Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the Ordinary Parish Council Meeting, July 2014

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Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held at the Memorial Hall, School Lane, on Monday, 7th July 2014 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,                            

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

                                               B.Sutherland, and S.Wright.

In attendance:                          6 Parishioners

                                               PCSOs Ben Watts and Dil Gosal.

                                               Kent Community Warden  Steve Gray.

                                               Liz Jeffery – Parish Council Press Officer                                                                                           

Apologies for absence:             Received from Clive Stanley.


The Chairman accepted apologies for absence.

There were no alterations to the Register of Members Interests.

The Clerk reported that the last playground inspection report for the Recreation Ground had revealed no problems.


The Minutes of the Annual Parish Council Meeting, followed by a Parish Council Meeting, held on Monday, 12th May 2014, were confirmed and signed


The Chairman thanked the PCSOs for attending the Meeting. She expressed concern that a recent request to the police to attend an incident at the multi-purpose games area had not been answered in time as the officers attending did not know the area and had got lost.


Matters arising from the Minutes.

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

a.   P. 1131  Parish. Vegetation to School Lane. This issue was currently being dealt with by Kent Highways as was another complaint regarding overgrowth from Chalkpit Cottage.

b.   P. 1132. Parish. Vegetation to Three Crutches roundabout. Cllr. Sweetland had confirmed  that this would be cleared by Tuesday at the latest.

c.   P. 1132. Parish. Hedge to Upshire House. The owner had now been requested to cut back the overgrown  hedge.

d.   P. 1133. Correspondence. Cllr. Wright was currently obtaining estimates for cutting back the leylandii conifer trees as requested by Mr Raccine.

e.   Web site report. For the last 12 month rolling period alone there had been a total of 53,552 hits to the website with 4819 visitors in June alone.

Cllr. James reported that he had attended a site meeting with Rob Bright (of GBC), and Keith Bradley at Hollytree Drive regarding the problem of vehicles parking on the bend of the road (P. 1132 of the Minutes refers). It was hoped that some sort of lineage might be able to be installed at this location.


Parishioners Matters.

Alan Taylor, of Martins Close, asked for an update on the clearance of the bushy vegetation at the junction of Martins Close which was currently obscuring sight lines. Cllr. James confirmed that a site meeting had already been held and that Kent Highways would arrange for this to be cut back. Mr Taylor also drew attention to a pot hole outside 2, Brookers Place which still required repair.

Pearl Cheval of Maidstone believed that she would be able to address the Members of the Parish Council at the Meeting having been advised by Cllr. Sweetland that it was taking place that evening. The Chairman suspended standing orders to allow her to speak as she was not a resident within the Parish. Mrs Cheval stated that she was interested in opening a playgroup to operate from either the Memorial Hall or the Pavilion as she understood that Higham was an area of high demand but that she had not approached the current owner of the business.  The Chairman confirmed that children affected by the recent closure of the StartRite Kindergarten had now all been transferred to alternative Nursery Schools outside the Parish. She advised Mrs Cheval that all enquiries regarding the empty Pavilion building now needed to be directed to St. John’s College. 


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

The Clerk reported that the solicitor had recently been away on holiday but a new date to report to the court had been arranged for the end of July following the announcement that the StartRite Kindergarten was to close on 18th July. At an Extraordinary Meeting held on 2nd July the Members of the Parish Council had voted unanimously to proceed with lease negotiations for the Playing Field and Multi-Purpose Games Area only. It was now hoped that matters could be brought to a swift conclusion.


Friday Night at the Proms 2014.

The Clerk reported that advance ticket sales for this event were disappointingly low with only 62 being sold in advance by the Library. With the provision of the Marquee and sound engineer, in addition to the cost of the band and other operating costs, Members noted that the outgoings for this event were now in excess of £1000. Councillors requested that any donations from the sale of union jack flags should go to the Help for Heroes Charity as in previous years.  


To again discuss a proposal for the use of the Memorial Hall car park toilet building.

The Clerk reported that at an Extraordinary Meeting held on 2nd July Members of the Parish Council had voted unanimously to accept the offer of the Memorial Hall Management Committee to pay for the demolition of the Memorial Hall car park toilet building. However, this could not happen immediately as all services would need to be disconnected and removed from the building and a planning application would need to be submitted for the demolition process.


To finalise arrangements for the 2014 Higham Gardens for Pleasure Competition.

The Chairman reminded Members to produce a short list of three gardens for judging by Morton Grey by the end of July.


To discuss current problems with the Rural Nominiation Criteria.

