Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the Ordinary Parish Council Meeting, April 2018

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Minutes of the re-arranged Parish Council Meeting held at the Memorial Hall, School Lane, on Monday, 16th April 2018 at 7.30 p.m. 


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

                                               Councillors:  A. Carroll, J. Grey, E. Jeffery, A. Mendzil,

                                               P. Oakeshott and  L. Pearton (also Borough)

In attendance:                          2 Parishioners

                                               Mr P. Leakey   

Apologies for absence:             Cllrs Sweetland, Craske, Allinson, Holmes, Howard and Sparks.

                                               Paul Hassell (Kent Community Warden)



The Chairman accepted apologies for absence.

There were no alterations to the Register of Members Interests.

The Clerk reported that no inspection reports had been received.


The Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting, held on Monday, 5th March 2018, were confirmed and signed


Matters arising from the Minutes.

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

a.  P. 1285 Canal Road Local Housing Scheme. The letter had been sent to the Borough Council but no reply had been received as yet.

b.  P. 1285  GDPR. The Parish Council had now purchased two packs of comprehensive documentation regarding the changes which were ahead.

c.  P. 1285  Parish. The poster of appreciation by Cllr. Pearton to the farmers had been displayed all over the village and on the website and Facebook page. It had also formed part of the Chairman’s letter in the 2018 Newsletter.

d.  P. 1286  IFC. A letter, with additional photographic evidence regarding fly tipping had been sent to Matthew Scott, but a response had been received from his PA confirming that he was “prohibited from being involved with operational matters” and confirming that the matter had been referred to Kent Police for a swift reply.

e.  P. 1287. Internal Control and Audit. Details were now to hand of an independent auditor who carried out internal audits for local Parish Councils.

f.  P. 1287. Further information on the There But Not There scheme. As the silhouettes appeared to have been designed to be attached to chairs and not walls it was agreed to see if Higham Library might be a better location to have a free standing model, possibly in the courtyard. Members expressed concern that with the proposed longer self-service opening hours at the Library this might not be a good idea.

g.  Web site report. Clive Stanley reported that recent additions to the website had included the litter picking poster, History Walk information, road closures notices, March 2018 Drop In Poster, the 2018 Annual Newsletter and Reports Booklet, FAQs and the agenda for the Annual Parish Assembly, a snow warning with 3 pictures, a Thank You snow poster, links to the draft Village Plan, photos and text for the Mayoral portrait for Harold Craske as well as the normal PC Minutes and Agenda.                 

Cllr. Grey reported that there was now only one visit per day to monitor the CPZ (P. 1285 of the Minutes refers).     

Cllr. Jeffery reported that she had attended the recent GROWC Meeting in place of Cllr. Howard (P. 1285 of the Minutes refers). There had been a presentation by Natural England about progress with the England Coastal Path. Correspondence sent by the Parish Council to Matthew Scott regarding fly tipping was shared and other Councils were urged to also write to him to stress he makes the issue a higher priority than at present. New parking charges at Jeskyns Country Park had come into effect from early April. The next meeting would be held on 7/6/18.


Parishioners’ Matters.

Bob Witchell of Canal Road, commented on the piece of land in Canal Road which had recently been considered for development. He reported that over the years he had found a large number of artefacts in the soil, which was very soft.


To discuss the judging arrangements for the 2018 Higham Gardens for Pleasure Competition.

It was agreed to ask Martin Wates at Gravesham Borough Council if his team at the Horticultural Department would again be able to carry out the judging on our behalf. It was suggested that perhaps new ideas and initiatives should be considered for 2019 possibly encouraging schoolchildren to participate.


To review and approve the 2018 Risk Assessment document.

Copies of the amended document had been circulated to Members prior to the Meeting. It was proposed by Cllr.Oakeshott, seconded by Cllr.Grey, and agreed by all Members that the updated document should be approved and signed. The Clerk reminded Members that at the present time insurance renewal documents were awaited from a new broker and it might prove necessary to change some of the wording at a later date.


Councillors’ Matters.


