Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the Ordinary Parish Council Meeting, April 2019

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Present:                                  Cllr. P. Allinson (Chairman) 

                                               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:                         3  Parishioners

                                               Paul Hassell – Kent Community Warden.

                                               Peter Leakey and Vikki Brooke (Parish Advisors)

                                               Stewart Mackie (Parish Councillor from May)                                                                                                                              

                                               Clive Stanley – webmaster.

Apologies for absence:             Kent County Councillor - Cllr. Bryan Sweetland                                                                                    

                                               Rob Gilby (Parish Councillor from May)


The Chairman reported that although the Borough Council elections would take place on 2nd May the Parish Council election had been uncontested and notices had now been placed throughout the village and on the website advising details of the members of the new Parish Council. He particularly welcomed Cllrs Papadopulos and Oakeshott to their last Meeting of the Parish Council following a combined total of 68 years public service between them. Also in attendance was Stewart Mackie, one of the two new Members of the Parish Council from May.


The Chairman accepted apologies for absence.

There were no alterations to the Register of Members Interests.

Other than weekly inspections by the GBC Park Ranger for insurance purposes, no inspection reports for Parish Property or amenities had been received.


The Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting, held on Monday, 25th February 2019, were confirmed and signed  following the insertion of  two amendments to P. 1327 under ‘Annual Parish Assembly’ to read “catering for the Assembly would be by Kelly King of Fabulous Finger Foods” and also under ‘Borough’  to read “The Mayor’s Charity dinner ….  had enabled a donation in excess of £1000 towards the Mayor’s Charities”.


Matters arising from the Minutes.

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

a.   P. 1326   Matters Arising. A response had now been received from David Turner which was in the correspondence folder.

b.   P. 1327   Parish. The Parish Council objection to the RS Skips Operators Licence had been deemed invalid. A communication had also been received from Nigel Cronin, representing RS Skips, requesting a meeting following the forthcoming election to discuss how to proceed in the short term. Cllrs Grey and Howard agreed to carry out a further count of skip lorries both through the village and at Queens Farm Road in Shorne, aided by some of Cllr. Sparks’ volunteers. Cllr. Sparks had produced a new Traffic Survey sheet.

c.   P. 1329 IFC. KALC had advised that it was usually a “gentlemen’s agreement” that was required for the hosting of defibrillators. The Clerk had asked other Parish Councils if they had such an agreement in place.

d.   Website Report. Clive Stanley reported that recent updates to the website had included  details of Gravesend History Society Footpath walks, Village litter-pick dates, notice of Parish Election and Uncontested Election results, invitation to the Annual Parish Assembly, update on the LTC and the 2019 Annual Newsletter and Reports booklet in addition to the usual PC Minutes and Agendas.

Cllr. Sparks reported that the Parish Council had contacted EIS regarding moving over the Parish website but to date had received no response. It was agreed to ask Cllr. Sweetland to approach EIS on our behalf but if this was unsuccessful to consider the alternative option of Hugo Fox. 

The Clerk reported that the grass verge to the top of Chilton Drive had recently been mown.

Cllr. Oakeshott enquired regarding progress with the establishment of a weight restriction. Cllr. Sparks confirmed that this application needed to be carefully managed and before this could be submitted evidence of lorry movements through the village needed to be obtained.

Cllrs. Grey and Howard reported on the recent KALC Area Committee meeting held at Meopham. They expressed concern that our Community Warden had been asked to cover Luddesdown and there was a possibility that Shorne could also be added to the list. This would severely reduce the amount of time that Paul could spend in our village which had been in the scheme from the start. It was agreed at this stage that Paul would monitor any requests for this coverage from his hours and report back to the Parish Council.


Renewal of Memorial Hall lease

The Clerk reported that she had been in contact with our solicitor and been advised that the current Lease would continue to run after its expiry date in June, until such time as a new one had been agreed and signed by all parties. The Chairman advised Members that the new lease would need to take account of the changing room extension and also land purchased by the Hall Committee to the SE corner of the site, the existence of which he had only recently been made aware. A visit would be arranged to meet with our solicitor following the Annual Parish Council Meeting in May.


Parishioners’ Matters.

Alan Hogarth enquired why the Wainscott By Pass had not been litter picked during the recent litter picking weekend. Cllr. Sparks confirmed that whilst Medway Council organised litter picks with just a one lane closure, Gravesham Borough Council always sought to liaise with KCC and apply for the complete closure of a section of road on safety grounds. This enabled all additional works such as gulley cleansing, grass cutting, street lighting repairs, as well as the litter picking, to be carried out at the same time. A representative of the Borough team who deals with litter (including the By Pass) would be attending the Annual Parish Assembly to answer any questions.


