Parish Council Meeting report – January 2020

Higham Parish Council, January 2020 report

Parish Councillors met on Monday January 13 at 7.30pm in Higham Memorial Hall.   A warm welcome was given to all those present, by Chair, Councillor John Grey.

The evening began by welcoming Fiona Spirals representing The Friends of St Mary’s who gave Councillors the “Friends” annual report.   All the events in 2019 had been well attended by both locals and from further afield, donations of £1700.00 been received towards the restoration of the church spire. The Churches conservation Trust have carried out a survey on the spire and estimate £20.000 will be necessary to preserve it.   The “Friends” have organised another diary of events, which will be published soon, but the highlight is a Spring Dance to be held in Higham Memorial Hall on Saturday April 25 with music by the Dave Bowdler Band.   The Parish Council announced a donation to the “Friends” towards the hall hire and band fee.  Full details of events will be shown on the Parish Council website.

P.C.S. Officer, Jo Hartley, reported thefts of caravans, number plates and vandalised vehicles recently in the village, together with some antisocial behaviour incidents.  She reminded everyone to report all incidents to 101 for logging into the Police crime system.

The plans for the improvements to the play area on the Recreation Ground were discussed and the contractor was chosen to carry out the work.   A fund-raising Toy Sale is planned for February lst at Higham Village Club, followed by a quiz evening in June.

K.C.C. Councillor Bryan Sweetland gave his latest report from the County which included budget details, consultations and change of KCC leadership.

Councillors, welcomed Clive and Judy Stanley to the meeting.  Clive has now retired from the position of Parish Council webmaster and the Parish Council took the opportunity to thank him for his service and to wish him a long and happy retirement.  Clive was presented with a signed card and gift voucher to visit Bletchley Park.    He was delighted and thanked everyone.

Potholes and broken tarmac, following the wet weather have been reported to the Parish Council and Cllr Sparks agreed to photograph the areas and forward to KCC for urgent repairs.

The IFWG latest report was given and progress updated, including the planned defibrillators which will soon be installed.  The Great British Spring clean weekend will take place on March 28 and 29.

There was no report from the CDWG or EMWG this time.

Planning applications and other matters were discussed and agreed upon.

Details of all village events and information can be found on the new Higham Parish Council website.

The date of the next meeting is Monday, February 24 at 7.30pm Higham Memorial Hall.  Members of the public are welcome to attend.

Councillor Liz Jeffery, Higham Parish Council

Lower Thames Crossing Update – January 2020

Highways England – Lower Thames Crossing Update

New images showing plans for The Lower Thames Crossing have been released as the project began its next phase of public consultation on the 29th January. The further consultation into Highways England’s proposed Lower Thames Crossing will give people the chance to have their say on latest changes to the multi-billion pound project.
The changes have been made after detailed analysis of the 29,000 responses received during the last consultation held in 2018, and new technical information following surveys and ground investigations.

Read the news release from Highways England here:

Highways England News release – 29th January 

Lower Thames Crossing Social Media Update

Highways England have launched a regular community video newsletter and new Facebook page. You can view the first video on a new Facebook page:

Lower Thames Crossing Facebook Page

This will provide an opportunity to keep you updated with HE plans and activities ahead of the submission their Development Consent Order next summer.

As well as Facebook, you can follow other social media and web based platforms for future news – see the links below:

Want to find out more?

For all of the latest news from Highways England relating to the Lower Thames Crossing (including this fly-through video of the entire proposed route), visit the official Lower Thames Crossing website:

Lower Thames Crossing - Highways England

We will be keeping you updated as the project progresses so please do revisit regularly to keep abreast of the Lower Thames Crossing news affecting the Parish and its surrounds.

The Parish Council

Higham Playground Project

The Higham Playground Project (made up of village residents and Higham Parish Council) are delighted to be running a second-hand toy sale to raise money for new playground equipment that will be being installed in phases at Higham Recreation Ground from Spring 2020. The Toy Sale is being held on 1st February (see our Events page for all of the details) and we would like to thank Higham Club for donating the space for this event. In addition, Morrison (Strood branch) have kindly donated a movie night hamper as a raffle prize.

Waitrose have kindly selected our project for the green token scheme this month. If shopping in Waitrose Longfield please put your town in the Higham playground project slot.

