DRAFT MINUTES OF A MEETING OF THE PARISH COUNCIL HELD IN VESTRY HALL, CRANBROOK, ON THURSDAY 8th JUNE 2023
Public Participation – there were no questions from the public.
PRESENT: Cllrs. Fletcher (Chair), Bunyan, Gilbert, Hatcher, Pethurst, Somers, Stone, Swenson and Tomlinson
20/23: APOLOGIES: Cllr. Fairweather, Kings, Mills, Newman, Borough Cllr. Dawlings and Warne
21/23: 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.
22/23: Minutes of the Previous Meeting to be confirmed:
The Chairman referred to the minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held on 18th May 2023 that had been circulated beforehand by the Clerk. They were agreed for accuracy and proposed for acceptance by Cllr. Fletcher, seconded by Cllr. Tomlinson and voted for unanimously by those present at that meeting and signed by the Chair.
23/23: Approval of Annual Governance Statement 2022/23
The document had been circulated to all Members prior to the meeting. The Chairman reiterated the importance of the document which forms part of our Annual Return and is sent to the external auditor. Cllr. Fletcher proposed that the Annual Governance Statement be approved. This was seconded by Cllr. Gilbert and agreed.
Section 1 of the Annual Governance and Accountability Return 2021/22 Part 3 was signed by the Chairman.
24/23: Approval of Accounting Statements 2022/23:
The Chairman explained this document also formed part of our Annual Return; copies had been circulated to all Members prior to the meeting. The Chairman proposed that the Accounting Statement as presented to Members be approved, this was seconded by Cllr. Pethurst and agreed.
Section 2 of the Annual Governance and Accountability Return 2021/22 Part 3 was signed by the Chairman.
25/23: Co-option of Councillor for Cranbrook Ward
The Chairman explained that following the uncontested election in May, there were two vacancies on the Parish Council, one for Cranbrook Ward and one for Sissinghurst Ward. There had been one expression of interest for each vacancy. Both candidates accepted the invitation to introduce themselves, including what they thought they could bring to the role and what they saw as the main challenges the Parish Council face.
The Chairman explained that due to there being only one candidate for the Cranbrook Ward, no ballot was necessary. He proposed that David Selby be co-opted as a member of Cranbrook and Sissinghurst Parish Council for Cranbrook Ward. This was seconded by Cllr. Hatcher and agreed unanimously.
26/23: Co-option of Councillor for Sissinghurst Ward
As per the previous agenda item, no ballot was necessary, the Chairman proposed that Chris Page be co-opted as a member of Cranbrook and Sissinghurst Parish Council for Sissinghurst Ward, this was seconded by Cllr. Bunyan and agreed unanimously.
Mr. Selby and Mr. Page both signed a Declaration of Acceptance of Office and joined the meeting.
27/23: NDP motion:
Before the Chairman handed over to Cllr. Pethurst, he took the opportunity to thank Cllr. Pethurst for all the work that had gone into developing the NDP.
Cllr. Pethurst explained that following examination, the amended NDP (that becomes the referendum version) will need to be considered by TWBC Planning & Transportation Cabinet Advisory Board on the 10th July, and Cabinet on the 27th July, before proceeding to referendum on the 14th September. There are already 2 other NDPs going through this process (Paddock Wood and Pembury) and the TWBC elections team have requested that we aim to hold the referendums on the same day as this is an efficient use of resources. If the NDP is ‘made’ it will become part of the planning documents that TWBC use when considering planning applications.
Cllr. Pethurst proposed the following the motion: That the Examiner’s Report is accepted in full, including all suggested amendments, which will be incorporated into the Neighbourhood Development Plan. The Parish Council will work with Tunbridge Wells Borough Council to bring the Plan to public referendum. This was seconded by Cllr. Gilbert and agreed.
28/23: Streetlights Report: to consider the options presented in the report
The members considered the updated report that had been circulated with the agenda. After full discussion it was decided to defer the decision to a later meeting following the gathering of more information, including – how long the sleeves last, what has been the cost of renewal over the last few years and what would be the pay back. Cllr. Page agreed to collate the necessary data.
29/23: Medical Centre Community Centre
For the benefit of the new Members, the Chairman summarised the plan to deliver a community and medical centre on land (part of Wilkes Field) that had been donated to the Parish Council. The medical center is crucial for the current business case as the rent from the GPs which would be used to pay back a loan from the Public Works Loan Board. The 3 local GP surgeries had provided details of the square meterage that they required in a new medical centre. However, recently the Crane Surgery has been sold, and the new owner’s position regarding the medical centre is not known. Until this information is secured, it is not possible to complete the business plan or brief the constructors.
