Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the Ordinary Parish Council Meeting, September 2018

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Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held at the Memorial Hall, School Lane, on Monday, 10th September 2018 at 7.30 p.m.

Present:                                  Cllr. P. Allinson (Chairman)

                                               Kent County Councillor: Cllr. Bryan Sweetland.

                                               Borough Councillor:-Cllr. Harold Craske. 

                                               Councillors:  A. Carroll, J. Grey, P. Holmes, A. Howard,

                                               E. Jeffery, A. Mendzil, P. Oakeshott, J. Papadopulos,

                                               L. Pearton (also Borough) and S. Sparks.

In attendance:                          4 Parishioners

                                               Peter Leakey (Parish advisor)  

Apologies for absence:             Vikki Brooke (Parish Advisor)  


Prior to the commencement of the meeting Cllr. Craske read a statement to Members advising them that, as he had not been approved as a future candidate to stand for the Borough Council election in 2019, he had taken the decision to sit as an Independent Conservative for the remainder of his term of office. He then left the meeting.


The Chairman accepted apologies for absence.

There were no alterations to the Register of Members Interests.

The Clerk reported that the latest PR6 had been passed to the CDC and IFC.

Members noted the new PCSO for the village was now PCSO Jo Hartley.


The Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting, held on Monday, 2nd July 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. 1301. Parishioners Matters. A former winner of the Gardens for Pleasure Competition, living on Telegraph Hill, had had her stone troughs planted with flowers stolen overnight from her front garden.

b.   P. 1302. Gardens for Pleasure Competition. Although the short list had been submitted at the end of July the results were still awaited.

c.   P. 1303. Parish. Savills did not visit the Recreation Ground on 4/9 as planned.

d.   P.1304. EMC. Garage – Villa Road. Members had raised no objection to renting the garage for the cost of £49.31 per month as a salt store for the village. Cllr. Pearton had viewed the garage and confirmed that it would be suitable for our needs. Members unanimously agreed that the direct debit mandate forms should be signed and sent to GBC immediately.

e.   P.1305. Correspondence.  Amenity Land. As no contact had been able to be made by phone an email had now been sent.

f.   P. 1305. Correspondence. A £15 book token had been bought and given to Higham Library.

g.   P. 1305. Members discussed the proposal to include the HIKIDEAS tool on the website and agreed to trial it to see the response.

h.   Website report. Clive Stanley reported that recent additions to the website had included an update to the list of Members of Committees and Representatives, the Lower Higham Conservation area survey, the HPC response to the Local Plan Review, the LTC Update re. Boundary Changes, posters and adverts for Summer Sounds, Drop in Poster, KCC PROW Consultation, Big Conversation on Rural Transport, Kent Police Surgery dates and an item on the theft of floral displays. Parish Council webmail issues had been investigated and resolved.

 Cllr. Sparks reported that the PCSOs were now regularly patrolling the laybys to Gads Hill and Crutches Lane and moving cars on to stop ant-social behaviour taking place. Kent Highways were exploring a variety of options including blocking off the Gads Hill layby halfway down, and installing fencing, but they did not wish to create a new fly tipping area.

Cllr. Jeffery had attended a meeting in July regarding “The Big Conversation” which was a consultation dealing with Rural Transport for the future. Her report was distributed to Members at the Meeting. Cllr. Sweetland thanked her for producing such a concise document. Kent County Council put a subsidy in to run certain bus services but if this was badly used the funding would be withdrawn as it was a non-statutory service. The consultation was looking to see if there was a better way to provide these services to prevent social isolation. It was hoped that there might be a Transport Summit in October.


Parishioners’ Matters.

The Clerk reported that Mrs Hudson, of Chilton Drive, had advised her that the verge to the bank at the top of Chilton Drive, adjacent to the Copperfield Residential Home, had not been cut all summer. Mrs Hudson had reported the matter to Kent Highways as a fire hazard.


Councillors’ Matters.


Cllr. Sweetland reported that Higham Library was one of only three libraries in Kent trialling a new Extra service whereby the building would remain open after hours so that Parishioners could continue to make use of the services using specialised access cards. He warned Members to keep an eye on the new arrangement in case it was abused. He reported that the Pepper Hill Waste Management and Recycling Centre had now reopened after repairs.  Recent figures gathered by the Borough Council had shown a decrease in fly tipping within the Borough this year against last year’s figures despite the centre being closed for several months. He urged all those present to take part in the Household Waste Recycling Centre Consultation which proposed that bags of plasterboard and rubble would be charged for in the future. Cllr. Sweetland had spoken with the Traffic Commissioner as Colas was trying to establish some lorry yards in the area.  It was understood that its activities would increase on the M2/A2/M20 and Lower Thames Crossing Routes. An Environmental Consultation regarding the LTC would shortly take place. Cllr. Sparks confirmed that the Highways England Community Team planned to visit the village in a special information vehicle during the consultation period.



