Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the Ordinary Parish Council Meeting, April 2017

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Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held at the Memorial Hall, School Lane, on Monday, 10th April 2017 at 7.30 p.m. 

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

                                               Councillors: P. Allinson, A. Carroll, J. Grey, P. Holmes,

                                               E. Jeffery, P. Oakeshott,  and  L. Pearton (also Borough)

In attendance:                        10 Parishioners

                                               Kent Community Warden Steve Gray   

Apologies for absence:         Cllrs Sweetland, Craske, Howard, Mendzil and Sparks.


Prior to the start of the Meeting a minute’s silence was observed for former Parish Councillor Dougall Goring who had died since the last Meeting.


The Chairman accepted apologies for absence.

There were no alterations to the Register of Members Interests.

The Clerk reported that Cllrs. Pearton and Sparks had viewed the roundabout and a see saw and would be meeting Maria Cooke at the Recreation Ground on 21/4 to discuss the matter further before a final decision was made.


The Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting, held on Monday,  6th March 2017, were confirmed and signed.  


Matters arising from the Minutes.

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

a.  P. 1240. Matters Arising. Dog Fouling. A request had been made for the Green Machine to visit Higham.

b.  P. 1241  Parishioners’ Matters.  Parking at Memorial Hall. Cllr. Sparks had met with both the Hall Committee and the PTA at the school in an attempt to resolve the situation.

c.  P. 1242  To list the Gardeners Arms PH as a Community Asset. Cllr. Sparks had submitted an application following the last Meeting.

d.  P. 1243 Parish. The closing date for the Volunteer Support Warden vacancy had been extended. The KCC Warden Manager would visit Higham Library on 18/4 to give more information about the new role.

e.  P. 1244 CDC. The arrival of the defibrillator had been delayed due to a shortage of PCBs.

Members expressed concern regarding proposals to place the equipment on the fence at the Pavilion.

f.  Web site report. Clive Stanley reported that recent additions to the website had included the Neighbourhood Forum Meeting, litter picking poster, information on how to report fly tipping, telephone scam, an advert for the KCC Volunteer Support Warden scheme as well as the normal PC Minutes and Agenda.                 


Parishioners’ Matters.

Parishioners from Telegraph Hill were in attendance at the Meeting to express concern regarding a revised plan for a garage where work had already commenced before the planning officer had visited the site. Cllr. Pearton explained that the new roof design raised the roof height by an additional 4 cm from the original plans to which no residents had objected. Following discussion it was agreed that the Parish Council would recommend that the roof height should not be raised above the height of the original plans.

Keith Bradley confirmed that new signage would shortly appear in the Memorial Hall car park following recent discussions between all parties regarding parking complaints. This confirmed that HiARA would have priority parking on a Friday afternoon as it had a regular booking to hire the Memorial Hall. Steve Gray agreed to monitor the situation for the first couple of weeks.

Peter Leakey, of Chilton Drive, reported an email he had received from a resident of Canal Road regarding a foreign lorry firm operating from the Nuralite site without an Operators Licence. Vehicles left the site in the early hours of the morning and did not look roadworthy. Steve Grey agreed to liaise with Peter Leakey to obtain the foreign number plates concerned and advise DVLA accordingly.

Cllr. Allinson reported that he had been advised that a washing machine and other items had been dumped to the slip road. Jo Raff reported that a safe had been dumped in the lane behind the Memorial Hall. Steve Gray agreed to investigate both of these items.


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

The Clerk reported that a response had been received from our solicitor which had indicated that he felt that it would be advisable for a sub-lease to be prepared and signed for the Pavilion. The Clerk had now received a demand for £8697.16 from Gravesham Borough Council for business rates due for the building since Suzanne Green left in 2014. Members noted that Jo Raff would qualify for 100% discretionary rate relief for the building but would need to complete the necessary forms. The Clerk reported that the annual meeting with Savills at the Recreation Ground would take place on 14th June at 12.15p.m. 


To finalise arrangements for the 2017 Annual Parish Assembly.    

The Clerk reported that Lesley Topping would be providing the catering for the evening at a cost of £270. The Chairman agreed to arrange for the drinks and glasses. The Village Plan Steering Group would give a presentation on the Village Plan and Jo Raff and Pam Holmes would set up a display during the afternoon whilst the Hall was being prepared for the evening meeting.


