Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the Parish Council Meetings, May 2017

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Minutes of the Annual Parish Council Meeting followed by a Parish Council Meeting held at the Vestry Hall, Hermitage Road, on Tuesday, 30th May 2017 at 7.30 p.m.


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

                                                Borough Councillor: Cllr. H. Craske, Councillors: P. Allinson,  J. Grey, A. Howard, E. Jeffery, A. Mendzil and P. Oakeshott.

In attendance:                          3 Parishioners.
Apologies for absence:              Kent County Councillor Bryan Sweetland, Cllrs Carroll,
 Holmes, Pearton and Sparks.

                                                Kent Community Warden Steve Gray


Prior to the commencement of the Meeting a minute’s silence was observed for the victims of the recent Manchester terrorist attack.



        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. Howard, seconded by Cllr. Oakeshott and agreed by all Members present that the three new standing committees should be set up for a period of a year when a review would take place. As there was some confusion as to how the old Committee structure could be amalgamated into the new system Cllr. Allinson agreed to prepare further guidance notes for discussion at the next Meeting.


      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, Grey and Jeffery.

d.  Merston Court Day Centre - Cllr. Papadopulos.

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

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

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

h    Chalk Liaison Group - Cllrs. Oakeshott and Pearton

i.    Rural Housing - Cllrs. Oakeshott and Grey.

j.    Village Roads, Pavements and Lighting – Cllrs Sparks, Carroll, Grey and Peter Leakey.

k.   Higham Gardens for Pleasure Competition – ALL.

l.    Press Officer – Cllr. Jeffery.


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 8.15 p.m.        



                                             PARISH COUNCIL MEETING.


It was proposed by Cllr.Oakeshott, seconded by Cllr. Howard, 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 Cllrs Pearton and Sparks had arranged for a report on the refurbishment and installation costs for the roundabout and see saw through Maria Cooke. The quote she had received was excessive and a decision had been taken not to proceed. As the lack of decent play equipment had been highlighted in the responses to the Village Plan Members agreed that the CDC should carry out some research on a new play equipment scheme and report back with some proposals in due course. The Clerk passed the latest PR6 report to Cllr. Allinson.


The Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting, held on Monday, 10th April 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. 1246. Matters Arising. Listing Gardeners Arms as a Community Asset. The application had been successful and the confirmation was now in the correspondence folder.

b.   P. 1246 Matters Arising. The defibrillator had now been received.

c.   P. 1240 Rural Housing – Jupp Court. An application had been received from a relative of the person living next door to the vacant property which satisfied the Rural Nomination Criteria and was now proceeding.

d. Web site report. The website had been updated to include the 2017 Annual Newsletter and Reports, LTC preferred route announcement and updates, Posters for the Litter Picks, Higham Plan Discussion Groups, Drop In sessions and Neighbourhood Forum meeting, gas main replacement and other road closures as well as the usual Meeting papers.


Cllr. Oakeshott again drew Members attention to P. 1249 of the Minutes regarding the Pavilion Project. She had been opposed to any additional salary payment of any kind to offset the training costs for this scheme fearing that it might set a precedent, and being mindful of the first rent review for the Recreation Ground that was due to take place in October this year and the restrictions that would be imposed on the Parish Council when it calculated its precept requirement for the next financial year. Cllr. Allinson felt the work carried out outweighed the Youth Club salary and that consideration should be given to two positions being created for the Youth Club and the Pavilion Project. Members agreed to revisit this matter within a Community Development Committee meeting once more Members were able to contribute towards the discussion and come back to the Parish Council with recommendations.    


Parishioners’ Matters.

Barry Sutherland, of St. John’s Road, reported that the volunteer litter pickers had found a large number of cigarette ends on Hermitage Road outside the Upshire Studio and queried whether a specialized wall bin for cigarette ends should be provided for this purpose. The Clerk agreed to raise this with Rachael Martin. 

Peter Leakey, of Chilton Drive, advised Members that the next Neighbourhood Forum Meeting would take place on 6/6 when topics covered would include scams and ID theft and crime prevention to allotment sheds and garages.


Lower Thames Crossing update

The Clerk reported that the decision to adopt Option C Western Southern Link as the  route for the Lower Thames Crossing had been announced on the day of the Annual Parish Assembly. She reported that representatives of Highways England would now meet with Members of the Parish Council for an initial Information Meeting at the Memorial Hall on Monday 5th June at 15.30 hours.   


Village Plan update.

An update on the Village Plan had been circulated to Members prior to the Meeting. In the absence of Cllr. Sparks the Clerk took Parish Councillors through the report and all items were duly noted. The bespoke discussion session for Parish Councillors would take place on 3/7 in the Memorial Hall commencing at 7.30 p.m.


