Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the Ordinary Parish Council Meeting, October 2017

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Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held at the Memorial Hall, School Lane, on Monday, 9th October 2017 at 7.30 p.m.  


Present:                                   Cllr. P. Allinson (Vice Chairman in the Chair)

                                                Kent County Councillor: B. Sweetland                 

                                                Councillors:-  A. Carroll,  J. Grey, P. Holmes, A. Mendzil, P. Oakeshott, and L. Pearton (also Borough)

In attendance:                         Stuart Wright

                                               Peter Leakey

                                               9 Parishioners

Apologies for absence:          Received from the Mayor of Gravesham and Borough Councillor Harold Craske, Cllrs Papadopulos, Howard, Jeffery and Sparks.

                                               Kent Community Warden Steve Gray.


Prior to the commencement of the Meeting awards were presented to prize-winners of the Higham Gardens for Pleasure Competition 2017, by Stuart Wright.


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

Alison Sutherland, “Blue Haze”, 2, Carton Road.


SECOND PRIZE (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)

Jennifer Stopher, 2, Martins Close.


THIRD PRIZE (Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)

Gary Stowers, 42, St. John’s Road.


"HIGHLY COMMENDED" (Framed certificate)

Lisa Ward, 30, Brice Road.



(Garden Gift Token and framed certificate)

Sarah Wall, 5, Providence Cottages, Crutches Lane.

Mary and Nigel Wright, 6, Providence Cottages, Crutches Lane.

(Garden Gift Token and framed certificate).

Heather Golding and Trevor King, “The Banks”, Chequers Street.


“HIGHLY COMMENDED” (Framed certificate)

Shelley Ford and Andrew Ramsell, 45, Bull Lane

Evelyn and John Leach, 32, Telegraph Hill.



Not awarded this year


The Chairman accepted apologies for absence.

There were no alterations to the Register of Members Interests.

The Clerk reported that an email had been received from the Borough Council regarding a balance beam bolt which had broken leaving a low level wooden beam resting on the ground. A copy of this had already been forwarded to the CDC.  


The Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held on Monday, 11th September 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. 1262   Matters Arising. Works vehicle to verge in School Lane. Photos of the offending vehicle had been sent to the employer.

b.  P. 1263  Matters Arising – Canal Road site visit. Members discussed ideas they had brought to the Meeting for the utilisation of this site but none were found to be acceptable. As Peter Parr, of Canal Road, confirmed to the meeting that local residents wanted the land to be left as it was, the Clerk was asked to notify the Borough Council accordingly.

c.  P. 1263  Matters Arising.  To submit an application to list Higham Recreation Ground as a Community Asset. Members further discussed the suggestion on P.1258 of the approved minutes that consideration should be given to listing Higham Recreation Ground (consisting of the playing field, sports courts and the brick built building known as The Pavilion) as a Community Asset. It was unanimously agreed by those present at the Meeting that an application should be submitted to Gravesham Borough Council for Higham Recreation Ground to be registered to safeguard and protect the facilities for recreational and leisure purposes for the village.

d.  P. 1263   Parishioners Matters. Coffee Box. The owners were unlikely to set up now that the weather was less favourable. Savills had been made aware of this pilot project taking place on HPC land and had made no comment.. Advice had been sought and confirmation received that staff working at the Coffee Box did not need to be DBS checked.

e.  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, new Youth Club information and details, LTC update, the Mayoral Beating of the Bounds Event, Love Higham Village Plan survey date extension, and various information posters relating to local meetings had been added.


The Clerk reported that Cllr. Sparks had attended the Joint Transportation Board Meeting on 13/9. The next years Works Programme would not be announced until the start of the new Financial Year. The Rathmore Road scheme was due to open by the end of October and was under budget. The new District Manager taking over from Lisa Gilham was Mike Payton.


Parishioners’ Matters.

