Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the January 2013 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, 28th January 2013 at 7.30 p.m.

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

                                               Borough Councillor: Cllr. H. Craske.

                                               Councillors: G. Ashby, A. Carroll,  J.Grey,  A.Howard, M. James, P. Oakeshott , L.Pearton (also Borough), B. Sutherland,  and  S. Wright.

In attendance:                        Liz Jeffery – Village Correspondent and Press Officer.

                                               18 Parishioners

Apologies for absence:          Received from County Councillor Bryan Sweetland, Community Warden Steve Gray and PCSO Rob Meader.

                                               Cllr. Mendzil did not attend the meeting and no apologies were given.


The Chairman welcomed all those present to the first meeting of the New Year which had been delayed by a week due to the bad weather.

The Chairman accepted apologies for absence.

There were no alterations to the Register of Members Interests.

There were no items to report in the inspection reports for Parish property and amenities.


The Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting, held on Monday, 26th November 2012, were confirmed and signed following the acknowledgement of a typing error to P. 1074 Neighbourhood Forum when the date of the next Meeting should have read 4/12.


Matters arising from the Minutes.

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

a.    P. 1071. Inspection Reports. Both damaged swing seats had been replaced having been purchased by the Parish Council and fitted free of charge by the Borough Council.

b.    P. 1071. Matters Arising. The Chequers. The notification of the arrangements for the amenity land to GBC had been delayed.

c.    P. 1071 Matters Arising. Snow clearance team. There were now four new members of the team. The Chairman thanked Cllr. Sutherland for co-ordinating snow clearance efforts to the centre of the village and Cllr. Howard for assisting him. She also thanked Cllr. James and his team at Three Crutches. It was agreed that the second bulk bag of sand/salt would be transferred from Cliffe to Higham whilst the weather conditions were favourable.

d.    P. 1072. Matters arising. Fly tipping signs to underbridge. Cllr. James confirmed that he had received permission for the signs to be attached to the underbridge. It was agreed that Cllrs. Sutherland, Howard and Ashby would assist him in their installation.

e.    P. 1073 Parish. Drainage problems – Walmers Avenue. A bund had now been constructed across the road to alleviate the problems of flooding.

f.    P. 1073 Parish. Pathway Jubilee Corner. This area had been notified to Kent Highways as part of Mike Snelling’s small works list.

g.   P. 1074.  Christmas lighting. Thanks were given to Cllr. Pearton for distributing the Christmas lighting to all shops and businesses. A special thank you had been sent to Mr Marsh for his continued help with the storage of the units.   

h.  Web site report.  During the rolling 12 month period there had been a total of 41,226 hits to the Parish website with 3625 visitors in December alone.


Cllr. Ashby reported that he and Tony Atherton would be inspecting the pot holes to the Chequers junction and would also agree the new position for the Dickens sign (P. 1073 refers).

Cllr. James reported that the surface of Crutches Lane would be inspected once building works were completed at Gads Hill and if it was felt that it had deteriorated since the commencement of the works it would be rectified by the builders. Cllr. Oakeshott stated that she believed that the local residents understood that the lane would be completely resurfaced.     


Parishioners’ Matters.

Concerned parishioners from Lower Higham had attended the meeting following the receipt of a new planning application for 9 affordable houses on land at Chequers Street which had been the subject of a planning appeal the previous year. The Chairman confirmed that the Parish Council would be objecting to the application and reminded all those present that it was essential that they also wrote to the Borough Council expressing their views. Details of the planning application received and the address for representations would be delivered to local residents in Lower Higham. Residents highlighted their main reasons for objection which were broadly similar to the last application that had been received.   


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

The Clerk reported that prior to Christmas three years accounts for the Kindergarten had been submitted to St. John’s College as requested but it had been decided that only one lease would be negotiated with the Parish Council which would then sublet the Pavilion to Mrs Green. It had been agreed to defer the court hearing scheduled for 2/1/13 at the present time as negotiations were still ongoing. The Clerk updated Members on an email received late that afternoon advising that the College was now prepared to offer a new 12 year lease for the Recreation Ground at a commencing rent of £3000 per annum with three yearly rent reviews. It was agreed that the Chairman and Clerk would visit the Solicitor to discuss this new initiative further within the next couple of days and report back at the next Meeting.  


