Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the Ordinary Parish Council Meeting, September 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, 15th Septembery 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.Mendzil,    

                                               L.Pearton, and  S.Wright. 

In attendance:                          Kent Community Warden Steve Gray

                                               Morton Grey

                                               Liz Jeffery – Parish Council Press Officer

                                               18 Parishioners.

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

                                               PCSO Sharon Balman

                                               Clive Stanley.                                          


Prior to the commencement of the Meeting awards were presented to prize-winners of the Higham Gardens for Pleasure Competition 2014, 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)

Jennifer Stopher, 2, Martins Close.


SECOND PRIZE (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)

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


THIRD PRIZE (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)

George Simmonds, 4, Carton Road.


"HIGHLY COMMENDED" (Framed certificate)

Ian and Stacey Shaw, 2, Colewood Drive.

Greta Stowers, 42, St. John’s Road.

Heather Golding and Trevor King, The Banks, Chequers Street.



                                  and framed certificate)

Evelyn and John Leach, 32, Telegraph Hill.


“BEST HANGING BASKET AND CONTAINERS”- SECOND PRIZE   (Garden Gift Token                     

                                   and framed certificate)

Carren Beattie, 37, Brice Road.



John Thornton, 26, Chilton Drive.



Not awarded again this year



The Chairman accepted apologies for absence.

There were no alterations to the Register of Members Interests.

The Clerk reported that the edge of the roof to the bus shelter by the Dickens sign had suffered some vandalism and she had asked a local maintenance man to carry out some repairs. The last playground inspection report had revealed no additional problems.


The Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held on Monday, 7th July 2014, were confirmed and signed, following an amendment to P. 1137 under “Planning” to reflect that this matter had been referred to Cllr. Craske after the Meeting as he had already left at this point.


Matters arising from the Minutes.

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

a.  P. 1136. Parish. Steadman Close. Although the swings had been removed from the property some rubbish still remained in the front garden.

b.  P. 1136. Parish.  Broken seat. A vote of thanks was recorded in the Minutes to Cllr. Wright  who had carried out the repairs to the seat in School Lane opposite The Orchards at no cost to the Parish.

c.  P.1138.  AOB.  The Gravesham Play in the Park Activity Day at the Recreation Ground in August had been well attended with 150 children joining in the fun.

d. Web site report. The Clerk reported that for the last 12 month rolling period there had been a total of 59,162  hits to the website with a record breaking 6,357 visitors in August alone.


Cllr. Craske reported that he had spoken to planning officers regarding planning applications for both Cherry Garden Cottages and Norah Lane (P. 1137 of the Minutes refers) and the Enforcement Officer had now visited the sites but found nothing. Cherry Garden Cottages had already been referred to the Regulatory Board a year ago.


Parishioners’ Matters.

Alan Taylor, of Martins Close, enquired if any progress had been made with the cutting back of the vegetation at the junction of Martins Close and Lower Rochester Road.

David Kentspeer, of School Lane, drew Members’ attention to an increase in heavy traffic using School Lane in the early evenings and at weekends, in particular scaffolding lorries from R and T Scaffolding and RS Skip lorries. He agreed to speak further about this matter to Cllr. Sweetland later in the evening. The Clerk confirmed that overgrowth to the footpath to School Lane had already been reported to Kent Highways.

Mr Simmonds, of Chalk Road, advised Members that he had appealed against the refusal of planning permission at The Old Barn. Cllr. Craske confirmed that this application had been dealt with by Planning Officers.

Daniel Annal, of High View, wished to speak to Cllr. Sweetland as he considered that there had been a lack of progress with the Make Kent Quicker programme.

Paul Jarvis, of Cherry Garden Cottages, asked why minor alterations to the original planning application  had not been passed to all members of the Planning Committee for comment. Cllr. Craske reminded him that the original application had been referred to the Regulatory Board and that since that time the Enforcement Officer had also visited the site.

Keith Bradley urged the Parish Council to consider introducing a spring flowers garden competition within the Parish. He alerted Members to the Big Community Switch Scheme where Parishioners were able to go onto the Borough website and negotiate a price for fuel. It was agreed to discuss this matter further at the next Meeting.

