Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the Ordinary Parish Council Meeting, July 2016

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Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held at the Memorial Hall, School Lane, on Monday, 4th  July 2016 at 7.30 p.m.     


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

                                              Councillors: P. Allinson, A. Carroll, A. Howard, E. Jeffery, P. Oakeshott,  L.Pearton (also Borough), and S.Sparks.

In attendance:                        3 Parishioners

                                               Kent Community Warden  Steve Gray.                                                                                           

Apologies for absence:            Received from Cllrs.Sweetland, Craske, Grey and Hearn.

                                              Cllr. Mendzil did not attend the Meeting. 


The Chairman accepted apologies for absence.


Prior to the commencement of the Meeting a minutes silence was held to remember Andrea Martin and Alan Taylor who had  recently passed away and who had both made significant contributions to the community.


There were no alterations to the Register of Members Interests.


The Clerk reported that an incidence of criminal damage to a springer animal had been clearly recorded on the CCTV. Following the posting of a picture of the damage by Cllr. Sparks on Facebook the father of the culprit had offered to pay for the damage. The Police were awaiting the outcome but if this was not favourable they were willing to follow up on the CCTV footage.  


The Minutes of the Annual Parish Council Meeting, followed by a Parish Council Meeting, held on Monday, 23rd May 2016, were confirmed and signed.


Matters arising from the Minutes.

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

a.   P. 1206  Visit of PCC. The PCC for Kent had declined to attend either of the two meeting dates suggested as his diary was full. He anticipated a Meeting would be held in conjunction with KALC where representatives from all Parish Councils in Kent would be invited to attend. The Clerk was asked to contact him again and ask him for dates when he would be available when a special meeting would be convened. 

b.  P. 1206  Graffitit to vegetation. Jo Raff had now received an apology from the Police as no officer had actually attended the scene.

c.  P. 1207 Parishioners Matters. Barry Sutherland had confirmed that he had reported four vehicles which had been left on verges within the village and that these had shown up on the DVLA website as being untaxed. It was understood that the Borough Council would be unable to deal with them if they were untaxed.

d.  P. 1211  Correspondence.  Donation towards GBC statue. The anticipated informal discussions between the Chairmen of Parish Councils had not taken place as the Meeting of Parish Chairmen had been cancelled.  Telephone calls to other Parish Chairmen had revealed varying degrees of support for this project. Following discussion Members unanimously agreed to make a donation of £1000 towards the project which would be paid over a two year period.

e.  P. 1211. A response from Scott Properties regarding the possible development of the land to the West of School Lane had  revealed that they intended to contact the Parish Council again in the future.

f.  St. Johns College Annual Visit to Recreation Ground. Jo Raff had provided access to the Pavilion. Permission had been given to thin out the trees around the Sports Courts and the advice of Stuart Wright would be sought.  Permission had also been given for signage for CCTV and liability to be placed in the car park and SJC would provide a sign for the Landway which it was hoped would alleviate the current problems of vehicles obstructing the track. Members felt that either a gate or bollards across the Landway would be more of a deterrent and the Clerk was asked to make contact with SJC accordingly to see if they would be willing to pay for this.  

g.   Web site report. Recent additions had  included photos of the recent Royal Celebration Event, kindly provided by Michael Papadopulos, as well as details of public events in the village and the usual Parish Council Minutes and Agendas.  


Parishioners Matters.

None were reported to the Meeting.


To again discuss the initiative to make Telegraph Hill one way only

Cllr. Sparks reported on a site meeting in the village with Lisa Gillham, District Manager for Kent Highways. Also in attendance had been Cllrs.Carroll and Grey. Several problem areas had been covered including Telegraph Hill. and it appeared that  a case would need to be put forward for each and funding provided by the Parish Council (and also local residents if they so wished). Overgrown vegetation was quite an issue and Lisa had offered to investigate the ownership of certain areas of land. A comprehensive pack had been given to the representatives from the Parish Council which outlined policy with regard to all aspects of Highways Management  and even gave samples of letters that could be sent. It was agreed that this information would be shared with Members of the Parish Council at a separate meeting.  It was agreed to write to Mr Murray and advise him that although his concerns were currently being considered by the Parish Council it would be in the context of the wider village and other priorities which had now been identified as a result of this site meeting.     


