Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the Ordinary Parish Council Meeting, September 2017

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Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held at the Memorial Hall, School Lane, on Monday, 11th September 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, P. Oakeshott, L.Pearton (also Borough),

                                                and  S.Sparks.

In attendance:                         5 Parishioners                                                                                           

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

                                                Kent Community Warden Steve Gray.

                                                Cllr. Mendzil did not attend the Meeting.


Prior to the start of the Parish Council Meeting a presentation was given by Natural England about the Grain to Woolwich England Coastal Path. This footpath will eventually stretch around the whole English coastline and when completed will be the longest in the world at 4,700 km (2700 miles) and divided into 59 different sections. It will encourage more tourists to visit the coastline and long distance walkers to discover new routes. In our area the route will follow existing ROWs or new footpaths and additional way marking and signage will be installed. It will be managed locally by KCC and Medway and is due to open by 2020. Councillors asked further questions and reassurances were given by Natural England who promised to keep the Parish Council informed of future developments.


PCSO Kirsty Lowe was also in attendance at the Meeting and introduced herself to all Members and noted current concerns within the village.


The Chairman accepted apologies for absence.


There were no alterations to the Register of Members Interests.


The Clerk had sent a copy of the latest PR6 inspection report direct to the CDC, and this showed general deterioration of the equipment.


The Minutes of the Annual Parish Council Meeting, followed by a Parish Council Meeting, held on Monday, 26th June 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. 1258. Matters Arising. Allotments. A  SWA engineer had inspected the manhole cover which required repair.  A cash collection within the village had raised £200 towards the replacement of the tools stolen from sheds on the allotments and would be administered by the Parish Council.

 b.  P. 1258. Gardens for Pleasure Competition. The competition had been judged but as results were still awaited the prizegiving would take place at the October Meeting.

c.   P.1259. Parish. The dumped caravan was eventually removed from the slip road on Gads Hill one month after it arrived.

d.   P.1259 Parish. The works vehicle parked to the verge in School Lane had been replaced by a newer model. The photographic evidence would be sent to the employer.

e.   P.1259. Advertising vehicles parked to road bridges over major roads. Neither of the two sites were within Higham Parish. It is understood that GBC is aware of this problem.

f.   P. 1261. Correspondence - Site Meeting to Canal Road. This had been attended by four Parish Councillors and our Kent Community Warden. Following discussion, Councillors agreed that the site was too dangerous for a housing development due to the large amount of heavy traffic using Canal Road, due to its designation as the lorry route to Nuralite, Beckley Hill and Hoo Junction and the lack of a footpath. Members were asked to think of alternative uses for this site which would be discussed at the next meeting.

g.   The recent Fun Day held in August by GBC on the Recreation Ground had been well attended.


Members further discussed the suggestion on P.1258 of the 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. Cllr. Sparks agreed to submit the application.


Parishioners Matters.

Barry Sutherland, of St. Johns Road, again expressed concern that the current Coffee Box initiative to the Recreation Ground would not be viewed favourably by either Savills (on behalf of St. John’s College) or the Borough Council. He supplied further details of the motor repair business operating in St. John’s Road and it was agreed that Cllr. Howard would obtain a photograph which would be forwarded to GBC. 


Community Warden Volunteer Support Worker

The Clerk reported that the Volunteer Support Worker would be able to settle in to his role before KCC would ask the Parish Council for its contribution towards the scheme.


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.

The Clerk reported that donations totalling £790.15 had been collected at the Mayor’s recent Afternoon Tea held at The Knowle in Higham.  



Cllr. Grey reported that Tony Atherton had now installed a double kerb to the bottom of School Lane and had the path reinstated. It was agreed that the IFC would look into the issue of parking to verges in the village to see if this approach would be useful elsewhere.

Cllr. Sparks reported that KCC Highways would be carrying out the second weed treatment to the pavements in the village on 13/10. 

Cllr. Pearton reported that the surface of the other footpath by the station was also in need of attention.






a.    Planning.

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


Appln. no. 20170626   13, Dombey Close

Erection of a single storey front and side extension.

Appln. No 20170610   Chapter Farm House, Watling Street

Change of use from C3 (Dwelling House) to C2 (Children’s Home) for 3 children.

Appln. No. 20170733   Warwick House, Hermitage Road

Application for Lawful Development Certificate in respect of the proposed erection of detached outbuilding to form a garage, garden store and workshop.

Appln. No. 20170724   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 southeastern and eastern  roof slopes with rooflights on the northern and western roof slopes, a front porch, and a raised platform to the front to create 3 car parking spaces.

Appln. No. 20170564   Oakleigh Coach House, Buckland Road

Installation of two windows to the west elevation and one window to the east elevation.

Appln. No. 20170326   Giles Farm, Church Street

Application for the removal of condition 5 attached to prior approval reference no. 20150647 relating to details of any new boundary treatments to the frontage of the site to Church Street and to the western boundary of the farmyard, together with any proposed new hedging to the said boundaries.

Appln. No. 20170790   Little Court, Watling Street

Erection of a detached garage.