Cllr. Sweetland had sent an Easter update in which he had confirmed that the KCC budget had been reduced again for the seventh consecutive year. Kent had been chosen by the  Government as a County where a 100% Business Rate Pilot would take place (worth £10m) and with the additional Social Care Grant of £3.65m and an additional allocation of £3.1m for pothole repairs across Kent, following the recent snow and cold weather, it meant that there would be a modest underspend in the current year. Pressure on the Home Office to get the full cost recovery on Asylum costs (worth £4m ) would continue, bearing in mind that Kent was the main point of entry to the UK for unaccompanied young asylum seekers.



Cllr. Pearton reported that the last Charity Event of the Mayoral year would be held at the Woodville Halls on 27/4/18 and would be a showcase of local talent with a fish and chip meal.



Cllr. Pearton had been approached by a Parishioner at the Annual Parish Assembly regarding the lack of rubbish bins between the School and the shops. It was agreed to refer this to the IFC for investigation.

Cllr. Grey highlighted a recent leaflet circulated throughout the village regarding a Volunteer Transport scheme for hospital visits, and commented that the cost of a taxi from Lower Higham to the village centre was now £9.50.

Cllr. Oakeshott expressed concern regarding the proposed longer opening hours at Higham Library whereby Library users would be issued with a swipe card and would use the recently installed automated book issuing machine. She feared this might lead to vandalism in the Library. Cllr. Mendzil confirmed that the self-service scheme would run from 08.00 to 20.00 hours and followed complaints from Parishioners who were unable to use the Library during the current opening hours as they were working.

Peter Leakey reported that a wooden bollard had been knocked down in Forge Lane.






a.    Planning.

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


Appln. no. 20180116   37, Forge Lane

Demolition of existing conservatory, existing integral garage and utility room to facilitate a two storey side and rear extension to provide additional bedroom space and ground floor accommodation, incorporating two dormer windows in the north side roof slope and two Juliette balconies in the rear elevation at first floor level, one in the extension and one replacing an existing window, and erection of a double garage with storage over at the front.

Appln. no. 20180164   42, Telegraph Hill

Application for a minor material amendment to planning permission 20170724   for the 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 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, to allow an additional 2m depth to the approved ground floor, patio area leading to basement and increase surface area on raised platform for car parking.

Appln. no. 20180230   Syringa, Gravesend Road

Erection of two storey side extension on the east elevation, single storey extension on the west elevation; construction of two dormer windows in the front roof slope, with roof lights in the rear roof slope and conversion of the roof space into habitable rooms, and erection of a detached garage.

Appln. no. 20180246   55, Bull Lane

Erection of part single storey and part first floor rear extension with alterations to the roof incorporating a dormer window.

Appln. no. 20180283   1, St. Johns Close

Erection of single storey front extension and enlargement of existing rear dormer with alterations of the design of the hipped roof to form a gable end.

Appln. no. 20180336   7, Providence Cottages, Crutches Lane

Erection of single storey rear extension.


b.     Community Development Committee

        Although no report had been received the Clerk understood that;-


         The Pavilion Management Committee was to amalgamate with the Sports Association

         to form The Higham Community Pavilion Management Committee (HCPMC). The

         GBC Business Rate department had no objection to treating the Pavilion and Multi Use

         Sports Area (MUSA) as one entity The Parish Council would therefore be asked to

         negotiate a new sub-lease with the HCPMC to include the Community Pavilion and the

         MUSA. Consideration would be given to possible resurfacing and improvements to the

         facility in partnership with other local  groups. It was hoped to hold a celebration of the     

         Royal Wedding on 20/5/18 within the village with the Ukulele Band. Attendees would

         bring their own refreshments and donations would be requested. It was additionally

         proposed to hold an “Evening Concert in the Park” on the Recreation Ground on 6/7/18.

         The Peninsula Band had been booked and this concert was planned to be a paying ticket

         event. Members were in agreement to approve all of these proposals.


c.      Infrastructure Committee

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

         the Meeting.        


         There were currently two vacant allotment plots. Recent staff changes at KCC had made

         it difficult to further progress some actions. Pupils at Gads Hill School would be asked

         to design a new Dog Mess poster. Members were in agreement to fund the cost of the

         prizes and the printing of the posters (estimate £150) as well as some additional litter

         picking equipment (estimate £100). The next litter picking session would take place on

         21/4/18 at the Pavilion. The Gravesham Rural Residents Group had been re-activated to

         get all the Parishes working together more effectively. A special IFC session at Higham

         Library on 23/4/18 (for all Members) would look in closer detail at the issues of

         Housing  and the Green Belt in Higham with relation to the GBC Local Plan Review.  

