Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the Parish Council Meetings, May 2015

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Minutes of the Annual Parish Council Meeting followed by a Parish Council Meeting held at the Memorial Hall, School Lane, on Monday, 11th May 2015 at 7.30 p.m.


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

                                                Borough Councillor: Cllr. H. Craske
                                               Councillors: P. Allinson, G. Ashby,  A. Carroll, J. Grey,
S. Hearn, A. Mendzil, P. Oakeshott, L.Pearton

                                               (also Borough) and  S. Sparks.                                           

In attendance:                           13 Parishioners.

                                                Liz Jeffery – Village Correspondent and Press Officer                                             

Apologies for absence:               Kent County Councillor Bryan Sweetland, Cllr. A. Howard

                                                Kent Community Warden Steve Gray.


Prior to the commencement of the Meeting the Clerk received the signed Declaration of Acceptance of Office, and Register of Members’ Financial and Other Interest forms from all Councillors present at the Meeting.                                             


       The Clerk called for nominations for the position of Chairman by secret ballot. Cllr. Papadopulos was elected as Chairman by a majority vote.



       The Chairman asked for nominations for the position of Vice Chairman by secret ballot. Cllr. Allinson was elected as Vice Chairman by a majority vote.


       It was proposed by Cllr.Ashby, seconded by Cllr. Carroll and agreed by all Members that the following should be elected to Committees  (lead member in capitals where applicable)

       The Clerk reminded Members that both the Chairman and Vice Chairman would be ex-officio Members of  the Planning, Budget and Finance and Emergency Planning Committees.

a.    Allotment Committee.

       Cllrs HOWARD, Papadopulos and Ashby (3 MEMBERS)

b.    Recreation Committee.

       Cllrs. Sparks, Pearton, and  Grey (3 MEMBERS)

c.    Planning Committee.

       Cllrs. Ashby, Carroll, Grey, Hearn, Howard,  Mendzil, Oakeshott, Pearton, and Sparks. (9 MEMBERS)

d.   Parish Environment and Conservation Committee.

      Cllrs. Grey, Howard, Mendzil, Oakeshott, Pearton, Carroll and Ashby. (7 MEMBERS).

e.   The Budget and Finance Committee.

      Cllrs.Ashby, Carroll, Grey, Hearn, Howard,  Mendzil, Oakeshott, Pearton, and Sparks. (9 MEMBERS)

f.   Parish Newsletter Committee.

      Cllrs. Oakeshott and Papadopulos  (2 MEMBERS)

g.   Parish Lighting Committee

      Cllrs. Ashby, Mendzil, and Pearton (3 MEMBERS)

h.   Social and Entertainment Committee and Grants and Fundraising Committee.

      Cllrs.Papadopulos, Oakeshott, Allinson, Hearn,  Carroll, Grey, Mendzil and Pearton, (8 MEMBERS).

i.    Emergency Planning Committee.

      Cllrs. Ashby, Carroll, Grey, Hearn, Howard, Mendzil, Oakeshott, Pearton, and Sparks (9 MEMBERS).

j.   Severe Weather Committee

      Cllrs Ashby, Howard  and Allinson (3 MEMBERS).

k.  Formal Complaints Committee.

     To choose from Cllrs. Grey, Howard and Pearton (1 PARISH COUNCIL MEMBER)

l.   Parish Plan Committee.

    Cllrs. Sparks, Hearn, Allinson and Pearton (4 MEMBERS).



      These were agreed as follows:-

k.   Chalk Liaison Group - Cllrs. Oakeshott and Pearton

l.    Rural Housing - Cllrs. Oakeshott and Grey.

m.  Village Roads, Pavements and Lighting – Cllrs Ashby, Carroll and Grey

n.    Higham Gardens for Pleasure Competition – ALL.


6.   The Chairman thanked Liz Jeffery for continuing to act as the Parish Council Press Officer in addition to her role as the Village Press Correspondent.


7.    The Clerk proposed a vote of thanks to both the Chairman and Cllr. Anne Carroll for their help in providing and serving refreshments at Meetings.     


      The Meeting closed at 8.00 p.m.         



                                             PARISH COUNCIL MEETING.


It was proposed by Cllr.Sparks, seconded by Cllr. Ashby, and agreed unanimously by all Members present that Standing Orders, including amendments for the Annual Parish Assembly, Financial Regulations, and Delegated Powers for the Planning Committee, should be adopted.

The Chairman accepted apologies for absence.

There were no alterations to the Register of Members Interests.

The Clerk reported that the last inspection report of the Recreation Ground had revealed no additional problems.


The Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting, held on Monday, 30th March 2015, were confirmed and signed.  


Cllr. Craske confirmed that both he and Cllr. Pearton had been re-elected as Borough Councillors for the Higham Ward at the recent local council elections and the overall control of the Borough Council had changed from Labour to Conservative.



Matters arising from the Minutes.

