Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the Ordinary Parish Council Meeting, June 2017

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Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held at the Memorial Hall, School Lane, on Monday, 26th June 2017 at 7.30 p.m.     


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

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

                                                A.Howard, E. Jeffery,  A. Mendzil, P. Oakeshott

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

In attendance:                           3 Parishioners                                                                                           

Apologies for absence:              Received from Cllrs.Sweetland and Craske.

                                                Kent Community Warden Steve Gray.

The Chairman accepted apologies for absence.


There were no alterations to the Register of Members Interests.


The Clerk reported that there were no further inspection reports for Parish property and amenities.


The Minutes of the Annual Parish Council Meeting, followed by a Parish Council Meeting, held on Tuesday, 30th May 2017, were confirmed and signed.


To receive an update on the Pavilion and Youth Club provision within the village

Cllr. Allinson informed Members of the decision by Joanne Raff, to resign for personal reasons from the positions of Leader of Higham Youth Club and the Higham Pavilion Project. Although the Pavilion was shut at the present time Joanne would continue with the Higham Youth Club until the end of term, and then work with the Duke of Edinburgh Award youngsters over the Summer period so that they could achieve their awards. A meeting would take place with the current Youth Club Committee over the next couple of weeks. Cllr. Sparks confirmed that meetings would take place over the summer months with the KCC Youth Service, Young Kent, the Gr@nd at Northfleet and Cllr. Jordan Meade who was the Portfolio Member for Tourism and Young People for Gravesham Borough Council, to ensure that the Youth Club would reopen in the Autumn.   The Chairman expressed her sadness at this turn of events and, on behalf of Parish Councillors, sent all good wishes for the future to Joanne and thanked her for her service to the community. 


Elections to Standing Committees

The new Standing Committee structure discussed at the last meeting was agreed by all Members following further clarification from Cllr. Allinson. Cllr. Sparks explained that the current system would be refined by giving a small group of people a task to complete. They would report back to the full Council for approval for decisions or actions which they wished to take which, when given, would enable the group to deliver.

Each of the 3 separate committees namely:- CDC (Community Development Committee), IFC (Infrastructure Committee) and EMC (Executive Management Committee) would have a Chairman and Vice Chairman and all Parish Councillors would be invited to sit on each of the committees.. This new system would be “trialled” for a period of 12 months, and then reviewed.

The Chairs and Vice Chairs of these Committees were agreed as follows:-

CDC:     Chair: Cllr. Allinson                     Vice Chair:   Cllr. Pearton

IFC:       Chair: Cllr. Sparks                        Vice Chair:   Cllr. Howard

EMC:    Chair: Cllr. Papadopulos               Vice Chair:   Cllr. Jeffery

Matters arising from the Minutes.

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

a.   P. 1252  Parishioners Matters. Upshire Studio. Having spoken to the owner of Upshire Studio, who in turn had spoken to the tenant, it appeared that the cigarette ends to Hermitage Road had been left by visitors to the company and not by the staff.

b.   P. 1253. Roads, Pavements and Lighting Committee. It was confirmed that Peter Leakey had in fact ordered a total of 3000 dog bags.

c.   P. 1253 Allotments. The manhole cover to the water meter for the allotments had now been replaced. Cllr. Howard felt that the work still required finishing and agreed to keep an eye on the situation. Cllr. Sparks confirmed that there had been a break in to sheds on the allotments and the police had been notified. Cllr. Carroll confirmed that a local collection was underway to raise funds to replace some of the stolen tools.

d.   P. 1254.  Parish.  Cllr. Howard confirmed that he still had the key to the toilets.

e.   The site meeting at the Recreation Ground on 14/6 with Savills had gone ahead as planned with Cllrs Allinson, Sparks and the Clerk in attendance. Responsibility for tree and fence maintenance had been asked to be clarified and permission sought for internal walls to the Pavilion to be moved to provide an accessible toilet.  Following discussion it was agreed that the possibility of registering the whole Recreation Ground area as a Community Asset would be explored and Cllr. Sparks agreed to undertake this task..

f.   Car to Library car park. It was noted that the derelict car was still parked in the Library car park.

g.  Parking in CPZ  Cllr. Grey agreed to obtain some photographic evidence of cars parked in the CPZ to forward to the Borough Council

h.   Web site report. Recent additions had included  BT Openreach road closure details for Villa Road, statement re the Pavilion and Youth Club, details of a charity Strawberry Tea event, as well as the usual Parish Council Minutes and Agendas.  


