Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the Ordinary Parish Council Meeting, April 2014
[ 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, 7th April 2014 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:                          7 Parishioners

                                               Kent Community Warden Steve Gray   

                                               Liz Jeffery – Village Correspondent and Press Officer.

Apologies for absence:             Received from Kent County Councillor Bryan Sweetland,   

                                               Cllr. Mendzil. PCSO Sharon Balman,  Clive Stanley.


The Chairman accepted apologies for absence.

There were no alterations to the Register of Members Interests.

The Clerk reported that the last inspection of the Recreation Ground had revealed that dog mess had had to be removed from the play area.


The Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting, held on Monday, 3rd  March  2014, were confirmed and signed


Matters arising from the Minutes.

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

a.  P. 1119 Matters Arising. Tree branch.  This branch had still not been collected in spite of being reported by Steve Gray.

b.  P. 1121 Parish. Wooden Bollards to School Lane. Tony Atherton had now made contact with Cllr. Grey regarding the reinstatement of the bollards.

c.  P. 1112.Correspondence. A card and letter of thanks had been sent to Jason Clout of Crutches Lane as requested.

d.  Web site report. The Clerk reported that during the rolling 12 month period there had been a total of 51,488 hits to the Parish website with 5508 visitors in March alone.


Parishioners’ Matters.

Peter Leakey, of Chilton Drive, drew Councillors’ attention to the increase in foxes to the village at the present time.

Following reading an article in the 2014 Annual Parish Newsletter, Mr Manwaring, of Canal Road, expressed an interest in converting the Memorial Hall car park toilet building, which was shortly to revert back to the ownership of the Parish Council, into a vintage tea room. Members of the Parish Council were unanimous in their interest of this scheme and it was agreed that a Meeting would be arranged with the Memorial Hall Management Committee to further discuss this proposal and report back at the next Meeting.

Lisa Baker, of Jupp Court, updated Members regarding her planning application for a dog grooming business which was to be situated in her back garden. As this was due to go in front of the Regulatory Board later in the week, Cllrs. Craske, Pearton and Grey declared an interest in this item, left the Meeting at this point and took no further part in the proceedings.


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

The Clerk reported that the College had refused to consider dating the Lease to run from April 2014. She had been asked to supply a list of all events expected to take place in the Recreation Ground during the forthcoming year so that the College could prepare a side letter to accompany the Lease. The draft Lease documentation would shortly be sent to Suzanne Green for her approval.


To finalise arrangements for the 2014 Annual Parish Assembly.

The Clerk reported that Willow Print had been awarded the contract to print the newsletter having held their price from the last year which had ensured that newsletter printing costs would come in under budget.  Kate Reeves, of Higham Oven Bake, would again be providing the catering for the evening. The Chairman agreed to arrange for the drinks and glasses. Christoph Bull would use the new electric projector screen and bring the rest of the equipment needed for his talk. Several local groups had indicated that they would have display tables set out for the evening.


To discuss judging arrangements for the 2014 Higham Gardens for Pleasure Competition.

It was uncertain if Morton Grey would be able to carry out the judging for the competition this year. The Chairman agreed to contact him to ascertain the situation.


To review and approve the risk assessment document.

Copies of the amended document had been circulated to Members prior to the Meeting. It was proposed by Cllr.Howard, seconded by Cllr. Pearton and agreed by all Members that the updated document should be approved and signed.


Friday Night at the Proms 2014.

The annual Friday Night at the Proms event would be held on 11/7 and it was anticipated that tickets would go on sale from mid May and would be available as usual from Higham Library.


Possible conversion of Parish lighting assets to part-night lighting.

The Clerk reported that the Parish Council had been asked if it wished to convert any of its Parish lights to part-night lighting because if this was done at the same time as Gravesham was converting its own lights, the same contractor could be used and costs could be cut. A list  of village street lights, locations and hours of operation  had been circulated to Members prior to the Meeting but it was noted that several roads were missing from this list (e.g. Jupp Court and Watling Street). Members noted that Higham had an historic Parish Lighting Agreement with Gravesham Borough Council which meant that it did not pay any maintenance costs for lighting within the village and were keen to ensure that there would be no cost to the Parish for any conversion works. They also wished to ascertain if there were any plans to convert lighting within the village that they were not aware of.


To discuss future provision of Christmas lighting within the Parish.

Cllr. Oakeshott reported on a new Borough wide initiative for Christmas lighting which had been discussed at the recent meeting of Parish Chairmen. She demonstrated an artificial Christmas wreath lit by white LED lights which was powered from a battery pack. The battery pack would run for a total of 60 days and allow the lights to be programmed to be lit for 10 hours per day. Parish Councils could place an order for this lighting through the Borough Council at a cost of approximately £76 for the large units and £35 for the small. Members expressed concern as to where these units would be installed within the village and by whom, and where the units would be stored during the year. Cllr. Craske agreed to contact Melanie Norris to discuss the matter further and report back at a future Meeting.    


Councillors’ Matters.


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



Cllr. Craske reported that the Inspector would be holding an investigation into the Core Strategy over the next two days. All residents of Higham had now been notified about the commencement of the new Waste and Recycling scheme from June. To celebrate the centenary of the start of WW1 the Mayor would visit every WW grave in the Borough during October, of which there were 6 in Higham. It was hoped that poppies and other red flowers might be able to be planted within the village to commemorate the anniversary. The report on Domestic Abuse had now been published and was awaiting a cabinet response. Cllr. Craske confirmed that he had now received his grant allocation for the new financial year and urged local groups and associations to apply for any funds that were needed.



