Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the October 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, 14th October 2013 at 7.30 p.m.


Present:                                  Cllr. Mrs P. Oakeshott (Vice-Chairman in the chair)

                                               Councillors: G.Ashby,  A Carroll,  J.Grey, A.Howard, M.James, A. Mendzil,   B. Sutherland, and  S.Wright.

 In attendance:                         Steve Gray – Kent Community Warden

                                               Liz Jeffery – Parish Council Press Officer                                

                                               3 Parishioners.                                                                                                      

Apologies for absence:             Received from Cllr. B. Sweetland (County Councillor),

                                               Cllr. H.Craske (Borough Councillor) and Cllrs Papadopulos and Pearton.                                                                                                                                                                  

                                               PC Jo Mallett and PCSO Claire Croucher.


The Chairman accepted apologies for absence.

There were no alterations to the Register of Members Interests.

The Clerk reported that the head to one of the animal springers was cracked.


The Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held on Monday, 9th September 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. 1102. Matters Arising.  The list of wet pour contractors recommended by GBC had now been received.

b.   P. 1103. Borough. Cllr. Craske had confirmed that the documentation relating to the two wind turbines on the Marshes had been withdrawn and would not be resubmitted.

c.    P. 1103. Parish. The proprietor of the Lower Higham Service Station was unwilling to stock any provisions as she felt there would be little demand.

d.    P. 1105. Correspondence. The exhibition for the proposed Memorial Park at Chalk had been held at Higham Library. The formal planning application had now been received.

e.    P. 1105. Correspondence. Alan Casson had confirmed that he would be leaving his job at the end of this week to take a secondment for a year and would therefore not be attending the January 2014 Meeting as planned.

f.    P. 1105. AOB. Alan Casson had investigated the lack of parking signs at Gads Hill as reported by Cllr. Ashby and had confirmed that new guidelines stated that these were no longer needed for double yellow lines.

g.    Web site report. For the last 12 month rolling period alone there had been a total of 44,443 hits to the website with 4059 visitors in September.


Cllr. Grey reported on the recent Kent Highways Parish Seminar. A new Lorrywatch initiative was being trialled in Maidstone. Local farmers might be provided with equipment for the front of their tractors to spread salt and sand in rural areas in snowy weather. The Sensible Street Lighting initiative would see selected street lights turned off between the hours of midnight and 05.30. Alan Casson had proposed a meeting between Members of the Parish Council and representatives of RS Skips regarding the present problems of large numbers of vehicles travelling through the village.

Cllr. James drew Members attention to an interactive Freight Gateway site which helped plan the best route for lorries to travel to destinations. Upon checking the accuracy of this site it had become clear that none of the roads on the preferred lorry route through the village had been recognised and KCC needed to be advised of this problem.

Cllr. Oakeshott reported that Arriva buses was unwilling to consider introducing Sunday bus services through the village as it would not be economically viable.


Parishioners’ Matters.

Steven Thompsett, of the former Chequers PH, reported a long list of defects with his flat which the builder had not, as yet, resolved to his satisfaction and he thanked Cllr. Grey for his assistance in involving Cllr. Tony Pritchard of the Borough Council. In some instances the Parish Council had been blamed incorrectly by the builder for the lack of progress in resolving the issues. Mr Thompsett agreed to keep the Parish Council informed.


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

The Clerk reported that the new lease documents had still not been signed. As there were still places available at the Nursery School, Suzanne Green had asked for permission to hang a PVC banner on the safety barrier facing Higham Primary school and also on the Pavilion itself to advertise the Kindergarten, and Members were in agreement with this initiative. As the StartRite Kindergarten will have been in operation for 18 years in 2014 Mrs Green was planning celebrations around a “coming of age” theme to generate some more publicity.


To further discuss the provision of mobility scooter crossing points within the village.