Peter Parr, of Canal Road, reported problems with skip lorries, which were using the lower road to Gravesend and the Lower Rochester Road, travelling at a fast speed and forcing vehicles into deep potholes on the road surface. Peter Leakey confirmed that Speedwatch was only able to operate in areas approved by the Police and which were subject to a speed limit. Cllr. Grey reported that a Community Meeting was to be held in Chalk on 12/10 with the Directors of RS Skips. The Clerk was asked to write to RS Skips reminding them that regular liaison meetings with Parish Councils were part of the planning approval given by KCC in December 2016 and asking when the first of these would be held.


Councillors’ Matters.


Cllr. Sweetland reported that a total of £5.2 million would be spent on the repair of 133,000 potholes before Christmas. He had recently attended a school appeal for a Higham resident and had been successful. He and Cllr. Pearton had been invited to present an Assembly at Gads Hill. Cllr. Grey highlighted the current problem of vehicles parking on the verge opposite the Memorial Hall and how effective the double kerb installed to School Lane by Tony Atherton had been. It was agreed that Cllr. Grey should speak to Tony Atherton and then come back to Cllr. Sweetland who would see if he could allocate some of his Members Grant to this project.



Cllr. Pearton reported that the Village Club was delighted with the success of the Mayors Boundary Walk Event and would consider repeating it in 2018. The Clerk reported that a total of £186.10 had been raised towards the Mayors Charities. Cllr. Allinson thanked Cllrs Sparks and Holmes and their team of helpers for ensuring that the event ran smoothly. Neither the Village Club nor the Ukulele Band had made a charge for the event. A total of 83 people had attended which had included 18 band members.



Cllr. Grey reported that the abuse of the CPZ system to Lower Higham continued. Some vehicles which were displaying permits vanished in the evenings and at weekends.

Cllr. Mendzil reported that a new evening Book Club would start at Higham Library in early November. She would notify the Clerk when more information was to hand.

Cllr. Pearton reported that the bus stop to Forge Lane opposite Brice Road was to be reinstated. He had spoken with Red Route buses about the need to run another service per day through the village and they had appeared interested.

On behalf of Cllr. Sparks, the Clerk reported on a project called Whose Hoo which celebrated the Hoo Peninsula, bringing together organisations and communities to protect restore and connect its rich tapestry of heritage. The Larkin Monument on Telegraph Hill was a good example of a local project that would benefit whereby the monument would be restored and the biodiversity of the surrounding area improved. The Higham History Group had already expressed its interest in Whose Hoo. Councillors agreed to explore the possibilities of this project subject to the Stage 1 Bid proving to be successful with Cllrs. Oakeshott, Allinson and Holmes wishing to join the Task and Finish Group.






a.    Planning.

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


Appln. no. 20170922   The Stables, Town Road

Erection of a general purpose agricultural equipment and livestock support supplies storage unit.

Appln. no 20170661   Site of 24, Telegraph Hill

Retention of engineering operations within the rear garden to create a level pathway along the perimeter.

Appln. no 20171020   12, Dombey Close

Single storey rear extension with a depth of 4.3 metres, maximum height of 2.59 metres and eaves height of 2.49 metres.

Appln. no. 20170984   Blaw Knox Sports Field, Watling Street

Retention of 192 seated grandstand and two Portacabins.

Appln. no. 20170980   Two Gates Boarding Kennels, Two Gates Farm, Lower Rochester Road.

Construction of eight additional kennels, a holding kennel, additional storage, an extended exercise yard and a proposed amendment to the AOC Imposed at Two Gates Boarding Kennels.


b.    Community Development Committee

       Cllr. Allinson had circulated a printed report to all Members before the start of the Meeting.


