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MINUTES OF A MEETING OF THE PROPERTIES & BURIAL GROUNDS COMMITTEE HELD ON TUESDAY 16th APRIL 2024

 

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

 

36/23: To receive apologies of absence:

Cllr. Newman.

 

37/23: Declaration of Interests, dispensation 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.

 

None received.

 

38/23: St. Dunstan’s Churchyard:

No issues to report.

 

39/23: Golford Cemetery:

No issues to report.

 

40/23: Sissinghurst Cemetery:

  1. a) Native hedge planting on the Southern boundary

It had been agreed some years ago to look into planting native hedging along the southern boundary in place of the leylandii that had been felled. This still requires further investigation to ascertain if the leylandii stumps have rotted sufficiently to allow further planting. It was agreed to look at the area properly during the July site visit. Cllr. Fletcher also offered to take the hedging whips that had been pulled out around Jubilee Field and salvage them by replanting them in the Cemetery.

 

  1. b) Tree work quotes:

We had received two quotes to reduce the height and reshape the two yews on the southern boundary of the Cemetery. After a full discussion it was proposed by Cllr. Gilbert, seconded by Cllr. Bunyan and agreed to accept the quote of £695 from Benjamin Hatcher. He had also included submitting an application for the work to TWBC, in his quote. The residents of Church Mews, who had requested the work be undertaken, would be invited to make a contribution to the cost.

 

41/23: Cranbrook & Sissinghurst War Memorials:

  1. a) Howitzer:

A quote for a full repair of the ‘Howitzer’ had been received from Cranbrook Iron. Assuming the gun is going to be kept outside in its current location at the War Memorial, restoration will be much more involved than first anticipated. The recommendation would be to dismantle the gun and replace the main chassis rails completely. The components would then be protected by galvanisation or by hot zinc sprawling, before assembling them by bolting as opposed to riveting. This would ensure the steel remains protected and would give a much greater lifespan. The cost of the work is estimated between £15K and £20K. Rob Longley of Cranbrook Iron has been asked to attend a Men’s Shed meeting to see if there are sufficient qualified volunteers to help reduce the cost of the project. Once this has been established, a more accurate figure for the restoration can be obtained. Members agreed it was a landmark of Cranbrook history and should be kept in a visible location to be enjoyed by visitors and residents.

 

Cllr. Fletcher queried if it would be better located at the Museum? Cllr. Pethurst advised he was attending a museum committee meeting in the morning and although he could not think of a suitable location, he would raise it at the meeting.

 

42/23: Public Toilet Buildings:

Cllr. Gilbert thanked Cllr. Bunyan for looking at the timer issue in Sissinghurst toilets, which it is hoped has now been resolved. The Clerk confirmed we had signed a fixed one-year contract with British Gas Lite for the electricity supply.

 

Cllr. Bunyan had offered to replant the hedging whips that had been planted directly in front of the clothing recycling bin, which would prevent it being emptied or removed at a later date. We had still not received any indication that a planning application to move the toilet door at the side, to the front of the building to enable a new right of way for the Whiteways Estate. Cllr. Fletcher would contact Chris Loughead of Fernham Homes direct, for an update on the situation.

 

Cllr. Fletcher will make enquiries with the site manager at Roddy Homes for confirmation as to whether the main sewer serving Cranbrook toilets will be disconnected, if so, when that is likely to happen?

 

The Clerk would chase the contractor approved to undertake putting the internal door back on.

 

43/23: Angley Cottage:

An electrical installation report has been scheduled. Cllr. Bunyan will arrange her annual inspection of the property with the tenants and report back to the Committee at the next meeting.

 

44/23: Vestry Hall:

  1. a) Report by Cllr. Newman on Sound system:

Cllr. Newman had given a verbal report to the Clerk over the phone. She had met with the Queen’s Hall Theatre Manager, who was putting together a report of recommendations. Cllr. Newman hoped to receive it shortly and would circulate it to the other committee members.

 

  1. b) Secondary glazing:

There was still a reasonable amount of work to be undertaken before the secondary glazing would be complete. A small pane of the original glazing had been cracked during the installation; Storm Windows had agreed to arrange for this to be repaired by a specialist. There are several panes that have minor cracks, so it may be an opportunity to get those repaired at the same time. The Clerk will chase for a timescale on the repair and completion of the project.

 

  1. c) King’s Portrait:

We had received the portrait of His Majesty King Charles III provided by the UK Government, marking the start of his reign. Members agreed the most appropriate location for the portrait would be the Council Chamber. Cllr. Gilbert volunteered to hang the picture.

 

  1. d) Cllr. Gilbert raised concern that we had still not identified a suitable method for opening and closing the curtains. It was suggested that the Clerk ask Dave Howell, the local window cleaner about the extending poles they use for window cleaning, to see if something along those lines could be used?

 

  1. e) The Clerk reported the annual service of the fire alarm system had been completed.

 

45/23 Vestry Hall Cottage:

Cllr. Gilbert would schedule the annual inspection of the property as soon as the repair work on the roof had been completed. The contractor is taking longer than expected to complete the work.

 

46/23: Parish Office:

  1. a) Alarm and CCTV system:

We had received a quote of £195.00 from MPR IT Solutions to service the intruder alarm and look into improving the CCTV in the office. Despite continued efforts we had been unable to source another quote. Cllr. Gilbert proposed the quote be accepted as presented and hoped that when we had a specification for the CCTV system, we may be able to invite others to quote, thus ensuring we continue to obtain value for money. This was seconded by Cllr. Pethurst and agreed.

 

  1. b) Damp on rear wall of staff toilet:

Cllr. Gilbert had looked at the problem and believed it to be caused by a failure in the flat roof. He had taken pictures, which he would forward to the Clerk. Cllr. Bunyan stated she may be able to provide a recommendation of a specialist in flat roofing, through a contact she has. The Clerk would also refer to adverts in local publications to identify companies that may be interested in quoting for the work.

 

  1. c) Redesign of Office Space:

The Clerk had undertaken an internet search of local office furniture supply companies, that offer a free design service, which she had sent to Cllr. Gilbert. It was agreed to contact them all to see if any can produce a suitable solution for improving the office space.

 

47/23: Noticeboards & Bus Shelters:

Quote for repair to bus shelter – Woodlands, Angley Road:

We had received a quote of £416.02 from GW Shelter Solutions to replace two of the broken glass panels with polycarbonate panels. It was proposed by Cllr. Gilbert, seconded by Cllr. Fletcher and agreed to accept the quote as presented.

 

Cllr. Bunyan asked about the status of the repairs to the village sign. The Clerk advised a new picture part had already been made; we were awaiting a quote from the joiner looking at the oak frame for a cost of repairing the frame.

 

48/23: Benches & Cycle Racks:

No issues were raised.

 

49/23: Red Telephone Kiosks:

No issues were raised.

 

50/23: Items for Information:  

Cllr. Bunyan reported she was still being lobbied by a Sissinghurst resident regarding painting the Penny Farthing. She was asked to reiterate that the issue would be reviewed at the site meeting in July.

 

Cllr. Fletcher advised he had been spoken to by 3 people concerned about the withdrawal of youth services in this area. They had asked about the pond at Bakers Cross, which is in private ownership. They had enquired as to whether it could be used for activities such as pond dipping? Cllr. Fletcher offered to speak to the owner to see if she is happy for her details to be passed on.

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