Parishioners Matters.

Barry Sutherland, of St. Johns Road, advised Members that permanent parking was now taking place in the shopping bay outside Meadows Stores since it had been shut for building works to take place and this had also resulted in the loss of a valuable passing place. The quality of the tap water in the village at the present time was poor as the chlorine was not dispersing. Mr Sutherland also reported that a local resident renting a property in Hermitage Road was repairing vehicles in St John’s Road and agreed to advise the Clerk further so that advice could be sought from the Borough Council.

Mr Connell, of School Lane, had been perusing the website and had several queries regarding procedural matters and outstanding actions from earlier meetings. Each were responded to and updates provided.


Lower Thames Crossing update

Cllr. Sparks reported that the Drop In Session organised by Highways England would take place on 3/7 from 16.00 to 18.30 hours in the Memorial Hall. She had forwarded suggested text to Highways England for use on our website, Facebook and on posters advertising this meeting, which it was expected would be delivered later this week.


Village Plan update 

Cllr. Sparks reported that the bespoke discussion session for the Village Plan especially for Parish Council Members would take place on 3/7 at 19.30 hours. It was hoped that Members would prioritise which items were most important to them in advance of the writing of the draft plan in the autumn. 


To finalise arrangements for the 2017 Higham Gardens for Pleasure Competition.

Members signed up for five local roads within the Parish which they would judge, and the Chairman reminded them that their short lists needed to be received as soon as possible to be passed to Gravesham Borough Council.  

To further discuss the garage at Merston Court

Cllr. Allinson reported that the permission given to the Parish Council by the Warden to use the garage at Merson Court as a salt store had never been confirmed in writing. The Borough Council was now keen to see the facility shared with the residents and this meant that the salt store would need to be removed elsewhere. Members were mindful that there was still a large bag of salt which was being stored on behalf of the Parish Council by Stuart Wright off site. Following discussion it was agreed that the Infrastructure Committee would look into the costs of providing lockable salt bins to be located on site and permission would be sought to keep the equipment in the garage. Once these costs were to hand, and approved,  Cllrs. Pearton and Grey would meet again with the Borough Council to further discuss the matter.


Councillors’ Matters.


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



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

Cllr. Pearton reported that Film Studio Paramount Pictures was pulling out of the theme park project and leaving the developer (London Resort Company Holdings) to continue to submit the planning application on its own in November. It was hoped that the Crossrail project might be extended to Ebbsfleet. The new statue of the Queen to celebrate her 90th birthday had now been fully funded by private donations.



Cllr. Howard reported that he had notified Steve Gray of a caravan that had been dumped in the slip road off Gads Hill. The works vehicle was still parked on the grass verge outside Dickens Court facing the wrong way, and obscuring the sight lines on the inside of the bend in School Lane. It was agreed that Cllr. Howard would forward a photograph to the Clerk for her to get in contact with the employer.

Cllr. Allinson drew Members attention to the continuing problem of untaxed vehicles to the grass verge on Gravesend Road. The Borough Council had now placed notices on some of these and removed them. The problem of cars being parked in the cycle lane continued.

Cllr. Holmes reported an increase in advertising vehicles being parked on bridges over motorways which were distracting for drivers. One regularly parked over the A2 and the other over the Wainscott By Pass.

Cllr. Sparks confirmed that the Parish Council was considering arranging “something special” within the village on the weekend of the Beating of the Bounds so that the Mayor and Mayoress of Gravesham would be able to take part and meet with Parishioners during the lunch break.  






a.    Planning.

