Higham Parish Council

Minutes of the Ordinary Parish Council Meeting, January 2018

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Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held at the Memorial Hall, School Lane, on Monday, 15th January 2018 at 7.30 p.m.  

Present:                                  Cllr. Mrs J.M. Papadopulos (Chairman)

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

                                               E. Jeffery, P. Oakeshott , L. Pearton (also Borough)                            

                                               and S. Sparks.

In attendance:                          Kent Community Warden Paul Hassell                                                                                               

                                               7 Parishioners

Apologies for absence:             Received from Cllr. Harold Craske and Cllrs. Mendzil and Howard



The Chairman accepted apologies for absence.

There were no alterations to the Register of Members Interests.

The Clerk reported that there were no inspection reports for Parish property.


The Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting, held on Monday, 27th November 2017, were confirmed and signed


Matters arising from the Minutes.

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

a.   P. 1274. Matters Arising. Damage to grass verge caused by a works vehicle. An up to date photo taken by Cllr. Howard had revealed extensive damage to the grass verge. Cllr. Sparks confirmed that the Infrastructure Committee intended to draft a plan for considerate parking in the village by the end of the summer and that stopping cars and vans parking on verges would form part of this. It was agreed by all Members that the feasibility of arranging a site meeting with the employer would be explored.

b.   P. 1277. Kent Community Warden. The tractor unit and trailer were still parked to the slip road. Paul Hassell agreed to see if he could find out what progress had been made in this matter.

c.   P. 1278. Correspondence. A short report on the Crime Conference had been provided by Cllr. Howard.

d.   Web site report.  Recent additions to the website had included information about the Councillor and Community Warden Surgery, Higham Street Christmas Fayre, Youth Club as well as the usual Minutes and Agendas.

Cllr. Sparks reported that the Youth Club was still keen to attract a member of the community to serve on the Committee (P. 1275 of the Minutes refers).

Cllr. Sparks reminded Members to provide ideas for a “positive legacy” to be provided for the area by Highways England (P. 1277 of the Minutes refers).


Parishioners’ Matters.

Charlotte Giles asked for support from Members for her recent application to Kent Highways to provide a footpath across the grass verge outside the bungalows at Alexander Cottages  in School Lane. Anyone with mobility problems had difficulty alighting from a car on the hill and the verge was often very slippery. Members agreed to contact Kent Highways to support her application.


Annual Parish Newsletter 2018.

The Clerk collected in items of copy material for the 2018 Annual Parish Newsletter and reminded Members of the deadline of 26/01/18 for the remainder of the reports.


To discuss the amended site layout plan for the Canal Road local housing scheme.  

Prior to discussion on this item the Clerk distributed copies of an urgent email which had been received this afternoon with an attached letter from LEJ Properties Ltd which was the new management company at the Nuralite Site. It outlined future plans to resolve the contamination issues on the site and develop it into a modern industrial estate. Members had been offered the opportunity to attend a site visit and to hear an outline of the proposals. Being mindful that this might mean an increase in traffic flows along Canal Road, Members agreed to delay further discussion on the local housing scheme until after the site visit.

Cllr. Sparks felt that it would be helpful for HPC to be more proactive in finding suitable sites for housing within the village and reminded Members that they had decided that this should be an issue involving the whole Parish Council.


Councillors’ Matters.



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



There was nothing to report.



Cllr. Jeffery reported that 3 streetlights were unlit to Villa Road.

Cllr. Oakeshott reported that the overhanging greenery to the garages in Villa Road had now been cleared.

Cllr. Pearton reported an improvement to dog fouling in the lower part of the village. Cllr. Sparks reported that the new message to promote was that dog waste could go in any waste bin as long as it was in a dog bag.

Cllr. Grey reported that residents at the top of School Lane were still being contacted about applying for permits for the CPZ in lower Higham.

Cllr. Sparks asked Members to report any sightings of nuisance groups of boys on bikes to 101 or to Paul Hassell. It was hoped that the Outreach Project might eventually help this situation.