Two Parishioners tried to raise an inappropriate civil matter under Parishioners’ Matters and were reminded by the Clerk that she had already advised them in writing of the correct procedure for this matter. As they persisted with this course of action, Cllr. Craske, declared an interest and left the Meeting at this point. The Clerk advised them that if they were not prepared to allow the Meeting to continue they would be asked to leave and as they refused they were shown the door by Cllr. Mendzil.



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

The Clerk reported that a response was still awaited from the College following the decision taken by the Members of the Parish Council at their Extraordinary Meeting held on 5/8 to offer the sum of £1500 p.a. to renew the lease for the Sports Courts and playing field only but not the Pavilion. During August a local leisure association based in Meopham , which was a registered charity, had expressed an interest in using the Pavilion and sports courts as an outreach leisure centre. Representatives had viewed the facilities several times and seemed keen to proceed. The Chairman and Clerk had met the new Land Agents, Savills, at the Recreation Ground that morning and whilst showing them inside the Pavilion had spoken of this new initiative. The interests of the Youth Club with regards to the Sports Courts would be protected at all times. 


To evaluate the success of the Friday Night at the Proms Concert 2014.

The Clerk reported that early ticket sales through the Library for this year’s concert had been disappointing and, as the weather on the day had been unseasonable, the attendance at this year’s event had been the lowest ever at only 180. As the cost of staging the event, irrespective of the numbers attending, was now in excess of £1000 it had meant that the losses, which had been in excess of £500, would have to be met from the contingency fund and a decision would need to be taken before the 2015 Annual Newsletter was printed as to whether this event should be staged in the future. It was agreed to make a final decision early in the New Year.


To consider the effectiveness of the current Higham Parish Council Planning Committee.

As time did not permit discussion on this item it was deferred until the next Meeting in October.


To again discuss the amended Parish Nomination Criteria for Rural Housing.

As time did not permit discussion on this item it was deferred until the next Meeting in October.   


Councillors’ Matters.


Cllr. Sweetland reported that two public consultations to identify possible savings would soon be launched. One would be about how best to use the Community Warden Service and the other would be about the possible takeover of Kent Libraries by a newly formed Charitable Trust. He urged everyone to respond to the consultation documents when they became available. He had arranged for a visit to a new waste recycling site at Crayford in November    

for any Councillors who were interested. Cllr. Sweetland confirmed that since the introduction of the new waste collection service in Gravesham recycling figures had gone  up by 35%. Cllr. Mendzil appealed for some additional large print books for Higham Library. Cllr. Ashby highlighted the adverse camber of the footpath to Villa Road which was at an angle of 45 degrees. Cllr. Sweetland agreed to arrange for Cllr. Ashby and Cllr. James to meet on site with a representative from Kent Highways.. 



Cllr. Craske reported that a total of 215 Commonwealth War Graves had now been identified within the Borough and it was planned that the Mayor would visit all of these on 29/10 and 30/10. A short public service would be followed by a cross being placed on each grave. The service at St. Mary’s Church, Higham would take place on 30/10 at 11.00 hours. A new Local Drainage Board would be created by the Environment Agency in conjunction with Gravesham Borough Council and Medway Council. An information evening would be held on 24/9. The protocol for dealing with stray dogs within the Borough had now changed and the Police were no longer involved. Stray dogs would be collected by Viking Oak Kennels where they would be held for 7 days. On the 8th day they would be gifted to the kennels for them to find the dog a new home. Details of this scheme would be placed on the Parish Council website.



Cllr. Grey reported that he had received complaints that the dog grooming business to Jupp Court was now operating at weekends despite the restrictions attached to the planning permission, and additional cars were now blocking in residents vehicles. He highlighted an increase in fly posting of leaflets to telegraph poles within the village which were never removed. Steve Gray was asked to contact the Community Payback Scheme to see if they were able to assist in this matter.

Cllr. Pearton reported that the overgrowth to Chalk Road had now been cleared.

Cllr. Mendzil reported that youngsters to The Braes had constructed a mini ramp which created noise for local residents late into the evening.

Cllr. Ashby reported an increase in rubbish being tipped to the wood at the bottom of Pear Tree Lane. Steve Gray was asked to establish the ownership of the land and contact Shorne Parish Council to arrange for its clearance.

