Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the Ordinary Parish Council Meeting, January 2016

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Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held at the Memorial Hall, School Lane, on Monday, 18th January 2016 at 7.30 p.m.  

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

                                               County Councillor:- Cllr. B. Sweetland

                                               Borough Councillor:- Cllr. H. Craske

                                               Councillors: P.Allinson, A.Carroll,  J.Grey, S. Hearn,

                                               A Howard, E. Jeffery,  A.Mendzil,  P.Oakeshott,

                                               L Pearton (also Borough)  and  S.Sparks.

In attendance:                           Kent Community Warden Steve Gray

                                                16 Parishioners

Apologies for absence:               Received from PCSO Sharon Balman.


The Chairman welcomed all those present to the first meeting of the New Year.


The Chairman accepted apologies for absence.      

There were no alterations to the Register of Members Interests.

The Clerk thanked Barry Sutherland who had made a replacement rocking animal (Spring Ram). Barry Sutherland confirmed that there were still 4 spaces left on the CCTV system for the Pavilion which could be made available for the Parish Council to monitor the play equipment in the Recreation Ground. It was agreed an estimate would be obtained for the cost of this work. The Clerk highlighted the fact that from the start of the New Year the Borough Council would visit the play site weekly but only to check for harmful items such as broken glass, needles etc. A more detailed report would only be carried out four times a year now in addition to the annual inspection by an independent advisor.             


The Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting, held on Monday, 23rd  November 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.1188. Matters Arising. Hollytree Drive. An email had now been received from Paul Brand at Kent Highways confirming that the waiting restrictions would not be able to be implemented because there was a good safety record at this location and therefore both KCC and GBC had no funds available to apply for the expensive TROs as this was not high priority. It would be possible for the Parish Council to fund the necessary traffic orders but the cost of this would be in excess of £2000

b.   P. 1188. Parishioners Matters – Speed – Lower Rochester Road. Upon checking archive emails it had been discovered that the road sign had not been relocated because of the good safety record at this location and the cost of the TROs. Cllr. Sparks confirmed that she had also spoken to Kent Highways regarding this matter and confirmation had now been received that this still was the case. Cllr. Sweetland highlighted the lack of funding now available and that his County Councillor’s annual grant would be further reduced from the new financial year. Other Parishes were overcoming this problem by funding these works themselves, or if it was a more expensive project to part-fund. It was agreed that it would be useful to arrange a meeting with the Highway Steward for Higham to see if there were less expensive works which could be carried out at sites throughout the village to alleviate the problems.

c.  Web site report.  Recent additions to the website had included revised PC meeting dates,

Youth Club fundraising events and update of news page items.


Parishioners’ Matters.

A large number of Parishioners had attended the Meeting to discuss the proposal put forward in November that Telegraph Hill should be made one way only. Both sides of the problem were explored during discussion but with a larger number of people present speaking against the idea. One major concern was the fact that it might increase the speed of the traffic using the hill. Cllr. Oakeshott reminded Members that this was one reason given by the Police together with an increase in traffic emerging onto the A226 on the brow of the hill opposite Gads Hill School which had led them to oppose the scheme in the past. Cllr. Craske reminded those present that to take this matter further it would need to be placed on the agenda for the Joint Transportation Board Meeting but that accident records for Telegraph Hill would be carefully studied and taken into consideration in a final decision. It seemed possible that the only way to achieve this scheme might be for it to be funded by the Parish Council.

Graham Ashby, of Norah Lane, reported that the yellow lines to the top of Villa Road needed refreshing and that there was a large pothole at the junction of Villa Road with School Lane. Several street lights to the Villa Road area were not lit at the present time.

Graham Savill, of School Lane, reported that a car had lost control at the S bend outside his home and written off vehicles in his front drive. He too had been in contact with Kent Highways who informed him that as there was a good safety record for this stretch of road there was little that could be done.


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

The Clerk reported that the Parish Council was still awaiting a response from Jo Raff and her Committee.


Royal Celebrations 2016

Cllr. Allinson reported that slips of paper advertising the forthcoming banners which had been ordered would be distributed. Entry to the event in June would be by programme costing £5 and he would be visiting local shops and businesses to try and sell advertising space. The Irish Dancers would do a session. It was hoped that the GHS Cadets might also do a display. The Clerk reported she now had an application pack for the Awards For All Scheme


To receive a report from the recent Local Neighbourhood Planning Workshop

Cllrs. Sparks and Jeffery had attended the recent Local Neighbourhood Planning Workshop and notes of this had been sent to Members prior to the Meeting.  Cllr. Sparks reported that this initiative needed to be led by the Community and it was hoped to set up a community group to prepare and develop a Parish Plan which was the one for which there was least to do. It was felt that this was essential to ensure that the village proactively planned for all aspects of the future development and changes. Further information would be placed in the forthcoming Annual Parish Newsletter.                     


To note the changes of dates for some Parish Council Meetings in 2016

As dates for several Parish Council Meetings had had to be changed a revised list had been circulated to Members and was also shown at the bottom of the agenda.


Annual Parish Newsletter 2016.

The Clerk collected in copy material for the 2016 Annual Parish Newsletter and reminded  Members of the deadlines that applied to this year’s edition.


To further discuss the initiative to make Telegraph Hill one way only.

This matter had been dealt with earlier in the Meeting.


Councillors’ Matters.