Future Library Services Meeting to be held in Higham Library on 30th January at 7.00 p.m.

The Clerk reported that every village group had been informed of the Meeting and details were being displayed on the website and throughout the village. Cllr. Craske agreed to write an article on the Future Library Services project for inclusion in the Annual Parish Newsletter.


To receive copy material for the 2013 Annual Newsletter.

The Clerk received copy material for the 2013 Annual Parish Newsletter from Members and reminded them that the final deadline for those outstanding reports was 1st February. The newsletter would be delivered by the Scouts on 22/3. Christoph Bull had confirmed that he would be unable to speak at the Annual Parish Assembly and so an alternative speaker would be found. As Kate Reeves had indicated that she would be able to provide the food for the Annual Parish Assembly at last year’s prices it was unanimously agreed to ask her to proceed.


Councillors’ Matters.


Cllr. Sweetland did not attend the Meeting.



Cllr. Craske reported that it was widely expected that the Borough Council would  increase Council Tax by 1.9% although Kent County Council would be freezing its tax for the third year running. The Locality Board would be learning of progress with the Future Library Services discussions and was likely to move forward on two proposals elsewhere in the County. Cllr. Oakeshott had requested that bushes to the slip road on Gads Hill be cut back to improve visibility and asked Cllr. Craske if there had been any progress in this matter. The Mayor of Gravesham would be holding a Charity Pig Race Night at the Memorial Hall on 20/2.



Cllr. Oakeshott reported that she had received complaints regarding rubbish strewn along the Wainscott By Pass and asked Cllrs. Craske and Pearton if they could arrange to have it cleared. A request had been received from a Chalk Road resident for a dog bin on the railway bridge and Cllr. Craske agreed to deal with this matter. Residents of Hayes Close wished to purchase a green salt bin for the use of their road and wanted to ensure that this would be filled. A complaint had been received that the bus shelter near to the Dickens sign was in a filthy condition.

Cllr. Ashby reported that road signs had been turned around at the end of Hermitage Road (turn left) and on the Wainscott By pass slip road. A street light at the end of Taylors Lane was not lit.

Cllr. Carroll had received compliments regarding the recent efforts of the snow clearance team members but a resident of Oak Drive had complained that the snow plough had thrown extra snow onto the pavement. A recently installed dog bin to the junction of Taylors Lane and Highwood Close had been attached to a post overhanging a front garden.

Cllrt. Grey highlighted the poor condition of the road surface to the London bound slip road of the Wainscott By Pass. All of the village salt bins required refilling after the recent snow. The grass verge outside the Memorial Hall had been damaged by parked vehicles. Tony Atherton had contacted him regarding the two wooden bollards to School Lane that had been recently damaged.

Cllr. Wright highlighted the need for Parishioners jogging along country lanes to wear high visibility clothing in order to be seen by traffic in the dark mornings/evenings.






a.    Planning.

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


 Appln. no. 20120974   23, Norah Lane.

Erection of single storey rear extension to form family room/dining room.

Appln. no. 20120990   Dingley Dell,  Gravesend Road.

Erection of a detached one bedroom granny annex in the south east corner of rear garden.

Appln. no. 20121004   13, Oak Drive.

Erection of a conservatory at the rear.

Appln. no. 20121049   Higham Hall Farm, Taylors Lane.

Application for approval of condition 4 attached to planning permission reference number 20120069 relating to the landscaping.

Appln. no. 20121029   The Coach House, Little Hermitage Farm, Gravesend Road.

Change of use of part of dwelling from residential to bed and breakfast accommodation.

Appln. no. 20121079   Happy Lands, Watling Street.

Erection of two storey side, rear and front extensions to form kitchen, utility room, craft/hobby room, bedroom, shower room/wc, wc, garden room, enlarged family lounge, lobby and cloakroom at ground floor level; two additional bedrooms, playroom, three ensuite bathroom/wc’s and bathroom/wc at first floor level wwith two bedrooms, two kitchenettes, games/media room and two ensuite bathroom/wc’s in the roof space; erection of an open porch and erection of a detached triple garage with gym/hobby room in roof space.

