Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the Ordinary Parish Council Meeting, March 2015
[ 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, 30th March 2015 at 7.30 p.m.


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

                                               County Councillor: Cllr. B. Sweetland

                                               Borough Councillor: Cllr. H. Craske.

                                               Councillors: G.Ashby,  A. Carroll, J. Grey, A.Howard,    

                                               P. Oakeshott,  L. Pearton (also Borough) and S.Wright.

                                               Parish Council Advisors: Peter Allinson, Simon Hearn and Sue Sparks.

In attendance:                          9 Parishioners

                                               Kent Community Warden Steve Gray   

                                               Liz Jeffery – Village Correspondent and Press Officer.

Apologies for absence:             Cllr. Mendzil. PCSO Sharon Balman,  


Prior to the commencement of the Meeting a minutes silence was held as a mark of respect for the late Councillor Malcolm James who had died since the last Meeting.


The Chairman accepted apologies for absence.

There were no alterations to the Register of Members Interests.

The last inspection report of the Recreation Ground had not revealed any additional problems.


The Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting, held on Monday, 23rd  February 2015, were confirmed and signed


Matters arising from the Minutes.

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

a.  P. 1158. Matters Arising. Dangerous Crossing. Copies of the letter contained in the newsletter and envelopes were to be made available in the Post Office.

b.   P.1158 Parishioners Matters. Overgrown hedge at Upshire House. Tony Atherton had now taken over this matter and was also compiling a list of white lining to School Lane which required refreshing.

c.   P. 1159. Parishioners Matters. Skip lorries. The black rubbish bags full of debris from the skips had been collected by the Borough Council. Cllr. Sweetland had passed on details of the KCC Freight Officer who would be a useful point of contact.

d.   P. 1160. Parish. A request had been made to Cllr.Sweetland for some bollards to stop parking on the verges in the village. Tony Atherton had also been asked if he could undertake a verge survey.

e.  P.1160. Parish. A request had been made for the Wainscott By Pass to be litter picked, especially the slip road area. The District Manager, Lisa Gilham, was to attend a forthcoming meeting.

f.   P.1160. Parish. Street lights. The Kent Highways Lighting Engineer had advised us that the night scout service for unlit street lights had now been withdrawn.

g.  Web site report. The Clerk reported that during the rolling 12 month period there had been a total of 66,468 hits to the Parish website with 5206 visitors in February alone.


Parishioners’ Matters.

Mr Jefferson, of Martins Close, spoke regarding a local planning matter.

Peter Allinson reported a complaint from a Parishioner regarding the installation of barbed wire to the woods at the bottom of Pear Tree Lane which were situated within Shorne Parish. It was understood that their Parish Council was still trying to locate a sworn affidavit regarding access to the woods which was in its possession.  


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

The Clerk reported that the draft headlease document had been emailed to her earlier that day. It would be checked thoroughly and any comments made before it was signed. It was agreed to leave meeting with the Youth Club Committee to discuss the underlease until after the election.


To finalise arrangements for the 2015 Annual Parish Assembly.

The Clerk reported that Willow Print had been awarded the contract to print the newsletter.   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. Sandra Soder would use the new electric projector screen and bring the rest of the equipment needed for her talk  


To discuss judging arrangements for the 2015 Higham Gardens for Pleasure Competition.

It was not known  if Morton Grey would be able to carry out the judging for the competition this year. Cllr. Wright agreed to contact him to ascertain the situation and when the judging might take place.


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.Pearton, seconded by Cllr. Carroll and agreed by all Members that the updated document should be approved and signed.


Parish Council Elections 2015.

The Clerk reported that it had been agreed that she would collect the nomination papers from the village and be responsible for taking them through to the Civic Centre for checking. She asked for all forms to be returned to her by the end of Easter Monday so that there would be time for all paperwork to be checked before the deadline. The Chairman expressed her regret that Cllr. Stuart Wright was not seeking re-election to the Parish Council and thanked him for his long and loyal service to the village.


To discuss an initiative regarding a Twinning Project with a village in Brittany.

The Clerk reported that the Parish Council had received a request from a village in Brittany for the Parish to enter into a twinning arrangement following an informal visit from a local association. Following discussion it was agreed to refer this request to the Gravesend Town Twinning Association and put both parties in contact with each other so that it would be possible for an informal arrangement to take place.


To discuss a planning application for the dog grooming business to Jupp Court.

Members of the Parish Council discussed the proposal to extend the opening hours of the home based dog grooming business in Jupp Court to give more flexibility to the venture. Concern was expressed regarding the precedent it would set and reports regarding problems with parking in the vicinity.  


Production units – Taylors Lane.