Concern was expressed by Cllrs Oakeshott, Grey and Pearton that the Rural Nomination Criteria endorsed by the Parish Council, including the ten year qualification rule, had recently been significantly changed by the Borough Council without their knowledge.  Now a village applicant would not be considered for rural housing within the Parish unless a Member of the Family was dependant on them as a carer. Cllr. Craske  agreed to make further enquiries regarding these changes and report back at a future meeting.


Councillors’ Matters.


Cllr. Sweetland confirmed the receipt of his Members Highways Fund which meant that he had allocated the sum of £3000 to each Parish for it to decide how it was spent on Highways works within the village. He confirmed that the overgrown vegetation to the Three Crutches  roundabout would be cut back within the next few days.  He expressed concern that the Early Years Provision at the Pavilion had had to close but was confident that the County Council was rigorously ensuring that there were still sufficient places available in the area as a whole.

Suzanne Green confirmed that although her commitment to children within the village had come to an end she would be more than happy to offer guidance and support for any new venture. She thanked the Parish Council for allowing her to use the Pavilion for the StartRite Kindergarten and the Chairman, in turn, thanked her for everything she had done for the village.   



Cllr. Craske reported a few teething problems with the new waste management scheme within the village which he was currently monitoring..  The owners of some properties had lined up their bins on the highway outside their front fences and some properties had been provided with bins when they should not have them. Cllr. Craske confirmed that the new bins should not be placed in front gardens or under the windows of  habitable rooms. As part of the commemorations for the World Wars, poppy crosses would be laid on every war grave in the Borough on 29/10 and 30/10. Cllr. James expressed interest for the children at the Primary school to be involved. Cllr. Craske agreed to chase the installation of the rubbish bins to posts in Old Watling Street which, to date, had been out of stock.



Cllr. Sutherland drew attention to the large amount of cars parked to Forge Lane and asked Cllrs James  and Ashby if this could be be taken into consideration by the provision of a passing place when they prepared proposals for the Gardeners Junction.

Cllr. Grey reported that swings still hung from trees and rubbish was strewn in the front garden of a property in Steadman Close situated on the path to the old Higham Hall despite the matter having been reported to Sharon Donald. The Clerk was asked to chase up this matter. He also alerted Members to an increase in flyposting within the village particularly to telegraph poles.

Cllr. Oakeshott reported problems with overgrowth to the pavement between High View and the Primary School. She also reported complaints from Parishioners that the new food waste collection bins were not airtight.

Cllr. James asked Steve Gray to keep a close watch on flytipping to the Crutches Lane area and ensure that any incidences were collected promptly when reported.

Cllr. Howard reported an incidence of fly tipping to Taylors Lane opposite Youens Cottage which was noted by Steve Gray. He also reported that the seat to School Lane opposite the Orchards  required urgent repairs to the seat slats.  Cllr. Wright kindly agreed to try and carry out the necessary repairs.

Cllr. Ashby reported that sight lines were again being compromised at The Brambles on the Lower Rochester Road as planting had taken place outside of the fencing.

Cllr. Mendzil reported tankers travelling down Hermitage Road but Cllr. Wright confirmed that they were involved with cesspool pumping in the road.     

The Chairman reminded those present to join in the national commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of World War I on 4/8 between 22.00 to 23.00 hours by switching off all lights at home except for one.

The Clerk reported that a complaint had been received that vegetation within the Recreation Ground, opposite the Primary School, needed to be cut back. Cllr. Wright agreed to include this maintenance work in the estimate for when the leylandii trees to the Recreation Ground were cut back.






a.    Planning.

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


Appln. no. 20140392   Bridgewater,  Chalk Road

Erection of two storey rear extension to form kitchen/diner with bedroom and en-suite over.

Appln. no. 20140422   St. Agaro, Gore Green Road

Erection of single storey side extension, conversion of part of existing integral garage into utility room, construction of dormer window in rear roof slope in connection with conversion of roof space into habitable accommodation.

Appln. no. 20140350   65,  School Lane

Erection of a single storey side extension to form lounge.

Appln. no. 20140445   39, Norah Lane

Erection of two storey side and rear extensions, incorporating three dormer windows in the front roof slope, to form an enlarged kitchen/diner and lounge; with the addition of a first floor level to form four bedrooms, two ensuite bath/shower rooms and a wc/bathroom.

Appln. no. 20140459   1, Cherry Garden Cottages, Lower Rochester Road

Minor material amendments to planning permission reference number 20130310 in respect of re-positioning and widening of the garage, removing existing garage door and brick and render opening to include an

 additional high level window; additional door opening to side elevation(B) with changes to window arrangement at rear replacing bathroom window with door, and two additional velux roof light windows in side and rear roof slope.

