Environmental Management Minutes 24.11.2020

The meeting was held remotely using Zoom software.

PRESENT: Cllr. Fairweather (in the Chair), Cllrs. Fermor, Fletcher, Gilbert, Kings, Pethurst and Smith.

APOLOGIES: Cllr. Hall

Declaration of Interests, Dispensations and Predetermination:

Members are required to declare any interests, dispensations or predetermination on items on this agenda in accordance with the Council’s Code of Conduct. Members are reminded that changes to the Register of Interests should be notified to the Clerk.

13/20: Five Year Plan & Budget:

The Five-Year plan was discussed, the Clerk advised that some minor amendments and additions were required and she was in the process of completing those. Cllr. Fairweather noted that it was more of a maintenance schedule to ensure that everything is kept in good order and undertaken in a timely fashion. He proposed the plan be accepted, subject to the amendments discussed, this was seconded by Cllr. Fletcher and agreed.

The working budget sheet that had been circulated to the Committee was discussed. The Chairman queried the absence of earmarked funds allocated to play equipment. The Clerk explained the Tomlin Murton Playing Fields Trust had received a discretionary grant of £10,000 which could be used for play equipment on the Ball Field as it forms part of the Trust land. Monies put aside for maintenance of the car parks was also discussed and deemed adequate by Members. Cllr. Fairweather proposed the budget figures as presented, be accepted, this was seconded by Cllr. Pethurst and agreed. A copy is filed with these minutes.

14/20: Issues from areas of responsibility:

a) Allotments:

Safety concerns regarding trees overhanging the allotments had been raised with Cranbrook Primary School. The School have referred the concerns to their contractor for any necessary action.

b) Ball Field:

Cllr. Fletcher reported that he had contacted Cranbrook School with a request to address the issue of the floodlights which were excessively bright. They have repositioned them, however this had not rectified the issue, therefore he would be going back to them to see if a shade of some sort could be fitted to reduce the glare.

Cllr. Fletcher also reported that Cranbrook in Bloom were in the process of ordering the trees for the spinney which had been funded by a Member’s Grant from County Cllr. Holden. It was hoped planting could start as soon as the current restrictions permit the volunteers to do so.

c) Crane Valley:

Cllr. Fletcher reported that the tree work had started but was yet to be completed. The Clerk advised this was due to the ground being too wet for vehicles to access the area.

A landowner adjacent to the nature reserve had suggested the fencing bordering his land should be repaired as an unofficial stile had been erected which he felt encouraged walkers to access his field. He had been advised that it was his responsibility or that of his tenant to ensure livestock in his field were suitably contained and fences adequately maintained. Enquiries as to who had erected the stile were ongoing.

d) Jubilee Field:

Cllr. Fermor reported an increase in dog waste in the field and asked the Committee to consider purchasing a dog waste bag dispenser, similar to those recently purchased for the Ball Field. It was proposed by Cllr. Fairweather, seconded by Cllr. Fletcher and agreed to purchase a bag dispenser for the Jubilee Field.  

15/20: Car Parks:

a) Regal

Cllr. Kings reported that the outstanding repairs to the exit road had been completed. There are some other small minor areas of damage that may get worse if they are affected by cold or wet weather conditions. Members discussed the potential for further damage from heavy construction traffic, agreeing that any major resurfacing work should wait until the projects on Wilkes Field were completed. It was proposed by Cllr. Fairweather, seconded by Cllr. Fletcher and agreed to purchase a few bags of cold fill tarmacadam which would be stored in the container at Golford and available for use in emergencies. Cllr. Kings agreed to keep the small areas of damage under constant review.

b) Jockey Lane:

Quote for maintenance schedule for E.V points: 

The Clerk had obtained a quote for a premium maintenance package and had confirmed this would cover routine inspections and engineers call out (subject to availability), however it did not cover parts. The cost was £249 + VAT per unit, per year. It was proposed by Cllr. Smith, seconded by Cllr. Fermor and agreed to accept the quote for all three units.

c) Tanyard:

Cllr. Fletcher advised he regularly checked and cleared the culvert. Ideally a long-term solution to prevent the culvert becoming blocked, needs to be sought to prevent the risk of flooding. Our contractor SKF, clear it on a monthly basis.

16/20: Highways Issues:

Parishioner request for the Parish Council to lead a campaign to implement a 20mph speed limit in Common Road & The Street, Sissinghurst:

Members discussed the request at length and although agreed it was a brilliant idea, concerns were raised as to how it would be policed.

Cllr. Smith suggested that outside the Primary School, traffic calming measures such as build outs could be introduced, however he doubted if that would be supported on the main A road through the village. The issue intensifies in the evenings and early in the morning, the majority of speeding occurs as vehicles either enter or leave the village. The Clerk advised that KCC would most probably expect the Parish Council to fund the initial costings and any solutions identified. We would also need to evidence a need by providing data on the level of incidents occurring at the location. She had visited the crashmap site and had identified 4 incidents described as ‘slight’ in the previous 3 years. It was agreed that funding should be sought by KCC through S106 monies.

It was agreed that Cllr. Fairweather would write to KCC Highways and to County Cllr Seán Holden, in his role as Chairman of this Committee and as a Borough Councillor to ask if a 20mph limit outside the Primary School could be further explored. Members of this Committee that were also involved in the NDP would be asked to feed back these suggestions to the consultation on the draft plan.

17/20: Any Other Environmental Management Issues:

Outside Gym Project:

Members had been circulated an in-depth report written by Mark Lawrence, the local Everyday Active Champion who was suggesting the Council consider creating a free-to-use outdoor gym facility for the over 14’s. Members discussed other outdoor gym areas in surrounding parishes and although a worthwhile project felt that the financial commitment of around £22-28K could not be justified in the current climate. However, if Mr. Lawrence could secure adequate funding for the project the Committee were confident a suitable location could be identified.

18/20: Litter Picks and Litter Bins:

Parishioner request for relocating a bin on the Ball Field:

A request had been received to re site the bin at the top of the Ball Field closer to the crossing to Great Swifts. The Committee discussed the request at length, but felt that all the bins on the field were currently in the most suitable and relevant locations. Cllr. Fletcher offered to respond to the request by email, citing the reasons for this decision.

19/20: Items for Information:

No items were raised.

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