Annual Parish Newsletter  and Annual Parish Assembly 2019.

The Clerk reported that the Annual Parish Newsletter had now been delivered throughout the village. The Hall would be prepared for the Annual Parish Assembly and displays set up on Thursday afternoon. Wine glasses would be supplied by Cllr. Papadopulos and the Friends of St. Marys Church and Cllr. Jeffery would purchase any drink needed.


To discuss judging arrangements for the 2019 Higham Gardens for Pleasure Competition

Cllr. Jeffery reported that Tammy Woodhouse (Managing Director of Millbrook Garden Centre) seemed keen that her company might be involved in the judging of this competition and agreed to try and speak further with her at the Annual Parish Assembly during the interval. It was agreed that Councillors would be asked to sign up for roads for the short list at the May meeting.


To review and approve the 2019 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. Cllr. Sparks observed that this document should also be reviewed by the incoming Parish Council following the May meeting.


Councillors’ Matters.



As Cllr. Sweetland did not attend the Meeting no report was given.



Cllr. Craske reported that this meeting marked the end of his eighth year as one of the two Borough Council elected representatives for Higham ward. He thanked the Clerk and all Councillors present for their help and support over this time. Cllr. Craske reported that necessary repairs were to be undertaken to the river wall of the grade II  listed St. Andrew’s Art Centre in Gravesend which would preserve this listed building, improve its foundations and help alleviate the current excessive  problems of dampness due to its close proximity to the River Thames.

Cllr. Pearton likewise thanked those present, and Parishioners of the village, for their support during his last two terms in office. The Borough Council elections would be held on 2/5.



Cllr. Pearton reported that he had been unsuccessful in finding a suitable location for the new defibrillator in the Church Street area. It was agreed to re-think this location as it needed to be sited somewhere readily accessible.

Cllr. Sparks reported concerns regarding speeding to School Lane. The feasibility of signs on street lights showing speed would be investigated. She asked for clarification regarding a local planning decision and the final appearance of the works carried out under permitted development. It was agreed to enquire if the members of the Parish Council would be able to join with new members of the Borough Council for a planning tutorial at the Civic Centre following the election.

Cllr. Mendzil requested an update on the drainage problems at Telegraph Hill. Cllr. Sparks reported that an update was still awaited at this time.

Cllr. Grey reiterated the need to reduce the height of the trees opposite New Dairy Cottages in Church Street. It was agreed to check to see if they had TPOs on them before contacting the landowner.

Cllr. Oakeshott reported concerns from Parishioners regarding the fact that the Higham Surgery was now listed as a Branch Surgery and not the Main Office. It was hoped that the forthcoming meeting with the Practice Manager would answer this question. She also reported that the street name sign for Ash Crescent was in a dangerous condition and required replacement.

The Chairman reported that he had filled in the firework display form for the booking in November.






a.    Planning.

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


Appln. no. 20190225   Glanaber, Watling Street

Erection of a detached garage.

Appln. no. 20190300   12, Alexander Cottages, School Lane

Erection of single storey rear and front extension.

Appln. no. 20190288   The Three Crutches, Old Watling Street

Erection of a 1 no.four bedroom dwelling with associated access, parking and landscaping, and reconfiguration of public house car park.

Appln. no. 20190259   29, Telegraph Hill

Erection of a single storey rear extension and a front porch.

Appln. no. 20190283   2, Twin Cottages, Gravesend Road

Erection of single storey side extension, installation of juliet balcony to rear first floor bedroom, installation of raised terrace decking with glass balustrade and steps.

Appln. no. 20190325   11, Ash Crescent

Application for a Lawful Development Certificate in respect of the proposed erection of a single storey rear extension and enlargement to existing rear dormer extension in the rear roof slope.


b.    Community Development Committee

       An update had already been circulated to Councillors prior to the Meeting. The Chairman reported  that the Retirement Luncheon for Jennifer and Pat would take place on Saturday, 8th June and details had been included in the Annual Parish Newsletter regarding the Open House drop in times during this afternoon. This item would also be mentioned at the forthcoming Annual Parish Assembly. Two dates in July (20th and 21st) were being considered for a Summer Event on the Recreation Ground. This would be a family picnic with stalls, BBQ and local amateur band playing. The possibility of a Beer Tent would be investigated and local Public Houses approached. The Bonfire Night Firework Display would follow a theme of “Space – The Final Frontier” with the same format as last year. A collection fee of £1 per head (including children) would be charged. The valuation of Parish Assets had been received and a further search would be carried out by our solicitor. Once a draft lease document had been prepared a meeting would take place with the Memorial Hall Committee.