Cllr. Allinson reported that a total of 500 posters and leaflets for the Beating of the Bounds Event had been printed and distributed within the Village. An application for building regulations at the Pavilion had been submitted to GBC by the PMC (Pavilion Management Committee) and quotations were currently being sought for the work to be carried out. The Clerk had informed Savills of the intention to alter the internal layout of the Pavilion. Alterations would also need to be made to the current insurance policy. It had been agreed to ask the Borough Council to quote for the necessary repairs to the play equipment in the Recreation Ground and estimates would also be obtained to see if it was feasible to repair the spring animal in steel plate. Agreement was given for a “Task and Finishing Group” to be set up to determine whether it would be better value to revamp the present play equipment or replace it. A proposal would be presented at the January 2018 Meeting. It had been agreed that the regular inspections of the Recreation Ground and Tree Maintenance (including risk assessments) would best be carried out by the Infrastructure Committee and Cllr. Carroll urged the Committee to use the expertise of former Parish Councillor Stuart Wright. A proposal would be produced for the Parish Council in due course. The CDC had agreed to take over the planning of the Bonfire Night Event in November 2018. Other ideas under consideration for future events included a gymkhana, open air cinema, picnic and Concert in the Park. Members approved the purchase of a locked box to store a spare key to the Pavilion in case of emergency.

Cllr. Holmes reported that there had been 3 sessions of the new Higham Youth Club to date with around 40 youngsters attending each session. Some of the original members had now re-joined the club. Duke of Edinburgh work continued at this time with Jo Raff still in charge until it was completed.

c.    Infrastructure Committee  

       The Clerk had circulated an email report from Cllr. Sparks to all Members before the start of the Meeting.


The work to clear the vacant allotment plots would take place at the end of November with a limit of £1000 (as agreed at the last meeting) as the set budget for the work. The defibrillator had now been installed and the equipment was currently being registered. Opportunities for promoting and raising awareness of the equipment were being planned.  The Water Company had now confirmed that there were no pipes in the vicinity of the proposed location for Malcolms bench. The costs and final version of the wording would be agreed the following week. There was no further news on the Lower Thames Crossing.  Just over 500 people had completed the survey for the Higham Village Plan. The comments would be analysed and a report circulated to Councillors at the end of October. An Infrastructure meeting would be convened in the next few weeks to discuss grass verges. A Dog Walking Guide was shared at the last meeting of GROWC. Having seen a copy of this, Members discussed the matter further and agreed to express an interest in being involved in this project in order to continue to promote and encourage dog owners to be responsible.


d.    Executive Management Committee

      There was nothing to report.


e.    Higham Neighbourhood Forum

      Peter Leakey reported that only two people had attended the last Neighbourhood Forum Meeting. Five sessions of Speedwatch had been held with 72 vehicles being reported.


f.    Kent Community Warden

      As Steve Gray did not attend the Meeting no report was given.


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


Clerk’s salary (September)                                                                                            1085.54

KCC (LGPS September)                                                                                                411.23

HMRC (PAYE/NI September)                                                                                       208.20

PKF Littlejohn LLP (audit charges 2017)                                                                       360.00

Clive Stanley (webmaster services 26/6/17 to 30/9/17)                                                  121.50

Expenses for use of room as an office (1/7/17 to 30/9/17)                                              227.50

Gravesham Network Development Community Interest Company (Youth Services)      1989.00

KALC (training course for 1 delegate)                                                                           72.00

Singlewell Stationery and Print Ltd. (publicity for Beating Bounds)                                64.14

Alan Howard (Village Plan verge signs)                                                                        19.44



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 2017 Audit

2. Member noted the retirement of David Craggs as Headmaster of Gads Hill School in summer 2018.

3. The roadside business to St Johns Road was being investigated by the Enforcement Officer.


To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting

This was given as being Monday, 27th November 2017 at 7.30 p.m. (Christmas Meeting with the Mayor of Gravesham).

The Budget and Finance Meeting, due to be held on Monday, 20th  November 2017 at 7.30 p.m., had been cancelled until January 2018 to allow the receipt of data 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 10.30 p.m..     


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