Cllr. James reported on the responses received from Parishioners who had been asked  to identify any additional crossing points within the village where a dropped kerb would be an advantage. A total of four responses had been received. Mr Bolt of Brice Road had requested a dropped kerb for car access to his drive and this item had been referred to the Borough Councillors to try and facilitate this request. Mrs Jerome of Hayes Close needed easier access to reach the Post Office and it was agreed that a dropped kerb outside 26 Forge Lane would be advantageous. Mrs Pollitt reported problems with the bollards at each end of the alley that links Highwoods Close with Taylors Lane and it was felt that if each concrete bollard was replaced with 2 smaller bollards this would allow a mobility scooter to pass. The cutting back of an overgrown hedge to the end of Highwoods Close would also help this situation. Mr Spratt of Hermitage Road had highlighted problems with cars parking to the junction of Telegraph Hill and Hermitage Road and it was felt that this problem could be solved by the installation of yellow lines at this location. Cllr. Ashby had already raised the need for a crossing point from Norah Lane to Villa Road and it was felt that a dropped kerb in the vicinity of 25 Villa Road would be advantageous, with an additional dog bone marking.

Further discussion took place regarding highways items raised by Cllr. Ashby at a recent meeting with Cllr. Sweetland and Alan Casson. An annual letter to all the occupiers of business premises in Canal Road to ask them to remind lorry drivers to use the Preferred Lorry Route might yield results. The need to conduct a survey to establish the numbers of LGVs accessing the village to provide evidence for an application for a weight limit through the village would be helpful.  The need for the Parish Council to present a scheme to Kent Highways for consideration for the Villa Road / Forge Lane / School Lane junction was considered necessary. Speed control measures also needed to be considered for traffic approaching the Three Crutches roundabout at high speed and might involve the establishment of a chicane with a lower speed limit and the cutting back of strategic vegetation.


KALC Community Awards Scheme.

Due to the small number of prizewinners who turned up to collect their awards for the Garden Competition in September it was agreed that at the present time the Parish Council would continue to nominate people for awards through The Pride in Gravesham Award scheme through Gravesham Borough Council.


To discuss the feasibility of starting a Lorrywatch initiative within the village.

The Clerk reported that Peter Leakey felt that this initiative could be taken on by the Speedwatch Team and following discussion it was agreed that Cllr. James would meet with him within the village to discuss how to distinguish those vehicles which would need to be noted and devise an appropriate record sheet for this purpose.


Councillors’ Matters.


As Cllr. Sweetland did not attend the Meeting no report was given.



As Councillors Craske and Pearton did not attend the Meeting no report was given.



Cllr. Ashby reported that street lighting to School Lane opposite the parade of shops and the Chapel still remained unlit. There had been extensive fly tipping to the woods at the bottom of Pear Tree Lane. Railings to stop motor cyclists in Canal Road had been cut down.

Cllr. Wright reported that he had attended the recent Meeting of Parish Chairmen and that the rubbish collection system would be changing to wheelie bins in 2014.

Cllr. Grey drew attention to the current shortage of volunteers for the Speedwatch team. The Police had advised that they felt that there should be 5 individual to a team. The Clerk confirmed that adverts for volunteers were still being displayed on Parish Council noticeboards and agreed to place an article in the forthcoming 2014 Newsletter.

Cllr. Howard reported complaints from Parishioners that on 4 occasions Metropolitan Police cars had been observed travelling through the village at high speed with both sirens and blue flashing lights and queried if they were accessing the lower road to travel to the Metropolitan Police Training College.






a.    Planning.

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


Appln. no. 20130186   Land to Rear of Hilary Cottage, Hermitage Road.

Application for variation of condition 1 attached to planning permission reference number 20010753 to allow the number of horses and foals kept on the land to be increased from 14 to 19.

Appln. no. 20130799   80, Forge Lane.

Formation of vehicular access on to a classified road; formation of grasscrete surface hardstanding involving removal/backfilling of grass sloped bank and construction of retaining walls to three sides.

Appln. no. 20130817   Abbey Farm House,  Church Street.

Erection of a detached building to provide double garage and stores ancilliary to residential dwelling.