Pharmacy update – The Chairman advised that to his knowledge, the pharmacies in Cranbrook and Staplehurst are to be taken over by the owner of Ticehurst pharmacy at the end of June.
30/23: Chairman’s Report
Tennis Courts – The Lawn Tennis Association are offering grants for tennis courts in the community. Leigh Academy Trust own 4 courts beside the Weald Sports Centre that are unused and would require work to get them back to a playable condition again. It’s unlikely Leigh Academy will want to use them as they are outside the schools fencing. The Parish Council could apply for a grant if the courts are community owned. The Chairman will investigate options for this, including adding the courts, and some of the unused buildings on the school site, to the Community Asset Register. Cllrs. Bunyan and Selby agreed to assist with completing the forms.
Tunbridge Wells Borough Council Strategy Document – the Chairman referred to the ideas that Cllr. Hatcher had suggested. He will collate these with the additional ideas he had received from Members and asked if there were any further suggestions could they be forwarded to him before midday the following day.
KCC Proposal to Reduce Speed Limit on Hartley Road to 30mph – The Chairman encouraged everyone to respond.
Introduction to Planning Training – KALC are hosting a training event in Tenterden on June 21st in the evening. Anyone wishing to attend should contact the Clerk.
31/23: Approval of Committee Reports as detailed below:
a. Policy & Resources:
Cllr. Pethurst referred to the minutes of the meeting held on the 6th June 2023. He invited questions, of which there where none. Cllr. Pethurst proposed the minutes be adopted, this was seconded by Cllr. Bunyan and agreed.
b. Planning & Preservation:
Cllr. Bunyan presented the minutes of the meetings held on 18th May 2023 and 6th June. She highlighted the application by Leigh Academy Trust to demolish several buildings on the Snowfields site. The Committee had recommended refusal for the reasons listed on the minutes from the 18th May. She also highlighted the application for four houses on the Vicarage site which the committee had also recommended refusal – see minutes of the 6th June for reasons.
c. Properties and Burials
Cllr. Gilbert referred to the minutes of the meeting held on 18th April and invited questions. Cllr. Hatcher asked for an update on the chapel organ, and if the Council would want any payment for it. Cllr. Gilbert replied that as the organ had been donated to the Council, no payment would be required. The Clerk advised that the organ tuner would be inspecting the organ in the next few days and providing an opinion on its status.
Cllr. Gilbert proposed the minutes be adopted; this was seconded by Cllr. Fletcher and approved.
d. Environmental Management
The next meeting is on 27th June.
e. Community Development
Cllr. Hatcher advised that the next meeting is on 13th June when the agenda will include election of Vice Chair. He summarised the terms of reference of the committee for the benefit of the new Members.
32/23: Delegate Reports:
a) Tourism Group: Hatcher reported that there is an upcoming concert in St Dunstan’s; Bell Ringing with jazz musicians. He asked if there was an update on the damage outside the White Horse. The Clerk advised that she had emailed County Councillor Cllr. Sean Holden for an update, but had not as yet received a reply.
Cllr. Bunyan advised that a meeting had been held and the minutes are in progress.
c) Hop Pickers Line Heritage Group: Fletcher read out a statement from Graham Holmes: A further site meeting was held recently to progress the Paddock Wood Church Farm Development Interpretation Scheme. The anticipated position of the interpretation panel will be close to the John Brunt Public House.
The new website being planned for the Group is progressing well and much work is going into gathering information about the history of the railway line and its close connection to the hop industry and the hop pickers. The site will also contain information about the Group’s signage and waymarking projects as well as useful links and archive footage. It is hoped to launch the site in September.
The next meeting of the Group will be on the 28th June at Goudhurst.
33/23: Clerks Report:
Nothing to report
Nothing to report.
35/23: County and Borough Councillor Reports:
36/23: Items for Information
Cllr. Bunyan advised:
- Sissinghurst Flower Show is taking place at Sissinghurst Primary School on Saturday 17th June
- Fernham Homes will be moving the Jubilee Field temporary access to between the bus stop and the public toilets
- Fernham have suggested relocating one of the Parish Councils streetlights to the other side of the road. The residents who would be impacted most have been consulted and are not happy with the proposal. The Council will be suggesting an alternative location to Fernham
Cllr. Pethurst advised:
- The 50th anniversary of the Museum is taking place on Saturday 17th June
- Garden Safari is taking place on Sunday 18th June
Cllr Hatcher advised that the judging for Cranbrook in Bloom scheduled for 7th July.
Cllr. Somers advised that the deadline for the next Cake is 1st of August. Please forward any stories and/or photos in the next 6 weeks.
Cllr. Swenson reported that the PROW at Brick Kiln is still closed.