Appln. No. 20170786   21, Bull Lane

Construction of a dormer extension in the rear roof slope and conversion of roof space into a habitable room.

Appln. No. 20170771   36, Walmers Avenue

Erection of a dormer extension in the front roof slope.

Appln. No. 20170539   North Plot, 24, Telegraph Hill

Application for minor material amendment to planning permission reference no. 20040589 allowed on appeal reference no. ALL/K2230/A05/1191438 for the demolition of existing dwelling and sub-division of the site into 2 plots with separate vehicular access and erection of a detached two/three storey dwelling with detached double garage at the front, on the proposed northern-most plot; to allow the alterations to the front elevation of the property relating to a two storey gable and revised porch design (retrospective) and revised window arrangement at first floor level.

Appln. No. 20170271   40, Telegraph Hill

** REVISED PLANS ** Erection of detached garage.

Appln. No. 20170703   3, Whitehouse Farm Oast, School Lane

Conversion of the garage into a habitable room.

Appln. No. 20170864   9, Hollytree Drive

Erection of a two storey rear extension and open front porch.

Appln. No. 20170713   Stables Cottage, Hermitage Road

Formation of new vehicular access on to Hermitage Road.

Appln. No. 20170870   24, St. Johns Road

Re-organisation of ground floor to enable loft conversion; erection of side and rear extension (to integrate garage for motorcycle, and kitchen  and utility provision) and chalet style one- and a half storey rear extension; loft conversion including front and rear facing dormers and installation of Velux windows over staircase and to bathrooms.

Appln. No. 20170895   Blandings, Crutches Lane

Erection of single storey front, side and rear extensions and conversion of the existing and proposed roof space with new driveway layout.


b.    Community Development Committee


1.    Pavilion Management Committee

Cllr. Allinson reported that this Committee had now been set up and had submitted the application for discretionary rate relief to the Borough Council. An outline application had also been submitted to the planning department for Building Regulation approval for the installation of the disabled toilets to the Pavilion and if this was successful the plans would be forwarded to Savills for approval by St. Johns College.

2.    Youth Services

Cllr. Allinson reported that, due to the time restraints of appointing a new Youth Leader, the Parish Council had now entered into a Service Level Agreement with the Gr@nd from September 2017 to July 2018 to deliver the Youth Club on a weekly basis during term time and the Club would reopen on 20/9. The Gr@nd would therefore be responsible for all the DBS checks for the staff employed and ensuring that all health and safety issues were met. Meetings would take place with the Gr@nd on a quarterly basis to review the progress as well as planning for the future and the arrangement would be reviewed next year. Cllr. Allinson stated that the Parish Council was obliged to continue to provide Youth Services for the  youngsters of the village and the Clerk added that by agreeing the annual budget for this service at the start of the year it had acknowledged this commitment.   

3.    Mayor’s Boundary Walk – 8th October 2017.

Cllr. Allinson reported that the Village Club in Hermitage Road would be ready on 8/10 to welcome the Mayor and Mayoress as soon as they arrived from the Stone Horse PH where they would have adjourned the Boundary Walk for the lunch break. A ploughmans lunch would be available for all who wished to attend and Members approved the sum of up to £450 to pay for these refreshments. The local ukulele group would be providing live music for the event. It was hoped that those Parishioners attending would make a donation towards the Mayor’s Charities.


4.    Bonfire Night 2018

Cllr. Allinson reported that the Parish Council would investigate the possibility of holding a firework display on 5th November 2018 and Phoenix Fireworks already had the date reserved. This item would be further discussed at the annual Budget and Finance Meeting.


5.    Recreation Ground.

Cllr. Allinson reported that the recent inspection report for the play equipment to the Recreation Ground had highlighted some essential maintenance issues and Members gave approval for the CDC to refer these to GBC to carry out the necessary repairs. The Committee was also aware of other maintenance issues to do with the Recreation Ground such as the repair of the fencing, the need to cut back the trees and to reduce the number of shrubs around the perimeter. It had also been made aware that the field was being used for various leisure classes where fees were being paid. Advice offered by KALC had included producing a policy document for the use of the Recreation Ground and ensuring that all group users had their own public liability insurance. Cllr. Grey stated that most of this information had not reached him as he often had problems receiving emails and Cllr. Allinson agreed to ensure that he was kept better informed in future. Barry Sutherland stated he would closely monitor those groups using the playing field and would not hesitate to report those that were running a business.  


c.    Infrastructure Committee

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


1.   Allotments

Cllr. Sparks reported that the new allotment agreements would be sent out in September and two phased rents collected from longstanding tenants with the annual rent being collected in advance from April 2018. Some plot clearance had taken place but one vacant plot was now deemed unworkable. A quote had been obtained for clearance, cultivation and application of weed suppressant material on badly overgrown vacant plots and it was agreed that the IFC should proceed with this work up to a maximum value of £1000. The boundaries of the plots were to be marked out over the autumn.


2.    Defibrillator

Cllr. Sparks reported that a quotation of £400 plus VAT had been received to install the defibrillator equipment on the railings of the Pavilion where it could be covered by the CCTV system and the HPC insurance. A campaign to promote the vital role of this equipment would be organised. Members were in agreement that the defibrillator should be installed at this location.


