Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the September 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, 9th September 2013 at 7.30 p.m.


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

                                               Kent County Councillor: Cllr. B. Sweetland

                                               Borough Councillor: Cllr. H. Craske

                                               Councillors: G.Ashby, A.Carroll, J.Grey, A.Howard,  P. Oakeshott, L.Pearton,  B. Sutherland, and  S.Wright. 

In attendance:                          P.C. Jo Mallett,  Morton Grey,  Liz Jeffery – Parish Council Press Officer and 12 Parishioners.

Apologies for absence:            Received from Cllrs. James and Mendzil, PCSO Claire Croucher 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 2013, by Cllr. Stuart Wright and Morton Grey, who had again carried out the final judging on behalf of the Parish Council.


FIRST PRIZE (Silver Rose Bowl Trophy, Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)

Margaret and Terence  Greenshields, “Courtlands”, Crutches Lane.


SECOND PRIZE (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)

Alicia Humphries, 17, Lake Drive.


THIRD PRIZE (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)

Greta Stowers, 42, St. John’s Road.


"HIGHLY COMMENDED" (Framed certificate)

Maureen Barton, 53, Oak Drive.

Dot and Fred Figg, 1, Oak Drive.

June and Anthony Stevenson, 3, Hayes Close.


"BEST HANGING BASKET AND CONTAINERS" (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)

Evelyn and John Leach, 32, Telegraph Hill.


“BEST HANGING BASKET AND CONTAINERS”- SECOND PRIZE   (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)

Allen Paternoster, 17, Beech Grove.



The Wade Family, 3, Beech Grove.

Carren Beattie, 37, Brice Road.



Not awarded this year


The Chairman accepted apologies for absence.

There were no alterations to the Register of Members Interests.

The Clerk reported no additional damage to Parish property or amenities.


The Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held on Monday, 15th  July 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. 1096. Parish  Property. Repairs to safety surfacing. The Borough Council was unable to help with this repair but would forward a list of contractors for consideration.

b.   P. 1096. Matters Arising. After having been told that planning permission would need to be applied for  to resite the sign, Clive Gilbert had given the go ahead and the sign had been moved to its new position today.

c.   P. 1097. Parishioners  Matters. There was a base for RS Skips at the industrial site at Queen Farm Road.  Cllr. Grey drew attention to the large number of vehicles currently travelling through the village especially early in the morning and at weekends.

d.   P. 1098. Parish. Overgrown  hedge. A letter had been sent to the owner of the property in School Lane and the hedge had now been cut back.   

e. Web site report. Clive Stanley reported that for the last 12 month rolling period alone there had been a total of 44,904 hits to the website with 3975 visitors in August. He and the Parish Clerk had held a useful review meeting to freshen up the parish website by removing older events and details.


Parishioners’ Matters.

Mr and Mrs Jarvis, of Cherry Tree Cottages, advised Members that they would complain to the Ombudsman regarding the granting of planning permission to the owner of a neighbouring property by members at a Regulatory Board Meeting, when they themselves had been unable to attend the Meeting to put their case. Cllr. Craske agreed to speak to Clive Gilbert to establish a protocol should this situation arise again in the future.


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

The Clerk reported that a précis of the new lease had been approved following the insertion of a clause whereby the College would rent four car parking spaces in the Recreation Ground at a current market rent should the Pavilion revert back into its ownership at any time. Our surveyor had visited the Pavilion and Recreation Ground to measure for Land registry purposes. The new lease would be backdated to October 2012.


Ownership of the public conveniences to the Memorial Hall car park.

The Clerk reported that from the Land Registry documentation sent to us by Mr Franklin it was quite clear that the public conveniences were situated on land which we owned and we were therefore liable. The Hall Committee had now confirmed that it did not wish to accept responsibility for the upkeep of the toilets. The Clerk was asked to explore a range of options with Mr Franklin bearing in mind that the lease for the Memorial Hall and car park was not due for renewal until 2019.


Revised Notification of Disclosure of Pecuniary Interests Form.