c.    Infrastructure Committee

       An update had already been circulated to Councillors who approved all the associated expenditure costs. Cllr. Sparks reported that with the first phase of the tree works now completed the IFC would get costings from four Tree Surgeons for the second phase. The re-inspection by the Arboiculturalist would take place in Autumn 2020. She would obtain an update on outstanding KCC Highways and road improvements works in time for the next Meeting. Sessions for LorryWatch and illegal turns at the Gardeners Junction would be set up. The cost of the Road Traffic Orders for yellow lining would be in the region of £3000 and Members approved that this should proceed. The costings for the traffic island to Villa Road were expected in June. The locations for suitable sites for the defibrillators were being finalised before they were ordered. A total of 38 sacks of litter were collected by the volunteers over the recent Great British Spring Clean weekend at the end of March.


d.    Executive Management Committee

       An update had already been circulated to Members prior to the Parish Council Meeting. Cllr. Jeffery reported that the update of the Standing Order document would now take place by the new Parish Council following the Annual Parish Council Meeting in May.


e.    Higham Speedwatch  

       Peter Leakey reported that a total of 12 Speedwatch sessions had been held over a period of 13 hours 10 minutes. Details of a total of 107 vehicles which had exceeded the speed limit had been forwarded to the Police. The highest speed observed was 50 mph. outside Buckland Farm.


f.    Kent Community Warden

      Paul Hassell reported that following information given to him at a recent “drop in” meeting in Higham, which matched similar information received in Cobham, an operation, conducted in co-operation with the Police, had resulted in the seizing of evidence and the arrest, and subsequent  jailing, of two of the suspects. Paul emphasised the importance of Parishioners reporting to him anything suspicious, however insignificant it might seem. 


g.   Kent Police

      As the PCSOs did not attend the Meeting no report was given.



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


Clerks salary (February)                                                                                                  1110.22

KCC (LGPS February)                                                                                                      419.43        

HMRC (PAYE/NI February)                                                                                            208.18

Clerks salary (March)                                                                                                      1110.22

KCC (LGPS March)                                                                                                          419.43        

HMRC (PAYE/NI March)                                                                                                 208.18

Clerk (exps for use of room as an office 1/1/19 to 31/3/19)                                              227.50

Clive Stanley (webmaster services 1/1/19 to 31/3/19)                                                        97.50

J.A.Stanley (preparation of Annual Newsletter 2019)                                                       276.80

Gravesham Borough Council (monthly rent for garage)                                                     59.15

Kent Association of Local Councils (2019 subscription)                                                1252.42

Kelly King (food for APA under Sect. 150(2) LG Act’72)                                               227.50

Clerk (cash donation to charity for APA speaker under Sect. 150(2) LG Act ’72)             50.00

Singlewell Stationery and Print Ltd. (Newsletter 2019)                                                  1088.00

Liz Hart (delivery of newsletters)                                                                                      250.00

Action with Communities in Rural Kent (2019 subscription)                                             75.00

MJ Read and Co (LGPS return)                                                                                         108.00

JMF Garden Solutions Company Limited (trees to Recreation Ground)                        4920.00

Sue Sparks (chalks and latex gloves)                                                                                   17.13

JMF Garden Solutions Limited (additional tree)                                                               408.00

Peter Hodges (valuations)                                                                                                2100.00           

St Johns College (quarter year rent for RG due 25/06/19)                                                750.00    



The correspondence folder had been available for perusal by all Members during the Meeting on that evening, but the Clerk drew Members’ attention to the following items:-


1.   Cllr. Sweetland had confirmed that Chalk had secured funding of £500 from RS Skips  towards litter pick equipment.

2.   The Coffee Morning with the Kent PCC had now been arranged for Friday, 14th June from 10 a.m. until midday in Higham Library. Notices would be displayed in the village.

3.   Members noted another long email from Stephen Thomas. Cllr. Grey would deal with this matter.

4.    Members agreed to award a grant of £189 towards a new salt spreader for the Memorial Hall car park.


To note the dates of the next Parish Council Meetings.

The Annual Parish Assembly would take place on Thursday, 11th April at 7.30 p.m.

The Annual Parish Council Meeting, followed by a Parish Council Meeting, would take place on Monday, 13th May at 7.30 p.m.

The date of the July Meeting had been changed to Monday, 15th July.


Any Other Business.

None was brought to the notice of the Meeting.

It was resolved that:-

 “Pursuant to Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 that the public be excluded from the following item because it is likely in view of the nature of the business to be transacted that if members of the public are present during this item, there would be disclosure to them of exempt information as defined in Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act”.


There being no other business, the Meeting was closed to members of the public at 10.00 p.m. by the Chairman.


Cllrs. Papadopulos and Oakeshott were given a warm round of applause from those present at the end of their last Meeting.



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