court papers for lease)                                     175.00



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 2012 Audit.

2.   Members endorsed an initiative by Mr Isaac to arrange a collective bulk buy purchase of

      LPG for the village to reduce current prices.


To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting.

This was given as being Monday, 8th October 2012 at 7.30 p.m. The Budget and Finance Meeting would be held on Monday, 12th November 2012 at 7.30 p.m.


Any Other Business.

Following a query from Cllr. Oakeshott,  Members noted that the Enforcement Officer was currently dealing with an issue at The Stables in Hermitage Road. Cllr. James reported that the Enforcement Officer and Planning Department were also currently investigating illegal advertising signs for fish sales which had been placed on the highway at both the A226 and both Old Watling Street and  Watling Street.

It was agreed that Cllrs. Mendzil, Oakeshott and Wright would form the new Grants and Fundraising Sub Committee. 

There being no other business, the Meeting closed at 10.40 p.m..           




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