PRESENT: Cllr. Pethurst (in the Chair), Cllrs. Bunyan, Fairweather, Fletcher, Gilbert and Hatcher.

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.

 51/23: Internal finance check:

Cllr. Pethurst confirmed that the internal finance check had been completed and everything was in order, all paperwork had been signed and initialled.

 52/23: Authorisation of payments made after the September meeting:

A list of payments totalling £24,673.05 made after the September meeting, is filed with these minutes. Cllr. Bunyan referred to the two payments made to EDF for the electricity supply to the Parish Office. The Clerk explained that we had been on a direct debit budget plan, this is the same amount taken each month, but we have now changed to whole amount direct debit payments, this means the whole cost of the electricity consumed is taken on the monthly basis.

 53/23: Interest Rate Report:

The Clerk had prepared a report on the amounts being held in our various bank accounts and the interest rates for those accounts. In order to maximise interest receipts, it was agreed that more research was required to decide the most appropriate accounts to utilise. This would be delegated to Cllr. Pethurst and the Clerk to undertake and to report back to the next meeting.

 54/23: Transfers of monies between accounts:

The Clerk confirmed that no transfers had been necessary.

 55/23: Invoices for Payment:

A list of payments to be made in October had been circulated, a copy of which is filed with these minutes. This included the final payment to Feria Urbanism, the NDP Consultants.

Cllr. Pethurst proposed the payments be approved as presented, this was seconded by Cllr. Fletcher and agreed.

These included:

Policy and Resources                          £18,845.02

Properties & Burial Grounds               £     770.00

Environmental Management             £  2.227.80

Total           £21,842.82

Two members are required to log in to the account and authorise the payments.

56/23: Policies:

a) Communication Strategy:

The draft Communication Strategy for consideration had been circulated to the Committee prior to the meeting. Cllr. Hatcher also advised that the document had been extensively discussed at a recent Community Development meeting and had been recommended for approval by that Committee. Cllr. Hatcher proposed the Communication Strategy be adopted as presented, this was seconded by Cllr. Pethurst and agreed.

b) Safeguarding Policy:

Members agreed Safeguarding had become a complex subject in recent years. A new policy to protect all vulnerable people had been drafted to replace the current Child Protection Policy. It had been circulated to the Committee before the meeting. They discussed if it was necessary to formally identify a safeguarding officer for the Council, but agreed the onus should be on all organisations hiring the facilities to identify their own officer for the purpose and was not deemed relevant at the present time. The booking form for the Vestry Hall and premises would need to be amended to ensure all hirers are aware of the Safeguarding Policy. Cllr. Pethurst proposed the policy be adopted as presented, this was seconded by Cllr. Fletcher and agreed.

Annual reviews would be undertaken on both policies although it was agreed that they should be under constant review to ensure they remain adequate. Members expressed their thanks to Mrs Bezuidenhout for her work in preparing the draft documents. Copies will be circulated to all Members to accompany these minutes.

 57/23: Community Centres/Medical Centre:

Cllr. Fletcher reported to Members that he had submitted an application to Tunbridge Wells Borough Council to list the Sixth Form Centre and the Veitch Building, both located on the Snowfields site, as Assets of Community Value. He is waiting to speak to the Estates Director at Leigh Academy Trust. If the application is successful the Department of Education would have to approve the transfer, so he is canvassing local MPs to support the project.

58/23: Staffing:

The Clerk advised that Cllr. Gilbert had carried out the appraisals of all three Clerks this morning. No issues were raised by Cllr. Gilbert or the Clerks.

 59/23: Grant Applications:

No applications had been received. The Clerk advised she was in the process of chasing up a couple of Grant Evaluation forms from applicants who had recently completed their projects.

 60/23: Items for Information:

a) In response to a query from Cllr. Bunyan, Cllr. Fletcher advised we were not covering all the costs involved in producing the parish magazine, as selling advertising space was still proving difficult. He has a

meeting planned with Coffee Shop Media, to try and resolve the recent delivery issues.

b) Cllr. Fairweather thanked Cllr. Hatcher for his help in organising the Cranbrook Litter Pick recently.

c) Cllr. Fletcher reported on the success of the recent meetings on education. The slides and Action Plan are now available to view on the website.

He also reported on the success of the Apple Fair held last weekend. The flamenco artists were brilliant. The grant of £800 the Parish Council had given to pay for the attraction was definitely money well spent.

Cllr. Pethurst did raise concern regarding the lack of a steward by the point of the road closure at the bottom of the High Street, which needs to be noted by the organisers for next year.

d) Cllr. Pethurst reported the Neighbourhood Development Plan had now been adopted in full by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council. At the Cabinet meeting, Cllr. Warne had been very generous with her thanks to those responsible for getting the plan over the line. Chair of the Planning Committee, Cllr. Bunyan, advised the plan was already being referred to in the comments submitted to TWBC.

e) The Clerk advised that Tunbridge Wells Borough Council had agreed to carry out the repairs to the Sissinghurst Public Toilets. It will include a change to the timers which is expected to make a significant change to the electricity usage of recent months. This should give us a better understanding of the usage and will help with the decision making process of selecting the most appropriate supplier moving forward.

The Clerk also advised the new contract for the updated payroll system has been signed with Moorepay. The migration payment had been reduced to £100.

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