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DRAFT MINUTES OF THE ANNUAL MEETING OF THE PARISH COUNCIL HELD IN THE COUNCIL CHAMBERS, CRANBROOK ON THURSDAY 9th MAY 2024

 

Public Participation:

A member of the public asked a question about the community/medical centre.

 

Cranbrook Sports Club presented plans for the proposed new facilities.

 

PRESENT: Cllrs. Fletcher (Chair), Bunyan, Fairweather, Gilbert, Groome, Hatcher, Mills, Page, Pethurst, Somers, Stone, Borough Cllr. Warne and County Councillor Holden

 

Cllr. Fletcher advised that Ant Tomlinson had resigned from the Parish Council.

 

1/24: Election of Chairman

Cllr. K. Fletcher –nominated by Cllr. Bunyan, seconded by Cllr. Fairweather. There were no further nominations, all members present voted in favour of the proposal. Cllr. Fletcher was elected Chairman and signed the Declaration of Acceptance of Office Register.

 

2/24: Apologies: Cllrs. Newman, Selby and Swenson

 

3/24: 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.

 

None received.

 

4/24: To elect a Vice Chairman of the Council:

Cllr. Gilbert–nominated by Cllr. Fletcher, seconded by Cllr. Bunyan and agreed.

 

5/24: To elect a Chairman of Policy & Resources:

Cllr. Pethurst – nominated by Cllr. Fletcher, seconded by Cllr. Bunyan and agreed.

 

6/24: Appointment of members to Committees and election of each Chairman:

 

Community Development Committee:

Committee:    Cllrs. Gilbert, Groome, Hatcher, Newman, Page and Selby

Chairman:       Cllr. Hatcher –nominated by Cllr. Fletcher, seconded by Cllr. Somers and agreed.

 

Environmental Management Committee:

Committee:    Cllrs. Fairweather, Fletcher, Mills, Page, Pethurst and Stone

Chairman:       Cllr. Fairweather – nominated by Cllr. Fletcher, seconded by Cllr. Gilbert and agreed.

 

Planning and Preservation Committee:

Committee:    Cllrs. Bunyan, Gilbert, Groome, Hatcher, Fletcher, Somers and Swenson

Chairman:       Cllr. Bunyan –nominated by Cllr. Fletcher seconded by Cllr. Hatcher and agreed.

 

Properties & Burial Grounds Committee:

Committee:    Cllrs. Bunyan, Gilbert, Groome, Hatcher, Newman, Page and Pethurst.

Chairman:       Cllr. Gilbert – nominated by Cllr. Fletcher, seconded by Cllr. Pethurst and agreed.

 

The Chairman and Vice-Chairman are ex-officio members of all committees.

The Vice-Chairman of each committee will be elected at the first meeting of the said committee.

 

7/24: To appointment Delegates and Charity Representatives to other bodies:

Delegates to the Kent Association of Local Councils:

Cllr. Fletcher – Reserve Cllr. Gilbert.

 

Delegates to the Cranbrook Conservation Area Advisory Committee:

Cllrs. Bunyan and Hatcher.

 

Delegate to the Cranbrook Tourism Group:

Cllrs. Mills and Newman.

 

Delegate to Cranbrook Museum:

Cllr. Pethurst.

 

Delegate to the Citizens Advice:

Cllr. Hatcher.

 

Delegate to Age Concern:

Cllr. Fletcher.

 

Delegate to The Hop Pickers Line:

In March 2024, Graham Holmes was appointed as the Parish Council representative on the Hop Pickers Line Heritage Group,

 

Tree Warden:

Cllr. Swenson.

 

Councillors were asked to reaffirm or take on representation on the following Charities:

  • Katherine Elizabeth Wood Charity – Cllrs. Hatcher and Newman.
  • King George V Playing Field – Cllrs. Page, Somers and Stone.
  • John Spicer’s Apprenticing Trust – Cllr. Gilbert.
  • Thomas Adrian Veitch Memorial Fund – Cllr. Fletcher.
  • Sissinghurst Village Hall (formally known as St. George’s Institute) – Cllr. Fairweather.

 

8/24: Confirmation of next year’s Parish Council Meetings:

Cllr. Fletcher proposed that Parish Council meetings will continue to be held on the second Thursday of each month at 7.30pm. Meetings will be held in the Council Chamber with the exception of the March and September meetings when they will be held in Sissinghurst.  This was seconded by Cllr. Gilbert and agreed. Meeting cards will be provided for Members.