The Chairman reported that Michael Broome often had vehicles parking over the entrance to his drive when the lay by next to the Post Office was full, and suggested that a dog bone marking should be installed at this location. 






a.    Planning.

      Plans were available for the following planning applications which had been received and

       reviewed by the Planning Committee:-


Appln. no. 20140563   5, Telegraph Hill.

Application for a minor material amendment to planning permission reference number 20130860 for the erection of single storey front and rear extension to form porch, lounge, utility room and conservatory/kitchen; to allow changes to the roof design, addition of roof lights and the addition of a new chimney.

Appln. no. 20140587   The Granary, Little Hermitage Farm, Gravesend Road.

Conversion of garage/domestic store (formerly a bullock shed) into a self-contained one bedroom residential annexe and erection of a detached building to provide a double garage, shed and open wood store at the north-western end of the walled yard.

Appln. no. 20140686   Findhorn, Gravesend Road.

Erection of first floor rear extension to replace conservatory to form bedroom, landing and bathroom.

Appln. no. 20140674   12, Martins Close.

Demolition of existing conservatory and erection of single storey rear extension to form kitchen/diner, bedroom, living room and study and erection of entrance porch at front.

Appln. no. 20140729   Oakdene, Gravesend Road.

Retention of four velux windows in the western roof slope.

Appln. no. 20140766   5, The Adelaide.

Erection of a two storey side extension to form enlarged kitchen/diner and enlarged living room at ground floor level with two bedrooms at first floor level and single storey front extension to form entrance hall, w.c. and enlarged living room.

Appln. no. 20140776   11, The Braes.

Conversion of  part of the existing integral garage into a shower room.

Appln. no. 20140739   56, Forge Lane.

Erection of single storey front extension to form a porch and wc.


Appln. no. 20140743   39, Walmers Avenue.

Erection of first floor side extension to form wc and utility room.


m.   Higham Neighbourhood Forum (formerly PACT).

       Peter Leakey reported that the next Meeting would be held on 16/9 in Higham Library at

       7.30 p.m.


n.    Kent Community Warden.

       Steve Gray reported that 9 counts of fly tipping had been removed but one to Crutches

       Lane remained which was some concrete railway sleepers which had now been reported a

       total of three times. A total of 3 new litter picks had been requested and one was still

       outstanding to Old Watling Stereet. One Parishioner had attended the joint Community

       Surgery in July. The next would take place on 25th September.



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


BT Payment Services Ltd. (broadband)                                                             137.46

Clerk (garden gift tokens)                                                                                   80.00

Clerk’s salary (July)                                                                                          953.51

Clerk’s salary (August)                                                                                     953.51

KCC (LGPS July)                                                                                            300.60

KCC (LGPS August)                                                                                       300.60

HMRC (PAYE/NI July)                                                                                   163.01

HMRC (PAYE/NI August)                                                                              163.01

Admin Exps (1/1/14 to 31/3/14)                                                                         743.73

Admin Exps (1/4/14 to 30/6/14)                                                                       1028.87

Youth Leader (1/2/14 to 1/4/14)                                                                        441.00

Youth Leader (1/4/14 to 3/9/14)                                                                       1230.00

Zurich Insurance plc (Pavilion insurance)                                                         1396.45

Plumbrite (allotment water taps repair)                                                                65.00

SLCC (annual membership)                                                                              147.00



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 item:-

1.  Cllr. Oakeshott had agreed to attend the forthcoming Meeting of Parish Chairman on 1/10.

      The problem of fly posting to posts within the village would be submitted as an agenda



To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting.

This was given as being Monday, 20th October 2014 at 7.30 p.m. The Budget and Finance Meeting would be held on Monday, 10th November 2014 at 7.30 p.m.


Any Other Business.

Cllr. Ashby reported that some allotments were very overgrown at the present time and enquired regarding the progress with the “weed” letter. The Clerk confirmed that this was being dealt with by Cllr. Howard but reminded Members that if current plot holders were given notice the income from the allotments would be significantly reduced and the then vacant plots would become so overgrown that no one would want to rent them. It was agreed to ask Cllr Howard if he would update the allotment survey in the first instance.



There being no other business, the Meeting closed at 10.30 p.m..




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