Cllr. Holmes had been approached by Goldsmiths College in London to see if the village would be willing to take any future placements of students. Members were in agreement for this to happen.




a.    Planning.

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


Appln. no. 20170984   Blaw Know Sports Field, Watling Street

** REVISED DESCRIPTION**   Construction of a 192 seat stand together with the installation of two portakabins for admin and football and academy use.

Appln. no. 20171264   88, Forge Lane.

Erection of a two storey side and rear extension.

Appln. no. 20171160   Mill House, Hermitage Road

Construction of a dormer window in the front and rear roof slopes, one roof light and three high level vent tiles within each of the front and rear roof slopes and a roof light within the side roof slope.

Appln. no. 20171161   Mill House, Hermitage Road

Application for Listed Building Consent for the proposed construction of a dormer window in the front and rear roof slopes, one roof light and three high level vent tiles within each of the front and rear roof slopes and a roof light within the side roof slope.

Appln. no. 20171175   11, Lake Drive

Erection of a two storey side extension, part two storey and part single storey rear extension, and erection of a single storey front extension.

Appln. no. 20171188   1, Highwoods Close

Erection of a part first floor and part two storey side extension.

Appln. no. 20170980   Two Gates Boarding Kennels, Two Gates Farm, Lower Rochester Road

**AMENDED APPLICATION**  Construction of eight additional kennels, a holding kennel, additional storage, an extended exercise yard and a proposed amendment to the AOC imposed at Two Gates Boarding Kennels.

Appln. no. 20171334   The Stables, Town Road

Erection of a general purpose agricultural equipment and livestock support supplies storage unit.

Appln. no. 20171303   Blandings, Crutches Lane

Erection of single storey front, side and rear extensions and conversion of the existing and proposed roof space with new driveway layout.

Appln. no 20171354   55, Bull Lane

Erection of a part single storey ground floor and part first floor rear extension.

Appln. no. 20171035   14, Highwoods Close

Erection of a two storey side extension, erection of a single storey rear extension and construction of dormer window to rear roof slope.

Appln. no. 20170699   86, Forge Lane

Creation of a vehicle access.


b.    Community Development Committee

       Cllr. Allinson had circulated a printed report to all Members before the start of the Meeting.


Members unanimously agreed to pay the outstanding rates bill for the Pavilion of £8697.16 as soon as possible and to agree to underwrite the rate bill of approximately £2485 for 2018/2019. An appeal for re-assessment of the Pavilion rateable value would not be pursued. It was imperative to obtain Charity Status as soon as possible to apply for 100% business rate relief and the sub lease between the Pavilion Management Committee and Higham Parish Council needed to be finalised. A new Youth Club Committee was being set up and the Treasurer would open a new bank account for Club funds. The funds for the Pavilion would be transferred into a new account to be administered by the Pavilion Management Committee. One quotation for refurbishment works to the kitchen and the creation of a disabled toilet had been received. Once three quotes had been received the contract would be placed, hopefully during the first quarter of 2018. The Youth Club had had a successful first term with more than 20 young people attending most weeks. The grant from the Police and Crime Commissioners Office would be used to set up an Outreach Project which would be run by the Youth Workers. Members were in agreement that the Firework Display on Bonfire Night would be free of charge and a request for donations for new play equipment would be made. Members also agreed that the CDC should investigate an event in spring or early summer to celebrate the Royal Wedding.


c.    Infrastructure Committee


       The Clerk had circulated a report from Cllr. Sparks to all Members before the start of the Meeting.


