HiARA November 2019 Report

At our meeting held on Friday November 22 at Higham Memorial Hall, members were asked:

Have you got “Fifty Grades of Shade” for your garden?

Such was the title of Colin Moat’s very informative talk. Colin took each season, one by one, and explained the various plants which had grey or almost foliage which provided ground cover and colour in various seasons, shown on his excellent slides. Colin suggested that instead of ground cover try a 4ft high centre of plants then bring other plants to the ground gradually. Cyclamen and Trillions were very effective colours against grey in the winter. Hostas are very effective too, but need “Nematodes” to keep slugs and snails away. A very interesting lecture with plants for sale and members went home with lots of new garden ideas and advice.

Our raffle ladies excelled themselves at this meeting with a wonderful selection of Christmas themed prizes. Thanks go to them for all their hard work.

The book stall again was busy and again thanks to those ladies and members who keep us supplied with reading material. I couldn’t do without them!

HiARA will soon have its own website, where you will be able to see all the news and reports on our Newsletter. Look out for more details.

Our ramblers despite the weather are doing lovely local walks, including Leybourne Lakes, Trottiscliffe, St Mary’s Island and Southfleet. If you want to join them or just go for the lunch with them, please contact a committee member or Janet Topp.

Pat Oakeshott
Media committee member

Gardens for Pleasure Competition 2019

On Monday 25th November, the Mayor and Mayoress of Gravesham, Higham Parish Council and parishioners gathered in Higham Library for the Gardens For Pleasure 2019 prize-giving ceremony.

This year the competition (now in its 35th year) was judged by Millbrook Garden Centre, Gravesend and a representative from Millbrook kindly attended the evening to help hand out the prizes to our category winners. The Mayor, Councillor Gurdip Ram Bungar, thoroughly enjoyed the event and told us of his love of gardening as well as asking for tips on how to improve his own hanging baskets!

The prizes this year, donated as always by the Parish Council, included gardening vouchers, a framed certificate and, for first prize winners, a silver vase to keep for the year. Thank you to Councillor Sparks and Jeffery for arranging the wine and nibbles; it made for a very pleasant evening.

For a selection of photos from the evening and details of all the prize-winners, please visit our Gardens For Pleasure Competition page here:

Gardens For Pleasure Competition

We, as a Parish Council, are now looking forward to organising Gardens For Pleasure 2020. watch out for announcements in early Spring 2020 for more details.

The 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, 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

Fireworks Display @ The Recreation Ground

On Tuesday 5th November, residents of Higham were treated to a spectacular firework display on the Recreation Ground.

This annual free event was planned by our Community Development Working Group – a group of Parish Councillors (chaired by Councillor Mackie) who seek to provide a variety of family-friendly events for Higham residents funded by the Council’s precept and donations from you, the residents of Higham.

Several months in the planning, the annual fireworks show did not disappoint and we hope you agree that the show went off with a ‘BANG!’

Thank you for all your kind donations on the night and as a result, we raised a staggering £1007! This will be fed straight back into the Parish Council’s events budget and will be used to deliver family-friendly events in the village in 2020. Watch this space!

We would also like to thank all those residents who took the time to post some lovely comments about the fireworks event on the Higham Parish Council Facebook page.

“Amazing fireworks display tonight in Higham big thank you to the Higham parish council.”

“Really enjoyed the fireworks tonight. Is a lovely thing to do for the village. Much appreciated. Thank you.”

“Fantastic display of fireworks. Just returned from seeing the Chester City fireworks and Higham Village display ranks with it. Very well done all involved. Looking forward to next year already.”

“Our first year seeing the Higham fireworks. I can’t believe how wonderful, spectacular and amazing they were. Thank you so much Higham parish council.”

“Lovely family time with my grandchildren this evening, thank you very much for a great firework display – we all loved it 👍”

We would like to thank Phoenix Fireworks for a wonderful display and Tech Medical Services for providing essential first aid support at the event.

Lower Thames Crossing Update – November 2019

On Monday 28th October, The Parish Council met with Highways England to receive an update on the Lower Thames Crossing development that (currently) is planned to open in 2027.

We were given plenty of statistics relating to the 2018 consultation process including:

  • 28,943 responses were received – a record for a consultation of this type (89% of these were submitted online)
  • This is the biggest UK road project since M25
  • This is the most significant road consultation ever undertaken in the UK
  • Some 15,000 people attended 60 official consultation events.

What’s happening now?

Highways England have launched a comprehensive programme of Ground Investigations (GI) along the route of the Lower Thames Crossing. Tests will be carried out at over 700 locations, including over 400 boreholes, ground water sampling and monitoring, shallow trial pits and a wide range of unobtrusive geophysical surveys. Read more here.

Ground Penetrating Radar Surveys

Highways England’s priority is to carry out this programme of work in a way that will have the smallest possible impact on communities.

The works will be carried out in two phases with the first phase involving signage and an escort and the second phase involving some traffic management. (Please see the map below for locations of the GPR surveys October-December 2019).

Ground Penetrating Radar surveys (GPR) started on Monday 28th October and will continue until mid December 2019. The GPR surveys will run in two phases in our area as follows:

Phase 1: 28th October – 15th November

Mobile GPR van escorted by a traffic management vehicle. Temporary road signage will be used when required.

  • Lower Higham Road
  • Brewers Road

Will be carried out Monday-Friday during off-peak hours or night-time 8pm-6am. Maximum 1 day or night.

Phase 2: 11th November – 20th December

Mobile GPR van and some push GPR. Traffic management could include lane closures and temporary traffic lights, night-time only.

  • A226 Gravesend Road – Mobile GPR
  • Thong Lane – Push GR, traffic-escorted
  • A2/M2 – Mobile GPR, traffic management, diverting vehicles

GPR – What to expect

  • The works are non-invasive and will not cause any noise disruption.
  • Due to the nature of the works, there will be flashing lights which are used on our works vehicles for the safety of both the workforce and the road users. As the works are mobile, the vehicles will be continuously moving, so any disruption caused by these will be kept to a minimum.
  • Access to properties will be maintained throughout the duration of the works.
  • At times, there will be lane closures with two-way traffic lights in place. This is required for the safety of both the work force and the road users.
  • The working hours for the mobile GPR (vehicles travelling at 10 mph/15kph) will take place during day time off-peak hours, Monday to Friday or carried out at night-time in high traffic areas, between 8pm and 6am, Monday to Friday.

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

Extended Electricity Works – Queens Farm Road, Lower Shorne

Extended Electricity Works – Queens Farm Road, Lower Shorne

National Grid have informed Higham Parish Council about extended duration upgrade works to their site during November 2019.  Works may continue outside of normal times and may involve testing of lighting and illumination infrastructure. 

For more details, please follow the link below to read a communication from National Grid to Gravesham Borough Council

National Grid – Gravesend Update Letter (9th September 2019)

The Parish Council

Consultation events about the location of Urgent Treatment Centres

If you want to have your say on the two possible sites – Darenth Valley Hospital or Gravesham Community Hospital, register online to book a place at one of the events happening in October at Swanley, Dartford and Gravesend.

You can also complete a questionnaire – all of the details are on the Dartford and Swanley Clinical Commissioning group website here.

The Parish Council