Cllr. Grey reported that a couple of properties on the original road to Higham Hall in Steadman Close had new tenants who had hung ropes from the trees outside which were covered by tree protection orders. The Clerk agreed to make the Housing Department aware of this problem. He advised Members of a shortage of seats on single decker buses being used to transport local school children who had the updated Freedom Pass tickets.

Cllr. Oakeshott  reported that she had been unable to locate any tree trunks to purchase to place on the grass verge in School Lane to deter parking as had been done opposite Cobham Hall school. She again requested details of the mini buses used in Meopham  by the Kent Community Wardens from Steve Gray.






a.    Planning.

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


Appln. no. 20140164   The Old Barn, Chalk Road

Erection of a detached three bedroom, two storey dwelling on land in front of existing property.

Appln. no. 20130930   Land Adjoining Braybrooke Manor, Old Watling Street

Erection of a detached, two storey, four bedroom dwelling.

Appln. no. 20140186   10, The Larches

Erection of an attached double garage at the side and construction of new dormer in side roof slope of dwelling.

Appln. no 20140208   27, Telegraph Hill

Demolition of existing garage and erection of extensions on both sides with associated external works.

Appln. no. 20140243   8, Ash Crescent

Erection of single storey front extension.

Appln. no. 20140240   Higham Working Mens Club,  33, Hermitage Road

Erection of a detached shed.


h.    Governors of Higham School.

       Cllr. James reported on a successful Governors Day involving visits to the classrooms to observe lessons and inter-react with the children. All of the pupils in Year 6 were currently on target to attain the required KS2 progress when they left the school in the summer and all teaching had now been judged to be either good or outstanding over the last two terms which would greatly help the school to move towards becoming “outstanding” overall.  There were now 5 daily clubs which the children could join, and the school was preparing itself for the challenge of the additional free school meals which would be needed from September. The school had become the lead rural school on the science curriculum in a local consortium.


i.    Merston Court.

      The Chairman reported that due a lack of cooks two sessions had had to be cancelled at Merston Court           


m.   Higham Neighbourhood Forum (formerly PACT).

       Peter Leakey reported that both the recent Neighbourhood Forum Meeting and the Speedwatch Information Meeting had been poorly attended with no new volunteers coming forward. 


n.    Kent Community Warden.

       Steve Gray reported that 6 counts of flytipping had been reported to the Borough Council but a tree branch and a burnt out caravan still required collection. One litter pick had been requested and two cases of vegetation overgrowth reported to Kent Highways. A total of 5 residents had attended the last Community Surgery. A report had been received that youths had been shining a green laser pen into the living rooms of elderly village residents and this had been reported to the Police. Steve Gray confirmed to Cllr. James that the additional litter bins requested for the Three Crutches area were still out of stock.



The Clerk presented the quarterly financial statement for the period 1/1/14 to 31/3/14. She asked for approval for the items shown below, this being proposed by Cllr.James, seconded by Cllr Howard and agreed by all Members.


Mrs Katie Reeves (food for APA under Sect. 150(2) LG Act 1972)                                230.00

Christoph Bull (talk for APA under Sect. 150(2) LG Act 1972)                                         60.00

1st Higham Scouts (Sect. 137/139 grant for newsletter delivery)                                      100.00

J.A.Stanley (preparation of 2014 newsletter)                                                                  249.50

Clive Stanley (webmaster services from 1/1/14 to 25/3/14)                                                56.00

Clerk’s salary (March net)                                                                                             906.69

Expenses for use of room as office (1/1/14 to 31/3/14)                                                     227.50

HMRC (PAYE/NI March)                                                                                             175.76

KCC (LGPS March)                                                                                                      291.36

KALC (2014 subscription)                                                                                             1178.30

Willow Print Services Ltd (2014 newsletter)                                                                     990.00

Martin Tolhurst Partnership LLP (on A/C)                                                                     2106.00

1st Higham Scouts (Sect. 137/139 grant)                                                                          200.00

Higham Age Concern (Sect. 137/139 grant)                                                                     400.00

Higham with Merston PCC (Sect. 137/139 grant)                                                             325.00

Higham Youth Club (Sect. 137/139 grant)                                                                        175.00          


The changes to both the Clerk’s and Youth Leader’s salaries, as agreed at the Budget and Finance Meeting, were endorsed unanimously by Members as were the increases to allotment rents for the 2014/2015 season to £25 for a full plot and £15 for a half plot.



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. The date of the 2014 audit was noted as being  9/6/14

2. Members gave support to the holding of a Thanksgiving Barn Dance in September.

3. Members did not consent to a second Charity Dog Show being held on the Recreation Ground.


To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting.

This was given as being Monday, 12th  May  2014  at 7.30 p.m. for the Annual Parish Council Meeting followed by a Parish Council Meeting.

The Annual Parish Assembly would take place on 10th April at 7.30 p.m.


Any Other Business.

None was brought to the notice of the Meeting.


There being no other business, the Meeting closed at 9.45 p.m.



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