Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the Annual Parish Council Meeting, followed by a Parish Council Meeting, May 2016

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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, 23rd  May 2016 at 7.30 p.m.


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

                                                Borough Councillor: Cllr. H. Craske

                                                Councillors: P. Allinson,  A. Carroll, J. Grey, E. Jeffery,

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

In attendance:                         3 Parishioners.

                                                Kent Community Warden Steve Gray

                                                Liz Jeffery – Village Correspondent and Press Officer                                             

Apologies for absence:               Kent County Councillor Bryan Sweetland, Cllrs Hearn,

                                                Howard and Mendzil. PCSO Sharon Balman.



        Cllr. Craske called for nominations for the position of Chairman by secret ballot. Cllr. Papadopulos was re-elected as Chairman by a majority vote.



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


       It was proposed by Cllr.Carroll, seconded by Cllr. Pearton 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 Sparks (3 MEMBERS)

b.    Recreation Committee.

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

c.    Planning Committee.

       Cllrs. Carroll, Grey, Hearn, Howard, Jeffery, Mendzil, Oakeshott, PEARTON, and Sparks (9 MEMBERS)

d.   Parish Environment and Conservation Committee.

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

e.   The Budget and Finance Committee.

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

f.   Parish Newsletter Committee.

      Cllrs. Oakeshott and Papadopulos  (2 MEMBERS)

g.   Parish Lighting Committee

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

j.   Severe Weather Committee

      Cllrs Sparks, 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:-

a.  K.A.L.C. - Cllrs Grey and Howard.

b.  Memorial Hall Management Committee - Cllr. Oakeshott

c.  Local Transport Advisory Committee (Village Transport Representatives) - Cllrs. Howard and Grey..

d.  Merston Court Day Centre - Cllr. Papadopulos.

e.  G.R.O.W.C. - Cllrs. Howard and Sparks.

f.  Multi-Purpose Sports Facility - Cllr. Papadopulos

g.  Higham Youth Club - Cllrs. Papadopulos, Carroll and Pearton.

h.  C.P.R.E. - Cllr. Papadopulos

i.   Governing Body of Higham Primary School - Cllr. Pearton

j.   Police Advisory Committee - Cllrs. Grey and Howard.

k.   Chalk Liaison Group - Cllrs. Oakeshott and Pearton

l.    Rural Housing - Cllrs. Oakeshott and Grey.

m.  Village Roads, Pavements and Lighting – Cllrs Sparks, 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 roles as the Village Press Correspondent and Parish Councillor.


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 7.50 p.m.         



                                             PARISH COUNCIL MEETING.


It was proposed by Cllr.Pearton, seconded by Cllr. Carroll, 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 there had been a problem with youngsters abusing the play equipment and daubing obscene graffiti on the trees to the Recreation Ground. Although the matter had been reported to the Police by Jo Raff  they did not attend. The Park Ranger had subsequently tried to remove as much of the graffiti as possible. Jo Raff reported that PCSO Balman had informed her that she was no longer assigned to Higham. It was agreed that the Clerk would invite the new Kent Police and Crime Commissioner to the next meeting to talk about the policing of the village. Jo Raff also outlined a recent text she had received regarding youths having been spotted abusing road signs to School Lane and others caught on the CCTV cameras trying to break into the sports courts.  


The Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting, held on Monday, 4th April 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. 1201 Matters Arising. A litter pick had been carried out on the Wainscott By Pass on 26/4.

b.  P. 1202 Parish. The Borough Council would prefer to carry out a litter pick in the village and would let us know if they were able to schedule this.

c.  Lower Thames Crossing – update. Cllr. Sparks reported that a firm of Consultants had now been appointed to work with Highways England to further develop the routes and carry out environmental studies. A new campaign to send printed postcards to the Secretary of State was now underway and supplies had been ordered for Parishioners to sign at the forthcoming Royal Celebration event. Some would also be circulated to school children and members of the youth club.

d. Web site report. The website had been updated to include the 2016 Annual Newsletter, Royal Celebration poster and details, further LTC updates and information, as well as the usual Meeting papers.


Parishioners’ Matters.

Barry Sutherland, of St. Johns Road, alerted Members to two abandoned cars parked in the village. One was outside Merston Court. He also reported that a resident at Merston Court had told him that he had to move the Parish Council salt store from the garage. Cllrs Craske and Pearton agreed to look into this matter..


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

The Clerk reported that no further progress had been made on this matter at the present time.


A Royal Celebration Event 2016.

Cllr. Allinson reported that the total sponsorship for the programme now stood at £960. Programmes were now being sold at the Village Greengrocers and Haircare. Cllr. Allinson appealed for 8 bicycle wheels to build the chariots for the Field Gun Tournament. Cllr. Oakeshott appealed for prizes for her tombola stall. The Clerk reported that the Awards for All application had been unsuccessful. Flyers advertising the event had been printed and delivered to the whole village by Liz Hart.


