Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the Ordinary Parish Council Meeting, November 2016

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Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held at the Memorial Hall, School Lane, on Monday, 28th November 2016 at 7.30 p.m.    

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

                                               Kent County Council: Cllr. B. Sweetland.

                                               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:                        Cllr. Greta Goatley (Mayor of  Gravesham)                                                                                               

                                               5 Parishioners

Apologies for absence:         Received from Cllrs Howard and Mendzil

                                              Kent Community Warden Steve Gray.

                                              Mrs P. Holmes (Parish Councillor elect)


The Chairman welcomed the Mayor of Gravesham to the Christmas Meeting of the Parish Council.


The Chairman accepted apologies for absence.

There were no alterations to the Register of Members Interests.

The Clerk reported that the Annual Inspection report of the Recreation Ground was currently awaited. The worn cradle swing seat had been replaced. The Borough Council had recommended the replacement of the wooden play equipment.


The Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting, held on Monday, 10th October 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. 1224. Matters Arising.  Community Resolution. As a mobile phone number had now been provided the Chairman would make contact with the Police to arrange the meeting under the terms of the Community Resolution.

b.   P. 1224. Matters Arising.  RS Skips – Planning Meeting. Cllr. Grey confirmed that he had attended this meeting and that the planning application had been granted  with a large number of conditions attached, one of which was for the company to make regular contact with local Parish Councils.

c.   P. 1224. Matters Arising.  Speedwatch equipment.  Following our recent application the Gravesham Neighbourhood Forum had granted the Parish Council the sum of £2000 towards new equipment which did not have to be shared with any other Parish.

d.   P. 1225. Borough.  Parliamentary Boundary proposals – consultation. Cllrs. Allinson and Sparks had both given presentations at County Hall in support of Higham remaining within Gravesham. All Councillors were urged to also offer their support by responding to the consultation process before the closing date of 5/12.

e.   P.1226. Parish. The Parish Council response to the KCC Local Transport Plan Consultation was contained within the correspondence folder.

f.   P.  1227. Correspondence. Cllr. Sparks circulated notes from the Parish Seminar she had attended on 27/10 for Members to take away with them. She would deal with any questions at the next Meeting.

g.  P. 1221. Minutes of 5/9/16   Parish Council Meeting. Following the co-option of Mrs Pam Holmes as the new Parish Councillor, Terms of Reference for the additional appointment of Parish Advisors were circulated to all Members.  

h. Web site report. Recent additions to the website had included two Lower Thames Crossing updates, annual audit accounts and information, letter of thanks from the Queen, Kent Police appeal regarding car damage, posters advertising local meetings, details of village events and seasonal greetings added to the home page for the Christmas and New Year period.


Parishioners’ Matters.

Barry Sutherland, of St. Johns Road, had been informed that the current wait for an appointment at the Doctor’s surgery was only a couple of weeks. Cllr. Allinson clarified that the Surgery had advised him that if a specific Doctor was required the wait would be three weeks.

The Chairman reported that several Parishioners had spoken to her at Church regarding the large amount of dog fouling to Villa Road. Cllr. Craske agreed to speak to Stuart Alford regarding a clean up of the area.


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

This matter would now be progressed by the new Youth and Community Committee.  There were no further developments at the current time.


Village Plan update.

Cllr. Sparks circulated a revised version of the rationale in advance of the launch in February. Invoices for all promotional materials, posters, banners and postcards  had been submitted to ACRK for grant funding under the Village SOS initiative. The Love Higham day would take place on 4/2/17 from 11.00 until 17.00 and offers of cakes would be most welcome. Cllr. Sparks was keen to purchase a mapping tool for use for the Village Plan and also the allotments for the approximate cost of £75 and Members gave approval for this to take place.


Lower Thames Crossing update.