Copies of the revised form had been circulated to Members prior to the Meeting. The Clerk collected in completed forms which would be copied prior to forwarding to the Monitoring Officer. The completed forms would be displayed on the Parish Council website.


Future Library Services – Higham Library.

The Clerk had circulated copies of an email recently received from James Pearson where he stated that he believed that the idea to have a cafe within the library would not equal significant savings on its own and needed to be considered within a range of other things. The Clerk reported that the annual premises costs of Higham Library were in excess of £9000. As James Pearson had indicated that he would shortly be responding with a further update regarding Higham Library and details of the review of the hire of library space throughout the County it was agreed to further discuss this topic once this information had been received. Members explored the possibility of holding an Extraordinary Meeting on this subject at a later date.


KALC Community Awards Scheme.

It was agreed to reschedule discussion of this item to the next Meeting although it was noted that of the ten prizes awarded for the Gardens for Pleasure Competition earlier in the evening only four of these had been collected on the night. 


Councillors’ Matters.


Cllr. Sweetland reported that the decision by the Government as to the selected route for the Lower Thames Crossing was expected around early October. Kent had produced the best results for GCSEs for the last 13 years when a total of 65% of students had achieved a total of five A* to C grades. A total of £31 million would be allocated to build an extra 22 primary classrooms within the County. Cllr. Howard agreed to attend the forthcoming JTB Meeting and Cllr. Ashby  the Meeting with Parish Councils at Istead Rise.



Cllr. Craske reported that the planning application by Cascades for the site opposite the Railway Tavern had now been refused by the Borough Council. At the present time he still had a total of £600 left for small grants from his Borough Councillor allocation (Cllr. Pearton still had £1000 left). A presentation would be made on 14/10 to Members of the Borough Council by Estuary Energy Ltd. which hoped to submit an application for two 80m high wind turbines on the Higham Marshes close to Hoo Junction. Of these one would be within Higham Parish and the other within Shorne. It was feared that if these were approved others would follow. The turbines would not benefit the village as the electricity would go straight into the National Grid. It was hoped that a presentation would be given to both Parish Councils at a later date. The information day for the proposed Memorial Park at Chalk had shown the illustrative plans only as no planning application had as yet been submitted. Cllr. Oakeshott had noted  that slow moving funeral cars would hold up the traffic on the road due to the large number of traffic islands.. Cllr. Craske confirmed  that he was not aware that fracking would be taking place within the village.      



Cllr. Grey reported that he had received complaints from Parishioners that the lack of Sunday bus services made it difficult for them to make hospital visits on Sundays, or to take advantage of events or entertainment  in Gravesend.

Cllr. Pearton reported that he was trying to arrange for the bus stop at the top of Villa Road to be reinstated following requests from Parishioners. He enquired what was happening regarding the clearance of the old pond in Lower Higham. The Clerk reported that she had forwarded all paperwork to Cllr. Craske who was pursuing a new initiative.

Cllr. Carroll reported that the missing fire hydrant sign to Taylors Lane had been replaced with a plastic sign on a lamppost on the opposite side of the road.

Cllr. Ashby reported unlit street lamps to School Lane and Beech Grove.

Cllr. Oakeshott had received requests for the Lower Higham Service Station to stock a supply of basic foods.






a.    Planning.

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

Appln. no. 20130575   Happy Lands, Watling Street.

Demolition of existing dwelling and erection of a detached two storey, seven bedroom dwelling with rooms in the roof space; detached double garage and associated re-landscaping and parking.

Appln. no. 20130604   Gads Hill House School, Gravesend Road.

Application for variation of condition 3 attached to planning permission reference number 20100459 to renew the temporary planning permission for the stationing of a portakabin for a further three years.

Appln. no. 20130619   31, Forge Lane.

Erection of a detached four bedroom chalet bungalow with a detached double garage.

Appln. no. 20130600   Karibu, Old Watling Street.

Retention of one dormer window within west roof slope with side opening and retention of the total of five velux windows within east and west roof slopes, which are not obscure glazed and are opening to form loft conversion.

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.


c.    Memorial Hall.