To receive an update on the Recreation Ground sub-lease.

The Clerk reported that there was nothing further to report on the matter at this time.


Parish Plan update

Cllr. Sparks reported that she had been advised that funding of £1215.00 was available from Rural Kent to help with this project. Several volunteers had now come forward and the first Meeting of the Steering Group would take place in Higham Library on 18/7. She also hoped to be able to visit Higham Primary School to talk to the older pupils and also the pupils at Gads Hill and members of HiARA.


Lower Thames Crossing update

Cllr. Sparks reported on two new designs of postcards to be sent to the Secretary of State which it was hoped would keep up the pressure for the “No to Option C” campaign. She would ensure that supplies of these were available at the school fair.


To finalise arrangements for the 2016 Higham Gardens for Pleasure Competition.

The Chairman reminded Members who had not yet produced their short lists of three gardens for judging by Gravesham Borough Council to do so now as soon as possible.  


To evaluate the success of the Royal Celebration event.

The Clerk circulated a breakdown of the accounts for the event. It was agreed that despite the inclement weather the event had been a great success with the firework display finale being much enjoyed. The Chairman gave a vote of thanks to all those involved with the arrangements and helping on the day.

Members noted that it had been discovered that the Memorial Hall Committee was storing two scrap items of kitchen equipment in one of the toilet blocks to the car park and asked that these were removed promptly and the key returned to the Clerk.

Cllr. Oakeshott agreed to raise this at the next Hall Committee Meeting.


To further discuss the use of the Recreation  Ground and Sports Courts

The Clerk reported that the Playball Football coach had been observed carrying out his paid coaching sessions on the Recreation Ground having given up his booking at the Memorial Hall due to the recent increase in hiring charges. As no business activity was allowed to take place on the Recreation Ground under the terms of the lease, the Clerk was asked to advise him accordingly and suggest that he hire the sports courts for his weekly sessions.


Councillors’ Matters.


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



Although Cllr. Craske did not attend the Meeting he had advised Members of the forthcoming Rural Forum to be held on 18/7 where one of the topics to be discussed would be parking on rural verges and pavements.

Cllr. Pearton reported that the Borough Council had begun the commemorations to mark the 400th anniversary of Princess Pocahontas.



Cllr. Pearton reported complaints from Parishioners regarding the potential for cars emerging from Forge Lane to make contact with those on the A226 and suggested that if the width of the pavement in front of the railings were to be reduced this might  help the situation. Cllr. Allinson added that when vehicles were parked on the bend in Forge Lane it meant that drivers had to pass them on the wrong side of the road. Cllr. Sparks noted both of these items and added them to the list of highways items to be discussed and prioritised within the village.

Cllr. Howard reported overgrown hedges from Jubilee Corner down School Lane towards the school. It was suggested that a photograph be taken to forward on to Kent Highways. Cllr. Sparks confirmed that she now had details of contacts at Kent Highways following the recent site meeting with Lisa Gillham.

Cllr. Sparks reported that many people posting comments in her boxes as part of the run up to the Parish Plan had commented on the amount of litter around the village. Several Parishioners had now come forward to offer to help with litter picking and she was arranging to borrow equipment so that this could happen. As soon as dates were arranged she would contact everybody. She had also been researching the management of allotment gardens elsewhere with a view to the Parish Council possibly considering a management team of allotment holders running the day to day aspects and reporting back to the Parish Council.  She proposed that the Allotment Committee should meet to discuss this idea further.






a.    Planning.

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


Appln. no. 20160450   Wendover, Lower Rochester Road

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

Appln. no. 20160464   Telegraph House, Telegraph Hill

Erection of two storey rear extension; including first floor balcony. Installation of two storey bay window, two storey extension and external alterations on front elevation. Erection of detached garage to front of house and conversion of existing detached garage to garden room.