 

9/24: To approve and sign as a correct record the minutes of the Full Council meeting held on 11th April 2024:

The Chairman referred to the minutes of the Parish Council Meeting held on 11th April 2024 that had been circulated before the meeting by the Clerk.

 

Cllr. Pethurst queried the statement under item 154/23 that Clarion currently only covers East London. Cllr. Fletcher replied that he had simply reported on the information provided on Clarion’s website.

 

Cllr. Page requested clarification under item 158/23, that Kitemill would be asked to pay a contractor of the Parish Councils choice to tidy up the strip of land.

 

Cllr. Hatcher noted that under item 161/23 it had been stated that the GP partners from Old School Surgery would attend the Annual Parish Meeting.  However, they had not attended. He questioned if they had advised Cllr. Fletcher prior to the meeting if they could no longer attend. Cllr. Fletcher advised they had.

 

The Chairman proposed the minutes be accepted as an accurate record of the meeting; this was seconded by Cllr. Gilbert and agreed.

 

10/24: Review and approve Standing Orders, Financial Regulations, Risk Management Plan & Schedule and Policy Review Schedule:

The Chairman referred to the documents that had been circulated prior to the meeting.

 

The Clerk reminded Members that the Standing Orders (SO), Financial Regulations (FR) and the Risk Management Plan are required to be reviewed on an annual basis. There had been one minor change to the FR to remove the statement under 1.8, that the Clerk has been appointed the RFO, as this is no longer accurate.

 

The Chairman proposed the documents be adopted as presented. This was seconded by Cllr. Gilbert and agreed.

 

Cllr. Pethurst apologised for not bringing it to attention sooner, however some sections of the FR required updating to reflect routine payments are no longer paid by cheque. He agreed to present suggested amendments at a later Policy and Resources meeting.

 

11/24:  To review and approve banking arrangements:

The Chairman proposed that the Parish Council bank accounts will continue to be held by HSBC, Lloyds and Unity Trust. Variable direct debits would continue to be the payment method for items such as the business rates and some utilities, and BACS would continue for the payment of salaries and their associated costs.  This was seconded by Cllr. Gilbert and agreed.

 

12/24: Reports from the Chair and Committees:

A. Chairman’s Report:

The Chairman thanked everyone who had attended the Annual Parish Meeting. He advised that the slides from the meeting can be found on the website.

 

He reported that earlier in the day he had spoken to the Old School Surgery GPs. He was saddened as they had divulged to him that that whilst one of the GPs had been walking in Hempsted Forest, a member of the public had shouted at them – demanding to know why they weren’t at work. The GPs feel unwelcome in the town and are now avoiding using the facilities on hand. They are working extremely hard to make the situation work now that they have absorbed the Crane Surgery patients. They have now appointed an additional secretary, receptionist and GP. There are plans to recruit another GP.

 

B. Policy & Resources:

Cllr. Pethurst referred to the minutes of the meeting held on 7th May. He highlighted item 135/23 relating to investment of funds. The first deposit of the precept has been received. He will seek advice from Cllr. Page regarding investment options for maximising interest rates.

 

He is also highlighted item 137/23 relating to insurance renewal. P&R committee had agreed to accept the quote from Zurich of £9,932.98 per annum for a 3-year term be accepted.

 

He then proposed adoption of the minutes, this was seconded by Cllr. Fletcher and agreed.

 

C. Planning & Preservation:

Cllr. Bunyan presented the minutes of the meetings held on 23rd April and 7th May.

 

D. Properties & Burial Grounds:

Cllr. Gilbert referred to the minutes of the meeting held on 16th April. He highlighted the need for repairs to the Howitzer. Cllr. Pethurst had raised the issues of the Howitzer with the museum committee who agreed to discuss at a later date.

 

E. Community Development:

Cllr. Hatcher advised that times of the Councillor Surgeries in June and July will be moved to 7pm. Volunteers to take part in the surgeries are required. It was suggested that a report from the surgeries could be included in a future edition of The Cake.

 

F. Environmental Management:

The site meeting is scheduled for June 18th.

 

G. Support Weald Schooling Update:

Cllr. Groome and Cllr. Fletcher gave an update on the progress. The petition now has 740 signatures.