Our thanks go out to Councillor Brian Sweetland who has secured a generous donation of £2,500 from his Members Grant Fund (a Kent County Council local government finance initiative) towards the cost of new equipment . Higham Parish council have also been able to ring fence £10,000 from our 2020/2021 budget.

I am in the process of submitting grant applications and I am currently waiting to hear the outcomes. We would like to raise between £30,000 and £40, 000 to deliver an amazing playground for the children of Higham and anticipate purchasing and installing equipment in phases hopefully beginning in Spring 2020.

If you think you can help fundraise for this worthy project or you may just wish to make a donation towards the playground equipment, why not contact the Higham Parish Council Clerk on:

Councillor Mendzil

Vice-Chair, Higham Parish Council

Higham Parish Council donate to Friends of St Mary’s Church

On the 25th April 2020, Friends of St Mary’s Church will be holding an evening of jazz, jive, swing, boogie and rock ‘n’ roll at Higham memorial Hall. All proceeds will go towards the renovation fund for the spire at the church.

In order to get this event off the ground, Higham Parish Council were approached by Friends of St Mary’s Church at the January Parish Council meeting and asked for financial assistance to cover some of the costs involved in putting on this worthwhile and exciting event in our village. The result of the vote was unanimous, and the Parish Council pledged the £600 requested.

St Mary’s Church is no longer used for regular worship and is maintained by the Churches Conservation Trust. The Friends of St. Mary’s supports the work of the Trust, and works to enhance visitors’ experience of the church, hold fundraising events, organise events for children and adults, and promote the building’s unique appeal.

For more details on the Spring Dance and all of the other events planned by Friends of St Mary’s Church, visit their events page here:

Friends of St Mary's Church

The Parish Council

Higham Parish Council say goodbye to The Webmaster…

At the recent Parish Council meeting on Monday 13th January, we said goodbye to our long-serving webmaster Clive Stanley of Clive Stanley Associates. After 15 years of maintaining the Parish Council’s website, Clive had decided that the time had come to retire. Clive was instrumental in setting up the Higham Parish Council website back in 2004 and he informed us at the meeting that Higham was one of the very first Parish Councils in Kent to launch it’s own website.

To say thank you for his hard work and loyalty, Higham Parish Council gifted Clive and his wife an ‘computer-themed’ experience: a tour of Bletchley Park followed by afternoon tea. With Clive’s interest in computing and coding, we thought this the ideal present to give.

On behalf of the Parish Council (old and new) and the community that you have served, I would like to say a big thank you for all of your time and dedication to the continuation of the Parish Council’s online presence as well as a thank you for the assistance you so kindly provided with the set up of Higham’s new Parish Council website.

Best wishes and happy retirement Clive!

Councillor Gilby

Higham Parish Council

Charles Dickens to receive a makeover!

Higham village is very proud of its heritage and long association with the world-famous English Victorian novelist, Charles Dickens. You may be aware that 2020 will mark the 150th anniversary of his death in 1870 and Higham Parish Council will be recognising this in June.

In fact, the Parish Council have made a start and have commissioned the artist who oringally painted our village ‘Charles Dickens’ sign (located on Gravesend Road by the Forge Lane bus stop) to lavish it with a fresh coat of paint ahead of the 150th anniversary.

So, should you find yourself driving along Gravesend Road and notice that Charles has gone AWOL sometome in early 2020 – don’t worry! He is in safe hands and will return soon looking like a new man!

Look out for the newly-painted sign over the coming weeks and if you spot it,  why not send the Parish Council a photo by emailing the Parish Clerk or post it on the Higham Parish Council Facebook page.

The Parish Council

HGV Movements across Kent – A Working Group report from KCC

Kent County Council’s Transport Committee this week looked at ways to seek powers from Government to take damaging HGVs off our narrow rural roads and village streets.

This report summarises the work undertaken by the group to date and the proposal to implement a trial lorry control area in the County to eliminate or substantially reduce, in so far as practicable, inappropriate HGV movements. As part of this workstream, officers have been engaged with the Department for Transport with the aim to secure powers such that Kent County Council could undertake enforcement directly within the trial area, rather than be reliant on the police, who currently, are the only authority with relevant powers.

It’s worth a read as it’s findings may shape the movement of HGVs across Kent including here in Gravesham and Higham where the Parish Council often discuss HGV traffic through our village and what can be done to reduce and restrict these movements.

