Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the Annual Parish Assembly, April 2018

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Minutes of the Annual Parish Assembly held at the Memorial Hall, School Lane, on Thursday, 12th April 2018 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, L. Pearton (also Borough), and S.Sparks.                                                                         

In attendance:                  Mayor of Gravesham, Cllr. Harold Craske and the Mayoress Mrs 

                                         Veronica Craske.

                                         53 Parishioners

                                         Paul Hassell – Kent Community Warden                               

Apologies for absence:    Received from Kent County Councillor Bryan Sweetland,

                                         Cllrs Howard and Mendzil.

                                         Clerk to the Parish Council – Linda Carnall

                                         Clive and Judi Stanley.


The Meeting was opened by the Chairman who warmly welcomed all those present and thanked them for attending.


The Chairman explained that the format for the evening would be the same as the previous year. Most reports normally given at the Assembly were now contained in the Parish Newsletter, which had been circulated throughout the village. The Chairman emphasised that the Parish Council still wished to hear the views and opinions of those Parishioners present, and she invited them to make comment accordingly.


The Minutes of the Annual Parish Assembly, held on Wednesday, 12th April 2017, were confirmed and signed.


Matters arising from the Minutes


Deputising for the Clerk to the Parish Council, Cllr. Jeffery reported that:-


1.   Dangerous crossing point outside Higham Post Office. We were currently awaiting  

confirmation that this outstanding item had been carried over into the new financial year.

2.   Allotments. The clearance of overgrown allotment plots had taken place as planned.


To receive the Annual Report of the Parish Council.

The Chairman ensured that all persons present had a copy of the “Higham Parish Council Annual Newsletter and Reports 2018” booklet before proceeding further. She proposed that all  reports would be taken as read, and invited comments from Parishioners at the end of each item.


a.   Allotments (P. 15)

b.   Planning (P. 14)

c.   Recreation Ground (P. 16)



The draft simplified statement of accounts for 2017/2018 (P.6) was agreed by all those present, this being proposed by Cllr. Pearton and seconded by Cllr. Grey. Those present noted that the balance to be carried forward into the new financial year was £99,754.25 and that this figure included unused general and specific contingency funds, and funds for work carried out, and for which invoices were still awaited.


Report from County Council Representative.

The report from Cllr. Bryan Sweetland could be found on P.12 of the booklet.


Report from District Council Representatives. 

Cllr. Harold Craske reported that it had been a great privilege for he and his wife Veronica to serve as Mayor and Mayoress during the past year. His Mayor’s Chaplain had been Father James Southward of St. John’s Church, Higham and his chosen Mayor’s Charities for the year had been the House of Mercy, Salvation Army, Elleanor Hospice and Beams.

To date he and the Mayoress had attended well over 220 events, including several in Higham. and his Summer Garden Party had been held at The Knowle. He was delighted to attend a reception at the Higham Village Club in October 2017 during the second day of his Beating the Bounds Walk which was mainly through Higham. Here he had enjoyed splendid food and entertainment from the Ukelear Subs band as well as generous contributions towards his charities from the good people of Higham.

Local artist, Richard Slater, then took to the floor and invited the Mayor to join him. He unveiled a portrait of the Mayor in his ceremonial robes which had been commissioned by the Parish Council in secret. The Mayor was delighted to be honoured in this way and was greeted by much applause from all those present.


Cllr. Pearton congratulated the Higham Volunteers for the difference that they had made to the appearance of the village by keeping it so clean and tidy by carrying out litter picking and gardening duties.. He also paid tribute to the huge community spirit shown by the snow volunteers, and local farmers, for their help in clearing village roads after the “Beast from the East” a few weeks ago. This also included those Parishioners who had looked after the elderly, their neighbours, collected shopping and prescriptions and helped to get people to hospitals and appointments.


Report from the Governors of Higham Primary School (P.28)


Report of the Kent Association of Local Councils (P.11)


To receive reports from Village Bodies and Voluntary Organisations (to be found throughout the booklet).


The Chairman thanked Judi Stanley for all her help in compiling the copy material for the newsletter.

She also thanked Clive Stanley for his help in maintaining the Parish Council website.


To consider any other matters raised by Parishioners.

Anne Waugh commented on the large puddle at the Post Office. Cllr. Sparks confirmed that she would take a photograph of this and contact Kent Highways. It was thought this was caused by pipes being replaced in the past and the ground becoming uneven.

Barbara Manley reported that the Hospital aftercare system was not available in Higham. Medway Hospital did not support the scheme in Higham and Darent Valley did not support this in Higham if the treatment had been carried out in Medway.

Michele Hayes confirmed her mother had also been in this situation following her release from hospital and suspected that it had something to do with the Higham postcodes.


Any Other Business.

None was brought to the notice of the Meeting.


Publication of the Higham Village Plan and other items of interest.

Cllr. Sue Sparks gave a report on the recently published Higham Village Plan. She thanked all those who had contributed and those who had helped collate all the information, as well as encouraging others to get involved. The plan would continue to update. The village now had its first defibrillator and training sessions had already been held, with more to be arranged in the future.  It was hoped another defibrillator would be funded in due course.


She invited those present to view the exhibition tables during the refreshment break, which included representatives from Highways England who had come along to explain the latest news on the Lower Thames Crossing: Option C, Speedwatch and the Higham Village Plan.


Prior to the break for refreshments the Chairman was presented with a surprise birthday cake with candles. She was very touched by this kind gesture and thanked everyone.



The Chairman welcomed Andrew Rootes, who gave a talk entitled “Life on the farm in Higham”.


The village had agricultural roots and this was confirmed by the amount of photographic evidence shown by Andrew, from hops, peas, fruit, corn and other produce. Cherry and hop picking were family affairs and much looked forward to in the past. He showed pictures of the animals involved in working on the farms, Suffolk punches, cart horses and the horses used to pull carriages. This included one which showed Charles Dickens and his family seated in the carriage.


To note the date of the next Annual Parish Assembly.

This was given as being Thursday, 11th April 2019 at 7.30 p.m.


The Chairman thanked the Clerk, fellow Members of the Parish Council, the County Representative, and the Borough Representatives, for their support over the past year.

Together they had formed a brilliant team.


She thanked Lesley Topping for providing the delicious buffet.


Finally, in closing, she thanked all Parishioners for attending the Meeting and welcomed them back next year, and to future Meetings of the Parish Council.


There being no other business, the Meeting closed at 10.00 p.m.



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