Members agreed to waive the allotment rent for the current year for a tenant whose fruit bushes had been accidentally cut down during the recent allotment vegetation clearance and also agreed that all new allotment tenants from this date would be invoiced from 1/4/18. Awareness sessions for the defibrillator were being arranged from 24/1/18 to 31/1/18. Malcolm’s bench had been installed and the James family had kindly agreed to contribute £600 towards the cost. It was hoped to formally install the bench with a gathering possibly in March. It was hoped that Highways England would meet with the Parish Council on 5/2/18 and possibly attend the Annual Parish Assembly to answer questions about the maps and drawings on display. The draft Village Plan would be circulated to Councillors ahead of the meeting on 5/2/18 when a decision would be made as to the timing of the publication. Members approved the estimated expenditure of £350 for copies of the plan to be published. The IFC would meet to progress the proposals for improvements to roads and pavements and KCC had now provided guidance as to changes to Traffic Regulation Orders. Some residents had raised concerns regarding the lack of street lighting to the junction of Steadman Close with School Lane and Members agreed that the IFC should seek costs for installing a light and bring these costs back to the Parish Council.


d.    Executive Management Committee

       There was nothing to report.


e.    Higham Neighbourhood Forum

       Peter Leakey reported that no more Forum Meetings were planned for the foreseeable future. Two sessions of Speedwatch had been held recently and 70 vehicles had been reported with the highest speed being recorded at 50 mph.


f.     Kent Community Warden.

       Paul Hassell introduced himself to Members as the new Kent Community Warden and confirmed that he could currently be contacted on the same phone number as Steve Gray. He would be holding his first Community Surgery next week..



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


Clerks salary (November)                                                                                                1085.54

HMRC (PAYE/NI November)                                                                                          208.20

KCC (LGPS November)                                                                                                    411.23

Clerks salary (December)                                                                                                 1085.54

HMRC (PAYE/NI December)                                                                                           208.20

KCC (LGPS December)                                                                                                    411.23

Exps for room as office (1/10/17 to 31/12/17)                                                                      227.50

Mr S. Gray (retirement of Community Warden S137/139)                                                      50.00

Mr M. Papadopulos (HPC Christmas card)                                                                           39.99

Sue Sparks (Bid Writing Workshop for second delegate)                                                        95.00

Sue Sparks (Speedwatch items)                                                                                            30.00

Stuart Mason (vegetation clearance to allotments)                                                                500.00

Clive Stanley (webmaster services 1/10/17 to 31/12/17)                                                        162.00

Alan Howard (letter box fixings)                                                                                           21.20

KALC (Crime Prevention and Safety Conference for one delegate)                                        72.00

KCPFA (subscription)                                                                                                           20.00

KCC (costs for Volunteer Warden 2017/2018)                                                                      341.25

Mr Garrod (part of community collection for stolen allotment tools)                                         100.00

Mrs Everall (part of community collection for stolen allotment tools)                                       100.00

Gravesham Borough Council (rates for Pavilion)                                                                 8,697.16

Graham Knight (Love Higham website maintenance)                                                              95.00          

EDF Energy (Pavilion electricity)                                                                                           49.38

Gravesham Network Development CIC (youth provision)                                                    1,989.00

Earth Anchors Ltd. (Malcolm seat)                                                                                       520.80                                                                                                        

St. Johns College (quarter year rent for RG due 25/12/17)                                                      750.00


To receive a report from the Precept Fixing Meeting held on 8th January 2018.

A report of the Precept Fixing Meeting held on 8/1/18 had been circulated to Members prior to the Meeting. It was proposed by Cllr. Carroll, seconded by Cllr. Holmes and agreed by all Members to recommend a precept of £86,449.98 for the 2018/2019 financial year.


To review the current budget setting process to ascertain if it requires updating.

Following discussion amongst Members it was agreed that it would be helpful to seek advice through KALC on how to set, manage and monitor a Parish Council budget in the future. This might also be able to incorporate a degree of forward planning.  However, as a budget needed to be set for the next financial year, and approved at the next Parish Council Meeting, it was agreed that all Members would meet on 12/2/18 for this purpose.



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 item:-

1.  Members agreed to ask for ideas for the “lasting legacy” being offered by Highways England for the LTC. The item would be placed on the agenda for the forthcoming Meeting of Parish Chairmen.


To note the date of the next Parish Council Meeting.

This was given as being Monday, 26th February 2018 at 7.30 p.m.


Any Other Business.

The Clerk reported that she had been advised that a decision had been taken to close the Higham and Mockbeggar Cricket Club. 


There being no other business the Meeting closed at 10.17 p.m. 



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