Parish Plan update.

Cllr. Sparks reported that after speaking to Rural Kent she had been able to access some lottery funding to buy advice to take this project further. At the forthcoming Royal Celebration event she hoped to repeat the exercise she had undertaken at the Annual Parish Assembly whereby Parishioners were encouraged to post their ideas into two boxes. She intended to also visit both schools in the village, the Youth Club, and HiARA to talk about the Parish Plan.


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 it appeared from the annual accounts that a profit was being made from the allotments. She had spoken to KALC who advised that by keeping allotment rents frozen for the last three years the Parish Council had not set out to make a profit. They suggested that the running of the allotments could be passed to a local group. Members agreed to explore this possibility further at a future meeting. Parishioners were also critical of the lack of visible policing to the village. 


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

The Chairman reported that Martin Wates of GBC Horticulture Department  had kindly agreed to arrange for the short list of gardens to be judged. Members signed up for the roads where they would produce a short list for the final judging. It was agreed that short lists would be brought to the next meeting.


To arrange dates for Parish Council Meetings in 2017.

The Clerk had circulated details of dates for Meetings in 2017 prior to the Meeting and the following were agreed:-      


Mondays:- 16th  January, 27th February, 3rd April, 15th May (Annual Parish Council Meeting with Parish Council Meeting), 3rd July, 11th September, 9th October, 20th November (Budget and Finance only), and
27th November (Christmas Meeting with the Mayor of Gravesham).

The Annual Parish Assembly would take place on Wednesday, 12th April 2017.


The remaining dates for Meetings in 2016 are as follows:-

Mondays:-  5th  September, 10th October, 21st November (Budget and Finance only) and 28th November (Christmas Meeting with the Mayor of Gravesham).


To discuss the ongoing maintenance of the Recreation  Ground and sports surfaces.

The Clerk reminded Members that traditionally the Eagles F.C. had not been charged to use the football pitch on the Recreation Ground as they maintained it on a weekly basis with their own equipment stored in the container to the side of the field and this was regarded as being “payment in kind”. The Borough Council only cut the grass five times a year on our behalf.  The Parish Council did not give grants to the Football Club. The matter had been raised by Barry Sutherland at the Annual Parish Assembly who felt it was unfair that a rent would be charged for the Pavilion but not the football pitch. The Chairman explained that under the terms of the new lease a “rent” of some kind would be expected for the building  but that this would be set by the Parish Council and not St. John’s College and would reflect the amount of work that Jo was carrying out at the present time. It was expected that the Pavilion Project would attract grants from the Parish Council which would balance out the situation. Members unanimously approved costs for emergency repairs to the car park to alleviate flooding problems (£268.32), provision of a metal shed for storage (£260.99) and outside lighting and power points to the building (£1450.00). Mrs Jeal of the Eagles F.C. had asked if the football club could apply for a grant to resurface the sports facility so that they could use it for training. Members did not wish to lose control of the sports courts but it was acknowledged that they were underused at the present time. Jo Raff suggested that she could help with booking out the courts and holding a key when she was at the Pavilion. As there were now only two members of the Village Sports Association Committee it was agreed that this item needed to be discussed again at a future date.   


Councillors’ Matters.


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



Cllr. Craske reported that the new Mayor of the Borough was Greta Goatley and that he was the Deputy Mayor. A complaint had been received regarding the noise from the bells at St. John’s Church and now the times that they would be rung would be advertised in the church.

Cllr. Craske was no longer on the Regulatory Board but was Chairman of the Licensing Committee. Both he and Cllr. Pearton had combined their GBC Members Grants to purchase new Speedwatch equipment for the village to use.  



Cllr. Pearton reported that the keep left sign outside the Memorial Hall was missing.

Cllr. Grey reported that Compass Windows and Teleporters, who operated from the industrial units in Taylors Lane, were working outside their operating hours and the Enforcement Officer was investigating. There had been an increase in vehicles parking between the trees to Steadman Close.

Cllr. Oakeshott reported potholes to the junction of Norah Lane and Villa Road and Beech Grove and Taylors Lane. Cllr. Jeffery advised that there was now a section of the KCC website where Parishioners could log pothole repairs direct on the system.

Cllr. Jeffery reported that a series of bollards had been knocked down on the sharp bend from Gore Green Road to Buckland Road.

Cllr Sparks reported that the village roads, pavements and lighting committee would be meeting to look at the Telegraph Hill issue.



a.    Planning

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


Appln. no. 20160099   Waterworks House, School Lane

Conversion of existing workshop and garage to a one bedroom annex ancilliary to the main dwelling.

Appln. no. 20160289   1, Nickleby Cottages, Church Street

Replacement of glazed roof over conservatory with a tiled roof

Appln. no. 20160301   2, Dombey Close.

Erection of first floor side and rear extension and a porch in the front.