Cllr. Grey reported that the Borough Council was unaware of the existence of several businesses operating from old farm buildings in Taylors Lane. Consequently these businesses were operating all day at weekends and Bank Holidays and complaints had been received. Cllr. Pearton confirmed that the Enforcement Officer had visited the site and was monitoring the situation. However concerns that some workers from these businesses were now living in farm workers caravans on site were unfounded as these had now been proved to be occupied by land workers for 10 months per year.


Councillors’ Matters.




Cllr. Sweetland reminded Members that the Consultation Period for moving Kent Libraries into a Library Trust, to avoid the payment of business rates on premises, closed on 9/4. The Clerk had advised him that parents using the Sure Start facility in Higham Library had been told that it was to close. Jo Raff advised him that a parent had told her that the service was now suspended for the foreseeable future. Cllr. Sweetland confirmed that he was to visit Higham Library with the Manager to discuss various options with the staff as he had been assured that there were no firm plans to close the centre.

Cllr. Ashby again reminded Cllr. Sweetland that he was willing to walk around the village with the new District Manager of Kent Highways to show her the current problems, particularly with the roads and footpaths.



Cllr. Craske reported that Speedwatch sessions had been suspended at the present time as the equipment had been broken by Councillors from another Parish. He alerted Members to a new scheme entitled the Registration of Assets of Community Value which he felt would be ideal for the Recreation Ground as the applicant did not have to own the land in question. He also felt that it would be a good idea to include the Recreation Ground in the Parish Appraisal. It was further agreed that the Sports Courts, Pavilion and Memorial Hall also needed to be registered as Assets of Community Value and that this would take place after the new Lease had been signed.  



Cllr. Oakeshott reported that the residents of Crutches Lane were still keen to get the bottom gate to the car park reopened although it was understood that this had been closed by the farmer.

Cllr. Wright  advised Members that the cost of cutting down and removing the tall leylandi trees to the Recreation Ground would be £1480 plus VAT which was only about £300 more than if they were just trimmed back. Jo Raff expressed concern that this might cause a problem with heave but Cllr. Wright felt that the laurel hedge within the garden of the property would take up the moisture. Mr Worley would also cut back the vegetation to the Recreation Ground facing the School for an additional £400 plus VAT . Following discussion Members unanimously agreed to the trees being removed and the vegetation trimmed back.

Peter Allinson alerted Members to a large number of potholes on various slip roads to the Wainscott By Pass and agreed to provide the Clerk with a map so that these could be accurately pinpointed for repair.

Simon Hearn reported that the London Bound slip road of the By Pass was also often flooded.  Several other signs to the Three Crutches area of the A2 were now damaged and the roundabout was not lit at the present time.

Cllr. Grey advised members that a total of 24 movements of skip hire  lorries were allowed through the village each day (12 in and 12 out) between the hours of 07:00 and 18:00 hours during the week and between 07:00 and 13:30 hours on a Saturday. No movements should take place at weekends or on Bank Holidays. Loads should be sheeted and any debris cleaned up. He appealed to those present to report any irregularities direct to himself. 

Cllr. Carroll reported two large potholes at the junction of Beech Grove and Taylors Lane.






a.    Planning.

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


Appln. no. 20150041   74, Forge Lane.

Erection of part two storey and part single storey side/front extension and single storey rear extension.

Appln.no. 20150124   23, Norah Lane.

Erection of a single storey side extension to form enlarged garage, first floor side extension incorporating enlargement of existing dormer extensions in the front and rear roof slopes to provide bedroom and en-suite bathroom at first floor level/roof space and erection of a front porch.

Appln. no. 20150135   Giles Farm, Church Street.

Determination as to whether prior approval is required for the erection of a storage barn and erection of a replacement tractor and machinery store.

Appln. no. 20150134   Giles Farm, Church Street.

Demolition of storage buildings.

Appln. no. 20150039   Mockbeggar, Town Road.

*** REVISED DESCRIPTION*** Retention of a detached triple bay garage with log store and detached workshop with garden store.

Appln. no. 20150126   Land North East Of Canal Road.

Formation of a sand ménage.

Appln. no 20150170   Homerest, Gore Green Road.

Demolition of dwelling and garage, reduction of ground levels by 500mm and erection of a detached two bedroom bungalow with rooms in the roofspace and a detached single garage at the side.

Appln. no. 20150197   Meadow Court, Dillywood Lane.

Erection of a single storey rear extension.

Appln. no. 20150170   Homerest, Gore Green Road

***REVISED DESCRIPTION*** Demolition of existing dwelling and garage, reduction of ground levels by 500mm and erection of a detached three bedroom bungalow with rooms in the roofspace and a detached single garage at the side.