HGV Member Working Group Report - 23rd January 2020

Parish Council

Recruitment Fair – Lower Thames Crossing

As you may be aware the Lower Thames Crossing is currently undertaking a series of ground investigations and surveys at locations throughout North Kent to help Highways England (HE) to improve their proposals and to develop their application for the Development Consent Order.

HE want to make sure that local people and businesses are able to make the most of the opportunities that their investment in the area will create so in partnership with Eventbrite (events organiser) and their main contractor Balfour Beatty, they are running a recruitment fair in Kent to promote the jobs within the local area. During this phase of the project the roles include ground workers, plant operators, and gangers/supervisors, with many other roles also available.

The event is free and a great way to learn more about the opportunities available. It is being held on Thursday 6th February 2020 with a prompt 4pm start and finished at 6.30pm


The Kent Room

Gravesham Civic Centre

Woodville Place, Gravesend,


DA12 1DD

From the Eventbrite website:

Balfour Beatty, partnering with Highways England on the Lower Thames Crossing, are holding a recruitment fair to promote jobs which are available at this stage. Jobs include groundworkers, gangers/supervisors and plant operators. Many other roles are also available.

You must have an up to date CSCS card. Experience is preferred.

The Lower Thames Crossing is the UK’s most ambitious road project since the M25 was completed more than 30 years ago.

It would unlock new business opportunities and make journeys more reliable and quicker, whether travelling for work, leisure, or visiting family and friends. It would feature:

  • The third largest bored tunnel in the world, 53 metres below the River Thames
  • 5 miles of new road, bridges, viaducts and underpasses
  • Improvements to existing roads including M25, A2 and A13

If you have relevant experience in construction services, come along to this free event to learn more about the opportunities available at Balfour Beatty. You will be able to meet with our supply chain partners, register and apply for roles.

We therefore recommend to bring some CV’s with you.

Please visit the Eventbrite website to register your interest:

Eventbrite - Balfour Beatty Recruitment Fair

The Parish Council


HiARA January 2020 Report

There was almost a full, warm, Memorial Hall of HIARA members on a cold, gloomy Friday.  Ian Robinson welcomed everyone and explained that our Chairperson, Liz Jeffery, was unable to attend  today.  After one or two announcements, Ian introduced our speaker who was the ex-Headmistress of Maidstone Girls’ Grammar School.  Margaret explained that she was curious about a flight of steps in the school playing field and after having cleared bricks and stones blocking the steps it was discovered that they lead to assorted tunnels which were surprisingly clean, although damp. Following her enquiries, they were discovered to be the air-raid shelters for the students during World War Two.  Apparently, the subject “WWII” is part of the current curriculum in Kent Primary Schools and the tunnels are now visited by local schools for them to see where , in the many air-raids, the students had their lessons.  There was no heating in the tunnels and lighting was by hanging lanterns.

In recent times, there has been another flight of steps discovered in a different part of the playing field and there are, apparently, more tunnels in that area, not yet safe to enter as the steps are unsafe.

Margaret had brought with her copies of a book she had written, with many illustrations, showing how school life was lead at that time.  Many members purchased the book, profits from which will help with expenses for the school visits to the site.

Following this very interesting story, members were able to read a list of suggested day trips and one or two overnight trips suggested by the Events Committee for 2020 and ticked those they were interested in.  In due course the most popular outings will be available for booking.

Josephine Smith


Kent County Council Draft 5 Year Plan published

Do you want to help shape the future of life in Kent? Do you want your views to be heard by the County Council? If yes, then we would recommend reading Kent County Council’s (KCC) ‘Draft 5 Year Plan’

Over the past 5 months KCC have been listening to:

  • Kent residents
  • young people
  • businesses
  • voluntary and community sector organisations
  • our staff
  • our partners across public services.

They have heard about what is important to quality of life in Kent and what people’s priorities are. Based on what they have heard, they developed the draft 5 year plan. The plan shapes what KCC will do and what they will prioritise spending money on over the next 5 years.

This document is available online for you to read and respond to (it can also be downloaded if you are unable to respond online). We recommend reading the plan before you complete and submit your response. Hurry though as the consultation closes on the 17th February 2020.

Please follow this link to the Kent County Council ‘Draft 5 Year Plan’ page:

Draft 5 Year Plan - Kent County Council

The Parish Council