Cllr. Sweetland reported that it was widely expected that an announcement would be made within the next couple of weeks regarding a decision for the route of the Lower Thames Crossing and that the consultation period would only run for three months. It had therefore been agreed to call a meeting of all the local pockets of resistance on 26/1 at the Civic Centre to discuss a strategy and how they could all work together as a team. Cllrs. Allinson and Sparks agreed to represent the Parish Council at this Meeting. Cllr. Sweetland highlighted just how important it would be to involve the community as it had been noted that at the last consultation there had been twice as many objections to Option C.  



Cllr. Craske confirmed that he was the local representative on the North Kent Marshes Drainage Board and on the panel for the review of Planning Procedures within the Borough. He was also on the Committee looking at the possible provision of a new museum in Gravesham. The new Crematorium at Chalk would be operational by the autumn. The theme for the Gravesham in Bloom Competition would be The Queen and Commonwealth, whilst a new litter picking initiative was to be called Clean Up for The Queen. Cllr. Craske confirmed that he would be willing to give all Parish Councillors an insight into current planning procedures within the Borough.



Cllr. Grey reported that there had been power cuts in Lower Higham every day this past week but UK Power Networks had not notified all residents of the problem.  He again highlighted the poor state of the grass verge outside Dickens Court.

Cllr. Hearn reported problems with speeding vehicles down Crutches Lane.  There had also been an increase in trail bikes riding through the woods and the Police were actively involved at the present time.

Cllr. Allinson drew Members attention to a large amount of wiring which had been left by Openreach on the pavement outside the box at the School Lane end of Mountbatten Avenue. He agreed to send some photos to the Clerk.






a.    Planning.

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


Appln. no. 20151158   1, Whitebread Cottages, Chalk Road

Erection of a first floor rear extension to form bedroom and single storey rear extension to form dining room.

Appln. no. 20151151   Barn Adjacent Home Farm Cottage, School Lane

Application for removal of condition 10 attached to planning permission reference no. 20141170 for change of use of ancilliary outbuilding to an independent two bedroom dwelling with home office, parking landscaping and a separate curtilage to Home Farm Cottage; to reinstate permitted development rights.

Appln. no. 20151246   15, Walmers Avenue.

Erection of a single storey side extension, construction of front and side dormers and raising the rear gable.

Appln. no 20160006   30, Walmers Avenue

Construction of dormer windows to front and side elevations. New patio doors to rear roof top terrace.


i.       Merston Court.

         The Chairman reported that Age Concern was short of cooks, drivers and hostesses.

         This had meant that the Luncheon Club would only meet once a fortnight until Easter.


j.        Higham Youth Club

          Jo Raff reported that numbers attending at the Youth Club had been down a little in recent weeks. The old electrics had now been stripped out from the Pavilion, and new sockets, and heating and lighting cables laid. A Comedy Hypnotism Night would take place in February at the Village Club.


m.     Higham Neighbourhood Forum (formerly PACT).

         Peter Leakey reported that the next Meeting would be held on 8/3 in Higham Library.


n.      Kent Community Warden.

         Steve Gray reported that 4 counts of flytipping had been reported and collected and 4 litter picks had been requested. The next Community Surgery would take place on 28/1.

         The recent Community Safety Shop in the St. Georges Centre Gravesend in late November had been well attended. 


o.      Kent Police

         In the absence of PCSO Balman the Clerk reported that there had been quite a few attempts to break into sheds and garages.




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


Southern Water (allotments)                                                                                                  3.13

Clerk’s salary (November – net)                                                                                      1003.65

HMRC (PAYE/NI November)                                                                                          178.04

KCC (LGPS November)                                                                                                   317.25

Exps for use of room as office (1/10/15-31/12/15)                                                               227.50

Clerk’s salary (December – net)                                                                                      1003.65

HMRC (PAYE/NI December)                                                                                          178.04

KCC (LGPS December)                                                                                                   317.25

Clive Stanley (webmaster services)                                                                                   100.00

BT Payment Services Ltd. (broadband)                                                                             155.01

Joanne Raff (Youth Leader 8/2/15 to 1/4/15)                                                                      450.00

Joanne Raff (Youth Leader 6/4/15 to 9/12/15)                                                                  1890.00

Clerk (repay for Christmas lighting)                                                                                   104.60

St. Johns College (balance quarter rent for R.G.)                                                                500.00

Nexus Data Systems (domain renewal)                                                                              213.60     


Report from the Budget and Finance Committee Meeting held on 16th November 2015.

Copies of the report had been circulated to Members prior to the Meeting. Being mindful of the forthcoming Lower Thames Crossing Consultation and following discussion amongst Members it was proposed by Cllr.Pearton, seconded by Cllr. Oakeshott  and agreed by all Members that a precept of £72,668.41 be requested for the financial year 2016/2017.


Internal Control and Audit System.

At the Budget and Finance Committee Meeting Members had reviewed the effectiveness of the current system of internal control and audit as required under Regulations 4 and 6 of the Accounts and Audit Regulations (2003) and found it to be satisfactory. Members therefore unanimously agreed that no changes were necessary at the present time.



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. It was agreed to place an item on parking on rural grass verges on the agenda of the Meeting of Parish Chairmen on 27/1.

2. Members agreed to write a letter of support on behalf of Shorne Parish Council regarding re-opening the Shorne Mead Crossing.  


To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting.

This was given as being Monday, 29th February 2016 at 7.30 p.m.


To note the new date of the 2016 Annual Parish Assembly.

This was given as being Thursday, 14th April 2016 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 10.10 p.m.




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