Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the Annual Parish Council Meeting and Ordinary May 2005 Meeting

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Minutes of the Annual Parish Council Meeting followed by a Parish Council Meeting held at the Memorial Hall, School Lane , on Monday, 9th May 2005 at 7.30 p.m.

Present: Cllr. Mrs J.M.Papadopulos (Chairman)
County Councillor:- Cllr. M. Snelling
Councillors:- J.D.Goring, J.A.Grey, Mrs J. Hinks, M.L.James, C.L.Jupp (also Borough), Mrs P.Oakeshott (also Borough), Mrs S. Saunders, Mrs A.Waugh and S. Wright.
In attendance: Kent Community Warden Steve Enright, and 10 Parishioners.
Apologies for absence: Received from Cllr.Howard, WPC Duffort and Clive Stanley.

The Meeting was opened by the Clerk who welcomed all those present to the Meeting.

Cllr.Jupp proposed and Cllr.Goring seconded the nomination of Cllr. Papadopulos. Cllr.Papadopulos was re- elected as Chairman by a unanimous vote.


Cllr.Saunders proposed and Cllr.James seconded the nomination of Cllr.Oakeshott Cllr.Oakeshott was re- elected as Vice Chairman by a unanimous vote.

It was proposed by Cllr.Oakeshott, seconded by Cllr. Goring and agreed by all Members that the following should be elected to Committees:-

a. Allotment Committee.
Cllrs Howard and Papadopulos (2 MEMBERS)

b. Recreation Committee.
Cllrs. Goring, Hinks and Wright (3 MEMBERS)

c. Planning Committee.
Cllrs. Grey, James, Jupp, Oakeshott, Saunders and Wright (6 MEMBERS) The Chairman would remain as an ex-officio member of this Committee.

d. Parish Environment Committee.
Cllrs. Goring, Grey, Howard, Jupp,Waugh and Wright (6 MEMBERS)

e. The Budget and Finance Committee.
It was agreed that the whole Council should perform these duties at a separately convened Meeting(11 MEMBERS)

f. Parish Newsletter Committee.
Cllrs. Oakeshott, Papadopulos and Saunders (3 MEMBERS)

g. Higham Gardens for Pleasure Committee.
It was agreed that all Members would be asked to provide suggestions for a short list from which the final judging would take place.


These were agreed as follows:-
a. K.A.P.C. - Cllrs Saunders and Hinks
b. Memorial Hall Management Committee - Cllr. Goring.
c. Local Transport Advisory Committee (Village Transport Representatives) - Cllrs. Grey and Wright.
d. Merston Court Day Centre - Cllr. Papadopulos.
e. G.R.O.W.C. - Cllrs. Waugh and Wright.
f. Multi-Purpose Sports Facility - Cllr. Goring.
g. Higham Youth Club - Cllrs.Hinks and Saunders.
h. C.P.R.E. - Cllr. Waugh.
i. Governing Body of Higham Primary School - Cllr. James.
j. Police Advisory Committee - Cllrs. Grey and Wright.
k. Chalk Liaison Group - Cllrs. Goring and Hinks.
l. Press Officer - Cllr. Hinks.

6. The Chairman thanked Cllr. Anne Waugh and Anne Carroll for their help in providing refreshments at Meetings.

The Meeting closed at 7.45 p.m.


It was proposed by Cllr.Wright seconded by Cllr Waugh and agreed unanimously by all Members that Standing Orders, including amendments for the Annual Parish Assembly, Financial Regulations, and Delegated Powers for the Planning Committee, should be adopted.
The Chairman accepted apologies for absence.
There were no alterations to the Register of Members Interests.
The Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting, held on Monday, 4th April 2005, were confirmed and signed.

To receive a report on the Meeting held by the Lower Higham Road residents.
Mr Howie, of Chalk Road, reported on the inaugural meeting of the Lower Higham Road Safety Action Group which had been formed following the death of Kirsty Morris in October 2004. He outlined the contents of a petition, containing over 3000 signatures, which was to be presented to the County Council. This document highlighted the need for a reduction of the speed limit for the length of the Chalk Road between the end of the 30 mph limit at Higham and the start of the 30 mph limit at Chalk, the installation of "No Footpath" warning signs on the outskirts of Higham and Chalk, and the installation of interactive speed restriction warning signs at suitable locations on the outskirts of Higham and Chalk. This petition was welcomed by Cllr. Snelling, the newly elected Gravesham Rural Member for Kent County Council, who agreed to ensure that it was placed on the agenda for the forthcoming Joint Transportation Board Meeting to be held on 15/6. After discussion amongst Members, it also received the full support of the Parish Council.

