PRESENT: Cllr. Fletcher (Chairman), Cllrs. Beck, Bunyan, Dyke, Fairweather, Fermor, Hartley, Hatcher, Pethurst and Borough Cllr’s Dawlings and Holden

APOLOGIES: Cllrs. Gilbert, Rampling and Borough Cllr. Warne

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.

181/21: Minutes of the Previous Meeting to be confirmed:

The Chairman proposed the Minutes of the Meeting held on the 10th March 2022 be adopted as a true record, this was seconded by Cllr. Fairweather and agreed.

182/21: Co-option of Parish Councillor’s:

Following the resignation of Cllr. Nancy Warne and Cllr. John Smith, two vacancies had arisen on the Parish Council. Due process had been followed, no call for an election had been made. The casual vacancies had been advertised.There had been four expressions of interest received, and all four had been invited to attend. Three of the candidates attended on the evening and Cllr. Fletcher thanked them for putting their names forward. They were asked to speak for three to four minutes and to include what they saw as the main challenges the Parish Council face and what they thought they could bring to the role. All the candidates spoke eloquently and passionately about Cranbrook & Sissinghurst.

Members were issued with ballot papers and asked to indicate whom they would like to co-opt for the Sissinghurst Ward vacancy. The vote was counted by the Clerks, who advised the Chair that Julie Simpson was the successful candidate; she was invited to sign the Declaration of Acceptance of Office and took a place at the table. The process was repeated for the Cranbrook Ward vacancy, Ant Tomlinson was the successful candidate; he was invited to sign the Declaration of Acceptance of Office and took a place at the table.

Cllr. Fletcher congratulated the newly co-opted members. He also thanked the other candidate for the interest that they had shown, and hoped that when a position arises in future, they would come forward again.

183/21: Community Centre/Medical Centre:

Cllr. Fletcher reported that Evans Langford had been commissioned to carry out the required geotechnical studies.

The old dental surgery has sustained further vandalism. The Chairman will be writing to Stephen Baughen for advice regarding the possibility of early demolition of the building, without it impacting future planning applications.

184/21: KCC Strategic Statement Consultation:

A PowerPoint from KCC presenting their Draft Summary Strategic Statement had been circulated prior to the meeting. Cllr. Fletcher introduced the draft priorities in the presentation that he felt were pertinent to Cranbrook and Sissinghurst. Due to the levels of deprivation in area he is keen for Cranbrook to be classified in line with deprived coastal areas as mentioned in the Levelling Up section of the summary. He asked that all Councillors forward their comments to him so that he could collate a response by the 20th April deadline.

185/21: Chairman’s Report:

Since the last meeting the war in Ukraine is getting worse, there are eye watering increases in National Insurance and substantial changes in our Energy bills. Life is changing and we need to look ahead to bring the community together to increase resilience.

The reopening of the public toilets before the first bank holiday in May will improve our offer to tourists, as well as supporting our elderly. Some cubicles will be labelled for men and others for women.

For our community, the field shelter, sponsored by Cllr Sean Holden, has been erected by Messrs Dunn of Prestige Fencing, and has been well received by all the passersby’s. He was delighted to say Travis Perkins are giving boarding for the inside, to make it even more difficult to damage.

Notices will be put in the public WCs asking people to use the shelter instead of meeting in the WCs.

Looking forward to next Autumn, an initial meeting has been held to address the potential effect of families having to Heat or Eat, as mentioned in the Economic and Community meeting. It was decided to advertise for volunteers in the next Parish Cake to spread the considerable work load. People with catering expertise, (chefs, catering management experience) as well as washers-up, helpers and organisers will be needed. Currently the initiative is to be called the Community Kitchen.

The wild flower meadow has been planted, following a lot of hard work shifting turf to prepare the land. Special thanks go to Fred Page for his unstinting work on the project.

We await the result of the Berkeley Homes appeal for Turnden 2. Brick Kiln passed planning last week – the entrance has been started already.

Reports from Committees:

186/21: Policy & Resources:

Cllr. Beck referred to the minutes of the meeting held on 12th April and invited questions. As none were raised, he proposed adoption of the minutes, this was seconded by Cllr. Hatcher and agreed.

187/21: Planning & Preservation:

Cllr. Bunyan referred to the minutes of the meetings held 15th March and 5th April. She highlighting the new parish council eco statement in the minutes of the 5th April and invited questions. Cllr. Pethurst asked if noise was considered when discussing the Dominos Pizza application. She confirmed that it had been discussed and the committee felt that the closing time should not be 11pm and had recommended an alternative closing time of 10pm.