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

An update from the Roads, Pavements and Lighting Sub Committee had been circulated to Members prior to the Meeting. In the absence of Cllr. Sparks the Clerk took Parish Councillors through the report and any decisions required were agreed by all Members. Cllr. Mendzil observed that residents on Telegraph Hill had coped well during the recent road closure for gas main works. Peter Leakey confirmed that there was only one data logger available for the whole of Kent. It was agreed to purchase 2000 dog bags and remove the restriction on the number of bags that people could take.

Cllr. Jeffery reported on the Community Surgery that she had attended and streetlighting issues to School Lane involving vegetation which had been reported and which would be passed on to the Committee. She had also received complaints regarding problems with other lighting to both Forge Lane and School Lane. A large amount of fly tipping which had blocked Sandhill Lane, and been reported online, had now resulted in a road closure so that the debris could be retrieved.


To receive a report from the Allotment Sub Committee.

An update from the Allotment Committee, draft revised allotment agreement, spreadsheet of income and expenditure for the last 5 years, and plan of the allotments had been circulated to Members prior to the Meeting. In the absence of Cllr. Sparks, the Clerk took Parish Councillors through the report and all proposals for decision were agreed, although Members wished the views of allotment tenants, regarding the review of current plot boundaries, to be taken into consideration before a final decision was made. It was noted that Southern Water intended to replace the heavy manhole cover in Hermitage Road.


To set up a Task and Finish Group to develop a Communication and Social Media Policy.

The report of the Communication and Social Media Conference prepared by Cllr Sparks had been circulated again to Members prior to the Meeting. In the absence of Cllr. Sparks it was agreed that the group that would draft the Strategy/Policy would consist of  Cllr. Sparks, Cllr. Jeffery, Clive Stanley and one more volunteer.

Matters Arising from the 2017 Annual Parish Assembly.

The Clerk reminded Members of matters arising from this year’s Annual Parish Assembly.

Following the announcement of the chosen route for the Lower Thames Crossing Parishioners had expressed concern about the effect that this might have on village property prices, whether the Green Belt would be put under pressure and if the proposed roundabout on the A226 near Thong Lane was really necessary.

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

The Clerk reported that Martin Wates of GBC Horticulture Department had kindly agreed to judge the short list of gardens for the 2017 competition.


To arrange dates for Parish Council Meetings in 2018.

The Clerk had circulated details of dates for Meetings in 2018 prior to the Meeting and the following were agreed:-      


Mondays:- 15th January, 26th February, 9th April, 14th May (Annual Parish Council Meeting with Parish Council Meeting), 2nd July, 10th September, 15th October, 19th November (Budget and Finance only) , and  26th  November (Christmas Meeting with the Mayor of Gravesham).

The Annual Parish Assembly would take place on Thursday, 12th April 2018.


The remaining dates for Meetings in 2017 are as follows:-

Mondays:-  11th September, 9th October, 20th November (Budget and Finance only) and 27th November (Christmas Meeting with the Mayor of Gravesham).


To receive an update on the garage at Merston Court.   

Cllr. Allinson reported that he had met with the Borough Council Sheltered Housing Officer who had expressed concern regarding the notice that the Parish Council had posted advising that the padlocks to the garage at Merston Court would be changed to allow it the sole use of the building. He had reiterated that the garage was also for the use of Merston Court and its residents and full use could not be given to the Parish Council. Cllr. Grey expressed concern that this information contradicted that given to Cllr. Oakeshott and pointed out that the Parish Council still had an additional salt store at Buckland Farm that it needed to bring to the village. It was agreed that Cllrs Pearton and Grey would deal with this matter and that it would be placed on the agenda again for the next Meeting so that Cllr. Pearton could be updated.


Councillors’ Matters.


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



Cllr. Craske reported that his Mayoral year had got off to a hectic start with a total of 17 Civic Engagements in the first 15 days.



Cllr. Jeffery reported that a recent fire drill at Higham Library during the Coffee and Chat Group Session had revealed that it was impossible to fully open the fire door to the car park to allow wheelchair access as it was obstructed by a derelict car. Cllr. Jeffery had raised the matter with the Brewers (Shepheard Neame) and was advised that the vehicle had someone living in it and could not be moved.

Cllr. Grey reported that permits to allow parking within the CPZ were now being issued to Parishioners living outside the zone.

Cllr. Allinson reported that it would be possible to turn the toilets to the Memorial Hall car park into additional storage space by constructing wooden covers to go over the toilets which could be removed if needed for an event on the Recreation Ground. Members agreed to award a grant of £250 to Higham Scouts to clean up the toilets and build the covers.  Cllr. Allinson reported that at the present time the polling booths for the forthcoming General Election were being stored in the toilets. Cllr. Howard agreed to hold an additional key to the building to facilitate their removal.




a.    Planning

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


Appln. no. 20170330   Telecommunication Mast, Chalk Road

Application for determination pursuant to Part 16 of Schedule 2 of the Town & Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 2015 as amended by the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) (Amendment) (no.2) Order 2016 as to whether prior approval is required for the proposed telecommunications installation and associated works.