Cllr. Allinson reported that the Steering Group had met and given approval for 35,000 leaflets to be distributed in Dartford to advise local residents about Option A14 and the facts that they were not being told about the crossing. Some of the leaflets would be kept back for distribution in the village and Meopham.


To receive a report from the Allotment Sub Committee.

Cllr. Sparks reported that a Meeting of the current allotment holders would be held the following evening. She had walked the length of the allotment gardens with Stuart Wright and made notes on those plots which were currently vacant. Some were now unworkable and could not be offered to new holders as the cost and effort to clear them was not worth it. It was felt that the new allotments that had been created should be offered back to the farmer. Any vacant allotment plots needed to be kept under control and tenants would be encouraged to speak to the Parish Council if their plot was becoming overgrown. There was also a need for half size allotment plots for rental. Cllr. Sparks confirmed that formal proposals for improvements that could be made to the allotment gardens would be put forward at the January Meeting.


To again discuss forthcoming changes to the rail network through Higham.

Cllr. Allinson reported that he had eventually discovered a Thameslink consultation which ran until 8/12/16 but no publicity had been sent to the Parish Council. In future trains from Higham would no longer stop at Charing Cross (London Bridge instead) and the current semi-fast stopping pattern would be replaced by an all station service between Gravesend and London. Fast trains to London would only leave from Dartford. The Clerk agreed to send a copy of the KCC response to the consultation to Members to help them to take part in the consultation process.


To request copy material for the 2017 Annual Newsletter.

The Clerk reminded Members to produce copy material for the 2017 newsletter in time for it to be brought to the next Meeting in January. It was suggested that the front cover should reflect aspects of the Village Plan and Love Higham theme.


Councillors’ Matters.


Cllr. Sweetland reported that following the departure of Mr Potts, and the large number of responses received for the Lower Thames Crossing consultation, he understood that the department was now double checking everything that had been done. This may possibly have been why a decision had not been announced in the recent Autumn Statement. He had attended the RS Skips planning meeting. All drivers would now have to adhere to the designated route and the company was keen to meet with the Parishes soon. Cllr. Sweetland had offered his support for the installation of a defibrillator at the Pavilion as currently being campaigned for by Jo Raff.  



Cllr. Craske reported that he had had the pleasure of attending the switch on of the town’s Christmas lights with the Mayor along with 500 school children. The Borough Council was currently reviewing and strengthening the documentation for the Conservation Areas within the Borough, of which Higham had two, and these would be effective from February 2017.



Cllr. Grey complained that the windows at the old Railway Tavern public house were being changed to clear glass which was not in keeping with the building. There were now cars being parked  to both Villa Road and Forge Lane by people using the commuter coaches to London. He urged the Parish Council to investigate the ownership of the garage at Merston Court to secure the future of the salt store for the village. Cllr. Allinson reported that it appeared that the padlock to the garage had been changed as the key no longer fitted.

Cllr.Sparks reported that a complaint had been received regarding a very bright street light in Mountbatten Avenue which shone directly into a bedroom window. The Street Lighting Engineer had recommended a course of action which would cost £48 and could be shared between the resident and the Parish Council. It was agreed to further discuss this matter at the January Meeting.

Cllr. Allinson felt that an information campaign should be launched to educate youngsters to the value of defibrillators and visits should take place to the Youth Club, Scouts and School. Cllr. Pearton confirmed that the school had its own defibrillator.




a.    Planning.

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


Appln. no. 20160864   64, School Lane

Erection of single storey rear and side extensions.

Appln. no. 20160941   Kinglake, Gravesend Road

Erection of a single storey rear extension, construction of a dormer window in the rear roof slope with alterations to the roof to form habitable rooms and a raised decking area, screening and wood burning chimney flue in the rear garden.

Appln. no. 20160888   Rutherfords Stables, Rear of Hilary Cottage, Hermitage Road

Conversion of livery stable and tack rooms into one 4 no. bedroom dwelling and one 2 no. bedroom self-contained flat with two garages and change of use of land from paddock to residential, including demolition/removal of 3 no. detached livery structures.