Future plans – grow the petition, identify school partners and gather more stories about how local children are negatively impacted by the lack of non-selective secondary school in the area.

At a recent meeting with KCC recent meeting, KCC stated that there is no need for a new school in the area. This is despite plans to expand Mascalls to a 12-form entry. However, KCC had suggested that an initiative approach would be required. There is currently little offering for the schooling community between SEND provision and academic offerings.

 

Leigh Academy Trust (LAT) have invited the Chairman to a meeting with LAT Chief Executive and Estates Director to discuss the Snowfields site. LAT have also subsequently announced they are undertaking a comprehensive review of their educational estate across west Kent.

 

13/24: Reports from Delegates:

A. Hop Pickers Line Heritage Group:

The Chairman read the report which had been provided by Graham Holmes:
The next meeting of the Group is scheduled for the 3rd July at Goudhurst

 

B. St Georges Trust/Sissinghurst Village Hall:
The Trustee meeting is taking place on 16th May. The AGM will be held on the 23rd May at 7.30pm in the Parish Rooms, Sissinghurst.

C. CCACC:
Next meeting is 22nd May at 5.30pm

D. Tourism Group
Next meeting will be on the 18th June in Cranbrook Museum

E. King George V:
At a recent meeting the trustees had discussed the need to find new ideas for the use of the 2nd half of the field, especially in winter. The cost to improve drainage and flatten the field for sports use is proving challenging.

 

14/24: Clerk’s Report:
Representatives from Wellbeing in the Weald have approached the Parish regarding lack of Youth Provision in the town, now that the funding from KCC no longer exists to pay Salus. They will share a draft consultation with us once completed.

 

Following the resignation of Ant Tomlinson as Parish Councillor, a Casual Vacancy Notice has been displayed. If there is no call for an election from 10 electors of the Cranbrook Ward in the next 14 days, the position can be filled by co-option.

 

15/24: Correspondence:

The Clerk highlighted a number of emails that had been received:

  • The Weald Prescribing Team had written to introduce plans to create a social group for 18–25-year-olds. The Clerk has offered to share flyers etc. once they are available.
  • TWBC have sent notification of the submission of the Local Plan for independent examination.
  • The High Weald AONB management Plan 2024-29 has been approved and is available at www. highweald.org/aonb-management-plan/
  • Cranbrook Goes Nuts in May are looking for volunteers to help with road closures
  • A further 7-month extension to the closure of PROW WC94 and WC95 has been received from KCC.

 

16/24: Reports from County and Borough Councillors:

The Chairman congratulated the newly elected Borough Councillors. Sean Holden has stood down as Borough Councillor after 16 years.

 

County Councillor Sean Holden:
Cllr. Holden will be attending the multi-agency meeting that has been arranged by the Parish Council to discuss the continuing Antisocial Behaviour in Crane Lane. He is of the opinion that more Police are needed in the area.

 

He continues to remove road closure signs that have been unnecessarily left out.

 

KCC are working to ensure that delays at Dover are not encountered due to incoming border checks.

 

No update as yet on the future of the windmills. The consultation input is still being analysed.

 

There is grant money available from his Members Grant.

Borough Councillor Andy Fairweather:

Cllr. Fairweather expressed his thanks for the kind words following his re-election. Due to the redrawing of Ward boundaries, the number of Borough Councillors has reduced from 48 to 39. Thirteen of the Borough Councillors elected are new candidates.

Borough Councillor Nancy Warne:

Cllr. Warne thanked everybody who came out to vote. She looks forward to getting to know Sissinghurst and Frittenden residents better.

 

She referred to Cllr. Holden’s comments regarding Policing. The latest Police data shows that the number of reports of antisocial behaviour in Cranbrook has reduced. She has received reports that the Police have visited local business, including Welcome Stores, that have experienced issues with shoplifting and antisocial behaviour.

 

17/24: Items for Information:

Cllr. Bunyan suggested the Parish Council thank Borough Cllr. Dawlings for his time spent as Borough Councillor Cranbrook and Benenden Ward.

 

Cllr. Pethurst reminded attendees that Cranbrook Goes Nuts in May is taking place on the 26th of May. Volunteers are need to help on the craft stall.

 

Cllr. Fairweather wished the owners of the new fish and chip in Sissinghurst well in their venture. He advised that they are advertising for staff.

 

Cllr. Fletcher advised that a wine bar is opening in Stone Street at the beginning of June.

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