Parishioners' Matters.
Mr Chilmaid, of Steadman Close, reported a recent incident when a missile was thrown at a parked car, and enquired if the area was still listed as high priority for police attendance. He expressed concern that although the police were called, they did not attend the scene of the disturbance. The Clerk confirmed that this matter had since been reported to Inspector Pritchard.
Mr Taylor, of Martins Close, reported a pothole to Chequers Street, opposite the Railway Tavern, and that the bus shelter opposite the public house was falling into disrepair.

Matters arising from the Minutes.

The Clerk reported that:-
a. P. 741 Matters Arising - Bus Shelter. The old bus shelter had now been removed by the Borough Council.

b. P. 741 Matters Arising - Hits to the web site. Clive Stanley had confirmed that the number of hits to the website now stood at 13,449. Members unanimously agreed to retain Clive's services as webmaster for a further year and noted that his rate would increase to £12 per hour. Cllr. James asked if it would be possible to obtain a breakdown of how much time he anticipated he would spend on updating the website over the forthcoming year.

c. P. 741 Matters Arising - Village Signs. Before the election, Cllr. Gibson had passed all the paperwok relating to the siting of the village signs to KCC with a recommendation that they should be placed on the grass verge in appropriate places. A decision was still awaited.

Matters arising from this year's Annual Parish Assembly.
The Clerk reported that an enquiry had been received regarding the size of each Parish Council allotment plot. Concern had been expressed by Parishioners regarding the excessive amount of dog fouling within the village and the need to pursue the concept of a one-way system for the village roads due to the marked increase in the numbers of parked vehicles. It was understood that the new tenant of the Railway Tavern was intending to reopen the Post Office facility.

To finalise arrangements for the 2005 Higham Gardens for Pleasure Competition.
The Chairman asked Members to sign their names against roads in the village to produce a short list of gardens for consideration to pass to Morton Grey for the final judging.

To discuss the clearance of unused Parish Council Allotment Plots.
The Clerk reported that at present there were nine vacant plots and one which was considered unworkable. All but one of the vacant plots were adjacent to each other in the upper allotment gardens. Daniel Annal had offered to clear the overgrowth to ground level on these with his petrol driven tools for the sum of £50 per plot. It was agreed that efforts should be taken to advertise the vacant plots in The Bridge, on the website, and possibly with adjoining Parish Councils. Once a prospective tenant had been found, the site could then be cleared. Members noted that the sum of £250 had been allocated for allotment clearance in the budget for the current financial year, and gave approval for the work to proceed.

To arrange dates for Parish Council Meetings in 2006.

The following dates for Meetings were agreed:-
Mondays:- 9th January, 20th February, 3rd April, 8th May (Annual Parish Council Meeting),
3rd July, 11th September, 9th October, 6th November (Budget and Finance only), and 27th November (Christmas Meeting with the Mayor of Gravesham).
The Annual Parish Assembly would take place on Thursday, 20th April 2006.

The remaining dates for Meetings in 2005 are as follows:-
Mondays:- 12th September, 3rd October, 7th November (Budget and Finance only) and 28th November (Christmas Meeting with the Mayor of Gravesham).

Councillors' Matters.


Cllr. Snelling expressed his pleasure at being elected to serve the Gravesham Rural area. He was currently the Lead Member for Finance, Chairman of the KCC Local Board and theYouth Advisory Board, as well as being a Governor of two local schools. In addition he had been a Borough Councillor for 18 years. He revealed that the election turnout for the rural area was 74% in comparison to only 66% elsewhere. Current issues under consideration included the South East Plan and housing numbers for the area, as well as the proposed Council Tax review which had been postponed until after the election.
The Chairman congratulated Cllr. Snelling on his election success.


