PRESENT: Cllr. Hatcher (Chair), Cllrs. Fletcher, Gilbert, Newman, Selby and Stone

APOLOGIES: Cllr. Tomlinson

Declaration of Interests, Dispensations, Predetermination or Lobbying:

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.

24/23: KCC plans to divest Windmills, including Union Mill:

Cllr. Hatcher invited members of the Cranbrook Windmill Association (CWA) to speak who summarized KCCs plans to divest all 8 windmills in the county that they own, and explained that by divesting the windmills, KCC would save on future maintenance costs.

In 2022 KCC published a Heritage Strategy that concluded that windmills were good for Kent tourism, and for the people living and working nearby. The strategy also stated that KCC planned to continue to maintain all windmills in the county. To diverge from the strategy KCC are required to carry out a consultation. The consultation went live today (28.11.23) and will close on January 29th 2024.

CWA plan to work with groups from the other Kent windmills to devise a strategy to oppose the divestiture plans. If CWA were to take on the windmill, an estimate £35,000 extra a year would need to be raised.

To raise awareness of the consultation the CWA would like to hold a town meeting in Vestry Hall. The Clerk will advise of potential dates the hall is available in January. A link to the online consultation will be shared via Parish Council channels.

25/23: Budget:

Cllr. Hatcher proposed budget contributions for 24/25 mirror that of 23/24. This was seconded by Cllr. Gilbert and agreed. A copy will be filed with the minutes.

26/23: Five-year Plans:

a) Develop effective liaison with outside bodies on car parking and traffic issues
Selby shared his plans for making contact. Cllr. Fletcher welcomed agenda items for the Chairman’s meeting he attends if the issues also impact surrounding parishes.

b) Create and develop Parish Voluntary Organisation liaison
Gilbert and Newman will meet to discuss further in the New Year

c) Develop a public consultation policy
Hatcher will expand on the Communication Strategy to devise a consultation policy

27/23: Social Media Presence and Website:

Cllr. Hatcher advised that he has been following other organisations on social media.

 The Clerk advised that Uprise have been working on restoring the archive files that were missing from the website.

The committee discussed improving search engine optimisation (SEO) for the parish council website. They also discussed the website called ‘The official website of Cranbrook’. This a website that was created by an individual. It has not been updated for some time and its presence is unbeneficial for the town.

Cllr. Hatcher took an action to contact uprise regarding Google Analytics for the parish council website, improving SEO and the ‘The official website of Cranbrook’.

 28/23: Events:

Cranbrook Town Market is taking place in Jockey Lane on Friday 8th December.

29/23: Business Links:

The group last meet at the beginning of November. Members are mainly local small business owners. The group had previously discussed the upcoming plans for all telephone landlines to switch to an internet-based connection.

30/23: Tourism:
Cllr. Fletcher suggested a revival of a leaflet that was a guide to all the independent shops in Cranbrook. Cllr. Hatcher agreed to raise at the next Tourism meeting.

The next meeting is in January.

31/23: Citizens Advice:

Cllr. Hatcher read out the following correspondence from Citizens Advice:

We have continued to see a steady demand for our service and as a result, we have decided to open on a Monday from 8/1/2024, in addition to our existing Wednesday service.  We are delighted that the library have agreed to this but as they are not open to the public that day, we have agreed that Mondays will be for pre-booked appointments only.

This extra session may be subject to review, depending on funding in the next financial year, so keeping it to pre-booked appointments will also allow us to manage any changes in the future.

Since opening the outreach service at Cranbrook in February, we have helped more than 100 clients with over 300 different issues, some clients will have multiple cases with us.

By opening on a Monday, we are hoping to be able to help even more clients and will be able to increase our capacity by increasing the number of advisers working at Cranbrook.

 32/23: Community Kitchen:

Numbers at Toasty Tuesday have been steadily rising. This morning the volunteers served 20 portions of soup.

 33/23: Community Engagement:

a) Monthly Surgeries
Selby had hosted November’s surgery at Sissinghurst with Cllr. Bunyan. There had been several visitors to the surgery and there was a list of concerns that he will forward to the Clerks for guidance on who to contact. The next surgery is planned for 14th December in the Addison Room. Cllr’s Selby, Gilbert and Newman are available to host.

It was decided that the sessions will continue in the New Year on the last Tuesday of the month at 9.15am. The March session will be held in Sissinghurst at the Parish Room.

b)Highways Improvement Plan
The Clerk reported that Cllr. Page had now completed the collation of all comments that had been received in relation to highway improvements. He had presented this at the recent Environmental Management Committee meeting. Cllr. Page is researching the next steps in the process with KCC and will work on a draft application for all members to consider at the next Full Council meeting.

 34/23: Defibrillator Proposal from First Responders:

The Clerk advised that the Community First Responders have made contact with BT regarding reinstating the electricity supply to the telephone box at Bakers Cross.

35/23: Items for Information:

There were no items for information

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