Appln. no. 20130825   Larkfield Gate, Crutches Lane.

Demolition of existing garage and erection of two storey side extension to form garage, utility room and wc at ground floor level with two bedrooms at first floor level and erection of a conservatory at the rear.

Appln. no. 20130838   Land South of Gads Hill House School, Crutches Lane.

Change of use from agriculture land to school playing fields involving levelling of land with boundary planting and fencing.

Appln. no. 20130843   Fairways, Old Watling Street.

Retention of the balcony to first floor bedroom and retention of the garden shed.

Appln. no. 20130860   5, Telegraph Hill.

Erection of single storey front and rear extension to form porch, lounge, utility room and conservatory/kitchen.

Appln. no. 20130868   12, Carton Road.

Demolition of existing conservatory and erection of single storey rear extension to form enlarged sitting/dining room, enlarged kitchen and conservatory.

Appln. no. 20130880   Oakleigh Manorhouse, Buckland Road.

Erection of single storey side and rear extensions to form hydrotherapy pool, physiotherapy room, changing rooms, plant room, dining room, bedroom, lobby and access platform link and erection of a detached triple garage.

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

Application for Listed Building consent for 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.


g.    G.R.O.W.C.

       Cllr. Wright reported that a Meeting would shortly be held.


h.    Governors of Higham Primary School.

       Cllr. James reported on a successful Ofsted Inspector visit to the school.


i.    Merston Court

      The Chairman reported that local MP Adam Holloway had recently visited for lunch. She thanked Cllr. Pearton who had given a grant of £500 from his Borough Councillor allowance to pay for new chairs.


j.     Higham Youth Club

       Cllr. Sutherland reported that new volunteers had come forward to assist the Youth Club. The previous week 95 youngsters had attended the Club.


k.    Chalk Liaison Committee

       The Chairman reminded Members of the A Bridge 2 Far Meeting at Shorne Village Hall on 17/10.


m.  Neighbourhood Forum (formerly PACT).

       Peter Leakey reported that the next Meeting of the Neighbourhood Forum would take place in Higham Library on 3/12.


n.    Kent Community Warden.

       Steve Gray reported that four counts of fly tipping had been reported for collection by GBC and a litter pick had been requested in front of the garages to Villa Road. The next Community Surgery would take place in Higham Library on 28/11. A Community Safety Day would take place in Higham Library on 26/10.


o.    Kent Police.

       In the absence of a Police representative the Clerk reported that the Police had continued to monitor the parking at Gads Hill since the implementation of the double yellow lines and had observed that parents seemed to be making use of the school car park with no illegal parking in evidence. PC Jo Mallett had visted the property in School Lane to talk to the owner of the vicious cat.  Cllr. Mendzil reported that parking still continued on the corner of Telegraph Hill.



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


St. John’s College Cambridge ( ½  year rent for R.G. by S.O.)                              251.37

Clive Stanley (webmaster services 30/6/13 – 30/9/13)                                           168.00   

Clerk’s salary (net amount September)                                                                 940.53 

HMRC  (PAYE/NI September)                                                                           199.65

KCC (LGPS September)                                                                                     305.73

Use of room as office (1/7/13 – 30/9/13)                                                               227.50

PKF Littlejohn LLP (2013 audit)                                                                           240.00

Southern Water (allotments)                                                                                 241.70

BT (broadband)                                                                                                    130.80   

Mr M. Allen (power unit for computer)                                                                  150.00



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 2013 audit

2.    George Webb Finn had asked for copies of gas safety certificates for any gas appliances used in the vicinity of the Recreation Ground.


To note the dates of the next Parish Council Meetings.

These were given as being Monday, 11th November at 7.30 p.m. for the Budget and Finance Meeting and the Christmas Meeting would be held on Monday, 25th  November 2013 at

7.30 p.m. with the Mayor of Gravesham in attendance.


Any Other Business.

None was brought to the notice of the Meeting.


There being no other business, the Meeting closed at 9.30 p.m.            


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