The meeting was held remotely using Zoom software.

PRESENT: Cllrs. Beck (in the Chair), Fairweather, Fletcher, Gilbert, Smith and Warne.

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.

83/20: Internal finance check:

Cllr. Beck confirmed that the internal finance check had been completed and everything was in order. The reconciliation has been signed and returned to the Clerk.

84/20: Authorisation of payments made after the January meeting:

A list of payments totalling £16,247.54 made after the January meeting, is filed with these minutes.

85/20: Transfers of monies between accounts:

The Clerk confirmed that no transfers had been necessary

86/20: Invoices for Payment:

A list of payments to be made in February had been circulated for approval, a copy of which is filed with these minutes. It was proposed by Cllr. Beck, seconded by Cllr. Fletcher and agreed to authorise the payments. Two members are required to log in to the account and authorise the payments.

These included:

Policy and Resources                          £7,214.34

Properties & Burial Grounds              £4,359.98   

Environmental Management             £9,138.18        

 Total         £20,712.50

87/20: Community Centres/Medical Centre:

There was no report made under this item. Cllr. Fletcher had requested that Community Centres be listed as a plural to allow for any updates on the Sissinghurst Village Hall to be included under this agenda item.

88/20: KCC Audit Plan 2021/2022:

A copy of the Proposed Internal Audit Plan for 2021/22 had been circulated to Committee Members. The plan outlines the areas to be covered by the internal audit programme. Cllr. Beck proposed that the audit plan be approved as presented, this was seconded by Cllr. Gilbert and agreed. A copy is filed with these minutes.

89/20: Annual Parish Meeting:

Members discussed whether or not to proceed with an Annual Parish Meeting this year. The Clerk had confirmed with KALC, that legislation currently in place allows for the meeting to be held remotely. Cllr. Fletcher felt it was a good opportunity to engage with parishioners on the major projects in which we are currently involved. The Chairman of each Committee will also be expected to provide a short bullet point report on their activities over the past year. The Clerk explained that the APM is normally held on a Wednesday evening to avoid any confusion with the Annual General Meeting of the Council. The meeting had previously been scheduled for 21st April, however Cllr. Warne pointed out there was an important borough council meeting that evening.  With this in mind, Cllr. Fletcher proposed the Annual Parish Meeting be held at 7pm on Wednesday 28th April. This was seconded by Cllr Gilbert and agreed.

90/20: Tennis Club Lease:

Cllr. Beck confirmed that Sports England had made a Community Asset Fund Award Offer to us for Sissinghurst Tennis Club to upgrade their floodlight system. It had originally been envisaged that the Parish Council, as landowner would be the receptacle for money, which would then be handed over to the Tennis Club. On closer inspection of the grant offer, there appears to be more involvement required by the Parish Council in order to accept the award. Cllr. Beck agreed to speak to the Tennis Club to see if they can take responsibility for the conditions attached to the offer, before we proceed.

91/20: Cranbrook Sports Club Lease:

Members had been circulated the lease drafted by the solicitors acting for Cranbrook Sports Club. Several points had been annotated and raised by our solicitors, including whether it was the appropriate time for a more commercial type lease to be drawn up. Members discussed this at length but decided that as it is currently drafted, it prevents any significant changes of use and we want to work in conjunction with the Sports Club to provide facilities for the Community. There were a couple of unanswered questions on the legal entity of the original Rugby Football Club and the new Cranbrook Sports Club which will need to be clarified. Subject to these anomalies being dealt with, Cllr. Beck proposed the lease be approved as presented. This was seconded by Cllr. Gilbert and agreed.

92/20: Setting up a Parish Council Amazon account:

The Clerk had been advised by the auditor that the practice of using her personal Amazon account for any Parish Council purchases and then seeking reimbursement, was not considered acceptable. Members discussed the option of opening a Parish Council Amazon account but decided that any purchases should be made with the debit card, without a need to create an account. The Clerk also agreed to canvas other clerks to see how they approach the issue.

93/20: Staffing:

The Clerk advised members that staff appraisals were due to be undertaken next month. It was agreed that Cllrs. Fletcher and Gilbert would undertake them. Suitable dates for all staff members would be agreed in the next few days.

The Clerk also asked permission to carry over any unused holiday from the current year. It was proposed by Cllr. Warne, seconded by Cllr. Smith and agreed to give permission for any leave that cannot be used before the end of this year to be carried over.

94/20: Grant Applications:

No applications had been received.

95/20: Items for Information:

Cllr. Smith gave an update on St. George’s Institute and the new village hall. It was hoped the option agreement could be signed this week, there are a couple of outstanding details that need to be completed first, an up-to-date surveyor’s report is required, the disposal needs to be advertised and the Trustees need to be satisfied they have achieved best value. He may be able to give a further update at the Full Council meeting on Thursday.

Cllr. Warne reported that last week the Borough Council voted to move to the next stage of the Local Plan which is Regulation 19. A consultation will commence on Friday 26th March and run for 8 weeks. Sessions will be held to help advise people with responding online.

Cllr. Fletcher advised the Tanyard Dental Surgery had been subject to repeated vandalism and we would need to obtain quotes to have it properly boarded up. Cllr. Gilbert suggested contacting Croft Glass for a quote.

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