MINUTES OF A MEETING OF THE PARISH COUNCIL HELD IN VESTRY HALL, CRANBROOK, ON THURSDAY 13th JULY 2023
Public Participation – there were no questions from the public.
PRESENT: Cllrs. Fletcher (Chair), Bunyan, Fairweather, Gilbert, Hatcher, Kings, Mills, Newman, Pethurst, Selby and Tomlinson. Borough Cllr. Dawlings
37/23: APOLOGIES: Cllrs. Page, Somers & Stone. Borough Cllr. Warne
38/23: Declaration of Interests, Dispensations and Predetermination:
The Chairman read out the following statement:
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. The meeting is routinely recorded as a clerk’s aid.
39/23: Minutes of the Previous Meeting to be confirmed:
The Chairman referred to the minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held on 8th June 2023 that had been circulated beforehand by the Clerk. Cllr. Bunyan wished to clarify that item 32/23 bullet 2 should be clarified as pedestrian access. They were agreed for accuracy and proposed for acceptance by Cllr. Fletcher, seconded by Cllr. Pethurst and voted for unanimously by those present at that meeting and signed by the Chair.
40/23: Medical Centre Community Centre:
Cllr. Fletcher advised that there is no progress to report. The obstacle for the three surgeries merging is the full repair lease on the Crane Surgery. The ICB are still very positive about the three surgeries coming together into the medical centre, but are not prepared to pay the full repair lease. The new owners of the Crane Surgery are keen to get into the new medical centre. Their plan is to have a permanent salaried GP, not locums, but recruitment is proving difficult. If we do not receive the number of square metres required, the committee will decide on the size and notify the ICB what it is.
Cllr. Bunyan enquired if the coming together would create one practice, or three separate practices under one roof? Cllr. Fletcher did not know.
In response to a question from Cllr. Pethurst regarding size requirements, Cllr. Fletcher advised that the ICB had previously advised the three practices would need between 850-900sqm. The rent difference between 850 and 900sqm is a lot of money. As is the build cost is about £6000+/sqm.
Cllr. Mills enquired if the project could move ahead with just two surgeries? Cllr. Fletcher advised that to enable the current planned community centre, the maximum rent would be required to repay loans.
Pharmacy update – The Chairman reported he had met the Pharmacist from Ticehurst and his two partners. They are expecting to take over the Cranbrook pharmacy on August 1st. It will be a fully stocked pharmacy and chemist. Current staff have been offered jobs. Members were very pleased to hear this news as it is so important for the town.
41/23: Chairman’s Report:
Cake – the deadline for stories, events etc. is the end of July. In the next edition, ‘The Cake meets…’ focuses on the holders of horticultural scholarships at Sissinghurst Castle. Following discussions, other ideas for articles/features include NDP referendum, HIP event review, community centre.
Education – Cllr. Fletcher advised The Cake will also contain an invitation to a public meeting on the 4th October, to launch a drive for a new school. He has written to the nine surrounding parishes that historically sent children to High Weald Academy.
KALC has a new Chief Executive. They appear to have listened to feedback about training and have made improvements. There are some free events and they are also offering bitesize training for some topics. Cllr. Fletcher encouraged the members to look at the offerings.
42/23: Approval of Committee Reports as detailed below:
a. Policy & Resources:
Cllr. Pethurst referred to the minutes of the meeting held on the 11th July 2023. He highlighted the Social Medica Policy revisions and the new Co-option policy. He advised that if the Members wished to keep co-option votes as secret ballots, then the Standing Orders would need amending. The Clerk explained that legislation required all voting to be done as a show of hands, unless stated in the Standing Orders. Currently there is no exemption for co-option in the Standing Orders. The members agreed with the P&R Committees recommendation to amend the Standing Orders to allow secret ballot voting for co-option.
Cllr. Hatcher summarised the main proposed changes. Amendments will:
- allow the parish councils social media accounts to follow/friend other accounts to enhance reach
- reflect that as well as Facebook, the parish council also has Twitter and Instagram accounts
Cllr. Pethurst referred to item 25/23 of the P&R minutes, thanking the Clerk for attending the Highway Improvement Plan events the previous weekend. He then proposed that the minutes be adopted. This was seconded by Cllr. Fairweather and agreed.
b. Planning & Preservation:
Cllr. Bunyan presented the minutes of the meetings held on 20th June 2023 and 4th July. She highlighted the application 23/01430/FULL that proposed converting a single dwelling to three self-contained dwellings. The Committee had recommended refusal for a number of reasons, including concern for utility companies’ ability to supply and the lack of a non-selective secondary school locally.
c. Properties and Burials: Next meeting will be a site meeting on the 18th
d. Community Development
Cllr. Hatcher referred to the minutes of the 13th June, highlighting item 10/23 a – to trial quarterly surgeries. The proposal is to hold three in Cranbrook in the Addison Room, and one in Sissinghurst, most likely in the Parish Rooms. Cllrs. Hatcher and Selby will host the first surgery in September. Dates to be determined. There will be a feature in the next edition of Cake. Cllr. Hatcher will be looking for Member volunteers for the three remaining sessions.