       Cllr. Oakeshott reported that a new floor would be installed by the end of September.


l.    Rural Housing.

       Cllr. Grey reported that he and Cllr. Oakeshott had recently attended a Meeting at Gravesham Borough Council organised by Cllr. Tony Pritchard. A copy of the revised Rural Nomination Criteria agreement would follow.


m.   Higham Neighbourhood Forum (formerly PACT).

       Peter Leakey reported that the crime figures for Higham were based on a one mile radius from Telegraph Hill and they also included part of Shorne parish . Shorne was now starting its own Speedwatch team and had 10 volunteers as compared to only 6 in Higham. It was agreed that an appeal for volunteers for Speedwatch would be placed in the 2014 Annual Parish Newsletter.


n.    Kent Community Warden.

       In the absence of Steve Gray, the Clerk reported that he was still on a phased return to work following his recent illness. Whilst he was away on holiday, Nic Roots, the Gravesham Team Support Warden, would put in a uniformed presence at Gads Hill School to try and deter illegal parking on the new double yellow lines and he had also requested that PCSO Claire Croucher do the same. The next Community Surgery/afternoon tea would be at Higham Library on 26/10.    


o.    Kent Police.

        Cllr. Howard raised the number of attacks on Parishioners by a vicious cat living in a property in School Lane with PC Jo Mallett. He had received letters of complaint and some of those attacked had had to seek either medical or hospital treatment for their wounds. PC Mallett agreed to speak to the owner of the cat. Mr Chilmaid, of Steadman Close, reported a noise problem caused by motor cycles being revved up in the road. Cllr. Oakeshott reported that parents were still parking on the double yellow lines at Gads Hill. Cllr. Ashby reported an untaxed vehicle to the top of Villa Road.  He had also received complaints about vehicles “drifting” around the roundabout at Gads Hill.



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


BT Payment Services Ltd. (broadband)                                                             130.80

Clerk (garden gift tokens)                                                                                     80.00

Clerk’s salary (July)                                                                                            899.95

Clerk’s salary (August)                                                                                       899.95

KCC (LGPS July)                                                                                               288.50

KCC (LGPS August)                                                                                          288.50

HMRC (PAYE/NI July)                                                                                      170.99

HMRC (PAYE/NI August)                                                                                 170.99

Admin Exps (1/4/13 to 30/6/13)                                                                       1062.55

Martin Tolhurst (payment on A/C)                                                                   1206.00

SLCC (annual membership)                                                                                145.00

KCPFA (2013 subscription)                                                                                  20.00

Mr M. Allen (erase virus to Members computers)                                                99.00

Clerk (printing/extended warranty)                                                                     477.98

Clerk (printer cartridges)                                                                                     131.79                  


Members noted the revised national salary scale for the Clerk with effect from 1/4/13.



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. Cllr. Wright agreed to liaise with George Webb Finn regarding the setting up of a sensible tree management policy to the Recreation Ground.

2. Members noted the dates of the visits of the Mobile Police Station as outlined by the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner, Ann Barnes, on her recent visit to the village.

3. Members requested that Mercia Crematoria hold a presentation and question and answer session for the whole village about the proposed crematorium in Chalk with the exhibition being displayed within Higham Library.

4. Cllr. Grey agreed to attend the Parish and Town Council Seminar organised by Kent Highways on 4/10.

5. Members noted the response from Alan Casson regarding the list of Highway Priorities within the village. Lack of funding had meant that some suggestions were on hold.

6.  Cllr. Ashby agreed to take complaints regarding heavy lorries travelling through the village and parking on pavements, to the forthcoming meeting at Istead Rise.

7.  It was agreed to invite Alan Casson to the January 2014 Meeting of the Parish Council.  


To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting.

This was given as being Monday, 14th October 2013 at 7.30 p.m. The Budget and Finance Meeting would be held on Monday, 11th November 2013 at 7.30 p.m.


Any Other Business.

Cllr. Ashby highlighted a lack of no parking signs in the vicinity of Gads Hill School since the double yellow lines had been installed.


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


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