Cllr. Jupp reported that the Borough Council had agreed to allow telephone masts to be erected on Council property. The Borough Council had just achieved Beacon Status for its Racial Equality policy. There were no plans at present to close the Woodville Halls.

The Highway Services Department had now become part of the KCC West Division which was under the control of Mr Norman Bateman, the West Kent Divisional Manager.

Cllr. Oakeshott reported that it was hoped that the new dog bins would be installed by the end of the month. The land behind the station car park had now been considered to be unsuitable for a social housing project and re-classified as a greenfield site. Problems had been reported regarding drains being blocked outside the Post Office and the Library entrance. The residents of Hayes Close had requested bollards around the kerbs to the cul-de-sac as lorries had caused damage to the grass and corner stones. Reports of a caravan parked in Snakey Lane had been investigated by the Enforcement Officer and 28 days notice for its removal had been given. The new owner of one of the cottages built by the Working Mens Club had been observed blocking the ROW whilst washing his car.

Cllr. Waugh reminded Members that it was illegal to block this ROW which, once its status had been changed, would become a restricted byway. Cllrs. Oakeshott and Waugh agreed to make further enquiries. The Rural Housing Committee had indicated that it hoped work would commence on the Youens Cottages site before the end of the month, but it was anticipated that the properties would not be occupied until 2006. Cllr. Oakeshott had requested a locking gate to the entrance of the Larkin Memorial Ground in The Larches.


Cllr. Saunders asked if progress had been made with the repairs to the 30mph signs in Chalk Road. Resurfacing to The Adelaide was still incomplete.
Cllr. Grey again asked when the improvements to the traffic calming works would commence, and it was agreed that this item should be placed on the agenda for the forthcoming Meeting of Parish Chairmen.

Cllr. Hinks enquired if the alleyway leading from Chilton Drive to Carton Road might be able to be included in the Parish Lengthsmen Scheme. Cllr. Waugh confirmed that the alleyway plans at the Borough Council would need to be checked first, in case it did not belong to them. A deep pothole to the junction of the Lower Rochester Road with Hermitage Road was reported.

Steve Enright reported that the Cleaner Higham Campaign would take place on 4/6. He had placed posters around the village and it would be advertised on KMFM Radio. He had arranged the necessary insurance and had high viz jackets, litter pickers, bags and anti-graffiti kits to hand. Those taking part would visit the Radio Station as a treat. The Parish Council would fund a sausage and chip lunch for all volunteers and the Clerk agreed to liaise with Steve nearer to the time, once numbers were known, to arrange the lunch. He reported that vigilant residents had reported a series of incidents that led to a car being taken from the village, and finally being burnt out on the Recreation Ground. Thanks to accurate descriptions and CCTV footage he was able to build a comprehensive picture of the crime and identify those responsible. Steve expressed concern that he had already reported this vehicle to the DVLA on a designated hotline but as it had not been removed it had been used to cause damage to the Recreation Ground fencing and football pitch. Steve Enright also reported problems with youths congregating to the end of Mountbatten Avenue near to the telephone box. The Clerk was asked to contact Inspector Pritchard to advise him of the situation and chase the removal of this telephone box with B.T.


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

Appln. no 20050148 Miss R. Brown, 37, Brice Road.
Retention of the heightened front wall.
Appln. no. 20050215 Mr & Mrs J. Bolton, Land adjacent to 14, The Larches.
Erection of a detached three storey, four bedroom dwelling with double garage at basement level.
Appln. no. 20050270 Ms C. Parfett & Mrs R. Wood, 63 & 65, Oak Drive.
Erection of single storey front extension to each dwelling to form an enlarged lounge in both.
Appln. no. 20050320 Mr A. Dutton, 16, Lake Drive.
Erection of a detached garage at the side.
Appln. no. 20050299 Mr & Mrs Simons, The Manor House, Gravesend Road, Shorne.
Outline application for the erection of a detached annexe in the garden.
Appln. no. 20050308 Clare Stanbury, 2, Nursery Cottages, Canal Road.
Erection of single storey side/rear extension to form kitchen, family room, shower room/w.c. and two lobbies.
Appln. no. 20050323 Mr & Mrs A. Gibson, Land adjoining 8, Hope Terrace, (Gibson's Orchard), Church Street.
Outline application for the erection of a detached bungalow.