         As the issue of snow and emergency planning was within the remit of the Executive

         Committee  Members agreed that a meeting should be set up to scope what we already

         have in place, what needs updating and any new issues to be included.


d.      Executive Management Committee

         There was nothing to report.


e.      Higham Speedwatch

         Peter Leakey reported that 11 sessions of Speedwatch had been held and 71 vehicles had  

         been recorded with the highest speed being 46 mph. Village Voices had taken some

         photographs of the Speedwatch team for an article in the magazine.


f.       Kent Community Warden

         In the absence of Paul Hassell, the Clerk reported that a seven day notice had now been

         placed on the trailer in the slip road by the Gravesham Enforcement team  People were

         starting to leave rubbish inside it and KCC and GBC were still in discussion regarding

         its removal. The coach also remained at this site. It was understood that it would shortly

         be removed but if this did not happen  it would be reported to DVLA as it had no road

         tax or a SORN. Youngsters riding bikes on the roads had been spoken to regarding the

         manner in which they did so, and fly tipped items had been reported to GBC and, unless

         they were on private land, had been removed in the normal way.

         Cllr. Jeffery reported that she had attended the Community Surgery in Higham Library

         at the end of March. as requested.  The Meeting had closed early as Paul Hassell had not



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 (February)                                                                                                  1085.54

HMRC (PAYE/NI February)                                                                                             208.20

KCC (LGPS February)                                                                                                      411.23

Clerks salary (March net)                                                                                                1085.54                     

HMRC (PAYE/NI  March)                                                                                                208.20

KCC (LGPS March)                                                                                                          411.23

Clerk (exps for use of room as office 1/1/18 to 31/3/18)                                                  227.50

Clive Stanley (webmaster services 1/1/18 to 31/3/18)                                                      135.00

J.A.Stanley (preparation Annual Newsletter 2018)                                                           324.80

Mrs J. Papadopulos (drinks for APA under Sect. 150(2) LG Act 1972)                           109.80

1st Higham Scouts (S. 1347/139 grant towards travel costs to Ypres)                               500.00

Gravesham Borough Council (rates for Pavilion)                                                           2962.09

MJ Read and Co (LGPS return)                                                                                           96.00                                         

Mrs L. Topping (food for APA under Section 150(2) LG Act 1972)                                315.00

Andrew Rootes (talk for APA under Section 150(2)LG Act 1972)                                    20.00

Higham with Merston PCC (remainder of Andrew Rootes fee donated to church)            40.00

Richard Slater                                                                                                               280.00

Sue Sparks (GDPR documents – 2 packs)                                                                           60.00
Sue Sparks (Speedwatch racking)                                                                                        94.32

Sue Sparks (Speedwatch)                                                                                                     40.79

Sue Sparks (Speedwatch clipboards)                                                                                   12.99

Sue Sparks (Speedwatch pens)                                                                                            11.98

Sue Sparks (Speedwatch keys)                                                                                            12.00

Sue Sparks (Village Plan laminating pouches)                                                                    19.99

Sue Sparks (bulbs to plant)                                                                                                  10.00

Admin. Exps (1/1/17 – 31/3/17)                                                                                        473.75

Admin. Exps (1/4/17 – 30/6/17)                                                                                        809.56

Admin. Exps (1/7/17 – 30/9/17)                                                                                        610.36

Admin. Exps (1/10/17 – 31/12/17)                                                                                    623.52                               

Scottish Water Business Stream ltd (water for public toilets)                                             70.46



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 date of the 2018 Audit.

2.  Members agreed to award a grant of £400 to Higham Age Concern under Sections 137 and

     139 of the Local Government Act 1972.

3.  Members noted that our Volunteer Support Warden, Shane McNeelance, had now retired

     on health grounds. A full refund would be forthcoming from KCC.


To discuss the date of the Annual Parish Council and Parish Council Meetings.

Following discussion this Meeting was rearranged to take place on Monday, 21st May 2018 at 7.30 p.m.


Any Other Business.

None was brought to the notice of the Meeting.


There being no other business, the Meeting closed at 9.55 p.m.


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