Cllr. Pearton had nothing to report.



Cllr. Grey reported that the railway station was still being served by double decker buses sometimes until the early hours of the morning. Drivers kept their engines running and this was causing a noise nuisance to local residents. Cllr. Pearton agreed to raise this matter when he met with representatives of Thameslink in London later in the week. Cllr. Grey also reported foreign lorries were accessing the Nuralite site on a Sunday.

Cllr. Pearton reported that he was meeting again with Thameslink at Westminster on Wednesday as the company had promised a better service by this date. It was noted that arrangements had not been put in place for the High Speed train to stop at Higham as promised. The Enforcement Officer had visited the Nuralite Site and he had met with the GBC Planning Officer to discuss the forthcoming Environmental Statement application for the site.

Cllr. Carroll reported that a Jaguar car with a trailer was regularly parked in the bus stop to Forge Lane opposite the end of Brice Road. Members were in agreement that the owner of the vehicle should be identified by the Community Warden. Cllr. Sparks agreed to report that the lining for the bus stop required reinstatement.

The Chairman asked when all Councillors would have their new email addresses issued. Cllr. Sparks reported that she planned to hold a tutorial evening with Clive Stanley at the Library in the near future to deal with this and data handling issues.




a.    Planning.

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


Appln. no. 20180723   4, Hollytree Drive

Erection of a single storey rear extension, creation of a first floor level, construction of three dormer windows in the front roof slope and two dormer windows in the rear roof slope, conversion of the roof space into habitable rooms. Installation of a first floor balcony over extension. Erection of a detached double garage at the front of the property.

Appln. no. 20180748   32, Beech Grove

Alterations and Extensions to include the demolition of the existing wrap-around covered area and chimney stack, the erection of a wrap-around single-storey extension to the side and rear, the construction of a dormer window on the rear roof slope and the erection of a conservatory.

Appln. no. 20180741  The Granary, Little Hermitage Farm, Gravesend Road

Conversion of the northern section of the former dairy building into a one bedroom annex including external alterations and associated surface treatments.

Appln. no. 20180481   9, Hollytree Drive

** REVISED PLANS ** Demolition of single storey rear extensions and erection of part single storey and part two storey side and rear extensions to form entrance lobby.

Appln. no. 20180920   Happylands, Watling Street

Application for the variation of condition 2 and 3 attached to planning permission reference number 20140953 for the erection of a detached triple garage at the front in substitution of the garage previously granted planning permission under reference number 20130575; References to drawing numbers referenced should be: ’13-19-G01’ and should read ‘external materials to match those of the main house, ie render walls and slate roof’

Appln. no. 20180925   37, Forge Lane

Demolition of an existing conservatory to facilitate a two storey extension to provide additional bedroom space and ground floor accommodation, incorporating two new dormer windows and two Juliette balconies to the first floor. Conversion of a garage into habitable space with the addition of 2 new velux windows. Erection of a new 2 bay garage.




b.    Community Development Committee

       The Chairman reported that a total of 180 people had enjoyed the Summer Sounds Concert on 20/7. The event had come in slightly over budget due to an additional £80 being requested for the first aid cover. A total of £710.10 had been collected for entrance fees. Following discussion, Members unanimously agreed that this profit should go towards the Pavilion Project. Advertising for the Firework Display on 5/11 would commence from the end of September. Gates would open at 6.30 p.m. with fireworks at 7.00 p.m. and gates closed by 7.30 p.m. The theme of the evening would be the Centenary   celebrations for the end of WW1 with the centrepiece being a poppy and music to be played included the Last Post. It had been agreed that no further progress could be made towards the signing of the Sub Lease for the Pavilion until charity status had been obtained as the charity registration number needed to be included in the lease document.


c.    Infrastructure Committee

       The Clerk had circulated a report from Cllr. Sparks to all Members prior to the start of The Meeting. Cllr. Sparks reported that local residents had no objections to the installation of a new light by Alexander Cottages in School Lane and Members unanimously agreed to fund this light at the cost of £4180.60. There had been little feedback from residents regarding the two road improvement schemes that had been identified. Those who had responded regarding the Gardeners Junction felt that the raised traffic islands would restrict access to drives, the posts continually got knocked down and yellow lines were difficult to enforce. It was hoped that some input would be forthcoming from both Higham Library and Shepheard Neame. The IFC would discuss the situation with both GBC and KCC members and meet with the KCC Schemes Officer to agree the next steps. Members noted that at the present time the IFC was awaiting the installation of additional bins by GBC. A recent litter pick to the layby area in Crutches Lane had produced 30 bags of rubbish.. A Risk Assessment of the Recreation Ground had been recently carried out using the GBC quarterly report as a template and quotations would now be sought for items identified in this document including an assessment of the perimeter trees by a Tree Surgeon, the management of overgrown shrubs and the removal of fences. A quotation from a KCC contractor for repairs to the  surfacing of The Landway, arranged by the PROW following a recent visit,  would be forwarded to Savills as the St. John’s College agent. The Volunteer Thank You evening had been well attended and a great success.


