Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the Ordinary Parish Council Meeting, November 2013
[ DRAFT -- To be confirmed at the next Meeting ]

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Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held at the Memorial Hall, School Lane, on Monday, 25th November 2013 at 7.30 p.m.

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

                                               Kent County Council: Cllr. B. Sweetland.

                                               Borough Councillor: Cllr. H. Craske.

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

                                               M. James, P. Oakeshott , L.Pearton (also Borough)

                                               B. Sutherland,  and  S.Wright.

In attendance:                        Cllr. Derek Sales and Mrs Pam Sales (Mayor and Mayoress of


                                               Kent Community Warden Steve Gray.

                                               Liz Jeffery – Village Correspondent and Press Officer.

                                               6 Parishioners

Apologies for absence:          Received from Cllrs. Howard and Mendzil.

                                               PC Jo Mallett                                               

                                               PCSO Claire Croucher    



The Chairman welcomed the Mayor and Mayoress of Gravesham to the Christmas Meeting of the Parish Council.


The Chairman accepted apologies for absence.

There were no alterations to the Register of Members Interests.

The Clerk reported that the latest playground inspection report revealed that some of the links to the adventure trail were showing signs of wear. The Borough Council was willing to repair these on our behalf  if the parts were replaced.


The Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting, held on Monday, 14th October 2013, were confirmed and signed


Matters arising from the Minutes.

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

a.   P. 1106. Matters Arising. Memorial Park. A copy of the official response to the planning application was in the correspondence folder.

b.   P. 1106. Matters Arising, Meeting with RS Skips. Tony Atherton would be setting up a meeting with RS Skips which would be attended by Cllrs Grey and Craske who were both members of the newly formed Lorrywatch Team.

c.    P.1108. Parish.  Lighting to School Lane. The Lighting Engineer had ordered a new lantern for each of the unlit street lights. The night scouts for checking lighting within the village would be increased to two a month during the winter months.

d.    Web site report. Clive Stanley reported that for the last 12 month rolling period alone there had been a total of 49,180 hits to the website with 4671 visitors in October.

Cllr. James drew attention to p. 1109 of the Minutes where the report of the Governors of Higham Primary School should have read “Inspection” not “Inspector”.

Cllr. Pearton reported that he had walked through the woods at the bottom of Pear Tree Lane with Cllr. Robin Theobald (P. 1108 of the minutes refers) and could confirm that parts were  fenced off.  Shorne Parish Council was now in contact with Dr Colin Smith who had sworn the original affidavit. Cllr. Craske added that residents would need to confirm that they had been able to use the footpath “without any hinderance” to try and establish a legal right to use it.        


Parishioners’ Matters.

The Parish Council received a complaint from a resident of Lower Higham that certain footpaths had been ploughed up by a local farmer. Cllr. Craske confirmed that this was allowed and it did not restrict the rights of people to continue to walk these footpaths.


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

The Clerk reported that our solicitor was still awaiting the receipt of the draft lease from the St. John’s College solicitors.


Memorial Hall car park public conveniences.

The Clerk reported that a local estate agent was offering a former public conveniences unit in Gravesend to rent at the present time. Members discussed this initiative. It was felt that it would be difficult to grant access to our building which was situated on land rented to the Hall Committee. The Clerk was asked to enquire further regarding the cost of the demolition of the building for further discussion at the next meeting.


Meeting – traffic matters in Higham

Copies of a report compiled by Cllr. James, of a recent meeting within the village with the KCC Highways Traffic Engineer, had been circulated to Members prior to the Meeting. Cllr. James reported that Cllr. Sweetland had kindly agreed to fund some larger lorry route signs for Canal Road and to pay for a gangwork team to clear the overgrown vegetation to the area around the Three Crutches roundabout. He had also agreed to fund the upgrading of the wooden posts to the pavement in Forge Lane. The Clerk had obtained the permission of local residents for the installation of dropped kerbs, for mobility scooters, outside their properties and this work had now been placed with the contractor.

Cllr. Oakeshott reported that despite writing to both Chief Inspector Painter and Ann Barnes neither had been able to support the introduction of a weight limit through the village as there had been no recorded accidents or incidents to warrant it.


To request copy material for the 2014 Annual Newsletter.

The Clerk reminded Members to produce copy material for the 2014 newsletter in time for it to be brought to the next Meeting in January.


Councillors’ Matters.