Appln. no. 20150132   4, Jupp Court, School Lane.

Application for the variation of conditions 1 and 3 attached to planning permission reference no. 20140085 for the retention of the detached outbuilding in rear garden for use as a dog grooming business, to allow continued use on a permanent basis and an extension of opening hours to Monday to Saturday.

Appln. no. 20140946   Walton House, Watling Street.

Erection of first floor extension and roof extension to front, rear and west side elevations of property and installation of three dormer windows in the front roof slope, balconies in the rear roof slope and at first floor level on rear elevation to provide a bathroom, three enlarged bedrooms with en-suites at first floor level and a bedroom in the proposed roof space.

Appln. no. 201541013   Stables Cottage, Hermitage Road.

***AMENDED DRAWING***  Change of use of agricultural land at the side into residential curtilage, alteration to the driveway to create additional off-road parking, erection of front and side boundary fence and entrance gates to the front boundary varying in height from 1.23 – 1.35m.

Appln. no. 20141034   Stables Cottage, Hermitage Road.

***AMENDED DRAWING*** Retention of two stables and concrete base and field shelter thereon and extension of the concrete base.

Appln. no. 20141054   Stables Cottage, Hermitage Road.

*** AMENDED DRAWING*** Formation of a sand school (ménage) on land to the rear of Stables Cottage.


j.      Higham Youth Club.

        Jo Raff thanked Cllr. Ashby for arranging for a skip to be provided free of charge for a working party at the Pavilion to tip all of the contaminated rubbish on site. More rubbish remained which had been cleared from the loft. Jo had submitted several grant applications but as these were for national charities the chances were slim. She had received a quotation of £11,000 from a builder for the realignment of internal walls to give more space. A total of £640 had been received in donations so far and the forthcoming fundraising events were the Quiz night on 25/4 and the 80’s Themed Disco on 4/7. An asbestos survey of the premises had revealed that there was no asbestos in the building. It appeared that the rats may be living in the shrubs around the Sports Courts but it was noted that it was probable that permission from the College would need to be obtained for these to be removed. Following discussion Members unanimously agreed to give a £100 grant towards getting rid of the rats. Cllr. Sweetland offered to match fund half of the costs of the internal building works. Cllr. Craske reminded Jo

 Raff that Borough Councillors would have funding for grant aid again after the election in May.     


n.    Kent Community Warden.

       Steve Gray reported that 7 counts of flytipping had been reported to the Borough Council and three litter picks for Crutches Lane and Old Watling Street had been requested. A total of 3 residents had attended the February Community Surgery and 4 had come in March. He had attended two sessions of Speedwatch and the Neighbourhood Forum Meeting on 3/3. A presentation of the gift voucher supplied by the Parish Council had now been made to the designer of the Dog Fouling poster.  



The Clerk presented the quarterly financial statement for the period 1/1/15 to 31/3/15. She asked for approval for the items shown below, this being proposed by Cllr.Oakeshott seconded by Cllr.Carroll and agreed by all Members.


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

The Gravesend Historical Society (talk for APA- Sect. 150(2) LG Act 1972)                   50.00                  

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

J.A.Stanley (preparation of 2015 newsletter)                                                                    305.00

Clive Stanley (webmaster services from 1/1/15 to 19/3/15)                                              136.00

Clerk’s salary (February net)                                                                                             968.94      

Expenses for use of room as office (1/1/15 to 31/3/15)                                                     227.50

HMRC (PAYE/NI February)                                                                                             174.21  

KCC (LGPS February)                                                                                                      307.22  

Higham Age Concern (Sect. 137/139 grant)                                                                     250.00  

KALC (Good Councillors Guide)                                                                                       15.00

KALC (new Councillors induction event X 4)                                                                  100.00

MJ Read & Co. (LGPS end of year review)                                                                        96.00

EDF Energy (electricity for Pavilion)                                                                                  70.02

Wisdom Hospice ( in memory of Malcolm James)                                                             50.00

KALC (2015 subscription)                                                                                              1195.70

Southern Water (water to toilets)                                                                                         42.01

Mr M. Allen (broadband update)                                                                                       109.97   


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. It was agreed that allotment rents would remain  at  £25 for a full plot and £15 for a half  plot for the 2015/2016 season.



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 2015 audit was noted as being 8/6/15

2. Members agreed to the Recreation Ground being used by the Borough Council for its Summer Fun event on 25/8.

3.  Members agreed to form a Higham Parish Council team for the Quiz Night on 25/4.

4.  It was agreed to give a donation of £50 to Higham Flower Festival.


To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting.

This was given as being Monday, 11th  May  2015  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 16th 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 10.05 p.m.



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