Appln. no. 20160516   29, Norah Lane

Application for minor material amendment of planning permission reference 20150569 for the erection of a single storey rear extension and construction of a dormer extension in the rear roof slope to provide habitable rooms in the roof space; to allow the retention of the height of the rear extension

Appln. no 20160271   Gads Hill House School, Gravesend Road

Retention of the single storey building (Hewlett Pavilion) to the south of the walled kitchen garden to provide five classrooms, offices and storerooms for a temporary period of three years.


j.      Higham Youth Club.

         Jo Raff reported that the Princess Pocohontas mini cruise had made a profit of £376 for the Pavilion Project Fund. Continuing problems with water run off from the fields had caused further flooding to the front of the Pavilion and another solution was currently being sought. There was a possibility that a kitchen for the building might be donated by a housing association. The Duke of Edinburgh Scheme would be relaunched on 14/7 and several youngsters were interested. The Shorne/Higham F.C. football team had agreed to arrange a football tournament and Members gave permission for the use of the Recreation Ground. Jo had indicated that she was happy to hire out the sports courts from the Pavilon in addition to bookings being taken at the Village Greengrocers. She felt that a coat of paint on the boards might make the sports courts look more inviting.  


m.    Higham Neighbourhood Forum.

         Peter Leakey reported that 2 PCSOs had attended the Higham Neighbourhood Forum Meeting on 7/6 and had explained the recent changes in policing to the village. A complaint regarding no 30 mph signage being in the village was to be referred to Kent Highways.


n.     Kent Community Warden.

        Steve Gray reported that 2 counts of fly tipping had been reported to the Borough Council and 3 litter picks. Community surgeries had been held in May and June with each surgery being attended by Parishioners. The next Surgery would be on 28/7. Three bags of rubbish had been collected by the Beavers from the Recreation Ground on 10/6 as part of the Clean for the Queen campaign.



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


Clerks salary (May)                                                                                                          1050.51

KCC (LGPS May)                                                                                                              334.32

HMRC (PAYE/NI May)                                                                                                    199.71

Clerk (use of room as office 1/4/16 to 30/6/16)                                                                 227.50

St Johns College (quarter year rent for RG)                                                                      750.00    

Southern Water (allotments)                                                                                                32.11                                                                                           

Clive Stanley (webmaster services 1/4/16 to 21/6/16)                                                      168.00             

Clerk (Garden Gift Tokens)                                                                                               100.00

Annual rental of storage space                                                                                           100.00

Royal Celebrations (cash payments)                                                                                  600.00

Higham Youth Club (metal shed)                                                                                      260.99

Ray Earley (drainage works to car park)                                                                           268.32

Medway Towns Bands (Brass Band)                                                                                 400.00

B Prankard (Peninsula Big Band)                                                                                      500.00

D Bowdler (Jazz Band)                                                                                                      500.00

Phoenix Fireworks Ltd. (firework display)                                                                      3600.00

Higham Marquees (marquee hire)                                                                                     500.00

Clive Sound (PA equipment hire)                                                                                        45.00

Singlewell Stationery and Print Ltd. (flyers and programmes – Royal Event)                 546.00

Brand Plan Media/Easy-Print UK (LTC  postcards)                                                         291.66

APT Kent Ltd (outside lighting to Pavilion)                                                                   1450.08


The following proposal was recorded in the Minutes:-

“This Council in accordance with its powers under Sections 137 and 139 of the Local Government Act 1972, should incur an expenditure of £100 for garden gift tokens, which is in the opinion of the Council in the interests of the area or its inhabitants”



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.    A new planning application had been received from RS Skips.

2.    Members noted the Gravesham Rural Forum meeting to be held on 18/7 when parking on verges would be discussed.

3.    The response to the LTC consultation had been  the largest ever for a UK road project with over 47,000 responses being received.

4.    Correspondence from parties at Jupp Court had been deemed to be a civil matter.


To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting.

This was given as being Monday, 5th September 2016 at 7.30 p.m.


Any Other Business.

Cllr. Carroll reported that lines and numbers had been sprayed across Taylors Lane near to the garages at the end of the walkway to Highwoods Close.


There being no other business, the Meeting finally closed at 10.15 p.m.   



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