Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the Ordinary Parish Council Meeting, November 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, 24th November 2014 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, A. Mendzil,  P. Oakeshott , L.Pearton (also Borough)  and  S.Wright.

In attendance:                        Cllr. John Caller and Mrs Sue Caller (Mayor and Mayoress of Gravesham)                                                 

                                               Kent Community Warden Steve Gray.

                                               Liz Jeffery – Village Correspondent and Press Officer.

                                               3 Parishioners

Apologies for absence:          Received from Cllrs. Howard, James and Sutherland.


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 had revealed that there had been an incidence of vandalism to the Recreation Ground with pink emulsion paint being daubed over the play equipment and rubbish bins set alight. The Borough Council had kindly agreed to send a contractor to help with the clear up.


The Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting, held on Monday, 20th October 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. 1144. Matters Arising. Lower Rochester Road – overgrown hedgerow. Mr Atherton now had this work in hand.

b.    P. 1144. Matters Arising. Visit to new waste recycling plant. Cllr. Wright had attended. 

c.     P.1146. Parish.  Flooded garage – Norah Lane. Cllr. Sweetland had now arranged for the gullies to the road to be cleared.

d.    Lights to underbridge - Crutches Lane. The Highways Lighting Engineer had confirmed that LED lighting units were to be installed after Christmas to replace the temporary lighting.

e.    Web site report. Clive Stanley reported that for the last 12 month rolling period alone there had been a total of 64,494 hits to the website with 6373 visitors in October.


Parishioners’ Matters.

The Clerk reported a complaint from a Parishioner in Brice Road that a vehicle persistently parked over a marked mobility scooter crossing point. The Parishioner had been advised to take photographs and Steve Gray agreed to investigate.


To approve an additional resolution regarding our current lease negotiations.

The following additional resolution was unanimously approved by Members having been proposed by Cllr. Grey and seconded by Cllr. Mendzil:- “ To suspend the effectiveness and operation of the existing resolution passed at the Extraordinary Meeting held on 5th August 2014, pending the outcome of further negotiations with interested parties. Unless otherwise advised this suspension will be reviewed again at the January Meeting of Higham Parish Council”.


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

The Clerk reported that the notes of the Meeting held with Mr Franklin on 27/10 had been circulated to all Members prior to the Parish Council Meeting. It was understood that no break clauses were applicable to the lease and the College continued to insist on one headlease  in the name of the Parish Council but with the ability for us to sub let to an “approved not for profit organisation” preferably a registered charity. A representative of Meopham Lesiure had been due to visit several local stakeholders earlier today to seek their views on the initiative. The Court date had now been delayed until early February. 


To discuss the amended Parish Nomination Criteria for Rural Housing.

A response had now been received for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and had been circulated to Members prior to the Meeting. It appeared that confusion had arisen between the Housing Allocations Policy which had recently been changed without the Parish Council being consulted and the Rural Nomination Criteria which was a different document entirely. Following discussion it was agreed that Cllrs Oakeshott and Grey would arrange to meet with Sharon Donald to confirm that this was indeed the case. It was noted that a request for a further internal review of this matter would need to be made to the Borough Council within two months of the receipt of this response.


To request copy material for the 2015 Annual Newsletter.

The Clerk reminded Members to produce copy material for the 2015 newsletter in time for it to be brought to the next Meeting in January.


Councillors’ Matters.


Cllr. Sweetland reminded Members that the on-line consultation for the KCC Budget would close at the end of the week. Cllr. Sweetland agreed to set up a Meeting with the new Kent Highways District Manager Lisa Gilham in the New Year.  



Cllr. Craske reported that the Commemorative Service held at St. Mary’s Church on 30/10 had been the best supported within the Borough. He had arranged for an additional sign to be installed opposite the parade of shops to indicate the direction of both the “historic church” and “parish church” as some confusion had recently occurred. He had awarded a grant of £450 to Higham Choral Group to pay for an accompanist for the whole of next year.

The Mayor publicly thanked Cllr. Craske for his suggestion to arrange the World War Commemorative Services throughout the Borough and for all the hard work he had put into organising the two days of services.



Cllr. Grey reported that street lighting to the Reynolds Fields estate was now being switched off at midnight.

Cllr. Wright thanked Cllr. Sweetland for organising an interesting trip to the new Waste Recycling Plant which he had found to be most informative.

Cllr. Ashby reported that rubbish continued to be dumped on the path of the woods to the bottom of Pear Tree Lane in Shorne Parish.

Cllr. Oakeshott reported that the shopkeepers had requested to have an additional salt bin installed adjacent to the shops in School Lane.  




a.    Planning.

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


Appln. no. 20140906    Barn Adjacent Home Farm Cottage, School Lane.

Application for the change of use of ancillary outbuilding to an independent live/work unit with separate curtilage to Home Farm Cottage.

Appln. no. 20140962   42, Norah Lane.

Erection of a replacement sunroom at the rear.

Appln. no. 20141020   31, Forge Lane.

Erection of first floor extension , involving an increase in the height of the roof and construction of two dormer windows and two roof lights in the front roof slope and one dormer window and three roof lights in the rear roof slope to provide four bedrooms , nursery, two shower rooms, bathroom and ensuite in the roof space/first floor.

Appln. no. 20140953   Happy Lands, Watling Street.

Erection of a detached triple garage at the front in substitution of the garage previously granted planning permission under reference number 20130575.


m.    Higham Neighbourhood Forum (formerly PACT)

        The Chairman reported that an additional 1000 dog bags had now been ordered.


n.     Kent Community Warden.

        Steve Gray reported that Higham Library had now fully reopened after flooding. A total of 7 counts of fly tipping and 1 litter pick had been requested. He had assisted at 2 Speedwatch sessions but more volunteers were still needed. The Community Surgery at the end of October had been attended by 2 parishioners. A poster designed by 2 local children highlighting the problems of dog fouling would be distributed throughout the village. The next meeting of Higham Neighbourhood Forum would take place on 2/12.

       As last year, the Community Safety Shop would be open in the St. Georges Centre for 2 weeks from 1/12.



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


Mrs J.M.Papadopulos (Chairman’s allowance)                                                             185.00

Higham with Merston PCC (church Christmas leaflet – S137/139)                                110.00   

Mr M. Papoadopulos (HPC Christmas cards)                                                                45.00

Clerks salary (October)                                                                                               953.51

HMRC (PAYE/NI October)                                                                                        163.01

KCC (LGPS October)                                                                                                  300.60

Martin Tolhurst LLP (on A/C)                                                                                     3000.00

Rogers Stevens & Chance (valuers fees additional)                                                         180.00



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.  Clive Stanley had photographed the recent vandalism to the Recreation Ground play equipment.  

2.  Members noted a letter from the Bursar at Gad’s Hill asking residents of Providence Cottages to park legally to the lay by opposite to allow two way traffic along Crutches Lane.


To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting.

This was given as being Monday, 12th January 2015 at 7.30 p.m.


Any Other Business.

None was brought to the notice of the Meeting.


The Mayor thanked Members of the Parish Council for inviting him and the Mayoress to the Meeting and he recounted an amusing story about his father, who lived in rural Norfolk, becoming an expert in wasps.


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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