188/21: Properties & Burial Grounds:

Next meeting 26th April.

189/21: Economic & Community:

Cllr. Hatcher referred to the meeting held on 29th March. He reported that the web redesign is underway. Cllr. Fermor has put the designers in touch with a local photographer.

He has identified community volunteers that would like to be involved in a community fridge/pantry. Identification of a suitable location is ongoing.

Cllr. Fletcher advised that the church tower beacon would cost £1000 to repair therefore there will be no beacon for the Queen’s Jubilee. However, it was noted that there is discussion regarding illuminating the Windmill.

Cllr. Hatcher then proposed adoption of the minutes; this was seconded by Cllr. Beck and agreed.

190/21: Environmental Management:

Cllr. Pethurst referred to the meeting held on 22nd March. Cllr. Fairweather commented that the pothole in the entrance to the Regal car park has been completed. Also, the litter pick in Sissinghurst had taken place and he expressed his thanks to all the volunteers.

With no further comments Cllr. Pethurst proposed adoption of the minutes, this was seconded by Cllr. Fletcher and agreed.

191/21: Neighbourhood Development Plan:

Cllr. Pethurst reported that we are still waiting for the plans to be received back from the consultant.

192/21: Delegate Reports:

a) Age Concern:

Cllr. Hatcher reported that he had attended several of the successful coffee mornings. There are plans afoot to reinstate the monthly lunch.

b) Tourism Group:

Next meeting to take place 19th April.

c) Hop Picker’s Line Heritage Group:

Comments provided by Graham Holmes – Further to Planning Application 22/00134, in respect of the site adjacent to Cranbrook Station, it has been agreed that the Group will be making a submission to TWBC reminding them that a condition exists within the Local Plan that protects the track bed of the former railway from development.

The site plan appears to show that the new development will be in breach of these conditions.


Cllr. Bunyan reported that the meeting time has returned to 5.30pm

Cllr. Pethurst suggested that following the failure of the load bearing test on the KCC streetlights, KCC should be contacted to confirm that the streetlights are safe.

e) Citizens Advice:

Cllr. Hatcher is meeting the Tunbridge Wells representative in Cranbrook on 20th April to view potential meeting spaces.

f) Museum:

Cllr. Pethurst reported a very successful couple of weeks following reopening and recommended a visit to the Cranbrook Colony room.

192/21: Clerk’s Report:

Nothing to report.

194/21: Correspondence:

The Clerk reported that no correspondence had been received.

195/21: Borough & County Councillor Reports:

a)  Cllr. Holden reported:

There has been disruption on the M20 due to Operation Brock, it is expected to continue after the Easter break.

The term ‘Deprived Coastal Community’ as used in the KCC Strategy Document suggests that the whole community is deprived, a more accurate description would be ‘Deprivation in Coastal Communities’.

There are around 2000 homes on offer to Ukrainian refugees with in the county. With 800 placements so far. Social Affairs group are responsible for safeguarding.

Living green rooftops are being considered for bus stops as part of Kent’s Plan Bee strategy.

Pleased to see that the field shelter has been installed.

b)  Cllr. Dawlings reported:

There are 20 Ukraine families in the Borough. Practical help has been the focus of the council, including helping open bank accounts, school places.

Price Cooper Waterhouse have been commissioned to advise how TWBC and neighbouring councils can better align in the future, as part of the feedback for the Local Plan.

Pleased to announce that TWBC has received £1M funding from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

Users of the Weald Sports Centre have raised issues regarding the management of the centre. This is being looked into.

c) Cllr. Fairweather reported:

Kent Community Safety Partnership programme has reported that Tunbridge Wells Borough is one of the safest Boroughs in the country. Cranbrook is low compared to the rest of the borough. It has been noted that there is an increased reporting of antisocial behaviour in Cranbrook and Paddock Wood.

The garden waste collection has been reinstated for 4 weeks now and has had a 99% success rate. Reporting of missed bin collections is encouraged.

196/21: Items for Information:

a) Cllr. Hatcher advised that CODs play ‘Vicar of Dibley’ was now showing.

b) Cllr. Dyke enquired about Cllr. Pethurst’s progress with researching parish council surgeries. Cllr. Pethurst reported that he was still looking to pursue the idea.

The Meeting was closed.

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