Appln. no. 20160977   11, St Johns Road

Construction of side gablet to existing hip, a widened rear facing dormer window, front hipped dormer window to front, installation of side Velux window over staircase and demolition of one chimney.

Appln. no. 20161003   1, Lake Drive

Proposed single storey rear extension, front extension to form entrance porch and two storey side/rear extension.

Appln. no. 20161056   16, Walmers Avenue

Erection of a single storey rear and side extension.

Appln. no. 20161045   Home Farm Cottage, School Lane

Application for a Lawful Development Certificate in respect of the proposed brick built outbuilding in the rear garden for the use as an art room.

Appln. no. 20160582   Atlantis, Chalk Road

Raise ridge height to facilitate second storey and new front porch.

Appln. no. 20160862   Gads Hill School, Gravesend Road

Retention of existing temporary portakabin to provide teaching accommodation.


b.     KALC

        Cllr. Grey confirmed that he had recently attended an Area Committee Meeting at Meopham and the AGM at Ditton. He would report further at the January Meeting.


c.    Memorial Hall.

       Cllr. Oakeshott reported that the bushes around the car park had been cut back during the half term break.


d.    Youth and Community Committee.

       Jo Raff reported that the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme was now up and running and the map reading skills training was going well. Cllr. Allinson reported that the terms of reference document for the Youth and Community Committee was currently being set up.


k      Higham Neighbourhood Forum

        Peter Leakey reported that the next Forum Committee Meeting would be held on 13/12 at Higham Library when Cllr. Sparks would be giving a talk on the Village Plan.


l.     Kent Community Warden.

       In the absence of Steve Gray the Clerk reported that 5 counts of fly tipping had been reported and collected and 4 litter picks requested. Steve would help man the Community Safety shop in Gravesend on 5th, 6th, 8th and 9th December in the Market. The next Community Surgery would be held on 15/12.



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


Mrs J.M.Papadopulos (Chairman’s allowance)                                                                200.00

Higham with Merston PCC (church Christmas leaflet – S137/139)                                    115.00   

Clerks salary (October)                                                                                                 1042.72

HMRC (PAYE/NI October)                                                                                           194.35

KCC (LGPS October)                                                                                                    331.04

SSE (electricity toilets)                                                                                                      14.81

EDF Energy (Pavilion)                                                                                                    100.79

BT Payment Services Ltd (broadband)                                                                             158.97

Joanne Raff (Youth services 15/9/16 to 27/10/16)                                                             600.00

Sue Sparks (website/domain registration)                                                                         106.69

Peter Allinson (distribution of LTC leaflets)                                                                    2688.00

G. Knight Web Design (Village Plan website design)                                                        250.00

Sue Sparks (Village Plan – banners and cards)                                                                 122.55

A Stones Throw (Village Plan design fees)                                                                       480.00

Singlewell Stationery and Print Ltd. (Village Plan banners and posters)                               260.40       



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 agreed to discuss whether to join in the Volunteer Support Warden Scheme (which had a cost implication) at the forthcoming Budget and Finance Meeting.

2.  Following further complaints regarding untaxed vehicles and overgrown vegetation to the car park by the Gardeners Arms PH, Members noted that this was sited on private land.

3.  Members noted that a visit from Southern Water was currently awaited to advise where the current leak to the allotment water system was located.  


To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting.

This was given as being Monday, 16th January 2017 at 7.30 p.m.


Any Other Business.

Cllr. Carroll reported that she understood that extensive gas main replacement works were to re-start in the village in the New Year and the Parish Council would shortly receive notification.

The Mayor thanked Members of the Parish Council for inviting her to the Meeting and said how much she had learnt about how a Parish Council works for the benefit of the Community.


There being no other business the Chairman closed the Meeting at 8.55 p.m. and invited those present to her home for some seasonal refreshment. 


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