Appln. no. 20160192   33, Bull Lane.

Erection of a single storey side extension and internal structural alterations.

Appln. no. 20160071   Land South of Two Gates Hill, Town Road

REVISES PLANS * Erection of general purposes agricultural storage/cold store building and hard surface yard area *

Appln. no. 20160408   7, St. Johns Road

Erection of a front extension to existing porch to form enlarged bedroom and w.c.

Appln. no. 20160149   8, Carton Road

Construction of dormer extension in the front, rear and side roof slopes to create habitable rooms in the roof space.

Appln. no. 20160401   1, Dombey Close

Erection of two storey side extension to form kitchen and lounge at ground floor level and bedroom, dressing room and w.c. at first floor level.

Appln. no. 20160457   29, Telegraph Hill

Retention of ground works to rear garden.


i.     Merston Court.

       The Chairman reported that the club now operated once a fortnight due to the shortage of cooks.

j.    Higham Youth Club.

       Jo Raff reported that she had contacted Groundwork who had helped dig away the mound in front of the Pavilion building. They had also cut back the bushes around the sports courts. The ceilings would soon be plastered and new windows had been installed. A helper had come forward and soon Duke of Edinburgh Awards would again be offered.


m.   Higham Neighbourhood Forum.

       Peter Leakey reported that the next Meeting of the Forum would be held at Higham Library on 7/6. It was hoped that senior police officers would be in attendance. Four sessions of Speedwatch had taken place. The highest speed recorded was 53 miles per hour.

n.    Kent Community Warden.

       Steve Gray reported that 9 counts of flytipping had been reported to the Borough Council and 2 litter picks had been requested. The next Community Surgery would take place on 26/5 and Cllr. Sparks had redesigned his poster advertising this event. An unauthorized skip to the slip road and vehicle parked to the footpath in Gravesend Road had both been removed.  



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


BT Payment Services Ltd. (broadband)                                                                           155.01

Mrs J.M.Papadopulos (APA costs under Section 150(2) of L.G.Act 1972)                      47.80                                                    

C.P.R.E. (2016 subscription)                                                                                              36.00

KCPFA (2016 subscription)                                                                                               20.00

NALC (Local Council Review subscription 2016)                                                            54.00

Clerk’s salary (March 2016 – net)                                                                                   1003.85     

Clerk’s salary (April 2016 –net)                                                                                     1035.13

HMRC (PAYE/NI (employer/employee) March 2016)                                                    177.84                                 

HMRC (PAYE/NI(employer/employee) April 2016)                                                       188.79     

Kent County Council (LGPS payment employer/employee – March 2016)                     317.25                               

Kent County Council (LGPS payment employer/employee – April 2016)                       327.76

M.J.Read and Co. (preparation for 2016 audit and internal audit)                                   648.00                                                          

Singlewell Stationery and Print Ltd. (2016 newsletter)                                                  1057.00                                                                                                                                                                 

SSE (electricity to toilets)                                                                                                   17.94  

EDF Energy (Pavilion)                                                                                                      117.40

ACRK (2016 subscription)                                                                                                  50.00

Elizabeth Hart (newsletter delivery)                                                                                 200.00

Gravesend Historical Society (replacement cheque 2015 APA)                                         50.00

Higham Memorial Hall Association (hall hire for 11/6)                                                   140.00

Vic Brading (LTC expenses)                                                                                               28.75

KALC (Clerk course)                                                                                                          72.00

GBC (three TEN licences)                                                                                                  63.00

Elizabeth Hart (delivery of event flyers)                                                                           120.00

St. John’s College (quarter year rent for RG)                                                                   750.00

AON (renewal premium)                                                                                                 1761.36


To consider the Accounting Statements and Annual Return for Local Councils for the year ended 31st March 2016.

Copies of both the Annual Return for Local Councils in England and Wales, and accounts for the financial year ended 31st March 2016, had been circulated to Members prior to the Meeting having been signed by the Clerk as the Responsible Financial Officer. 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.


To approve the Annual Governance Statement (Section 1)

Members unanimously approved the Annual Governance Statement.


To approve the whole Accounting Statements (Section 2)

Members unanimously approved the whole Accounting Statements.


Chairman to sign the Accounting Statements.

The Chairman signed the Accounting Statements.



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.   Members discussed the request for the Parish Council to make a donation towards a new statue to commemorate the 90th birthday of the Queen to be situated overlooking the river in Gravesend. Whilst Members indicated that they wished to contribute towards the project it was agreed that the Chairman would speak informally to other Parish Council Chairmen to see what sort of level of donation they would be giving.

2.   Members declined the offer from Scott Properties to attend the next Parish Council Meeting  to promote land to the west of Taylors Lane for a residential development as it was not their policy to meet with any developer before any firm proposals had been formulated and that they did not support development within the village envelope.   


To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting.

This was given as being Monday, 4th July 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 10.18 p.m.



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