Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the Ordinary Parish Council Meeting, October 2016

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Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held at the Memorial Hall, School Lane, on Monday, 10th October 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:                          Kent Community Warden Steve Gray.

                                               Stuart Wright

                                               14 Parishioners

Apologies for absence:             Received from Kent County Councillor Cllr. Bryan Sweetland, and Cllrs Howard and Mendzil.


Prior to the commencement of the Meeting awards were presented to prize-winners of the Higham Gardens for Pleasure Competition 2016, by Stuart Wright.


FIRST PRIZE (Silver Rose Bowl Trophy, Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)

Gary Stowers, 42, St. Johns Road.


SECOND PRIZE (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)

Margaret and Terence Greenshields, “Courtlands”, Crutches Lane.


THIRD PRIZE (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)

June and Anthony Stevenson, 3, Hayes Close.


"HIGHLY COMMENDED" (Framed certificate)

Shelley Ford and Andrew Ramsell, 45, Bull Lane.

Lisa Ward, 30, Brice Road.



(Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)

Evelyn and John Leach, 32, Telegraph Hill.

"BEST HANGING BASKET AND CONTAINERS"  -  JOINT SECOND PRIZE (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)

Nicky and Alan Paternoster, 17, Beech Grove.

Ethel and Walter Phillips, 19, Beech Grove.



(Framed certificate)

Jo Raff, Community Hub, Higham Pavilion, Recreation Ground.


Members were impressed that prizewinners had reported that they had used grey water and multiple water butts to economise on the amount of water that they had used to keep their gardens in good condition.


The Chairman accepted apologies for absence.

There were no alterations to the Register of Members Interests.

There was nothing further to report regarding inspection reports for Parish property and amenities.


The Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held on Monday, 5th September 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. 1217. Matters Arising. Visit of the new PCC. A date was currently awaited for the PCC visit in 2017. The PCC is also on the agenda for the forthcoming Annual Meeting of KALC.

b.  P. 1217. Matters Arising.  Sinking bollard. Cllr. Sparks reported that as KCC was responsible for the Landway a consultation with them would need to take place before this could be installed.

c.  P. 1218. Vandalism to Recreation Ground. Following a suggestion by the Police that the matter should be dealt with by a Community Resolution (as the culprit had been clearly identified by the CCTV cameras) it had been confirmed that the Parish Council would be represented by the Chairman.

d.  P. 1218. Planning Meeting – RS Skips. Cllr. Grey confirmed that he hoped to attend the forthcoming site meeting relating to this application and to which he had been invited.

e.  P. 1219. Borough. A grant application had been submitted to the Gravesham

Neighbourhood Forum for new Speedwatch equipment.

f.  P. 1220. Multi-Purpose Games Area. The SJC agent had raised no objection to the kickboards being painted by a mural artist.

g.  Web site report. Clive Stanley reported that the website continued to be updated with the usual Parish Council Minutes and Agenda. In addition the pictures and results of the Garden competition had been added and the information about the Parliamentary Boundary Commission proposals.

Parishioners’ Matters.

Michelle Norman, representing Higham Primary School PTA, expressed concerns regarding vehicles which regularly parked on the zig zag lines outside the school, and the speed of vehicles travelling down School Lane outside the school. The PTA would like to see a flashing sign installed. Cllr. Sparks confirmed that the Village Roads, Pavements and Lighting sub committee was currently looking into speeding and parking issues in relation to School Lane especially at the school start and finish times and would come and talk to members of the PTA. Cllr. Craske confirmed that he believed that the road signs in question could be obtained on loan and offered to enquire further.

Clive Stanley, of Oak Drive, reported that the Dickens Millennium sign at the Gravesend Road end of Walmers Avenue was now completely obscured by vegetation. Cllr. Pearton agreed to look into this matter. Also the road sign for Higham and Gravesend, at the junction of Hermitage Road and Lower Rochester Road, had been removed from the pole. Cllr. Sparks advised Mr Stanley that this item was better to be reported personally to Kent Highways as a reference number would then be provided and he would be able to check on the progress. She hoped to produce a simple guide of how and where to report items such as these.

Alan Hogarth alerted Members to the amount of litter to the Wainscott By Pass. Cllr. Sparks reported that it was anticipated that this would be cleared again in the New Year as permission had to be obtained to close one lane of the carriageway for the works to take place.


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

The Clerk confirmed that there was nothing additional to report on the matter at this time.