Appln. no. 20121087   11, Darby Gardens.

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

Appln. no. 20121096   4, Hobbs Cottages, Church Street.

Application of external render to the property

Appln. no. 20121098   Land At Chequers Street.

Erection of nine affordable dwellings together with associated car parking and hard and soft landscaping.

Appln. no. 20121099   Gads Hill House School, Gravesend Road.

Application for approval of condition 12 attached to planning permission reference number 20070188 relating to the landscaping scheme, as an addendum to that approved under 20110405.

Appln. no. 20130014   3, Telegraph Hill.

Construction of side extension to roof; new pitched roof over existing flat roof on rear extension and conversion of garage to bedroom, study and bathroom/wc.


c.      Memorial Hall.

         Cllr. Sutherland reported that CCTV cameras were to be installed


m.    Higham Neighbourhood Forum (formerly PACT).

         Peter Leakey reported that the next Meeting would be held on 5/3.


n.      Kent Community Warden.

         In the absence of Steve Gray the Clerk reported that 3 counts of fly tipping had been removed by the Borough Council and a litter pick requested for Old Watling Street.

         The Community Surgery/Afternoon Tea would move to Higham Library from 31/1 and it was hoped that more people would attend at this new venue.




The Clerk presented the quarterly financial statement for the period 01/10/12 – 31/12/12). She asked for approval for the items shown below, this being proposed by Cllr.Oakeshott, seconded by Cllr. Pearton and agreed by all Members.


Mr M.Papadopulos (HPC Christmas cards)                                                                       41.96

HM Courts and Tribunal Service (adjournment fee)                                                           45.00

Southern Water (allotments)                                                                                              17.48

GB Sport and Leisure UK Ltd. (2 flat swing seats)                                                             75.60

Clerk’s salary (1/10/12-31/12/12 – net)                                                                           2772.42

Exps for use of room as office (1/10/12-31/12/12)                                                            227.50

Clerk (print cartridges)                                                                                                    131.15

HMRC (Clerk PAYE/NI(employer/employee)                                                                 658.14

Admin. Exps (1/10/12-31/12/12)                                                                                     1066.23

Clive Stanley (webmaster services)                                                                                   77.00

B.T.Payment Services Ltd. (broadband)                                                                          131.18

St. Johns College Cambridge (balance of RG rent)                                                               6.16

Jo Raff (Youth Leader 1/9/12-31/1/13)                                                                           1995.00                     


Report from the Budget and Finance Committee Meeting held on 14th January 2013.

Copies of the report had been circulated to Members prior to the Meeting. Following discussion amongst Members it was proposed by Cllr.Wright , seconded by Cllr.Carroll  and agreed by all Members that a precept of £49350.00  be requested for the financial year 2013/2014.


Internal Control and Audit System.

At the Budget and Finance Committee Meeting Members had reviewed the effectiveness of the current system of internal control and audit as required under Regulations 4 and 6 of the Accounts and Audit Regulations (2003) and found it to be satisfactory. Members therefore unanimously agreed that no changes were necessary at the present time.



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 agreed to provide the Clerk with lists and locations of potholes within the village to be repaired under the “find and fix” initiative.

2.    Members noted a request from GBC for the Parish Council to run a Community Event in Higham during the summer with funding available. The Clerk would enquire further.

3.    Members noted a request from Kent Fire and Rescue for the Parish Council to report problems with fire hydrants within the village. The Clerk agreed to obtain relevant maps and place this information within the newsletter.


To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting.

This was given as being Monday, 25th February 2013 at 7.30 p.m.


Any Other Business.

Cllr. Grey reported that he had telephoned the owner of the land by Higham Station to check on the progress of the works but it appeared that these seemed to have come to a standstill at present. He also reported that youngsters were removing electronic doorbells and then activating them and watching people come to answer their doors. Laser lights were also being shone through front windows. The Police had been informed.

The Clerk reported a complaint regarding the alarm system of the pharmacy to the parade of shops ringing continually. Cllr. Howard confirmed that the company were aware of the problem and were dealing with it at present.


There being no other business the Meeting closed at 10.00 p.m.


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