c. Memorial Hall.
Cllr. Goring reported that the Lottery Funding application had got through the first stage. The Chairman and Vice Chairman were to be interviewed the following week and the application would be considered by the main Committee at the beginning of July.

d. Multi-Purpose Games Area.
Cllr. Goring reported that the patch to the fencing had been removed three times. As it
had been fastened from the inside, footsteps had been cut into the wire netting to allow access to the facility to ensure its removal. The fencing had also been cut to remove the goalposts. The floodlighting token box had been removed. Only one Member of the Public had attended the AGM.

e. Recreation Ground.
Cllr. Goring reported that the drainage holes had still not been drilled to the Youth Shelter seats. The new picnic tables were now covered with graffiti. The swings had been vandalised and bolts had been removed. The Clerk thanked the Borough Council for removing the burnt-out car from the football pitch so that the Eagles F.C. were able to play their match. It was agreed that the Clerk would obtain the crime number and make an insurance claim for the damage to the Recreation Ground fencing. The Borough Council Play in the Park Summer Playscheme would be visiting Higham from 1/8 to 19/8.

The Clerk asked for approval for the items shown below, this being proposed by Cllr. Jupp, seconded by Cllr. Goring, and agreed by all Members:-

Staples UK Ltd. (4 in 1 printer with insurance) 452.96
BT (broadband) 113.41
Book tokens and raffle prize - Higham School ( Sect. 137/139) 75.98
Action with Communities in Rural Kent (2005 subscription) 35.00
K.C.P.F.A. (2005 subscription) 15.00
C.P.R.E. (2005 subscription) 25.00
Allianz Cornhill Insurance plc (renewal premium) 900.52
Mrs J.M.Papadopulos (APA costs - Sect. 150(2) of L.G.Act 1972) 44.20
Mrs P.Oakeshott (APA costs - Sect 150(2) of L.G.Act 1972) 60.00
Spectra Press Ltd. (2005 newsletter) 1579.20
Oakleigh Farm Nurseries (Xmas tree) 30.00
M.J.Read & Co. (preparation for audit) 235.00

To approve the Annual Return for the year ended 31st March 2005.
The Clerk had circulated copies of the Accounts and Annual Return to all Members prior to the Meeting. It was proposed by Cllr. Jupp, seconded by Cllr. Wright and agreed by all Members that the Annual Return for Local Councils in England and Wales be approved. Members noted the date of the 2004/2005 Audit as being 6/6/05 and the Clerk provided an assurance that the Council had provided a proper opportunity for the exercise of elector's rights in accordance with statutory requirements.

The Clerk reported that Nigel Wharton had now taken over the Company and had therefore sent a formal letter of engagement to be signed and returned. The invoice now also included VAT which could be reclaimed. Members were reminded that the Risk Assessment Register required updating on a yearly basis.


The correspondence folder had been available for perusal by all Members from 7.00 p.m. that evening, but the Clerk drew Members' attention to the following items:-

1. Items for inclusion on the agenda for the forthcoming Meeting of Parish Chairmen were to be:- The Integrated Kent Franchise (peak time trains to reduce from 11 to 5 an hour, services changed to St Pancras, and fares 33% higher), traffic calming works, the Parish Lengthsmen Scheme and speed restrictions to Chalk Road.
2. Cllr. Goring agreed to make comment on the Gravesham Local Development Framework document.
3. The KCC Minerals and Waste Discussion Pack was passed to Martin Grey for his comments (via Cllr. Wright).
4. Members raised an objection to the proposed tourism signing for the Gardeners Arms P.H. on the basis of lack of parking facilities.
Following discussion, Members agreed that all letters for the attention of the Parish Council should in future be received no later than 14 days prior to the date of the next Parish Council Meeting, as was the policy of the Borough Council. The only exception to this rule would be for matters of great urgency. It would also be appreciated if letters could be either word processed, typewritten or printed if at all possible.

To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting.
This was given as being Monday, 4th July 2005 at 7.30 p.m.

Any Other Business.
The Clerk reported that the new Managing Director of Gravesham Borough Council, Mr Jim Wintour, had asked to attend the September Meeting of the Parish Council.

There being no other business the Meeting closed at 10.10 p.m.


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