Parish Plan update

Cllr. Sparks reported that the steering group had met again and had decided to rename this document the Village Plan to avoid any confusion with the church. Cllr. Allinson felt that a better name would be the Higham Village Plan although Cllr. Craske pointed out that it would cover both the village and the hamlets as well. Cllr. Sparks distributed a statement outlining the key purpose of the plan as follows:

Our plan will be a document that covers important issues that will influence our village in the future – initially over the next ten years. The plan will identify key facilities and services, set out the problems that need to be tackled and show how distinctive character and features can be conserved. It will include an Action Plan with timescales and this will be monitored regularly to check on progress. The Action Plan will be updated as new ideas and issues arise.


She had also produced some designs to give the plan an identity under the idea of I Love Higham and showing a big heart. The Village SOS funding could be used for some of these initial costs such as the design, setting up a website and the necessary materials. A good launch date might be 4/2/17 to tie in with the Valentine theme. At its next Meeting the Steering Group would look at an action plan for delivering the Higham Village Plan. The latest village litter pick had collected over 20 sacks of rubbish.


Lower Thames Crossing update

Cllr. Sparks reported that Members of the Lower Thames Crossing Association had noted that there were traffic monitoring strips across roads and cameras in place in a large number of locations in preparation for the Lower Thames Crossing.  It was hoped to distribute some information material to the residents at Dartford about how ineffectual Option C would be to tackle the current problems and promoting route A14. As there were funds still available from the Public Meeting it was hoped that these could be used as a donation from the Parish to this initiative. 


To formally amalgamate the Recreation Ground, Multi-Purpose Games Area and Youth Club sub-committees to form a single Youth and Community sub committee

It was proposed by Cllr. Carroll, seconded by Cllr. Allinson and agreed by all Members that the Recreation Ground, Multi-Purpose Games Area, and Youth Club sub-committees be amalgamated to form a single Youth and Community sub-committee. The Members of this sub-committee would be Cllrs  Papadopulos, Allinson, Sparks, Pearton, Grey and Carroll. Cllr. Allinson agreed to arrange a date for the first meeting.


To receive a report from the Village Roads, Pavements and Lighting sub committee

Members noted the report prepared by Cllr. Sparks and distributed prior to the meeting which clearly ranked the priorities which had been identified throughout the village. The sub committee would meet again in the near future to evaluate these and set those actions in progress for which it had accepted responsibility.


To discuss forthcoming changes to the rail network through Higham

Cllr. Grey had produced an information leaflet which illustrated the forthcoming changes to the rail network through Higham in 2018 and which he distributed at the Meeting. Although  Members recalled that the decision for the High Speed service not to stop at Higham had been taken several years ago there was concern that under future plans there would be no direct service to Charing Cross with passengers having to change at London Bridge. The Clerk agreed to try and find out more information.


Councillors’ Matters.


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



Cllr. Craske reported that the proposed Parliamentary Boundary changes had been designed to mean that constituency numbers were as equal as possible. Under current proposals this would mean that Hartley, Ash, New Ash Green and Hodsoll Street had been added to Gravesham and Higham moved to Rochester and Strood. There would be an opportunity for representations to be made and Adam Holloway was against the proposals. At the present time the Borough Council was faced with a large shortfall in funds and needed to make a saving of approximately £10,000 per day.  



Cllr. Pearton reported that he had received complaints that it now took up to 3 weeks to get an appointment at Higham Surgery. Cllr. Allinson agreed to meet with the Practice Manager, Kevin Creasey, to discuss the current situation.

Cllr. Grey reported that the road sign at the Railway Bridge was not lit as was that outside

59, School Lane.

Cllr. Jeffery had attended the recent Joint Transportation Board Meeting and reported that the Gravesend Road street lighting in Shorne had now been restored following the trial period of it being unlit. It was hoped that areas of pot holes patched in 2016 would be resurfaced in 2017 if the budget allowed. Some upgrading of street lighting to LED was currently being carried out. Cllr. Jeffery had received a thank you from Buckingham Palace in response to the birthday wishes sent from the Parish Council on behalf of the village on the occasion of the Queen’s 90th birthday. She agreed to send it to Clive Stanley to display on the website.

Cllr. Allinson reported that Keith Bradley had passed details to him of a person who would be able to manufacture a steel springer animal. Jo Raff confirmed that the damaged wooden animal had been kept as a template.