Cllr. Hatcher proposed the minutes be adopted. This was seconded by Cllr. Newman and agreed.
e. Environmental Management
Cllr. Fairweather referred to the minutes from the meeting held on the 27th June. He and Cllr. Mills had now met with the organiser of the Ball Field play equipment survey, and will provide her with details of budget and preferred suppliers. He also highlighted the ongoing discussions for a 7×7 and full-size football pitch on the Ball Field. Cllr. Fletcher advised that communication has been received from TWBC regarding the release of section 106 monies for youth provision. This will be requested for the football pitches.
Cllr. Fairweather proposed the minutes be adopted. Cllr. Bunyan reiterated the clarification that the temporary access to the Jubilee Field is pedestrian access. Cllr. Mills seconded Cllr. Fairweather’s proposal which was agreed by all.
43/23: Delegate Reports:
a) Tourism Group: The last meeting was held on the 22nd May, which Cllr. Hatcher had attended. The next meeting is due to be held at Cranbrook Museum on the 17th Cllr. Newman is also now a representative.
b) Hop Pickers Line Heritage Group: Fletcher read out a statement from Graham Holmes: A significant amount of work had been done in respect of the interpretation panels in Paddock Wood with the help of monies from section 106 agreements. In addition, the Group continues to gather material for its new website, which it is hoping to launch later in the year.
c) CCACC: Bunyan advised the minutes from the previous meeting will shortly be shared. The next meeting may be postponed due to low availability of attendees. Cllr. Fletcher advised that the planning application for double glazing in Vestry Hall is underway.
d) St George’s Institute: Fairweather advised that the next trustee meeting is planned for 27th July.
44/23: Clerks Report:
Following the recent trial of sending agendas via calendar invitation, rather than email, the Clerk requested feedback on the preference going forwards. Following a short discussion and sharing of advice, it was agreed the Clerks would send meeting agendas and attachments via calendar invite.
45/23: Correspondence: Nothing to report.
46/23: County and Borough Councillor Reports:
Borough Cllr. Dawlings reported on a number of items:
- Congratulations to the museum volunteers for organising a thoroughly interesting 50th anniversary event
- The Conservation Officer is moving to a three-day week
- The Honorary Freedom of the Borough of Tunbridge Wells has been granted to Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust. The award was made by the Mayor, Councillor Hugh Patterson, during the recent Borough Full Council meeting. The award was presented on the 5th July, the same day as the 75th anniversary of the NHS. This was greatly appreciated by the staff. We are very fortunate to have such a high performing NHS Trust locally.
- The Local Government Association Conference in Bournemouth had recently taken place. Speakers had covered various national topics including devolution, education, temporary accommodation, and leisure centres. It was clear that nationally leisure centres are struggling with energy costs.
- TWBC has plans to increase the amount of temporary accommodation units it has
Borough Cllr. Fairweather reported that:
- the bin rescheduling has resulted in lots of missed bins
- the TWBC enforcement department that deals with badly kept public spaces and façades of business has been assisting with couple of issues in Sissinghurst that have been ongoing for 8 months
- recruitment and retention of TWBC staff remains an issue
- visitors to Tunbridge Wells should be aware of the extended bus lane restrictions at Mount Pleasant that are resulting in colossal fines
47/23: Items for Information
Cllr. Pethurst reminded Members the TWBC residents survey can be completed on line. He reported that the judging for South East in Bloom has taken place. The town looked extremely presentable. The criteria this year was focused on sustainability.
Cllr. Bunyan suggested that trees that are causing driving issues could be added to the HIP?
Cllr. Hatcher advised that there are plans to add a section to the website for consultations such as the HIP. The Clerk advised the web designers have been instructed to provide this.
Cllr. Selby advised that the asset register consultation forms have been delivered around town. There are also posters displayed with a QR code.
Cllr. Mills enquired if there had been any updates on the Children’s Centre. The Chairman offered to follow up.