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

a.  P. 1163  Matters Arising. Dangerous hedge – Upshire House. Offers of assistance with traffic management whilst the hedge was being trimmed had been ignored and the matter has now been passed to the enforcement team.

b.  P. 1163 Matters Arising. White lining to main roads in village. Several junctions had been identified for refreshing as well as speed cushions and centre lines but most were within tolerance.

c.  P. 1163 Matters Arising . Skip Lorries. The KCC Freight Officer, Tim Middleton, had now been put in contact with Cllr. Grey.

d.  P. 1163. Matters Arising. Verge Survey. These are no longer undertaken. It may be better to address this problem by including it in the Parish Plan.

e.  P. 1163. Matters Arising. Visit of District Manager – Lisa Gilham. It is hoped that Lisa will be able to attend the July Meeting.

f.  P. 1165 Parish. The leylandii trees to the Recreation Ground had now been cut down, but the shrub area facing the school was still awaiting clearance.

g.  P.1165 Parish. A plan produced by Peter Allinson of the large number of potholes on the slip roads of the By Pass was forwarded to Kent Highways and as a result several small works have now been raised.

h. Web site report. Clive Stanley reported that the website had been updated to include the uncontested election results, the Youth Club Pavilion funding project, as well as the usual Meeting papers.


Parishioners’ Matters.

Mr Jefferson, of Martins Close, asked for an update on a current planning matter.

Mr Alan Taylor, of Martins Close, reported that the white lining to the Chequers Street junction required refreshing.

The Clerk recorded a vote of thanks from a Parishioner to Cllr. Grey whose swift action in dealing with a water leak had saved them a bill of hundreds of pounds.


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

The Clerk reported that the final copy of the head lease had arrived and was awaiting signature. It was hoped that a Meeting could now be arranged with Members of Higham Youth Club to discuss the content of the sub-lease so that this document could be prepared. The Parish Council agreed to meet the cost of the electricity to the Pavilion on behalf of the Youth Club until the sub-lease was signed.  


Matters Arising from this year’s Annual Parish Assembly.

The Clerk reminded Members of matters arising from this year’s Annual Parish Assembly. Parishioners had expressed concern that white lines on main village roads needed to be refreshed and the ongoing problems of the overgrown hedge at Upshire House which continued to obscure sight lines. Parishioners expressed support for the possible production of a Parish Plan which it was hoped could also address the current problem of large numbers of Parishioners parking to grass verges within the village. Cllr. Ashby suggested that it might be better to just offer a selection of cakes at next year’s assembly due to the large numbers of sandwiches which had remained uneaten at the end of the evening.  


To finalise arrangements for the 2015 Higham Gardens for Pleasure Competition.

The Chairman reported that Morton Grey had again agreed to judge the competition but she was still awaiting a date when this would happen. Members signed up for the roads where they would produce a short list for the final judging.


To arrange dates for Parish Council Meetings in 2016.

The Clerk had circulated details of dates for Meetings in 2016 prior to the Meeting and the following were agreed:-      


Mondays:- 11th  January,  22nd   February, 4th April ,  9th May (Annual Parish Council Meeting with Parish Council Meeting), 4th July,  5th September,  10th October,  7th November (Budget and Finance only) , and 28th  November (Christmas Meeting with the Mayor of Gravesham).

The Annual Parish Assembly would take place on Thursday, 7th April 2016.


The remaining dates for Meetings in 2015 are as follows:-

Mondays:-  7th  September,  12th October,  9th November (Budget and Finance only) and 23rd  November (Christmas Meeting with the Mayor of Gravesham).


To further discuss the undertaking of a Parish Plan.

The Clerk reported that she had spoken to Action for Communities in Rural Kent. Although they no longer run specific courses for how to undertake a Parish Plan they had indicated that they would be pleased to send an advisor to meet with the Parish Council to answer any questions they might have. It was agreed that the Clerk would try and see what dates might be available for such a Meeting.   


Councillors’ Matters.


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



Cllr. Pearton reported that it was expected that the next mayor of the Borough would be Michael Wenban.



Cllr. Grey reported that the lorry sign to the corner of Canal Road still required reinstatement and was being dealt with by Cllr. Sweetland. Lorry movements  to the site continued into the night. He queried if any of the trees to Steadman Close, which had swings attached,  had tree preservation orders on them.

Cllr. Pearton reported that new roadside marker posts to Gore Green Road had been knocked down and had gone missing. A dropped kerb was required in High View and Cllr. Oakeshott advised him to request this through the Access Committee at the Borough Council. Half of the road sign for Bull Lane/Church Street was missing.

Cllr. Ashby reported overgrown hedges encroaching the footpath to School Lane opposite the Congregational Chapel, and the junction of Fairview Drive with Oak Drive.He observed that the utility room building to the Hedgerows, in Chalk Road, now had aerials to the roof and a wood burning stove and queried if this was a case for enforcement. He suggested that Higham Library should occasionally be used for Parish Council Meetings.

Cllr. Allinson reported that the keep left bollards to the Gravesend Road, especially outside Kentonville, were so dirty that headlights no longer picked them up.

Cllr. Hearn reported that there were now 5 lights out on the Three Crutches roundabout. The gate at the far end of the school car park now appeared to be left open.A litter pick was needed under the bridge in the underpass.  




a.    Planning

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


Appln. no. 20150259   1, Church Street.

