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

APOLOGIES: Cllrs. Mills and Newman.

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.

7/23: Budget & Five Year Action Plan Update:

Members discussed the Five Year Action Plan and were pleased to be able to tick off the thermal curtains that were now in situ, in the Vestry Hall.  The cost had been covered by a UKSPF grant. The secondary double glazing for the main hall had been ordered and the deposit paid, so that project was also well under way.

Cllr. Gilbert suggested that because of the recent closure of High Weald Academy and the current need to bus schoolchildren to areas further afield, we should consider providing more bus shelters in the parish. This would be added to the Five Year Action Plan.

Identifying land for woodland burials was also on the plan, so it was suggested that an article be written for The Cake to see if any landowner has suitable land to donate, or to offer for purchase?

Cllr. Bunyan felt that a list to monitor regular maintenance of our assets would be useful, as the new format of the Five Year Plan no longer incorporates a schedule.

A working budget sheet had been circulated to the Committee prior to the meeting. It had been prepared by the R.F.O along with Cllrs. Gilbert and Pethurst. The budget had been prepared on the basis that there would be no increase in the hire fees of the Vestry Hall Complex. Members discussed the issue but decided that any increase may have a detrimental effect on the number of bookings and they were still slightly short of pre-pandemic levels. There were no other points raised in regard of the draft budget, therefore Cllr. Gilbert proposed that both the Five Year Action Plan and the draft budget as presented, be approved. This was seconded by Cllr. Pethurst and agreed.

8/23: St. Dunstan’s Churchyard:

No issues were raised.

9/23: Golford Cemetery:

The ground contractors had reported that the mole hills were not a problem at the current time. We have a specialist we can call on, if the problem reoccurs.

The chapel organ has been donated to Mr. Peter Wells who repairs and restores organs. He is due to collect it imminently. The space freed up, will allow for some extra chairs to be added.

10/23: Sissinghurst Cemetery:

a) Cllr. Gilbert reported that the receiving post of the entrance gate still needed to be repaired or replaced.

b) Cllr. Bunyan reported that she had received an email from a couple of residents whose homes back onto the Cemetery. They would like the height of yew trees at the back of their gardens to be reduced and are prepared to cover the cost. The Clerk advised that as the Cemetery is in the Conservation Area, she would need to apply to the Tree Officer at TWBC for permission, before any work is undertaken. It was agreed the Clerk would contact the residents to establish how much of a deduction would be desirable and the cost of the work.

11/23: Amendment to Burial Grounds Regulations:

Draft amendments had been circulated to the Committee prior to the meeting. It was proposed by Cllr. Gilbert, seconded by Cllr. Kings and agreed to accept the changes as presented. A copy of the revised document is filed with these minutes.

12/23: Cranbrook & Sissinghurst War Memorials:

The Clerk advised the Cranbrook War Memorial had been cleaned by a local military grave restorer who was also an ex-serviceman. The developer of the Brick Kiln site, Hill Development had agreed to cover the cost of the clean. An article and photographs would be submitted for the next edition of The Cake.

13/23: Public Toilet Buildings – Crane Lane & Sissinghurst:

The Clerk advised that although this committee could remain responsible for making decisions regarding the maintenance of the buildings, the cost code remains with Policy & Resources in respect of the budget allocation. Cllr. Gilbert offered to speak to the new owner of the Wilkes Field site to see how much longer the toilets in Cranbrook would be connected to the main drains, as the timeframe would be dependant on the development of the site. It was as yet unknown if the repairs to Sissinghurst toilets had been completed by TWBC.

14/23: Angley Cottage:

No issues were raised.

15/23: Vestry Hall:

a) The caretakers had reported the side door was sticking occasionally. Cllr. Gilbert had taken a look and reported the strike on the lock had worn slightly, he would try and rectify the issue when he had a spare moment.

b) Cllrs. Fletcher and Gilbert had visited an office furniture retailer in Paddock Wood to look at some second hand chairs to replace those in the Council Chamber. Both councillors were very impressed with the quality and comfort of the chairs. Cllr. Gilbert proposed that all 16 of the second hand chairs available and an additional 4 new ones of the same design, at a total cost of £1,091.80 + VAT be purchased. This was seconded by Cllr. Pethurst and agreed. As the expenditure is below the threshold that can be approved by the Committee without requiring ratification at Full Council, the chairs would be ordered tomorrow to ensure the order can be fulfilled.

c) A stone mason had visited the Vestry Hall stairway with a view to repairing the sandstone window mullions which had suffered from significant deterioration over the years. The quote would be to clean down the damaged areas, cut out one damaged cill and graft a new piece in to match. To take out various areas of previous poorly repaired areas and match to existing. To finally lime/cement wash said areas to blend in with existing and achieve a uniform appearance at a total cost of £465.00.

Cllr. Gilbert proposed the quote be accepted as presented, this was seconded Cllr. Bunyan and agreed.

16:23 Vestry Hall Cottage:

The Clerk reported she had chased the approved contractor for a start date to carry out the repairs in the cottage and had been advised it should be within the next few weeks.

17/23: Parish Office:

Cllr. Gilbert explained that he felt we could make better use of the area and be more efficient with the space available. It was agreed that initially we would submit an article for publication in The Cake, to see if there were any residents that may possess the relevant skills and would be prepared to help redesign the space.

18//23: Noticeboards & Bus Shelters:

The Clerk reported that the bus shelters in the Parish had recently been cleaned. Cllr. Buyan felt that many of the noticeboards in the Parish were in need of cleaning and oiling to keep them in a good condition. Belle Vue School had previously offered to help with undertaking this, but it was believed the teacher organising the project had since left the school. The Clerk would contact the school to see if the students were still interested in undertaking the work as a project.

19/23: Benches & Cycle Racks:

The Clerk advised benches for Sissinghurst and Cranbrook, to commemorate the King’s Coronation had been ordered. The majority of the cost would be met by a UKSPF grant provided by TWBC.

20/23: Red Telephone Kiosks:

The project to site a defibrillator in the kiosk at Bakers Cross had been taken on by the Community Development Committee. The Clerk is liaising with a member of the Community First Responder Team to help progress this.

21/23: Items for Information:  

None raised.



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