Appln. no. 20140499   34, St. Johns Road

Erection of single storey infill extension to form kitchen, utility room and shower room/wc, alterations to gable to provide half-hipped roof, construction of a dormer extension in the rear roof slope and a dormer window in the front roof slope to provide two bedrooms, bathroom and office in proposed roof space.

Appln. no. 20140492   Turks Hill,   Taylors Lane

Erection of side extension at first floor level over existing ground floor structure to form two enlarged bedrooms, ensuite bathroom/wc and balcony and single storey rear extension to provide additional living and kitchen accommodation.

Appln. no. 20131101   7, Michele Cottages,  Chalk Road

**AMENDED APPLICATION** Erection of two storey side and single storey rear extension to form garage, utility room, wc, day room and kitchen at ground floor level with bedroom, ensuite bathroom/wc and ensuite shower room/wc at first floor level.

Appln. no. 20140546   Abbey Farm Barn,  Church Street

Conversion of existing cowshed into a residential annexe incorporating living area, bedroom area, kitchen area and bathroom, together with ancillary works in association with the proposal as an annexe to the existing main barn residential conversion.


Cllr. Ashby requested that planning applications for 1, Cherry Garden Cottages and 39, Norah Lane be referred to the Regulatory Board for determination and Cllr. Craske agreed to raise this matter with the Borough Council.     


h.     Governors of Higham School.

        Cllr. James reported that 31 children would join the school in September with another 18 children left on the waiting list.


m.    Higham Neighbourhood Forum.

         Peter Leakey reported that he had received complaints regarding Parishioners parking on pavements within the village and asked if the Parish Council could highlight this in its Newsletter, The Bridge and contact the owners concerned. The Clerk reminded Members that a polite reminder had already been placed in this year’s newsletter.

         Following discussion it was agreed that this was a Police matter and Steve  Gray was asked to liaise with the PCSOs to leaflet the vehicles concerned.  Cllr. Mendzil suggested that the mobility or impaired sight angle aspects should be explored.  


n.     Kent Community Warden.

        Steve Gray reported that 7counts of fly tipping  had been removed and one litter pick requested. There was a large amount of fly tipping at Higham Railway Station but the present land owner could not be traced to arrange for its removal. Graffiti had been removed from a post outside the entrance to the school and overhanging bushes and branches trimmed back. Higham Beavers had taken part in a litter pick at the Recreation

        Ground. Two Parishioners had attended the joint Community Surgery in May and one in June.



The Clerk presented the quarterly financial statement for the period 1/4/14 to 30/6/14. She asked for approval for the items shown below, this being proposed by Cllr.Carroll seconded by Cllr. Sutherland and agreed by all Members.


Clerks salary (May)                                                                                                            953.51

Clerks salary (June)                                                                                                            953.51

KCC (LGPS May)                                                                                                              300.60

KCC (LGPS June)                                                                                                              300.60

HMRC (PAYE/NI May)                                                                                                    163.01

HMRC (PAYE/NI June)                                                                                                    163.01

Clerk (use of room as office 1/4/13 to 30/6/13)                                                                     227.50

Southern Water (allotments)                                                                                                  25.95

KALC (Clerk training/conference)                                                                                        72.00

Christopher Hook ( Proms tickets)                                                                                        75.00

Higham Marquees Ltd. (marquee hire)                                                                                300.00                                                                                           

Clive Stanley (webmaster services26/3/14 to 30/6/14)                                                           136.00

The Medway Band (Friday Night at the Proms 2014)                                                           400.00           

Clive Sound (sound system for Proms event)                                                                       250.00

Zurich Insurance plc (renewal premium for Pavilion)                                                          1396.45


The following proposal was recorded in the Minutes:-

“This Council in accordance with its powers under Sections 137 and 139 of the Local Government Act 1972, should incur an expenditure of £80 for garden gift tokens, which is in the opinion of the Council in the interests of the area or its inhabitants”



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 item:-

1.  Members noted that Alan Casson was to become KCC Resurfacing Manager following his recent secondment and would therefore not be returning to his old job.


To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting.

This was given as being Monday, 8th September 2014 at 7.30 p.m.


Any Other Business.

Members gave permission for the use of the Recreation Ground for a production of The Wife by the Rude Mechanical Theatre Company on 31/7,  a Charity Football Match for the Eagles F.C. on 17/8 and the GBC Play in the Park Activity Scheme on 19/8.


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



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