Formation of vehicular access, driveway and turning area.

Appln. no. 20150330   26, Oak Drive.

Erection of a two storey front extension and single storey side extension to form dining room, shower room, study, and garage with enlarged bedroom at first floor level and conversion of existing garage to form study.

Appln. no. 20150343   27, Telegraph Hill.

Demolition of existing detached dwelling and garages and erection of a detached two storey, seven bedroom dwelling with detached garage and carport and formation of new vehicular access and drive.

Appln. no 20150314   Wendover, Lower Rochester Road.

Conversion of detached garage to form a three bedroom dwelling with rear extension with roof lights, raising the ridge height by 600 mm and a front gable to accommodate habitable rooms at first floor level and construction of new access and gates.

Appln. no. 20150368   1, Nickleby Cottages, Church Street.

Conversion of existing garage into dining room and study in roof space incorporating construction of dormer window extension to front roof slope.

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

** REVISED DESCRIPTION** 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 Monday to Friday 09:00 to 17:30.


Discussion took place regarding the planning application for Wendover. Cllr. Pearton declared an interest,  left the Meeting at this point and did not take part in the proceedings. It was agreed to ask Cllr. Craske to call in the application to the next Regulatory Board Meeting.


i.     Merston Court.

       The Chairman reported that the club was still very short of  cooks, drivers and hostesses.


j.    Higham Youth Club.

       Jo Raff reported that the recent Quiz Night had raised over £800 for the Pavilion Project. A Race Night would be held on 4/7 and a Disco/Karaoke Evening in September. She had 

      submitted an application for grant aid from Aviva but success depended on the number of votes this attracted and so many projects that had been submitted were “celebrity” lead.


m.   Higham Neighbourhood Forum.

       Peter Leakey reported that the next Meeting of the Forum would be held at Higham Library on 9/6. Since the last Parish Council Meeting a total of  6 Speedwatch sessions

       had been held and the highest speed of the 21 vehicles noted was 45 mph. Consideration might be given to evening sessions for Speedwatch.


n.    Kent Community Warden.

       As Steve Gray did not attend the Meeting no report was given.



The Clerk asked for approval for the items shown below this being proposed by Cllr. Oakeshott,  seconded by Cllr. Hearn and agreed by all Members:-


BT Payment Services Ltd. (broadband)                                                                            145.86

Mrs J.M.Papadopulos (APA costs under Section 150(2) of L.G.Act 1972)                      50.00                                                    

C.P.R.E. (2015 subscription)                                                                                              36.00

KCPFA (2015 subscription)                                                                                               20.00

NALC (Local Council Review subscription 2015)                                                            54.00

Clerk’s salary (March 2015 – net)                                                                                    968.94     

Clerk’s salary (April 2015 –net)                                                                                     1003.85

HMRC (PAYE/NI (employer/employee) March 2015)                                                    174.21                                 

HMRC (PAYE/NI(employer/employee) April 2015)                                                       177.84     

Kent County Council (LGPS payment employer/employee – March 2015)                     307.22                               

Kent County Council (LGPS payment employer/employee – April 2015)                       317.25

M.J.Read and Co. (preparation for 2015 audit and internal audit)                                   528.00                                                          

Willow Print Services Ltd. (2015 newsletter)                                                                 1203.00

Higham Youth Club (Rat Fund and skip)                                                                         300.00

Higham Youth Club (Quiz Night)                                                                                      40.00

Higham with Merston PCC (flower festival)                                                                     50.00

Southern Water (allotments)                                                                                                8.71

SSE (electricity to toilets)                                                                                                  18.36     


To approve the Annual Return for Local Councils for the year ended 31st March 2015.

Copies of both the Annual Return for Local Councils in England and Wales, and accounts for the financial year ended 31st March 2015, had been circulated to Members prior to the Meeting. Both documents were approved unanimously by all Members present,  this being proposed by Cllr. Carroll and seconded by Cllr.Grey. Members again noted the comments made by Nigel Wharton regarding the Council conducting a review once a year of the effectiveness of its system of internal control. It was agreed that this should be considered by the Budget and Finance Committee when it met in early November, and the findings should be ratified by the full Parish Council Meeting at the end of November.



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 Kent Association was looking for 12 pilot Parish Councils across Kent to trial a Local Warden Support Officer Scheme. With Steve Gray’s hours due to alter in the near future to reflect his now larger area it was agreed that the Clerk would email the information to all Parish Councillors who would indicate if they felt this would be advantageous for the Parish.

2.   Up to 4 Highways Liaison Meetings would be offered with our Highways Steward over the course of a year. As it was hoped to hold the first of these over the Summer months the Clerk asked Members to let her have a list of current outstanding items that they wished her to place on the agenda.


To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting.

This was given as being Monday, 6th July 2015 at 7.30 p.m.


Any Other Business.

Barry Sutherland reported that he believed that the Sam Weller Dickensian road sign at the junction of the Lower Rochester Road and the B2000 had been stolen.


There being no other business, the Meeting closed at 10.05 p.m.




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