To discuss judging arrangements for the 2017 Higham Gardens for Pleasure Competition.

It was agreed to ask Martin Wates at Gravesham Borough Council if a member of the Horticultural Department would be able to carry out the judging again this year.


Lower Thames Crossing Update.

Cllr. Allinson advised that there was nothing to report.


Village Plan Update.

An update prepared by Cllr. Sparks had been circulated to Members prior to the Meeting. It had analysed the comments gathered at the Love Higham Day and gave a timeline for the progress of the Village Plan as well as outlining some early actions already being planned. The Clerk reported that she understood that the dog fouling posters had now been judged and that prizes would be awarded in the near future to pupils at the Primary School.


To receive a report from the Village Roads, Pavements and Lighting Sub Committee.

An update prepared by Cllr. Sparks had been circulated to Members prior to the Meeting. It was felt that CCTV could be useful for monitoring traffic issues but Cllr. Pearton questioned its legality. Members approved the one off installation of a shield to a light in Mountbatten Avenue with the resident paying 50% of the cost.


To receive a report from the Allotment Sub Committee

It was agreed to defer this item until the new draft allotment agreement was available for discussion at the next Meeting. The Clerk reported that the water to the allotment gardens had now been turned back on following the repair of the leak but it was being monitored closely.


To receive a report on the Media and Communications conference
An update prepared by Cllr. Sparks had again been circulated to Members prior to the Meeting and the contents noted. As Members were unsure of what tasks the small group was being asked to undertake it was agreed that this should be clarified at the next Meeting.


Review of HPC Sub Committees.

A discussion document prepared by Cllr. Allinson had been circulated prior to the Meeting. Cllr. Allinson proposed the introduction of three permanent standing committees namely :- the Community Development Committee (already created), the Infrastructure Committee and the Executive Management Committee. It was felt that this new structure could streamline the current and future needs of the Parish Council. All existing sub committees and representatives had been allocated to one of the new standing committees. Cllr. Allinson reassured Members that all decisions taken under the new committee structure would come back to the Parish Council for ratification. It was agreed to trial the new structure for one year starting from the Annual Parish Council Meeting in May.


To review and approve the risk assessment document.

Copies of the amended document had been circulated to Members prior to the Meeting. It was proposed by Cllr.Oakeshott, seconded by Cllr. Carroll and agreed by all Members that the updated document should be approved and signed.


Councillors’ Matters.


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



Cllr. Pearton reported that Cllr. John Cubitt had stepped down as Leader of Gravesham Borough Council due to ill health and at the present time Cllr. David Turner had stepped in

until a replacement was appointed. At the Mayor making ceremony on 9/5 Cllr. Harold Craske would become the new Mayor of Gravesham with Father James Southward as his Mayor’s Chaplain.



Cllr. Jeffery reported that the recent book signing event organised by the Friends of  St. Marys Church had been well attended. She had just become a tour guide at Gads Hill. Since the closure of Towncentric visitors to Gravesham had found it difficult to get tickets for the tours.

Cllr. Grey reported that parking was still taking place under the trees in Steadman Close and that the area needed to be visited by the Parking Enforcement Officer.  It was suggested that the ownership of the land could be confirmed if Kent Highways was able to carry out a search.






a.    Planning.

      Plans were available for the following planning applications which had been received and

       reviewed by the Planning Committee:-


Appln. no. 20170165   Giles Farm, Church Street.

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

Appln. no. 20170159   27, Telegraph Hill.

Application for a minor material amendment to planning permission reference number 20160821, application for a non-material amendment to planning permission reference 20150343 for the relocation of the detached garage; to allow the enlargement of the garage roof.

Appln. no. 20170195   11, Lake Drive.

Erection of a two storey side extension and single storey rear extension.

Appln. no 20170161   11, Oak Drive.

Retention of outbuilding in the rear garden.

Appln. no. 20170213   13, Dombey Close.

Erection of single storey side and rear extension.

Appln. no. 20170234   3, Whitehouse Farm Oast, School Lane.

Conversion of the existing garage into a habitable room and erection of an outbuilding for storage in the rear garden.

Appln. no. 20170237   Sangers Retail UK Ltd., 18, Forge Lane.