Cllr. Sparks reminded Members to each respond to the KCC Local Transport Plan consultation before the closing date of 30/10/16. The Clerk agreed to resend the details to all Members by way of a reminder.






a.    Planning.

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


Appln. no. 20160745   Giles Farm, Church Street

Demolition of existing milking parlour building. Erection of a single storey building for use as a farm office, meeting room, mess room, wc/shower room and secure store.

Appln. no. 20160805   13A, Bull Lane

Single storey rear extension with a depth of 5.0 metres, a maximum height of 2.24 metres and eaves height of 0 metres.


c.    Memorial Hall

       Cllr. Oakeshott reported that the bushes and trees around the car park would be trimmed back over half term.


g.    GROWC

       Cllr. Sparks reported that the Shorne Mead crossing was now open. KCC was working on the next phase of the Coastal Footpath from Gravesend to Grain which would eventually join up with the Thames Path  and stretch as far as the Isle of Sheppey.


h.   Governors of Higham Primary School

      Cllr. Pearton reported that the Headteacher was not at school at the present time as she had broken her leg.


i.    Merston Court

       It was reported that Barbara West currently had health problems and may not be returning to Age Concern.


j.    Higham Youth Club

      Jo Raff reported that Youth Club numbers attending at the start of the academic year had seen an increase over previous years and the minimum number attending had been 48. Two new helpers had been recruited. It was hoped that the double doors to the Pavilion would be fitted this weekend and the new kitchen had been delivered and was awaiting installation. She had been offered a 20 foot container but unfortunately this would not fit within the boundary fence.  Possibly this could be sited on the Parish Council owned land and used to store equipment for events.


m.  Higham Neighbourhood Forum.

      Peter Leakey reported that the next Meeting would be held on 13/12  in Higham Library at 7.30 p.m. Four speedwatch sessions had been held.


n.   Kent Community Warden.

      It was reported that a total of 8 counts of fly tipping had been notified and 4 litter picks had been requested. A Community Surgery had been held in September and had been attended by Cllr. Sparks and 2 Parishioners. The next would take place on 27/10. A caravan appeared to have been dumped to the lay by opposite the shops with hazardous liquids on board, but had been collected the following day. Incidences of flytipping continued to the slip road  where there was now a skip. Steve reported that there had been a spate of cars being “keyed” in various locations in the village.



The Clerk asked for approval for the items shown on the following list, this being proposed by Cllr.Pearton, seconded by Cllr. Oakeshott  and agreed by all Members.



Clerk’s salary (September)                                                                                   1042.92

KCC (LGPS September)                                                                                        331.04

HMRC (PAYE/NI September)                                                                               194.15

PKF Littlejohn LLP (audit charges 2016)                                                              360.00

Southern Water (public conveniences)                                                                     57.17

Southern Water (allotments – water leak)                                                              386.71

Action with Communities in Rural Kent (rural evidence data)                              120.00

Clive Stanley (webmaster services 22/6/16 to 30/9/16)                                         108.00

Expenses for use of room as an office (1/7/16 to 30/9/16)                                     227.50

Joanne Raff (Youth Leader 10/12/15 to 5/4/16)                                                     780.00

Joanne Raff (Youth Leader 6/4/16 to 14/9/16)                                                     1200.00

Youth Leader (additional 2015)                                                                            2330.00

Youth Leader (additional 2016)                                                                            1100.00

KALC (Good Councillors Guide)                                                                             15.29

Clerk (garden competition vouchers)                                                                      100.00



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 noted the conclusion of the 2016 Audit.

2. Cllr. Allinson agreed to respond to the consultation on Council Tax referendum principles on behalf of the Parish Council.

3. Members noted the details of the Proposed Changes for the Parliamentary Boundaries which might see Higham removed from the Gravesham Constituency.

4. The 2016 Parish Seminar would take place on 27/10.

5. A large leak to the water supply to the allotments had necessitated the water supply being turned off at the present time and it was currently being investigated


To note the dates of the next Parish Council Meetings

These were given as being Monday, 28th  November 2016 at 7.30 p.m (Christmas Meeting with the Mayor of Gravesham).  The Budget and Finance Meeting would be held on Monday, 21st November 2016 at 7.30 p.m. providing the data was available in time from the Borough Council.


Any Other Business.

None was brought to the notice of the Meeting.


There being no other business, the Meeting closed at 10.40 p.m.


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