3.    Malcolm’s Bench

Cllr. Sparks reported that it appeared that there were no main services under the area of the proposed installation at the Three Crutches. Eileen James was happy with the memorial bench chosen but the wording still needed to be agreed. The total estimated costs would be £864 plus VAT where applicable. Members agreed to proceed with this installation but to ask Malcolm’s family if they would like to contribute to some of the cost.


4.    Lower Thames Crossing

Cllr. Sparks reported that members of the LTC Association had met with Highways England to discuss progress with the Lower Thames Crossing. Highways England had confirmed that they had taken on board the main feedback from meetings but could not share any revised proposals until late 2017 or early 2018. No further meetings with Highways England would therefore take place until they had further proposals to share. A further LTC update would be placed on the website and Facebook pages,


5.    Higham Village Plan

Cllr. Sparks reported that the Village Plan survey was currently underway with a closing date of 30/9. To encourage the completion and return of the survey there would be a draw for a £50 shopping voucher. Work on drafting the plan would start in October. The Parish Council would sign off the final draft at a special meeting to be held early in January 2018. Gardening volunteers continued to work on the patch at the end of Mountbatten Avenue with weeding, pruning and mulching. A local tree surgeon had offered a large amount of wood chippings for a reduced charge of £60 and Members agreed this payment. Work had also continued on the Pavilion garden.


6.    Roads and Pavements      

Cllr. Sparks reported that the next litter picking session would take place on 21/10. The Dog Pooh Campaign continued to gain momentum and had been well publicised in the local press. Volunteers continued to work in the centre of the village and copies of the poster were still available. It was agreed that Cllr. Allinson should speak to GBC regarding obtaining cost price salt bins to be sited at Merston Court outside the garage.


d.    Executive Management Committee

       There was nothing to report


e.    Higham Neighbourhood Forum

       Peter Leakey reported that the next Meeting would be held on 26/9. A total of 31 sessions of  Speedwatch had been held with 162 vehicles being identified as being over the speed limit.


f.     Kent Community Warden.

       In the absence of Steve Gray, who was currently away on sick leave, the Clerk reported that  5 counts of fly tipping had been reported to the Borough Council and 3 litter picks. Community Surgeries had been held in June, July and August with Parish Councillors present at each. Steve had attended the Higham Community Day in August which was well supported by the community.



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



Clerks salary (June)                                                                                                      1085.54

Clerks salary (July)                                                                                                       1085.54

Clerks salary (August)                                                                                                  1085.54

KCC (LGPS June)                                                                                                          411.23

KCC (LGPS July)                                                                                                           411.23

KCC (LGPS August)                                                                                                      411.23        

HMRC (PAYE/NI June)                                                                                                 208.20

HMRC (PAYE/NI July)                                                                                                  208.20

HMRC (PAYE/NI August)                                                                                             208.20

Mr P. Leakey (dog bags)                                                                                                  40.99

British Telecommunications plc. (broadband)                                                                    164.97                                                

EDF Energy (Pavilion electricity)                                                                                       64.83          

SSE (electricity for toilets)                                                                                                 22.83

Scottish Water Business Stream Ltd  (water for toilets)                                                       36.75

KALC (Councillors Conference – 2 delegates)                                                                  144.00

SLCC (annual membership)                                                                                              139.00

Clerk (garden vouchers for competition)                                                                            100.00

Singlewell Stationery and Print Ltd. (survey sets)                                                                89.00

Singlewell Stationery and Print Ltd. (leaflets and posters for survey)                                   119.40

Sue Sparks (additional padlock key)                                                                                      9.50

Sue Sparks (litter picking/gardening first aid kit)                                                                   17.35

Sue Sparks (laminating pouches)                                                                                           7.49

Sue Sparks (Speedwatch sandbag)                                                                                        5.10

Sue Sparks (Speedwatch various)                                                                                        19.00

Sue Sparks (Speedwatch training)                                                                                        16.40

Sue Sparks (dog mess)                                                                                                          4.80

Peter Allinson (key cutting)                                                                                                  58.30

Alan Howard (Village Plan verge signs)                                                                                29.75

Sue Sparks (custom made bags for Speedwatch equipment)                                                   95.99

Sue Sparks (additional Pavilion keys cut)                                                                               41.75


The following proposal was recorded in the Minutes:-


 This Council in accordance with its powers under Sections 137 and 139 of the Local Government Act 1972, should incur an expenditure of £100 for garden gift tokens from  Millbrook Garden Company, which is in the opinion of the Council in the interests of the area or its inhabitants.



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. Cllr. Howard agreed to monitor and report fire hydrant defects within the village.

2. Cllr. Grey agreed to attend the Kent Highways Parish Seminar on 23/10.

3. Cllr. Sparks would attend the JTB Meeting on 13/9.


To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting.

This was given as being Monday, 9th October 2017.


Any Other Business.

Cllr. Carroll reported that only 9 people had attended the luncheon club the previous week and it had been cancelled on 22/9 due to a lack of cooks.


There being no other business, the Meeting closed at 10.35 p.m.   



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