Conversion of the garage into commercial floor space and creation of a front entrance for the first floor self-contained flat.

Appln. no.  20170251   Higham Hall Barn, 5, Ostlers Court, Taylors Lane.

Application for Listed Building Consent for the installation of 2LED post lights to the entrance area.

Appln. no. 20170040   88, Forge Lane.

Erection of a two storey side and rear extension.

Appln. no. 20170278   2, Dombey Close.

Erection of a first floor side extension.

Appln. no. 20170298   7, Michele Cottages, Chalk Road.

Erection of two storey side and single storey rear extension to form garage, utility room, wc, day room and kitchen at ground floor level with bedroom, ensuite bathroom/wc and ensuite shower room/wc at first floor level.


c.      Memorial Hall

         Keith Bradley reported that the fluorescent lighting was to be phased out and replaced

         with LED. The cost to replace the whole hall would be in the region of £4500


d.      Community Development Committee

         Jo Raff reported problems with the seeds from the sycamore trees which had filled up

         the new drains, sprouted through the grass and had been found in guttering and even the

         loft. Cllr. Oakshott expressed concern that the building was still not being used in spite

         of the large amount of works which had taken place. Jo Raff confirmed that the disabled

         toilets still needed to be completed before the building could be used and another

         application for charity status needed to be submitted. Cllr. Allinson was confident that

         the new Community Development Committee would give both governance and

         guidance to Jo and that the project could be moved forward in a relatively short space of



h.      Merston Court

         Cllr. Carroll reported that the forthcoming rolling road closure for Hermitage Road due

         to the gas main replacement works may possibly affect the club


j.       Rural Housing  

         Cllr. Oakeshott reported that the current applicants for the vacant property at Jupp Court

         did not meet our Rural Nomination Criteria and that the property needed to be

         advertised to a wider audience.     


k.      Higham Neighbourhood Forum

         Peter Leakey reported that at the next Meeting would be held on 6/6. Alan Watson    

         would demonstrate the new Speedwatch equipment  and would also discuss the use of

         data logging equipment in the village


l.    Kent Community Warden.

      Steve Gray reported that 3 counts of flytipping had been reported to the Borough

      Council and 4 litter picks had been requested.  Two residents had attended the March

      Community Surgery. The next would be held on 27/4.  He had delivered Volunteer

      Support Warden Scheme leaflets around the various retail outlets in the village as well as

      the Surgery and Church.


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

Clerks salary (March net) 1042.92
HMRC (PAYE/NI March) 194.15
KCC (LGPS March) 331.04
Joanne Raff (28/10/16 to 24/11/16) 400.00
Joanne Raff (25/11/16 to 21/12/16) 400.00
Joanne Raff (22/12/16 to 18/1/17) 400.00
Joanne Raff (19/1/17 to 15/2/17) 400.00
Joanne Raff (16/2/17 to 15/3/17) 400.00
MJ Read and Co (LGPS return) 96.00
Clerk (exps for use of room as an office 1/1/17 to 31/3/17) 227.50
Mrs L. Topping (food for APA under Section 150(2) LG Act 1972) 270.00
Ian Porter (talk for APA under Section 150(2)LG Act 1972) 65.00
J.A.Stanley (preparation of 2017 newsletter) 325.00
Clive Stanley (webmaster services from 1/1/17 to 23/3/17) 120.00
KALC (Membership renewal 2017) 1216.92
Sue Sparks (carts for litter picking) 27.00
Gravesham Borough Council (litter picking equipment) 200.00
Peninsular Plumbing (repairs to allotment water system) 78.00
Joanne Raff (16/3/17 to 5/4/17) 300.00

The changes to both the Clerk’s and Youth Leader’s salaries, as agreed at the Budget and Finance Meeting, were endorsed unanimously by Members. It was agreed that allotment rents would remain at  £25 for a full plot and £15 for a half  plot for the 2017/2018 season.



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. The date of the 2017 audit was noted.  

2. An application had been made to list the Gardener’s Arms PH as a Community Asset.


To note the date of the next Parish Council Meetings.

This was given as being Monday, 15th  May  2017  at 7.30 p.m. for the Annual Parish Council Meeting followed by a Parish Council Meeting.

The Annual Parish Assembly would take place on 12th April 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 10.05 p.m.


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