d.      Executive Management Committee

         The Clerk had circulated a report from Cllr. Jeffery to all Members prior to the start of the Meeting. A proposal to change the current planning permission for the land at Higham Railway Station from small industrial units and car parking to a residential site had been discussed at an EMC meeting in August. Although concerns were expressed regarding access to the site, it was recommended that the Parish Council engage in dialogue with the proposers to learn more about the plans and types of properties for which the input of the Parish Council would then be sought. Following discussion at the Parish Council Meeting a recorded vote was requested on the proposal with seven councillors voting against  (Cllrs. Oakeshott, Grey, Howard, Pearton, Papadopulos, Mendzil and Carroll) and 4 voting for (Cllrs. Jeffery, Allinson, Holmes and Sparks). It was agreed a letter would be sent to the proposer advising that the majority view of the Members of the Parish Council was that the planning permission should remain as it was. Complaints had been received by Cllrs. Allinson and Grey regarding  HGVs and smaller trucks using Canal Road into the early hours of the morning. Some vehicles were signwritten “Colas”. It was agreed that the Parish Council would organise a meeting with the new Nuralite Site Management team. Local residents had been asked to keep a log of dates and times of lorry movements and the Parish Council might also arrange a “lorrywatch” session for Canal Road.


e.      Higham Speedwatch

         Peter Leakey reported that since the last meeting a total of 18 Speedwatch sessions had been held. Details of a total of 84 vehicles which had exceeded the speed limit had been forwarded to the Police. The highest speed observed was 45 mph outside Buckland Farm.  The equipment was not operational at present as a cable had broken.


f.      Kent Community Warden

        Paul Hassell reported that he had received a complaint regarding the bus shelter by the railway bridge which was overgrown with nettles and that the lines to the top of Villa Road needed repainting. Cllr. Sparks confirmed that this was being dealt with by the IFC.       



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


Clerks salary (July net)                                                                                                    1110.22

HMRC (PAYE/NI July)                                                                                                    208.18

KCC (LGPS July)                                                                                                              419.43

Clerks salary (August net)                                                                                               1110.22                     

HMRC (PAYE/NI August)                                                                                               208.1

KCC (LGPS August)                                                                                                         419.43

Mr P. Leakey (dog bags)                                                                                                     40.99

British Telecommunications plc (broadband)                                                                   170.97

EDF Energy (Pavilion electricity)                                                                                       66.54

SSE (electricity for toilets)                                                                                                  23.88

Scottish Water Business Stream Ltd (water for toilets)                                                      63.19

SLCC (annual membership)                                                                                              147.00

Clerk (garden vouchers for competition under S137/139)                                                150.00

Singlewell Stationery and Print Ltd. (Summer Sounds concert)                                       220.78

Singlewell Stationery and Print Ltd. (LPR)                                                                       245.18

Alan Howard (verge signs)                                                                                                  19.20

Clerk (stationery)                                                                                                               110.88

Clerk (printer insurance renewal)                                                                                        56.00

Clerk (cash payments for concert)                                                                                     300.00

Clerk (additional cost for first aid in cash)                                                                          80.00

Gravesham Borough Council (Pavilion rates June/July/Aug/Sep)                                    984.00

Higham Village History Group (S137/139 grant for storage of archives)                         500.00

Eagles FC (S137/139 grant towards cost of mower)                                                         500.00                      

John Grey (mileage costs for meeting)                                                                                24.30

Higham Youth Club (grant for running costs until Mar. 2019)                                       3750.00

Phoenix Fireworks Ltd. (deposit for firework display)                                                     720.00

Higham Memorial Hall (EMC meeting hall hire)                                                               21.00

Mr P. Allinson (refreshments for meetings)                                                                        15.35

Mrs E. Jeffery (mileage costs for meeting)                                                                         23.40 


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 £150 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 7.00 p.m. on that evening, but the Clerk drew Members’ attention to the following items:-


1.  It was noted that a pathway had now been constructed across the grass verge outside Alexander Cottages in School Lane.

2.  Cllr. Sparks agreed to attend the Community Resilience Workshop at Tonbridge on 6/10.

3.  Members noted the date of the Emergency Planning Meeting with Steve Scully on 26/9 in Higham Library at 7.30 p.m.

4.   Members were urged to respond to the Kent Household Waste Recycling Centre Consultation which ran until 1/11 and the Clerk agreed to send everyone the link.


To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting.

This was given as being Monday, 15th October 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 10.35 p.m.


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