Appln. no. 20170271   40, Telegraph Hill

Erection of a detached garage.

Appln. no. 20170334   42, Telegraph Hill

Erection of a single storey front extension, a single storey rear extension, a new hipped roof, construction of two dormer windows, in the southern and eastern roof slopes, a front porch, and a raised platform to the front to create 4 car parking spaces.

Appln. no. 2017 0441   17, Colewood Drive

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

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

AMENDED APPLICATION / REVISED PLANS    Conversion of the garage into commercial floor space and creation of a front entrance for a first floor self-contained flat including a first floor side extension.

Appln. no. 20170353   Grove Farm Cottage, Gravesend Road

Demolition of existing dwelling and erection of a three bedroom dwelling with a detached garage.


b.    Community Development Committee

       Cllr. Allinson stressed the need to get a Pavilion Management Committee established as

       soon as possible to deal with the rate demand that had been received from Gravesham

       Borough Council. Higham Parish Council Members were in agreement with this. A

       quotation had been received regarding cutting down some of the trees around the sports

       courts but as it was expensive consideration would also be given to trimming them back

       instead. The Management Committee also planned to liaise with Pat Jeal and Linda

       Martin, who were currently managing the sports courts, to give them as much assistance

       as possible. A quotation to have the kick boards around the courts painted up would be



n.    Kent Community Warden.

       In the absence of Steve Gray the Clerk reported that 6 counts of flytipping had been  

       reported to the Borough Council and 4 litter picks had been requested. The next

       Community Surgery would take place on 29/6 and these were now being advertised on

       Village Voices which had produced an increase in Parishioners attending. A litter pick of

       the Recreation Ground with Higham Beavers had taken place.



The Clerk asked for approval for the items shown below this being proposed by Cllr.

Oakeshott, seconded by Cllr.Mendzil and agreed by all Members:- 


British Telecom (broadband)                                                                                            165.48

Mrs J.M.Papadopulos (APA costs under Section 150(2) of L.G.Act 1972)                       46.92                                                          

Clerk’s salary (April 2017 –net)                                                                                     1085.54                                 

HMRC (PAYE/NI(employer/employee) April 2017)                                                       208.20                                     

Kent County Council (LGPS payment employer/employee – April 2017)                       411.23

Clerk (annual storage rental)                                                                                             100.00

Singlewell Stationery and Print Ltd. (posters)                                                                    40.80                                                                                           

SSE (electricity to toilets)                                                                                                   19.69                                                                                                     

EDF Energy (Pavilion)                                                                                                        62.14                                                                                                      

Higham Memorial Hall Association (hall hire for Village Plan meetings)                         20.00

SWA (public conveniences)                                                                                                58.11

Keith Joblin (photos for Love Higham Day display)                                                          42.50

CA Traffic Ltd (SID)                                                                                                       1200.00

WEL Medical Ltd (defibrillator)                                                                                     1639.50

The Clean Machine Direct Ltd (litter picking hoops)                                                         80.22

First Aid Warehouse (two sharps containers)                                                                     15.68

Sue Sparks (rubbish sacks)                                                                                                  10.00

Alan Howard (stopcock for allotments)                                                                              41.34

Sue Sparks (voucher for competition winner)                                                                     10.00

Higham Age Concern (S 137/139 grant)                                                                           300.00

RNLI (donation in memory of late Dougall Goring)                                                          50.00

Higham with Merston PCC (vestry hall hire for Village Plan Meetings)                           24.00

Sue Sparks (flip chart)                                                                                                           6.01

SWA (allotments)                                                                                                                18.46

AON UK Limited (insurance policy renewal)                                                                1801.58                          

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



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 asked for clarification of the purpose of the Welfare Centre Training Day to be held at Culverstone Community Centre on 10/10/17

2.   Members noted that Gravesham Borough Council had confirmed the date of the children’s fun day on the Recreation Ground as being 22/8/17 from 10.00 to 15.00 hours.

3.   Parish Council Meetings at the Memorial Hall would continue to be free of charge but sub-committee meetings would be charged for. 


To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting.

It was agreed to change the date of the next Parish Council Meeting to Monday, 26th June 2017 so that the accounts could be approved before the legal deadline. The Parish Council would continue to meet on 3/7 as originally planned but to discuss the progress of the Village Plan.


Any Other Business.

None was brought to the notice of the Meeting.



There being no other business, the Meeting closed at 10.15 p.m.




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