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


Appln. no. 20170578   3, Copperfield Mews, Norah Lane

Erection of single storey rear extension to form an orangery.

Appln. no. 20170411   3, Providence Cottages, Crutches Lane

Erection of a single storey rear extension.

Appln. no. 20170420   Oast House Cottage, Hermitage Road

Erection of two storey side extension, two storey infill extension at the rear, construction of a canopy along the front elevation, construction of a pitched roof over part of the existing rear extension, demolition of the existing garage and erection of a detached workshop/garden store building and enlargement of the car parking area.

Appln. no. 20170469   Blaw Knox Sports Field, Watling Street

Retention of 192 seated grandstand and 2 porta cabins.

Appln. no. 20170511   41, Forge Lane

Demolition of existing outbuildings, partial demolition of existing garage and erection of two storey side extension to west elevation, two storey extension to east elevation, new balcony with dormer extension over to west elevation, two storey bay extension with loft bay over; erection of single storey extension to south elevation. Erection of a loft extension to existing roof with associated dormer windows and doors to all sides.

Appln. no. 20170598   11, Norah Lane

Erection of a single storey dwelling to be used as a granny annex.


b.    Community Development Committee

       There was nothing to report.

       It was agreed to set up a Pavilion Management Committee. The Members would be Cllrs. Allinson, Holmes and Howard and Mr Connell.


c.    Infrastructure Committee

       There was nothing to report.


d.    Executive Management Committee

       There was nothing to report.


e.    Higham Neighbourhood Forum

       Peter Leakey reported that although he had arranged two speakers for the last Meeting on 6/6 no local residents had attended the Meeting. He suggested that one of the presentations, about current scams, should be rearranged and specific stakeholders be invited to attend. Cllr. Oakeshott asked if the presentation could be given to the next Coffee and Chat Meeting in September. 


f.     Kent Community Warden.

        In the absence of Steve Gray the Clerk reported that 1 count of fly tipping had been reported to the Borough Council and 1 litter pick. The next Community Surgery would be held on 29/6. A Higham resident had had one of her sheep attacked by a dog.



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


Clerks salary (May)                                                                                                          1085.54

KCC (LGPS May)                                                                                                              411.23

HMRC (PAYE/NI May)                                                                                                    208.20

1st Higham Scouts (S137/139 grant for conversion of toilets to storage facility)                      250.00

Clerk (use of room as office 1/4/17 to 30/6/17)                                                                     227.50

Peter Leakey (dog bags)                                                                                                      21.99    

MJ Read & Co Accountants Ltd. (2017 Audit and Annual Return)                                       624.00                                                                                           

Clive Stanley (webmaster services 24/3/17 to 25/6/17)                                                         189.00

Sue Sparks (heavy duty trolley – Speedwatch equipment)                                                      29.99             


To consider the Accounting Statements and Annual Return for Local Councils in England and Wales for the Year Ended 31st March 2017 as a whole.

Copies of both the Annual Return for Local Councils in England and Wales, and accounts for the financial year ended 31st March 2017, 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, and the findings should be ratified by the next full Parish Council Meeting.


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 19.00 hours. on that evening, but the Clerk drew Members attention to the following items:-

1. Cllrs Grey and Howard agreed to attend the Welfare Centre Training Day on 10/10.

2. Cllrs Grey and Howard agreed to attend the KALC Conference on 8/7. Approval was given for the attendance fee of £72 per Councillor.

3. PCSO Kirsty Lowe had now been appointed for the Parishes of Meopham, Vigo and Higham.

4. Members gave approval for the Bromley Waugh Coffee Box to park on the Parish Council owned car park to the Recreation Ground in the afternoon for a trial period of three months.

5. GBC had requested a Meeting with Parish Councillors in early August to discuss the feasibility of a parcel of land in Canal Road for use for Rural Housing. The Clerk agreed to advise the date of this meeting to all Parish Councillors.


To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting.

This was given as being Monday, 11th September 2017.


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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