Cllr. Sweetland reported that the budget for the new financial year was currently under review. At this stage it seemed likely that there would be a 1.99% increase in council tax and the budget for Highways would be cut by one third. Cllr. Sweetland encouraged all those present to take part in the on-line budget consultation before the closing date of 13/12.It was widely expected that a decision regarding the route for the new Lower Thames Crossing would be announced before Christmas.



Cllr. Craske reported that the planning application for the Traveller site in Chalk Road was expected to go to the next Regulatory Board Meeting in December for determination. He reported that the Speedwatch equipment was not functioning at the present time. Higham Scouts had been awarded a grant of £500 from his Borough Councillor allowance and it was anticipated that his remaining £250 would be awarded to the Friends of St. Mary’s Church.

Cllr. Pearton drew attention to the excellent Christmas lighting to Gravesend town centre and the 12 Days of Christmas event  which had already seen Gravesend break the world record for the largest number of elves with 940 of them congregating in Community Square.



Cllr. Grey reported continuing unresolved problems with serious dampness, sewerage and  building snagging items not being attended to, at the former Chequers Inn  PH site.  Cllr. Craske agreed to arrange another meeting with the residents.

Liz Jeffrey reported that HiARA would have a display table at the Annual Parish Assembly.   




a.    Planning.

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

       reviewed by the Planning Committee:-


Appln. no. 20130923 Land East of St. Mary’s Church, Chalk Rochester Road, Gravesend.

The development of a Memorial Park including a cemetery, woodland burial, crematorium and wildlife area with new access off Rochester Road and ancillary works.

Appln. no. 20130916   8, Copperfield Crescent.

Erection of first floor side extension to form a dressing room.

Appln. no. 20130946   Land South Side of Chalk Road / Taylors Lane.

Renewal of planning permission reference number 20110138 for use of land as residential for a gypsy family, stationing of two mobile homes, one touring caravan, utility room and stables on a permanent basis.

Appln. no. 20130991   21, Bull Lane.

Erection of a front porch.

Appln. no. 20130871  The Old Court, Town Road.

REVISED DESCRIPTION – Application for Listed Building consent for retention of the removal of an internal breeze block wall, that was built during the conversion of the house from a squash court to a residential dwelling.


 c.    Memorial Hall.

        Cllr. Oakeshott reported that Memorial Hall now had a new website which could be

        accessed from the Parish Council site. The hedges around the car park would be

        trimmed before Christmas. Rents would go up from the start of the new year.


h.     Governors of Higham School.

        Cllr. James reported that following the recent Ofsted inspection the school had been

        upgraded from the satisfactory to good category and the behaviour of the pupils had been

        judged to be outstanding.


n.     Kent Community Warden.

        Steve Gray reported that 2 counts of flytipping had been removed. Forthcoming

        Community Surgeries would be held on 28/11 and 19/12. The Community Safety Day

        on 26/10 had been well attended and would be repeated in 2014. In early December there

        would be a Community Safety Shop in the St. Georges Centre in Gravesend.



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


Mrs J.M.Papadopulos (Chairman’s allowance)                                                             180.00

Higham with Merston PCC (church Christmas leaflet – S137/139)                              105.00   

Mr M. Papoadopulos (HPC Christmas cards)                                                                  38.79

Clerks salary (October)                                                                                                   906.69

HMRC (PAYE/NI October)                                                                                           175.76

KCC (LGPS October)                                                                                                     291.36



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 receipt of a revised Rural Nomination Criteria document. Cllrs. Oakeshott and Grey agreed to submit any comments to the Borough Council.

2.   Members noted another anonymous letter sent to Cllr. Sweetland by local residents regarding problems at the Village Club.

3.   Cllr. Oakeshott agreed to comment on the Gravesham Local Plan Core Strategy proposed modifications.

4.    A total of £2120.36 had been collected by Peter Allinson and the Scouts for Children in Need.


To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting.

This was given as being Monday, 13th January 2014 at 7.30 p.m.


Any Other Business.

The Clerk reported that a lady had come forward and wanted to take over the running of the dog show in the village on 26/5/14 and wished to use the Recreation Ground. Members granted permission providing the event was not advertised on any social networking site and that a traffic plan for parking was put in place.

The Clerk reported complaints from the Eagles Football team regarding excessive dog fouling to the football pitch area.


The Mayor thanked Members of the Parish Council for their invitation to the Meeting which he had found to be lively and most informative. It seemed that similar problems were being experienced in both the town and the Parish and he thanked Councillors for the good job they were doing.


There being no other business the Chairman closed the Meeting at 8.50 p.m. and invited those present to her home for some seasonal refreshment. 


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